The most dangerous time of the long past four years is now upon us, and the waning pandemic is only a dying part of it.
Steam roller like, massive distractions are already being sent out to flatten the curve known as the awakening public masses.
Sheer spite and corrosive hatred
Make ready to duck for cover, taking your children and prayers with you.
It’s the ‘End Times of Obama’ and what Dan Bongino calls the ‘Spygate Plotters’, an era destined to make the Big Women’s March, ‘Russiagate’, two, Democrat back-to-back televised Trump Impeachment hearing and trial—the threat of a third one surely on its way, now looking like the proverbial walk in the park.
Mind you, this ‘End Times’ coincides with an era where most parks are now closed to supposedly keep the public at large safe from Coronavirus, but you get the picture.
Democrats and the media that enables them are now in full desperado mode. The tell-tale damage to their own strategies is clear for all to see: All attempts to bring down President Donald Trump now showing up as abysmal failures; more and more people now seeing that the massive loss of jobs is just as—and maybe even more so—deadly than Coronavirus—and worst of all the walls are caving in on duplicitous Obama and his Spygate Plotters leaving them no choice but to ramp up the fear on a captive audience under lock down that is—also— now showing the first signs of failure.
“Claw at their faces & scream disinformation at the top of their lungs”
Originally promoted as a necessity against the contagion of a runaway pandemic, governors like Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker are extending the shutdown of state churches for a full year, in effect leaving the lie on full display.
Sheer spite and corrosive hatred is coming from some small town mayors who, only in the past two days, sent out official orders that dog parks, children’s playgrounds, beaches and parks are being closed.
Why now when so many small business owners were holding out hope that they’d be able to reopen on May 15?
American conservative commentator, radio show host, and former Secret Service agent, Dan Bongino is dead on in his tweet: “NOW, more than ever, you need to tune out the lib media. As the walls close in on Obama & the Spygate plotters, they’ll claw at their faces & scream disinformation at the top of their lungs. They’re desperate to distract you. Please, for the sake of the truth, tune them out.”
Evidence that “they’ll claw at their faces & scream disinformation at the top of their lungs” is already out there:
“WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama, talking privately to ex-members of his administration, said Friday that the “rule of law is at risk” in the wake of what he called an unprecedented move by the Justice Department to drop charges against former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Yahoo, May 8, 2020)
Adam Schiff wasn’t long in joining Obama on the media cacophony
“In the same chat, a tape of which was obtained by Yahoo News, Obama also lashed out at the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
Most already knew that the Democrats would blame the pandemic on Numero Uno enemy Donald Trump and not China.
Adam Schiff wasn’t long in joining Obama on the media cacophony:
“Congressman Adam Schiff pushed back hard on Attorney General Bill Barr, calling out his justification for abandoning the Justice Department’s case against Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, as promoting a “false narrative.” (Mediaite, May 8, 2020)
After the controversial news that the DOJ wants to drop the case, Barr sparked further outrage on Thursday after he chuckled and said “history is written by the winners” when asked in a CBS News interview about how time will treat the Flynn decision.”
The Democrat House of Cards is about to take a big fall that incredibly will have little to do with doddering Joe Biden
Smugly convinced that their tactics have thoroughly demoralized patriots, Obama and Spygate Plotters are counting on the time being right for them to capitulate in total hopelessness.
They forget that Hillary’s deplorables now see that the emperor is wearing see-through clothes:
Twelve years later, the table has been turned—with leaks now coming from the former Obama admin, rather than the beleaguered Trump admin.
After three interminably long years, the DoJ has—most publicly—dropped their case against Gen. Flynn;
A majority of Americans are against the Democrat-inspired mail-in vote.
Other little, but important signs are also out there. Michelle Obama’s self-serving Netflix ‘documentary’, launched only two days ago, is being throughly panned.
The Democrat House of Cards is about to take a big fall that incredibly will have little to do with doddering Joe Biden.
Knowing that they can run but not hide, loud cheers are being sent up that Obama, Schiff, Brennan, Comey et al are now on the run.
Nineteen-year-old Kendrick Johnson never came home from Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia on January 10, 2013. His parents notified the local sheriff, and an investigation at the school the following morning led to the tragic discovery of Johnson’s body face down in the middle of a rolled-up wrestling mat inside one of the school’s two gyms. Investigators believed that Johnson had been reaching inside the mat to retrieve one of his tennis shoes and accidentally fell inside and became trapped.
Lead investigator Lt. Stryde Jones said, “We never had credible evidence that indicated this was anything more than an accident.” The coroner performed an autopsy on the body and officially announced that the cause of death was accidental and due to positional asphyxia. A sad, abrupt end to the story, right?
Unfortunately, it was only the beginning. This happened at a high school in rural Georgia, out in farm country. Naturally, being a bunch of goofy high school kids, conspiracy theories began to run rampant. The most popular theory dreamed up by those high school kids involved the two white sons of an FBI agent named Rick Bell.
Brian, the youngest son, and Johnson had briefly scuffled on the team bus after a football game. The rumor began to spread around the school that the tussle between Bell and Johnson (who was black) had been over Brian’s girlfriend and had nothing to do with football. That changed the narrative from “accidental death” to “two white boys murder a young black man because of a white girl, and the federal government concealed evidence of the murder because their father was an FBI agent.”
Local civil rights activists took the accusations very seriously and demanded action. Reverend Floyd Rose, the Lowndes County chapter president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, and local NAACP leader Leigh Touchton both demanded a serious and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Johnson’s death, and they got one.
FBI investigators pulled surveillance video from 35 different cameras at the school and carefully analyzed the data. Dozens of witnesses were interviewed. Due to eyewitness accounts and video timestamps, by October of 2013 investigators had been able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Brian Bell was nowhere near when Johnson went inside the gym. He simply could not have murdered Kendrick Johnson even if he’d wanted. Branden Bell wasn’t even in Valdosta; he was on a bus headed to a wrestling meet in Macon when Johnson sadly met his fate. At last, that was the end of it, right?
Wrong. The Johnsons had lost a son. Somebody had to have murdered him; the coroner, the investigators, and everyone else must be lying as part of a vast (probably right-wing) conspiracy to cover up the crime. To anyone with a smidgen of logic, reason, sense of fairness, and sanity, the issue had been settled: Kendrick Johnson’s death was an accident. The Bell brothers could not possibly have killed him and concealed his death, with or without the help of their father.
Sadly, that was not good enough for Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson. They had not accepted the official cause of death and paid for a second autopsy, which asserted the cause of death was blunt force trauma. The new, competing narrative to the official cause of death was that Kendrick had actually been beaten to death.
The problem was that their two best (and really, the only) “suspects” had been eliminated by video evidence and eyewitness accounts. That and the absolute lack of physical evidence that Kendrick had been physically assaulted. The new theory was that Kendrick had been murdered by a single, expert blow to the head, as if a couple of high school kids were actually Ninja assassins with the ability to teleport to and away from the crime scene.
So, with only the results of this second, conflicting autopsy to support their claims, the Johnsons accused everyone involved of participating in a massive conspiracy. At least forty or fifty people would have to be involved, from the local sheriff to the FBI, even the coroner, and they weren’t all white people, either. How bad was the evidence against Branden and Brian Bell? It was so bad that even the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice under Eric Holder and Barack Obama refused to directly interfere. Reverend Rose and Ms. Touchton both withdrew their support after realizing that the Johnsons and their lawyers were not being truthful about information they had received from investigators. The Johnsons refused to watch the surveillance videos.
Touchton told the Valdosta Daily Times, “We have to have justice for everybody. That means when you think your entire law enforcement, sheriff’s department, district attorney, all the school officials at Lowndes High, all the school board members, all the teachers and coaches, when you think they are all conspiring to cover up the murder of a black child, that’s unjust to all those people because they give their lives to help children.”
Let’s be honest: when you’re black but the local SCLC and NAACP aren’t on your side, your case must be pretty weak. When Barack Obama and Eric Holder wouldn’t offer their public support, reasonable people might conclude that legal action would be an exercise in futility.
But who needs reasonable people when we have Al Sharpton?
William “Boss” Tweed was one of the most notoriously corrupt politicians in American history, believed to have stolen anywhere between $25-$200 million dollars from New York City taxpayers. Shortly after the Civil War ended, his gang of cronies operating out of Tammany Hall controlled the Big Apple with an iron fist, until Thomas Nast’s political cartoons exposing the rampant corruption eventually led to Tweed’s arrest and conviction.
However, Boss Tweed was a piker and a rank amateur when compared to former President Barack Obama., who used the full weight and power of the federal government for his own personal political gain. However, Boss Tweed only controlled the largest city on the East Coast. Obama controlled the entire country for eight years, and the stench of corruption still lingers from his administration, four years later. President Barack Obama’s Department of Injustice appointed attorneys like Michael Moore for the middle district of Georgia.
Ironically, Moore’s specialty in private practice is false claims litigation. As mentioned in Part 1 (LINK) he’s about the only person other than Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson who believed that Brian and/or Branden Bell had murdered Kendrick Johnson. His opening of an investigation into the allegations against Rick Bell and his sons allowed the Johnsons to file a civil lawsuit against the Bell family for $100 million dollars. Brian Bell, one of the teens falsely accused in public of murder but never actually charged with any crime, lost his scholarship offered by the nearby Florida State Seminoles and was lucky to even get the opportunity to play for the Akron Zips.
Here’s where the story not only gets weird, but stupid. Rick Bell, father of the two boys accused of Johnson’s murder, was accused of helping them conceal the crime. Rick was an active FBI agent and about the last person anyone would ever expect of a racially motivated hate crime — his investigation of the burning of a black church in Arkansas led to the arrest and conviction of three white men for the crime. Although multiple eyewitnesses and recorded video evidence had thoroughly exonerated both boys and absolutely proved beyond any reasonable doubt that neither could have possibly murdered Kendrick Johnson, Moore apparently directed his investigators to operate as if Rick Bell was a criminal mastermind behind the mother of all conspiracy theories, not an honest FBI field agent with a known and respected track record. When FBI Agents Carlton Peeples and Greg McClendon (both of whom are black), along with Special Agent in Charge Britt Johnson, met with U.S. Attorney Moore to discuss the Kendrick Johnson evidence and explicitly stated that no evidence supported any murder theory, Moore’s ludicrous reply was, “Maybe KJ was murdered at night.”
The FBI announced they were closing the case, which outraged Moore, who suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should be making the final decision. However, SAC Johnson curtly replied, “I work for FBI Director Comey and we are closing this case. Period. We will not take part in this witch hunt any longer.”
Such strong opposition from the FBI would probably deter most normal prosecutors, but Michael Moore may as well have been operating from the same handbook as Mike Nifong. At one point, the Bell family woke up to discover a 25-member SWAT team banging on their front door and an armored personnel carrier parked on their street. It was only one of six early morning raids by U.S Marshals working for Michael Moore, allegedly looking for evidence of Johnson’s murder.
Don’t those Gestapo tactics sound familiar? When pre-dawn raids by overwhelming numbers of heavily armed police officers swarmed the personal residences of guys like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, the general public sort of assumed those two gentlemen had to be guilty of something — something above and beyond their association with President Trump.
Former federal prosecutor Tom Withers commented, “This is an egregious miscarriage of justice. It’s shocking that this case would go forward after the FBI concluded these kids were not involved. It’s just unbelievable.” He added that Moore could be sanctioned if it could be proved he continued the investigation without any probable cause, but the hurdles for a conviction are high and the maximum punishment is only a public reprimand — big deal.
With the exception of the privately commissioned second autopsy, all of the evidence pointed to an accidental death, or at minimum exonerated the Bell brothers. Yet Moore sent Rick, Branden, and Brian Bell “target letters” suggesting that substantial evidence linked them to the murder of Kendrick Johnson, and the likely outcome would be they would eventually become defendants in a criminal trial in federal court. This move also opened the door for the Johnsons to file a frivolous $100 million civil suit against the Bell family.
The full weight and power of the federal government was being brought to bear against a dedicated, completely innocent public servant and his family. Facts didn’t matter. Ron Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, wrote in a scathing letter to the Valdosta Daily Times, “Moore’s investigation began with nothing more than rumor and the politics of race. He should know he has violated his oath of office and should hang his head in disgrace as he leaves.”
In a second letter Hosko sent to the Daily Times after Moore’s resignation in 2015 he added, “A curious reader might ask, if the government had substantial evidence of a crime in 2014 and probable cause to search for evidence at locations occupied by the grand jury targets in 2015, how could they now close their case with a lack of evidence? What changed? Can substantial evidence and probable cause simply vaporize?”
As previously mentioned in Part 1, the Johnson family was represented by attorney Benjamin Crump — surely that name rings a bell (pun intended).
Please remember that Crump is the same lawyer who allegedly suborned perjury out of Rachel Jeantel in the George Zimmerman murder trial. The tragic, sordid persecution of the Bell family would have been bad enough if it was an aberration, an exception to the rule. Unfortunately, it seems to fit a pattern of behavior by the Barack Obama Department of Injustice.
Basically, the same tactics were used to target and destroy General Michael Flynn in the earliest days of the Trump administration. Not only did the DoJ target dedicated public servants and their children, these DOJ thugs knew they would be causing irreparable harm and unnecessary pain to innocent victims, using the full weight and power of the federal government as they tried to bully false confessions to nonexistent crimes.
Please, never forget that the federal government literally has the authority to print money. Once Uncle Sam has an indictment, the odds against the typical defendant in federal drop so low that it usually isn’t worth fighting. Even if you win in court your opponent has bottomless pockets and the ability to file appeals, and even if they don’t get a conviction, they can ruin you financially and threaten to go after both you and your children.
In the case of General Flynn, a “302” FBI investigation document was deliberately altered to produce false evidence, and exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense. In other words, the FBI agents who initially interviewed General Flynn knew that he had not intentionally deceived them in any way, but the FBI is part of the Department of Injustice, and they wanted Flynn’s scalp. FBI Director James Comey deliberately sent over agents to interview Flynn while the Trump administration was still being established to “get” Flynn to incriminate himself during an informal interview. When the scheme didn’t work, they fabricated evidence and coerced an American patriot to plead guilty in order to save his family.
Is this a great country, or what?
Pop quiz: what do Michael Moore (Kendrick Johnson), Mike Nifong (Duke lacrosse team), Jonathan Kravis (Roger Stone), Brandon Van Grack (Michael Flynn), and Andrew Weissmann (President Trump, Paul Manafort, the accounting firm Arthur Anderson) have in common? If you guessed they are all Democrats, you’re more than likely correct, but the answer I was looking for was “prosecutorial abuse.” Here’s the problem: Former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore is still doing okay in the private sector. Former FBI Director James Comey has written a book and contemplated trees. Andrew McCabe got fired before he could retire from the FBI, but still has a sweet gig on MSNBC.
*Those men should all be toiling at hard labor or just rotting in prison. James Wolfe gets caught leaking classified information to the media and lying to the FBI about it. He was guilty as hell but only got a slap on the wrist for far more serious crimes than Roger Stone or Paul Manafort.
The United States was founded on the principle of equal justice under the law, but the most powerful people in government abused their authority to weaponize the legal system against their political enemies. Quite frankly, an apology to the Bell family isn’t going to be good enough. Allowing Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea and dismissing the case against him won’t rebalance the scales of justice, either. People need to pay and pay dearly for abusing the power of their office. Apparently, our only hope for real justice rests in the work of yet another U.S. Attorney, John Durham.
One way or another, the people responsible for this travesty of justice must be held accountable, and the consequences of their egregious abuse of power must be so severe that another 150 years or more pass before another Democrat follows in the footsteps of Boss Tweed and Barack Obama.
As the pandemic that locked down the world plays out at an excruciating slow pace, the Democrats are making away with the pandemic-beleaguered 2020 presidential election.
No longer having to put themselves out on public view where all their warts and wrinkles will show, 2020 presidential election.—starting with Joe Biden—no longer stand before the electorate in the flesh, but have managed to hide themselves by going completely digital!
Their presumptive presidential candidate is running the race digitally from the basement of his Delaware home—safe from the boos and jeers of a town hall-like settings, unwanted citizen questions or accidental media vetting of any kind.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have officially endorsed Biden—digitally.
A digital Michelle Obama is both intended and destined to go viral with a message from a Netflix documentary telling a locked down audience: ”I love and miss you all”, on May 6. (Canada Free Press, April 27, 2020)
In the real world, roughly 50% of the American citizenry don’t really miss or love Michelle Obama.
What the Dems are doing now is far more effective than the FBI-led coup d’état in which they failed to prove that “The Russians stole the election”—because , in construct, it is fail proof.
Call it ‘Digi-Coup, The Live Streaming of America’ in an election where even dead people will get to mail their votes in.
The 2016 presidential debates between candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton—including the one where Clinton had the questions given to her in advance by DNC chair Donna Brazile, now a Fox News “contributor”, are passé.
Digital is forever—unless of course you cross the digital Demi-gods, Google, Facebook and Twitter
While the media world bought into Barack Obama “Resistance” leader, fomenting for revolution from a mansion within walking distance of a President Donald Trump-held White House, Obama managed to come up with the biggest “Resistance” of them all—providing a digital presence for all of his top activists—including his overbearing wife, his fumbling former vice president, and handpicked 2016 candidate, Hillary Clinton.
All can patently ignore the Tara Reade scandal as though it never happened because they’ve all been Obama awarded the “can’t-catch-me!” escapism of digital.
Digital is forever—unless of course you cross the digital Demi-gods, Google, Facebook and Twitter and are ever so conveniently de-platformed and silenced.
Then your resistance is gone within the blink of an eye.
Six months out from election day, and electioneering by strictly digital is well on its way home.
The digital world is getting to be as contagious as the pandemic keeping us hunkering down in our homes:
“On Monday afternoon, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will host a virtual town hall for the Biden campaign with African American leaders, and on Monday evening, Dr. Jill Biden will host a virtual LGBTQ+ Social Hour.” (Deadline, April 27, 2020)
“You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”
Isn’t life fun when there’s no one to throw eggs at when you’ve become completely and utterly digital.
Biden’s a reincarnation of stuttering Max Headroom
Now let’s take a close look at what Obama’s lipstick did for slicked-back hair, shades-wearing Joe Biden:
You can see by these photos that Biden’s a reincarnation of stuttering Max Headroom.
“Max Headroom is a fictional artificial intelligence (AI) character, known for his wit and stuttering, electronically altered voice. He was introduced in early 1985. The character was created by George Stone, Annabel Jankel, and Rocky Morton. Max was portrayed by Matt Frewer and was called “the first computer-generated TV personality”, although the computer-generated appearance was achieved with an actor in prosthetic make-up and harsh lighting, in front of a blue screen.” (Wikipedia)
Before morphing into Max Headroom, Biden had always followed in the footsteps of his boss Barack Obama as an unvetted-by-media Artful Dodger.
Don’t expect to get back to work until after November 3, 2020, when there may be no work left to which to return.
The lock down is a useful tool for power-crazed Democrats.
Pope Francis Calls for ‘Obedience’ to State Lockdowns
Even the Pope is in on the act:
“ROME — Pope Francis urged obedience to state lockdown measures Tuesday, just 36 hours after Italian bishops reproached the government for refusing to allow public worship.
“At this time, as indications emerge for a way out of quarantine, we pray that the Lord will grant us the grace of prudence and obedience to these indications, so that the pandemic does not return,” the pontiff said in a daily tweet.” (Breitbart, April 28, 2020)
“Meanwhile, there’s no way of escaping the Digital Dems as long as the coronavirus lock down drags on—or their smarmy streamed message that Michelle Obama and Joe Biden only want to hug and love you.” (Canada Free Press, April 27, 2020)
When the health reform debate began more than a dozen years ago, most public health advocates touted the need for universal coverage. By the time Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), however, it had become predicated on also making care accessible for people with pre-existing conditions.
Obamacare allowed people with chronic illnesses to buy health coverage at rates no higher than their healthy neighbors. This feature has always been popular. Americans feel sympathy for those who were penalized for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Less healthy individuals often paid higher premiums to compensate for their higher risk. Prior to the ACA pre-existing conditions could increase premiums as much as 50% or even 100% of healthy individuals’ premiums. Looking back this seems rather cheap compared to the cost of Obamacare today. Prior to Obamacare most state insurance markets required guaranteed renewability. Thus, consumers not covered by employer plans had an incentive to maintain continuous coverage to avoid higher premiums if they dropped coverage and later tried to enroll. Furthermore, the problem of pre-existing conditions was exaggerated by Obamacare supporters. Wharton School economist Mark Pauly estimated only about 1% of the population was unable to get health coverage due to a pre-existing condition before the ACA.
The ACA did not work as intended. Once health plans were required to accept unhealthy individuals at rates unadjusted for risk, premiums for everyone had to increase. As premiums rose, healthier individuals looked for ways to drop out or reduce their coverage. Unhealthy individuals sometimes tried to game the system, joining when expensive care was needed and dropping soon afterwards. This caused a further increase in premiums. Over time the Affordable Care Act became decidedly unaffordable.
When the ACA became law most Americans naively assumed Obamacare would be similar to employee health plans or the individual policies many Americans had before the ACA. That wasn’t the case. The typical Obamacare plan today bears a closer resemblance to Medicaid managed care plans, but with high cost-sharing. Many of the plans are managed by the same firms who specialize in Medicaid managed care. Why? Because managed care plans find subtle ways to reduce costs and ration care. This is a competitive advantage among plans not allowed to adjust premiums for risk. The only alternative is rationing care.
Over time average Obamacare deductibles rose as healthy individuals defected to cheaper plans with less coverage. In addition, Obamacare networks also began to restrict enrollees’ choice of doctors and hospitals. For example, one study found nearly three-quarters of insurers (72%) feature narrow networks in the plans offered through the federally managed exchanges (HealthCare.gov). This is in stark contrast to 5% to 7% of employer plans that limit worker choices to a narrow network of physicians and hospitals. A report by health consulting firm Avalere found Obamacare plans typically contract with one-third fewer doctors and hospitals, on average than commercial plans. This equates to 42 percent fewer heart specialists and cancer doctors, one-third fewer mental health and primary care providers and one-quarter fewer hospitals.
More restrictive networks is one of the ways Obamacare holds costs down. Keep in mind networks also become narrow when doctors refuse to affiliate with Obamacare plans due to low fees. Not only do some insurers reject providers who charge higher fees, at the same time, providers may want to avoid patients whose plans have deductibles that run into the thousands. Cost-sharing under the deductible often goes uncollected when money is tight
One noticeable result is that top hospitals are out of reach for many Obamacare enrollees. For example, the flagship Mayo Clinic is inaccessible to many Obamacare plan enrollees in Minnesota. Many exchange plans also do not include top cancer centers in their networks. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is not on any exchange plans in Texas. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is not in any of the typical gold, silver, or bronze individual plans on the New York exchange.
If the ACA marketplace was designed to meet consumer needs like other markets, instead of rationing care for sick enrollees Obamacare would compete to meet their needs. Medicare Advantage plans are an example of a system where expensive enrollees are not shunned because the federal government compensates plans for seniors’ health status. By contrast, Obamacare subsidizes premiums for low-income Americans but allows no risk adjustment at the individual level. Economist John Cochrane has shown how market-based risk adjustment without government involvement can work. Now we need to design a better system.
Medicaid was created to be a safety net for the truly needy such as seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income children. Most of us agree: It is important to protect this program for the people who need it most.
Unfortunately, many politicians have lost sight of Medicaid’s intended purpose. In doing so, they took limited resources meant for truly needy individuals and moved millions of able-bodied adults—the majority of whom do not work at all—to the front of the line instead. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people with developmental disabilities and other conditions remain trapped on waiting lists, hoping to someday get access to desperately needed services.
This is happening because of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Under ObamaCare, lawmakers have the option to expand welfare to able-bodied adults in their states. Far too many states made the tragic decision to expand their Medicaid programs, causing enrollment surges. These enrollment surges far surpassed projections—resulting in far more newly eligible welfare enrollees than policymakers promised taxpayers in their states. Sadly—as is often the case with massive, ill-advised expansions of government—it is the taxpayers who are left footing the (enormous) bill.
When it comes to ObamaCare expansion, policymakers, as well as taxpayers, deserve to know why these over-enrollments keep happening. A new report from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) answers that exact question.
According to the report, the main reason states so badly underestimated enrollment is their reliance on Census Bureau data to make estimations. This data does not work for projecting expansion enrollment for multiple reasons.
First, the Census Bureau defines ‘households’ differently than the Medicaid program. For example, for an able-bodied adult who lives at home with his parents and does not work, Census data counts his parents’ income to determine his poverty status. The result is that Census data would indicate that he is not eligible for expansion. But after ObamaCare expansion, his state might learn the hard way that he is eligible because Medicaid eligibility is based on his personal income only. Oops. The enrollment overruns begin.
The Census Bureau also defines ‘income’ differently than Medicaid does. The Census, for example, considers cash welfare as income. Medicaid, however, excludes cash welfare from income calculations, resulting in more people appearing to have lower incomes and thereby qualifying for Medicaid. Oops again.
Finally, there are differences in how the Census Bureau and Medicaid define poverty because the Census Bureau evaluates more data points that could result in a person no longer being under the threshold required to receive Medicaid benefits under expansion.
But ultimately, perhaps most alarming, are differences in data collection. While Medicaid eligibility is determined by tax filing data—cold, hard facts—Census Bureau data is based on income information that is self-reported in a survey. You read that correctly: Critical decisions about whether or not to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people are routinely being made based on polling data.
The result of the use of this bad data is a massive undercounting of the number of people who could become eligible for Medicaid under an expansion plan. Altogether, the number of adults made eligible for Medicaid expansion could be more than 72 percent higher than census data suggests. The resulting over-enrollment busts state budgets and consume limited resources.
Medicaid expansion is shattering projections and creating a welfare trap for more than 12 million able-bodied adults. Regrettably, taxpayers and the truly needy will continue to pay the price. The takeaway for states that have rightly rejected expansion is simple: don’t trust the numbers. If your state is looking at expansion enrollment estimates, they are relying on Census data—and they’re preparing to replicate this nightmare
Top Republican presidential contenders cite Common Core in their stump speeches, seeking political capital and earning audible cheers by referring to Common Core as a “disaster” that must end, or calling for the “repeal [of] every word of Common Core.” The Democratic contenders are far quieter on the issue, focusing instead on college and university access.
The call to action is clear. As a failed grand experiment in school reform — and a costly one, with a nationwide price tag some estimate at $80 billion for teacher training, materials development and purchase, and implementation (from an initial nationwide estimate of $17 billion) — states must actively reconsider their commitment to Common Core.
With ‘war stories’ from embattled educators now commonplace, what is painfully clear is that Common Core, which sets standards for K-12 in English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics, has gone horribly, terribly wrong. Each day these demonstrably failed standards remain in place, we betray the trust of U.S. public schoolchildren, parents, teachers, principals, and administrators tethered to flawed, federalized education reform.
Common Core skepticism is on the rise, with concerns from lawmakers, scholars, educators, parents, students, and others that include:
Growing opposition to Common Core among teachers and the general public, with a 2015 EdNext poll on school reform showing marked gains in opposition from 2013-2015. In a two-year period, teachers’ opposition rose from 12 percent to 50 percent (a more than four-fold gain), while public opposition rose from 13 percent to 35 percent (nearly tripled).
In a live Daily Caller poll, 80 percent of respondents say that Common Core should be repealed in every state (late March).School systems caught in a Common Core crossroads, including high-priced curricula and textbooks that claim to be Common Core aligned, but appear rushed-to-market, resulting in erratic (and unverified) quality.A distortion of the teaching and learning process, in which teachers must set pedagogical skill aside and “teach to the test.”Indecipherable math problems (see Alec Torres’ “The Ten Dumbest Common Core Problems”) with frustrated parents and guardians posting sample ‘unsolvable’ problems online.A “dramatic collapse of test scores,” according to research professor Diane Ravitch, in many states a drop of about 30 percent in passing rates, with such ‘questionable’ outcomes tied to high-stakes evaluations of teachers.
Broadly identified as architects of the standards, while the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and Achieve deny that the federal government was involved in standards development, such denial may be far from the truth. Few ‘insiders’ deny that the standards are a thinly veiled form of federal overreach; others go further, characterizing the standards as conspiratorial. Hastily drafted and improperly vetted, the standards were further hampered by a non-existent implementation strategy.
Simply put, Common Core is a one-size-fits-all federal “reform” that grossly misses the mark. Through the mechanism of appointed and elected school boards, it is citizen control over public education policy that empowers our nation’s grassroots democracy and educational system. States’ responsibility for education means that career and college-ready standards that ready students to graduate high school “prepared to success in entry-level careers, introductory academic college courses, and workforce training programs” are best developed at local — not federal — levels, with adequate time for academic and public review.
Many in the education community justly accuse the Department of Education and former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan of taking steps to end local control through the de facto creation of a national school board. There is perhaps no better example of federal overreach gone awry than the Administration’s reauthorization of federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act, with the equally heavy-handed and ill-conceived Race to the Top.
Flawed on many levels, Race to the Top fails to improve public education, requiring highly trained teachers to set aside their training and judgment to teach to the test, causing many skilled teachers to leave the profession while also stunting the recruitment pipeline. Race to the Top also promotes the redeployment of limited taxpayer dollars toward private schools, an outcome that erodes existing (and already strained) infrastructure and risks re-segregating schools. Such harsh realities fail America’s youth, particularly those living in poverty who must — for the well-being, economic prosperity and future global competitiveness of our nation — gain equal access to high-quality education.
Though the tally has yet to catch up with on-the-ground realities, support for Common Core is waning. At present, leaders of the standards initiative state that 42 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with them, numbers that fail to account for a growing body of state detractors. (Early non-adopters were Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota [adopted ELA/literacy only, not mathematics], Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.) A growing body of states are developing state-level alternatives to Common Core — for example, California, Louisiana and Tennessee. Further, key political leaders across the nation, key among them former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker — all former Republican presidential contenders — have gone on-record in strong opposition to Common Core.
With federal control of education a failed model, influential lawmakers, key among them Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), led the call for legislation aimed at putting the brakes on the growing federalization of public education. This bipartisan leadership effort resulted in the December 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA, the long-awaited overhaul of federal education law, significantly narrows the federal government’s role in elementary and secondary education, restricting its ability “to coerce states in the adoption of school standards, such as Common Core.” Newly flanked by ESSA, states such as Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, and others that unsuccessfully attempted to repeal Common Core may gain a second wind.
The question becomes, with ESSA passage in place that establishes and protects states’ control of elementary and secondary education, how long will flawed and failed Common Core standards remain standing? With student outcomes top of mind, how — and when — will states act on this important responsibility?
David A. Pickler, J.D., is president of the American Public Education Foundation, a past president of the National School Boards Association, and Vice-Chair of the Tennessee Academic Standards Recommendation Committee for Mathematics and English Language Arts formed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and other state officials.
Enough facts are in the public record about the Benghazi murders of Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 others, including two Marines, that a final judgment can be rendered on President Obama’s handling of the affair. Obama’s actions, or inactions, amounted to dereliction of duty, and worse.
Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to former President Barack Obama, accused President Trump of pursuing a foreign policy based on “Obama envy” following news of a violent mob attacking the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
When it comes to leadership, Obama told attendees that women are “indisputably” better than men.
“Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us [men],” Obama said, according to the BBC.
“I’m absolutely confident that for two years, if every nation on Earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything … living standards and outcomes,” he continued.
Obama went on to say that he does not plan on returning to political leadership, slamming men in his explanation.
“If you look at the world and look at the problems it’s usually old people — usually old men — not getting out of the way,” Obama said. “It is important for political leaders to try and remind themselves that you are there to do a job, but you are not there for life, you are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self-importance or your own power.”
Up until now, President Obama has said he knew nothing about the FBI bid to destroy his political rival, Donald J. Trump, as evidenced in the newly released and mighty critical inspector general report. Back in August 2016, Obama said: I do not talk to the attorney general about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations[.] … I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department or the FBI — not just in this case, but in any case. FULL STOP. PERIOD. Guaranteed. Nobody gets treated differently when it comes to the Justice Department[.] Today, Obama’s claim is in tatters. Julie Kelly of the Federalist found references within the new I.G. report that Obama was briefed on the gamy investigation and knew all about it all along. Former FBI Director James Comey briefed President Barack Obama about the investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign…(Read Full Post)
the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law.
The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States. While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The administration’s stonewalling about the scope of the violation induced an exasperated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to accuse the NSA of “an institutional lack of candor” in connection with what the court described as “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.” (The court is the federal tribunal created in 1978 by FISA; it is often referred to as a “secret court” because proceedings before it are classified and ex parte — meaning only the Justice Department appears before the court.)
According to the internal reports reviewed by Solomon and Carter, the illegal surveillance may involve more than 5 percent of NSA searches of databases derived from what is called “upstream” collection of Internet communications.
As the FISA court explains, upstream collection refers to the interception of communications “as they transit the facilities of an Internet backbone carrier.” These are the data routes between computer networks. The routes are hosted by government, academic, commercial, and similar high-capacity network centers, and they facilitate the global, international exchange of Internet traffic. Upstream collection from the Internet’s “backbone,” which accounts for about 9 percent of the NSA’s collection haul (a massive amount of communications), is distinguished from interception of communications from more familiar Internet service providers.
Upstream collection is a vital tool for gathering intelligence against foreign threats to the United States. It is, of course, on foreign intelligence targets — non-U.S. persons situated outside the U.S. — that the NSA and CIA are supposed to focus. Foreign agents operating inside the U.S. are mainly the purview of the FBI, which conducts surveillance of their communications through warrants from the FISA court — individualized warrants based on probable cause that a specific person is acting as an agent of a foreign power.
The NSA conducts vacuum intelligence-collection under a different section of FISA — section 702. It is inevitable that these section 702 surveillance authorities will incidentally intercept the communications of Americans inside the United States if those Americans are communicating with the foreign target. This does not raise serious Fourth Amendment concerns; after all, non-targeted Americans are intercepted all the time in traditional criminal wiretaps because they call, or are called by, the target. But FISA surveillance is more controversial than criminal surveillance because the government does not have to show probable cause of a crime — and when the targets are foreigners outside the U.S., the government does not have to make any showing; it may target if it has a legitimate foreign-intelligence purpose, which is really not much of a hurdle at all.
So, as noted in coverage of the Obama administration’s monitoring of Trump-campaign officials, FISA section 702 provides some privacy protection for Americans: The FISA court orders “minimization” procedures, which require any incidentally intercepted American’s identity to be “masked.” That is, the NSA must sanitize the raw data by concealing the identity of the American. Only the “masked” version of the communication is provided to other U.S. intelligence agencies for purposes of generating reports and analyses. As I have previously explained, however, this system relies on the good faith of government officials in respecting privacy: There are gaping loopholes that permit American identities to be unmasked if, for example, the NSA or some other intelligence official decides doing so is necessary to understand the intelligence value of the communication.
While that kind of incidental collection raises the concerns of privacy advocates, it is a small problem compared to upstream collection, the technology of which poses profound Fourth Amendment challenges.
American communications are being seized and subjected to an inspection — however cursory — in the absence of any warrant, probable cause, or foreign-intelligence relevance.
In a nutshell, it is not possible to capture a single e-mail related to a single target as it transits the backbone routes (or “switches”) that connect networks. The NSA must instead capture packets of e-mail data — which include lots of e-mails beside the targeted e-mail. It sifts through these packets, finds and assembles the components of the email it was looking for, and then discards the rest. (A New York Times report by Charlie Savage earlier this week, in connection with a different FISA issue, provides a good explanation of this process. By contrast, the relevant discussion in the FISA court opinion of “multiple communications transactions,” or MCTs, is brief and heavily redacted — see the opinion at 15–16.) Even if the NSA does exactly what it is supposed to do (i.e., sift and discard), this means American communications are being seized and subjected to an inspection — however cursory — in the absence of any warrant, probable cause, or foreign-intelligence relevance.
Now, couple this problem with the way the NSA targets. The upstream communications it collects end up in databases. When the NSA has a target about whom it seeks intelligence, it runs a search through the databases using what is variously called an “identifier,” a “selection term,” or a “selector” — some e-mail address, phone number, or other identifying information related to the target. For years, U.S. intelligence agencies have not just sought any communications to or from this target; they have also sought any communications about this target — e.g., when the targetmerely appears to have been referred to. This means the communications of people, including Americans inside the United States, are far more likely to be accessed and analyzed — even though, again, there is no warrant or probable cause, there may be no direct communication with a proper intelligence target, and the Americans’ communications may be of no foreign-intelligence value.
So, to summarize, we have the communications of Americans inside the United States being incidentally intercepted, stored, sifted through, and in some instances analyzed, even though those Americans are not targets of foreign-intelligence collection. The minimization procedures are supposed to prevent the worst potential abuses, particularly, the pretextual use of foreign-intelligence-collection authority in order to conduct domestic spying. But even when complied with, there is a colorable argument that the minimization procedures do not eliminate the Fourth Amendment problem — i.e., they permit seizure and search without adequate cause.
Now we know the minimization procedures have not been complied with. The new scandal involves their flouting.
In 2011, it became clear to the FISA court that the minimization procedures were providing insufficient protection to Americans. Of special concern was the use of identifiers of American citizens as selection terms for database searches. While the activities of these Americans might have made them worthy foreign-intelligence targets, there are other ways to monitor them under FISA. Targeting them for section 702 searches increased the likelihood that wholly domestic communications between Americans would be collected.
Thus, the minimization procedures were ratcheted up. The most significant change, as the FISA court opinion relates, was that the revised “procedures categorically prohibited NSA analysts from using U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection” (emphasis added).
This meant the NSA was not supposed to use an American’s phone number, e-mail address, or other “identifier” in running searches through its upstream database.
It is this prohibition that the NSA routinely and extensively violated. Evidently, there was widespread use of American identifiers throughout the years after the 2011 revision of the minimization procedures. The violation was so broad that, at the time the Obama administration ended, its scope had still not been determined.
A salient question will be whether this new scandal is mainly a case of technology outpacing the capacity to formulate rules that bring its use into constitutional compliance.
The Trump Justice Department proposed new procedures in late March, which the FISA court has approved. These include the elimination of searches about a target — henceforth, searches are limited to communications in which the target is presumptively a participant (i.e., to or from). The new procedures redouble efforts to assure that the database collects only foreign communications (i.e., at least one end of the communication is outside the U.S.).
We should note that section 702 is due to lapse unless reauthorized later this year, so the new rules will obviously be subjected to close scrutiny. A salient question will be whether this new scandal is mainly a case of technology outpacing the capacity to formulate rules that bring its use into constitutional compliance.
I’m sure there is a good deal of that going on; that means the system is inadvertently inputting communications that should not be collected and stored. Plainly, though, something more insidious has also gone on. Even if the inputting has been inadvertently flawed, the outputs — what is actually accessed from the database and analyzed — would be less likely to violate American privacy if the minimization procedures were followed. The rules from 2011 forward were simple: Do not use American identifiers. Yet NSA used them — not once or twice because some new technician didn’t know better. This violation of law was routine and extensive, known and concealed.
Clearly, this new scandal must be considered in context.
The NSA says it does not share raw upstream collection data with any other intelligence agency. But that data is refined into reports. To the extent the data collected has increased the number of Americans whose activities make it into reports, it has simultaneously increased the opportunities for unmasking American identities. Other reporting indicates that there was a significant uptick in unmasking incidents in the latter years of the Obama administration. More officials were given unmasking authority. At the same time, President Obama loosened restrictions to allow wider access to raw intelligence collection and wider dissemination of intelligence reports.
Did President Obama study American civics when he was in school? One among many who wonders is Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who heads the House Judiciary Committee. Recently Goodlatte held hearings to determine what steps Congress might take to rein in a president who governs by edict without regard for the constitutional limits on the executive branch.
Said the Virginia lawmaker:
Our Constitution is clear: Congress writes our laws, the Judiciary interprets them, and the Executive enforces them. But for the past five years, President Obama has waived, amended, or ignored our laws and has bypassed the Congress, issuing executive decrees from the Oval Office rather than working with Americans’ elected representatives in Congress.
Immigration policy is one of the most flagrant examples of this usurpation of authority. In 2010 Congress voted not to offer legal status (amnesty) to illegal aliens in the Dream Act category. But two years later, the President simply decreed that to be. Instead of enforcing the law that Congress refused to change, Obama ignored it and acted as if he had the authority of the legislative branch.
Most interestingly, about a year prior to that edict, the President conceded that he had no such authority. But with pressure on him from amnesty advocates, he evidently allowed expediency to trump his stated principle.
Having gotten away with that, the President may feel that he can do the same thing again if the House fails to pass an amnesty bill this year or next. Earlier this year, he threatened to use his “pen” and “phone” to make his wishes law if Congress fails to act as he thinks it should on immigration and other issues.
Goodlatte’s hearings aim to advance legislation to stop this kind of unilateral executive action. The congressman deserves credit for his effort. Our constitutional system of checks and balances among the branches of government offers a formidable bulwark against authoritarian government. But the system will fail if a branch is too timid to defend its legitimate rights against usurpation.
Success requires commitment to the rule of law. And on this point Congressman Goodlatte might do some soul searching, as one who has endorsed legislative action to give legal status to most of the illegal aliens in the U.S. While doing this by an act of Congress would uphold the proper separation of powers, it would undermine the principle of law by rewarding people who have broken it.
Obama’s actions have not taken place in a vacuum. Past amnesties have created an attitude that immigration laws, which uphold our national sovereignty, are not significant. And being insignificant, they can be disregarded on a whim. Government by whim is another name for dictatorship.