Conservative News

WaPo report gives Democrats another reason to blame Russians for election failure

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:07

A new report from the Washington Post blames the Russians for fooling then-FBI Director James Comey into distrusting the Department of Justice, and making the announcement that many think sunk Hillary’s presidential chances.

According to the report, the FBI received faulty intelligence planted by the Russians that further eroded Comey’s confidence in the Department of Justice’s ability to be objective and disinterested in relation to the Obama administration.

The secret document, which purported to be a piece of Russian intelligence, claimed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information would go nowhere.

Sources told the Washington Post that the FBI determined the intelligence to be fake, but only after it persuaded Comey that the Department of Justice could not be trusted, and forced his hand to speak publicly about the investigation.

“It was a very powerful factor in the decision to go forward in July with the statement that there shouldn’t be a prosecution,” a source told the Washington Post. “The point is that the bureau picked up hacked material that hadn’t been dumped by the bad guys involving Lynch. And that would have pulled the rug out of any authoritative announcement.”

Comey has already said under oath that Attorney General Lynch’s “tarmac meeting” with former President Bill Clinton was one of the reasons he felt the Department of Justice couldn’t be trusted. This additional report provides yet another reason, despite it being false, of why he made the announcement that helped doom Hillary Clinton.

The story is yet another leak that is based on anonymous sources, a journalistic method that has been criticized by President Trump and his supporters.

Dispirited Democrats took to social media to express their shock that the Russians might have been behind yet another attack on Hillary’s presidential hopes.

The Russians were behind both Wikileaks and the Comey letter, which by all accounts made Trump President.

— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) May 24, 2017

Can hearts break twice? Yes. @HillaryClinton won. https://t.co/MOQPl8iOIK

— Beverlee Hughes (@BeverleeHughes3) May 24, 2017

Entire Comey/Clinton story makes sense to me for the very first time, if Russians played the FBI with a forged email

— William Gibson (@GreatDismal) May 25, 2017

@BeverleeHughes3 @HillaryClinton We should demand a new election. This one was clearly hijacked.

— Jay ~ CWS Time! (@JustAHuskerGal) May 24, 2017

@BeverleeHughes3 @HillaryClinton Russia didn't "interfere" in our election they literally controlled it. We deserve a new election

— (((Jackie))) (@JJFan18) May 25, 2017

@BeverleeHughes3 @retrosher @HillaryClinton He bought into the GOP agenda and became an unwitting accomplice to the crime. Wow. Cheating is not winning

— Allison Kaye (@AllisonKaye14) May 25, 2017

If there ever was a Constitutional crisis big enough to justify a do-over election, it is this one.

— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) May 24, 2017

@samswey Remember Giuliani being as giddy as a toddler at Christmas bragging on FOX-PRAVDA that info would drop on Clinton? Campaign knew about this

— Jane Reed (@kaslina) May 24, 2017

Categories: Conservative News

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Definitive Preview

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:04
David Kamp, Vanity Fair
Star Wars devotees who can't wait for December need look no further. With exclusive access to writer-director Rian Johnson, plus interviews with Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, and others, V.F. presents the ultimate sneak peek at The Last Jediâ??and Carrie Fisher's lasting legacy.
Categories: Conservative News

White-Owned Restaurants Shamed for Serving Ethnic Food

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:04
Robby Soave, Reason
'It's about profit, ownership, and wealth in a white supremacist culture.'
Categories: Conservative News

Donald Trump's Base is Shrinking

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:03
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight
Categories: Conservative News

Let's Give The Platitudes Surrounding Terrorism A Rest

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:03
David Harsanyi, The Federalist
It's not the job of Western leaders to define what Islam is or isn't. It's their job to talk honestly about what's happening.
Categories: Conservative News

What Did Manchester Reveal About the Islamic State?

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 23:03
Robin Wright, The New Yorker
Discrepancies in ISIS's claim of responsibility for the bombing have spurred speculation about the organization's command of foreign operations.
Categories: Conservative News

Commentary: It doesn’t matter if you think Trump is a ‘legitimate’ president — he’s still president

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 21:35

A recent Harvard-Harris poll revealed that a “strong majority” of registered voters don’t believe that Democrats consider President Donald Trump a “legitimate” president.

The poll went on to note that 68% of Democrat voters still have not accepted that Trump won the 2016 presidential election “fairly.”

The survey was conducted on 2,006 registered voters. The partisan breakdown in the poll was 36% Democrat, 32% Republican, 29 percent Independent and 3% “other.”

There’s just one thing wrong with this Democratic sentiment: Trump as president — by its very definition — is a legitimate term to use because he’s president.

The majority of American voters put Donald Trump in office, and that in itself should command a respect that the majority of Democrats seem unwilling to give.

The office of the President of the United States of America is a prolific, venerable, revered position and any man or woman qualified enough to be voted into office should at least receive the respect that the position itself deserves, if nothing else.

Perhaps it’s high time to leave Donald Trump alone and see just what it is he can accomplish over the next 1,259 days. His opposition doesn’t need to agree with him, align their views with his platform or even care for him on a personal level. But he is our president … and that fact itself should be enough for everyone to take a step back, assess themselves and let the man stretch his legs.

It wasn’t dumb luck that put Trump in office — it was a majority of voters who were sick and tired of the Democratic regime running things into the ground. If that same majority of voters felt that Trump was their best option — which was very clearly the case — who is anyone else to question the “legitimacy” of the very office of the President of the United States?

Bearing in mind that leading up to 2016’s election night, liberal Democrats were the ones preaching love “trumping” hate and expressing an open mind to new leadership (though their version of “new leadership” was Hillary Clinton) you have to ask yourself the question: who were the ones burning things down just a day after Clinton did not win the election? Where is that all-encompassing love and that lack of hate now?

Forget the wall. Forget the budget. Forget immigration and health care and campaign trail promises. For one single minute, put your bias and your personal politics aside and look at this man as the leader of the free world.

If you can’t embrace it without the bias, then at least tolerate it for a moment, and think about what he could accomplish – what we could accomplish, together — if we respectfully and politely kept out of each other’s way for more than five minutes.

We are still a republic with democratic representation, and until that changes — and God willing, the strong, brave, resilient United States of America never will — perhaps it’s time for some of us to put our money where our mouths are and give the respect, love and human decency that liberal snowflakes claim is largely absent in our great country.

Categories: Conservative News

Reporter says Montana candidate body-slammed him one day before the election

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 21:14

Ben Jacobs, the political reporter for The Guardian, tweeted on Wednesday that Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican candidate running in a special election, assaulted him by “body slamming” him while he was trying to get a comment. Audio of the altercation surfaced immediately afterward.

“Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” he tweeted.

Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses

— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017

“There was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me,” he added, saying that they would have audio of the incident soon.

Gianforte is an engineer and businessman who ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Montana, and is now running for Montana’s seat for the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election to fill the vacant seat of Ryan Zinke. Zinke joined President Trump’s administration as the Secretary of the Interior. The special election is set for the day after the alleged assault.

The audio has Jacobs asking about the CBO score for the Republican health care bill that was had just been released Wednesday. There’s a loud crash, and then some yelling.

“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte yells.  “The last guy that came in here did the same thing! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing!”

The Gianforte campaign released a statement appearing to blame the reporter for the altercation.

“The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission,” the statement explained, “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.”

“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ,” the statement concluded.

Prior to the altercation, polls showed the race was very close.

Categories: Conservative News

Heart-ache: Franken rules out 2020 challenge to Trump

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 21:01

Why not? He’s tanned, he’s rested, and doggone it, people like him. Well, enough do in Minnesota to have gotten him re-elected in 2014 by a ten-point margin over Republican Mike McFadden, anyway, and that’s good enough for Al Franken. The two-term Senator has had his name mentioned as a potential Democratic challenger to Donald Trump in 2020, but Franken and his family want nothing to do with a presidential election, they told People:

In at-home interviews for this week’s issue of PEOPLE (on newsstands Friday), the Franken family was unusually definitive in shutting down this spring’s buzz about Al, 66 and a former writer and performer on Saturday Night Live, being a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. …

“Yeah, I’m not going to do that,” says Franken.

“It’s not going to happen,” adds his daughter, Thomasin, 36.

The senator’s wife, Franni, puts it most simply: “No.”

Oh, come on. Just think of the wittiness — and the pomposity — we’ll miss without Franken in the race. A page from his new book Giant of the Senate captures the extent of both qualities in Franken, as well as his outsize ego:

.@alfranken, in Giant of the Senate, recounts @amyklobuchar pre-clearing a Ted Cruz joke she was going to tell at Gridiron with @tedcruz pic.twitter.com/xj3ox3hFqT

— jonathantilove (@JTiloveTX) May 24, 2017

On the other hand, those qualities could have made him a perfect match for Trump, too. Maybe Republicans did dodge a bullet.

More seriously, Franken won’t expand the map for Democrats even if he did make it to the nomination. His appeal is strictly in the same urban cores and college campuses where Hillary Clinton dominated, but Franken won’t play well anywhere else. As that anecdote makes clear, Franken tends to think he’s funnier than he actually is. Ironically, he and Ted Cruz share one issue in their humor — neither are particularly good at self-deprecation, aiming outward rather than inward too much for their humor to be an asset. With the rise of Trump, though, perhaps that’s less of a handicap than it used to be.

Democrats need someone with credibility in the heartland, though, and Franken’s not the right candidate. He’ll run again for the Senate here in Minnesota, and he’ll probably win even in a presidential election cycle. Trump made it much closer here than expected, coming within two points of taking the state from Hillary, but midterm cycles are somewhat different. The state GOP is still climbing out of its deep hole, financially and organizationally, and lack a candidate with enough standing statewide to win, at least at the moment. The last Republican to win a statewide election in Minnesota was Tim Pawlenty in 2006, even though Republicans have won control of the legislature twice since then.

Speaking of Pawlenty, there’s been buzz in political circles that he’s interested in coming back to politics. The Star Tribune noted it in a profile three weeks ago, although it’s mostly centered on the upcoming gubernatorial race:

Pawlenty’s successor, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, is not running again next year, and the field of possible Republican candidates is still a work in progress. Pawlenty has said nothing publicly to encourage speculation he would run again, but his strong name recognition, established political network and potential to raise millions from his Wall Street Rolodex would instantly vault him to the front ranks. Even the remote possibility he would run again is a popular topic of speculation by insiders of both political parties. …

Charlie Weaver, the executive director of the Business Partnership and Pawlenty’s first gubernatorial chief of staff, said the former governor would be a formidable candidate if he were to run in 2018. He called him the “Republican Amy Klobuchar,” referring to the DFL’s broadly popular U.S. senator (in his two statewide bids, Pawlenty never approached Klobuchar’s winning margins).

Weaver acknowledged that since Pawlenty left public life after a failed 2012 run for president, politics has changed considerably, culminating in the election of President Donald Trump.

“I would argue that’s why he would be more attractive,” Weaver said. “A couple of years of Trump will make people eager for someone with a record of getting things done who is optimistic and hopeful and can work across the aisle.”

Minnesota does not have term limits for its chief executive position, so Pawlenty’s certainly eligible for another run at his old office. The GOP might want to consider him as a challenger to Franken two years later, though, as he’d be the only Minnesota Republican able to project the fight onto the national stage with his presence.

The post Heart-ache: Franken rules out 2020 challenge to Trump appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

David Letterman: ‘Big, wealthy dope’ in office ‘makes me sick’

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:45

Former late-night TV host David Letterman had some strong words for President Donald Trump in a recent GQ interview, and very few things he said of his former repeat guest on “The Late Show With David Letterman” were good.

Letterman admitted that he never regretted having Trump as a guest on his show, but revealed that if he could sit him down in a TV studio for 90 minutes now, he’d ask the president, “Don: What the f**k happened?”

“I’m disappointed that this man is representing me and my country,” Letterman told the magazine. “It makes me sick. But we always looked forward to having him on [the show]. He was a great guest. He was just a big, wealthy dope who’d come on and we would make fun of his hair. I would refer to him as a slumlord.”

Letterman revealed that his feelings about Trump then versus those now are in stark contrast.

“But now, this goon,” Letterman trailed off. “I don’t know. He’s demonstrated himself to be a man without a core, a man without a soul. Is there a guy in there?”

Letterman in March spoke with New York Magazine, where he called the president “crazy,” and noted that U.S. citizens “need to figure out ways to protect ourselves from him.”

He also noted that if he “still had a show, people would have to come and take me off the stage. ‘Dave, that’s enough about Trump. We’ve run out of tape.’ It’s all I’d be talking about. I’d be exhausted.”

Letterman signed off the air in 2015 after 33 years as a television host.

Categories: Conservative News

The Left is already willing to tag 2018 as “the impeachment election”

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:21

I remember back when I’d only been blogging for a few years and Brad De Long (among various others) used to ask variations of the question, why oh why can’t we have a better press corps? I suppose quite a few of us feel that way from time to time, but this year it’s really beginning to sink in. I probably wouldn’t notice nearly as much if I just stopped looking at my inbox every morning. For one of the choicest examples, I receive the daily newsletter from the WaPo which is a roundup of their opinion pieces for the day. On any given morning over the past few months, with only minor translations, the list boils down to this.

  • Trump is Terrible.
  • Trump is Awful.
  • Trump Should Be Impeached.
  • Did We Mention That Trump is Terrible?

David Ignatius at the Washington Post provides a sterling example with his latest op-ed titled, Get Ready for the Impeachment Election. The particularly striking thing about this column is that it really seems to pull away the mask in a significant way. Rather than being one single complaint hitting whatever the scandal of the day is (Russia! Comey! Mueller! Deportation squads!), Ignatius perhaps unwittingly spills the microfiche from Progressive HQ which contains the top secret battle plan. There isn’t one single point of attack being passed around here. There’s a daily agenda which stretches straight into November of 2018 and it seeks to associate the Trump presidency with a single word in the minds of the electorate: impeachment.

President Trump, it’s said, doesn’t read presidential biographies. That’s a shame. For he appears to be making the same mistakes that destroyed Nixon’s presidency. That’s the thrust of The Post’s big story Monday night reporting that Trump asked U.S. intelligence chiefs to challenge the FBI’s investigation of possible links between his campaign and Russia.

“History does not repeat, but it does instruct,” writes Timothy Snyder in his new book, “On Tyranny.” Some people, apparently including Trump, just don’t learn…

For all Mueller’s probity, this investigation has an inescapable political destination. Mueller must refer any evidence of wrongdoing by Trump himself to the House of Representatives as evidence of possible “high crimes and misdemeanors” that might warrant impeachment. Would this GOP-dominated House begin impeachment proceedings, even on strong evidence of obstruction? Right now, you’d have to guess no.

This piece has it all and packs it into a relatively cozy space. Nixon. Russia. Tyranny. High Crimes and Misdemeanors. The gang’s all here, with the right buzzwords to remind the nation of the ongoing narrative before a single piece of evidence has been presented. And notice how those last two sentences build in an insurance policy for Ignatius. After spending paragraphs heaping praise upon Mueller as a steely eyed investigator who will pierce the fog of Beltway politics and get his man, reporting his findings dutifully to Congress, the author implies that the GOP may still not impeach the president… even though he clearly deserves it.

That’s the theme. If the ongoing investigation actually turns up some criminal activity (for which this is not one shred of proof as yet), then fine. Liberals get their wish and most sane conservatives I know wouldn’t argue with them. If any president breaks the law they have to be held accountable. But if this all turns out to be a bag full of misspoken words, less than desirable conversations, dumb mistakes or just poor optics, impeachment would be off the table. But that doesn’t matter. It’s going to take so long for various investigations to sort everything out that by then we’ll be well into the heat of the midterm election if not beyond it. And all the voters who pay only scant attention will have heard for 21 months is, “the President is in trouble. The President is going to be impeached. The President is just a bad, bad man.”

While we’ve made reference to it here before at times, this set of data really brings to mind yet again something James Downton at The Federalist observed, though he may not have been the first. What we’re witnessing from much of the media this year has all the hallmarks of a slow motion coup d’etat.

It’s nearly incontrovertible that a slow-motion coup d’etat is now taking place. Since November 9, 2016, forces within the U.S. government, media, and partisan opposition have aligned to overthrow the Electoral College winner, Donald Trump.

To achieve this they have undermined the institutions of the Fourth Estate, the bureaucratic apparatus of the U.S. government, and the very nature of a contentious yet affable two-party political system. Unlike the coup d’etat that sees a military or popular figure lead a minority resistance or majority force into power over the legitimate government, this coup d’etat is leaderless and exposes some of the deepest fissures in our system of government. This coup d’etat represents not the rule of one man or even many, but by the multitude of our elites.

It’s truly remarkable to watch. The President can be landing in a Muslim nation being greeted and speaking to matters which entangle the world in conflict and there will be cable news networks ignoring it entirely to discuss the latest, now 12 hours old leak in the New York Times. He can give another speech in Israel (the second one) and not one major network cuts away to it. If it bleeds, it leads, but only if the Trump administration is the one spilling out blood.

When I disagree with the President on some policy point I openly criticize him here. And if he actually did break the law I want him to be held accountable. But we know nothing concrete about whatever the supposed obstruction or collusion is alleged to be at this point and there’s still a nation to be run. It used to be all the news that’s fit to print. In 2017 it’s all the news that undermines the presidency. And the crazy part is that it will probably work. People can only get hit on the thumb with the same hammer so many times before they start taking that condition as normal.

The post The Left is already willing to tag 2018 as “the impeachment election” appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Walmart will ban woman for life over what she said to minority shoppers

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:06

A viral video showing a white woman using racist epithets against a Hispanic woman and a black woman at a Walmart will result in a lifetime ban from the retail store giant. The incident happened at the Bentonville, Arkansas Walmart.

The video begins in the middle of the altercation as the Hispanic woman says that she was just saying, “excuse me,” when the woman tells her “go back to Mexico.” Another shopper intervenes, and the white woman tells her, “A n****r’s calling me ignorant?” After that she tells the Hispanic woman, “We don’t want you here.”

The video was posted by the Hispanic woman on her Facebook page, and garnered over 18 million views.

“I never in my life thought this would happen to me. Yes me. Just on a simple trip to the grocery store after a hard day of work. I love this country and I will stay in this country. Friends please share,” she wrote.

A store manager asked the white woman to leave while allowing the Hispanic woman to stay shopping.

Initially, Walmart released a statement simply decrying the altercation. “We value and respect everyone who visits our stores,” the statement read. “We have no tolerance for the language or actions of this customer and are proud that our assistant manager responded appropriately by asking her to leave the store.”

But since then Walmart has also told NBC news that they will ban the woman who hurled the racist slurs for life as soon as they identify her. They are also attempting to contact the Hispanic woman and the African-American woman to apologize for what happened at their store.

Categories: Conservative News

CBO: New version of AHCA still reduces deficit

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 19:41

First, the good news for House Republicans: they’re off the hook for ObamaCare repeal. The bad news for Senate Republicans: Today’s CBO score on the most recent version of the American Health Care Act qualifies for reconciliation in its current form, so it’s coming their way ASAP.

The bad news for everyone is that it’s not going to stay in its current form, but #YOLO:

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, as passed by the House of Representatives. CBO and JCT estimate that enacting that version of H.R. 1628 would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $119 billion. That amount is $32 billion less than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on March 22, 2017, incorporating manager’s amendments 4, 5, 24, and 25. (CBO issued a cost estimate for that earlier version of the legislation on March 23, 2017.)

Paul Ryan had held up transmission of the bill to the Senate until after the CBO had a chance to score it. Ryan said he did that out of an “abundance of caution,” but it was really an overabundance of caution. Even in the relatively minor change that took place since the previous CBO score had wiped out all of the $150 billion in red-ink savings, the Senate will completely rewrite the bill anyway.

The politics of the bill haven’t changed much, however. Despite all of the negotiating that took place to minimize the numbers of people who will opt out or lose coverage, those figures look almost identical to the previous version of the AHCA:

In comparison with the estimates for the previous version of the act, under the House-passed act, the number of people with health insurance would, by CBO and JCT’s estimates, be slightly higher and average premiums for insurance purchased individually—that is, nongroup insurance—would be lower, in part because the insurance, on average, would pay for a smaller proportion of health care costs. In addition, the agencies expect that some people would use the tax credits authorized by the act to purchase policies that would not cover major medical risks and that are not counted as insurance in this cost estimate.

It’s well worth noting, of course, that the CBO vastly overestimated the enrollments Obamacare would receive, so they may be overestimating the decreases, too. Most of the decreases shown here are actually reductions in future enrollments, not people losing their plans in the marketplace, at least in the first three years. After that, Medicaid cutbacks will push some people out of their government coverage, but that’s also where the savings come, too — just as it did in the previous version. There’s not much change on enrollment projections at all between the two scores.

The impact on premiums hasn’t changed significantly either. That issue held up the AHCA for weeks, along with assurances for coverage of pre-existing conditions, forcing a compromise that allows states to get waivers for certain mandates and pursue lower premiums. The CBO tried to analyze how those waivers would get applied, but the picture gets murky depending on exactly how those waivers get applied:

About half the population resides in states that would not request waivers regarding the EHBs or community rating, CBO and JCT project. In those states, average premiums in the nongroup market would be about 4 percent lower in 2026 than under current law, mostly because a younger and healthier population would be purchasing the insurance. The changes in premiums would vary for people of different ages. A change in the rules governing how much more insurers can charge older people than younger people, effective in 2019, would directly alter the premiums faced by different age groups, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and raising premiums for older people.

About one-third of the population resides in states that would make moderate changes to market regulations. In those states, CBO and JCT expect that, overall, average premiums in the nongroup market would be roughly 20 percent lower in 2026 than under current law, primarily because, on average, insurance policies would provide fewer benefits. Although the changes to regulations affecting community rating would be limited, the extent of the changes in the EHBs would vary widely; the estimated reductions in average premiums range from 10 percent to 30 percent in different areas of the country. The reductions for younger people would be substantially larger and those for older people substantially smaller.

Finally, about one-sixth of the population resides in states that would obtain waivers involving both the EHBs and community rating and that would allow premiums to be set on the basis of an individual’s health status in a substantial portion of the nongroup market, CBO and JCT anticipate. As in other states, average premiums would be lower than under current law because a younger and healthier population would be purchasing the insurance and because large changes to the EHB requirements would cause plans to a cover a smaller percentage of expected health care costs. In addition, premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums, despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums. Over time, it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly. As a result of the narrower scope of covered benefits and the difficulty less healthy people would face purchasing insurance, average premiums for people who did purchase insurance would generally be lower than in other states—but the variation around that average would be very large. CBO and JCT do not have an estimate of how much lower those premiums would be.

Overall, premiums will go down, but … out of pocket expenses will go up, too:

Although premiums would decline, on average, in states that chose to narrow the scope of EHBs, some people enrolled in nongroup insurance would experience substantial increases in what they would spend on health care. People living in states modifying the EHBs who used services or benefits no longer included in the EHBs would experience substantial increases in out-of-pocket spending on health care or would choose to forgo the services. Services or benefits likely to be excluded from the EHBs in some states include maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits. In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services. Moreover, the ACA’s ban on annual and lifetime limits on covered benefits would no longer apply to health benefits not defined as essential in a state. As a result, for some benefits that might be removed from a state’s definition of EHBs but that might not be excluded from insurance coverage altogether, some enrollees could see large increases in out-of-pocket spending because annual or lifetime limits would be allowed. That could happen, for example, to some people who use expensive prescription drugs. Out-of-pocket payments for people who have relatively high health care spending would increase most in the states that obtained waivers from the requirements for both the EHBs and community rating.

Most of these problems stem from the efforts to transition out of ObamaCare and slowly return to state jurisdiction and more free-market solutions. For a while, consumers will likely get the worst of both worlds, albeit without a mandate to participate in the health insurance markets. And besides, the status quo of ObamaCare is worse, and rapidly accelerating into a full-scale meltdown.

For now, however, none of this matters as much as the CBO finding on deficit reduction. Having fulfilled their mission to qualify HR 1628 for reconciliation, House Republicans can now wash their hands of it and dump the whole mess into Mitch McConnell’s lap. Don’t be surprised if we never see anything close to this version of HR 1628 again, even if we see the bill number used later.

The post CBO: New version of AHCA still reduces deficit appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

California bill would end ‘free speech zones’ on college campuses

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 19:41

The LA Times has an interesting story which sounds a bit like the set up for a joke. A 26-year-old vegan Democrat and a 72-year-old Republican cattle rancher are working together to put an end to “free speech zones” on college campuses in California.

The unlikely duo found common cause in pushing back against what they see as a climate of restricted free speech on college campuses. Two years ago, [Nicolas] Tomas sued Cal Poly Pomona for preventing him from distributing pro-vegan leaflets outside of the “free speech zone”— a 144-square-foot area designated for such activities. Now, [state Sen. Jim] Nielsen is carrying a bill to dismantle the use of these zones on public campuses…

The legislation would effectively put an end to the practice of free speech zones. UC and the chancellor of California Community Colleges haven’t taken positions on the measure; CSU is working with Nielsen on wording tweaks.

The bill, SB 472, sailed through two policy committees with unanimous support. But a possible hitch looms: UC has estimated that enforcing the measure could add millions of dollars of costs for administrative, security and legal fees.

Thanks to the UC cost estimate, the bill could be killed even without anyone voting against it. But Joe Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that defends free speech, says the whole premise of the UC cost estimate is laughable. Cohn tells the LA Times, “They already have this same liability and same legal obligation, regardless or not if the bill passes.”

The idea that the UC system is concerned about costs is somewhat ironic for another reason. Recall that a state audit released last month found that the UC Office of the President had created a $175 million slush fund by claiming it needed more money for programs and then spending less than estimated. The office was also paying unusually high salaries and reimbursing employees for questionable travel expenses. UC President Janet Napolitano claimed the stash of money was a reserve fund. If so, maybe they can put some of that money toward respecting the right to free speech.

Tomas, the vegan Democrat who has been meeting with lawmakers about the bill tells the Times, “I find it really great to team up with the cattle rancher. It really symbolizes the issue. Free speech at its finest is two people disagreeing with each other and saying, ‘Let’s discuss it.’”

The post California bill would end ‘free speech zones’ on college campuses appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

‘She can’t stand him’: ‘The View’ mocks Trump over Melania’s apparent refusal to hold his hand

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 19:25

Co-hosts on “The View” tore into President Donald Trump’s marriage to First Lady Melania Trump over a perceived refusal by Melania to hold her husband’s hand.

On Wednesday’s airing of the ABC daytime show, the co-hosts ridiculed the president over a recent video appearing to show Melania slapping away her husband’s hand while disembarking Air Force One upon arrival in Israel.

“The first couple just stepped off a plane in Israel hours ago and there may be no peace in the Middle East between the two of them,” co-host Whoopi Goldberg joked.

“In a rare move, he went to hold her hand which she apparently slapped away,” Goldberg said, and featured video footage of the purported incident.

Goldberg reasoned, “Maybe she thought he was reaching over to pinch her on the butt. Maybe she was … ‘Don’t do that here.'”

The audience roared with laughter as co-host Joy Behar added, “She can’t stand him,” referencing Melania.

After the laughter died down, Behar continued and said that Melania’s hand-flicking move could be a result of feeling disrespected by her husband.

“He always lets her walk behind him … he’s such a non-gentleman to the girl,” Behar explained. “She comes off the plane, she’s up there, he’s down here; he’s like a toddler.”

The Israel incident wasn’t the only one that occurred in recent days.

When the Trumps landed in Rome on Tuesday, Melania smoothly deflected yet another attempt by the president to hold his wife’s hand.

While walking down the stairs of Air Force One after landing in Rome, Melania reached up to brush her hair back as the president simultaneously attempted to grab a hold of his wife’s hand.

This was the second time during their international tour that Trump made an attempt hand-holding but was seemingly shut down instead.

Categories: Conservative News

NY Times: Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 19:01

The NY Times reports that last summer U.S. spies gathered information showing that Russian officials were discussing how to influence Donald Trump.

The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, the officials said. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.

Some Russians boasted about how well they knew Mr. Flynn. Others discussed leveraging their ties to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine living in exile in Russia, who at one time had worked closely with Mr. Manafort.

Five paragraphs in you get the big caveat to the story:

The information collected last summer was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass to the F.B.I., which during that period opened a counterintelligence investigation that is ongoing. It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn.

I’m not looking to discount every new story that comes out about this topic, but this one seems a bit thin. Basically, we have the not-very-stunning claim that Russian intelligence officials wanted to try to influence Trump and talked about it. Actually, most of that could be assumed based on this CNN story published last week:

Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team, sources told CNN…

“This was a five-alarm fire from early on,” one former Obama administration official said, “the way the Russians were talking about him.” Another former administration official said Flynn was viewed as a potential national security problem.

Eventually, five paragraphs in, you get the big caveat in the CNN story: “Officials cautioned, however, that the Russians might have exaggerated their sway with Trump’s team during those conversations.”

So, let’s work that caveat backward into the NY Times story. Russian intelligence officials bragged they could influence Trump through Manafort and Flynn, but a) we don’t know if they were exaggerating (or outright lying) about their ability to do so, b) we don’t know if they tried to exert their influence and c) if they tried, we don’t know if they succeeded. Those seem like pretty big and important unknowns.

Maybe this would seem more significant if we could read the transcripts of the conversations that took place, but the information underlying this is highly classified and the Times notes their source was concerned he or she could be prosecuted for leaking it. For now, this seems to boil down to enemy intelligence officers caught talking about doing bad things. That may be cause for an investigation but until we have more information connecting some of these dots, it’s not very damning.

The post NY Times: Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Watch CNN counterterrorism analyst’s outburst: ‘Trey Gowdy ought to have his a** kicked’

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 18:55

CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd ripped Rep. Trey Gowdy (R—SC) over his questioning of former CIA Director John Brennan during a Tuesday House Intelligence Committee hearing.

On Wednesday’s airing of “New Day,” Mudd excoriated Gowdy for apparently pretending to not know what Brennan was talking about regarding intelligence, evidence and the possibility of Russian-U.S. collusion.

When Gowdy asked Brennan whether he’d seen evidence of collusion, Brennan admitted during the meeting that he had seen intelligence that showed contact between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“Trey Gowdy ought to have his ass kicked,” Mudd told co-hosts Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo after they asked if he felt that Brennan’s answer to Gowdy’s question was frustrating.

“[Gowdy] knows the difference between intelligence and evidence,” Mudd added.

Mudd detailed how the CIA can intercept communications that can later be deemed evidence, but only after investigation. Cuomo noted that Brennan didn’t even confirm whether or not that there was proof of collusion.

Gowdy and Brennan went head to head during Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing over the difference between evidence and intelligence.

“When you learned of Russian efforts, did you have evidence of a connection between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors?” Gowdy asked Brennan during the hearing.

Brennan answered, “I don’t do evidence, and we were uncovering information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.”

Gowdy apparently did not find Brennan’s answer to be satisfactory, and he proceeded to point out the importance of evidence.

He said, “I appreciate that you don’t do evidence, Director Brennan. Unfortunately, that’s what I do. That’s the word we use, you use the word assessment, you use the word tradecraft. I use the word evidence. And the good news for me is lots of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle use the word evidence, too. One of my colleagues said there is more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.”

Gowdy pressed Brennan harder. “We’re not getting into whether or not you corroborated, contradicted, examined, cross-examined. We’re not getting into how you tested and probed the reliability of that evidence; it’s a really simple question. Did evidence exist of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors at the time you learned of 2016 efforts?”

Brennan replied and said that he did not know if there was any evidence.

“I don’t know whether or not such collusion — and that’s your term — such collusion existed. I don’t know,” Brennan answered. “But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.”

See Mudd’s CNN outburst in the video below.

Categories: Conservative News

Advertisers are starting to drop Sean Hannity – here’s why

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 18:35

Fox News host Sean Hannity began losing sponsors Wednesday over the controversy from his coverage of a conspiracy theory involving the death of a DNC staffer Seth Rich. Hannity blamed left-wing media activists who were targeting his advertisers over the sensationalistic story.

According to Buzzfeed News, who had a reporter contact each of Hannity’s advertisers, Cars.com was the first sponsor to drop Hannity.

“Cars.com’s media buy strategies are designed to reach as many consumers as possible across a wide spectrum of media channels,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement.

“The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn’t mean that we agree or disagree, or support or oppose, the content,” the statement continued. “We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase. In this case, we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity.”

The private cycling studio company Peleton also dropped their ads from the Hannity show Wednesday.

Their official Twitter account announced their decision when responding to a tweet decrying their advertisements on the show. “We directed our media agency to stop advertising on Sean Hannity’s show. This will take a few days to take effect,” the tweet read.

@_elissa_johnson @naretevduorp @seanhannity @FoxNews We directed our media agency to stop advertising on Sean Hannity’s show. This will take a few days to take effect.

— Peloton (@RidePeloton) May 24, 2017

The Seth Rich controversy began when the DNC staffer was shot and killed in what authorities called a botched robbery. Conspiracy theorists latched onto the story, pointing out that nothing had been taken from the victim, and connected the murder to the DNC emails leaked to WikiLeaks that damaged Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange also encouraged the conspiracy theory by making less than subtle suggestions that Rich was their source.

Hannity took up the cause after an investigator made sensationalist claims supporting the conspiracy theory. But when the family of Seth Rich began accusing the investigator and reporters of misrepresenting the facts of the case, Fox News retracted their story.

Hannity vowed to continue pursuing the story, tweeting, “Congress, investigate Seth Rich Murder! @JulianAssange made comments u need to listen to! If Seth was wiki source, no Trump/Russia collusion[.]”

Congress, investigate Seth Rich Murder! @JulianAssange made comments u need to listen to! If Seth was wiki source, no Trump/Russia collusion https://t.co/QPHZwypU34

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 22, 2017

But on his show Tuesday evening, he relented, saying that out of respect for the wishes of the family, that he would cease talking about the case that he said would prove Rich was murdered over alleged leaks to the WikiLeaks, exonerating the Russians accused of hacking the DNC.

He has since excoriated the left-wing media activist group Media Matters for America for using the controversy to call for his sponsors to leave the show.

IMPORTANT! Mediamatters is trying to silence me, get me fired, pressure my advertising on radio & TV. Liberal Fascism. I need your help!!

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 23, 2017

Ok TO BE CLEAR, I am closer to the TRUTH than ever. Not only am I not stopping, I am working harder. Updates when available. Stay tuned!

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 24, 2017

Liberal Fascism. Mmfa is targeting my advertisers to silence my voice. They hope to get me fired. Rush, O'Reilly, Beck, Imus, & now me.

— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 24, 2017

Categories: Conservative News
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