Conservative News

WaPo: Did the Russians head-fake Comey into the July presser?

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 18:21

When James Comey decided to, in the words of deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein, “usurp” the authority of the Department of Justice last July by going public with the findings in the Hillary Clinton investigation, a tarmac meeting between AG Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton may not have been the only reason. The Washington Post reports that the FBI had intelligence from a Russian source that Lynch had discussed the investigation with someone in the Clinton campaign and promised them she would not allow prosecution to move forward. The intelligence apparently played a significant role in Comey’s decision to bypass Lynch, and perhaps to take the case out of the DoJ’s hands altogether.

And if that intelligence had been true, perhaps that decision would have been justified. However, the FBI concluded the next month that it was false:

In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

The Russian document mentioned a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter — a conversation that if made public would cast doubt on the inquiry’s integrity.

Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James B. Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable.

Supposedly, the intelligence related to an e-mail from Debbie Wasserman Schulz, then the DNC chair, to an official in a George Soros organization in which she claimed knowledge of a conversation between Lynch and Team Hillary staffer Amanda Renteria. The FBI got this document in March 2016, about three months before the DNC hack became publicly known — but the Russian intel did not include the actual e-mail. That made it difficult to authenticate, but at least according to the Post, it was taken seriously enough by Comey and others to decide to cut Lynch out of the loop.

Of course, that leaves off the infamous tarmac meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton in June as a prime motive for Comey’s decision. However, with the knowledge of this intel as part of the context, the tarmac meeting could have easily been seen as some confirmation that shenanigans had taken place. Lynch has admitted to poor judgment in taking that meeting, but even that hardly covers the inappropriateness of the meeting. And by that time, the Russian hack of the DNC was public knowledge, and the FBI must have figured that the Russians got the e-mail from that source.

Unfortunately, it all turned out to be nonsense. Wasserman Schulz and Leonard Bernardo, the Soros organization figure in the intelligence, don’t know each other and have never communicated with each other. Renteria knows one Loretta Lynch, but it’s the one who did legal work for the Clintons, not the one who became Attorney General — with whom she also has never communicated. Why didn’t the FBI ask these questions at the time — or if they did, why did they remain suspicious until August?

One other point: this might put a different light on the FBI’s request to analyze the DNC’s mail servers, right? Had they gotten access to them right away, the FBI might have realized that their intel turned out to be bad.

Of course, it might not have been merely bad. It might have been purposefully false — a nugget of disinformation intended to undermine confidence within the Department of Justice. To add to that thought, Russia had to know that the DNC hack would get blamed on them as soon as Wikileaks went public with the information, and that would strengthen the credibility of the intelligence, at least for a while. Long enough, perhaps, to disrupt and discredit the DoJ in the Hillary probe? If that was the intent, and if what the Post reports today is true, they scored a bullseye — and suckered Comey into a career-ending episode.

The post WaPo: Did the Russians head-fake Comey into the July presser? appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Nancy O’Dell responds to Billy Bush’s apology over Trump tape. This is how she reacted.

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 18:15

Nancy O’Dell, purported subject of a leaked tape featuring a crude conversation between Billy Bush and Donald Trump, has acknowledged Bush’s apology publicly and has forgiven him.

“Billy reached out to me just about three weeks ago by email,” O’Dell revealed on Monday’s airing of “Entertainment Tonight.”

She said her former co-worker “wrote a really nice apology,” which she “appreciated very much.”

“He and I worked together for so many years, for a long time, and I only wish him the best moving forward,” she said.

O’Dell and Bush worked side by side at “Access Hollywood” from 2001 — 2004, and he hosted the “Miss America” pageant with O’Dell in 2005.

The interview on the tape, which was recorded during Bush’s 2005 interview of Trump, featured crass talk about women in general, and specifically about O’Dell herself and a time that Trump reportedly tried to seduce her.

About O’Dell, Trump said, “I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f*** her. She was married.”

Trump said that he “moved on her very heavily” despite the fact that she was a married woman at the time.

“I moved on her like a b**ch, but I couldn’t get there,” he said. “And she was married.”

The tape was released during the 2016 presidential campaign, and in response to the leaked audio, O’Dell issued a statement.

“Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.”

Bush, a former “Today” co-host, broke his silence this week about the tape and his subsequent firing.

During his interview with “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts, Bush reflected on not doing more than she should have at the time.

“People also say, ‘You should have stopped it,’” he said. “I didn’t have the strength of character at the time to do that. I wish I did.”

Earlier in his interview, Bush admitted that though he didn’t take Trump’s comments seriously.  “If I had ever thought … that there was a grown man sitting in front of me detailing his sexual assault strategy, I would have called the FBI,” he said.

Categories: Conservative News

You’ll love college’s ‘sanctions’ for left-wing students after violent protest injured professor

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 17:56

You’ll no doubt recall the left-wing student protest at Vermont’s Middlebury College in March that resulted not only in a conservative speaker’s talk being shut down but also in an injury to a liberal professor who took part in the event and was attacked by “thugs.”

How Charles Murray came to face the absurd accusation that he is a “white supremacist” https://t.co/ezHf5EN9fb via @p_crookston pic.twitter.com/be6px5KdVE

— National Review (@NRO) March 6, 2017

The fact that Charles Murray, author of “The Bell Curve,” was drowned out by students calling him “racist, sexist” and “anti-gay” was quite minor compared to the literal beating Allison Stanger — a Middlebury political science professor and a known Democrat — endured after trying to leave the area with Murray on March 2.

Stanger said on Facebook that a “thug grabbed me by the hair and another shoved me in a different direction. … I feared for my life.” She later needed a trip to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a concussion.

Well, Middlebury announced “sanctions” Tuesday against students who participated in the protests after they were identified through video evidence and testimony — a whopping 67 students in all.

And their punishments?

The school said they ranged from “probation to official College discipline, which places a permanent record in the student’s file. Some graduate schools and employers require individuals to disclose official college discipline in their applications.”

Having recovered from their smarting wrists, students likely heard news that Middlebury Police also concluded its investigation and found — nothing:

We are not anticipating any criminal charges to be filed at this time due to insufficient evidence against any specific individual.

The Police investigation did not identify any specific individual who hurt Allison Stanger as she and her party left McCullough Student Center on their way to a car that was to transport them from the venue.

The police investigation established that as many as eight (8) masked individuals were present using tactics that indicated training in obstruction and intimidation. A number of individuals who were in this crowd of more than 20 people outside the event venue were identified, many of whom were not members of the college community. However, on consultation with the Addison County State’s Attorney it was determined that there was insufficient information to charge any specific person who participated in damaging the car or interfering with or blocking the car’s progress as it exited the parking lot.

Oh, those crazy kids. Here’s another look at ’em. (Content warning: Rough language, from mouths and on signs):

(H/T: Heat Street)

Categories: Conservative News

HHS: Premiums for individual health plans doubled between 2013 and 2017

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 17:41

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a report Tuesday which found that individual market premiums have doubled under Obamacare. From the report:

Comparing the 2013 average premiums using the MLR data with the 2017 average premiums obtained using CMS MIDAS data shows average premiums were 105% higher in 2017 than in 2013 and that the median state premium increase was 108%. Moreover, 62% of states using Healthcare.gov had 2017 average premiums double average premiums in 2013. Further work could approximate the relative contribution of the various ACA provisions, such as benefit mandates, guaranteed issue, and rating rules, to the overall premium increase in this market.

So the bottom line here is that premiums have more than doubled in 4 years. That’s a pretty striking result and, as you’d expect, supporters of the law are already reacting by pointing out various flaws in the report. Let’s look at a few of those. Charles Gaba at ACASignups offers five different points in response. I won’t look at all of them in detail but let’s consider his objections. If you don’t want to get into some of the details, you can skip down a few paragraphs.

First, Gaba notes that insurance rates go up every year. That was true before Obamacare which means some premium inflation would have happened anyway under the old system. He writes, “If you’re going to “blame” the ACA for rate hikes, you have to subtract the difference between how much they would have gone up in the absence of the law.” That’s fair enough. So how much would they have gone up without Obamacare? Gaba thinks 5% per year is fair but one of his regular commenters argues for 4%. So the cumulative increase would be either 17% or 22% over 4 years. That means the additional increase under Obamacare is either 83% or 88 percent. That’s still a significant amount, obviously.

Second, Gaba argues that pre-Obamacare plans can’t really be compared to post-Obamacare plans for a number of reasons, including the fact that a couple million of the pre-Obamacare plans were mini-med plans which only provided coverage worth a couple thousand dollars a year at most. If you wound up in the hospital or needed surgery, they were no help. Here again, some of Gaba’s commenters argue that it’s not clear these mini-med plans are being counted by HHS in their pre-Obamacare averages. Obviously, if those plans aren’t being counted then this objection doesn’t hold up.

Gaba’s next two objections have to do with the ability of insurers in the pre-Obamacare days to reject people with pre-existing conditions and to set annual and lifetime caps on coverage, things they can’t do under Obamacare. Again, it’s not clear how much of a difference these changes made. Some people with pre-existing conditions did have insurance under the old system, either because they had never let their insurance lapse or because the insurer took them on despite their condition (which did happen). Also, one of Gaba’s commenters points out nearly 3/4 of plans sold under the old system had no spending caps.

Basically, points 2, 3, and 4 are all arguments why the pre-Obamacare system and the current system are an apples to oranges comparison. But here’s the problem. No one denies the new system is different or that it offers advantages to some people (and disadvantages to others), but the fact remains that the cost of those advantages is significant. That’s why networks are shrinking and why deductibles have gone up. And that’s also why it was dishonest and irresponsible of President Obama to tell people their premiums would go down by $2,500 a year and that they could keep their plans and doctors.

And that brings us to the last point. The doubling of premiums does not take into account government subsidies. The vast majority of people buying these plans on the exchanges get subsidies and are insulated from most of the increase. Of course, someone still has to pay the extra cost. In this case, it’s the taxpayers. In addition, millions of people buy their plans off-exchange and are not getting subsidies. Those folks get hit with the entire increase which was 24% last year. So it’s true many people with Obamacare plans won’t see the increases, but they are there nevertheless.

The real question is whether or not Obamacare would have ever gotten off the ground if Democrats had presented the American people with the truth, i.e. this plan will ensure many more people can get good coverage, but the average cost will more than double over the next four years. How would that sales pitch have gone? Democrats could have called it the Universal Care Act instead of the Affordable Care Act, but they didn’t do that. Misleading people about what was likely to happen under the bill was central to getting it passed and now we’re all stuck paying the costs that were downplayed by the authors of the bill.

The post HHS: Premiums for individual health plans doubled between 2013 and 2017 appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Eastern Washington state would like to secede, please

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 17:01

We’re already used to hearing about California wanting to secede from the nation as long as Trump is president, but in a different part of the west coast the opposite effect is setting in. It’s not the first time that it’s come up, but the more conservative, rural eastern portion of Washington State is hoping that Congress will let them split off from Seattle and the coastal area to become the nation’s 51st state.

Some conservative Eastern Washington lawmakers want to split the state in two, creating a new state east of the Cascade Range known as “Liberty.”

The idea is contained in House Joint Memorial 400, sponsored by Republican state Reps. Matt Shea and Bob McCaslin of Spokane Valley and David Taylor of Moxee.

The Spokesman-Review says the idea of splitting from liberal Western Washington has been proposed numerous times in past decades.

There have been movements in the past to take the inland region of the northwest and create a new state called Cascadia, but this is a bit different. This is just the more conservative leaning, rural inland areas wanting to rid themselves of the basically socialist mindset dominating the western half of Washington, particularly Seattle. And why wouldn’t they? If you’re not part of that liberal culture yourself, Seattle has to be something of an embarrassment. Keep in mind that this is the same place that began issuing “Democracy Vouchers” recently, declared homelessness to be a civil right and is currently offering taxpayer subsidized “white fragility classes.”

I saw the link to this story at an outlet called Liberty Hangout, where they clearly feel that this initiative could be an important stepping stone in the secession movement.

If the bill succeeds, this would be an important domino for the secession movement, and help inspire other disaffected communities across the nation to secede. As governments decentralize, power is restored to the individual, and communities can appropriately govern themselves as they see fit, without outside influences. As even our founders recognized, the government which is closest to home is easiest to control.

Should the bill fail, communities ought to learn from their efforts and push forward with their own secession movements anyway. For if their voices are not being heard in the federal and state governments anyway, then what do they have to lose? They only have everything to gain.

I’m not sure this is really “secession” in the classic and more commonly used sense of the word so much as splitting. Seceding from the union entirely is more of an act of war, whereas trying to become the 51st state is just a call for independence from your current state legislature. Upstate New York has had people pushing for the same idea for decades now. We’ve seen similar movements in Texas (who probably has the best constitutional argument in terms of having the right to do it) and the non-Calexit Californians who want to split the Golden State into anywhere from two to five new entities.

Unfortunately, approval to break off a chunk of a state this way is a rare thing. I’m pretty sure the last one to manage the feat was West Virginia and that was probably only allowed because they were taking an opposite position in the Civil War. But I’ll still wish the best of luck to the new state of Liberty if they manage it. Perhaps your first move could be to outlaw Starbucks and their terrible, burnt tasting coffee. I’m sure a lot of us would be grateful for that.

The post Eastern Washington state would like to secede, please appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Will CA Dems go full tilt on single payer — despite the costs?

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:21

Cooler heads prevailed in Vermont and Colorado when single-payer fever struck those states. Both eventually bailed on the idea when disastrous fiscal projections finally forced the hand of either voters (Colorado) or progressive proponents (Governor Peter Shumlin in Vermont). After the Democrat-dominated state senate in California got the bad news on its SB562 bill for single payer in the Golden State, the question of whether common sense will prevail there has now arisen.

So far, it doesn’t look good, according to a report from Kaiser Health News, via Newsweek:

A single-payer system likely “would be more efficient in delivering healthcare,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. (California Healthline is produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

But the proposal expands coverage to all and eliminates premiums, copayments and deductibles for enrollees, and that would cost more money, Levitt said. “You can bet that opponents will highlight the 15 percent tax, even though there are also big premium savings for employers and individuals,” he added.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), a chief sponsor of the legislation, said the present system is unsustainable because health spending continues to grow faster than the overall economy, making coverage unaffordable for too many people.

Lara touted the potential savings from creating a public plan with greater bargaining power and cutting out the administrative overhead and profits of private health insurers acting as middlemen.

The news is bad enough from the projections, but as Stephen Greenhut reminds readers today, projections in health-care policy tend to understate costs:

And, quite significantly, these costs could be understated given the kind of demand that would be created by this system. Its main advocates, Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, view health care as a “human right,” so the system the bill would create would provide nearly unlimited access to medical care. In fact, the Senate health committee report opined that “SB562 will change health care in California from commodity to a right.”

“Under the bill, enrollee access to services would be largely unconstrained by utilization management tools commonly used by health care payers, including Medi-Cal,” according to the committee report. “The ability for enrollees to see any willing provider, to receive any service deemed medically appropriate by a licensed provider, and the lack of cost sharing, in combination, would make it difficult for the program to make use of utilization management tools … . Therefore, it is very likely that there would be increased utilization of health care services under this bill.”

And the committee only is talking about predicted costs. It’s not its job to engage other policy debates, such as those touching on subjects including rationing, waiting lists for services if the demand overwhelms supply and the quality of care. The bill would apply to illegal immigrants, which raise critics’ concerns about the state becoming a worldwide magnet for “free” health care.

That points up another problem in the proposals for closing the funding gap on single payer. The two mechanisms most mentioned are either a payroll tax on workers, or business taxes. Both of these rely on employment, but access to the system is not limited to those employed, or even those legally able to gain employment. That will attract non-workers from across the US, whose utilization curve will send costs skyrocketing.

As I wrote in my column for The Week, just the projected cost curves were enough to sink single payer in other states. The options for dealing with worse-than-projected outcomes were bleak, needless to say:

The solutions for this fiscal meltdown in a single-payer system, CHI noted, were all unpleasant. One option would be to cut benefits of the universal coverage, and hiking co-pays to provide disincentives for using health care. That would in some cases “reduce the level of insurance below what [Coloradans] have today,” the study noted. The state could raise taxes for the health-care system as deficits increased, which would amount to ironic premium hikes from a system designed to be a response to premium hikes from insurers. Another option: Reduce the payments provided to doctors, clinics, and hospitals for their services, which would almost certainly drive providers to either reduce their access or leave the state for greener pastures.

Those are the only options available in closed systems. Our experiences with other state-run single-payer systems in the U.S. only reinforce the conclusions reached by CHI. Medicare and Medicaid have attempted to restrict provider payments while expanding their enrollments, and as a result providers have greatly reduced their access to new patients from both systems. The Veterans Administration has wait times for its clinics that stretch out so long as to have resulted in patient deaths, along with rampant corruption to hide failures and protect the bureaucrats at the expense of the patients. The Indian Health Service, which provides care to those on reservations, has such crises of funding that Native Americans stuck in the system joke about not getting sick after June.

When faced with the realities of single-payer systems, Colorado voters took the rational choice and overwhelmingly rejected it. California taxpayers had better hope that their elected officials make the same decision, but in this case, the third time might be the charm … for disaster.

So will California learn these lessons the easy way, or the hard way? The study has at least slowed down the action in the state legislature. The Senate committee stalled a vote on the proposal, and now advocates apparently believe that it will come up for a vote next month — or at least hope it does. That assumes that California legislators have less sense than voters in Colorado or Democrats in Vermont. And that projection may not be all that unreasonable, especially since they’ve ignored the earlier lessons to come this far.

The post Will CA Dems go full tilt on single payer — despite the costs? appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Still No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:05
Paul Roderick Gregory, Forbes
Where is the evidence of President Trump's collusion with Russia?
Categories: Conservative News

Trump Is Right: Terror Fight Is Battle of 'Good vs. Evil'

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 16:04
Michael Goodwin, NY Post
In his speech in Saudi Arabia, President Trump called on his Muslim audience to unite in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history's great test â?¦
Categories: Conservative News

Trump on phone call to Philippines president Duterte: You’re doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem”

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:41

Almost literally unbelievable, in fact. Duterte, mid-April:

“It really hurts to give this P1 billion [$2 billion] to community-based drug addicts. But what can I do? I have to treat them, just as citizens of this Republic.But I really feel bad about it,” Duterte said…

After the speech, Duterte was heard telling concerned workers: “If you lose your job, I’ll give you one. Kill all the drug addicts.” He then said: “Help me kill addicts” and “Let’s kill addicts everyday.”

Note: Not drug dealers, although not all of them are violent either. Drug addicts. And if you think he was joking, read this.

Here’s Trump on a phone call with Duterte a week or so later, according to a transcript made by the Philippines government:

Trump’s call with Duterte, during which he extended an invitation to visit him at the White House, was met with skepticism from some foreign policy analysts and human rights groups. Since taking office in June, Duterte has moved to hedge on the Philippines’ long-standing defense alliance with the United States by establishing closer relations with China. And his administration has overseen a brutal extrajudicial campaign that has resulted in the killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers…

“Many countries have the problem, we have the problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that,” Trump said, according to the transcript.

After Duterte replied that drugs are the “scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation,” Trump appeared to take a swipe at his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had canceled a bilateral meeting with Duterte after the Philippines leader insulted him.

“I understand that and fully understand that and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that,” Trump said.

Fake news? Well, the Post, the Times, and the Intercept all received copies of the same transcript, and a “senior administration official” in Washington confirmed for the Times that it was an “accurate representation” of the phone call between the two leaders. To repeat a point made last month, we all understand that diplomacy sometimes requires overlooking an ally’s ugliest practices in the name of advancing American interests. But why congratulate them on those practices?

What you think Trump was up to here depends on whether you view him as ill-informed, amoral, or authoritarian. The “ill-informed” read is that he has no idea what Duterte has done in the name of containing drugs, only that he’s dealt with the problem “strongly” or whatever. The “amoral” read is that Trump knows what Duterte’s up to but simply doesn’t care, even to the point that he’s willing to flatter him on his drug-war policies if it means a better relationship with the United States. And the “authoritarian” read, of course, is that Trump knows what Duterte’s up to and sincerely admires his ruthlessness, which wouldn’t be the first time he’s marveled at an autocrat’s display of force in solving problems.

Could be a blend of the three, I suppose. Trump doesn’t know all the details of Duterte death squads, but as he finds out more, he moves from not caring to appreciating Duterte’s willingness to use “strength.” When do we start “solving” the opioid epidemic Duterte-style?

Another mystery, or actually two mysteries, from the same phone call:

U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information…

“We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them at all,” the newspaper quoted Trump as telling Duterte, based on the transcript.

The first, obvious mystery is why Trump would reveal which strategic assets are positioned where to an ally who’s not particularly close to the White House and a loose cannon in his own right. The deeper mystery is why the source who leaked the transcript would have left that detail in knowing how it might embarrass the United States. Presumably the reason the document was circulated was to show America’s support for Duterte’s scorched-earth drug war at a moment when he’s under pressure internationally to stop killing people. The detail about the subs is ancillary to that and could have been redacted; it wasn’t, and now Trump is taking heat again for blabbing to a foreign official. Why did he share that info and why did the leaker share that info? And why, for that matter, did the Times et al. publish it instead of redacting sensitive info as it normally does?

Could it be because … the fact that two nuclear subs were near North Korea was about to become public knowledge anyway? Read this dispatch from May 3. Reports that the USS Michigan was in South Korea were published April 25th, days before Trump’s call with Duterte. The “secret” wasn’t a secret!

The post Trump on phone call to Philippines president Duterte: You’re doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Rhapsody in Blue: Trump's Tribute to Fallen Officers

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:29
Anneke Green, RealClearPolitics
In news cycles dominated by special investigations and bipartisan suspicion, it’s nice to pause occasionally to appreciate when someone does the right thing — especially if that person is President Trump.
Categories: Conservative News

Trump's Masterstroke: Goodbye ISIS, Hello Losers

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:29
Scott Adams, Dilbert
President Trump just gave ISIS its new name: Losers. (Short for Evil Losers).
Categories: Conservative News

'Evil Losers'? That's All You Got, President Trump?

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:28
Paul Callan, CNN
In the aftermath of a major, deadly British terror attack, the world has the right to expect that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth would summon some eloquence, not the shallow and empty insult culled from his campaign days, writes Paul Callan
Categories: Conservative News

Mitch Landrieu Reminds Us Eloquence Still Exists

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:24
Frank Bruni, NY Times
These are hard days of coarse language — of tweets and catcalls that appeal to the worst in us, not the best. Maybe that’s why a big, sweeping, old-fashioned speech delivered in New Orleans on Friday made such an impression on me. It was a reprieve. It was an antidote.
Categories: Conservative News

Pope Francis, Trump Whisperer?

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:13
Emma Green, The Atlantic
Meeting Pope Francis can really mess with a guy. The day after then-House Speaker John Boehner met with the pope during his visit to the U.S. in 2015, the Republican politician tearfully resigned. The former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly spent the morning of his last day with the network in Rome, where he met Francis in the Vatican receiving line.
Categories: Conservative News

What Roger Ailes Figured Out

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:01
Kalefa Sanneh, The New Yorker
Part of the genius of Fox News was its ability to incite outrage from nonpartisan media outlets, which only reinforced the network's message.
Categories: Conservative News

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City drops Obamacare coverage

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 15:01

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City announced Wednesday that it will not offer any Obamacare plans in Kansas next year. From WDAF in Kansas City:

“Since 2014, we’ve expended significant resources to offer individual ACA plans to increase access to quality healthcare coverage for the Kansas City community,” said Danette Wilson, President and CEO of Blue KC. “Like many other health insurers across the country, we have been faced with challenges in this market. Through 2016, we have lost more than $100 million. This is unsustainable for our company. We have a responsibility to our members and the greater community to remain stable and secure, and the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”

Blue KC has more than 1 million members, and this will affect approximately 67,000.

Blue KC will be dropping both their on exchange and off exchange Obamacare plans, but grandfathered plans which were purchased before October 2013 will still be offered to customers who have them.

Blue KC is the second insurer this week to drop out of the exchanges. BridgeSpan announced Monday that it will be dropping out of the Idaho exchange market, though it will continue to offer off-exchange plans. BridgeSpan cited similar reasons, i.e. cost overruns and uncertainty about the future of the market.

Meanwhile, the largest insurer still offering Obamacare plans, Anthem, said it is still weighing whether to drop out next year. From Reuters:

CEO Joseph Swedish, speaking at the UBS Global Healthcare Conference, said the No. 2 health insurer is talking to regulators in each of the 14 states where it sells BlueCross BlueShield plans about total or partial participation or “surgically extracting” itself from the market…

“We would prefer not to extract ourselves if we can get the math to work,” Swedish said.

CEO Swedish also said today that he expects repeal of Obamacare won’t happen once the CBO announces its numbers on the House bill. “I think we are going to end up with a repair more than a repeal and replace once the Senate gets their arms around it,” he said. I suspect Anthem will stay in most if not all of these markets, but they will extract some sizeable premium hikes to make the risk worth their while.

The post Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City drops Obamacare coverage appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Roger Ailes Ruined Monica Lewinsky?

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:56
Brent Bozell, Townhall
t was big news when Roger Ailes died. Everyone in his industry acknowledged that a serious, even transcendent force in American media and politics had passed away.
Categories: Conservative News

In Fond Memory of Peter Augustine Lawler

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:52
Yuval Levin, The Federalist
The scope of the loss is hard to fathom because the reach of Peter Lawler's influence was far greater than a casual observer of his work could have seen.
Categories: Conservative News

Roger Stone Lets It Rip

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:50
Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter
The political trickster and 'Get Me Roger Stone' doc subject says he still speaks with Trump and brushes off the president's Russia scandal as media
Categories: Conservative News
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