BOEHNER’S HEALTH POLICY DIRECTOR IS CLOSELY RELATED TO STEMEXPRESS’ FOUNDER AND CEO

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BY BARBARA BOLAND

House Speaker John Boehner’s health policy director is closely connected to the founder and CEO of StemExpress, the private company that buys aborted fetal organs and tissue from Planned Parenthood.

Boehner’s health policy director, Charlotte Ivancic, is the older sister of Cate Dyer, the founder of California-based Stem Express.

Stem Express, the buyer of Planned Parenthood’s fetal organs, is at the heart of the undercover video scandals — in the first video, its website and fetal organ order form are shown, and in the third undercover video released, a former technician for StemExpress says the company does “a huge trafficking in fetal tissues” and is “a pretty sick company.” The former employee says Cate Dyer, the president and founder of Stem Express makes “a lot of money.”

In a fourth undercover video by the Center for Medical Progress, currently blocked from release by a California court, StemExpressexecutives admit that “they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory” from the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics that supply them, according to the video maker, which could be prima facie evidence of a crime.

StemExpress is a “a multi-million dollar company that supplies human blood, tissue products, primary cells and other clinical specimens to biomedical researchers,” according to its website. In a now-removed portion of the site, the company provided an order form for fetal body parts, specifying the organs or tissues desired and the gestational age.

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A flyer for the company advertises the financial benefits to Planned Parenthood of a partnership with StemExpress. “By partnering with StemExpress, not only are you offering a way for your clients to participate in the unique opportunity to facilitate life-saving research, but you will also be contributing to the fiscal growth of your own clinic,” reads the flyer. “The stem cell rich blood and raw materials that are usually discarded during obstetrical procedures can, instead, be expedited through StemExpress to research laboratories with complete professionalism and source anonymity.”

StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer’s sister, Charlotte Invancic, distinguished herself in May as “The Boehner Staffer Who Got the ‘Doc Fix’ Done,”according to a National Journal article that touted her work negotiating a bipartisan Medicare fix with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

In the Journal article, Boehner’s chief of staff Mike Sommers praised Invacic’s political skill. “I knew going in she was probably one of the best healthcare minds on Capitol Hill,” said Mike Sommers, Boehner’s chief of staff. “What I didn’t fully appreciate was her political skill. She also has the capacity to evaluate the political scenarios around the deal. I think that’s what makes her invaluable to the speaker.”

Invacic came to the Hill after she studied health law at Boston University and worked as a laboratory administrator in Children’s Hospital Boston’s tissue-engineering department after college. “Her first Hill job was in the office of then-Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina,” reports the Journal. She eventually moved to Rep. Paul Ryan’s team, until she joined Boehner two years ago.

For his part, Boehner said he thought he’d “vomit trying to talk about” the first video, which shows Planned Parenthood executive Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing where she can best “crush” a fetus to preserve organs for sale. “It’s disgusting,” said the House speaker. He ordered an investigation into Planned Parenthood.

#100days100nights: LA Gangs are “In a Contest to Murder 100 People in 100 Days”

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BY CASSY FIANO

People in Los Angeles are living in fear right now thanks to a sick contest cooked up by two rival gangs. The hashtag #100days100nights is being used by two gangs that are allegedly competing to murder 100 people in 100 days.

Two rival gangs in Los Angeles have reportedly entered a contest to murder 100 people in 100 days.

The death of Rollin 100 gang member ‘KP’ reportedly prompted the bet, and residents took to social media to warn others that anyone walking between Western and Normanie Avenues could be risking their life.

Posts on Instagram and Twitter tagged with #100days100nights are apparently being taken seriously by the LAPD, and more officers are being deployed to the area, The Daily Beast reports.

LAPD Deputy Chief Bill Scott said in spite of this there was no evidence to confirm the threats as yet.

‘You’ve got everyday folks who have nothing to do with the gang lifestyle and culture scared,’ he told the LA Times.

Only this weekend one man was shot dead and 12 more were wounded following a series of shootings in the 77th Street district.

Last Thursday, a woman and two children were injured after a gunman – still thought to be at large – approached their car and opened fire.

It’s sad that so many people focus on the whole #BlackLivesMatter movement focusing on so-called police violence while ignoring actual violence that is epidemic in so many communities. Maybe if we worried more about those communities instead of whining about some idiotic liberal agenda, we could prevent these kinds of crimes from happening.

LOS ANGELES UNION WANTS TO BE EXEMPT FROM $15 MINIMUM WAGE IT FOUGHT FOR

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Union officials argue exemption will allow them to negotiate better contracts

by JANA KASPERKEVIC | THE GUARDIAN | JULY 29, 2015

Union officials in Los Angeles are fighting to be excluded from minimum wage rules that they have lobbied to put in place.

Los Angeles city council is set to vote on a union-backed clause to its $15-an-hour minimum wage bill that would exempt workers covered by a collective bargaining contract. The debate is expected to start later this week when the council returns from summer recess.

In May, the Los Angeles city council voted in favor of raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. As the council prepared for a final vote on the legislation, the Los Angeles Times reported local union leaders had suggested an exemption that was common for such laws: to make companies with unionized workforces exempt from such wage increase.

The proposal was made by Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Hicks has been a leading voice for raising the minimum wage. He declined to comment for this story, referring the Guardian to previously released statements when he first introduced the proposal for the exemption clause.

Hicks has previously argued that in collective bargaining agreements, business owners and employees can “prioritize what is important to them”. Under the proposed clause, the unionized workers would be paid whatever their contracted hourly wage was even if the local minimum wage were raised to higher.

“This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing,” said Hicks, who is also one of the main organizer for Raise The Wage.

Raise the Wage and the local chapter of the AFL-CIO have been instrumental in rounding up support for the $15 minimum wage. The union had devoted a significant amount of resources to the effort, and its logo was seen at many of the marches and events held in support of the Fight for $15 movement.

After drawing criticism from both sides, Hicks released the following statement: “Raise the Wage stands with the City Council and supports the minimum wage ordinance as currently drafted.”

At that time, the copy of the bill did not exclude workers covered by a collective bargaining contract such as home healthcare workers. The union, however, did not drop the issue, but instead put it on hold for the time being.

“There are a number of outstanding issues that are in need of further review, including the collective bargaining supersession clause,” Hick’s statement continued, referring to the proposal. “This clause preserves and protects basic worker rights, and that is why nearly every city in California that has ever passed a minimum wage ordinance has included these protections.”

The ordinance to increase LA’s minimum wage to $15 officially passed after a third vote on 10 June, with local lawmakers voting 12 to 1 in favor of the bill. The issue of collective bargaining clause was left unresolved.

Such a clause is common in ordinances and laws passed to increase local minimum wage. Similar clauses have been included in legislations passed in Chicago and Milwaukee. In California alone, such clauses were included in wage bills in San Jose, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Beach,according to the US Chamber of Commerce, a business interest lobby group.

But not all local unions are in favor of such exemptions. The ordinance passed by the city council in Seattle does not include a clause exempting union workers.

“At this point in our history, we have to be very careful to send the message that we stand up for all workers,” David Rolf, president of SEIU 775 in Seattle, told the Los Angeles Times. “A wage is a wage is a wage. It’s very hard to justify why you’d want any worker to make less than the minimum wage.”

The exemption does not automatically mean that all workers represented by unions will be paid less than $15 an hour. It does mean that companies with unionized workforce can attempt to negotiate contracts with hourly wages lower than $15 an hour even after such wage goes into effect.

“Fifteen dollars an hour and a union is a nice marketing slogan, but unions don’t actually care about the employees they seek to represent,” Matt Haller, senior vice-president of communications and public affairs at the International Franchise Association, told the Guardian. “They only care about getting more union members, generating initiation fees and growing their political stranglehold over politicians. If they cared about the employees, they would refute the tactics and endorse a $15 wage irrespective of whether they are exempt or not.”

The unions argue that this exemption would give them more leeway at the bargaining table when negotiating contracts with employers and could result in better benefits for the workers.

The US Chamber of Commerce released a report at the end of last year describing these exemptions as “escape clause”.

“This ‘escape clause’ is often designed to encourage unionization by making a labor union the potential ‘low-cost’ alternative to new wage mandates, and it raises serious questions about whom these minimum wage laws are actually intended to benefit,” read the report.

Members of the Fight for $15 movement, which is supported in large part by US unions, have on multiple occasions stated that they are fighting for $15 minimum wage as well as the right to unionize. With such an exemption, being in a union might not guarantee $15 an hour even if that is the legal minimum wage.

Kendall Fells, organizing director of the Fight for $15, told the Guardian that the movement supports $15 an hour as a minimum wage for “all workers – in LA and everywhere – and don’t support anything that could undermine that”.

US unions have invested heavily in the Fight for $15 movement – in terms of manpower, time and resources. A press release issued by the International Franchise Association earlier this year claimed that SEIU spent $18.5m in 2014 on the Fight for $15 campaign. An analysis by the anti-union non-profit group the Center for Union Facts found that SEIU had paid $1.3m to Berlin Rosen, a public relations consultants firm handling press for the Fight for $15 protests, up from $848,000 in 2013 and $393,000 in 2012.

When speaking with the Guardian on 15 April, Mary Kay Henry, international president of the SEIU, said that the Fight for $15 campaign was worth the investment.

“There is not a price tag you can put on how this movement has changed the conversation in this country. It is raising wages at the bargaining table. It’s raised wages for eight million workers,” she said. “I believe we are forcing a real conversation about how to solve the grossest inequality in our generation.”

SEIU national office did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment in time for publication.

Even if SEIU is not actively lobbying for such an exemption to be part of the law, once in place, the workers it represents will be subject to them.

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Half of New CA Driver’s Licenses Go to Illegal Immigrants

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More than half of the new driver’s licenses issued in California during 2015 have gone to illegal immigrants.

“Of the 759,000 total licenses the DMV has issued, 397,000–or 52 percent–have gone to [illegals].”

The surge in illegal licensing is the result of AB 60–a California law that went into effect at the beginning of the year. The law allows applicants to get a license by “only [proving] their identity and California residency, rather than their legal presence in the state.”

According to The Sacramento Bee, the number of applicants is far exceeding the numbers discussed when AB 60 was being considered. Bill proponents predicted “1.4 million applicants over three years,” but they have already received “nearly half a million” applications in the first half of 2015 alone.

The California DMV was overwhelmed at first,  and applicants faced “longer wait times and had difficulty making appointments.” DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez said, “It did take a little bit of time to get us acclimated, and now we’re seeing wait times trending down.”

AB 60 was championed by Democrats and “immigrant advocates.” The law is structured in a way that prevents the DMV from sharing information on illegals with agencies.
The bill’s chief sponsor–Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville)–responded to the massive number of illegals getting licenses by suggesting AB 60 makes California roads more secure. He said, “Our roads are now safer knowing 400,000 people who were likely already driving are licensed and insured.”

Jeff Duncan Blasts ‘Double Standards’ of Companies Dumping Donald Trump, Silent on Ariana Grande

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BY DANIEL NUSSBAUM

on Saturday blasted what he called the “double standards” of companies that cut ties with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump while remaining silent about pop star Ariana Grande’s anti-American comments during a recent incident at a California doughnut shop.

In a Facebook post, Duncan name-checked several of the companies who have severed their business relationships with the outspoken real estate mogul. He said he was “curious” why the same companies didn’t weigh in after Grande said she “hates Americans” and “hates America” during a recent visit to a doughnut shop.

“Just curious: where are the NBC’s, Univisions, ESPN’s, record labels, concert venues, etc in this Ariana Grande incident?” Duncan wrote. “They were mighty quick to jump on the ‘bash Donald Trump’ bandwagon when he spoke about illegal aliens and ‘sanctuary city’ policies.”

“This misguided young pop singer said that she hated America and hated Americans, while she proceeded to contaminate food for resale with the very tongue with which she uttered the hatred rant.”

“The double-standards in this country are disgusting,” the lawmaker concluded.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday it would not charge Grande with a crime after doughnut shop owner Joe Marin declined to pursue charges against the pop singer.

Meanwhile, companies and high-profile individuals continue to cut ties with Trump as he has gained momentum on the campaign trail and in national polling. Last week, celebrity chef Jose Andres became the latest individual to cut ties with the candidate when he backed out of opening his flagship restaurant in the new Trump International Hotel in Washington DC.

LATINO LEADER URGES MORE BUSINESSES TO CUT TIES WITH DONALD TRUMP

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BY LYNN ELBER

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (AP) — The head of a Latino civil rights group called on more organizations to follow NBC’s example and cut business ties with Donald Trump.

Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said Thursday that the PGA of America’s decision this week to move a golf tournament from a Trump-owned course was a step in the right direction.

The PGA and other major golf organizations should agree to keep tournaments off Trump properties in response to his comments about Mexican immigrants, Nogales said.

Trump’s representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The PGA said it relocated its Grand Slam of Golf in agreement with Trump.

Nogales’ comments followed a Q&A with NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, part of a conference on Latinos in entertainment sponsored by the advocacy group.

NBC ended its partnership with Trump on the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants after the celebrity billionaire, in announcing his presidential campaign, said some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists.

Nogales thanked Greenblatt, then moved on to a discussion of Hispanic-oriented shows planned by NBC. Among them: a drama in development about the settlement of California.

The Miss USA pageant that was to air on NBC will be carried Sunday instead by the Reelz cable and satellite channel, which has said Trump won’t profit from the telecast.

Trump has fought back with a $500 million lawsuit against Univision that claims breach of contract and defamation and says Univision turned on him because it supports Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.

Regarding Macy’s, Trump said he’d decided to end his relationship with the chain because of pressure put upon them by outside sources.

“Both Macy’s and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators,” he said.

Nogales said he talked with Greenblatt a few days before the decision by NBC, a division of Comcast’s NBCUniversal, was announced June 29.

“The Latino community has finally come to a maturation tipping point,” Nogales said Thursday. “We’re not going to take it anymore, and we don’t have to.”