It is commendable that House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, want to pass a continuing resolution that gets them into 2017. But Senator Mitch McConnell is yet again carrying water for Barack Obama. McConnell wants to structure a continuing resolution that gives him an excuse to confirm Judge Garland.
I know McConnell says Garland will never, ever get a vote. But the only thing you can trust about Mitch McConnell is that you cannot trust him. Even now he won’t endorse Ted Cruz for re-election and he and John Cornyn are plotting to have that squish McCaul-crist challenge Cruz in 2018. McConnell also wants to pass TPP after voters can no longer hold Republicans accountable at the polls. But he also wants to confirm Judge Garland because McConnell is convinced Clinton is going to win and Garland will be better than her picks.
So McConnell wants a continuing resolution that funds the government until December 9, 2016. That will force a lame duck session of congress. That will allow McConnell to ram through the TPP, Judge Garland’s confirmation, and fund Obama’s agenda. That, in fact, is the little noticed part of all of this. House Republicans do not want a big fight against Obama’s budget priorities, but Senate Republicans want to fund them all. They will fund executive amnesty, they will fund Obamacare, they will fund Planned Parenthood — they will fund the whole leftwing agenda.
There should be no lame duck session. There should be no continuing resolution that forces a lame duck session. And McConnell should stop carry water for Barack Obama. After all, that water carrying led to the voter rebellion enabling Trump.
by AARON KLEIN
NEW YORK – George Soros’s Open Society Foundations is seeking to expand the use of electronic and online voting systems nationwide, according to a leaked Foundations document reviewed by Breitbart News.
While the directive was issued two years ago, the issue of electronic voting has become a hot button topic in this year’s presidential election amid fears digital voting systems can be compromised.
The online voting plan was contained in a 67-page hacked file detailing the September 29-30, 2014 Open Society U.S. Programs board meeting in New York.
A significant portion of the board meeting was dedicated to methods the Foundation’s U.S. Programs (USP) could use to further the use of President Obama’s executive action authority to bypass Congress during Obama’s final two years in office.
The Open Society, together with partner grantees, assembled a general list of potential presidential executive actions on numerous issues. Significantly, the Soros-backed group zeroed in on the expansion of online voting.
States the document:
“USP will continue to fight against efforts to restrict voting rights, while supporting steps to improve voter participation and modernize voting procedures, such as on-line and same-day registration and expanded early voting. The Brennan Center, Demos and other grantees have engaged in litigation to expand access to registration and improve ease of voting.”
The document listed a number of executive action steps that the Obama administration could take to “ensure greater participation by eligible voters,” including online voting:
• Direct Health and Human Services to ensure that the federally facilitated health-care exchanges created as part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) incorporate voter registration opportunities as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or “Motor Voter Act”), and direct federal agencies to find ways to increase voter participation nationwide.
• Issue guidance interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to accessibility of polling places, privacy when voting, and competence requirements.
• Assist states with voter registration modernization efforts, including statewide database improvements, vote by mail, online registration and voting, and same-day registration.
• Direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop new data collection points that provide greater insight into county-based Election Administration and the ways in which voters interact with electoral systems (i.e., number of votes cast, type of voting machines used, provisional ballot statistics, etc.)
In January 2014, Obama’s 10-person Presidential Commission on Election Administration released its recommendations for reforming the U.S. election process, including transitioning to voting via tablet computers and other technologies.
The commission recommended:
Software-only products can be integrated with off-the-shelf commercial hardware components such as computers, laptops, tablets, scanners, printers, and even machine-readable code scanners and signature pad products.
Tablet computers such as iPads are common components of these new technologies. They can be integrated into the check-in, voting, and verification processes in the polling place.
The commission highlighted new technologies in which the voter can “pre-fill” sample ballots at home to be scanned later at the polling place.
Obama’s presidential panel dismissed concerns about hacking. The commission stated: “The fact that a tablet or off-the-shelf computer can be hacked or can break down does not mean such technology is inherently less secure than existing ballot marking methods if proper precautions are taken.”
Those concerns may have been dismissed too soon. Two weeks ago, NBC News citedintelligence officials revealing hackers purportedly based in Russia recently attempted to breach state voter registration databases twice. One of the hacking attempts resulted in the lifting of up to 200,000 voter records in Illinois, according to the officials.
The breach prompted the FBI to issue an unusual nationwide “flash” alert warning statesto take immediate measures to beef up the security of their online voting-related systems.
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a conference call with state election officials related to the matter.
Also last month, Johnson was quoted as saying during a media conference call hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that DHS should consider whether to designate the U.S. election system as a “critical infrastructure.”
“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Johnson said.
“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he added.
On Thursday, however, Johnson downplayed concerns that hackers could alter the ballot count during the presidential election.
“It would be very difficult through any sort of cyber intrusion to alter the ballot count, simply because it is so decentralized and so vast,” Johnson said. “It would be very difficult to alter the count.”
The Hill poured cold water on Johnson’s optimistic assessment.
The publication contended:
Despite Johnson’s claims, however, hackers would not necessarily need to alter a particular vote count in order to inject chaos into the U.S. electoral system.
Merely tainting the integrity of the voting system might be enough to sow discord in the U.S on Election Day. In other words, even if hackers do nothing, simply claiming to have altered the results could cause the public to doubt the results.
And hackers might be able to alter ballot counts in swing districts where the outcome might have oversized importance.
Meanwhile, this is not Soros’s only attempt to meddle in U.S. election affairs.
A May 2014 USP board meeting document discussed the goal of expanding the U.S electorate by “at least 10 million voters.” The document, first publicized by the Washington Free Beacon, stated the voter expansion goal would be accomplished “by lowering barriers to voter registration through the various forms of modernization and increased ballot access while sustaining and expanding the franchise by establishing strong protections against vote suppression, denial and dilution.”
Ten million new voters are low ball numbers. The Soros-funded Brennan Center was mentioned in the September 2015 board meeting document reviewed by Breitbart News as engaging with other Soros grantees “in litigation to expand access to registration and improve ease of voting.”
Brennon’s website has an entire section dedicated to “Voter Registration Modernization,” explaining its goal is to use voter modernization to add 50 million more voters to the rosters.
The website states:
The Brennan Center’s signature proposal to modernize voting would harness proven technology to ensure that every eligible voter is permanently registered. The move would add 50 million to the rolls, cost less, and curb the potential for fraud. Already, 48 states and the District of Columbia — without fanfare or partisan wrangling — have implemented important elements of the plan.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Joshua Klein.
BY SYLVIA ANDREWS
Are you angry yet? If you’re not, you should be. I wonder if many Americans have even bothered to notice the miserable “stuff” that’s been going on in our country? Unfortunately, I feel that too many are more interested in the goings-on in the sports world and Hollywood. They can tell you the latest scores of the various teams, all kinds of information about the private lives of the celebrities in sports and Hollywood, and a variety of other, unimportant trivia. However, ask them anything about the United States history, geography, or government and they draw a blank. They have no idea what’s going on in their own country or the world.
How sad this is, that so many Americans don’t know, and probably don’t care. This is how a once-strong and exceptional republic deteriorates into a third-world country. The citizens let it happen. They elect politicians who they have not vetted, but who they think are so “cool”. The politicians are, in fact in many instances, just greedy and self-serving. They allow absurd and freedom-killing laws to be enacted. They listen to the mainstream media, who have become the propaganda arm of the White House and the Progressive Left. They don’t bother to contact their legislators and voice their opinions. Instead they’re all wrapped up in the lives of Hollywood bimbos when they should be caring about issues that affect the lives of every American.
Here are some items that I care about, and so should you:
We currently have an administration that constantly shreds the Constitution and bypasses Congress.
We have a gutless Congress. Whatever happened to separation of powers?
We have an administration that treats our allies badly and our enemies royally.
We have a President, who apologizes for our great country every chance he gets, lies on a regular basis, and initiates policies that will turn this country into a Socialist state.
Don’t forget the criminal activity in several government agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the IRS, the VA, and the EPA, just to name a few.
We once had the best healthcare in the world, and now we have the Affordable Care Act which is of very poor quality and has caused great pain to many citizens as well as increased costs. Obamacare is now imploding before our very eyes because many of the big healthcare companies are leaving the program due to diminishing returns and increasing costs.
Big Brother is trying to control every aspect of our lives while the government increases their surveillance of American citizens through the NSA.
Political correctness is rampant to the point where free speech is in danger. This is especially true in academia where dissenting opinions should be invited instead of discouraged.
There exists a national education program called Common Core which extols a Socialist agenda instead of teaching about the United States of America. It rewrites American history, promotes Islam, and is sexually explicit. Is this what our kids need?
This administration has poured thousands of so-called Muslim “refugees” into our cities and towns.
These people do not want to abide by our laws and are here for stealth jihad, with the help of the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. Their goal is to impose Sharia law instead of our Constitution.
Our economy is on life–support and the lefties do not seem to have a plan to revive it.
We have a First Lady who told graduating seniors to keep tabs on their racist family. When she’s not trying to regulate what we, or our kids, should be allowed to eat, she’s out there race-baiting.
I have a real problem with government agencies purchasing enough lethal ammunition to put five rounds into every American while trying to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. You have to ask why agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Post Office, to name a few, need ammunition at all. It’s no secret that the administration is trying to take citizens’ guns away under the guise of protecting people. That is not to protect people…that is to gain control over people and it’s in direct violation of the Second Amendment.
Our Armed Services have been decimated.
Veterans returning home from Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern venues have frequently been designated as terrorists by our government. Why? These same veterans are treated very badly at the Veterans Administration’s hospitals and clinics throughout the country. They deserve better.
Why is this administration so chummy with CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations)? It is well-known that they are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been called a terrorist group by several Muslim countries. Yet the United States will not declare them a terrorist group.
Groups like Black Lives Matter and many of George Soros’ extreme leftist groups are flourishing under this administration even though their goal is to take down America.
An election is about to happen and the Democrat nominee has a long history of corruption and lies. In addition, she now exhibits dangerous symptoms of some very serious problems.
The mainstream media cover and manipulate the news in favor of the Democrat party and the Liberals.
Currently, the powers that be have a goal to bring our country down, and we cannot allow this to happen.
Pay attention, get involved. Are you angry yet?
Citing the financial unsustainability of Obamacare, both the insured and insurers are fleeing Obamacare in increasing numbers, leaving President Obama’s takeover of the nation’s healthcare system on the verge of collapse.
The administration has claimed Obamacare — officially designated the Affordable Care Act — to be a great success, insisting that 20 million previously uninsured Americans now have insurance. But according to a report at The Guardian, that “success” comes at the expense of all the features that were supposed to make the law sustainable.
President Obama and his cohorts imagined that since Obamacare was to be compulsory, millions of healthy young Americans would immediately sign up, and the massive influx of cash paid into the system as insurance premiums would help pay for the higher costs in care doled out to older, sicker enrollees.
Unfortunately for supporters of Obamacare, millions of young people simply ignored the law, deciding, instead, to pay the tax penalties to the IRS for not having insurance because it was both easier to do and cheaper in the long run. Consequently, the largest number of new enrollees are people whose illnesses are costing the insurance companies more to pay out for their care than they are paying into the system in premiums. The result is more money going out for care than coming in, a situation impossible to sustain for long.
The latter is why so many insurance carriers are dropping out of Obamacare. They are being outspent and cannot sustain the costs and remain profitable at the same time. And this, in turn, is setting the whole Obamacare system toward collapse.
As the outlet reports:
In April, UnitedHealthcare left most of the 34 state marketplaces it participated in. And in August, Aetna scaled back its participation in the markets because of losses, and also because of the [J]ustice [D]epartment’s attempt to block it from merging with another health insurance giant, Humana.
Worse, insurance premiums have risen time and again since the inception of Obamacare only a few short years ago, and those rises are set to continue pricing many policies hundreds of dollars a month past the wooly claims of cheap healthcare plans Obama made when he was pushing the law.
In addition, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study on Obamacare was released that was such bad news for Obamacare it brought the Trump campaign to call it “another extraordinary indictment of Obamacare.”
Echoing The Guardian’s report, the Foundation’s study reported that “the number of counties with a single marketplace insurer is likely to increase, from 225 (7% of counties) in 2016 to 974 (31% of counties) in 2017.”
The report reveals another of the principal failures of a feature that was supposed to have made Obamacare sustainable — that of competition between insurers. We are now finding that this competition is non-existent in large swaths of the country.
“The news that Americans living in more than 6 in 10 counties next year will only have one or at most two healthcare options under Obamacare is another extraordinary indictment of this law and Hillary Clinton’s disastrously poor judgment,” national policy adviser to Donald Trump Stephen Miller said in a statement.
Every policy she touches only produces more calamity. In this case, it means higher prices, fewer choices, and less control over one’s most private medical decisions. Yet Hillary Clinton thinks struggling Americans still have it too good. She wants to give the government more control over the entire healthcare system — taking away even more choices from American moms, dads and children. This is yet another crossroads in this election: America must repeal and replace this disastrous law or live under total government control.
The Kaiser Family Foundation study is only added to reports that Obamacare rates are soaring, and 16 of the 23 state exchanges established by the law have failed.
Obamacare rates are soaring and the majority of the highly touted state exchanges established by the law have failed.
But MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who famously claimed the American people were too stupid to be told the truth about the ill-starred law prior to its passage, wrote in Politico recently “the fear of ‘death spirals’ from rapidly rising premiums is greatly exaggerated when the vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized, meaning they don’t pay those higher premiums.”
But the current failures of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement extend well beyond the designation given to the president’s promise that with the new law “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” which Politifact declared in 2013 to be the lie of the year.
As Fox News reported, “16 of Obamacare’s 23 approved healthcare cooperatives have closed up shop, or announced their intention to close by year’s end, further reducing competition.” That’s two more failed exchanges since last month, when Breitbart reportedthe fourteenth failure in Connecticut:
Connecticut’s Obamacare health insurance co-op is being placed under state supervision because of its status as financially “unstable,” leaving 40,000 individuals on the hunt for new insurance plans.
HealthyCT – a nonprofit health insurance plan set up under President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform, is one of 23 original Obamacare co-ops and the 14th to fail since they began selling their health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges.
Insurance commissioners in eight states have already approved significant premium rate increases for 2017, as Fox News reported:
Courtesy of ACASignUps.net, here are the average weighted increases for [seven of these] states thus far. . . Kentucky: weighted average increase of 24.5%, Oregon: 23.8%, New York: 16.6%, Mississippi: 15.8%, Arkansas: 9.4%, Vermont: 7%, Rhode Island: 1.3%
Rates in an eighth state, Tennessee, also just went up significantly, where the state’s insurance commissioner just authorized dramatic rate increases for the three remaining insurers in the market: “Blue Cross Blue Shield received a 62 percent increase in rates, Cigna received a 46.3 percent increase, and Humana received a 46.3 percent increase”, as Breitbart News reported:
Tennessee’s insurance commissioner said the Obamacare exchanges in her state are “very near collapse” after she approved rate increases for three insurance carriers on the exchanges in an attempt to give consumers more options for open enrollment in November.
I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse … and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I’m doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero,” Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said to The Tennessean.
It’s the way the law is written that’s causing these problems, Fox News reported:
To begin with, adverse selection is crushing insurers, while at the same time they’re struggling to enroll healthier young adults. Adverse selection describes the process by which sicker individuals were among the first to enroll, leaving insurers with a less-than-desirable mix of new patients who are proving quite costly. Remember, prior to Obamacare insurers were allowed to pick and choose their customers and turn away those with pre-existing conditions. That’s no longer the case with Obamacare.
On the other hand, younger adults are enrolling in greater numbers, but their overall participation is nowhere near what insurers need. The culprit here may very well be the Shared Responsibility Payment, or SRP. The individual mandate, which is the actionable component of the ACA, states that individuals need to buy health insurance or pay a penalty come tax time. The SRP is the official name of that penalty, and in 2016 it’s the greater of $695 or 2.5% of your modified adjusted gross income. The Kaiser Family Foundation predicts 2016’s SRP will average $969. The SRP was intended to encourage young adults to enroll, but when full-year premium costs for even the cheapest plans are typically $2,400 or higher, most are choosing the cheaper route of paying the penalty. In other words, insurers are being hindered by adverse selection and low healthy adult enrollment figures.
The failure of the risk corridor is another reason why competition has faltered. The risk corridor was designed to collect money from overly profitable insurers on Obamacare that would be redistributed to those insurers that were losing excessive amounts of money. The idea was to create a sort of risk-pool among insurers to both protect them against adverse selection, as well as from pricing their premiums too low. It was also believed that the added financial protection of the risk corridor would encourage new entrants, thus promoting competition that would keep premium inflation in check.
Unfortunately, the risk corridor was a disaster. There weren’t many overly profitable insurers on the ACA, so just 12.6% of the $2.87 billion in requested funds from insurers was paid out.
Even Jonathan Gruber conceded recently in the aptly titled “What We Didn’t See Coming” column he wrote for Politico that the actual results of the law’s implementation “include some surprises, even for those of us who have tracked the law closely and rooted for its success.”:
More people are in Medicaid than anticipated; fewer bought health plans through the exchanges. . .
What did happen? The law has more or less hit its target for covering Americans. Almost 20 million people had coverage in 2015 — close to what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had forecast in early 2013. But it didn’t quite happen in the ways the CBO and many of us other analysts expected.
The diehard supporter of the law offers this conclusion though: “Surprises aren’t necessarily failures.”
“[T]he sizeable rise in exchange premiums over the past year, and even a rapid rise in the coming year, does not imply a long run unsustainable pricing pattern for exchanges, despite what critics of the health law may contend,” he asserts.
As for the exchanges, he concedes they “will probably end up smaller than expected – but still plenty large enough to continue. The fact is that exchanges in every state are well above the minimum scale required to function effectively. And the fear of ‘death spirals’ from rapidly rising premiums is greatly exaggerated when the vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized, meaning they don’t pay those higher premiums.”
Gruber concludes “Any objective analysis of the ACA will find that it vastly improved the lives of millions of Americans who could not previously rely on the security of employer or government-provided insurance — while leaving the vast majority of Americans able to still rely on the insurance arrangements that they enjoy. And that should be no surprise.”
On the campaign trail, however, candidates are finding that most voters still do not agree with Gruber, even though the mainstream media seems eager to declare that, despite the failures of Obamacare, political criticism of the law have lost steam.
As Politico reported:
As insurers push large premium increases for 2017 Obamacare plans, some of the steepest hikes have been requested by insurers in crucial swing states that could determine control of the Senate.
In nine of 11 states with competitive Senate races, at least one insurer seeks to hike rates for Obamacare customers by at least 30 percent next year: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pennsylvania wants to jack up average premiums by more than 40 percent. In Wisconsin, three insurers have asked for rate hikes of more than 30 percent. In New Hampshire, two of the five carriers want to sell plans with rate increase above 30 percent.
The potential sticker shock — coupled with the likelihood many consumers will have fewer choices next year after major insurers scale back their exchange participation — creates a potential political opening for Republican candidates, especially since the next Obamacare enrollment season starts one week before Election Day.
“People who are feeling it in their pocketbooks are going to be very unhappy about [rate hikes],” said Brian Walsh, a former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “You would expect to see this will be part of the campaign messaging for House and Senate Republicans. … If it hasn’t started, it will be coming.”
While Donald Trump often cites eye-popping rate hikes as proof the health care law is a “disaster,” rate hikes haven’t yet emerged as a major campaign issue in most Senate races — although several Republicans said they plan to spotlight the issue in the fall.
Not surprisingly, Politico, which ran Jonathan’s Gruber’s July defense of the law, borrows one of his lines from that defense in its reporting on the issue: “The reality is that most Obamacare customers won’t have to pay headline-grabbing rate hikes since the vast majority are eligible for federal subsidies that reduce their monthly insurance costs. And proposed rates, which HHS posted publicly earlier this month, are likely to come down under regulatory scrutiny.”
Politico does acknowledge, “However, millions of people who buy their own coverage and who don’t receive federal help will be exposed to the full rate hikes unless they can switch into a cheaper plan.”
It is those voters who have to pay the full freight of Obamacare who are likely to let Democratic candidates know just how they feel about their continued support for the law at the polling booths in November.
EARNEST: “What is clear is that wast majority of people all across the country will have an access to a plan that costs $35 a month or less … I will let the executives at Aetna explain their business decisions and to explain their struggles to make this process work for their bottom line. Plenty of other insurance companies have figured it out and are putting forward offerings that give the American people a choice when it comes to providing health insurance for their families.”