Aetna: 30% of Obamacare signups have dropped since May

Thirty percent of Obamacare signups have dropped since May.

Maybe because Obamacare is too expensive, has freakishly high deductibles, and the job market is a disaster.

Via The Daily Caller:

The number of Obamacare enrollments for top health insurer Aetna is plummeting, according to a report from Investor’s Business Daily.

Aetna’s enrollment reached 720,000 by May 20, after the final end to the the extended open enrollment period. But by the end of June Aetna had less than 600,000 paying customers, IBD reports, and the company expects paying customers to fall to “just over 500,000″ by the end of 2015. That would be a drop of just under 30 percent from the May sign-up numbers — the last time the Obama administration released its official Obamacare enrollment tally.

Aetna’s reported drop-off rate appears to be more extensive than other companies. Cigna reported that between both its exchange customers and those in the private individual market, it expects to lose around 20,000 paying customers throughout the year, out of 300,000.

The federal government released monthly enrollment reports throughout Obamacare’s first open enrollment period, but stopped offering details when widespread enrollment ended in mid-May. But Americans with certain qualifying life changes can still sign up for coverage on an Obamacare exchange at any time, and customers are regularly dropping coverage as well.

But the administration refuses to give out any details on the total enrollment and has never released information on the percentage of Obamacare sign-ups that followed through and paid their first premiums to activate their coverage. Most insurance companies have reported that by the end of the open enrollment period, only around 85 percent of those who signed up on Obamacare exchanges ended up buying a health insurance plan.

Forbes: Obamacare Has Increased Non-Group Premiums In Nearly All States

Via Forbes Magazine:

Now There Can Be No Doubt: Obamacare Has Increased Non-Group Premiums In Nearly All States

Remember this categorical assurance from President Obama?

“We’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year. .  .  . We’ll do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States”

OK, it’s probably a little unfair to take some June 2008 campaign “puffery” literally–even though it was reiterated by candidate Obama’s economic policy advisor, Jason Furman in a sit-down with a New York Times reporter: “‘We think we could get to $2,500 in savings by the end of the first term, or be very close to it.” Moreover, President Obama subsequently doubled-down on his promise in July 2012, assuring small business owners “your premiums will go down.”  Fortunately, the Washington Post fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, honestly awarded the 2012 claim Three Pinocchios (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”).

Unfortunately, this has never settled the debate. When the Society of Actuaries estimated spring 2013 that the ACA would result in increasing claims costs by an average of 32 percent nationally by 2017, such estimates could be dismissed as “projections” since at the time of this study, actual premiums in the Exchanges had not yet been announced.  A subsequent plethora of studies showed there had been double-digit increases in premiums (when comparing actual Exchange premiums to previously-prevailing premiums in the non-group market). However, virtually all of these studies focused only on Exchange premiums rather than premiums in the entire non-group market (only half of which consists of Exchange coverage). As a consequence, Obamacare proponents tended to dismiss these studies either as partisan attacks or methodologically limited, making what amounts to apples-to-oranges comparisons.

However, a new study from the well-respected and non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research (and published by Brookings Institution), overcomes the limitations of these prior studies by examining what happened to premiums in the entire non-group market. The bottom line? In 2014, premiums in the non-group market grew by 24.4% compared to what they would have been without Obamacare.  Of equal importance, this careful state-by-state assessment showed that premiums rose in all but 6 states (including Washington DC).  It’s worth unpacking this study a bit to understand the ramification of these findings.

Non-Group Premiums Rose in 45 States Due to Obamacare

The non-group market can only be accurately assessed on a state-by-state basis. Obamacare. The law creates a single risk pool in each state for non-group coverage. That is, health insurers can sell policies inside or outside the Exchanges but they all are part of the same risk pool.  Unlike virtually all other studies that have been conducted to date, this new study examined premium data from both Exchange and non-Exchange plans, i.e., providing a picture of the complete non-group market rather than one segment.  This is crucially important since in nearly one third of states (16), Exchange coverage constitutes 40% or less of the entire non-group market (Table 1).

Of equal importance, unlike prior studies which simply compared pre-Obamacare premiums in 2013 to actual premiums offered on Exchanges in 2014, this new study isolates the causal impact of Obamacare statistically by using trend data in each state to figure out what non-group premiums in 2014 would have been in the absence of Obamacare. Thus, critics could dismiss many other so-called “pre-/post” studies by effectively saying “Well, premiums in the non-group have always gone up by a large amount, so what’s happening under Obamacare is no different.”  Such criticisms cannot be levied at this study. All of the percentage changes shown in the chart below represent the net change attributable to Obamacare after accounting for all the other factors that would have made premiums go up.[1]

PremiumIncreasesKowalski

Clearly, the adverse impact of Obamacare on non-group premiums varies sizably across states. The law is estimated to result in lower premiums in only 6 states. However, it should be noted that while the author presented premium estimates for California and New Jersey, the data for these two states is incomplete due to anomalous data reporting requirements. Thus, the large estimated premium decline of 37.5% in New Jersey likely would be different were full data available, but there is no way of telling by how much.

What is disturbing is to see premium increases in excess of 35% in 9 states, including some of the nation’s largest states (Florida and Texas). Remember, these are increases above and beyond normal premium trends.  No one can credibly claim that these massive premium increases would have happened anyway since the study was specifically designed to isolate the law’s impacts from all the other factors that have driven up premiums in recent years.

Taxpayers Will Pay About 24% More for Exchange Subsidies Due to Obamacare-induced Premium Increases.

Continue Reading HERE.

Senator Dick Durbin to Walgreens: Stay in Illinois or else….

Senator Durbin is the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate. Illinois has the highest taxes in America so companies are leaving in droves. Time to whip out the thug card….

National Review:

Score another victory this week for the Senate’s lead political thug, Dick Durbin. The second-highest-ranking Senate Democrat and lead political henchman coerced retail giant Walgreens to stay in Illinois and not move as planned to Switzerland.

The government’s intimidation campaign against Walgreens was so heavy-handed that it would make Richard Nixon blush. Walgreens was set to move in order to reduce its tax liability and avoid the 40 percent income tax rate it pays as an Illinois-based corporation. This would have saved the company and its mostly American shareholders an estimated $4 billion over five years.

But back in July Mr. Durbin sent an astounding letter to Walgreens CEO Gregory Wasson warning the company, and demanding that it abandon its plans to relocate.

He lambasted the company’s move as a “clever tax dodge,” and threatened that “deeply patriotic” customers would not “support Walgreen’s decision to turn its back on the United States.” He added, subtly, that “nearly all of your $2.5 billion in profits earned last year were from sales to U.S. taxpaying customers.”

That was followed by other threats of political retaliation. “Much of Walgreens financial success was built on programs and infrastructure provided by the U.S. government” and “the future success of Walgreens will continue to depend on U.S. taxpayers and government-funded programs.” Just in case Mr. Wasson didn’t get the point, he reminded him that “nearly 25% of Walgreens profits were from U.S-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

Unfortunately, our elected officials in Congress now feel they have the political power to carry out these threats with impunity.

Now Mr. Durbin is celebrating the Walgreens shakedown. The big losers here were the shareholders — including thousands and thousands of middle class Americans — whose retirement funds include Walgreens stock. The stock fell in the 24 hours after the announcement by more than 10 percent and so shareholders lost at least $6 billion on the announcement. That’s a lot of financial wreckage from one single senator.

In case there is any doubt that Mr. Durbin’s threats were heard, the statement by Walgreens about why it was not moving after all was revealing. The firm cited big risks of “consumer backlash and political ramifications, including the risk to our government book of business.” In other words: We got your message, Mr. Durbin.

 

House Democrat Leader Pelosi: Obama must stop deportations, allow entry to millions more illegal immigrants

With schools and resources stretched to the limit and foreign workers now getting most new jobs and one working aged adult in four is not working the only reason to do this is to try and import a new poverty class that Democrats can buy votes with using welfare….that is until they stop lending us money and it all crashes.

Washington Examiner:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on President Obama to issue a “bold” executive order that would stop the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, including farm workers, families of people allowed to remain in the country under the administration’s “Dream Act” policy, and many others.

In an op-ed published by Univisión, Pelosi, along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Luis Gutiérrez, called on Obama to legalize immigrants who would have benefited from a comprehensive immigration reform bill the U.S. Senate passed in 2013.

The trio of lawmakers said the president should go even further by permitting close relatives of citizens and lawful permanent residents to gain entry into the United States, and blocking the deportation of relatives who are here illegally.

 

Video: Kay Hagan Campaign Workers Willing to Aid Non-Citizens Vote Illegally

Multiple North Carolina Democratic Party Campaign Workers Willing to Aid Non-Citizen With Felony Kay Hagan Votes…

Including Kay Hagan’s campaign manager who is running to be a judge. Special thanks to Project Veritas for yet another explosive video proving vote fraud.

New Hampshire: 71% of New Jobs Go to Foreign Born Legal, Illegal Immigrants

…and New Hampshire isn’t exactly a Southern Border state.

Via CNS News:

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) shows that the state with senators who both voted for the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, which cleared the Senate in June, has 71 percent of its job growth going to foreign-born workers, including legal and illegal immigrants.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) both voted for Senate Bill 744, which CIS calculated would have roughly doubled the number of new foreign workers allowed into the country and would have given legal status to millions of illegal aliens already in the country had the legislation been passed by the House and become law.

A CIS analysis using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey showed that since 2000, 71 percent of the net increase in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job in New Hampshire has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal), even though the native-born accounted for 65 percent of population growth among the working-age.

As a result, the share of natives holding a job in the state has declined significantly. Natives without a college education were affected the most by this trend, according to CIS.

“Job growth in New Hampshire has not been very strong,” Steven Camarota, CIS director of research and co-author of the report, said in a statement issued with the report. “The situation for natives without a college education has been particular bad.

“Thus it is surprising that many of New Hampshire’s politicians supported the Gang of Eight bill, which would give work authorization to illegal immigrants and dramatically increase the number of foreign workers allowed into the country in the future,” Camarota said.

CIS explained the methodology for the report this way: “The analysis is based on the ‘household survey,’ collected by the government. The survey is officially known as the Current Population Survey (CPS), and is the nation’s primary source of information on the labor market. Many jobs are created and lost each year and many workers change jobs as well. But the number of people employed reflects the net effect of these changes. We focus on the first half of each year 2000 to 2014 in this analysis because comparing the same part of the year over time controls for seasonality. Also combining six months of the CPS allows us to have more robust estimates for a small state like New Hampshire.

“This analysis focuses on those 16- to 65-years-old, so that we can examine the employment rate (share working) of native-born Americans. The employment rate is a measure of labor force attachment that is less sensitive to the business cycle compared to the often-cited unemployment rate. Immigrants or the foreign born (legal and illegal) are individuals who are not U.S. citizens at birth.”

Other findings include:

• Because the native working-age population in New Hampshire grew significantly, but the share working actually fell, there were nearly 41,000 more working-age natives not working in the first half of 2014 than in 2000 — a 25 percent increase.

• The supply of potential workers in New Hampshire is very large: In the first half of 2014, 205,000 working-age natives of all education levels were not working (unemployed or entirely out of the labor market) as were 16,000 working-age immigrants.

• All of the decline in the employment rate (share working) among working-age natives in New Hampshire has been among the less educated. The employment rate for natives in the state without a college degree declined from 77 percent in 2000 to 70 percent in the first half of 2014. In contrast, it increased from 85 to 87 percent for natives with at least a bachelor’s degree over the same time period.

The CSI concluded from its analysis of the government data the employment picture in the state of New Hampshire as follows:

•  The long-term decline in employment for natives in New Hampshire and the large number of working-age natives not working clearly indicates that there is no general labor shortage in the state — especially among the less educated. Thus it is very difficult to justify the large increases in foreign workers (skilled and unskilled) allowed into the country in a bill like S.744, which many of the state’s politicians support.

• New Hampshire’s working-age immigrant population grew 70 percent from 2000 to 2014. Yet the number of working-age natives working in 2014 was only slightly above the number in 2000 and the share with a job actually fell. This undermines the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives.

 

CIA Admits Spying on Senate

So much for Separation of Powers. After the revelations of Ed Snowden, Sharyl Atkisson and more, can anyone seriously believe that Members of Congress and their staff are not under electronic surveillance by the executive? Remember when Democrats were caught with tapes of Newt Gingrich’s phone calls?

With the little that we have learned, what we don’t know is likely stunning.

The Hill:

CIA officials improperly hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers as staffers compiled a report on “enhanced interrogation” techniques, the spy agency’s inspector general has concluded.

In a statement shared with The Hill, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the internal watchdog determined “that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” between the agency and the committee about access to the network they used to share documents.

CIA chief John Brennan told Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about the findings “and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers,” Boyd added.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a member of the committee, quickly retorted on Twitter that the watchdog’s report “shows John Brennan misled [the] public, whose interests I have championed.”

“I will fight for change at the CIA,” he added.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), another member of the panel, called for Brennan to publicly apologize and give “a full accounting of how this occurred and a commitment there will be no further attempts to undermine congressional oversight of CIA activities,” he said in a statement.

The admission is a stunning turn of events in the standoff between the two bodies and directly contradicts Brennan’s earlier claims that the agency would never snoop on the committee’s computers.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Brennan said in March, soon after Feinstein raised allegations that CIA operatives had been unconstitutionally prying on her panel’s work. “We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.”

Feinstein claimed at the time that operatives had accessed a computer network established in 2009 for committee staff to review classified CIA materials related to the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques, such as waterboarding. Those interrogation methods were authorized during the Bush administration but have since been prohibited.

The documents were used to produce a classified 6,300-page study that reportedly shows the techniques were conducted more harshly and more commonly than was previously understood. The executive summary of the report is now being redacted for release to the public, possibly as soon as next month.

Feinstein on Thursday said that the search of her staff’s computers was “in violation of the constitutional separation of powers,” though she declined to pin the blame on Brennan.

“Director Brennan apologized for these actions and submitted the IG [inspector general’s] report to an accountability board,” she said in a brief statement. “These are positive first steps. This IG report corrects the record and it is my understanding that a declassified report will be made available to the public shortly.”

An unclassified summary of the inspector general’s report released on Thursday claimed that the five CIA employees – two lawyers and three information technology staffers – “improperly accesses or caused access” to the shared network.

It also alleged that the three IT staffers “demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities” in interviews with the agency watchdog.

Tensions over the interrogations report have strained relations between the Senate panel and the CIA. Earlier this month, the Justice Department declined to take up criminal charges on either Feinstein’s charges or a rebuttal from the CIA that Senate staffers had improperly taken classified documents from a secure Virginia facility.

To clear up the mistrust, Brennan has passed along the findings of the IG report to an accountability board chaired by former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who used to be a member of the Intelligence Committee.

“This board will review the [Office of the Inspector General’s] report, conduct interviews as needed, and provide the director with recommendations that, depending on its findings, could include potential disciplinary measures and/or steps to address systemic issues,” Boyd said.

At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest gave a robust defense of Brennan. Asked if the hacking incident had hurt Brennan’s standing as CIA director, Earnest responded: “Absolutely not.”

“He has been candid about the inconsistencies that the IG found,” Earnest said.

Earnest said Brennan appointed an accountability board to look into the matter further and has “taken all the responsible steps to address this situation. That’s the kind of proactive leadership the president would expect.”

Some members of the president’s party, however, said it’s time for new leadership at the CIA.

Udall said that blame for the incident lay with Brennan and his “apparent inability to find any flaws in the agency he leads.”

“From the unprecedented hacking of congressional staff computers and continued leaks undermining the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program to his abject failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing by the agency, I have lost confidence in John Brennan,” Udall added.

Lawmakers Demand Answers From Obama Administration on ‘Operation Choke Point’

What is Operation Check Point? It is very simple, you own a gun store or some other business that Democrats don’t like, so the Obama Administration pressures (read threaten) banks and credit card companies to stop doing business with you.

This is yet another assault on not just freedom of commerce, but freedom of conscience and association as well which is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Via The Daily Signal:

Thirty members of Congress demanded today that the Department of Justice launch an “immediate investigation” into the agency’s own Operation Choke Point and those involved in creating and implementing the initiative against enterprises that are out of favor with the Obama administration.

Led by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., the 30 lawmakers sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, and Robin Ashton, head of its Office of Professional Responsibility, calling Choke Point a “blatant abuse of legal authority.”

>>> Meet Four Business Owners Squeezed by Operation Choke Point

“This situation merits your full and immediate attention, and we request that you launch a comprehensive investigation on Operation Choke Point and the individuals charged with creating and carrying out this unprecedented initiative,” Luetkemeyer and the 29 other lawmakers write.

The letter from House members follows one sent to the Justice Department earlier this month by six Republican senators, demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder release information about Operation Choke Point.

The House members want a response to their request for an investigation by Nov. 12.

“There is no doubt in my mind that [Justice Department] officials have abused their authority to address consumer fraud issues while misleading business owners by claiming financial institutions have not suffered any actual losses,” Luetkemeyer said in a press release.

Continue reading and examine the letters lawmakers sent to the Obama Administration demanding answers HERE.

 

Govt tells ministers: Perform same-sex weddings or face jail, fines

More on the Democrats’ war on the First Amendment. This time the assault is on freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of association.

Via the ADF:

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”

“The government exists to protect and respect our freedoms, not attack them,” Tedesco added. “The city cannot erase these fundamental freedoms and replace them with government coercion and intolerance.”

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is across the street from the Kootenai County Clerk’s office, which issues marriage licenses. The Knapps, both in their 60s and who themselves have been married for 47 years, began operating the wedding chapel in 1989 as a ministry. They perform religious wedding ceremonies, which include references to God, the invocation of God’s blessing on the union, brief remarks drawn from the Bible designed to encourage the couple and help them to have a successful marriage, and more. They also provide each couple they marry with a CD that includes two sermons about marriage, and they recommend numerous Christian books on the subject. The Knapps charge a small fee for their services.

Coeur d’Alene officials told the Knapps privately and also publicly stated that the couple would violate the city’s public accommodations statute once same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho if they declined to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel. On Friday, the Knapps respectfully declined such a ceremony and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.

“The city somehow expects ordained pastors to flip a switch and turn off all faithfulness to their God and their vows,” explained ADF Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “The U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state law clearly stand against that. The city cannot mandate across-the-board conformity to its interpretation of a city ordinance in utter disregard for the guaranteed freedoms Americans treasure in our society.”

Virginia McNulty Robinson, one of nearly 2,500 private attorneys allied with ADF, is serving as local counsel on behalf of the Knapps in Knapp v. City of Coeur d’Alene, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

Govt to study ‘social pollution’ (Political Speech) on Twitter

As we have stated in the previous several posts, the government has no business regulating, or even trying to regulate political speech.

What you will read below is the beginning of several very creepy efforts to destroy freedom of political speech and conscience. Those efforts will likely manifest themselves in three ways:

I – First and most obviously, this “study” is designed to develop techniques to identify the political leanings of Twitter users. That way opinion leaders and top influencers can be singled out for IRS audits like they did to Becky Garritson; or spied upon like they did to reporters James Rosen, Sharyl Attkisson, as well as the entire Washington Bureau of the Associated Press.

This went as far as the government putting classified documents on Sharyl Attkisson’s computer in case they ever decided to charge her with possession of classified documents. Perhaps you are spreading messages someone doesn’t like or you grow to be an influencer on Twitter; so they sneak a little kiddy porn on your PC using government hacking tools and you go bye bye.

II – The study will “determine”, by the standards of “truth” as defined by the Democrats in power who paid for it, what is “true” or not. This is so obvious that it does not even need to be said, but we will say it anyway. Who lies more than government and politicians? Any attempt by them to declare something true or false will be done by pure political motivation. Even if that is not the intent of this study the results and resulting software will be used for just such a purpose, it is only a matter of time.

III – The study will determine what messages propagate through Twitter via mass fake accounts and “astroturfing” vs how messages that genuinely go viral propagate.  This will be done for the purpose of perfecting methods of astroturfing to further manipulate and control the messages you see and hear on social media.

Read the following carefully….

Via The Washington Post:

By Ajit Pai – Ajit Pai is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

If you take to Twitter to express your views on a hot-button issue, does the government have an interest in deciding whether you are spreading “misinformation’’? If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?

My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.

The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”

Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a “sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models” to distinguish between memes that arise in an “organic manner” and those that are manipulated into being.

But there’s much more to the story. Focusing in particular on political speech, Truthy keeps track of which Twitter accounts are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems. It estimates users’ “partisanship.” It invites feedback on whether specific Twitter users, such as the Drudge Report, are “truthy” or “spamming.” And it evaluates whether accounts are expressing “positive” or “negative” sentiments toward other users or memes.

The Truthy team says this research could be used to “mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”

Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to “assist in the preservation of open debate” by monitoring social media for “subversive propaganda” and combating what it considers to be “the diffusion of false and misleading ideas”? The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.

The NSF has already poured nearly $1 million into Truthy. To what end? Why is the federal government spending so much money on the study of your Twitter habits?

Some possible hints as to Truthy’s real motives emerge in a 2012 paper by the project’s leaders, in which they wrote ominously of a “highly-active, densely-interconnected constituency of right-leaning users using [Twitter] to further their political views.”

Truthy reminds me of another agency-funded study, in which the Federal Communications Commission sought to insert itself into newsrooms across the country. That project purported to examine whether news outlets were meeting what researchers determined were the “critical information needs” of the American people. And it involved sending out government-funded researchers to ask editors and reporters questions about their news philosophy and editorial judgment.

Once this study was brought to the attention of the American people, howls of protest from across the political spectrum led the FCC to scrap the project — thankfully. The episode reaffirmed that the American people, not their government, determine what their critical information needs are and that the First Amendment means the government has no place in the newsroom.

That principle applies here. Truthy’s entire premise is false. In the United States, the government has no business entering the marketplace of ideas to establish an arbiter of what is false, misleading or a political smear. Nor should the government be involved in any effort to squint for and squelch what is deemed to be “subversive propaganda.” Instead, the merits of a viewpoint should be determined by the public through robust debate. I had thought we had learned these lessons long ago.

Now, I do understand the motivation behind this scheme, even though I disagree with it. To those who wish to shape the nation’s political dialogue, social media is dangerous. No longer can a cadre of elite gatekeepers pick and choose the ideas to which Americans will be exposed. But today’s democratization of political speech is a good thing. It brings into the arena countless Americans whose voices previously might have received inadequate or slanted exposure.

The federal government has no business spending your hard-earned money on a project to monitor political speech on Twitter. How should it instead have reacted when funding for Truthy was proposed? The proper response wouldn’t have required anywhere near 140 characters. It could have been, and should have been, #absolutelynot.

FEC Democrats Push for Control of Internet Political Speech

Speaking of the Democrats’ war on the First Amendment.

The Federal Election Commission, Congress and the President have no constitutional authority to regulate or censor political speech. Doing so is expresly for bidden in the First Amendment to the Constitution. But one can be sure that Democrats will find some statist judges that will say it’s legal.

Forty-nine Democrats in the Senate actually tried to repeal the political speech protections in the First Amendment itself recently:

The Democrat-proposed S.J. Res. 19, would change the First Amendment, giving politicians the ability to determine whatever they feel are “reasonable” limits on free speech, rather than the current First Amendment that completely disallows that power by stating that “Congress shall make no law prohibiting” free speech or the establishment and practice of religion.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) took the Democrats on:

Washington Times:

The FEC deadlocked in a crucial Internet campaign speech vote announced Friday, leaving online political blogging and videos free of many of the reporting requirements attached to broadcast ads — for now.

While all three GOP-backed members voted against restrictions, they were opposed by the three Democratic-backed members, including FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel, who said she will lead a push next year to try to come up with new rules government political speech on the Internet.

It would mark a major reversal for the commission, which for nearly a decade has protected the ability of individuals and interest groups to take to engage in a robust political conversation on the Internet without having to worry about registering with the government or keeping and reporting records of their expenses.

Ms. Ravel said she fears that in trying to keep the Internet open for bloggers, they’ve instead created a loophole for major political players to escape some scrutiny.

“Some of my colleagues seem to believe that the same political message that would require disclosure if run on television should be categorically exempt from the same requirements when placed in the Internet alone,” said FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel in a statement. “As a matter of policy, this simply does not make sense.”

She said the FEC should no longer “turn a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena,” and she vowed to force a conversation next year on what changes to make.

The three Republican-backed commissioners, though, said in a joint statement that Ms. Ravel’s plans would stifle what’s become the “virtual free marketplace of political ideas and democratic debate.”

FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman said what Ms. Ravel is proposing would require a massive bureaucracy digging into the corners of the web to police what’s posted about politics.

California Orders Churches To Fund Abortions—Or Else

This is real police state stuff. The Democrats’ war on the First Amendment continues. The Supreme Court has spoken on this question with the Hobby Lobby ruling, but Democrats will spend the taxpayers money if only to cost the good guys legal fees.

Via The Federalist:

For the past four years, the Obama administration and its friends on the Left were careful to claim that they still strongly support religious liberty while arguing that Hobby Lobby’s Green family, Conestoga Wood Specialties’ Hahn family, and others like them must lose. Principally, they contended, religious liberty protections could not be applied to Hobby Lobby because (1) It is a for-profit corporation, (2) It isn’t a church (and thus not a true “religious employer,” and (3) It is wrong on the science—Plan B, a copper intrauterine device, et cetera, they claimed, do not cause abortions. They implied, if not claimed outright, that they would surely support religious freedom in another case, but Hobby Lobby was unworthy to claim its protections.

The State of California is now calling their bluff. California’s Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.

At the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the DMHC concluded that a 40-year-old state law requiring health plans to cover “basic health services” had been misinterpreted all these decades. Every plan in the state was immediately ordered, effective August 22, to cover elective abortion. California had not even applied this test to its own state employee health plans (which covered only “medically necessary” abortions). But this novel reading was nevertheless quietly imposed on every plan in the state by fiat.

The news has slowly leaked out as insurers grappling with this change have begun quietly informing employers of this sudden change in the terms of their policy. This is how Kaiser Permanente broke the news to one California church that its insurance policy for its pastors and staff would now include elective abortion coverage…

Continue reading HERE.

Washington Post: 14% of Non-Citizens Registered to Vote; Enough to Swing Elections

Washington Post:

In a forthcoming article in the journal Electoral Studies, we bring real data from big social science survey datasets to bear on the question of whether, to what extent, and for whom non-citizens vote in U.S. elections. Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote. But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.

Our data comes from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). Its large number of observations (32,800 in 2008 and 55,400 in 2010) provide sufficient samples of the non-immigrant sub-population, with 339 non-citizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010. For the 2008 CCES, we also attempted to match respondents to voter files so that we could verify whether they actually voted.

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.

Hourly Earnings Down Under Obama While Rich Get Richer

A great reminder that leftism, as a philosophy, was designed expressly for the purpose of eliminating the middle class, who in publications they used to call the “bourgeoisie.

Senate Finance Committee:

For Immediate Release
October 08, 2014

Fact Sheet: Obama Economy Boosts Wall Street, Not Main Street

Middle-Class Americans Continue to Struggle Under President’s Misguided Economic Policies

Since the President took office in January 2009, middle-class Americans have been saddled with slow economic growth, weak job markets, and smaller paychecks.

Following is an analysis, prepared by the Senate Finance Committee Minority Staff, on the Obama economy:

WEAK JOB MARKETS:
When President Obama came into office, the national unemployment rate was 7.8 percent and rose to as high as 10 percent in October 2009. Today it is 5.9 percent, however:

  • The number of people who are not in the labor force has grown, despite a growing working-age population, by 12.1 million.
  • The number of people who are not in the labor force who want a job has grown by more than 640,000 during the Obama Administration.  Many simply gave up on trying to find a job in the Obama economy.
  • The employment-to-population ratio has remained consistently below 60 percent during Obama’s tenure and has barely budged and has been at 59.0 percent since June of 2014; in contrast, the ratio averaged 62.9 percent between the beginning of the year 2000 through when Obama assumed office.
  • The labor force participation rate has continued to trend downward during Obama’s tenure, from 65.7 percent when he took office to its current low of 62.7 percent.
  • Payroll job growth has been tepid over Obama’s tenure: it has averaged only 135,000 per month since the end of the recession.
  • While over 7.4 million payroll jobs were lost during the recession, there has only been a net 4.7 million jobs created over Obama’s tenure.

SMALLER PAYCHECKS:
Middle-class Americans’ take home pay has shrunk under the Obama Administration’s economic agenda:

  • Earnings have barely budged during President Obama’s tenure. Average hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, were $10.38 when the president took office; nearly six years later and a full five years and two months after the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the recession ended (June 2009), average hourly earnings are now (August, 2014) down to $10.34.
  • Inflation-adjusted median household income has fallen during President Obama’s tenurefrom $54,423 in 2008, the year before the president took office, to only $51,939 in 2013 (the last year of data availability), putting a squeeze on middle-class American families.
  • Inflation-adjusted per capita income has fallen from $29,173 in 2008 to $28,829 in 2013.
  • The number of people in poverty has risen over President Obama’s tenure. As a percent of the total population, 13.2 percent of Americans were in poverty in 2008, before the President took office. In 2013, 14.5 percent of Americans were in poverty.

SLUGGISH ECONOMIC GROWTH:
The tax-and-spend agenda of the Obama Administration has led to record high debt and anemic economic growth:

  • Annualized growth in the inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) has averaged a meager 1.7 percent over President Obama’s tenure (and averaged a tepid 2.2 percent since the end of the recession), in contrast to the long-run (1948 Q1-2014 Q2) average of 3.3 percent.
  • The Obama-era deficits have been as high as 10.2 percent of the size of the entire economy—deficit levels not seen since the years surrounding World War II.The federal budget deficit ballooned to $1.47 trillion in fiscal year (FY) 2009, fueled by the failed $800 billion-plus stimulus law that ended up costing American taxpayers close to $1 trillion, without any meaningful return to Americans in terms of improved economic outcomes.
  • Despite claims that budget austerity and the slashing of spending were the drivers of deficit reduction, the deficit reduction that has occurred since the outsized deficit in 2009 is entirely accounted for by higher federal revenues; not by spending reductions.
    • Since the high-water mark of deficits in FY 2009, deficits have fallen.  In August of FY 2014 the fiscal-year-to-date deficit was $590 billion, a $670 billion decline in the deficit of $1,260 deficit at the same time in FY 2010.  Yet the deficit reduction was more than accounted for by higher federal revenue—up $747 billion for the fiscal-year-to-date in 2014 through August relative to the same period in 2010.  Despite continuous claims of budget austerity and spending cuts, federal outlays were also up—by $76 billion for the fiscal year-to-date in 2014 through August relative to the same period in 2010.
    • For the fiscal-year-to-date in August of 2014 relative to the same period in 2010, increased federal receipts more than account for (111 percent) of the deficit reduction of $670 billion that occurred; increased federal outlays account added nothing and, in fact, detracted from deficit reduction.
    • Gross federal debt outstanding has risen by an unprecedented $7.2 trillion since President Obama took office, and currently stands at $17.9 trillion, which is over 111 percent of the size of the entire United States economy.

WALL STREET GAINS; MAIN STREET LOSES:
The low interest rate environment engineered by the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration were designed partly to boost stock markets, rewarding Wall Street while punishing savers on Main Street and nest eggs of retired Americans:

  • Stock have soared, rewarding Wall Street—between the time President Obama took office and September of this year: the NASDAQ stock index is up by more than 198 percent; the Standard & Poor’s 500 composite is up by more than 127 percent; and the Dow is up by 99 percent.
  • Rates on Main Street savings accounts have plummeted to near-zero—for example, the average deposit rate on a 12-month, $10,000 minimum Certificate of Deposit has fallen more than 90 percent, from an average of 2.1 percent in December of 2008 to 0.2 percent in September of 2014, which is not even enough to keep up with inflation.
  • Social Security Trust Funds have also received lower returns—the average interest rates paid by the U.S. Treasury to the Social Security Trust Funds on special-interest Treasury securities held by the funds has fallen by more than 36 percent during President Obama’s tenure in office:  The rate was: 3.635 percent in 2008, prior to President Obama taking office, but has fallen: to 2.917 percent in 2009; 2.760 percent in 2010; 2.417 percent in 2011; 1.458 percent in 2012; 1.875 percent in 2013; and 2.313 percent in 2014 through October.
  • Big Banks Have Gotten Bigger— total assets of the 10 largest banks in the U.S. have grown since President Obama took office, to more than $11 trillion, more than the $9.5 trillion of assets held by American households and nonprofit organizations as of the second quarter of this year.

USA Today: Obama administration most ‘dangerous’ to media in history

Washington Post:

At some point, a compendium of condemnations against the Obama administration’s record of media transparency (actually, opacity) must be assembled. Notable quotations in this vein come from former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who said, “It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering”; New York Times reporter James Risen, who said, “I think Obama hates the press”; and CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, who said, “This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.”

USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page has added a sharper edge to this set of knives. Speaking Saturday at a White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) seminar, Page called the current White House not only “more restrictive” but also “more dangerous” to the press than any other in history, a clear reference to the Obama administration’s leak investigations and its naming of Fox News’s James Rosen as a possible “co-conspirator” in a violation of the Espionage Act.

The WHCA convened the event both to strategize over how to open up the byways of the self-proclaimed most transparent administration in history, as well as to compare war stories on the many ways in which it is not.

Arizona Sheriff: 36% of illegal alien criminals turned over to Obama Administration come back

So much for the Obama repeated promise that the border has never been more secure…

Via Breitbart News:

See the video HERE.

Maricopa Co., AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio reported that 36 percent of the criminals his sheriffs turned over to ICE “keep coming back” on Monday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.

“We turn them [illegal aliens who have committed crimes] over to ICE and they should be deported. 4,000 people, I think I mentioned a while back, on your show, that nobody seems to cover until now, 4,000 people in our jails for state crimes in the last eight months,” Arpaio said. “They’re here illegally. We turn them over to ICE and 36 percent keep coming back. Last month a guy came back 25 times. So what is this? Either the border is really unsecure, or they’re letting these guys out in the streets of Maricopa County. We got a big problem” he said.  Arpaio added that releasing illegal aliens with criminal records was a “form of amnesty by the Obama administration.”

Arpaio also reported that Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte, a suspect in the shooting of three civilians and an officer, “served time in the jails that I run in 1996 … he was in and out of the jails. Here in Maricopa County, for drug-related crimes, assault weapons…he was deported twice by ICE, and he was let out on the streets of Maricopa County a couple other times.”

Arpaio also said that the Mexican border has become so dangerous, law enforcement are afraid to cross, declared “I was down at the border last week and everybody said, ‘don’t go. All the top law enforcement officials, ‘Sheriff, don’t go across the border, we don’t even go across, it’s too dangerous.’ what is this? Even law enforcement are afraid to go into Mexico? There’s something wrong, big time.”

 

Former CBS reporter: Govt bugged my computer, planted classified docs in operating system

[Note: This post is pinned to the top of the page. Please scroll down for the latest posts and updates.]

See part one of Sharyl Atkisson’s revelations HERE. Buy her book HERE. Read every word below.

UPDATEUSA Today: Obama administration most ‘dangerous’ to media in history

UPDATE IIElite Media Reporters Ignore Story

UPDATE III – Sharyl in a two minute video summarizing her experience at CBS:

New York Post:

sharyl atkisson stonewalledA former CBS News reporter who quit the network over claims it kills stories that put President Obama in a bad light says she was spied on by a “government-related entity” that planted classified documents on her computer.

In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.

“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

Attkisson says her source — identified only as “Number One” — told her the spying was most likely not court-authorized because it went on far longer than most legal taps.

But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.

In her book, Attkisson says CBS lost interest in her coverage of the deadly attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and killed her stories of the federal “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal.

Both CBS and the White House declined to comment.

 

Hillary: Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs (video)

Leftists/Marxists/Progressives/Liberals/Communists believe that wealth and prosperity come from government bureaucracies. There is a small amount of truth to that as they are quite adept at enriching themselves, their donors and their cronies with your money.

Appearing at a Boston rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley on Friday, Hillary Clinton told the crowd gathered at the Park Plaza Hotel not to listen to anybody who says that “businesses create jobs.” “Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs,” Clinton said.

Americans Renouncing Citizenship Continues at Record Level

Wall Street Journal:

Significant numbers of people are continuing to renounce their U.S. citizenship or end their long-term U.S. residency.

There are 776 names on the Treasury Department list published Friday for the third quarter of 2014.

That’s the third highest quarterly figure ever, according to Andrew Mitchel, an international tax lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tracks the data. The total number of published renouncers so far in 2014 is 2,353, putting this year on pace to exceed last year’s record total of 2,999, adds Mr. Mitchel.

 

Former CBS reporter’s book reveals how CBS News protected Obama, Spun for Advertisers

Read every last word to learn how CBS systematically inserted political and advertiser bias in its reporting. Buy her book HERE.

sharyl atkisson stonewalled


New York Post
:

Sharyl Attkisson is an unreasonable woman. Important people have told her so.

When the longtime CBS reporter asked for details about reinforcements sent to the Benghazi compound during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor replied, “I give up, Sharyl . . . I’ll work with more reasonable folks that follow up, I guess.”

Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

Two of her former bosses, CBS Evening News executive producers Jim Murphy and Rick Kaplan, called her a “pit bull.”

That was when Sharyl was being nice.

Now that she’s no longer on the CBS payroll, this pit bull is off the leash and tearing flesh off the behinds of senior media and government officials. In her new memoir/exposé “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington” (Harper), Attkisson unloads on her colleagues in big-time TV news for their cowardice and cheerleading for the Obama administration while unmasking the corruption, misdirection and outright lying of today’s Washington political machine.

Calling herself “politically agnostic,” Attkisson, a five-time Emmy winner, says she simply follows the story, and the money, wherever it leads her.

In nearly 20 years at CBS News, she has done many stories attacking Republicans and corporate America, and she points out that TV news, being reluctant to offend its advertisers, has become more and more skittish about, for instance, stories questioning pharmaceutical companies or car manufacturers.

Working on a piece that raised questions about the American Red Cross disaster response, she says a boss told her, “We must do nothing to upset our corporate partners . . . until the stock splits.” (Parent company Viacom and CBS split in 2006).

Meanwhile, she notes, “CBS This Morning” is airing blatant advertorials such as a three-minute segment pushing TGI Fridays’ all-you-can-eat appetizer promotion or four minutes plugging a Doritos taco shell sold at Taco Bell.

Reporters on the ground aren’t necessarily ideological, Attkisson says, but the major network news decisions get made by a handful of New York execs who read the same papers and think the same thoughts.

Often they dream up stories beforehand and turn the reporters into “casting agents,” told “we need to find someone who will say . . .” that a given policy is good or bad. “We’re asked to create a reality that fits their New York image of what they believe,” she writes.

Reporting on the many green-energy firms such as Solyndra that went belly-up after burning through hundreds of millions in Washington handouts, Attkisson ran into increasing difficulty getting her stories on the air. A colleague told her about the following exchange: “[The stories] are pretty significant,” said a news exec. “Maybe we should be airing some of them on the ‘Evening News?’ ” Replied the program’s chief Pat Shevlin, “What’s the matter, don’t you support green energy?”

Says Attkisson: That’s like saying you’re anti-medicine if you point out pharmaceutical company fraud.

A piece she did about how subsidies ended up at a Korean green-energy firm — your tax dollars sent to Korea! — at first had her bosses excited but then was kept off the air and buried on the CBS News Web site. Producer Laura Strickler told her Shevlin “hated the whole thing.”

Attkisson mischievously cites what she calls the “Substitution Game”: She likes to imagine how a story about today’s administration would have been handled if it made Republicans look bad.

In green energy, for instance: “Imagine a parallel scenario in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally appeared at groundbreakings for, and used billions of tax dollars to support, multiple giant corporate ventures whose investors were sometimes major campaign bundlers, only to have one (or two, or three) go bankrupt . . . when they knew in advance the companies’ credit ratings were junk.”

Attkisson continued her dogged reporting through the launch of ObamaCare: She’s the reporter who brought the public’s attention to the absurdly small number — six — who managed to sign up for it on day one.

“Many in the media,” she writes, “are wrestling with their own souls: They know that ObamaCare is in serious trouble, but they’re conflicted about reporting that. Some worry that the news coverage will hurt a cause that they personally believe in. They’re all too eager to dismiss damaging documentary evidence while embracing, sometimes unquestioningly, the Obama administration’s ever-evolving and unproven explanations.”

One of her bosses had a rule that conservative analysts must always be labeled conservatives, but liberal analysts were simply “analysts.” “And if a conservative analyst’s opinion really rubbed the supervisor the wrong way,” says Attkisson, “she might rewrite the script to label him a ‘right-wing’ analyst.”

In mid-October 2012, with the presidential election coming up, Attkisson says CBS suddenly lost interest in airing her reporting on the Benghazi attacks. “The light switch turns off,” she writes. “Most of my Benghazi stories from that point on would be reported not on television, but on the Web.”

Two expressions that became especially popular with CBS News brass, she says, were “incremental” and “piling on.” These are code for “excuses for stories they really don’t want, even as we observe that developments on stories they like are aired in the tiniest of increments.”

Hey, kids, we found two more Americans who say they like their ObamaCare! Let’s do a lengthy segment.

When the White House didn’t like her reporting, it would make clear where the real power lay. A flack would send a blistering e-mail to her boss, David Rhodes, CBS News’ president — and Rhodes’s brother Ben, a top national security advisor to President Obama.

The administration, with the full cooperation of the media, has successfully turned “Benghazi” into a word associated with nutters, like “Roswell” or “grassy knoll,” but Attkisson notes that “the truth is that most of the damaging information came from Obama administration insiders. From government documents. From sources who were outraged by their own government’s behavior and what they viewed as a coverup.”

Similarly, though the major media can’t mention the Fast and Furious scandal without a world-weary eyeroll, Attkisson points out that the story led to the resignation of a US attorney and the head of the ATF and led President Obama to invoke for the first time “executive privilege” to stanch the flow of damaging information.

Attkisson, who received an Emmy and the Edward R. Murrow award for her trailblazing work on the story, says she made top CBS brass “incensed” when she appeared on Laura Ingraham’s radio show and mentioned that Obama administration officials called her up to literally scream at her while she was working the story.

One angry CBS exec called to tell Attkisson that Ingraham is “extremely, extremely far right” and that Attkisson shouldn’t appear on her show anymore. Attkisson was puzzled, noting that CBS reporters aren’t barred from appearing on lefty MSNBC shows.

She was turning up leads tying the Fast and Furious scandal (which involved so many guns that ATF officials initially worried that a firearm used in the Tucson shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords might have been one of them) to an ever-expanding network of cases when she got an e-mail from Katie Couric asking if it was OK for Couric to interview Eric Holder, whom Couric knew socially, about the scandal. Sure, replied Attkisson.

No interview with Holder aired but “after that weekend e-mail exchange, nothing is the same at work,” Attkisson writes. “The Evening News” began killing her stories on Fast and Furious, with one producer telling Attkisson, “You’ve reported everything. There’s really nothing left to say.”

Readers are left to wonder whether Holder told Couric to stand down on the story.

Attkisson left CBS News in frustration earlier this year. In the book she cites the complete loss of interest in investigative stories at “CBS Evening News” under new host Scott Pelley and new executive producer Shevlin.

She notes that the program, which under previous hosts Dan Rather, Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer largely gave her free rein, became so hostile to real reporting that investigative journalist Armen Keteyian and his producer Keith Summa asked for their unit to be taken off the program’s budget (so they could pitch stories to other CBS News programs), then Summa left the network entirely.

When Attkisson had an exclusive, on-camera interview lined up with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the YouTube filmmaker Hillary Clinton blamed for the Benghazi attacks, CBS News president Rhodes nixed the idea: “That’s kind of old news, isn’t it?” he said.

Sensing the political waters had become too treacherous, Attkisson did what she thought was an easy sell on a school-lunch fraud story that “CBS This Morning” “enthusiastically accepted,” she says, and was racing to get on air, when suddenly “the light switch went off . . . we couldn’t figure out what they saw as a political angle to this story.”

The story had nothing to do with Michelle Obama, but Attkisson figures that the first lady’s association with school lunches, and/or her friendship with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, might have had something to do with execs now telling her the story “wasn’t interesting to their audience, after all.”

A story on waste at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, planned for the CBS Weekend News, was watered down and turned into a “bland non-story” before airing: An exec she doesn’t identify who was Shevlin’s “number two,” she says, “reacted as if the story had disparaged his best friend. As if his best friend were Mr. Federal Government. ‘Well, this is all the states’ fault!’ . . . he sputtered.”

Meanwhile, she says, though no one confronted her directly, a “whisper campaign” began; “If I offered a story on pretty much any legitimate controversy involving government, instead of being considered a good journalistic watchdog, I was anti-Obama.”

Yet it was Attkisson who broke the story that the Bush administration had once run a gun-walking program similar to Fast and Furious, called Wide Receiver. She did dozens of tough-minded stories on Bush’s FDA, the TARP program and contractors such as Halliburton. She once inspired a seven-minute segment on “The Rachel Maddow Show” with her reporting on the suspicious charity of a Republican congressman, Steve Buyer.

Attkisson is a born whistleblower, but CBS lost interest in the noise she was making.

Ignoring Attkisson proved damaging to CBS in other ways. When a senior producer she doesn’t identify came to her in 2004 bubbling about documents that supposedly showed then-President George W. Bush shirked his duties during the Vietnam War, she took one look at the documents and said, “They looked like they were typed by my daughter on a computer yesterday.”

Asked to do a followup story on the documents, she flatly refused, citing an ethics clause in her contract. “And if you make me, I’ll have to call my lawyer,” she said. “Nobody ever said another word” to her about reporting on the documents, which turned out to be unverifiable and probably fake.

After Pelley and Shevlin aired a report that wrongly tarnished reports by Attkisson (and Jonathan Karl of ABC News) on how the administration scrubbed its talking points of references to terrorism after Benghazi, and did so without mentioning that the author of some of the talking points, Ben Rhodes, was the brother of the president of CBS News, she says a colleague told her, “[CBS] is selling you down the river. They’ll gladly sacrifice your reputation to save their own. If you don’t stand up for yourself, nobody will.”

After reading the book, you won’t question whether CBS News or Attkisson is more trustworthy.

NYT: Obama IRS Seizing Cash From Small Businesses. No Charges Filed….

…and letting the small business pay lawyers thousands to sue the government and try to get their money back.

There used to be about a hundred of these types of seizures per year, The Obama Administration did 639 just in 2012 alone.

New York Times:

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

[Editor’s Note: This is an admission that the IRS knew that they were seizing money from people they knew full well were innocent.]

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal structuring case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

 

Obamacare ‘bronze’ plan premiums going up 14% in 2015

The plans are already expensive and have outrageous deductibles. Too many doctors and hospitals will not accept the insurance. Now this.

Washington Times:

Obamacare “bronze” plan owners may be in for a shock next year. Investors predict the cheapest healthcare offering under the Affordable Care Act could jump nearly 14 percent in price.

In an analysis of expected rates for the biggest 15 cities in the nation, including Washington, D.C., Investor’s Business Daily reported Friday that the cost for the plan could increase by an average of 13.9 percent for 40-year-old non-smokers earning 225 percent of the poverty level.

Plan owners in Seattle, Wash. will see the biggest price difference. The cost of the bronze plan, after subsidies, will jump by 64 percent, from $60 to $98 per month.

In Providence, R.I., the plan cost is expected to soar from $72 to $99 per month, from $88 to $111 in Los Angeles, $100 to $122 in Las Vegas, and $97 to $114 in New York.

Millions of people who did not enroll in ObamaCare last year are expected to sign up for a plan during the open enrollment session in 2015, but the increase in pricing could negatively impact that enrollment.

Some potential enrollees could opt out of their plans because of the double-digit cost increases, and younger enrollees may chose emergency “catastrophic” plans available to those under 30. However, if younger enrollees opt for emergency care plans, they are then grouped separately, leaving the a main insurance pool filled with relatively older and more costly participants.

 

 

Obamacare: 222,000 Insurance Policies in Colorado to be Cancelled by 2015

Via The Daily Caller:

Over 22,000 Coloradoans have had their health insurance canceled by Obamacare in the past month — and 200,000 are slated to be shut down in 2015, the state insurance department announced Friday.

The Colorado Division of Insurance wrote to state Senate Republicans Friday, notifying them that five more insurance carriers have ended plans for 18,783 more Coloradoans in just the last month. By far, the most canceled plans will come from Humana Insurance Company and Humana Health Plan.

That brings the state’s Obamacare total to almost 340,000 canceled plans, according to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who’s in a tight race for Senate with incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Udall.

“Coloradoans continue to pay the price for Senator Udall’s broken promise,” Gardner said in a statement Friday. “It’s unfortunate that Senator Udall has been so eager to please President Obama that he has forgotten thousands of Coloradoans across our state.”

Widespread Obamacare cancellations have been a political loser for Obamacare-supporters across the country, but the issue is especially fraught in Colorado.

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