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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 05, 2017

Mother of All Media Cover-ups . . .

. . . Why are the media ignoring one of the biggest bombshell revelations of the past 8 years, the unmasking of Obama associates like Susan Rice.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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President Trump's Triumph: The House Repeals Obamacare

by Newt Gingrich: What happened Thursday in the House of Representatives was an extraordinary victory for President Donald J. Trump.

The Art of the Deal has clearly come to Washington.

The effort to repeal Obamacare seemed to have foundered on a handful of votes.

The enthusiasm that it could be passed easily collapsed when different members decided they were not comfortable with one provision or another.

Efforts to modify the bill to please the conservative Freedom Caucus led the Tuesday Group moderates to back off from the bill.

The legislative ping pong that ensued between the organized conservatives and organized moderates caused members in the middle of the two coalitions to begin getting nervous.

Speaker Paul Ryan correctly pointed out that we were watching a party which had spent six years as the opposition majority painfully learning to be a governing majority.

Ryan, working with his close friend, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (a fellow cheesehead from Wisconsin), however, just kept plugging away.

While the health care bill seemed blocked by lack of a few votes, the budget passed, a number of other issues moved forward, and work on the job-creating tax cut bill progressed.

And then this week the dam broke. Suddenly, members began to find amendments and modifications that enabled them to vote for the repeal of Obamacare. Mark Meadows, leader of the Freedom Caucus, deserves a lot of credit for having insisted since the first try failed that a compromise could be found. Tom MacArthur, leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, also deserves praise for keeping the lines of communication open. Both Meadows and MacArthur worked tirelessly to ensure collaboration with the White House in order to construct a bill that could get majority support.

Politico illustrated the Meadows-MacArthur’s working relationship in a story published today:
“Many House Republicans rolled their eyes at the prospect of the two lawmakers from opposite ends of the party striking a deal. But the duo talked almost every day over a several-week stretch, even touching base on Easter. Eventually, they came up with a framework that Meadows believed could deliver 15 to 20 additional conservatives votes.”Yet all those efforts would have failed if President Trump had not supplied the magic of his personality, persistence, energy, imagination, and creativity. The president relentlessly reached out to individual members, listened to their concerns and ideas, and then brainstormed with them to find solutions.

The really impressive thing about President Trump throughout this mini-saga though was his steady, steadfast determination to keep grinding forward until he got the job done.

My friend and adviser, Randy Evans often points out that winning teams win.

As Randy said after the vote Thursday, President Trump is teaching Republicans how to win.
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

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Democrat Resistance, Wrong Again, The Ferguson Effect

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Democrat Resistance - I have been struck by the incredible reaction of Democrats to yesterday's House vote to repeal Obamacare. Everyone knows Obamacare is not working.

Yesterday, I told you that major insurers were abandoning the healthcare exchanges in Iowa and Virginia. One of the largest insurers in the Washington, D.C., metro area now says that Obamacare is in a death spiral and it is asking for a 50% increase in premiums.

Yet not one House Democrat yesterday voted for the changes to this failed law. When the tally reached 216 votes needed for passage, House Democrats started rejoicing. They were taunting Republicans and celebrating their electoral prospects next year.

They could have offered amendments and suggested useful changes. But the only thing they are interested in is winning the next election and stopping Donald Trump.

During her CNN interview this week, Hillary Clinton said that she is starting a political action committee and joining the resistance. What is "the resistance?" This is not a term ever used before in American politics. The Resistance were the people in occupied Europe who fought against the Nazis during World War II.

Another example is the Taylor Force Act, which has been introduced in the House and the Senate. This is the kind of bill that in any other time would have enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The legislation prevents U.S. taxpayer dollars from going to any Palestinian entity that pays the families of terrorists. But not one Democrat in the House or the Senate has been willing to cosponsor this commonsense, pro-Israel legislation.

Let me remind you that among last year's leaked emails from John Podesta was an exchange in which Clinton operatives decided to cut statements of support for Israel from Hillary's stump speech because it would anger the left-wing activist base.

This is not your father's Democrat Party!

By the way, according to Politico, left-wing groups raised more than $1 million after yesterday's vote. And they are pouring money into upcoming special elections. We have to fight back!

Wrong Again - Speaking of Hillary, she was honored this week at Planned Parenthood's 100th anniversary gala in New York City with the "Champion of the Century Award." While there, Mrs. Clinton warned the pro-abortion audience that America was becoming like the horrible fictional state described in The Handmaid's Tale.

If you're not familiar with The Handmaid's Tale, it's a book written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood in 1985 in reaction to Ronald Reagan's election. Here's the gist of the story: In the theocratic Republic of Gilead, a future America where the "religious right" takes power, women essentially become slaves, unable to own property, work outside the home, have money, etc.

It was made into a movie and has just been redone for TV. The left has seized on The Handmaid's Tale as a metaphor for Donald Trump's election. Articles and memes are ubiquitous right now, which is why Hillary referenced it in her speech to Planned Parenthood.

But in its zeal to demonize Christians and conservatives, the left has it entirely wrong. What The Handmaid's Tale describes is certainly not Donald Trump's America or the condition of women in any predominantly Christian nation.

It does, however, perfectly describe the condition of many women today in the Islamic world who suffer under Sharia law.

Yet in almost every article I have read, every interview I have watched, no one is willing to make that obvious comparison. Meanwhile, the left continues to make common cause with the most regressive force in the world when it comes to women's rights -- radical Islam.

The Ferguson Effect - A recent FBI report examined dozens of cases in which police officers were killed in the line of duty last year. The findings are chilling.

In more than a quarter of the cases, the FBI determined the assailants were motived by a desire to "kill law enforcement" officers. Many were "inspired by social and/or political reasons" and felt they were "getting justice" by killing cops.

Sadly, they were often heavily influenced by "what they heard and read in the media about other incidents involving law enforcement shootings." In other words, they were inspired by fake news.

More often than not, initial media reports do not explain all the facts. Many relevant details may not become public until months later -- after thorough investigations or during trials.

The report warns that many police officers, for their own safety, are now "de-policing" as a result of the hostile, anti-law enforcement environment that emerged after the 2014 Ferguson riots. When the police retreat, the gangs and criminals take over. This is making everyone less safe.

Consider this excerpt from the FBI report:

"Nearly every police official interviewed agreed that for the first time, law enforcement not only felt that their national political leaders [publicly] stood against them, but also that the politicians' words and actions signified that disrespect to law enforcement was acceptable in the aftermath of the Brown shooting. . . Law enforcement officials believe that defiance and hostility displayed by assailants toward law enforcement appears to be the new norm."I hope every elected official from Congress to the city council reads this report. Disrespect for the men and women on the thin blue line must never become "the new norm."

Thankfully, we now have a president and an attorney general who are 100% committed to law and order, committed to making America safe again.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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211,000 Jobs Created in April, Unemployment Falls to 4.4%

by John Carney: The American job creation machine was re-ignited in April after a disappointing March. Payrolls grew by 211,000 jobs in the months and unemployment fell to 4.4 percent, the lowest since May 2007.

The consensus forecast of economists was for job growth of 185,000 and for a slight increase in unemployment.

A broader measure of unemployment known as U-6, which includes people not actively looking for jobs as well as workers who can only find part-time jobs, fell to 8.6 percent from 8.9 percent in March, the lowest level since November 2007. Somewhat strangely, the decline in unemployment and rise in job creation was accompanied by a tick downward in the labor force participation rate to 62.9 percent.

Wages grew seven cents an hour to an annualized pace of 2.5 percent, a decline from March’s 2.7 percent rate. Economists had expected wage growth to remain unchanged. The decline in the pace of wage growth may partly be explained by types of jobs that were created in March. These were concentrated in less productive, lower paying fields, with leisure and hospitality leading the way with 55,000 positions.

March now seems to have been even more dismal than originally thought. The initial read of 98,000 jobs was revised down to 79,000, a remarkably low number. February, however, was revised upward to 232,000 from 219,000.

Overall, the report suggests that the economy is growing at a healthy pace despite the poor jobs number in March and sluggish first quarter GDP showing.
John Carney reports for Breitbart where comments are welcome

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Israel Scores Moral Victory At UNESCO While Sweden Disgraces Itself . . .

. . . Anti-Israel vote at UNESCO seen as political defeat for Arab bloc.
by Ari Lieberman: Tuesday, May 2, was a good day for Israel at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization but not such a good day for the Arab bloc and their allies. As Israel was celebrating its 69th year of independence, the Arab bloc, instigated by the “Palestinians” and composed of dysfunctional nations like Lebanon and Sudan, submitted anti-Semitic resolution to UNESCO’s executive board seeking to undermine Israel and its nexus to Jerusalem and other sites of importance to Jewry as well as Christendom.

The resolution reaffirms previous UNESCO resolutions which offer skewed versions of history that are entirely divorced from reality. Jerusalem is once again referred to as “occupied” and Kever Rachel or Rachel’s Tomb, a site referenced and revered by Jews world over for over 3,000 years, is referred to as the “Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque” and a “Palestinian site.” The Arabs of Judea & Samaria, who have no real culture or history of their own, have aggressively engaged in a form of cultural appropriation, adopting Jewish sites as their own or otherwise Islamofying them.

The resolution also “deplores” attacks on UNRWA schools without noting that Hamas terrorists have been caught stockpiling their rockets in UNRWA schools and have often fired their rockets and mortars from school grounds. It calls on Israel to lift its “closure” on the Gaza Strip without noting that Israel imposes no restrictions on humanitarian aid entering the Strip but that Hamas continuously attempts to smuggle arms – including long-range rockets – into the Strip for the sole purpose of attacking civilian infrastructure.

It’s not the first time that UNESCO has sunk to the depths of depravity. Twice last year – in April and then again in October – similar resolutions were forwarded and passed. This year was no different but it appears that with each resolution, the Arab bloc is losing significant support.

Last April the Arab bloc secured 33 yes votes. In October it only managed to secure 24. In the instant vote, the Arab blocked eked out only 22 yes votes. But the no votes increased significantly from 6 to 10. The final tally was 22 yes, 10 no, 23 abstentions and 3 no shows.

More significantly, the only democratic European government to side with the despots in this round was Sweden, a nation led by a cowardly and hypocritical leftist government that has firmly ensconced itself with those who favor medieval despotism over democratic values. The Arab block may have won this political bout but it was a pyrrhic victory at best. The voting pattern appears to be working firmly in Israel’s favor with the Arab bloc hemorrhaging support with each successive vote.

Germany, the United States, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Paraguay, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Togo and Ukraine threw their support behind Israel. In times past, many of these nations, like Greece and Togo, would have automatically sided with the Arab bloc. India, which has historically aligned itself with the Arab bloc, abstained. Relations between Israel and India have warmed in recent years with the latter seeking Israeli expertise on everything from water purification techniques to military technology. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the process of warming ties has only accelerated. Modi is scheduled to visit Israel this summer – the first time an Indian PM has visited the Jewish State – where he is expected to seal significant defense deals, which reportedly includes procurement of the Barak-8 air defense missile system for the Indian Navy and the Spike anti-tank guided missile for the army.

Despite the fact that Israel scored a moral victory and its global political outreach strategy appears to be yielding dividends, Israel still has a score to settle with Sweden, a nation whose government has systematically voted against Israel in every UN forum and has publicly adopted viscerally hostile attitudes toward its democratically elected government. Sweden’s rancid foreign minister, Margot Wallström, falsely accused Israel of committing extrajudicial killings and obscenely blamed ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, on Israel.

Sweden’s most recent UNESCO’s vote also lays bare its government’s abject hypocrisy. Sweden claims to champion human rights but its voting record and dealings with despotic Muslim nations tell a markedly different story.

In fact, Sweden was rumored to be one of the five EU nations (Belgium has since apologized for its vote) that voted in a secret ballot to place Saudi Arabia on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a body designed to promote women’s rights and gender equality. Saudi Arabia is a nation that punishes rape victims, forbids women from driving, forces women to don oppressive Islamic style coverings when appearing in public and executes gays.

In February, a high-level Swedish government delegation composed of mostly self-described “feminists,” donned hijabs and long coats while on an official state visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran. While Iran was busy suppressing its own people, exporting terror and visiting destruction on Syria, Yemen and other regions throughout the Mideast, the hijab-wearing, sharia compliant Swedish feminists were busy signing trade agreements with the tyrannical mullahs.

Following the vote, Israel rightfully summoned Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, Carl Magnus Nesser for a well-deserved dressing-down. But this mild political tap dance may be insufficient to persuade the Swedes to alter their tone. It is clear that the current radical leftist Swedish government has decided to ally themselves with anti-Semitic xenophobes and despots. It should be just as clear that the time has come to send Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, packing.
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region. He is an author at FrontPage Mag an outreach of the the David Horowitz Freedom Center. David Horowitz is a Contributing Author of the ARRA News Service

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U.S. House Takes First Step in Repealing Obamacare

by Grover Norquist: The U.S. House of Representatives passed The American Health Care Act (AHCA) 217 to 213. It's the first step in repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a market-driven, patient-focused health care system. Conservatives will need to keep pressure on the U.S. Senate to move the repeal process forward.

I can guarantee the Establishment Media will fail to highlight several key facts about this legislation. The American Health Care Act is a $1 trillion tax cut and a $1.1 trillion spending cut over the next decade. Passing this bill makes fundamental tax reform possible this year. This is a giant step forward in lowering taxes, cutting spending, and reforming our nation's health care system.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) abolishes the following taxes imposed by Obama and the Democrat party as part of Obamacare:
  • Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax. Together with a repeal of the Individual Mandate Tax, this is a $270 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare's Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts. This is a $6 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare's Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans. This is a $20 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare's Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This is a $126 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare's HSA withdrawal tax. This is a $100 million tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare's 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services. This is a $600 million tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax. This is a $145 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income. This is a $172 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax. This is a $20 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine. This is a $28 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage. This is a $2 billion tax cut.
Thank you for all your efforts to move this health care bill forward. With your help, we will repeal Obamacare.
Grover Norquist is President of Americans for Tax Reform

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Let Us Now Praise Principled Men

by Peter Hong: On March 24, following the House Republican leadership’s decision to temporarily withdraw the “American Health Care Act” from floor consideration, House Freedom Caucus Chairman U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) released a statement:

“I promised the people of North Carolina’s 11th District that I would fight for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement with a market-driven approach that brings down costs and provides more choices for the American people. I remain wholeheartedly committed to following through on this promise. I know President Trump is committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a system that works for American families, and I look forward to working with him to do just that.”

That was it. No declaration of victory. No finger pointing at the House Republican leadership for twisting Republican arms to support a historically unpopular bill. No complaints.

At the height of the newly gained notoriety that he seemed to disdain rather than enjoy, Meadows simply restated the promise he made to his constituents to repeal and replace Obamacare and quietly pledged to work with President Trump on fulfilling that promise.

Following the non-vote in the House, Meadows and his Freedom Caucus colleagues kept their heads down, their mouth shuts, and their doors open. Now, barely a month later, they have something to show for it.

Last week, the House Freedom Caucus had announced its support for an agreement between Meadows and moderate U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) that would address the biggest health care challenge facing America: the soaring cost of medical care. The MacArthur amendment would grant states the ability to repeal cost driving aspects of Obamacare left in place under the original AHCA. By allowing states to opt out of cost inflators, such as Essential Health Benefits and community rating rules, the MacArthur amendment vastly improves the AHCA from a common-sense, pro-federalism, “how much is health care going to cost me” perspective. Unlike the original AHCA, it gets to the heart of the matter: making health care more affordable and accessible.

As the Freedom Caucus itself concedes, the MacArthur amendment does not outright repeal Obamacare. Amidst seven years of promises and scores of hollow “repeal” votes to the contrary, the leadership of this Congress has made it very clear that Obamacare in some form is here to stay. The MacArthur amendment does give red state voters in places like Texas some power through their state officials to bring down health care costs. For voters in solidly blue states like California or Oregon, federalism offers the opportunity to vote with their feet.

The compromise was solidified with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) further amendment providing an additional $8 billion funding for those with preexisting conditions in states that opt out of the Obamacare regulations.

So, if Obamacare will not be repealed in its entirety, what was the significance of the Freedom Caucus “March Resistance?” First, it resulted in the best health care measure this House appears capable of producing, which is essential since the House-passed bill will almost certainly represent the high-water mark of this debate. Second, it taught the House leadership that conservatives are willing to compromise, so long as we’re not forced to compromise on our principles or our promises. Also, legislating should be done out in the open; the era of backroom shenanigans and stealth bills that can’t be read before the vote should be ended.

Finally, it restored — at least for a moment — the quaint notion that you can rise about politics if you stand on principle. As a Democrat, Harry S. Truman, once said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Or in the case of the resolute members of the House Freedom Caucus — the blame.

In a statement Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning praised the compromise in part, saying, “The health care replacement, while far from perfect, is substantially better than it would have been thanks to the hard work of the Freedom Caucus, the White House and House negotiators, achieving a result that respects the states through the state opt-out provision of Obamacare’s insurance regulations and ending the tyranny of the individual and employer mandates.”

But Manning added, although it was “a step in the right direction,” it could be further improved by the Senate by “defunding law and rules that prevent individuals from purchasing insurance across state lines, removing the continuing coverage penalty and eliminating the tax subsidies for insurance and federal subsidies for Medicaid expansion that make no sense once you have a national marketplace for insurance. Nobody will think they need subsidies if in a competitive marketplace insurance premiums are dropping.”

Obviously there is more that can be done, but it’s not often these days when principle wins out over partisanship or political self-interest. We should remember to recognize and savor those few fleeting moments — and the individuals who create them — before they pass us by.
Peter Hong is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.

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Get Government Out of the Internet’s Business

Free the Interent
by Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson & Mike Lee: Why would the former head of a federal agency write an opinion essay defending a federal regulation he created without ever naming the regulation he is trying to defend?

Because he doesn’t want you to know there was a time when the regulation never existed.

First, some back story. Progressive activists have always been uncomfortable with the unregulated nature of the Internet. So when Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, they immediately began lobbying his campaign for so-called net neutrality regulations that would enable the federal government to begin regulating the Internet the same way the federal government regulates telephone companies.

In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission released its “Open Internet Order,” which allowed federal bureaucrats to begin engineering the Internet as they saw fit. The nation’s Internet service providers thought the Internet was working just fine without these new regulations so they sued in federal court to block them — and won.

Concerned that an independent agency wasn’t accomplishing then-President Barack Obama’s progressive agenda, in November 2014, the administration urged the FCC to create a new legal justification for their net-neutrality policy using the same regulations designed for public utilities. The “independent” FCC capitulated and adopted a new Open Internet Order in February 2015. That regulation is also being challenged in court, but the ongoing litigation may be moot because new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced April 26 that the FCC would be revoking the order it imposed on the Internet just two years ago.

Enter Tom Wheeler, Obama’s former FCC chairman, and two of our Democratic colleagues in the Senate, who wrote a commentary for The Post the same day Pai made his announcement, and claimed, “For as long as the Internet has existed, it has been grounded on the principle of net neutrality.” But the term “net neutrality” didn’t even exist until 2003, and the regulation the rest of the op-ed goes on to defend is barely two years old.

The reason Wheeler et al. want to keep their audience ignorant of this history becomes clear when they make the case for Pai keeping the new net-neutrality regulations: “Net neutrality also allows small businesses to compete against the largest, most profitable corporations. Here’s just one example. In 2005, three guys set up shop above a pizzeria in a strip mall in San Mateo, Calif., where they launched the now-ubiquitous YouTube. Video-sharing websites were in their infancy, but these guys already faced competition from something called Google Video. Because of net neutrality, YouTube was able to contend with Google on a level playing field.”

It’s a nice story, except for the fact that the very FCC regulation these senators claim allowed YouTube to be created in 2005 didn’t even exist until 2015. In fact, this story proves our point: The Internet was not broken when the FCC began its crusade to fix it. Its 2015 Open Internet Order was a solution in search of a problem. In the 400 pages that comprise the order, the FCC relied solely on hypothetical harms, using words such as “may,” “could,” “might” and “potential” on several hundred occasions. If these imaginary threats were all it took for the FCC to subjugate ISPs, what flimsy explanation would it need to control the rest of the Internet ecosystem?

We reject the idea that the federal government should control the Internet. That’s why we have introduced the Restoring Internet Freedom Act, which will complement Pai’s efforts to repeal the 2015 Internet takeover by preventing the FCC from issuing any similar regulations in the future. Decades of bipartisan consensus rejected this notion, too. In 1998, a group of Democratic senators wrote to President Bill Clinton’s FCC chairman, Bill Kennard, seeking “to make it clear that nothing in the 1996 Act or its legislative history suggests that Congress intended to alter the current classification of Internet and other information services or to expand traditional telephone regulation to new and advanced services.”

This is because traditional telephone regulation was designed to regulate a 1930s monopoly, not the vibrant Internet. As Pai recently explained, “regulations designed for monopoly will push the market further toward monopoly.” This is not what is best for citizens in Utah, Wisconsin, Texas or the rest of the country. We want more competition, not less. More investment, not less. More innovation, not less. We support an open Internet. But we reject the notion that heavy-handed regulations are the way to accomplish this goal.
Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah are Republican members of the U.S. Senate.

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Separation of Senators

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: The separation of powers doctrine has been a bedrock principle of small-r republican government. Each branch — legislative, executive, judicial — should be independent, and check the power of the other branches.

This requires that no person hold positions simultaneously in more than one branch of government.

Which brings us to Nevada State Senator Heidi Gansert. In addition to being a legislator, she’s currently employed by the University of Nevada-Reno as executive director for external relations . . . an executive branch position.

One can certainly understand why she wants to keep her prestigious legislative perch, while maintaining her annual $203,000 from the university. But those pesky folks at the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation insist Gansert adhere to the constitution.

They’ve filed a lawsuit.

As if to dramatize why “separation of powers” matters, consider Senate Bill 358, which sought to reform civil asset forfeiture in Nevada. The legislation couldn’t get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where State Senator Nicole Cannizzaro is vice-chair. She also holds a $99,000 position as a Clark County deputy district attorney.

“Senator Cannizzaro’s presence on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as it pertains to forfeiture legislation, begs for a lesson on separation of powers,” the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s Daniel Honchariw wrote in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“Reform would’ve meant less money for district attorneys,” Honchariw explained, “which, in addition to police departments, directly profit from forfeitures.”

Nevada’s legal precedent on separation of powers is less clear-cut regarding Cannizzaro’s conflicting role in local government, than for Gansert’s state position. But the potential for mischief is the same — and obvious.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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Radical Indoctrination

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Last week I talked about concerns about Islamic indoctrination in the public schools. Apparently the problem is much worse, at least according to a recent article by Nancy Flory on The Latest in the Radical Indoctrination of Public Schools. She is the associate editor of “The Stream” which is where her article appears.

Students in a Florida middle school brought home a disturbing survey. The teacher asked her students to answer questions about different situations. These sixth graders were asked what they would do if asked to go to a gay bar. How would they react if someone of the same sex asked them to dance? How would they feel if they saw black men approaching them in a black neighborhood? The questions came from a book titled Exploring White Privilege.

Parents and administrators realized something wasn’t right. Even the kids knew something was wrong. One student told a local TV station that she felt the survey by the teacher was “very inappropriate.”

Lest you think this is an isolated event, Nancy Flory provides other examples. A lawsuit in Maryland arose because of a class project that instructed the students to write out the Islamic creed, the Shahada, and even recite the Five Pillars of Islam. If that was not enough, the students were also “subjected to disparaging teachings about Christianity.”

A first-grade book titled Jacob’s New Dress was in classrooms in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. After some outrage from state legislators, the school pulled the book. But then replaced it with Red: A Crayon’s Story. It is a story about a red crayon that self-identifies as a blue crayon. Apparently educators believe we need to teach first-graders about transgender issues.

Her article is a reminder that we need to be ever vigilant to the radical indoctrination that is taking place in the schools today.
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

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Trump’s Executive Order Fails to Address Most Pressing Religious Liberty Threats

President Trump Executive Order:
"Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty"
by Dr. Ryan T. Anderson: President Donald Trump said he’d promote commonsense policies that would “Make America Great Again” and would stand up to politically correct bullying from the left.

So why isn’t he doing that in the case of religious freedom?

Twice now, he has failed to stand up for commonsense policy on religious liberty when liberal opponents lashed out against it.

Back in February, he caved to the protests of liberal special interest groups as he declined to issue an executive order on religious liberty that had been leaked to hostile press.

He issued an executive order on “free speech and religious liberty” that does not address the major threats to religious liberty in the United States today.

The executive order is woefully inadequate. Trump campaigned promising Americans that he would protect their religious liberty rights and correct the violations that took place during the previous administration.

Trump’s election was about correcting problems of the last administration, including religious liberty violations and the hostility to people of faith in the United States. This order does not do that. It is a mere shadow of the original draft leaked in February.

As I explain in my new book from Oxford University Press, “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” religious liberty is a birthright of all Americans. And yet over recent years, Americans saw their religious liberty rights under assault as never before.

The Trump administration still has time to take meaningful action to reverse those trends, so that all Americans may seek out and serve God and their neighbors according to their own convictions, not the government’s.

All Americans will benefit from the protections that Trump could issue. Congress should also act to make these protections permanent, so a future administration cannot easily undo them.

All Americans should remain free to worship God, serve the poor, educate the next generation, and run a business, all in accordance with their religious beliefs—whatever those religious beliefs happen to be. We should all be subject to the same legal standard: Government can only substantially burden the free exercise of religion if it is acting to advance a compelling government interest pursued in the least restrictive way possible.

Media reports from Tuesday said that today’s executive order was going to provide meaningful protections: “one influential conservative who saw the text said it hasn’t been dialed back much—if at all—since the February leak. ‘The language is very, very strong,’ the source said.”

In reality, what Trump issued is rather weak. All it includes is general language about the importance of religious liberty, saying the executive branch “will honor and enforce” existing laws and instructing the Department of Justice to “issue guidance” on existing law; directives to the Department of the Treasury to be lenient in the enforcement of the Johnson Amendment; and directives to the secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to “consider issuing amended regulations” to “address conscience-based objections” to the HHS contraception mandate.

But the federal government should be honoring and enforcing our religious liberty laws anyway, legislation is required to actually address the Johnson Amendment—which isn’t the prime priority on religious liberty—and the Supreme Court has already unanimously instructed the federal government to resolve the case of Little Sisters of the Poor and other HHS mandate cases.

By contrast, the February draft—a version of which was originally planned for today according to media reports—made good on many of the president’s promises to protect religious liberty from government penalties.

That draft protected the religious liberty rights of all Americans in very tailored ways that addressed the problems of today.
Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanT_Anderson) researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He also focuses on justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education, and has expertise in bioethics and natural law theory.

Tags: President Trump, Executive order, Fails to Address, religious liberty threats, Ryan T. Anderson, Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

How Berkeley Birthed the Right

Gov. Reagan Deals With Berekley Students
by Patrick Buchanan: In December 1964, a Silver Age of American liberalism, to rival the Golden Age of FDR and the New Deal, seemed to be upon us.

Barry Goldwater had been crushed in a 44-state landslide and the GOP reduced to half the size of the Democratic Party, with but 140 seats in the House and 32 in the Senate.

The Supreme Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the most liberal in history, was on a roll, and LBJ was virtually unopposed as he went about ramming his Great Society through Congress.

The left had it all. But then they blew it, beginning at Berkeley.

Protests, sit-ins, the holding of cops hostage in patrol cars — went on for weeks to force the University of California, Berkeley, to grant “free speech,” and then “filthy speech” rights everywhere on campus.

Students postured as revolutionaries at the barricades, and the Academic Senate, consisting of all tenured faculty, voted 824-115 to support all Free Speech Movement demands, while cravenly declining to vote to condemn the tactics used.

Middle America saw the students differently — as overprivileged children engaged in a tantrum at the most prestigious school in the finest university system in the freest nation on earth.

Here is how their leader Mario Savio described the prison-like conditions his fellow students had to endure on the Berkeley campus in 1964:

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

To borrow from Oscar Wilde, it takes a heart of stone to read Mario’s wailing — without laughing.

As I wondered in an editorial in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that week, “If there is so much restriction of speech on the campus, how it is that a few yards from Sproul Hall there is a Young Socialist League poster complaining of ‘American Aggression in the Congo’ and calling on students to support ‘the Congolese rebels.'”

Yet Berkeley proved a godsend to a dispirited right.

In 1966, Ronald Reagan would beat Berkeley like a drum in his run for governor, calling the campus, “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters and sex deviants.”

Reagan relished entertaining his populist following by mocking San Francisco Democrats. “A hippie,” said the Gipper, “looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.”

More seriously, the radicalism, intolerance, arrogance and fanaticism of the far left in the ’60s and ’70s helped to revive the Republican Party and bring it victories in five of the next six presidential elections.

In 1964, neither Nixon nor Reagan appeared to have a bright future. But after Berkeley, both captured the presidency twice. And both benefited mightily from denouncing rioting students, even as liberalism suffered from its perceived association with them.

Which brings us to Berkeley today.

Last week, columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter was forced to cancel her speech at Berkeley. Her security could not be guaranteed by the university.

In February, a speech of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos also was canceled out of safety concerns after campus protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire. The decision was made two hours before the event, as a crowd of 1,500 had gathered outside the venue.

The recent attacks on Charles Murray at Middlebury College and Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna call to mind an event from three decades before Berkeley ’64.

On Dec. 5, 1930, German moviegoers flocked to Berlin’s Mozart Hall to see the Hollywood film, “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Some 150 Brownshirts, led by Joseph Goebbels, entered the theater, tossed stink bombs from the balcony, threw sneezing powder in the air and released mice. Theaters pulled that classic anti-war movie.

That same sense of moral certitude that cannot abide dissent to its dogmatic truths is on display in America today, as it was in Germany in the early 1930s. We are on a familiar slippery slope.

First come the marches and demonstrations. Then the assertion of the right to civil disobedience, to break the law for a higher cause by blocking streets and highways. Then comes the confronting of cops, the smashing of windows, the fistfights, the throwing of stones – as in Portland on May Day.

And, now, the shouting down of campus speakers.

The rage and resentment of the left at its rejection in 2016 are palpable. Sometimes this fever passes peacefully, as in the “Cooling of America” in the 1970s. And sometimes it doesn’t.

But to have crowds of left and right coming out to confront one another violently, in a country whose citizens possess 300 million guns, is probably not a good idea.

How President Reagan dealt with Berekley protestors on 1969
Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Congratulations Are in (Executive) Order!

President Trump Executive Order:
"Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty"
by Tony Perkins: It's not just the National Day of Prayer. It's the national day of answered prayer for many conservative Christians! After an eight-year war on faith, President Trump finally called a ceasefire on the conflict started by Barack Obama with an executive order on religious freedom. The measure, which was celebrated in a signing ceremony at the White House, was the fulfillment of one of the most significant promises made by the longshot candidate: "to preserve and protect our religious liberty."

For evangelicals, whose support propelled Trump to a historic win last November, this was one of the most meaningful returns on that investment. Although the order didn't make it in under the 100-day wire, the quickness of it showed just how committed this administration is to bringing the government back in line with the First Amendment.

Among other things, the directive checks another big box on the White House's to-do list -- lifting the gag order on churches and other nonprofits under the Johnson Amendment. Since the first days of his candidacy, Donald Trump has railed against the 60-year-old piece of tax code that liberals have turned into a club to punish pastors with. For too long, the Left has used the IRS to threaten the charitable status of churches who dared to speak out on the moral issues of the day.

Of course, the irony of this whole debate is that pulpits are free to do exactly that under the U.S. Constitution. It was only when liberals seized on this twisted interpretation of the Johnson Amendment that pastors came under fire for exercising their God-given rights. To the phony claim that churches would somehow turn into mini-PACs, the White House was clear: "Nobody is suggesting that churches are allowed, or it's legal, for tax-exempt organizations to take out ads endorsing candidates. That's illegal now," said an administration spokesman. "We're not changing what's legal, we're not changing what's illegal..." Instead, the nation's tax agency is directed to use "discretion" in enforcing the language named after JFK's successor.

Medical professionals, charities, businesses, and even nuns who've suffered under the outrageous mandate of Obamacare will finally have the relief they need to say no to insurance coverage that violates their conscience. After years of court battles, they'll be free from regulatory harassment of including contraception and abortifacients in their health care plans. But that's not all the order does. It sets in place a multi-step process that will provide some long-overdue protections by directing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop guidelines for every federal agency to ensure they protect and promote religious freedom. This includes members of our military, who, under the Obama administration, have been systematically silenced and even purged. Men and women like Chaplain Wes Modder (U.S. Navy-Ret.) and Monifa Sterling, who stared down the ends of their careers for their deeply-held beliefs, can finally come out of hiding and live out their faith openly.

Finally, for our friends like Barronelle Stutzman and Don Vander Boon, who've suffered for their biblical views on marriage, there's hope. As President Trump said, "No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith," President Trump told those of us gathered in the Rose Garden for today's ceremony. "We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore," the president said. "We will never ever stand for religious discrimination."

Thanks to this White House, the open season on Christians and other people of faith is coming to an end. And Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) looks forward to building on White House's progress. "On this National Day of Prayer, I commend the Trump administration for taking action and will continue to make fighting for religious liberty a top priority of my speakership." As we work with the Trump administration to address the problems created by Obama, it's that they understand the dangers of the anti-freedom policies of the last administration. But, more than that, they're committed to undoing those policies and restoring true religious freedom for everyone.

This step today starts the process of reversing the devastating trends of the last decade to punish charities, pastors, family-owned businesses, and honest, hard-working people simply for living out their faith. On behalf of FRC and the hundreds of thousands of families we represent, we offer our deepest thanks to the president and look forward to assisting him in returning America to the land of the free.
Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update an written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, President Trump, Religious Liberty, Executive Order To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Fighting For Faith, Family, Freedom & Israel

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Fighting For Faith, Family & Freedom - Today is the National Day of Prayer and it is a good day to celebrate that is Donald Trump's America, not Obama's America or Hillary's America. Much has changed over the past eight years and there is much to be thankful for today. Let me give you a feel for what is going on and how we are representing you.

Fighting For Life - Last night, I attended the Susan B. Anthony List's annual gala. Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker. More than 1,000 people attended, including dozens of congressmen.

I spent the evening speaking with many of them about the pro-life issue, repealing Obamacare and reversing attacks on religious liberty. (More on that later). I also spent significant time with my good friend White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

This morning, I went to the Trump Hotel for a meeting of pro-life leaders to discuss the legislative challenges we will face this year, the political challenges we will face in the 2018 elections and priorities for our movement.

Has Planned Parenthood been defunded yet? No. But Vice President Pence made it clear last night that this administration won't give up trying. (See below.) And with Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court -- and the prospect of another conservative justice perhaps this summer -- the entire battlefield is shifting in our favor!

Fighting For Faith - After my morning meeting, I went to the White House and joined other leaders of faith-based ministries for an event marking the National Day of Prayer.

I can't tell you what it felt like after the past eight years to be back in the White House with Jewish, evangelical, Catholic and other church leaders. First, Obama cancelled National Day of Prayer events at the White House. Then he blocked Franklin Graham from speaking at the Pentagon.

But to see this event today -- to hear President Trump's remarks and witness the president calling the Little Sisters of the Poor up to the podium -- was incredibly moving.

President Trump also addressed his newest executive order promoting religious liberty, which takes the first steps toward repealing the Johnson Amendment. As you may know, the Johnson Amendment was introduced by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) as a means of silencing his political opponents in the 1954 election.

President Trump's order restricts the IRS from threatening churches that speak out on biblical truths and their impact on our culture. Legislation from Congress will be required to completely repeal the Johnson Amendment and we are helping to educate conservative candidates so we can get the job done.

Today's executive order also provides additional regulatory relief from Obamacare's contraception mandate, hopefully bringing an end to the government's harassment of faith-based organizations -- a shameful chapter in our nation's history courtesy of Barack Obama's radical pro-abortion policies.

Like previous White House visits, I had many opportunities to speak with key administration figures and leaders in the conservative movement.

Fighting For Freedom - In addition, because of our work helping to elect more conservatives to Congress, the House just passed the American Health Care Act by a vote of 217-to-213. This legislation begins the process of repealing/reforming Obamacare, and enables Congress to start working on tax reform.

Is this an ideal bill? No. We elected a president, not a miracle worker.

Democrats will fall on their sword to protect Obamacare. (Many have over the past few elections.) And there are a handful of RINOs who are not fully committed to repealing this disastrous law. And it is a disaster.

There is news today that Aetna is abandoning Virginia's healthcare exchange. In much of Virginia, there is only one insurer left. And one of the last major insurers just abandoned Iowa's Obamacare exchange, potentially leaving 70,000 people without coverage.

Clearly, we cannot continue with the status quo. Today's bill may not be perfect, but at least it gets us going in the right direction, including defunding Planned Parenthood.

Keep in mind that it took Barack Obama 14 months to pass Obamacare and he had 60 votes in the Senate. Today, there are only 52 Republicans in the Senate. If last year's election had turned out differently, today's vote would not have happened. Government would be getting bigger. The assaults on faith would be intensifying.

Fighting For Israel - After the White House prayer event, I headed to Capitol Hill to meet with key people who want to support our efforts to restore the U.S./Israel alliance. As you can imagine, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in town, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that I can't fully divulge right now.

But I am pleased to report that President Trump called Abbas out for funding terrorism against innocent Israelis, something we have repeatedly encouraged the president to do.

Later this evening, I have been invited to the home of my friend Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, to meet with one of Israel's leading rabbis. I am looking forward to a stimulating night of discussion about the Jerusalem described by the prophet Isaiah and the reality of Jerusalem today, a city surrounded by enemies who want to destroy it.

At all of these events, I am there representing you, defending our shared values. While I am doing all this, our professional staff is doing all the day-to-day work, research and policy analysis, tracking votes, interviewing candidates and monitoring key races.

We can't do this without you! And, please do not forget to join Carol and me in praying for our country on this National Day of Prayer.

As Ronald Reagan said, "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

I still believe America can be the "shining city upon hill" that our Founding Fathers and President Reagan believed in. We will continue fighting the good fight for faith, family and freedom!
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Fighting For Faith, Family, Freedom, Israel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

U.S. House Passes Repeal of Obamacare

Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service: Today the House narrowly passed legislation on Thursday to partially repeal and replace Obamacare, giving GOP leadership and the White House a major legislative win after weeks of negotiations with conservative lawmakers who pushed for a tougher bill.

The House voted 217-213 to pass the amended American Health Care Act, after deciding late Wednesday that the votes were there thanks to last-minute changes that appealed to centrists. More at Washington Examiner)

The American Health Care Act is a first step in fixing the current health care law. H.R. 1628 would repeal both the individual and employer mandates prescribed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while ensuring the federal government provides necessary protections and funding for lower-income Americans and providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. The House also passed H.R. 2192 to ensure that Members of Congress are not exempt from these changes to our health care system. Now, the legislation advances to the Senate for consideration.

Update: The American Health Care Act (AHCA) as passed by the House will also defund to Planned Parenthood abortion business. It would eliminate more than $390 million (over 86%) of over $450 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood (PPH), from all mandatory spending programs. The measure also redirects funding to community health centers which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1 and offer a wider array of health care services, but not abortion. AHCA also repeals Obamacare abortion subsidies, adds reforms to give states more flexibility and lower costs, and provides families more options. The bill closes the largest pipeline for federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Medicaid, and it applies as well to the CHIP and the Title V and Title XX block grant programs. Importantly, the bill ensures Obamacare will not fund abortions.

Following passage of the bill, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) stated: “Last night, Aetna—one of the Nation’s largest insurers—made the announcement it would be pulling out of the ACA exchanges in the state of Virginia. Some counties in Arkansas also now only have one insurance option and, in September 2016, we saw a 25 percent average increase in premiums on the exchanges. Having one option is not choice and is not suitable. This lack of insurers participating in the exchanges, causing massive price hikes for those in search of affordable insurance, has become a repeating theme over the course of the last few years.

“The status quo is not working for Arkansas and not working for our country. The reform measure that we advanced today will lower the cost of care for individuals and families, provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and shift power back to the states with added flexibility in determining what policies will have the most positive outcomes on their own citizens and populations. What works in Arkansas might not work in California and this bill reflects that important understanding.

“This bill is just one important step in fixing our current health care system and still must undergo review and approval by the Senate before it may be signed into law. We also must continue to work with the administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to stabilize our health insurance markets and work with our colleagues in the House and Senate to enact additional legislative polices that will lower health care costs and increase competition and choices for all Americans.”

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, a bill to repeal and replace the failed Obamacare law:

“Obamacare has failed the American people and must be repealed and replaced. Today’s vote in the House was an important step. We are now closer to giving our constituents freedom from the increased costs, diminishing choices, and broken promises of Obamacare. I want to congratulate Speaker Ryan, his leadership team, the Republicans who supported this legislation, and President Trump and Vice President Pence for a job well done.

“As Congress considers this legislation, the administration will continue working to deliver relief and stabilize health markets, and Congress will continue to act on legislation to provide more choices and freedom in health care decisions.

“The status quo is unacceptable. The pain caused by Obamacare is real for millions of Americans. We must repeal and replace this failed law.”

Senate consideration will be scheduled following the completion of procedural and budgetary scorekeeping reviews.

Tags: U.S. House, passes, American Health Care Act, repeals, Obamacare, defunds, 86% PPH funding, Planned Parenthood To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!he bill now goes to the U.S Senate

Obamacare Continues To Fall Apart

Next Year ‘Obamacare Choices Could Go From One To Zero’ In ‘Many Areas Of The Country’
The Train Wreck Has Happened

“Tens of thousands of customers who get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces could lose their coverage for 2018. Several insurers have already decided not to offer marketplace coverage next year amid financial risk…” (“Thousands Of Obamacare Customers Left Without Options As Insurers Bolt,” Bloomberg, 4/27/2017)

“In the 2017 open-enrollment period that ended on January 31, many areas of the country had limited options for marketplace plans… One-third of all counties [across 26 states], including all of Alaska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina had just one insurer.” (“Thousands Of Obamacare Customers Left Without Options As Insurers Bolt,” Bloomberg, 4/27/2017)
  • The 26 states with at least one county with only one insurance marketplace option: 1) Alabama, 2) Alaska, 3) Arizona, 4) Colorado, 5) Florida, 6) Georgia, 7) Illinois, 8) Iowa, 9) Kentucky, 10) Michigan, 11)  Mississippi, 12) Missouri, 13) Nevada, 14) North Carolina, 15) Ohio, 16) Oklahoma, 17) Pennsylvania, 18) South Carolina, 19) Tennessee, 20) Texas, 21) Utah, 22) Virginia, 23) Washington, 24) West Virginia, 25) Wisconsin, 26) Wyoming
  • “About 18 percent of people eligible for the Obamacare markets will live in counties with only one insurance carrier offering health plans...” (“See Obamacare Rates For Every County In The Country,” The New York Times’ ‘The Upshot,’ 11/4/2016)
OBAMACARE: ‘Ominous Signs For Health Care Customers In States Across The County’ As ‘Choices Could Go From One To Zero’

“Parts of the country are in jeopardy of not having an insurer offering Obamacare plans next year. Many counties already have just one insurer offering health plans in the Obamacare marketplaces, and some of those solo insurers are showing signs that they are eyeing the exits.” (“Obamacare Choices Could Go From One to Zero in Some Areas,” The New York Times, 3/31/2017)
  • “This is a concern for many areas of the country. [Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance Julie] McPeak also currently serves as the president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and they are keeping an eye on a number of communities. ‘Currently we have five states [Alabama, Alaska, South Carolina, Wyoming and Oklahoma] that have only one insurer statewide on the exchange market,’ she told Fox. ‘Another nine states, including Tennessee, have a majority of their counties that have only one insurer that is writing on the exchange market.’” (“ObamaCare Insurance: Fear Of Failure In Tennessee,” Fox News, 4/13/2017)
“First, Humana pulled out of Obamacare for 2018. Then, Wellmark announced it was leaving. Which health insurer could be next? … All eyes are on Anthem, which has said it's reviewing its participation next year. If it pulls out, more than 256,000 residents in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia would be left with no options...” (“More Insurers Abandon Obamacare. Who Might Be Next?,” CNN Money, 4/5/2017)

IOWA: ‘Iowa Could Be The First State To Lack Any Insurers On Its Exchanges In All But A Handful Of Counties,’ ‘The Situation In Iowa Is Mirrored In A Number Of Other States’

“Tens of thousands of Iowans could be left with no health insurance options next year, after the last carrier for most of the state announced Wednesday that it likely would stop selling individual health policies here. Medica, a Minnesota-based health insurer, released a statement suggesting it was close to following two larger carriers in deciding not to sell such policies in Iowa for 2018, due to instability in the market.” (“Medica, The Last Insurer Selling Individual Health Policies In Most Of Iowa, Likely To Exit,” The Des Moines Register, 5/03/2017)

“Iowa’s last major Affordable Care Act insurer threatened on Wednesday to pull out from the state’s marketplace next year, the latest step in a sudden collapse of the state’s insurance marketplace that holds ominous signs for health care customers in states across the county. If Minnesota-based Medica follows through on its threat not to sell plans in 2018, Iowa could be the first state to lack any insurers on its exchanges in all but a handful of counties.” (“Iowa Obamacare Program On Verge Of Collapse As Congressional Uncertainty Takes Its Toll,” The Washington Post, 5/03/2017)

LAST MONTH: “Two insurers announced this week that they would pull out of Iowa's Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, raising worries that the decisions could be the leading edge of a trend. … Wellmark had been slow to enter the exchanges. Aetna pulled out of most of the markets where it sold exchange plans last year, and its chief executive has described the marketplace as in a ‘death spiral.’” (“Another State Is At Risk Of Having Only One Obamacare Health Insurer,” The Washington Post, 4/6/2017)

“In the latest move by insurers worried about the viability of the markets created under the federal health care law, Iowa’s major carrier said Monday that it would stop selling individual policies in the state next year. In a statement, the insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which is based in Des Moines, blamed its decision to withdraw in 2018 on what it said was the high cost of covering people under the Affordable Care Act.” (“Iowa’s Largest Insurer Says It Will Withdraw From Obamacare Exchanges,” The New York Times, 4/3/2017)
“Aetna spokesman T.J. Crawford said that the company had informed federal and state regulators that it would not offer plans in Iowa's exchange because of ‘financial risk and an uncertain outlook for the marketplace’ on Thursday.” (“Another State Is At Risk Of Having Only One Obamacare Health Insurer,” The Washington Post, 4/6/2017)

“The Wellmark departure will force 21,400 Iowans to search for a new plan. Aetna did not disclose its state-specific exchange membership, but currently insures roughly 240,000 people on the exchanges in four states.” (“Another State Is At Risk Of Having Only One Obamacare Health Insurer,” The Washington Post, 4/6/2017)

“The situation in Iowa is mirrored in a number of other states where insurers are seriously considering whether to exit Obamacare marketplaces.” (“Iowa Obamacare Market Gets Second Big Hit As Insurer Aetna Says It Will Drop Out In 2018,” CNBC, 4/6/2017)

VIRGINIA: ‘27 [Of Virginia's 95] Counties Could Have Only One Choice For 2018’

“Aetna is throwing in the towel in Virginia after suffering big losses in its Obamacare business. The company said Wednesday that it won't participate in the state's individual market -- either on the Obamacare exchange or outside of it -- in 2018.” (“Aetna Pulls Out Of Virginia's Individual Market, Citing Big Obamacare Losses,” CNN Money, 5/03/2017)
“Aetna's withdrawal is the latest in a steady drumbeat of insurers leaving Obamacare. The exodus began last year, when several carriers announced they were exiting or downsizing in 2017 after suffering large losses. Aetna pulled out of 11 of its 15 markets for 2017. It is expected to announce whether it will remain in Delaware and Nebraska in coming months. The defections are continuing … Humana has already announced it is completely exiting the individual market in 2018. Last month, Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield said they would stop selling individual policies in Iowa in 2018.” (“Aetna Pulls Out Of Virginia's Individual Market, Citing Big Obamacare Losses,” CNN Money, 5/03/2017)

TENNESSEE: ‘Knoxville, Tennessee May Be The First U.S. City Where Obamacare Fails’

“Tennessee is the first state in which some areas will have no insurers in 2018.” (“Thousands Of Obamacare Customers Left Without Options As Insurers Bolt,” Bloomberg, 4/27/2017)

“Knoxville, Tennessee may be the first U.S. city where ObamaCare fails. As it stands, some 40,000 people in the area will be left with no option to buy a subsidized insurance policy. Currently, Humana is the only insurer available there on the exchange. They have already provided notice that they are not interested in participating in 2018. That would mean no insurers available on the exchange in the Knoxville rating area.” (“ObamaCare Insurance: Fear Of Failure In Tennessee,” Fox News, 4/13/2017)
  • “‘Right now, there are not going to be any options for you to buy any policies on the exchange and therefore there won’t be any policies using tax credits or premium subsidies,’ Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance Julie McPeak told Fox News…. McPeak says insurers are steering clear due to lack of regulatory certainty and a disinterest in taking on more financial risks that result from the current ObamaCare bill.” (“ObamaCare Insurance: Fear Of Failure In Tennessee,” Fox News, 4/13/2017)
  • “The fear is it could get worse for Tennessee. There are currently two insurers on the exchange in other areas of the Volunteer State: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Cigna. Commissioner McPeak worries that they might pull coverage from all areas.” (“ObamaCare Insurance: Fear Of Failure In Tennessee,” Fox News, 4/13/2017)

Tags: Obamacare, Continues To Fall Apart To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
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  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
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