Category Archives: Obama scandals

Federal judge orders IRS to reveal identities of employees who targeted conservatives for audit

Amidst the flood of bad news is a piece of very good news.

In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status. Lerner said:

“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. … The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

Lois Lerner

As usual, Congress was totally useless in their investigation and hearings, as NOTHING happened to Lerner (she had already resigned from the IRS) or the other IRS employees who engaged in the criminal harassment of conservatives, Christians, and Tea Party groups by singling them out for special scrutiny and audit.

It took a lone federal judge to do what Congress should have done.

Brooke Singman for Fox News, Aug. 21, 2017, that after years of litigation by conservative groups against the IRS’ targeting, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the IRS to:

  • Release the names of specific IRS employees involved in targeting Tea Party groups.
  • Provide information about which groups and individuals were targeted and why.
  • Provide assurance — a strategy — that such targeting doesn’t happen again.
  • Search for further related records in other agency databases for the time period spanning 2009 to March 27, 2015. Judge Walton gave the IRS until Oct. 16 to complete the search.

Chris Farrell, director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch whose organization is also involved in litigation with the IRS on this issue, told Fox News that the IRS owes litigants “real accountability”:

“This was creepy, chilling stuff. Judge Walton has accomplished more with one ruling than all of the rest of the federal government—all three branches—over the last six years. The IRS is one of the most feared government agencies, and they’ve gotten a pass, in part. Walton is looking for real accountability and that’s so important.”

True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said:

“We’re thrilled the judge has taken this step and it feels good to have it recognized that they need to be held to account. What happened to me was very personal—my name was thrown around the IRS, and the names of the people involved need to be known. What they did was criminal.”

Engelbrecht also said that “the fight” under the Trump administration has been “every bit as difficult” as it was under the Obama administration:

“They are still entrenched on the idea that the IRS did nothing wrong and all of America now knows that is not the case. What we’re fighting for is we want to see a policy that prohibits viewpoint discrimination. Holding the IRS accountable and personalizing it is a great step forward to coax each one out of their den of thieves. We are fighting on behalf of all Americans, because if it could happen to us, it can happen to anyone.

A Justice Department spokesperson told Fox News:

“We are reviewing the order and will respond accordingly. We do not comment on pending litigation.”

See also:

~Eowyn

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On cue: Susan Rice suggests race, gender bias linked to ‘unmasking’ backlash

Of course.

From Fox News: Susan Rice, the Obama national security adviser under fire over her alleged involvement in the “unmasking” of Trump associates during the 2016 presidential election, suggested in a fresh interview that race and gender might be playing a role in the scrutiny she’s faced.

In an interview with journalist Michael Tomasky for New York Magazine, Rice reportedly questioned the criticism she’s faced dating back to the Benghazi controversy. “Why me? Why not Jay Carney, for example, who was then our press secretary, who stood up more?” she asked.

Tomasky noted in the piece that Carney “isn’t an African-American woman, of course” and apparently asked Rice whether that is the key factor. Rice, in response, left the door open:

“I don’t know… I do not leap to the simple explanation that it’s only about race and gender. I’m trying to keep my theories to myself until I’m ready to come out with them. It’s not because I don’t have any.” 

But Rice mentioned other prominent female figures – like Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice – who faced “ad hominem” attacks, suggesting a correlation.

Asked about the comments, a Republican Capitol Hill source pushed back. “This is screaming out for attention… She’s saying I don’t know why they all started picking on me to begin with.”

As to the suggestion of race and gender being a factor, the source countered, then “why would there be a subpoena for a white male?”

That was a reference to the fact that Rice is not the only focus of the congressional probe into unmasking. Investigators have issued subpoenas to three different agencies: NSA, CIA and FBI.

Those subpoenas have asked for unmasking information related to three individuals: former CIA Director John Brennan, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and Rice.

She’s not the only focus of congressional frustration, either. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had a tense exchange with a top intelligence community lawyer at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday where he complained he still doesn’t have an answer on whether his communications have been monitored.

“Am I ever gonna get [the response] in my lifetime?” he asked.

Rice told Judy Woodruff on PBS on March 22 that she “knew nothing” about the unmasking of Trump associates. But weeks later on MSNBC, she admitted she sometimes sought out the identities of Trump associates who communicated with foreigners, a request known as “unmasking” in the intelligence community. But “I leaked nothing to nobody,” Rice told MSNBC.

Rice initially became a target of Republican criticism back in 2012 for giving misleading information about the origin of the Benghazi terror attack. On Sept. 16, 2012, just days after the attack, Rice appeared on all five Sunday political talk shows to claim the Benghazi attack spun out of a protest over an anti-Muslim video produced in California.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus reportedly told lawmakers later that the intelligence community considered the attack an act of terrorism at the time. Four Americans were killed in Benghazi, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

DCG

Hollyweird “stars” who want our taxes to pay for Planned Parenthood abortions

These libtards apparently think 1) we care about their opinions and 2) you are too stupid to figure out how to contact your senator.

Know who to boycott.

From Daily Mail: The looming vote on the controversial Senate Republicans’ health care bill has motivated Hollywood to take part in the rancorous debate.

A-listers Jennifer Lawrence, Jon Hamm and Lena Dunham, joined a plethora of 25 more celebrities including Aubrey Plaza, Padma Lakshmi, Suki Waterhouse, Elisabeth Moss, Spike Jonze, Amy Poehler and Brie Larson among many others to create a video on Friday supporting Planned Parenthood.

In the opening frame, superimposed text reads ‘these famous faces want to help you reach your representative.’

A number of celebrities follow with their names before the actual message of the video starts with superstar director of Her and Being John Malkovich Spike Jonze.

The message ‘We need you to contact your United States senator and you can do that by visiting istandwithpp.org/call’ is then carried on by several more celebrities.

After an example of how to leave a message for senators suggesting a no vote for ‘any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood,’ a more personal message is expressed.

‘This is nothing more than a blatantly political attempt to do whatever it takes to attack women’s health and rights and take health care away from the people who need it the most,’ declare another series of celebrities.

Famous activist Gloria Steinem also appears, saying ‘the right to decide our own bodily future is the most basic of all human rights.’

In a statement accompanying the release of the video, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said: ‘We are so grateful to have the support of so many artists, many of whom have themselves relied on Planned Parenthood for health care and who understand the importance of speaking out.’

‘This support is especially important right now as the Senate is jamming through a bill that would block millions of women from getting birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. Now is the time to speak out. One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They will not stay silent as politicians vote to take away their care and their rights.’

Anticipating its universal unpopularity, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell crafted the bill in secret and only released the actual text of the bill earlier this week.

The bill would end Obama’s tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance – effectively ending the so-called individual mandate – and on larger companies that don’t offer coverage to their workers, according to AP.

It would offer less generous subsidies for people than Obama’s law but provide billions to states and insurance companies to buttress markets that in some areas have been abandoned by insurers, and has language blocking federal money Planned Parenthood.

Democrats said the measure would result in skimpier policies and higher out-of-pocket costs for many and erode gains made under Obama that saw roughly 20 million additional Americans gain coverage.

DCG

Shocker, not: Health insurers propose over 20 percent 2018 rate increase in Washington state

Obamacare Screw U

At least it’s lower than the 80% increase I had for my health insurance premiums this year.

From MyNorthwest.com: State officials say that health insurers have proposed rate changes for next year that have an average increase of about 22.3 percent.

The insurance commissioner’s office said Monday that 11 health insurers filed 71 health plans for the state’s individual and family health insurance market. In two counties — Klickitat and Grays Harbor — no health insurer filed plans.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says he has been reaching out to insurers to see if one or more will reconsider offering plans in those two counties.

All rates, health plans, and coverage areas are under review by Kreidler’s office and may change before the plans are certified by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board on Sept. 14. Open enrollment for the 2018 individual market starts Nov. 1.

DCG

NY insurers want double-digit hikes for ObamaCare policies

O laughs

Surprise, surprise!

From NY Post: New York health insurers requested double-digit increases as high as 47 percent for ObamaCare policies next year as the debate rages in Washington on how to overhaul the law.

The average proposed increase for individual policies for 2018 is 16.6 percent, the state Department of Financial Services said in a report released late Wednesday.

But some consumers would get whacked with much higher increases, if approved by Albany.

HealthNow New York is seeking a 47 percent boost in premiums, United Healthcare of New York a 38 percent hike, and Care Connect wants 30 percent more. Emblem Health/HIP has filed for a 25 percent hike and Healthfirst PHSOP 22 percent.

MetroPlus, the health insurer run by New York City’s municipal health system, Health+Hospitals, has proposed a more modest 7.9 percent increase.

“MetroPlus has made every effort to keep its rates affordable for 2018. We believe that affordable rates combined with a strong network of high quality providers and caring service make MetroPlus a clear choice for New Yorkers,” the company said in a statement.

For the small group market, insurers requested an average increase of 11.5 percent.

Last year, insurers sought an average 19.3 percent increase and the state approved 16.6 percent. DFS will decide the 2018 rates following a 30-day public comment period.

DCG

Hillary Clinton Tells Wellesley Graduates to Fight Against “Full-Fledged Assaults on Truth and Reason”

This womyn wouldn’t know the truth if it smacked her in the face.

From Hollywood Reporter: Hillary Clinton isn’t mentioning Donald Trump by name, but she peppered her Wellesley College commencement address with barbs aimed at her rival in last year’s presidential election.

Clinton on Friday urged the graduating class at her Massachusetts alma mater to fight against “full-fledged assaults on truth and reason.”

Clinton also called the Republican president’s budget proposal “a con” that is “shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie.” The former Democratic presidential nominee also said she is looking to the future and helping to train future leaders.

The speech marked a return engagement of sorts for Clinton. She delivered the student commencement address 48 years ago in 1969, the year she graduated from the all-women’s school. Clinton also delivered the 1992 commencement speech.

DCG

Aetna drops last 2 state markets under Affordable Care Act

Obama_laughing

Obamacare going as planned. Let’s hope we can get rid of this monstrosity.

From Yahoo: While Republicans rewrite the Affordable Care Act in Washington, the future of the current law has grown hazier with the nation’s third-largest health insurer completely divorcing itself from state-based insurance markets.

Aetna said late Wednesday that it won’t sell individual coverage next year in its two remaining states — Nebraska and Delaware — after projecting a $200 million loss this year. It had already dropped Iowa and Virginia for next year. The insurer once sold the coverage in 15 states, but slashed that to four after losing about $450 million in 2016.

The government-backed marketplaces are a pillar of the Obama-era federal law because they allow millions of people to buy health insurance with help from income-based tax credits. But insurers like Humana, and now Aetna, have been fleeing that market, and the remaining coverage options are growing thin. Other companies like the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem say they are wary of returning without a guarantee that the government will provide cost-sharing subsidies that reduce expenses like co-payments. Those are separate from the tax credits that help pay premiums.

The White House has assured lawmakers it will continue paying the subsidies, but it has offered no long-term guarantee.

About 12 million people bought coverage for this year on the exchanges, and every market had at least one insurer offering coverage. But a growing number were down to one.

Companies are in the middle of figuring out their prices and coverage plans for next year, and insurance experts expect some holes to develop in those marketplaces.

“All it takes is one insurance company to exit, and that can create panic for other insurers and they pull out too,” said Cynthia Cox, a health insurance expert for the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies health care. “Insurers don’t want to be the last one holding the bag.”

The federal law prevents insurers from rejecting patients based on their health, so if competitors pull out, the last insurer may be left covering all the high-cost patients in that market.

Metropolitan or highly populated areas are still expected to draw several insurers. But rural areas may not be attractive to insurers looking to cut losses. They generally have a smaller, older population.

Ultimately, insurers with the most common brand in health insurance, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, will decide the fate of the marketplaces. Many of those plans specialize in individual insurance and have a long-standing presence in their markets. They also are the only remaining option on exchanges in nearly a third of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties.

DCG