The New York Times has broken the story that Democratic Senator John Walsh of Montana plagiarized “at least a quarter” of his 2007 master’s thesis on Middle East policy for the U.S. Army War College. The revelation couldn’t have worse timing for Walsh, who is already trailing Republican Rep. Steve Daines in the polls.
“Most strikingly, each of the six recommendations Mr. Walsh laid out at the conclusion of his 14-page paper, titled ‘The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy,’ is taken nearly word-for-word without attribution from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document on the same topic,” the Times’ Jonathan Martin wrote.
A campaign spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the plagiarism allegations, but the Times reported that the senator denied wrongdoing when confronted outside his Capitol office. An aide subsequently told the paper that a member of his unit from Iraq had committed suicide weeks before the deadline.
Walsh was only just appointed to the seat earlier this year after Democratic Sen. Max Baucus resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. It looks like his tenure will be short-lived.
It looks like some VA clinics still have quite a bit of work to do on their customer service. A Marine veteran from Deltona, Florida says he was forgotten about and locked inside the community clinic in Orange City on Monday:
Jeffrey Duck tells Local 6 he arrived as a “walk in” patient at the clinic located on S. Volusia Avenue at 1 p.m. Monday.
He says he sat waiting in a consultation room for more than three hours before he realized he was the only one left in the building.
“I was apparently left there and forgotten,” said Duck.
Locked inside and worried that he would be accused of trying to steal something, Duck whipped out his cellphone to take video of him walking around the lobby, which set off the burglar alarm.
He called 911.
“I apparently got left in a VA facility — a medical facility — and the alarm has been going off,” he told the operator.
“So, you’re inside and there’s no employees?” the operator asked.
“None that I can see,” he said.
The Veterans Administration issued an apology to Duck on Tuesday, saying, ”We want to apologize to Mr. Duck for his experience yesterday at the Orange City VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic. We are looking at our closing procedures and will make changes to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Surprisingly, Duck isn’t angry. Instead, he’s “disappointed.”
Watch the report below:
The very same date that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that Obamacare subsidies issued through the federal exchange are illegal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the federal subsidies:
A three-judge panel unanimously said the law was ambiguous, and that it would defer to the IRS’s determination that subsidies could go to individuals who purchased health insurance on both federal and state-run exchanges.
Analysts estimate that as many as 5 million people could be affected if subsidies disappear from the federal marketplace, which serves 36 states through the website HealthCare.gov.
The subsidies are available to people with annual incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $94,200 for a family of four.
Were the two courts reading the same law? In his majority opinion, D.C. Circuit Court Senior Judge Raymond Randolph wrote that the law “plainly” states that subsidies are only available through state exchanges — it’s not “ambiguous” at all. Nevertheless, these two conflicting rulings are clear proof that the fight over the legality of certain Obamacare subsidies is going to be an extremely contentious battle.
The Obama White House has elevated hypocrisy to an art form, and Monday’s example is no exception. After being asked about a Washington Post report that charged the administration ignored predictions last year from the Department of Homeland Security about the current surge in illegal immigrants crossing the border, press secretary Josh Earnest slammed the report’s use of anonymous sources:
But the spokesman looked to challenge the report by arguing it was “based entirely on anonymous sources.” Earnest also offered a broader critique on the use of anonymous sourcing in a bid to challenge the credibility of the story.
“In the course of reporting, I think it’s important, based on my own personal view, for those kinds of quotes and those kinds of stories to be given greater weight than just anonymous sources,” Earnest said. “So, what that means is, if you have anonymous sources at the White House who are telling you something, and you’re gonna say to them — that anonymous source — ‘Look, I’m willing to give your side of the story a little less weight right now, because you’re telling me this anonymously.’ “
However, that very same afternoon, the White House sent out a call to reporters scheduling an anonymous conference call:
The White House is holding a conference call “on background” later today to discuss an upcoming initiative. While speaking “on background,” members of the administration are only cited as officials, rather than by their name and titles.
Post reporters responded accordingly:
Taken to his logical conclusion, @PressSec would commit to only on-the-record interviews in the future from the White House.
— Zachary Goldfarb (@Goldfarb) July 21, 2014
At the briefing: @PressSec falsely claims WaPo story depends on anonymous sources. In the inbox: WH invite for anonymous background briefing
— Dan Eggen (@DanEggenWPost) July 21, 2014
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) July 21, 2014
Just another deceptive day in the life of an Obama White House press secretary.
Numerous Congressional Republicans on Tuesday praised the federal appeals court ruling severely limiting Obamacare subsidies. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called it a “repudiation of Obamacare”:
“The D.C. Circuit’s decision today in Halbig v. Burwell is a repudiation of Obamacare and all the lawlessness that has come with it,” the Texas Republican said in a statement.
“This decision restores power to Congress and to the people and if properly enforced, should shield citizens from Obamacare’s insidious penalties, mandates, and subsidies,” he continued. “This is a significant victory for the American people and the rule of law, but we must not rest.”
Cruz also accused the administration of executive overreach by trying to administer subsidies in the states.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) also spoke approvingly of the decision, saying that it proves once again that Obamacare is “completely unworkable”:
“Today’s ruling is also further proof that President Obama’s health care law is completely unworkable. It cannot be fixed,” the speaker said. ”The American people recognize that Obamacare is hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to hire, and that’s why Republicans remain committed to repealing the law and replacing it with solutions that will lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”
Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) also issued a statement in favor of the ruling:
“Today’s decision rightly holds the Obama administration accountable to the law,” the Utah Republican wrote in a statement. “The plain text of Obamacare authorizes subsidies only through state exchanges, not the federal exchange. As it has on so many occasions, the Obama administration simply ignored the law and implemented its own policy instead.”
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Obamacare subsidies are only legally available through state exchanges, and not the federal exchange. If the ruling holds, 4.7 million people will lose their subsidies and premium prices will skyrocket. Of course, none of this would be happening if Obama had simply implemented the law as it is actually written.
Remember that court case that could kill Obamacare? The U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday that Obamacare subsidies granted through the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov are, in fact, illegal:
A judicial panel in a 2-1 ruling said such subsidies can be granted only to those people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia — not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov.
“Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available in the Exchanges established by states,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph in his majority opinion, where he was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith “We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up their own Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”
Put plainly: the Affordable Care Act as written explicitly only allows subsidies to be granted through state exchanges. Therefore, any other subsidies are illegal. Needless to say, if this decision upholds in the Supreme Court — which has struck down Obama’s lawlessness as of late — premiums will skyrocket for the Americans who purchased Obamacare in the 36 states without their own exchanges. About 4.7 million people have enrolled through HealthCare.gov. That’s 86 percent of all Obamacare enrollees. If and when their premiums jump, there will undoubtedly be a mass exodus from the system.
Is this the beginning of the end of Obamacare? It could very well be.
Well, well, well — according to newly released testimony from IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane, it turns out Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails may not be so lost after all. Kane met with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in a closed-door interview:
Kane told Oversight staffers last week that the backup tapes that held two years of lost Lerner emails may actually still exist.
Here is is the key part of the transcript between Kane and House Oversight investigators:
Kane: There is an issue as to whether or not there is a — that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6-month retention schedule.
Investigator: So some of those backup tapes may still exist?
Kane: I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.
Kane also revealed that several key IRS officials related to the targeting of conservative groups suffered computer crashes that destroyed emails that investigators are seeking. Among the officials are Justin Low, a technical advisor and tax law specialist for the agency’s tax exempt division; David Fish, an advisor to Lerner who also develops guidance for tax exempt groups and served as acting director of Rulings and Agreements; and Andy Megosh, a manager in the IRS exempt organizations division.
Data was also lost by IRS agent Kimberly Kitchens in Cincinnati, where the IRS targeting originated. She donated to Obama’s re-election campaign.
It seems pretty clear that someone wanted this evidence to disappear; but apparently, they didn’t do a thorough enough job.
The once bustling metropolises of Chicago and Detroit are proof positive that liberal, big government policies just don’t work. Detroit went after every government handout it could get, and now the once proud Motor City is an abandoned wasteland. Economically, Chicago, which also installed numerous liberal policies, is only about 10 years behind Detroit. The cities are rife with crime and poverty, and while Chicago may still hold some hope, it seems unlikely that Detroit will ever bounce back.
However, Detroit does have one up on the Windy City. Crime has dropped dramatically in the city as of late, and all thanks to the Second Amendment:
Faced with the absolute, stark, cold reality that the police department could not answer anywhere near the number of calls about violent crime they were receiving, Detroit Police Chief James Craig in January made news and shocked liberals when he said Detroit residents should use guns to protect themselves.
Chief Craig’s call was stunning. Most police chiefs are simply appointed by city mayors, which means they simply parrot the line on gun control the left-wing mayors offer.
Chief Craig showed courage when he called for the citizens of his city to defend themselves.
What has been the result?
So far in 2014, robberies are down by 37 percent, burglaries by 22 percent and carjackings by 30 percent.
Meanwhile in Chicago, which has some of the most draconian gun laws in the country, gun violence has become so commonplace that it’s a punchline for late night TV. Recently, 22 people were shot in a 12-hour period, including a 12-year-old girl who was attending a sleepover.
Liberals don’t want to admit that their policies don’t work and conservative policies do. But the two tales of Chicago and Detroit are living proof that allowing citizens the constitutional right to arm themselves doesn’t increase violence — it prevents it.
Thinking about having a greasy fast food burger, fries, and a shake for lunch? Well, if the federal government gets its way your boss could have the right to tell you to swap out that burger for a salad. Why? Because healthier people cost companies less in health care spending.
The Affordable Care Act gives companies incentives to provide “wellness programs” like prevention screenings or help to quit smoking. And workers can get rewards if they participate, such as discounts on insurance premiums or gym memberships.
The 2009 HITECH Act gives cash to doctors who switch from paper to electronic records — which create a home for the health data.
The health law also banned insurers from excluding people who were sick or likely to become so — those with pre-existing conditions. One cost of admitting “high risk” patients to the health insurance pool, it seems, is more snooping into their lives — and ours.
“Health care,” says Kulleni Gebreyes, director of the Health Industries Advisory group at PwC, “is doing credit scoring now.” But instead of scoring your credit, health data firms are actually scoring you.
Used together, the electronic medical records and wellness promotion enable companies to find their sickest, most expensive employees, and push and cajole them into healthier lifestyles.
Aetna is already using data analytics and interventions on its own employees, along with 40 of the companies it ensures. Unsurprisingly, some people aren’t too thrilled about it:
One hospital employee, who wished to be identified only as Martin, said his employer initially offered a break on health insurance costs in exchange for information about his weight and whether he smokes.
Then the demands grew.
“Now that’s not enough. They want us to use a Fitbit that monitors how many steps we take each day, how many fruit and vegetables I eat. It’s all too much. It’s none of my employer’s business,” he said.
In fact, data monitoring is able to predict which employees will develop conditions like diabetes and run up big medical bills. The next think you know, Big Brother is not only monitoring what you eat but also everything you do. Who cares about your privacy so long as the corporation is saving money, right?
There’s no arguing that Americans should look to make healthier choices, but that’s something only an individual can choose to do — and it’s none of their boss’s business.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to announce Monday that he will deploy 1,000 soldiers from the Texas National Guard to portions of the Texas/Mexico border:
State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) confirmed the pending announcement of Perry’s decision to deploy 1,000 soldiers from the Texas National Guard to the border. The goal of the guard deployment is to bolster the work of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Troopers, according to Jennifer Saenz, a spokesperson for Sen. Hinojosa.
“The senator understands that Perry wants this troop build-up, but is not sure what kind of federal approval he needs for it. He just knows he wants to deploy 1,000 troops there,” Saenz said in an article posted on the Houston Chronicle.
According to a leaked internal memo from another state official, the troops will be deployed to the western areas of the Rio Grande Valley and to ranch lands further north. The memo also makes it clear that the move is “not a militarization of the border”:
“This is not a militarization of the border. The DPS and the National Guard are working to keep any drug and human trafficking south of [U.S. Highway] 83 and with the goal of keeping any smuggling from entering major highways to transport East/West/and North.”
It is estimated that the deployment will cost $12 million per month, with nearly $10 million funding personnel and vehicles and another $2.4 million for helicopters. A press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. Central Time in Austin to make the formal announcement.