Bill and Hillary

They’re back in the news.

A lot of noise around about the NFL “Anthem Protests.” All that noise has pretty much blocked a lot of news from getting to page one or tv headlines. One of those is the Clinton Foundation’s Form 990 — the required tax form for all charitable organizations. Care to look-in on the state of financial affairs for the Foundation? Click on the following link:

311580204_201412_990

The Numbers

  1. The Foundation received $177, 804,612 in total revenue 2014;
  2. That compares to $147,842,769 the previous year;
  3. Amount paid out to specific charities was $5,160,385;  (less than 3% of revenue received)
  4. 24 “Senior” officials of the Clinton Foundation received a total of $3,072,076 in salary;
  5. 486 employees of the Foundation were paid $34,838,106;
  6. Total expenses of the Foundation were $91,281,145.

Expenses of Note

  1. $7,863,286 were travel costs for the year;
  2. “Conference” expenses totaled $12,469,045;
  3. “Other” expenses (no detail) were $7,323,080;
  4. Total expenses were $91,281,145.

Analysis

This Form 990 was for the year 2014, well before the campaign by Hillary began formally for the 2016 election. Needless to say, the Clinton Foundation raised a lot of money. Bill Clinton started an affiliated entity called the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005. From the Clinton Foundation website:

“Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convened global and emerging leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Through CGI University, CGI America, CGI International and its flagship Annual Meeting, CGI brought together more than 200 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel laureates, and hundreds of leading corporate CEOs, Presidents of foundations, Executive Directors of the most effective NGOs, and major philanthropists to commit to take action against these challenges. From 2005-2016, CGI members have made more than 3,600 Commitments to Action, which are improving the lives of over 435 million people in 180 countries.”

The Initiative was not involved in giving grants at all but received its funding directly from contributions. It was the target of many and often called “The Clinton Slush Fund.” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Hillary Clinton attempted to cloak the Initiative’s impropriety by “hiding” incriminating e-mails. When the documents were made public, Fitton said they conclusively prove “the State Department and the Clinton Foundation worked hand in hand in terms of policy and donor effort,” despite Hillary’s 2009 pledge to cease involvement with the Clinton Foundation. Amid the accusations, the Clinton Global Initiative reportedly lost tens-of-millions of dollars in donations.

In an interview with The Washington Times, Manhattan Republican Party Vice-President Brian Morgenstern noted that the donations waned significantly when Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election. In his opinion, the Clinton Global Initiative donors clearly expected Clinton to use her influence as President of the United States to “reward” them for their donations. As she did not win the election, Morgenstern suggests the donors lost their motivation. Although the Initiative appeared to falter amid the outcome of the presidential election, plans to halt the Initiative were originally announced by former President Bill Clinton in August. At the time, it was assumed that the Initiative would be dissolved to avoid a conflict of interest if Hillary Clinton won the elections. Despite the fact that she did not win, the Foundation moved forward with their plans.

In October, the Clinton Global Initiative filed an initial WARN notice — which stated a total of 74 CGI employees would be laid off. Three months later, another WARN notice was filed, stating that 22 more employees would be terminated amid the discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Summary

It’s really difficult to write such a report full of factual information like this without getting emotional and very angry. Several hundred million dollars a year were raised for purely charitable reasons by almost 500 people. Certainly there was some good work done, some good causes funded, and people helped who were in dire straits. But the fiduciary responsibilities of this and every tax-free charitable organization are all supposed to be for one reason: to accumulate resources to assist those in need — and nothing else. Certainly in doing so and achieving successful results requires seed money. The Clinton Foundation obviously achieved that goal.

The Tax Reform Act of 1969 defined the fundamental social contract offered to private foundations such as the Clinton Foundation. In exchange for exemption from paying most taxes and for limited tax benefits being offered to donors, a private foundation must (a) pay out at least 5% of the value of its endowment each year, none of which may be to the private benefit of any individual; (b) not own or operate significant for-profit businesses; (c) file detailed public annual reports and conduct annual audits in the same manner as a for-profit corporation; (d) meet a suite of additional accounting requirements unique to nonprofits. As noted above, the Clinton Foundation in 2014 paid out less than 3% of its received contributions.

How did the Clinton Foundation escape that “5% payout rule” from the Tax Reform Act of 1969? Administrative and operating expenses count towards the 5% requirement.

How does the Clinton Foundation compare to some others in giving to causes what is donated?

  • American Red Cross

    The American Red Cross does a good job of spending your money when you donate. They manage to keep administrative expenses at less than 5 percent of their total overhead, and they spend about 91 cents for every dollar donated on actual programs that benefit the community. Whether it’s teaching CPR or managing a crisis during the aftermath of a disaster, the Red Cross puts your money to good use.

  • World Vision

    Approximately 85 percent of income donated to World Vision goes to help stamp out poverty around the world. While they are still well below the 33 percent benchmark, they tend to spend more on fundraising than other highly-rated charities in this category. Nonetheless, if stamping out poverty is your passion, World Vision does a good job with your money.

  • Doctors Without Borders

    These brave folks at Doctors Without Borders go into the most deplorable conditions to bring healing to others. Your money here is well spent. According to their website, about 89 percent of total revenue goes to supporting their programs.

Comparison of the Clinton Foundation with these three charities

In short, anyone who donated to the Clinton Foundation (at least during 2014) were obviously not concerned about the percentage of their contribution that ended up funding a charitable event. Less than 3% of what was contributed was actually paid out by the Clinton Foundation! These numbers and the obvious financial mismanagement of this charitable foundation is the primary reason for the cries from many that the Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative were nothing more than a way to funnel money into the special interest and political operations of Hillary’s upcoming campaign rather than to function in a charitable way. For every dollar given to the Clinton Foundation, 97 cents was gobbled up by “operations!”

And now, Hillary’s new book is out in which she explains all 987 reasons why she did not win the 2016 Presidential election. And with that book being published, she is back on stage, on set, and in book stores signing autographs. Americans (especially Democrats) sighed a note of relief that she apparently was finished politically with her loss to President Trump. Not so — she’s still beating the “Hillary” drum and doesn’t seem to be planning to give the drum away any time soon.

I don’t know about the 2020 campaign for the White House. She made it fairly clear she was not going to run for office again. But she got the drum out of the closet. And she’s looking for a set of drumsticks to get started again.

“She’s BAACK!”

 

 

Slot Left, P 26 Belly, X Corner

My friend Teddy Allen tells a story of a chapter in the life (that I shared personally) of my #1 hero: Denny Duron. Denny will be inducted into the Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame Friday evening. With Teddy’s permission I share his editorial here.  Enjoy.

Slot Left, P 26 Belly, X Corner.

It looks silly, just sitting there. “Slot Left, P 26 Belly, X Corner.” But this pass play, installed halfway through Louisiana Tech’s 1973 football season and called with the Bulldogs trailing by three points with time running out in the Division II Semifinals, was money in the bank down the stretch, the winning play in a 38-34 victory over Boise State and what quarterback Denny Duron calls “one of the most important plays of that national championship season.”
“And the most memorable play of my football career,” said Duron. That’s saying something since his career is packed with memorable plays, games, teams, and mostly memorable teammates on his way to the Tech Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2017.
And what a bunch of teams and teammates they were. Duron was a freshman on a Tech team that finished 2-8 in 1970, hardly foreshadowing what would become the best decade in Tech football history. The next four years, the Bulldogs went 44-4 with a mix of all-star talent, unity, coaching brilliance, maybe even a little something extra.
“As a team, we felt like we had divine intervention,” said Gerald Eddings, starting guard for the national champs. “We had four ministers on the team; for any team, that’s unusual. Then some became ministers after college.”
“I don’t think there could ever have been better recruiting classes than in 1970 and ’71,” Duron said. “Some of it was just luck of the draw; I would call it God’s providence.”

Whether or not those Bulldogs were granted heavenly favor in terms of final scores is a theological question. But any fan who witnessed them play will tell you they were a blessing to watch.
In 1971, the Bulldogs went 9-2, beat Eastern Michigan in the Pioneer Bowl in Wichita Falls, Texas, and were named NCAA College Division Midwest Region Champions. The next two years, with Duron at quarterback, Tech went 12-0 and 12-1 to become back-to-back NCAA College Division National Champions. The 1974 team – Duron had graduated and was then in his first of two season with Birmingham of the World Football League before going into ministry full time — went 12-1, its only loss coming in the national championship semifinals.
That’s 44-4 in four years. The Golden Era. Duron, the Offensive Player of the Year in the Southland Conference as a senior in ’73, was at its heart.
“We all know that my being inducted into our Hall of Fame is really about me being one of the team captains,” Duron said. “This is really about those two teams, those two incredible football teams. The proudest part of this for me is that I’m going to have a few minutes to talk about them and represent them that night at the induction.
“We’re still a family,” Duron said. “We’re still a team. We didn’t stop being a team when we stopped having games.”
When they did have games, “we just found a way,” Duron said. “Like when we were playing Boise and we had that touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to win…”

The Bulldogs would whitewash Western Kentucky, 34-0, to win the title the next weekend in Sacramento, Calif. But first, trailing 34-31 in the semifinals, they had to beat Boise State.
December 8, 1973. Memorial Stadium, Wichita Falls. Boise State had taken the lead on a touchdown with 3:42 left in the game. But now the Bulldogs were 21 yards from the goal line, right hash, and had just quarterbacked-sneaked their way to a first down. Less than 30 seconds…
Duron trotted to the near sideline to get the play called down from offensive coordinator Mickey Slaughter. “Slot Left, P 26 Belly, X Corner.” Duron jogged back to the huddle.
“We break and they’re going crazy on the sideline, pointing at the clock,”
Duron said, who thought the clock had stopped on the first down play. It hadn’t.
“I called the play quickly and we hurried to the line and I looked at the clock and thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Duron said.
“18…17…16…”
Slaughter was looking for a Boise blitz, so the play call was for maximum protection. Future All-Pro fullback Roland Harper picked up a linebacker two yards into the backfield, and Charles “Quick 6” McDaniel got the defensive end.
“Our offensive line has played four tough quarters, the game is on the line, and the best football team we’d ever played rushes seven, and they pick those guys up,” Duron said. “I thought the left end was gonna hit me before I got the ball off, but Quick 6 darts across and cuts the guy off and the rest is history.”
And “good” history, because future All-Pro Roger Carr and all that speed was wide on the left side; his route was an 18-yard post, then cut back to the corner. In the slot was another future All-Pro receiver in Pat Tilley, who would run a short out route to occupy the cornerback and be an option. But when Duron saw the blitz as he quickly dropped back and read that the safety was man-to-man with Carr, “it was Roger all the way,” Duron said.
“Coach Slaughter put that play in about halfway through the year,” said Carr, pastor for the past seven years at Chapel By The Sea in Cherry Grove, S.C. “I remember several times we scored on that play. In pro ball it was a great route for me and Bert (Jones, with the Baltimore Colts).”
The whole thing took three seconds, maybe a bit more. Carr made the catch four yards past the trailing safety, who was turned around after Carr cut outside. “I don’t even remember seeing him,” Carr said.
“You’re going to try and cover Roger with one guy?” said Huey Kirby, Tech’s tight end and Duron’s college roommate. “Forget that.”
“Funny how open he was,” Duron said. “I thought I’d overthrown him. He just turned on the jets and it hit him right in the chest.”

“When you get two folks like that, Roger and Denny, that sort of All-America status, guys who are able to read each other and ‘know,’ you understand why a play like that happened,” said Kirby, for the past 34 years a pastor on the staff at New Hope Baptist in Fayetteville, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta; he ran a deep slant to draw a safety and linebacker on the Duron-to-Carr game winner.
“Not surprising,” Kirby said, “that those two hooked up on the most pivotal play of the game.”
“You would ask about that play,” Eddings said. “I didn’t get my best block. I remember afterward I said to Russell (Bates, Tech’s center), ‘I missed my block,’ and Russell just smiled and put his hand on my shoulder pad and said, ‘Yeah, but I got him.’ And that’s the kind of team we had, right there. We played for each other. We were one.”
“Those teams had fabulous players and coaches,” Duron said. “But that play says as much as anything about those teams: just everybody doing what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it, and with all their heart. I can’t say enough about those guys.”

His teammates can’t say enough about him.
“Denny is a true born leader,” Eddings said. “He’s not one of those guys who has to talk about things, because everything he did was in his actions. He never had to raise his voice. He worked so hard and was always such a good person, he made everyone around him want to work harder and be better. We worked together as a team to a large extent because he was the one who just kept everyone together.”
“When he takes charge and says ‘Get ‘er done,’ he gets it done,” Kirby said. “He exemplifies meekness. Power under control…He taught meekness without teaching it because he was just living it out.”
“Denny’s got this disease called character,” said Mike Barber, a second-round pick in the 1976 NFL draft and a pro tight end for 10 seasons. “Talent’s great, but you win with character. Denny was the best.”
“Everybody respected Denny,” said Terry Slack, a redshirt freshman in ’73, the state director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes today. “Often after practice the coaches would leave and the team would take a knee around Denny and he’d share a few words. Nothing long. I don’t remember what he said, but I remember how I felt. And that no one said a word. All those guys, young and loud, tired at the end of practice, and we were all quiet when Denny spoke.”
“I remember those moments,” Duron said. “They weren’t planned; I just spoke out of my heart. Those are my brothers. I’d share a devotional thought, very short, and pray for them, pray for all of us. On that team, the freshmen were treated just like the upperclassmen. There were no favorites. It was a very rare season of life to see that kind of love that was shared between a group of young men and their coaches.”
John Causey was a walk-on in 1969 but an all-conference defensive back as a junior and senior on the two title teams.
“I got there and was scared to death,” he said. “We were around some tough guys. I was lost. Then here come two ordained ministers and in the next couple of years, the whole feeling changed. We’d had good guys and good teams, but this was a whole different feeling.”
“Our motto was ‘Unity is our strength.’ Really, it was,” said Carr. “Guys from all walks of life thrown in there together. When I was a freshman and we were 2-8, we weren’t very good and we didn’t act very good. If there was unity, I didn’t feel it. I wanted out of that dorm.
“But here came Huey and (halfback Glen) Berteau and Denny, and all those guys started to come together,” Carr said. “I can’t tell you exactly how it happens, but I know it when it works. And I’ll tell you, that’s not a normal thing.”

The last piece of the puzzle was moving Duron from receiver to quarterback the spring before his junior season. “I got it by forfeit, you know,” he said. “I started out fourth string.”
The first-stringer left in the middle of a practice. “Third-string then,” Duron said.
The new first-stringer left in the middle of the night “to be a bartender in Austin, Texas,” Duron said. “Now I’m second string.”
Slaughter and head coach Maxie Lambright wanted to run the speed option, and Duron could get to the edge faster than Bobby Benard, “so I’m first-string, really by default.” And then the show began.
“Denny was such a leader for us – no way we go 24-1 those two seasons without him – that he doesn’t get credit for being such an athlete,” Carr said. “Great hands. Tremendous eye-hand coordination. Decent speed. He could have played several positions.”
“My friend Denny could put a zip on the ball that would make the Earth stand still,” Tilley said.
“The thing I loved about him was that he could read any defense and he always knew where all of us were,” Kirby said. “I made a catch on this crazy crucial third-down play against Boise to keep the drive going and when you look at it on film — two linebackers, a defensive back, and me — there’s no way Denny could have threaded it in there. Except…he did.”
Add all that together, include defenders who “played like their hair was on fire,” Duron said, and you’ve got the best back-to-back seasons in Tech football history.
“Those two years with Denny as our quarterback were such fun to coach and the results were obvious,” Slaughter said. “Our defense was rock solid and very seldom gave up many points. We were so fortunate to have a really good offensive line and a whole sack full of great athletes who all could make plays. Then there was Denny, who tied it all together with his positive personality, his never-give-up attitude, his great ability as a quarterback, and his influence on practically every single one of our players that led to their being better people.

“Could we please do it all over again?”

      Denny Duron

“A” NFL Anthem Protest Plan

How can we fix the problems creating the NFL Anthem protests? Simple: resolve the problems for which the protests occur. According to Colin Kaepernick, his reason for protesting during the National Anthem was, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

 Brandon Marshall — Denver Broncos wide receiver — lost a Denver area personal endorsement deal today. The sponsor who terminated Marshall’s spokesman status with their company — “Air Academy Federal Credit Union” — stated they did so because of his National Anthem “kneeling protest.” Marshall said afterward he has no problem with the flag, the Anthem, or the military. He said he is protesting because of “social injustice.” That covers a broad array of possible issues that I cannot get my arms around. I do not know what they consist of. But there are some very obvious specific issues mentioned by Colin Kaepernick. Maybe those encompass “social injustice.” Let’s look at those that I can identify, knowing there are others.

If we are going to solve the issues at hand, (or at least do our absolute best to do so) we need to make some basic assumptions:

  1.  Kaepernick’s and Marshall’s statements are the fundamental protest cause;
  2. If we attack oppression of people of color in America, protest would stop;
  3. ALL Americans need to engage in the processes necessary to achieve this – ALL Americans.

Let’s look at some of the problems:

  • Law Enforcement inequalities. Let’s face it: not every white cop is a bad cop. But some are. Not every shooting of a minority by a white cop is unjustified. But some are. And none of those are acceptable, yet they happen.
  • The Criminal Justice system is blatantly tilted away from Black America. I’m not sure why, but I’ve had more Criminal justice experience through those close to me than I care to have had, and African Americans and other minorities are at a huge disadvantage: cost of criminal defense is where it starts. Poor are relegated to appointed representation that means poor capabilities in discovery, depositions, and in the courtroom. Let’s fix it.
  • Education inequality. This is not just a “black” thing. Many poor and middle class Americans are stuck in school districts where public education for a multitude of reasons is less than acceptable. Many middle class families simply move to better neighborhoods where better schools are located. That’s seldom a possibility for minorities.
  • Single-parent families. I’m not drawing a stereotype here. Factually, more Black families have just one parent living at home. That 24/7 family environment so many White families take for granted is missing. With that comes all of the issues that plague that community: lack of discipline, drugs, gangs, street violence, and no sense of familial community that where it exists creates personal identity and growth foundations for young men and women.
  • Income inequality. On the most part, all of the above contribute heavily to minorities struggling to get good paying jobs. Which comes first: the chicken or the egg? That’s very applicable to this conversation. A poor home life, lack of self-discipline from no teaching, and a poor education all contribute to that lack of income. Seldom mentioned is the lack of or poor transportation. How can someone get and keep a good job without a realistic transportation source?
  • Work related inequality. Often minorities are over-looked for particular jobs and/or promotions simply because they are minority workers. In today’s world, business success is not always about being better or smarter, it’s about who you know and being in the right place at the right time. It’s harder for minority workers to be in that spot because of simply being a minority.

This really just barely scratches the surface of the issues faced by minority Americans today that others only hear about. Certainly there are more. Also, we know that even though America is far down the road toward racial equality from where we began, there obviously are many more miles to travel. I am willing to do my part to push hard to get down the road toward that end. I don’t know it all — I can’t do it all. “We the People” must do it together.

“A Plan”

First a disclaimer: understand my opinion is just that. My purpose is to stop throwing rocks and attempt to lay a foundation in part, knowing others will disagree and suggest other methods. That is fine. I want to get a positive conversation going. I have not  been hearing that.

  1. To effect changes in policing is a huge but necessary task. It will require many people at many levels of government to get involved — from the Justice Department, 50 states’ state police forces, local and regional law enforcement, and district, state, and federal courts. That is a huge task. But it must begin and must begin somewhere. How do we start that process? First, since the NFL players stepped out first on this process, let’s ask them to petition their Union (NFLPA) to with the NFL reach out to the Justice Department to craft and implement a national plan to tackle law enforcement issues. A model of this process should be aggressively pursued, implemented nationally, and rolled out to state and local agencies. (That includes the FBI) I suggest that this plan include very detailed one-on-one training with every law enforcement agent that interfaces with the public in any way. It should include psychological training and analysis. This portion of this plan is critical and will necessarily be VERY costly. How to finance it? See funding plan below.
  2. Community ownership of problems and solutions must be owned by everyone in each community affected. That means not only the disadvantaged or not only law enforcement or other government agencies or employees. EVERYONE in each community must join in. Why? Because everyone in each community is part of the problem and therefore must be part of any solution. Though not a sociologist, from 64 years of living in America, I know racism, nepotism, elitism, and social inequality are present in every town and city, and are living in every human being to some degree. (Yes, there’s racism in all of us — at least a seed) No matter how desperately we want reconciliation and equality, it will never succeed without first acceptance of what is in us all with a sincere desire to rid ourselves and each other of the bad, preserving the good, then beginning to work together to implement what is universally best for all.
  3. Instead of trying to change American history, we need to learn more about American history. How can we expect our children and their children to know exactly what the costs are of racism and social injustice and hatred and bigotry if they do not see and understand its past in America, how it devastated families and communities, and how Americans together changed today’s history by building on yesterday’s history — not by trying to wipe it out? The evils in the past are just that: evils in the past. To have any chance to get through this, we must do so together, building on America’s past — throwing out the bad and using the good moving forward.
  4. We must recognize diversity has been and always be a part of who we are as Americans. The United States has forever been known as the “Melting Pot” of the World, accepting and integrating people of all origins, races, ethnicities, religions and creeds into America. Being different must cease being viewed as “better” or “worse.” We must recognize and applaud our differences instead of looking down or up to others. The United States needs to really be “One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for All.”

Certainly there are other things to be added to this list. But certainly we can agree that to get through this, we need to tackle with honesty and sincerity numbers 1 – 4 above.

How to Fund this “Plan”

  • Let’s let the NFL take the lead on this: the NFL itself, teams, players, and fans. How?
    • The NFL gets $1 Billion a year from the networks for NFL game broadcast rights, plus $1.5 Billion a year from DirecTV for their Sunday NFL Ticket package. The NFL commits 1% of television revenue to this project. That’s $25 million per year.
    • NFL players get $167 million per team per year in pay: that’s $196,934 average per player per game. NFL players commit .25% of their pay to this project. That’s $417,000 per team or $13.3 million per year.
    • NFL teams get an average of $150 million per year in local revenue. Each team commits 1% of that to this project, or $48 million per year.
    • NFL teams average 74,000 at each game or 592,000 per season. Each ticket holder pays $1 per ticket more to go to this project, or $19 million.
  • This seeds this program with $105 million annually that is put together by the League, teams/owners, players, and fans. Is that too much money to give up? If it is, cut it in half! $52.5 million would be a good start

Who Designs, Implements and “runs” this Plan?

  • Establish a consortium of experts comprised of NFL players, owners, League officers, Justice Department officials, State law enforcement, Local law enforcement, Mental Health experts, and Social Organization representatives. Select a group membership number that is inclusive but not so large in number to handicap the process of designing, creating, implementing, and operating such a program as this. Do not let bureaucracy manage it! Keep it in the hands of those who subscribe to the need and methodology to fulfill the project objectives.
  • Keep it open to outside scrutiny with auditing authority — auditing authority of both processes and finances.
  • Keep its processes, successes and failures, plans and ideas in the public arena. Even in failures let Americans know work is underway.
  • No one person or group “owns” this process or controls it. It must remain a group effort with everyone involved filling identical shoes as far as importance.

Summary

These are suggestions and suggestions only. Shoot holes in them. Tell me I’m wrong. But most importantly, give alternate ideas. I started my company with specific processes that I devised 25 years ago. We don’t have a single process today that we did 25 years ago. Why? We found better ones and replaced the “old” ones. And all those new ones did NOT come from just me. This should run the same way.

No, sports do not run the world or control social issues in America. But sports and music are pretty much universal in at least speaking to each other. Why not use sports to find and implement the fixes to do our best to eradicate the ills in our society? Are we incapable of pushing together and pulling together to get something so important started and running? There will be those who pooh pah the idea for any of a number of reasons. They have the right to do so. But we ALL have the responsibility to create a better tomorrow for our children and their children.

Let’s get started…today. Start by posting your thoughts — pro or con — below. If you prefer to remain anonymous but have ideas, please email me your thoughts to share here anonymously at dan@dnewman.org.

Thanks for looking in.

The “NFL Moment”

Colin Kaepernick started it. It’s out of hand.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump tweeted just hours before the start of Sunday’s NFL games as likely more players kneel to protest racial injustice. “…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.” (President Donald Trump)

The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month,” Goodell said. “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell)

What’s it all About?

PLEASE tell me the exact cause that these several dozen NFL, NBA, and now MLB players are taking a knee to promote. Please tell me why they have chosen the National Anthem as their “official” venue for doing so. You would think that the greatest money machine on Earth — the National Football League — who has more money to market their games, their pre-season training camps, their products, their image, and every other thing that will make them another dime — could easily create and implement the most visible stage in human history to promote their players’ new “cause.” Why haven’t they done so? Answer: they like most Americans don’t have any idea of the cause. Is it racial oppression, police brutality, wages, unemployment, inequality? Who knows: I certainly have no idea. I do know this: it would be very simple to let the world know exactly the reason for these protests. And it certainly would make millions of Americans understand what is worth the huge “new” political divide that is splitting America….AGAIN. Not since the 1960’s have we seen an environment in America as toxic as this.

Make NO mistake: this is NOT about free speech. Certainly every American has the right to speak their mind with protection from their speech being curtailed BY THE GOVERNMENT. Do not make the mistake that many of these athletes have made: the First Amendment protects Americans against “government” speech interference. It does not protect against private employers having say in their employees’ behavior when at work. And these athletes are definitely at work when they choose to demonstrate/protest.

The “Protest”

No matter the cause, why did they pick the National Anthem? What in the National Anthem itself and its meaning to almost every American gives pause to a protest? Let’s analyze:

  • The “National Anthem’s” history. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover. As legend has it, singing the national anthem at sporting events began during the 1918 World Series, when the nation was at war. As recounted by the New York Times of Sept. 6, 1918, it was the seventh-inning stretch of the first game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox.“As the crowd of 10,274 spectators — the smallest that has witnessed the diamond classic in many years — stood up to take their afternoon yawn, that has been the privilege and custom of baseball fans for many generations, the band broke forth to the strains of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner. The yawn was checked and heads were bared as the ball players turned quickly about and faced the music. Jackie Fred Thomas of the U.S. Navy was at attention, as he stood erect, with his eyes set on the flag fluttering at the top of the lofty pole in right field. First the song was taken up by a few, then others joined, and when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field. It was at the very end that the onlookers exploded into thunderous applause and rent the air with a cheer that marked the highest point of the day’s enthusiasm.”
  • The Nation Anthem’s meaning. To millions of Americans the National Anthem in tandem with the American flag is the consummate embodiment of the freedom for which hundreds of thousands of Americans have fought and died to protect. They have not been just white, but black, yellow, brown, Christian, Muslim, atheist and agnostic. Those symbols of freedom are especially dear to those who have served in the military and those who have lost those loved ones in war. Children for decades in many schools each morning have stood and said the “Pledge of Allegiance” and sung the “Star-Bangled Banner” with a hand over heart facing the Flag. Their doing so was a manner of honoring the institution of the United States, the U.S. Military, and the people who have served.

The Problem

Americans don’t understand. It’s hard to agree with any cause when you don’t understand what the cause is. There’s no clarity about a cause. Kaepernick described his reasoning this way:  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media’s Steve Wyche. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

But there was no Kaepernick kneeling when he starred at University of Nevada Reno or when he joined the 49ers. His activism did not show its face until Nessa Diab — a liberal radio talk show host in San Francisco — started dating Colin. Nessa shocked the world on August 3 when she posted a tweet that appeared to compare Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to a slave owner. The tweet came after rumors emerged that the Ravens were keen on a deal that would bring Kaepernick to Baltimore. That deal was nixed by Bisciotti.

Identity and Class Warfare

Franklin D. Roosevelt warned Congress, January 3, 1940:

“Doctrines that set group against group, faith against faith, race against race, class against class, fanning the fires of hatred in men too despondent, too desperate to think for themselves, were used as rabble-rousing slogans on which dictators could ride to power. And once in power they could saddle their tyrannies on whole nations.”

This started in the U.S. 8 years ago. Is it too late for this generation? There has not been before in my lifetime so much division, angst, and outwardly expressed hate: demonstrations that lead to violence that leads to riots.

It’s pretty ugly in the United States. There is an abundance of finger pointing going on — much blame with very little personal accountability.

“By this will all know you follow Me: that you love one another.” Jesus Christ

 

Election Foreign Intervention Fraud

I’m tired of “Russia Gate,” aren’t you?

Let’s be frank: countries trying to influence outcomes of other countries’ elections has been happening for centuries. Every country has vested interests in election results in every other country. None live in a vacuum. Regarding Russian interference in OUR elections, this too is not new. In fact their attempts to influence U.S. elections have been well documented for decades. In fact, the United States has been one of the countries MOST involved in directly affecting elections in other countries. Have you heard about that from the State Media? Nope. Let’s look-in on an interview about this subject by Ari Shapiro from NPR. He in this interview is speaking with Don Levin, who is with the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University. (Carnegie and NPR are not known to be bastions of Conservatism)

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: This is hardly the first time a country has tried to influence the outcome of another country’s election. The U.S. has done it, too, by one expert’s count, more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000. That expert is Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. I asked him to tell me about one election where U.S. intervention likely made a difference in the outcome.

DOV LEVIN: One example of that was our intervention in Serbia, Yugoslavia in the 2000 election there. Slobodan Milosevic was running for re-election, and we didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency, you know, to disrupts the Balkans and his human rights violations.

So we intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. And we gave funding to the opposition, and we gave them training and campaigning aide. And according to my estimate, that assistance was crucial in enabling the opposition to win.

SHAPIRO: How often are these interventions public versus covert?

LEVIN: Well, it’s – basically there’s about – one-third of them are public, and two-thirds of them are covert. In other words, they’re not known to the voters in the target before the election.

SHAPIRO: Your count does not include coups, attempts at regime change. It sounds like depending on the definitions, the tally could actually be much higher.

LEVIN: Well, you’re right. I don’t count and discount covert coup d’etats like the United States did in Iran in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954. I only took when the United States is trying directly to influence an election for one of the sides. Other types of interventions – I don’t discuss. But if we would include those, then of course the number could be larger, yeah.

SHAPIRO: How often do other countries like Russia, for example, try to alter the outcome of elections as compared to the United States?

LEVIN: Well, for my dataset, the United States is the most common user of this technique. Russia or the Soviet Union since 1945 has used it half as much. My estimate has been 36 cases between 1946 to 2000. We know also that the Chinese have used this technique and the Venezuelans when the late Hugo Chavez was still in power in Venezuela and other countries.

SHAPIRO: The U.S. is arguably more vocal than any other country about trying to promote democracy and democratic values around the world. Does this strike you as conflicting with that message?

LEVIN: It depends upon if we are assisting pro-democratic side – could be like in the case of Slobodan Milosevic that I talked about earlier. I believe that that could be helpful for democracy. If it helps less-nicer candidates or parties, then naturally it can be less helpful.

SHAPIRO: Obviously your examination of 20th century attempts to influence elections does not involve hacking because computers were not widespread until recently.

LEVIN: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: In your view, is technology – the way that we saw in the November election – dramatically changing the game? Or is this just the latest evolution of an effort that has always used whatever tools are available?

LEVIN: I would say it’s more the latter. I mean the Russians or the Soviets before unfrequently did these type of intervention, just, you know, without the cyber-hacking tools – you know, the old style people meeting in the park in secret giving out and getting information and things like that, so to speak.

So more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000, the United States was documented interfering with other countries’ elections. Some may say, “This is ancient history. Nothing like this happens today, especially by the United States. Maybe with THIS Administration like the Bush 43 Administration, but no other.” Wrong!

This from the Washington Times last year: “The State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last year’s Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation concluded Tuesday. Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report.

In one stunning finding, the subcommittee said OneVoice even told the State Department’s top diplomat in Jerusalem of its plans in an email, but the official, Consul General Michael Ratney, claims never to have seen them. He said he regularly deleted emails with large attachments — a striking violation of open-records laws for a department already reeling from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s handling of official government records.

Mr. Netanyahu survived the election, and the U.S. spending was not deemed illegal because the State Department never put any conditions on the money. Investigators also said OneVoice didn’t turn explicitly political until days after the grant period ended.”

Hypocrisy

Let’s face it: all this current noise about Russian interference in our 2016 election is just that: noise. It was announced today by Homeland Security that they had notified 21 states in the last few days of attempts by Russian hackers to affect elections in each of those states in Fall 2016 elections. NONE were successful. “Attempting” to hack into a computer system is NOT hacking into a computer system, just an attempt. It was stated by many in the Intelligence Community that there is NO evidence of any direct election interference by anyone that changed actual votes. But then the Left started their witch hunt that was exclusively designed, implemented, and is operating as the chief tool to derail the Trump presidency and the Trump agenda.

Am I wrong? OK. PROVE IT! Google to copy the actual evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election and paste it in your comment in the comments section at the end of this article. The rest of us are waiting with baited breath. (Does anyone know what “baited breath” is? I don’t….it just sounds good!)

This is the most outrageous fraud perpetrated on the American people by the Media and the Democrat Party in a century…period. There is no Russian interference in U.S. elections that is any different from their attempts 4 years ago, 8 years ago, 12 years ago, 16 years ago, 20 years ago….. In fact we learned today that the FBI knew of attempts by Russia and other countries to interfere in multiple previous U.S. elections and even notified candidates in those elections. It’s not new.

Russia Gate is a U.S. Government/Democrat Party Fraud!

 

Healthcare Lies

Let’s face it: pretty much everything that comes out of D.C. is either “edited” to fit a political narrative or simply an outright lie. Healthcare is no exception. Let’s look at Healthcare Lies.

Obamacare Lies

  • “You can keep your insurance plan if you want to.”
  • “You can keep your doctor if you want to.”
  • “Premium costs per family will go down an average of $2500 per year.”
  • “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits,” Obama stated in his 2009 State of the Union address.
  • “Obamacare will not raise a single tax on middle income Americans.”
  • “Obamacare will reduce emergency room visits.”
  • “Obamacare exchanges would increase competition for policy premiums.”

I almost did NOT include the above lies, simply because we’ve heard them over and over. I listed them simply to illustrate my first line above: all those Obamacare lies were either purposeful or simply for “a specific narrative or political expediency.” Regardless, you and I are paying for those lies.

What about the “new” Healthcare proposal? The Graham- Cassidy Plan details are included in my previous post including a link to the actual legislation that will go before the U.S. Senate next week. In the meantime, you can bet the Left — both inside and outside of D.C. — are going nuts, attacking it in every way imaginable and some ways that are simply unimaginable. Even television host Jimmy Kimmel weighed in. When watching this 9 minute clip of his attacks on Senators Cassidy and Graham AND Fox and Friends Brian Kilmeade against whom Kimmel makes personal attacks including name calling, note the claims he makes about the Cassidy-Graham Plan are lies that we will “document” below:

Kimmel’s lies? Graham-Cassidy DOES protect those currently under any pre-existing condition situation going forward. How? Money being spent now by the Federal Government — the same amounts being spent now (which Kimmel lied saying funding would be cut) — in block grants to the state include monies for pre-existing conditions. States will have the prerogative to structure their programs as they wish, even creating “high risk” pools which would include such individuals. Let’s face it: there is no “well” for which to go to for unlimited funds. Obamacare made that claim expecting that the exorbitant costs for many of those with pre-existing conditions would be offset by all the young people who would enroll and pay premiums without using the insurance. When that didn’t happen, the Federal Government (who don’t have any money but get it always from us through taxes, fees, and penalties) said, “No problem. We’ll just pay those claims and let taxpayers eat them.” Imagine having a REAL plan with REAL provisions that will work to cover those stuck in that position.

Kimmel also said that Cassidy lied when he stated every American regardless of physical condition should be able to get insurance coverage and that Cassidy would never vote for any bill that did not state that. Cassidy did NOT say “every American would have insurance.” Think about how ridiculous that is: there are millions of young Americans who are healthy, just getting started as adults, who don’t want health insurance — especially at the prices for premiums under Obamacare. 45% of those who rejected insurance under Obamacare and chose to pay the penalty instead are under the age of 37. They paid $1000 or more to NOT have insurance. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T NEED OR WANT IT! Also, if they were suddenly afflicted with something serious, they could simply pay $1000 and be immediately covered under Obamacare — even if they had never paid a dime for any coverage AND were diagnosed with terminal cancer. Obama promised these young Americans would run to the Exchanges the first day of enrollment to signup and begin paying premiums. Didn’t happen. Without those millennials in Obamacare paying premiums, blanket pre-existing coverage does not work financially. Under Graham-Cassidy it would.

Sidenote: does it seem American to you that the government forces Americans to pay for insurance, even if they don’t need it and don’t want it? It is purely socialist for a government to forcibly confiscate money from its citizens who don’t need or want medical services so that the government can pay for others’ medical services — “forcibly” being the operative world. Doesn’t that sound a little like the way Venezuela operates? And it’s working REALLY well for them!

Other Lies about Graham-Cassidy

  • It makes abortion illegal. Graham-Cassidy prevents government funding for abortions other than for the life of the mother, rape, or incest.
  • It terminates health insurance for over 30 million who have insurance under Obamacare. Graham-Cassidy terminates NO insurance policy. What it does is stop forcing Americans who choose to not have insurance (and didn’t have it until Obamacare forced it) to buy insurance. Those on the Left to confuse Americans state that this is “canceling insurance policies” when in fact it allows Americans to make their own health insurance decisions.
  • Graham-Cassidy cuts federal funding for healthcare. Graham-Cassidy actually STOPS government payments to insurance companies and exchanges for health insurance to instead block grant THE SAME AMOUNTS BEING PAID NOW to the states. It is true Graham-Cassidy terminates both the employer and employee mandate, but allows each state to re-instate those mandates at the state level “IF” the state decides to.
  • Graham-Cassidy Healthcare block grants shrink over time, then ends. This is absolutely false. Please go back to the previous day’s blog post that spells out provisions of the structure of the plan and see IN WRITING this claim is absolutely false.
  • “We don’t need a new plan. We have a plan to fix Obamacare ready to go that would be much more effective and inclusive that Graham-Cassidy.” I’ve heard this claim for months now from the Democrat leadership. What do you think about their “fix” plan? Uh…..I can’t find it, even though I’ve looked really hard. You know why? THERE ISN’T ONE!

Summary

Do you know the thing that shocks me the most about the furor in Washington and in all of the media about Graham-Cassidy? NO ONE HAS READ THE BILL. In the midst of their cries and complaints saying “We haven’t even seen the bill and don’t know what’s in it;” “The Republicans are waiting until the last minute to ram it through the Senate and House leaving bi-partisanship possibilities out.” (Imagine “IF” the GOP wanted to do that: kinda’ like the Dems did with Obamacare, right?) Even Sean Hannity today griped on his program that he has not been able to find the bill anywhere. (I sent him an email with a link to my story yesterday just in case he can’t find it tonight)

Folks, this is crazy! If we do not take control of the spending on health insurance now, our economy is doomed to slide into oblivion in a matter of just a few years. Yes, some say American healthcare is not #1 in the World. I disagree. Either they’re wrong or I am. In either case, it is at least in the top five. Why then was it necessary to spend more than $1 trillion more on Obamacare than we spent on our private/government healthcare finance partnership before Obamacare during a corresponding time period? This is crazy! Our healthcare didn’t get better. People who had insurance got poorer coverage at much higher premium costs, then couldn’t use their outlandishly priced policies because they could not afford the deductibles! In the meantime, thousands of doctors and other health professionals headed for the hills, retiring early or just switching professions. Why? BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CANNOT GET ANY MARKETPLACE OPERATIONS RIGHT — NEVER HAS AND NEVER WILL!

            “Here Lies Healthcare: R.I.P.”

Bottom Line: Healthcare should be operated and managed primarily by the private sector in conjunction with the federal government for Medicare, Medicaid, VA, CHAMPUS, and the existing other federal programs, just like it so successfully has done for so many years.

Think about this: for all those before Obamacare that wanted insurance but couldn’t afford the premiums, we could have spent less than half the $1 Trillion we spent extra on Obamacare and bought each a commercial insurance policy. And if we had taken that route, we wouldn’t be scrambling to save the entire American Healthcare system today.

We can blame the previous Administration for that. And unless “WE” the People get this one right, American Healthcare as we have known it in our lifetimes is dead.

 

 

 

Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill

Why cannot Congress give to the American people the full text of pending legislation before their floor debate and vote?

Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy — U.S. Senators from South Carolina and Louisiana — have with several other Senators crafted an interesting replacement for Obamacare. Let’s face it: Obamacare is imploding financially. Short of a trillion dollar U.S. Government bailout, it will die a slow death in the next few months. It does not work, and was purposely designed to fail. Why? Liberals are committed to a Single-Payer Healthcare System. (See my post from several days ago explaining that system) The Senate is planning to roll out the Graham-Cassidy bill in the next few days. Fortunately for you, I have researched the proposed bill and I actually have the bill in its form in which Congress will receive it. First, here’s a simple summary, followed by a section of Frequently Asked Questions, then I’ve attached in .pdf the actual bill to be submitted that’s 140 pages long! To save time, read the first two sections. Then please download the actual piece of legislation.  Don’t get lost in the detail! This may be the most important piece of legislation in Congress during your lifetime.

Summary of the Bill

On September 13, 2017, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) unveiled legislation to reform health care.

The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) proposal repeals the structure and architecture of Obamacare and replaces it with a block grant given annually to states to help individuals pay for health care.

This proposal removes the decisions from Washington and gives states significant latitude over how the dollars are used to best take care of the unique health care needs of the patients in each state. The block grant is run through CHIP and is subject to a mandatory appropriation.

The grant dollars would replace the federal money currently being spent on Medicaid Expansion, Obamacare tax credits, cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the basic health plan dollars.

The proposal gives states the resources and regulatory flexibility to innovate and create healthcare systems that lower premiums and expand coverage.

More specifically, GCHJ:

  • Repeals Obamacare Individual and Employer Mandates.
  • Repeals the Obamacare Medical Device Tax.
  • Strengthens the ability for states to waive Obamacare regulations.
  • Returns power to the states and patients by equalizing the treatment between Medicaid Expansion and Non-expansion States through an equitable block grant distribution.
  • Protects patients with pre-existing medical conditions.

GCHJ also eliminates the inequity of four states receiving 37 percent of Obamacare funds and brings all states to funding parity by 2026. As an example, Pennsylvania has nearly double the population of Massachusetts, but receives 58 percent less Obamacare money than Massachusetts.

Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson treats all Americans the same no matter where they live.

Before you read the actual bill that will be submitted shortly to the full Senate, (and that final bill is attached at the end of this post) read these Frequently Asked Questions with answers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is It?

  • Federal block grant given annually to states to help individuals pay for healthcare.
  • States would have significant latitude over how the dollars are used to best take care of the unique health care needs of the patients in each state.
  • The grant is run through CHIP (“Childrens Health Insurance Program”) and subject to a mandatory appropriation.
  • Grant dollars would replace the federal money currently being spent on Medicaid expansion, tax credits, cost-sharing reduction subsidies and the basic health plan dollars.
  • Repeals the individual mandate, employer mandate, and medical device tax.

What are examples of what states can do with the money?

  • Assist individuals to purchase health benefit coverage by premium support.
  • Enter into arrangements with insurers, including managed care providers, to encourage market participation.
  • Pay providers.
  • Help with out-of-pocket costs.
  • Up to 20% of the funds may be used to help the traditional Medicaid population.
  • High risk or reinsurance pools.

Why are we doing this?

  • Obamacare took power away from patients and states and gave it to the federal government. This returns that power to where it belongs.
  • Each individual state is a laboratory of democracy, allowed to innovate to find solutions.
  • Four states get 37% of Obamacare dollars. (California, New York, Massachusetts and Maryland) Support should be equal across the nation.

Do states have a match like they do under Obamacare?

  • No, there is no state match under the block grant.

How is money divided between the states?

  • The starting point is the amount of money the state and state residents receive from Medicaid expansion, ACA tax credits, CSR payments and BHP in 2017. The Medicaid expansion portion of the 2017 figures are brought forward using MACPAC inflators with the rest being grown by CPI-M until 2020, at which point the baseline formula begins.
  • By 2026, at base rate, every state will be receiving the same amount of money for each beneficiary in the 50-138% FPL range. This ensures that high-spending states and low-spending states come to parity at the end of the time frame. In order to ease this transition, the incremental increase in the national amount available is distributed evenly each year. Each year’s US total is calculated by adding 1/6 of the total amount in 2026 to the previous year’s total US amount.
  • Starting in 2021, the total number of eligible beneficiaries between 50 and 138% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is calculated for the United States in the previous year. Then, the percent of those in this FPL range that live in each state are calculated for each state. The total amount of federal money for a given year is then multiplied by the state’s percent of beneficiaries to give the state its amount for the year. This amount is recalculated annually to account for changes in population in the FPL range.
  • Also beginning in 2021, a risk adjustment formula begins to phase in to adjust for certain population factors. The risk adjustment formula overlay will be applied in a budget neutral manner and ensure that every state remains within ten percent of the mean per beneficiary amount in 2026.
  • In 2024, the model has an adjustment to account for enrollment in credible coverage, which is defined as having an actuarial value that fulfills the CHIP actuarial value which is approximately 70%.
  • As under the CHIP law, CMS may grant waivers allowing lower AV value.
  • If a state chooses to provide coverage with policies of (AV) less than CHIP, the amount of money the state receives is adjusted for this. This is done by multiplying the amount of money that the state would receive by the ratio of the average AV of what is provided divided by the AV of the CHIP standard.
  • This coverage transition occurs in order to align incentives for states to increase enrollment among their eligible population and is done in a way that provides non-expansion states sufficient time to catch up with expansion states in enrollment.

Why was 50% – 138% FPL selected to share money between states?

  • This percentage range represents the population currently on Medicaid expansion. This population disproportionately struggles to access heath insurance, and is, therefore, a better population to use when assessing need and determining state allotments.
  • This extends below 100% FPL because some states did not expand traditional Medicaid coverage to 100% FPL prior to accepting Medicaid expansion.
  • The goal is to achieve parity in the amount that states receive for each beneficiary within this range by 2026 on a risk adjusted basis.
  • Through regular population assessments, the formula accounts for states that experience dramatic population increase or decrease and for economic factors like recession that may cause more individuals to drop into this FPL category.
  • In 2024, the allocation begins to become progressively dependent on enrollment to incentivize coverage. This ramps up from a factor of 25% in 2024 to 75% by 2026.
  • The different factors of the formula are specifically designed to give states flexibility and account for population shifts and economic downturns.

Are states restructured to using the money on individuals between 50-138% FPL?

  • States may use the money at the individuals in any FPL with the exception that no more than 20% may be used on a state’s traditional Medicaid population.

Is this considered a further expansion of Medicaid?

  • No, Medicaid expansion as currently designed would end. Instead, states can use the money how they want to, as long as it is for health care.

How are shortfalls in funding for some states addressed?

  • States will have several options to address any shortfalls in their funding under the formula. If a state decides that it needs more revenue than it is receiving, it can replace the revenue lost by re-imposing the penalties associated with the employer and individual mandates, which this law repeals on the state’s businesses and residents.
  • Although this law does not require states to put up state match for the Medicaid expansion, states could continue to dedicate the money that they would use for math to augment money received from the federal government.
  • States will have increased flexibility in designing systems to deliver care. This should allow better use of federal dollars, saving states money.
  • For those states that lose money in any year under GCA compared to BCRA grown by CPI-M, they may continue to receive their scheduled DSH dollars that are cut under the ACA, provided they put up the state match rate for funds drawn down. They could not get more DSH dollars back than the amount of money they would have received if 2020 base rate had grown by CPI-M.
  • Should a state experience a shortfall in federal dollars in 2020 because their experience is different than projected, they may draw down funds from their total 2025 and 2026 allotment equal to their shortfall.

What happens to unused funds in the block grant?

  • States may roll over unused funds for up to two years.

FINAL Summary

Read as much of this as you care to weigh into. But under NO condition take the word for the Media pundits explanation of what this plan is or isn’t. Case in point: Jimmy Fallon went nuts on his show blasting this plan telling lies about several parts of it — most notable stating that it does away with coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. That is categorically incorrect.

My final thought for you is simple: if Congress does not pass this law now, we are headed toward the demise of Obamacare very quickly, unless the Feds want to write really big checks totalling around $1 Trillion to bail it out simply to keep it alive a little bit longer. That’s their goal. They want a Single-Payer Healthcare system to replace Obamacare.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post. Feel free to download the actual bill in the .pdf file below titled “LYN17709.”

Thanks!

LYN17709

 

 

So the President really WAS Wiretapped!

Yep. It appears during the campaign and even after the election, President Trump’s staff and it seems some of those in his Administration were electronically surveilled.

Let’s be perfectly clear: President Trump in his initial tweet claimed he had been “wiretapped.” That term is no longer used, but describes the only electronic surveillance available to intelligence folks back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It involved actual tapping into telephone lines. When technology invented the latest way to quietly surveil electronic communications, (internet email and internet phone calls) the term “wiretap” was still used as a catch-all term that most understood.

Remember all the news anchors, reporters and government folks that rushed to any available microphone and/or camera to de-bunk the President’s wiretapping claims? There were many…and they were loud and ugly. Remember these?

This from CNN about Trump’s Wiretapping claims:

On a sleepy Saturday morning back in March, Donald Trump dropped this bombshell on the political world: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Turns out, he was lying. That’s the conclusion the Justice Department reached Friday night in a court filing; “Both FBI and NSD (National Security Division) confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the filing read.

This affirms what former FBI Director James Comey told Congress about Trump’s allegations in the Spring and what former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has repeatedly said as well. Comey said this before Congress: “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” he told the panel.

Comey in March: No info supporting wiretapping tweets Trump, for his part, has offered zero evidence to back up his initial claim because, as we now know conclusively, there was no evidence. To sum it up: The current President of the United States flat-out lied about the then-sitting president issuing a wiretap of his campaign headquarters. 

The New York Times on the Wiretapping Claims:After Mr Trump’s tweets earlier this month, the New York Times quoted unnamed senior officials reporting that Mr Comey had said the claim was false and had asked the justice department to publicly reject it. Mr Clapper said the intelligence agencies he had supervised did not wiretap Mr Trump last year, and nor did the FBI obtain a court order to monitor Mr. Trump’s phones.As intelligence director, he told NBC, he would have known about a “court order on something like this.”

(This is a reference to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which can grant wiretaps on the grounds of national security)

Then there Was Congress:Several senior Republicans have rejected the allegations after congressional committees looked into them. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr said on 16 March there were “no indications” that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the US government either before or after Election Day 2016. Earlier that day, House Speaker Paul Ryan also said “no such wiretap existed.” And the previous day, House of Representatives Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes said: “We don’t have any evidence.” “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” he told a news conference. “Are you going to take the tweets literally?” asked Rep Nunes. “If so, clearly the president was wrong.”

The Former President’s People about the Wiretapping Claims:

Mr Obama’s team says Mr Trump’s tweets are “simply false.” A warrant, if it existed, would most likely have been ordered by the Department of Justice independently of the White House. Former press secretary Josh Earnest told ABC: “This may come as a surprise to the current occupant of the Oval Office, but the president of the United States does not have the authority to unilaterally order the wiretapping of an American citizen. If the FBI decided to use their wiretapping authority in the context of the counterintelligence or criminal investigation, it would require FBI investigators, officials at the Department of Justice going to a federal judge and making a case, and demonstrating probable cause to use that authority to conduct the investigation. That is a fact.”

The only way Mr Obama could have ordered surveillance without going through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa court) is if there were no U.S. citizens involved. In this case, considering the target is allegedly Trump Tower – which definitely involves American citizens – this would have been hard to argue.

Fast Forward to Today

There you have it: Trump campaign operatives WERE surveilled. And because Paul Manafort at that time lived in an apartment inside Trump Tower, odds are that MANY Trump people were recorded speaking to Manafort — PROBABLY EVEN THE PRESIDENT! Remember, Manafort during part of this time was the Director of the Trump Campaign.

Blatant Ironies

The most glaring note here is that the Liberal Media went haywire reporting the initial Trump tweet. They laughed at him, called him a liar, accused him of creating through the lie of wiretapping a diversion to take the news away from his campaign’s Russia collusion during the election. That’s irony number one.

Irony number two is that members of Congress also weighed in — both Republicans and Democrats — stating factually and emphatically that there was no wiretapping/surveillance of Donald Trump by anyone in the previous Administration.

Irony number three is that members of the Obama Administration — including Obama’s White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest — derided President Trump for even thinking anyone in the Obama Administration could do something that evil if they wanted to.

Irony number four is that heads of the Big Four Intelligence agencies all agreed there was no evidence of any surveillance/wiretapping of anyone in the Trump Campaign, including the very public James Clapper and James Comey. If anyone had done anything so surreptitious as sneak a listen to the Trump folks, Clapper and Comey would have not only known about it, they would have been involved in it, or so they testified.

But the greatest irony of all is this: the U.S. Intelligence community has been exposed. Think about it: those agency heads are either complicit in the illegal surveillance of the President, or lying to Congress and the American people about it.  I don’t know which of those scares me the most. At best the U.S. Intelligence has been run by the worst kind of liars — the ones that do so in cahoots with others and did it all for political purposes in total disregard for U.S. security. At worst, Intelligence agencies are run by unqualified persons or are full of rogue agents who behind the scenes operate with separate agendas from the stated purposes of their agencies.

Summary

However much disdain I have for the Media, I understand their purposes for attacking President Trump. In doing so because they are out front with their “news” in print, television and radio, we know their bias. Regarding those in Congress coming out “factually” claiming Trump’s error in claiming the surveillance, they all have political purposes for everything they say and do. I’m certain their claims were based on at least one of those. But the Intelligence Community being full of people who would break the law and then lie about it again and again to Congress and to Americans with impunity — I cannot accept that.

CNN, Jim Comey, James Clapper, MSNBC, New York Times, Paul Ryan, Richard Burr, Devin Nunes: Americans are all waiting for you to get front and center and say (or print): “I WAS WRONG!”

We’re waiting…..

Single-Payer Healthcare Part II: How Much Will it Cost?

“If” Congress and the President decide Single-Payer Healthcare is the correct replacement for Obamacare, how much will it cost?

That simple question requires a not-so-simple answer. The correct answer depends on what type of program would be developed and whose numbers you choose to believe. Senator Bernie Sanders calls his proposed plan “Single-Payer,” at the same time labeling it “Medicare for All.” That is a misnomer: Medicare is NOT Single-Payer. The government currently contracts with private commercial insurance companies regionally to process Medicare claims and make payments to medical providers of all types from funds provided by CMS — “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” His proposal is similar to the modified plan used in Canada described in Part I of this topic.

How much would Senator Sanders’ program cost? Watch this Sanders discussion about Single-Payer healthcare from 1987:

https://youtu.be/NyIWpYDP-PQ

Obviously the Vermont Senator has changed his tune. Does he now believe it is financially viable? And if so, what are his estimates of cost? How would it be paid for? Directly from Senator Sanders, here is the financial structure of his “Medicare for All” plan. (these numbers are all provided by Sanders):

The Plan Would Be Fully Paid For By:

  • A 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.
    Revenue raised: $630 billion per year.
  • A 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
    Revenue raised: $210 billion per year.This year, a family of four taking the standard deduction can have income up to $28,800 and not pay this tax under this plan.A family of four making $50,000 a year taking the standard deduction would only pay $466 this year.
  • Progressive income tax rates.
    Revenue raised: $110 billion a year.Under this plan the marginal income tax rate would be:

    • 37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
    • 43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
    • 48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, the top 0.08 percent of taxpayers, had income between $2 million and $10 million.)
    • 52 percent on income above $10 million. (In 2013, only 13,000 households, just 0.01 percent of taxpayers, had income exceeding $10 million.)
  • Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work.
    Revenue raised: $92 billion per year.Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest American in the country, has said that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. The reason is that he receives most of his income from capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a much lower rate than income from work. This plan will end the special tax break for capital gains and dividends on household income above $250,000.
  • Limit tax deductions for rich.
    Revenue raised: $15 billion per year. Under Bernie’s plan, households making over $250,000 would no longer be able to save more than 28 cents in taxes from every dollar in tax deductions. This limit would replace more complicated and less effective limits on tax breaks for the rich including the AMT, the personal exemption phase-out and the limit on itemized deductions.
  • The Responsible Estate Tax.
    Revenue raised: $21 billion per year.This provision would tax the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent (three-tenths of 1 percent) of Americans who inherit over $3.5 million at progressive rates and close loopholes in the estate tax.
  • Savings from health tax expenditures.
    Revenue raised: $310 billion per year. Several tax breaks that subsidize health care (health-related “tax expenditures”) would become obsolete and disappear under a Single-Payer Healthcare system, saving $310 billion per year.Most importantly, health care provided by employers is compensation that is not subject to payroll taxes or income taxes under current law. This is a significant tax break that would effectively disappear under this plan because all Americans would receive health care through the new Single-Payer program instead of employer-based health care.

This plan has been estimated to cost $1.38 trillion per year.

Let’s put that dollar value in perspective: the United States Government’s budget is approximately $3.8 trillion. That means Senator Sanders’ plan will cost 36.3% of the current U.S. budget total.

Let’s Break it Down

There are certain assumptions made in this and any other Single-Payer Healthcare model:

  1. It is “assumed” numbers are accurate. Obviously, the government financial “experts,” and private consultants who weighed in on the Sanders plan have no history of accuracy in projecting healthcare costs. If any past projections (of Obamacare as an example) are what Americans could expect, that $1.38 trillion would certainly be too low a projection;
  2. It is assumed in this model that current healthcare providers — physicians, facilities, pharmacists, etc. —  will all agree to operate within this plan. In Canada, doctors took massive income cuts when their plan was initiated. Any suggestion otherwise is unfounded;
  3. Taxes, taxes, taxes. Senator Sanders in this plan taxes everybody: employers take a huge hit — 6.2% of grtoss payroll would be paid by employers. Personal income tax rates would climb for all who make $250,000 a year and above: from 37% on the low side to as high as 52%. The controversial “Death Tax” would NOT be eliminated as most feel should, the estate tax amounts would actually increase;
  4. Many tax deductions would disappear for those who make $250,000 or more.

The bottom line to the Sanders Plan is there is NO free ride — except for the poor. And the Middle Class and Upper Class in America would be taxed almost beyond comprehension.

Summary

Let’s be perfectly clear: this plan offered by Senator Bernie Sanders is just one concept of Single-Payer. Any such program will be driven by government payments for all healthcare costs. Remember this: the Government has NO money except what they take from taxpayers. For increased government spending, taxpayers must pay higher taxes.

Washington D.C. currently takes billions of dollars in income taxes from corporations and taxpayers and squanders a huge percent of those dollars. Financial abuse in the Government is rampant. Government financial abuse takes all kinds of shapes. There is an environment in D.C. that fosters such abuses. American taxpayers are viewed by many in government as nothing more than a bunch of piggy banks from which to take money at will. Who thinks there is any structure in Washington that can successfully take-on a new federal program with a estimated cost that equals 36.3% of the current U.S. budget? How many Americans are ready to pay these massive additional income taxes? How many Americans — who have just just single digit approval rates of members of Congress — do you think would trust government to handle such a program? No one at my house is interested in doing so.

In fairness, there are several other types of Single-Payer Healthcare programs in existence. But let’s be clear about one thing: NONE have been as successful as U.S. Healthcare. Healthcare as expensive as it is in the U.S. is still in the very top tier of healthcare in the World. Healthcare is no different than other services we use every day: you get what you pay for.

It was a huge mistake for the Democrats to ram Obamacare down the throats of Americans. It has been a dismal financial failure and has dumbed down American healthcare — and it’s getting worse. Obamacare was clearly the first step toward a Single-Payer system that those on the Left have been clamoring for since the early 90’s. But to quote the 1980’s version of Single-Payer Healthcare as defined by Bernie Sanders, doing so will bankrupt the United States.

Are you ready for that?