Ives is doing a stellar jobs in Springfield for Illinois. Here's her at her best H/T Illinois Review
Friday, May 31, 2013
IRS at play when they weren't cracking down on Tea Partiers and Jews. Via The Hill: More trouble for the IRS
The new acting IRS chief acknowledged Friday that an upcoming audit would find improper spending at an agency conference, opening up a new trouble spot for an agency already embattled over its treatment of Tea Party groups.
Danny Werfel, the acting commissioner, said that the conference occurred in 2010, labeling it an “unfortunate vestige” from a time before the agency tightened its belt.
“While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred,” Werfel said in a statement.
Check the video.
It passed, it's crummy, and no way is it reform of the election process for the reasons cited here. It's on Quinn's desk now so give him a call.
May 31, 2013
Because of my seat on the Executive Committee in the House of Representatives, I had many contacts asking for my opposition to HB2418. I opposed this legislation and it's amendments both in the committee and also when it came up for a vote before the full House yesterday. Both of the Senate amendments passed in the House though, and this legislation will now proceed to the Governor's desk. He has 60 days from the time he receives the bill to make a decision to support or oppose this legislation.
I urge you to call him regarding your concerns about this bill. He can be reached via phone at 217-782-0244 in Springfield, and at 312-814-2121 in Chicago.
Thank you for reaching out to me with your concerns and relevant comments about this issue.
State Representative - District 37
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Sunday, May 26, 2013
A government that can’t be trusted to handle the processing of tax exemption applications without using political criteria that just happens to conform with the president’s prejudices and which spies on journalists with impunity simply isn’t capable of pulling off what is already a health care fiasco in a fair manner.
In that context, Sebelius’s outrageous stunt in which companies are being strong-armed to pay for ObamaCare propaganda is another reason why Congress must step in. The Enroll America campaign is merely a new branch of the same old Obama campaign fundraising machine. The spectacle of current and former government officials shaking down private businesses to pay for ads portraying the president’s signature legislation as a panacea is more than unseemly. It is a scandal in its own right that crosses a line that shouldn’t even be approached. Yet the Times thinks it’s all worth it because shoving ObamaCare down the nation’s throat is worth any moral or ethical compromise.
This shows again that, contrary to the pleas of the Times and other liberal organs, the spate of scandals isn’t a distraction from implementing the president’s second-term agenda. They are a reminder that the connection between these ethical shortcomings and the president’s big government to-do list is a good reason to slow down the rush toward health care Armageddon.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Don’t under estimate Rauner. The latest presser from his campaign.
Support for Potential Rauner Run for Governor Grows
For Immediate Release
May 21, 2013
Contact: Mike Schrimpf
Leads 2nd Quarter Fundraising & Passes Madigan’s and Quinn’s Online Presence
Chicago, IL – Barely more than halfway through the second quarter fundraising period, potential candidate Bruce Rauner continues to outpace other potential candidates in building a well-funded and comprehensive operation.
Since April 1, the Bruce Rauner Exploratory Committee has raised more than $470,000, bringing its total fundraising haul since announcing the formation of the Exploratory Committee on March 5 to more than $1.75 million and far outpacing other potential candidates for governor.
At the same time, building financial resources has only been one part of Bruce’s efforts. This week, the number of people “liking” Bruce’s Facebook page surpassed 11,000, giving Bruce a larger online presence than both Lisa Madigan and Pat Quinn.
“For any Republican to stand a chance against the Quinns, the Madigans, and the powerful labor union bosses who control Springfield, they will need to be very well funded,” Bruce Rauner said. “At the same time, winning will require committed and passionate support at the grassroots level, which now requires a world-class digital operation. We are laying that foundation now and I am extremely encouraged by the support we are receiving.”
Bruce is currently on a Listening Tour and has made more than 50 stops across Illinois, including visits with voters in Champaign, Clark, Crawford, Cumberland, Coles, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Grundy, Kane, Mason, McDonough, McLean, Monroe, Moultrie, Richland, Sangamon, Shelby, Tazewell, Washington and Winnebago counties.
Long War Journal's take on Obama's speech yesterday. Check the comment too, especially Scott J at May 24, 2013 1:43 PM ET. Some of the most knowledgeable folks on GWOT post here IMO.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Since the IRS scandal broke it is clear that the government knows no bounds in how it can politically go after it's opponents. Given my recent experience with the bank account for my Political PAC being closed, I have to wonder if the government is also using banks to go after Conservatives.
I started a non-partisan group in March of 2012, For Our Children's Future. It's mission is as follows:
- Recruit, train and help candidates who will bring fiscal sustainability and integrity to their elected office while maintaining a social safety net for those truly in need
- Empower parents to ensure their children are not trapped in failing schools
- Fight the efforts that limit taxpayer rights by forcing property owners to do their own tax appeals or hire a lawyer
In February 2013, I started a Political Action Committee to help fulfill our mission and opened a bank account. Our bank account was closed without notification at the end of April. I only found out it had been closed when a check I had donated to a candidate could not be cashed. You can view the timeline below for more detailed information on the closing.
Go read the whole thing and then maybe give them a call.
Op-Ed In London Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Attacks Obama: The Weakest President In The History Of The U.S.
Iraq, Syria, Lebanon And Perhaps Also Turkey Face "Great Danger" Because Of Obama's "Policy Of Wholesale Retreat"
"There is great danger in what is happening in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and may soon also happen on Turkey's southern border because of the policy of wholesale retreat that Obama is employing without any deep consideration. These countries – and probably also Egypt and North Africa, in a different way – are about to enter a terrifying era of religious terrorism, sectarian war and civil strife that will harm everyone. The Al-Qaeda attacks of the recent years pale beside what might happen in the future and what is already happening: [the fighting] in Homs and its rural area, the attacks on mosques and Husseiniyyas [Shi'ite cultural and religious centers] in Iraq, and [the attacks of] the Turkish 'Alawite fighters [of the Popular Front for the Liberation of] Alexandretta, who are coming to the aid of the 'Alawites in Syria.
Al-Qaeda's former attacks were high-quality and were carried out be elite squads of fighters, [but these fighters] did not represent broad sectors of Arab society. The wars currently being waged in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, on the other hand, are frightening because they rely on [entire] social [sectors] that support [the fighters] and shelter them.
"This leads us to a frustrating conclusion about Obama's precise and rigid implementation of his bad and superficial policy of retreating [from the Middle East] at any cost, even in the face of new developments. [We must conclude that] this is not a skilled statesman and politician with creative solutions, but an ordinary academic who repeats meaningless slogans and does not possess the political sensitivity to give each factor the weight it deserves, to take bold [action] when necessary and to refrain [from action] when necessary..."
We want the truth, the whole truth. The best way to get it is to immunize congressional witnesses who tell the story. That way, they will be part of a common effort to understand what went wrong, rather than targets of a criminal investigation. It may surprise you to learn that there are many civil servants who have quietly asked to be subpoenaed so their superiors will not accuse them of ratting out their bureaucratic cohorts. Fair enough. Subpoena them, and give them the protection of immunity, provided they tell the truth.
The cudgel of criminal action should be reserved for those who insist on clamming up, for they are obstructing investigations desperately needed to protect and advance our freedoms. But, as Andy McCarthy argues with his usual brilliance, for heaven's sake let's not have special prosecutors, who will throw a mantle of secrecy ("can't talk about it, there's a criminal investigation here") over the whole thing. We want transparency, not secrecy. Secrecy is part of the problem and no part of the solution.
Via The Hill,
Many insurers are wary of Enroll America. Several large companies have not donated at all, or made only pro forma contributions when the organization first got off the ground.
Industry officials said companies are worried about the group's messaging — they don't want to write a $10 million check that will then be used to criticize them. There are still big parts of the law they oppose.
Still, insurers knew they were likely in for a big fundraising push, and they said they have seen the White House taking on an increasingly big role in Enroll America as congressional Republicans have refused to provide more funding to implement the law.
As for the close ties to the White House, Pollack said it should not be a surprise.
"There has been cooperation since Day One ... any way we can achieve cooperation, we are eager to do that," he said.
Obama reportedly sat in for an hour-long meeting he was initially not scheduled to attend at all last month, and told insurance executives that the White House and the industry were now "joined at the hip" trying to make the healthcare law work.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/301471-insurers-feel-pressure-from-health-group-with-close-ties-to-white-house#ixzz2U8PD5vlL
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
Anyone foolish enough to get involved with Enroll America needs to take a hard look at Illinois's experience with Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Health Facilties Planning Board. Joining Government and Industry at the hip lead to pay-to-play, and from there prison for many. The classic example of power corrupting.
The Exec's and High Power sorts working with the Administration best look at the fates of Rod Blagojevich, Stu Levine, Chris Kelly (RIP), Tony Rezko and the others. This is a hard dirty and corrupting business... have nothing to do with it.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Navigators, or their sponsoring entities, also will have to furnish a bond of at least $100,000 to protect "against the wrongful acts, misrepresentations, errors, omissions, or negligence of the navigator."
These Obamacare Sherpas will, after all, have access to Social Security numbers, a host of patient financial and medical information and other sensitive data.
But some in the nonprofit community say the regulations are excessive and not about protecting consumers.
I'm guessing these under-trained under-supervised folks bring pretty steep exposure to whomever sponsors them. Wisconsin's shrewdly covering themselves.
Apparently the IRS has an appreciation for the Constitution after all – or at least the Fifth Amendment which protects American citizens from self-incrimination.
The Internal Revenue Service official who oversees the department responsible for targeting and harassing conservative non-profit organizations chose to invoke the Fifth Amendment in her testimony before Congress rather than shed light on this growing scandal. Clearly there is something serious the American people are not being told.
Who gave authorization to target American citizens based on their political beliefs? Where was the oversight? What did the White House know and when?
The American people deserve answers, but the woman who was in the know isn't talking.
That's why I have instructed the RNC Counsel's Office to submit a FOIA request to the IRS. When the liberal group ProPublica filed a FOIA request with the IRS in November for information on conservative groups, the IRS released that confidential information to them within thirteen days. We hope the IRS handles our request for information with the same urgency. I will keep you updated.
Obama and IRS can stonewall all they like, but with your help the truth will come out. Contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to help us fund this effort.
Chairman, Republican National Committee
Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
PJM EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Diplomats Report New Benghazi Whistleblowers with Info Devastating to Clinton and Obama
The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas — what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel.
Stevens' mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming "insurgents" with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.
Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted "to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap."
This left Stevens in the position of having to clean up the scandalous enterprise when it became clear that the "insurgents" actually were al-Qaeda – indeed, in the view of one of the diplomats, the same group that attacked the consulate and ended up killing Stevens.
And Gen Ham disobeyed orders to stand-down a rescue mission, hence retirment for him.
About the most sense I've read on this tragedy. Truth will be told.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Wonder if there is a chapter on Rahm Emanuel?
Sunday, May 19, 2013
John Kass recalls the Chicago Way (link at bottom). My Dad had a Dime Store at 103rd and Vincennes in the 50s and saw his property taxes zoom when he registered as a Republican in the City.
So everybody kept their mouths shut, and Chicago was hailed by national political reporters as the city that works.
I didn't understand it all back then, but I understand it now. Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut.
Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.
One hard-working billionaire whose children own the Chicago Cubs dared to open his mouth. Joe Ricketts considered funding a political group critical of Obama before last year's campaign. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, made it clear that if the Cubs wanted City Hall's approval to refurbish decrepit Wrigley Field, Ricketts better back off.
It happened. He backed off. It was sickening. But it was and is Chicago.
And now — with the IRS used as political muscle and the Obama administration keeping that secret until after the president was elected — America understands it too.
So much for the we were swamped argument,
A number of people have sought to explain the IRS targeting of Tea Party, patriot, and 9/12 group applications -- as well as those from other conservative groups -- for "specialist team" treatment (mainly delays and excessive and inappropriate questions) in 2010 by pointing to the Citizens United decision that year allowing for unlimited, undisclosed fundraising by such groups. That's the explanation IRS official Lois Lerner gave a week ago when she first revealed that the agency had improperly handled a slew of applications -- the political shorthand was a mistaken attempt to deal with a surge in applications.
"[W]e saw a big increase in these kind of applications, many of which indicated that they were going to be involved in advocacy work," Lerner said.
But Todd Young, a Republican congressman from Indiana, pointed out at Friday's House Ways and Means Committee hearing with former acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George that this was not the case, according to the very data the IRS provided to the Treasury IG's office.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Why did the #IRA investigate (and bully) Conservatives, Pro-lifers, and Tea Partiers; ‘cause Progressives told them too.
The closing paragraph from Sen Durbin’s request to the IRA they investigate Crossroads GPS. I’d like to see that reponse. (H/T Illinois Review, link at bottom)
I ask that the IRS quickly examine the tax status of Crossroads GPS and other (c)(4) organizations that are directing millions of dollars into political advertising, and respond with your findings as soon as possible.
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
Thursday, May 16, 2013
From the federal overhaul of American medicine that brought us the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and Gator Aid, we can now add the Sebelius Shakedown. In what it calls an “unusual fundraising push,” the Washington Post writes, “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law.” According to the New York Times, Sebelius has suggested “seven-figure donations.”
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 31, said the uncertainties of Obamacare and the state insurance exchanges they would create, make the city's plan hard to assess.
"This uncertainty will cause anxiety and fear for tens of thousands of seniors who gave their working lives to public service — men and women whose retirement savings are already under attack in the name of 'pension reform.'" Bayer said. "Our union will be working to get answers to our many questions, to ensure the City Council closely oversees the administration's proposals, and to protect access to affordable health care for city retirees now and in the future."
- The Illinois chapter of the country's major government-employees union broke with its national organization Saturday to endorse Barack Obama for president.
- Nationally, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is backing Hillary Rodham Clinton. But the union's Illinois leaders decided to make their own endorsement.
- It is an unusual step, but we've had a long relationship with Senator Obama, said Henry Bayer, executive director AFSCME Council 31. We've had a better opportunity to observe him up close than people in other parts of the country.
- Some 400 union delegates meeting in Peoria voted unanimously to support Obama, an Illinois Democrat, AFSCME said.
Roskam, Ways and Means GOP Raise Questions on HHS Soliciting Donations
Posted on 05/15/2013 at 11:59 AMPress Release:
Excerpt: "Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) along with Ways and Means Republicans sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on her solicitation of outside groups to promote and support the Affordable Care Act."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) along with Ways and Means Republicans sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on her solicitation of outside groups to promote and support the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Roskam released this statement:
"On October 1, 2013, the health care law's exchanges are due to open, forcing millions of Americans into a new government-run insurance market. However, the closer we get to October 1, it is clear that the exchanges were not properly funded in the health care law and to make up the difference, HHS has been siphoning funds from other parts of the law without proper authorization. To make matters worse, apparently Secretary Sebelius is now fundraising for the exchanges from the very groups she will be regulating and while implementing Obamacare. This is just another example of the HHS Secretary's willingness to cut corners and skirt the law while implementing the unpopular health care law."
The letter to Secretary Sebelius states:
"You have publically cited your authority and willingness to force rate reductions on the same companies that the Washington Post reports you have requested contribute to your favored ObamaCare promotional groups…. Your fundraising from groups that may apply to receive federal grants as 'navigators' and 'non-navigator assistors' creates the appearance that giving money to meet ObamaCare's funding needs will result in more favorable consideration of a grant application."
Read the full letter here.
Read the Washington Post article here.
Implementing Obamacare costs money. Congress gave Sebelius a hefty chunk of cash – estimated at about $1 billion – to administer the program. But it's not enough. One estimate says it may cost ten times that much to run the program over the next decade. Congress has refused to give her more money.
Not to worry. Sebelius came up with an ingenious but dubious solution – put the arm on insurance companies and healthcare companies to help foot the bill.
To a super-bureaucrat such as Sebelius, it must have made perfect sense. After all, the insurance companies will cash-in under Obamacare. It forces people to buy health insurance whether they like it or not. Healthcare companies, such as hospitals and other providers, stand to benefit from a steady stream of payments.
This blatant conflict of interest has landed Sebelius in hot water. As one of the most powerful bureaucrats in Washington, she is soliciting money from the very people she will regulate under Obamacare. How can they say no?
Sebelius has been asking industry executives for "contributions" to Enroll America, a nonprofit coalition of groups promoting Obamacare by educating the public about the law and working to enroll the uninsured.
Boards with Excecutives participating in this pay-to-play stuff ought to be wary and sensitve to where this will lead their brands. It's certain to be mud and tarnish.
Joe Walsh was going to pick up on this story on his show last night. Tangling Government and Government contractors/stakeholders together into a vast Politico-Medical combine threatens freedom more than some of these other scandels in the news. This ones big, entrenched, with hands deep in our pockets.
Also, from the LA Times, GOP slams fundraising, other efforts to promote Obama health law
Enroll America, created by Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack, a leading consumer advocate, has become a key partner in the effort to get people to sign up for benefits. The relationship between the administration and Enroll America was strengthened last year when Anne Filipic, a former White House official, took over the organization.
The group, which raised nearly $5 million in 2010 and 2011, according to tax returns, brought together major health companies, including Aetna, CVS Caremark, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Express Scripts, with medical groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and consumer advocates such as AARP and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Enroll America's board of directors includes representatives of two insurance companies — Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California.
All outfits ready to cash in big with Obamacare. Beware this collective.
Using the IRS to smother dissent and grabbing the phone records of The Associated Press isn't something a gentle Mr. Tumnus would do.
But it is something done by politicians from Chicago, where government is the muscle that shuts the mouth.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Alexander, the ranking on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, called for an investigation into Sebelius' actions Saturday, saying it "may be illegal, should cease immediately and should be fully investigated by Congress.""Such private fundraising circumvents the constitutional requirement that only Congress may appropriate funds. If the secretary or others in her department are closely coordinating the activities of Enroll America, which is headed by a former White House aide, then those actions may be in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act," he said.
He compared such behavior to the Iran-Contra scandal, "when Reagan administration official Oliver North raised funds and directed their spending through private entities in support of Nicaraguan rebels even though Congress had refused to appropriate such funds."
OLB: Stephanie Kifowit Ducks Gay Marriage Question and Says She Needs to Take a Survey to Figure Out Which Way the Political Wind Blows
The problem for Kifowit is that she's made her position clear for and against gay marriage, depending on who she was soliciting support for.
She has tried to insult those who are gay at various times, yet cuddles up with gay supporters like Lisa Madigan.
She has told religious people she's "against" gay marriage yet taken thousands from campaign contributors looking for her to endorse gay marriage.
"Kifowit's position changes based upon who's she's speaking to and she will decide based upon purely selfish political interests" said an east side resident from Aurora's 3rd Ward, where Kifowit exploited taxpayers as alderman to attend parties and events.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
This kind of entanglement between Government, Insurers, and the Healthcare Industry isn't going end well. Way too much money involved and way too many conflicts of interest. An Exec involved in this a GD fool. Better have good lawyers on hand. This will unravel fast and this administration the last folks you want covering your back.
Also, LA Times, Obama uses 2012 campaign tactics to sell healthcare law and Reuters, Obama's health secretary seeks donations from companies for healthcare law
Visit Enroll America to keep an eye on this combine.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Bill Roggio writes,
While today's attacks were not particularly well-executed (only one Malian soldier was wounded in the attack, and the rest of the suicide bombers were killed), the jihadists in Mali are sending a message to Malian security forces and African Union troops that are preparing to deploy in the north: The attacks will continue, and the jihadist groups are not leaving anytime soon.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Given the valuable service that the Navigator program will provide to consumers and the Exchange, it is essential that compensation be adequate in order to obtain and retain qualified, quality Navigators. We concur with the conclusion that Navigators should not be compensated on a per-enrollment basis. That structure would incent Navigators to focus on those who would be the easiest to enroll, including those who could compare, select and enroll on-line with little or no assistance. It would also emphasize initial enrollment over ongoing assistance with problems with obtaining timely access to appropriate health care services, poor customer service, and eligibility for Medicaid or tax subsidies and with transitions required due to changes in employment and income. While we also support the recommendation for a compensation structure that rewards Navigators based on performance, achievement of enrollment targets is only one appropriate measure. Incentives should also be based on consumer experience, reductions in enrollment disparities based on race or ethnicity, assistance in obtaining Medicaid coverage and tax subsidies, assistance with problem resolution, and gapless transitions between plans, financial assistance and individual and SHOP coverage.
And where in the world is AFGE on Unionizing this almost certainly non-Union shop carrying out CMS's mission?
This all stinks of patronage, boodle, and kick-backs we in Illinois familiar from the drug-fueled parties at the Purple Hotel with Illinois Health Facilities Planning Council.
It'll be an investigative reporter's dream for decades. People foolish enough to get involved working with Enroll America out to write Stu Levine in Federal Prison for advice. This is a patronage machine and you join it like joining the mob. It'll corrupt you and take you down.
This Medical-Government complex headed for disaster. Way too much loose money slushing around, unaudited, unmanaged, and they want us to donate?