- May 2, 2018, MacIver News Service
MADISON, Wis. – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson wants answers about what many see as a $200 million, taxpayer-funded scam designed to fatten big labor’s wallet.
In a letter this week to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Oshkosh Republican is demanding information about the practice of government employee unions “skimming” federal dollars from Medicaid beneficiaries before the payments reach the intended recipients.
Many of those being skimmed are home health care workers, classified by some states as “government workers” despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision that union dues cannot be collected without the recipients’ consent.
Unions such as SEIU and AFSCME in 11 states successfully pushed changes designating home care aides as public employees. The classification brought the workers – whether they wanted to or not – into the union fold.
“In 2016, American taxpayers spent $565.5 billion on the Medicaid program,” Johnson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, wrote in the letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
“Although this funding is intended to help low-income families and the disabled, eleven states allow unions to classify personal home health care workers—including family caregivers—as government employees for the purposes of collecting union dues,” Johnson added. “This classification allows states to skim an estimated $200 million each year in union dues—taxpayer money that would otherwise go to the care of Medicaid recipients.”
Johnson’s committee is looking into the rising costs of Medicaid programs.
In his letter, the senator notes that federal Medicaid law prohibits payments for care to any entity other than the individual providing the care.
“In addition, in 2014, the Supreme Court held that states may not collect union dues from home health care providers without their consent,” Johnson wrote, referring to the court’s Harris v. Quinn ruling, which established “partial-public employees” could not be forced to pay union dues against their will. “Even so, some home health care workers say that unions have been skimming dues without their consent.” READ it All Here
Tucker Carlson, FoxNews, speaks with retired Colonel McGregor, his analysis is very illuminating.
Aired on Friday evening, Watch it HERE
By Rich Lowry, National Review
April 6, 2018
The greatest threat to Trump's presidency is Trump himself.
The chief threat to Donald Trump at the moment isn’t that he’ll fire Robert Mueller, but that he’ll cooperate too readily.
The president’s legal team has been roiled and his White House advisers divided by his determination to sit down for a deposition with Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Rarely has someone who is supposed to be feeling the legal net closing in been so eager to run toward the netting.
Trump lawyer John Dowd reportedly quit over the dispute, and he was right. Trump shouldn’t walk into the same room with Mueller. He shouldn’t say “hello” to him. He shouldn’t follow him on Instagram or Twitter. He should treat him as an adversary who, even if he isn’t conducting “the witch hunt” that Trump alleges, would certainly be happy to nail him for the slightest misstatement.
Mueller was supposed to be conducting a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling, which immediately also became an investigation of obstruction of justice. Trump’s attitude should be, “Come and get me, copper — if you have a case for obstruction, make it, but I’m not incurring any additional legal jeopardy by sitting down and talking to you.”
It’s not as though Mueller has been shut out. According to a breakdown released by Dowd in January, the special counsel has talked to 20 White House employees and received 20,000 pages of documents.
In the past, Trump has been careful in his depositions, but since his mode of communication is highly dependent on jaw-dropping hyperbole, gross simplifications and misinformed or misleading assertions, it can’t be a good idea to put him under oath in any circumstance.
Trump’s fearlessness and animal cunning are two of his signature traits, so it makes sense that he sincerely believes that he can win the conversation with Mueller’s lawyers.
It also runs counter to the widespread assertion that Trump is “acting guilty,” when he may well be acting like Donald Trump — aggrieved, combative, scornful — when he’s innocent.
How many guilty parties are so insistent on talking to authorities that they lose their lawyers over it?
But this is a foolish confidence on Trump’s part. Even more deft talkers have realized the peril of such situations. Bill Clinton, a master of distinctions so subtle that sometimes only he understood them, resisted a subpoena in the Paula Jones case all the way to the Supreme Court, and for good reason. READ it HERE
by Written by Aamna Mohdin The Quartz, March 24, 2018
The White House has followed through on Donald Trump’s controversial pledge and formally banned transgender people from serving in the military.
A memo (pdf) from the secretary of defense released late Friday night notes that trans people are “disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.” The memo did not clarify what constitutes as an “exception,” but it did state that the secretary of defense and secretary of homeland security “may exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.”
The White House believes that troops with a history or diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” end up putting “considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.” The ban follows Trump’s erratic announcement in July 2017, when through a series of Tweets he stated his intention to ban transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the US military. He claimed that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption” of trans service members. His Tweets had reportedly caught the Pentagon leadership off guard. READ it Here
What Critics Don't Understand About Gun Culture I carry a weapon—and it’s tied me closer to my community.
by DAVID FRENCH FEB 27, 2018 The Atlantic Monthly
My wife knew something was amiss when the car blocked our driveway. She was outside our house, playing with our kids on our trampoline, when a car drove slowly down our rural Tennessee street. As it reached our house, it pulled partially in the driveway, and stopped.
A man got out and walked up to my wife and kids. Strangely enough, at his hip was an empty gun holster. She’d never seen him before. She had no idea who he was. He demanded to see me. I wasn’t there. I was at my office, a 50-minute drive from my house. My wife didn’t have her phone with her. She didn’t have one of our guns with her outside. She was alone with our three children. Even if she had her phone, the police were minutes away. My wife cleverly defused the confrontation before it escalated, but we later learned that this same person had been seen, hours before, slowly driving through the parking lot of our kids’ school.
That wasn’t the first disturbing incident in our lives, nor would it be the last. My wife is a sex-abuse survivor and was almost choked to death in college by a furious boyfriend. In just the last five years, we’ve faced multiple threats—so much so that neighbors have expressed concern for our safety, and theirs. They didn’t want an angry person to show up at their house by mistake. We’ve learned the same lesson that so many others have learned. There are evil men in this world, and sometimes they wish you harm. READ it HERE
Rob Bluey / February 25, 2018 / The Daily Signal
Prior to addressing CPAC attendees, Scott Pruitt spoke exclusively to The Daily Signal about his first year as EPA administrator. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)
In his first year as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt has already transformed the agency in many ways. He spoke exclusively to The Daily Signal before addressing attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual Reagan Dinner. An edited transcript of the interview is below.
Rob Bluey: You gave a speech at CPAC last year where you were just at the beginning of your tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency, and you outlined some of the things that you wanted to do. Here we are a year later, you’ve repealed, taken back, 22 regulations at a savings at $1 billion, a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, as President Donald Trump talked about in his speech. What does that mean?
Scott Pruitt: Busy year. And it was great to be at CPAC about two weeks after having been sworn in last year. And I talked last year about the future ain’t what it used to be, that Yogi Berra quote that I cited about the change that was gonna take place at the agency and I think we’ve been about that change the last year. Focusing on rule of law, restoring process and order, making sure that we engage in cooperative federalism as we engage in regulation. READ it HERE
February 10, 2018
For law enforcement, Congress and even journalists, exposing misdeeds is like peeling an onion. Each layer you remove gets you closer to the truth.
So it is with the scandalous behavior of the FBI during its probe into whether President Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia in 2016. One layer at a time, we’re learning how flawed and dirty that probe was.
A top layer involves the texts between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and her married lover, Peter Strzok, the lead agent on the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. They casually mention an “insurance policy” in the event Trump won the election and a plan for Strzok to go easy on Clinton because she probably would be their next boss.
Those exchanges, seen in the light of subsequent events, lead to a reasonable conclusion that the fix was in among then-Director James Comey’s team to hurt Trump and help Clinton.
Another layer involves the declassified House memo, which indicates the FBI and Justice Department depended heavily on the unverified Russian dossier about Trump to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page, an American citizen and briefly a Trump adviser.
The House memo also reveals that Comey and others withheld from the secret surveillance court key partisan facts that would have cast doubt on the dossier. Officials never revealed to the judges that the document was paid for by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee or that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier, said he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected.” READ it Here
The FISA Abuse Memo is out and now we know why the Democrats were desperate to keep its contents hidden from the public: it confirms the worst fears not just of President Trump’s supporters but of everyone concerned about the abuse of police power, government corruption, and the sanctity of our elections.
The memo shows interference in the 2016 presidential election by hostile elements within a United States intelligence agency. It wasn’t the Russians we had to worry about—it was rogue actors at the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice. Left unanswered is to what extent the West Wing knew about or was complicit in this gross abuse of power.
What we now know:
1. The FBI’s case to the FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court was based almost entirely upon a partisan hit-job bought and paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. Christopher Steele, the source of the dossier, had “financial and ideological motivations” to undermine Donald Trump according to the Nunes memo. In fact, the FBI’s file records that Steele told Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr that “he was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
2. Ohr’s wife was one of just seven employees at FusionGPS, the firm that was paying Christopher Steele. The personal financial relationship between the Ohrs and the dossier was concealed from the court. The FBI could not corroborate the information in the Steele dossier, calling it only “minimally corroborated” but did not disclose this fact to the FISA Court thus leading it to believe that the information in the dossier was either FBI work-product or that it had been independently corroborated by the FBI. Neither was true. READ it HERE
Federalist Society, Michael Screnock, Rebecca Dallet, Supreme Court, Tim Burns, Wisconsin Supreme Court
MacIver News Service | January 22, 2018
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The three candidates vying to replace outgoing Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman sparred Monday night at a forum held in Milwaukee.
That is, the two liberals mainly took turns attacking each other’s progressive bona fides.
Madison attorney Tim Burns kicked off by attacking the event’s sponsor, the Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. Meanwhile, fellow liberal Rebecca Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, took shots at Burns for having no judicial experience and said she’d prefer that John Doe was never struck down by the state Supreme Court.
The lone conservative in the race, Sauk County Circuit Court judge Michael Screnock, mainly stayed above the fray, touting his originalist judicial philosophy he says is inspired by the late Antonin Scalia.
The three candidates face off in a primary election scheduled for Feb. 20, with the two top vote-getters on the ballot for the April 3 general election. WATCH it HERE
By Edward Whelan, EPPC - Ethics and Public Policy Center, Defending American Ideals
Published in National Review on January 5, 2018
Donald Trump deserves thunderous acclaim from conservatives for his outstanding record of judicial appointments during his first year as president. But his conspicuous successes should not obscure the many obstacles on the long path to genuine transformation of the federal judiciary. Those obstacles have seriously impeded judicial confirmations and threaten to continue to do so. But if they are cleared or eluded, and if Republicans retain control of the Senate after the 2018 elections, President Trump will be positioned to make a huge enduring impact on the courts during his first term.
Trump’s most important achievement on the judicial front in 2017 was his appointment of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016. That appointment consummated Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy of keeping the vacancy open through the 2016 presidential election, and it resoundingly vindicated the wisdom of that strategy. Even better, the Senate Democrats’ foolish obstruction of the Gorsuch nomination on the Senate floor drove Senate Republicans to abolish the filibuster (the 60-vote threshold for cloture) for Supreme Court nominations. So, when the next Supreme Court vacancy arises, the White House will have the benefit of knowing from the outset that it needs the support of only 50 senators, together with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence, to secure the confirmation of its nominee.
In 2017, President Trump also appointed twelve federal appellate judges — a record for a president in his first year in office. (President Obama appointed three federal appellate judges in his first year and 55 over his eight years.) Beyond their number, Trump’s appellate appointees have, on the whole, outstanding credentials and are highly regarded in conservative legal circles. Indeed, six of the twelve have already earned their way onto Trump’s list of Supreme Court candidates. The twelve include three women — Amy Coney Barrett, a former Scalia clerk who was a professor of law at Notre Dame; Joan Larsen, also a former Scalia clerk and a Michigan supreme-court justice; and Allison Eid, who clerked for Justice Thomas and served on the Colorado supreme court for eleven years. They also include two Asian Americans, Amul Thapar, a Bush 43 appointee to a federal district-court judgeship, and James Ho, a distinguished appellate lawyer who was also a Thomas clerk. READ MORE