Tag Archive: politics


An Egyptian Crackdown in South Dakota
Paul Jacob | Jan 11, 2015
Paul Jacob

South Dakota’s Dr. Annette Bosworth reminds me of Egypt’s Ayman Nour.

Mr. Nour founded the El Ghad party and back in 2005 became the first person to challenge then Egyptian President (read: dictator) Hosni Mubarak. Just months after losing badly to Mubarak in a rigged election, Nour was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to five years in prison by Egyptian authorities for allegedly forging voter signatures on petitions to initially qualify his political party for the ballot.

Nour served more than three years of that sentence before being released for medical reasons in 2009, leaving Egypt for treatment in Lebanon.

His prosecution served what purpose?

Annette Bosworth, a medical doctor and political neophyte, ran for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate last year in South Dakota in a crowded field, which included former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, the ultimate victor. But after her long-shot bid failed, South Dakota authorities didn’t wait months. Bosworth was indicted and arrested the very next day after the election on twelve counts of election fraud and perjury.

She now awaits a Feb. 1 trial, facing not five years in the hoosegow, but an incredible 24. And also, not insignificantly, the loss of her medical license if convicted of a single felony count.

Though I suspect not, Mr. Nour may have been guilty of forging those signatures, or by some Egyptian law held legally responsible. Regardless, any caring, freedom-loving person sees the injustice, the punishment that couldn’t possibly fit the crime, and that such persecution inflicts a much more serious crime against freedom, good government and common decency.

Dr. Bosworth is accused of falsely signing as the person who circulated six petition sheets containing 37 signatures, which according to South Dakota Attorney General Marty J. Jackley constitutes six separate charges of election fraud and six counts of perjury, each carrying a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine. From the beginning of this controversy, Annette Bosworth has fully and forthrightly admitted that some of the 37 people who signed these six petitions did not do so in her presence.

A-ha! Guilty! Bring on the guillotine!

But first, let’s at least consider the circumstances of the “crime.” It’s worth noting that the 37 signatures in question have all been verified to be those of duly registered South Dakota voters, who indeed wished to see Dr. Bosworth on the ballot.

And her campaign had far more verified signatures than required.

“So, you have a woman who’s facing 24 years in prison for legitimate signatures,” explains investigative journalist and filmmaker Lee Stranahan, a protégé of the late Andrew Breitbart. “But the political fix was in here.”

In addition to other efforts, Annette Bosworth circulated her candidate petitions at her medical office. Virtually all of the now-controversial 37 signers are people she knows; they are mostly patients. One is her sister.

However, during the petition drive, disaster struck. Not for Bosworth, personally, or her petition drive or her medical practice. The problem was a typhoon, one of the worst in recorded history, which devastated the Philippines, killing more than 5,000 people and injuring scores more.

Dr. Bosworth decided she had to go halfway across the world to help people in need. It wasn’t her first time.

While she was gone, folks, including her sister, continued to sign the petitions at her office. That’s a no-no. Circulators must sign an affidavit on the petition stating that all the signatures placed thereupon were so affixed in their presence.

After her return, as the petitions were due, the doctor first confronted the affidavit, and wisely asked the campaign’s attorney if she needed to have people who signed while she was gone re-sign the petition. The correct legal answer is yes. He said no. She unfortunately signed those six petitions.

Rules should be followed, but not every rule violation makes sense to prosecute — especially in arbitrary and vindictive fashion.

Still, Attorney General Jackley insists Dr. Bosworth’s crimes are “serious, deliberate and must be addressed in order to preserve the integrity of our elections.”

To which, author and former State Senator Gordon Howie begs to differ. “Let me tell you that these ‘serious and deliberate’ ‘crimes’ are COMMONPLACE in South Dakota politics. During the frenzy of political seasons, MANY (and I do mean MANY) South Dakota politicians circulate petitions and sign as circulators when they are not ‘in the room’,” he wrote for South Dakota’s The Right Side Blog. “At Lincoln Day dinners across the state, Republicans routinely send their petitions around the room. They do not personally witness each signature, but sign the ‘oath’ that they did. I would venture to say that even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice. PLEASE, Marty, say it isn’t so . . . not even ONE?”

Mr. Howie also points out the arbitrary enforcement: “The Speaker of the House notarized his own petitions, which is a clear violation of law. No prosecution. No consequence. There are other violations of law regarding political petitions and campaigns. Most of them are simply ignored. So why the big fuss over the Bosworth petitions?”

The fuss could be multifaceted. State officials and Dr. Bosworth have tangled before, over their commitment to bureaucracy and her commitment to her mostly poor patients. The state has heretofore unsuccessfully tried to take the doctor’s medical license.

Bosworth’s husband also challenged Jackley in the last race for attorney general, joining many others in charging that corruption swirls around the AG.

And, after all, Annette was challenging Jackley’s political friend and mentor, now U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds.

Or perhaps it was her plainspoken message, which might light a fire under conservative and libertarian activists. She launched her campaign by stating, “So I can decide to stand up and run for the US Senate or watch healthcare dissolve.”

She wasn’t terribly kind to career politicians of any stripe. “As the net worth of our politicians grows, our nation grows sicker and sicker,” she argued. “We’re losing our country, while politicians get rich.”

She labeled her campaign a chance to “turn the tide on corruption.”

Now, for her trouble, she faces jail, fines, and the destruction of her career.

“This is not Jacklanistan,” Mr. Stranahan fumes about AG Jackley’s persecution of Bosworth. “This is South Dakota. This is America. And what’s going on up here is simply wrong.”

“The reasonable thing to do in the Bosworth case would seem to be a misdemeanor charge with a penalty and no felony charges,” Howie reasonably suggests. “That would be a win-win situation. Bosworth accepts a reasonable consequence and the integrity of the election process is preserved.”

Howie also notes that Marty Jackley wants to run for governor, and that his bizarre prosecution of Dr. Bosworth might not make much sense to future voters.

Inside France’s Sharia No-Go Zones

If only the media and political elites fought jihad with the ferocity they have brought to bear to deny no-go zones. Madness. Everybody knows.

There is a tremendous controversy these days about the no-go zones in France. Fox News has apologized for covering them. Fox Report host Julie Banderas said: “To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.” Yet while it may be true that there aren’t specific areas of France where non-Muslims are prevented from entering, there are many that, if they do enter, they must conform to Islamic norms.
This has been reported for years. The New York Times reported in April 2002, “Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.” And Newsweek said in November 2005: “According to research conducted by the government’s domestic intelligence network, the Renseignements Generaux, French police would not venture without major reinforcements into some 150 ‘no-go zones’ around the country–and that was before the recent wave of riots began on Oct. 27.
Just two weeks ago, the New Republic wrote: “The word banlieue (‘suburb’) now connotes a no-go zone of high-rise slums, drug-fueled crime, failing schools and poor, largely Muslim immigrants and their angry offspring.”
There is abundant evidence that there really are no-go zones, despite all the denial. See this video, and more: here is a video about how Muslims plotted to ambush Swedish police with firebombs. Another video shows riots that followed police trying to make an arrest in a Belgian Muslim suburb. Here is video of Muslim riots in Trappes, France. And here is a video showing the plight of the remaining French women in a Muslim-dominated area of France. Here is a video showing Muslim youths running amok in Paris. In Paris, Muslims firebombed a bus with fifty passengers inside, and Muslim riots are spiraling out of control in Sweden.
All this is well known. Journalist Soeren Kern here quotes numerous French journalists and others covering the no-go zones and speaking frankly about what they are. But now it is all about Fox News. Yet I have this on good authority from a Frenchman who has lived in Paris. He wrote this to me about the Sharia no-go zones in France:
In Paris you have areas where a large majority of the population is Muslim (Aubervillers where my in-laws are from, La Courneuve, Stain, etc.). These places are infested with drugs and Islamists, because unlike the USA, France’s Muslim community is the largest majority in prisons (over 70%). They go to prison as drug dealers and come out as Islamist drug dealers. And this is largely how they finance terrorist operations.

I have a very vivid souvenir of one night. My friend lives in one of the most dangerous places in France (La cite des 4000, in La Courneuve). I was about fifteen years old, and needed to go to his house to study for a test. Upon my arrival, ten Muslims were at his apartment door and would not let me enter, saying that they did not know me, and wouldn’t let me in. I was shocked at the idea that in France there would be any place where I was not able to walk freely – it was insane! I had to call my friend, who came down from his apartment and begged them to let me in.

And this is how it goes in these no-go zones. These Islamist gangsters steal, deal drugs, harass women who are not dressed properly, burn cars, and drink, and if you live there and ever complain, you will take a huge beating!
I have a friend whose sister was raped in an elevator. The family wanted to go to the police, but the thugs who raped her sister caught her brother and burned cigarettes on his tongue. They warned him that if he ever talked. They would all be finished. Girls get raped and burned in garbage cans in these places. Ilan Halimi was held captive for weeks in places like these.

There are no rules there, especially not for Jews. A Jew in these areas can take a beating at any time! The police do not go in unless they come with huge backup. If a police car gets lost there, it will get smashed to pieces! They provoke fires, so that the firemen come and get stoned!

But I can tell you that living in these places is no picnic, and all these fake politicians can go live there and see if they can hold on for 10 minutes.
That is true. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and other politicians who have claimed that there are no Sharia no-go zones should walk through some of the areas that are widely identified as such, and see how long they last if they are women with heads uncovered.
The mainstream media is once again failing the American people.
Source
Pamela Geller’s commitment to freedom from jihad and Shariah shines forth in her books

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/01/inside-frances-sharia-no-go-zones/#7hY34Bc3FRG2doDd.99

Choose to refuse: Say ‘no’ to PARCC/SBAC testing Michelle Malkin – Guest Columnist
http://michellemalkin.com/

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Michelle MalkinParents, you need to know that Common Core-aligned testing racketeers in your children’s schools are doing everything they can to marginalize you. You also need to know you CAN do something about it.

This is National School Choice Week, but I want to talk about parents’ school testing choice. Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability and validity.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’m reminding you of your right to choose because the spring season of testing tyranny is about to hit the fan. Do you object to the time being taken away from your kids’ classroom learning? Are you alarmed by the intrusive data-sharing and data-mining enabled by assessment-driven special interests? Are you opposed to the usurpation of local control by corporate testing giants and federal lobbyists?

You are not alone, although the testing racketeers are doing everything they can to marginalize you. In Maryland, a mom of a 9-year-old special needs student is suing her Frederick County school district to assert her parental prerogative. Cindy Rose writes that her school district “says the law requires our children be tested, but could not point to a specific law or regulation” forcing her child to take Common Core-tied tests. Rose’s pre-trial conference is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The vigilant mom warns parents nationwide: “While we are being treated like serfs of the State, Pearson publishing is raking in billions off our children.” And she is not just going to lie down and surrender because some bloviating suits told her “it’s the law.”

Pearson, as I’ve reported extensively, is the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate — not to mention a chief corporate sponsor of Jeb Bush’s Fed Ed ventures — that snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of so-called “PARCC” tests.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers raked in $186 million through the federal Race to the Top program to develop the nationalized tests “aligned” to the Common Core standards developed in Beltway backrooms.

As more families, administrators and teachers realized the classroom and cost burdens the guinea-pig field-testing scheme would impose, they pressured their states to withdraw. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of states actively signed up for PARCC dropped from 24 (plus the District of Columbia) to 10 (plus DC). Education researcher Mercedes Schneider reports that the remaining 10 are Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island.

State legislators and state education boards in Utah, Kansas, Alaska, Iowa, South Carolina and Alabama have withdrawn from the other federally funded testing consortium, the $180-million tax-subsidized Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which administered field tests last spring to three million students in 23 states. In New Jersey, the parental opt-out movement is “exploding,” according to activist Jean McTavish. Many superintendents have conceded that “they can’t force a student to take a test,” NJ.com reports.

Last week, Missouri withdrew from PARCC, while parents, administrators and the school board of the Chicago Public Schools spurned PARCC in the majority of their 600 schools.

In California, the Pacific Justice Institute offers a privacy protection opt-out form for parents to submit to school districts. PJI head Brad Dacus advises families to send the notices as certified letters if they get ignored. Then, be prepared to go to court. PJI will help. The Thomas More Law Center in Michigan also offers a student privacy opt-out form.

Don’t let the bureaucratic smokescreens fool you. A federal No Child Left Behind mandate on states to administer assessments is not a mandate on you and your kids to submit to the testing diktats. And the absence of an opt-out law or regulation is not a prohibition on your choice to refuse.

Here in Colorado, the State Board of Education voted this month to allow districts to opt out of PARCC testing. Parents and activists continue to pressure a state task force — packed with Gates Foundation and edu-tech special interest-conflicted members — to reduce the testing burden statewide. For those who don’t live in PARCC-waivered districts, it’s important to know your rights and know the spin.

In Colorado Springs, where I have a high-schooler whose district will sacrifice a total of six full academic days for PARCC testing this spring, parents are calling the testing drones’ bluff about losing their accreditation and funding.

“The Colorado Department of Education is threatening schools to ensure that 95 percent of students take these tests,” an El Paso County parent watch group reports. “Be assured that MANY parents across Colorado — FAR ABOVE 5 percent in many schools — are refusing the tests, and not one school yet is facing the loss of accreditation, funding, etc. As long as schools can show that they gave a ‘good faith attempt to get 95 percent to test, they can appeal a loss of accreditation’ due to parental refusals to test.”

You also have the power to exercise a parental nuclear option: If edu-bullies play hardball and oppose your right to refuse, tell them you’ll have your kid take the test and intentionally answer every question wrong — and that you’ll advise every parent you know to tell their kids to do the same. How’s that for accountability?

Be prepared to push back against threats and ostracism. Find strength in numbers. And always remember: You are your kids’ primary educational providers.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malknblog@gmail.com.

Justice Roy Moore strikes a major blow against judicial tyranny Bryan Fischer – Guest Columnist

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Bryan FischerThe U.S. Constitution gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states. That’s the argument Roy Moore is making – and he’s on solid constitutional grounds in doing so.

Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court has taken a stand against judicial tyranny on the matter of natural marriage. And strikingly and importantly, he has called on the governor of Alabama to do the same.

Last Friday, another judicial activist, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade, overturned Alabama’s marriage amendment, which was passed in 2006 by a staggering 81 percent of voters. (The judge has stayed her own ruling for two weeks.)

Justice Moore says he will not recognize the federal court ruling, and he is calling on Gov. Robert Bentley to do the same. And the beauty of it is that he is doing it all on solid constitutional grounds.

In Justice Moore’s letter to the governor (which you can read here) he states the constitutional and legal facts plainly and correctly. The Constitution, he says bluntly, gives no jurisdiction whatsoever to any branch of the federal government to dictate marriage policy to the states.

“As you know,” Judge Moore wrote, “nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.” This, of course, is manifestly true. The authority to dictate marriage policy to the states is conspicuously absent from the list of powers “We the People” granted to the central government in Article I, Section 8.

In fact, the word “marriage” does not occur anywhere in the Constitution. You can read it front to back, back to front, upside down and in Sanskrit and you will find nary a mention of marriage anywhere in there, including the 14th Amendment, which was about slavery, not marriage. (On top of that, homosexual conduct was a crime everywhere in the United States at the time the 14th Amendment was enacted.)

All this means is that the issue of the definition of marriage is reserved, as Justice Moore correctly observes, to the states and the states alone.

“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” Moore wrote.

Here’s how Justice Moore concludes his letter to the governor: “I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for our posterity. Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.”

Moore points out that 44 federal judges have already imposed their own view of morality on 21 states against the manifest will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, disenfranchising millions of voters in the process. The key to breaking the power of this out-of-control judicial tyranny is in the hands of our elected officials at the state level.

State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)

Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal Constitution and the constitution of his own state.

What Justice Moore is advocating is not rebellion at all, but a call to quash the rebellion which has already occurred, the rebellion of federal judges against the limits imposed on them by our supreme legal document. With regard to federal judges, it is time, in Jefferson’s words, “to bind (them) down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Justice Roy Moore is showing us how. May his tribe increase.

Bryan Fischer hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk (American Family Radio) from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

A No-go Zone for Truth

Accurately reporting on no-go zones dominated by Muslims in Europe is now a no-go zone. Our media have made a mess of the whole issue and are now afraid to dig themselves out. What a disgrace and disservice to news consumers.

Jumping on the pile, the left-wing Politico has published a story accusing Louisiana Republican Governor and possible presidential candidate Bobby Jindal of telling a “lie” about the no-go zones by saying they exist. But the story is itself based on a lie. Things are so twisted that Politico is doing the lying by denying that the no-go zones exist. How did we get in such a mess?

Let’s understand that the method in this madness is to accommodate the radical Muslim lobby and demonize politicians who talk about the jihad problem.

First of all, the evidence shows that the zones or areas do exist. We cited evidence for them, and numerous other outlets have done so as well. The confusion stems from a Fox News apology over the matter that should never have been made.

Steve Emerson made a mistake on one Fox show in saying that “in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

Acknowledging his error, Emerson tells WorldNetDaily that he is nevertheless appalled that the media have now decided that any and all reporting on no-go zones is wrong. “It’s outrageous for media outlets to apologize, saying ‘no-go zones’ don’t exist in Europe, when even the New York Times for years has published articles documenting Muslim ‘no-go zones’ do exist in European countries like France,” he tells WND reporter Jerome Corsi.

Corsi notes that “NBC News, the New York Times, the Associated Press and others were using the term ‘no-go’ zones for Muslim-majority neighborhoods in Paris when Muslim youth gangs were rampaging through the streets and setting cars on fire.”

We made the same point in our treatment of the issue, noting that Fox News suddenly altered its reporting of the Muslim riots in France in 2005, determining them to be “civil riots” instead. We saw then the power of the Islamists to alter Fox’s coverage.

Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz had a great opportunity on his Sunday show “Media Buzz” to set the record straight. Instead of confronting his own channel over the unnecessary apology, Kurtz praised CNN’s Anderson Cooper for making the same kind of apology. But then he mentioned that other outlets have been reporting on the no-go zones for years. So an apology wasn’t necessary after all! “The subject is complicated,” he said. No it’s not. Just tell the truth.

If all of this is unnecessarily confusing, it’s clearly because of the unnecessary Fox apology. It was a political apology. There is no other explanation. It is this kind of pandering that is becoming a pattern at Fox, which had earlier yanked anchor Bret Baier from a Catholic conference under pressure from the homosexual lobby.

Liberal special interest groups should not have this kind of influence on a news organization, especially one claiming “fair and balanced” coverage that is also supposed to be accurate.

Journalism 101 teaches that corrections or apologies are called for when errors are made. Since no-go areas do in fact exist, according to numerous sources, no apology was necessary. Yet, Fox News offered the view that since the no-go zones are not “specific” or “formal” entities, they really don’t exist. Fox was wrong. This is complete nonsense and a gross distortion of the concept.

Robert Spencer makes the observation, “The Fox apology is all the more curious in light of the fact that others, even on the Left, have noticed the no-go zones in France before some Fox commentators began talking about them in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.”

Citing just one example of many, he notes that David Ignatius had written in The New York Times back in 2002, “Yet Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.”

Spencer notes that Fox’s apology “only plays into the hands of leftists and Islamic supremacists who have a vested interest in rendering people ignorant and complacent about the reality of what is going on in these areas.”

He suggests that Fox “apologize for its apology.” That would perhaps further confuse matters, but it is the right thing to do.

Without an apology for the apology, those who apologize for the Islamization of Europe like Arif Rafiq will continue to claim, as he did in Politico, that Jindal, by even discussing the no-go zones, “has been repeating a lie that even Fox News was forced to apologize for.” The Fox News correction, or apology, though unwarranted, is now being cited as the media standard.

Politico headlined the piece, “Bobby Jindal’s Muslim Problem,” as if the governor has a bias against Muslims. So a Fox News apology has now been transformed into an indictment of a conservative political figure. Soon, Jindal will be denounced as an “Islamophobe,” another smear term used by the radical Islam lobby.

The liberal media won’t believe any of Fox’s normal day-to-day reports. But when the channel claims to have made an error that makes the rest of the media look good by comparison, that suddenly becomes the truth and the channel has to be believed. This is how reality is turned upside down.

The real story is why Fox made this unnecessary correction. The clout of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Council on American-Islamic Relations is the most likely explanation. Fox has undermined its own credibility by apologizing for something that was true. It is bizarre and was absolutely unnecessary.

Pamela Geller is correct that the major media are “failing us.” It’s terribly tragic that at a time when we were depending on one channel, Fox, to tell the truth, it has failed us, too.

Harvard Ideas on Health Care Hit Home, Hard
By ROBERT PEARJAN. 5, 2015
Photo

Dr. Alan M. Garber, a physician and health economist who is the provost at Harvard, defended the change in benefits, acknowledging that Harvard employees would face greater cost-sharing but saying that such a policy “can slow the growth of health spending.” Credit Stephanie Mitchell, via Harvard University
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WASHINGTON — For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.                                                                                                                                                                             Roberto Villacreses of Sunshine Life and Health Advisors with Darko Tomelic and Andrea Viteri recently at a Miami mall.Health Insurance Enrollment Strongest in Federal MarketplaceDEC. 30, 2014

Agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors helped customers sign up for health care in Miami this month.So Far, 6.4 Million Obtain Health Care Coverage for 2015 in Federal MarketplaceDEC. 23, 2014
Obama Administration to Investigate Insurers for Bias Against Costly ConditionsDEC. 22, 2014
The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees? If employees have to bear more of the cost, will they skimp on medically necessary care, curtail the use of less valuable services, or both?

“Harvard is a microcosm of what’s happening in health care in the country,” said David M. Cutler, a health economist at the university who was an adviser to President Obama’s 2008 campaign. But only up to a point: Professors at Harvard have until now generally avoided the higher expenses that other employers have been passing on to employees. That makes the outrage among the faculty remarkable, Mr. Cutler said, because “Harvard was and remains a very generous employer.”

In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it “must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,” in the form of the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.

Richard F. Thomas, a Harvard professor of classics and one of the world’s leading authorities on Virgil, called the changes “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.”

Mary D. Lewis, a professor who specializes in the history of modern France and has led opposition to the benefit changes, said they were tantamount to a pay cut. “Moreover,” she said, “this pay cut will be timed to come at precisely the moment when you are sick, stressed or facing the challenges of being a new parent.”

The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.

Previously, Harvard employees paid a portion of insurance premiums and had low out-of-pocket costs when they received care.

Michael E. Chernew, a health economist and the chairman of the university benefits committee, which recommended the new approach, acknowledged that “with these changes, employees will often pay more for care at the point of service.” In part, he said, “that is intended because patient cost-sharing is proven to reduce overall spending.”

The president of Harvard, Drew Gilpin Faust, acknowledged in a letter to the faculty that the changes in health benefits — though based on recommendations from some of the university’s own health policy experts — were “causing distress” and had “generated anxiety” on campus. But she said the changes were necessary because Harvard’s health benefit costs were growing faster than operating revenues or staff salaries and were threatening the budget for other priorities like teaching, research and student aid.

In response, Harvard professors, including mathematicians and microeconomists, have dissected the university’s data and question whether its health costs have been growing as fast as the university says. Some created spreadsheets and contended that the university’s arguments about the growth of employee health costs were misleading. In recent years, national health spending has been growing at an exceptionally slow rate.

In addition, some ideas that looked good to academia in theory are now causing consternation. In 2009, while Congress was considering the health care legislation, Dr. Alan M. Garber — then a Stanford professor and now the provost of Harvard — led a group of economists who sent an open letter to Mr. Obama endorsing cost-control features of the bill. They praised the Cadillac tax as a way to rein in health costs and premiums.

Dr. Garber, a physician and health economist, has been at the center of the current Harvard debate. He approved the changes in benefits, which were recommended by a committee that included university administrators and experts on health policy.

In an interview, Dr. Garber acknowledged that Harvard employees would face greater cost-sharing, but he defended the changes. “Cost-sharing, if done appropriately, can slow the growth of health spending,” he said. “We need to be prepared for the very real possibility that health expenditure growth will take off again.”

But Jerry R. Green, a professor of economics and a former provost who has been on the Harvard faculty for more than four decades, said the new out-of-pocket costs could lead people to defer medical care or diagnostic tests, causing more serious illnesses and costly complications in the future.

“It’s equivalent to taxing the sick,” Professor Green said. “I don’t think there’s any government in the world that would tax the sick.”

Meredith B. Rosenthal, a professor of health economics and policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, said she was puzzled by the outcry. “The changes in Harvard faculty benefits are parallel to changes that all Americans are seeing,” she said. “Indeed, they have come to our front door much later than to others.”

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But in her view, there are drawbacks to the Harvard plan and others like it that require consumers to pay a share of health care costs at the time of service. “Consumer cost-sharing is a blunt instrument,” Professor Rosenthal said. “It will save money, but we have strong evidence that when faced with high out-of-pocket costs, consumers make choices that do not appear to be in their best interests in terms of health.”

Harvard’s new plan is far more generous than plans sold on public insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Harvard says its plan pays 91 percent of the cost of services for the covered population, while the most popular plans on the exchanges, known as silver plans, pay 70 percent, on average, reflecting their “actuarial value.”

“None of us who protested was motivated by our own bottom line so much as by the principle,” Ms. Lewis said, expressing concern about the impact of the changes on lower-paid employees.

In many states, consumers have complained about health plans that limit their choice of doctors and hospitals. Some Harvard employees have said they will gladly accept a narrower network of health care providers if it lowers their costs. But Harvard’s ability to create such networks is complicated by the fact that some of Boston’s best-known, most expensive hospitals are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. To create a network of high-value providers, Harvard would probably need to exclude some of its own teaching hospitals, or discourage their use.

“Harvard employees want access to everything,” said Dr. Barbara J. McNeil, the head of the health care policy department at Harvard Medical School and a member of the benefits committee. “They don’t want to be restricted in what institutions they can get care from.”

Although out-of-pocket costs over all for a typical Harvard employee are to increase in 2015, administrators said premiums would decline slightly. They noted that the university, which has an endowment valued at more than $36 billion, had an unusual program to provide protection against high out-of-pocket costs for employees earning $95,000 a year or less. Still, professors said the protections did not offset the new financial burdens that would fall on junior faculty and lower-paid staff members.

“It seems that Harvard is trying to save money by shifting costs to sick people,” said Mary C. Waters, a professor of sociology. “I don’t understand why a university with Harvard’s incredible resources would do this. What is the crisis?”

PSA encourages kids to steal parents’ guns, hand over to teachers
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials. (Sleeper 13 Productions)
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials. (Sleeper 13 Productions) more >
By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Monday, December 22, 2014
A startling new anti-gun ad released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to commit a series of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns and turning them over to school officials, The Daily Caller reported Monday.

Sleeper 13 Productions released the controversial video on Dec. 13. It shows a pouty, young boy wandering into his parents’ bedroom, stealing a handgun out of their dresser drawer and then shoving it into his backpack.

The boy then carries what is presumably a loaded weapon into his classroom. After class, he approaches the teacher, takes the gun out of his backpack and slams it onto her desk.

“Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house,” the boy says.

“Our children deserve a safe world,” the ad says. “Stop gun violence now.”

The video, first reported by The Blaze, has been met with sharp criticism from gun-rights activists on Sleeper 13’s Facebook page.

“Weapons theft, unlawful possession of a weapon by a minor, illegal concealed carry of a weapon, carrying a weapon onto school property, assault, and brandishing,” wrote Jerry Harlan.

On YouTube, the video had received more than 3,500 down votes, compared to its 31 up votes.

“Lot of people are afraid to share my PSA!” tweeted the ad’s director, Rejina Sincic. “If you are not a coward please share #gunviolence.”

Fred Rick Friedman questioned on Facebook: “So, when a child does this and accidentally kills himself or an innocent bystander, will Sleeper 13 Productions and Ragina Sincic be brought up on charges as an accessory? This has got to be one of the dumbest PSA’s put out by anti-gunners ever. Way to combat criminal violence…turn innocent children into felons.”

According to the credits, the video was shot at North Oakland Community Charter School in Oakland. The school’s executive director, Carolyn Gramstorff, told The Washington Times that officials did grant permission for the PSA to be shot there, but were not aware beforehand of its message. In light of the controversial video, she said the school is motivated to consider narrowing its screening process for allowing PSAs to be shot on campus.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/22/psa-encourages-kids-to-steal-parents-guns-hand-ove/#ixzz3MgVrALtb
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Student sues school district after her forced ‘confession’
By Michael F. Haverluck, OneNewsNow.com December 11, 2014 12:22 pm
courtroomNot long after a student from Loomis Basin Charter School (LBCS) invited her two friends to a Creation seminar held off campus, school officials became livid, summonsing her to the principal’s office four times in the same day in order to force her into writing a “confession” of what she had done.

Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is now representing the student against Loomis Union School District (LUSD), located in Loomis, California, approximately 30 miles northeast of Sacramento. The legal non-profit organization alleges in the complaint that the school district violated the student’s constitutional rights by prohibiting her from expressing her beliefs.

After ordering the student — who PJI dubbed “Esther” for anonymity’s sake — to confess, school officials in the principal’s office vowed that they would censor any future invitations that she planned to give to friends.

In September, Esther had invited a couple of her friends to a free, off-campus, non-school seminar in response to the teaching of Darwinian evolution in her class, which has its curriculum based in the school-issued textbook Early Civilizations.

“Currently, the class is discussing plate tectonics and the Big Bang theory,” PJI’s complaint on behalf of Esther reads. “[Esther] sought out more information to be able to express her beliefs and understanding on the issue to participate in the ongoing conversation.”

Because evolutionary theory was routinely taught as fact in her class, and as many students in her class began comparing the creationist account of Genesis with Darwin’s biological evolutionary theory, Esther wanted her peers to join her in getting a more comprehensive understanding of human origins — as well as the origins of the earth and the known universe — by attending a Creationist seminar.

During the semester, Esther learned about the three-session Creationist seminar and became intrigued about the issue. She then invited one of her friends from science class — who also expressed a keen interest in the debate — to the second session. The two then invited a third friend to session three.

The seminar presented by the nonprofit Christian organization Genesis Apologetics, based in Folsom, California, has a stated mission of “equipping youth, pastors, parents and students with biblical answers for evolutionary teaching in public schools.”

Esther presented the Genesis Apologetics invitations to her friends during lunch breaks at school in the format of flyers so that their parents would have information to gauge whether or not they wanted them to attend.

It is believed that one of the parents of a student who received an invitation was the one who complained to school officials that her child was given the opportunity to attend an off campus, non-school event.

Not in my school

Esther’s complaint claims that LBCS director Erica Sloane, one of the defendants in the lawsuit, lashed out in anger at Esther when confronting her about the invitation. Sloan allegedly ordered her to submit a written confession and warned her that similar invitations in the future must be accompanied with an official stamp of approval from school officials.

“[Sloane] proceeded to scold [Esther] for bringing the … flyer to school because the content is religious and because it had not been approved by the school district,” the complaint reads. “Sloane told [Esther] that she was not permitted to distribute the flyer to students … and [that] her actions were unacceptable.”

The complaint also indicates that the school director was hostile toward Esther because of her Christian beliefs, which Sloane allegedly attempted to suppress, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“[Sloane] expressed her anger, through an intimidating tone and expressions, at [Esther] over the situation … and further directed [Esther] to not talk about religion at school, even during lunch,” the complaint continues.

According to the lawsuit, the second of four summons Esther received to go to the principal’s office within 24 hours resulted in the student being compelled to fill out an incident report documenting her confession of what she had done on school grounds. Within 15 minutes, Sloane declared the confession “inadequate,” spurring Esther’s third summons of the day. After this attempt did not meet Sloane’s approval, Esther was summoned to the principal’s office for the fourth and final time that day.

Inconsistent with the treatment Esther experienced in the principal’s office that day, LBCS has a mission statement that encourages students to “think independently and connect content to real life” while pursuing the quest for knowledge.

“[Loomis Basin Charter School’s aim] is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, patriotic, honorable, responsible and caring young people who have the background, skills, knowledge and qualities necessary to participate successfully and actively in a changing and increasingly interrelated world,” the complaint reads, quoting the school’s educational goals.

But when Esther interacted with the school’s administration, she witnessed no trace of anything highlighted in the mission statement.

“[Esther] has been disturbed by these events and felt harassed, traumatized and unsafe to the point that she did not want to return to school in the days that followed because of the scolding and harsh interactions,” the lawsuit declares.

After Esther communicated her four office visits to her mother, the concerned parent sought an explanation from school officials, who told her that Esther was prohibited from disseminating any kind of flyer to any students on campus at any time — inside or outside of class, before or after school.

According to the lawsuit, an attached written consent must be attached to any literature Ester wishes to hand to any peer on campus.

“[Esther] cannot personally give printed material to another pupil without first obtaining a district disclaimer affixed to the literature,” the complaint states, expressing the school’s stance on the matter.

Students don’t abandon their rights at the schoolhouse gate

PJI argues that LBCS’s attempt to suppress Esther’s expression on campus violates her free-speech rights under the State of California’s Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

“[Esther] has a speech right to possess on her person and distribute a flyer expressing a religious viewpoint,” PJI attorneys express in the lawsuit.

They contend that Sloan and other school officials pressured Esther to give up her constitutionally protected rights every time she entered the schoolhouse gate.

“The scolding and intimidation by Sloane as against [Esther] to cease and desist from distributing said flyer, cease and desist from keeping a similar flyer on her person or in her backpack, and to just say no to anyone who may provide her with a flyer to share with her fellow classmates, or face additional administrative action are a form of censorship which is inconsistent with the rights guaranteed to [Esther] as a citizen,” the student’s complaint explains.

The lawsuit, which was filed in early November, also lists LUSD superintendent Gordon Medd and LBCS acting director Katie Messerli, along with other school officials, as defendants in the suit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California by PJI attorneys on behalf of Esther. Media outlets were unable to attain a response from school officials about their alleged violations of Esther’s constitutional rights.

Obama administration claims a right to hide evidence before Supreme Court
| DECEMBER 10, 2014 | 5:00 AM
The United States v. June case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal material evidence in order to escape liability?
The United States v. June case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal…
Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in United States v. June, a case that has received little attention, but will have far-reaching implications. The case boils down to this: Can the federal government actively conceal material evidence in order to escape liability? Common sense says no. The Obama administration says yes.

June involves the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) and a doctrine called “equitable tolling.” Prior to 1946, the doctrine of sovereign immunity prohibited citizens from filing suit against the government. That all changed in 1946, when a military plane crashed into the Empire State Building, killing and injuring many civilians. Congress responded by enacting the FTCA, which waives sovereign immunity and allows citizens to sue the government in instances.

However, claimants must file a claim within two years of injury. Equitable tolling freezes those two years under certain considerations, like government officials hiding pertinent facts. Courts across the country have consistently applied the doctrine of equitable tolling to FTCA claims.

In the June case, a minor child was killed in a car crash when a median barrier failed. The barrier had failed safety crash testing; the government knew but installed it anyway. When the plaintiff investigated, the government would not make federal employees — who knew the truth — available for deposition until after the two year deadline to file. The government now argues that equitable tolling should not apply to claims brought under the FTCA. It maintains that it can avoid liability by hiding evidence and waiting for the clock to run out.

The June case raises serious issues for every government agency, especially the Veterans Administration, given the recent scandal where VA employees engaged in fraud and falsified records. If no whistleblower had come forward, VA employees could have waited out the clock. The VA has already demonstrated a propensity toward dishonesty and covering up. It needs no further incentives.

Importantly, some injuries are latent and may not appear for even years after the fact. Take, for instance, the example of veterans exposed to HIV and hepatitis by the VA during routine colonoscopies and dental work. Older vets, having no reason to be regularly tested, may not find out about their exposure until years later when HIV blossoms into full blown AIDS or when their livers malfunction. Moreover, in 2011 a Pittsburgh VA hospital’s water supply tested positive for Legionnaires disease but the hospital did not notify patients for over a year. Only after six patient deaths and 22 infections did the VA facility warn patients and distribute bottled water.

If government has its way in June, the VA and other government agencies would get off scot-free in similar situations. Say goodbye to transparency and the FTCA as we know it. A wrongdoer should not benefit by secrecy calculated to hide the truth and deprive harmed persons of their constitutional right to due process. Sunshine is the best disinfectant and the Supreme Court must rein in government abuse in June. After all, our laws do not allow private citizens to benefit from dishonesty and the same standard should be applied to government, too.

Ms. Miller Rotunda is Professor of Military and International Law at Chapman University and a former Major in the US Army JAG Corps; Admiral Carey is the President of the National Defense Committee; Mr. Carey is Executive Director of the National Defense Committee and a Captain in the Naval Reserves; Mr. Flynn-Brown is an attorney that specializes in military and veteran law. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials, available at this link.

Obama’s Endless Lies and His Media Accomplices
By Cliff Kincaid December 10, 2014 12:25 pm

Like the use of the word “chokehold” in connection with the death of Eric Garner, the term “torture” has been applied repeatedly by the media to the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists. These are examples of how left-wing forces in the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and the media try to control and manipulate the public debate in ways that demonize those defending our nation.
The purpose is to make the American people lose faith in the police and the intelligence community. But it is those using the loaded terms and language that deserve the scrutiny.

A notable exception in the “chokehold” coverage is Margaret Harding of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who quoted Thomas Aveni, a retired officer and executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, as saying about the video of Garner’s takedown, “The reason all these people are upset is because they don’t understand what they saw. People don’t understand what they’re looking at.”

She reported that Aveni, a police trainer in deadly and non-deadly force for more than 30 years, said that New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo did not use a chokehold on Garner, but rather a “lateral vascular neck restraint” or LVNR. The difference? “People can’t talk when they are being choked,” Aveni said.

The alleged use of “torture” against suspected terrorists is another example of how the media adopt a term that doesn’t apply to what is actually being described.

Jose Rodriguez, the author of Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, says the term “torture” is inaccurate and that the CIA received guidance from the Department of Justice as to what procedures could be used to avoid “lasting pain or harm” to the detainees. Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, defends the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Rodriguez writes in his book about how Obama’s CIA director Leon Panetta had declared to the Senate that the program had used “torture,” though he had not even been briefed on it.

The media campaigns against the police “chokehold” and the CIA’s “torture” techniques remind me of the communist “Ban the Neutron Bomb” campaign of the early 1970s. The “neutron bomb” was an enhanced radiation weapon designed to counter a Soviet tank build-up in Europe.

Despite the name, the “neutron bomb” was more humane than conventional arms. Appearing at an Accuracy in Media conference at the time, Sam T. Cohen, the inventor of the weapon, noted that it killed people painlessly through radiation rather than a blast with catastrophic consequences. But the Soviets thought it gave the U.S. an unfair advantage and successfully waged an “active measures” campaign, using the U.S. media, against it. Distorted coverage of the weapon led President Jimmy Carter to ban it from the U.S. arsenal.

In the same way, banning a “chokehold,” when it is actually something else, puts American police forces at a disadvantage with the criminal element. Outlawing “torture,” when the techniques were not torture, deprives our intelligence community of procedures that can actually save lives.

When we examined Panetta’s fitness for public office, we found that he was an opponent of the “neutron bomb” when he was a liberal Congressman from California. Perhaps this explains why he was picked for the important posts of CIA director and then Secretary of Defense. He was susceptible to disinformation then and was judged as somebody who could “go with the program” of Obama to ban interrogation techniques that gave the U.S. an edge in the war on terror.

The “torture” controversy also proves to be a diversion from discussing Obama’s alternative—the use of drones to shoot air-to-surface Hellfire missiles and literally obliterate suspected terrorists.

When terrorists die in drone strikes, they yield no intelligence data because they do not end up alive in U.S. custody. Plus, women and children die alongside them.

This is supposed to be more “humane” than alleged “torture” of the individual terrorists, who survive the “torture” and then get fat at Gitmo.

Obama gets away with this because the media, once again, are feeding out of his hands, eager to take his line on foreign affairs when it is nonsensical and counter to U.S. interests.

In his 2013 remarks to the National Defense University, Obama acknowledged that “…it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Obama declared, “…America’s actions are legal.” Case closed. That’s good enough for the media.

At the same time, he said, “I believe we compromised our basic values—by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

Obama’s flimsy justification for drone strikes is a self-serving memo generated by his own administration. It purports to explain why killing Americans does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution for U.S. citizens accused of crimes. The memo refers to U.S. drone aircraft as “contemplated lethal operations.”

Apparently, however, wiping out terrorists and their families, friends, and relatives, is not something that compromises our basic values.

The fact that Obama gets away with this deception says something about the gullibility of the American media.

It was appropriate that the Democratic Senate report on “torture” was released on the same day that Jonathan Gruber was testifying about lying to the American people regarding the benefits of Obamacare. The Senate report was another form of deception, designed to confuse and mislead about what Obama has used in place of interrogation techniques of terrorists. Obama doesn’t interrogate terrorists, he kills them.

Yet, we are led to believe Obama believes in American values and practices them.

The American people would see through the lies if only they could depend on a media that would lead them out of all the deliberate obfuscation.

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