Posts Tagged ‘Tom Perez’

Democrats are getting desperate as Mueller stalls

April 22, 2018
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Hillary fundraiser riles up the DNC

March 23, 2018

Civil War in the Democratic Party

March 1, 2018

Bernie Sanders was a portent of the populist left’s rise. Now even Dianne Feinstein looks vulnerable.

 Image result for Bernie Sanders, photos

The rise of Donald Trump has prompted endless analysis about the populist right, what it is and what it wants. Now it’s time to consider a neglected segment of the electorate—the populist left.

Progressive populists scored an upset this past weekend, when California Democrats at their annual convention declined to endorse liberal stalwart Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is seeking a fifth full term. “The outcome of today’s endorsement vote is an astounding rejection of politics as usual, and it boosts our campaign’s momentum as we all stand shoulder to shoulder against a complacent status quo,” crowed her progressive opponent, state Senate leader Kevin de León, who along with Ms. Feinstein will face voters in June.

A civil war rages among Democrats in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Mainstreamers are coming under attack from their left flank, with the sharpest broadsides emanating from the postindustrial Midwest. “We need to unite the agenda and unite the Democrats right now around a strong economic agenda,” Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who tried in 2016 to depose Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader, said in February. The left has growing numbers, enthusiasm and a potent small-contribution fundraising model. As they pull the party away from the center, the perpetually lamented polarization of America will continue.

Excluded from both parties, left populists are a significant slice of the 37% of Americans who prefer socialism or even communism over capitalism, according to a 2017 YouGov survey. Like their counterparts on the right, left populists resent political, cultural and economic elites. They distrust big business, academia, the major political parties and corporate media outlets that prop up a self-interested establishment. They believe the system exploits hardworking Americans to fatten corporations and wealthy individuals.

Civil War in the Democratic Party
ILLUSTRATION: TED RALL

Left populism is distinguished from the left centrism that currently dominates the Democratic Party. Left centrists seek reform, not revolution. President Obama wanted to regulate Wall Street, not replace it. The Clintons cashed checks from Goldman Sachs ; last year Mr. Obama accepted one from Cantor Fitzgerald.

Left populists focus on class-based perspectives. What matters to them most is the struggle between the 1% and the 99%, especially over globalization. Working-class lives matter; banks are evil. Identity politics—race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.—don’t excite left populists much.

These were the voters who supported Bernie Sanders. Team Hillary never understood them. “What happened” was that the history-making potential of the first female president left almost half the party, not only white males, unmoved.

One point of disagreement is a question that also divides Republicans: immigration. During this year’s budget talks, Democratic leaders were determined to prevent deportations of “Dreamers,” whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally when they were children. Populists sympathize with Dreamers, but they don’t see a hill worth dying on. Budgetary brinkmanship on behalf of illegal aliens risks alienating a growing left-populist base, whose members worry more about their own long-suffering bank balances.

As Mrs. Pelosi garnered liberal accolades for her eight-hour pseudo-filibuster over Dreamers—when did she showboat over, say, distressed homeowners during the housing crisis?— Mr. Ryan fumed that the stunt’s identity-politics-oriented optics, featuring female congressmen standing behind her, could alienate left populists. “If you’re going into a budget battle like this, you can’t go in with just a million Dreamers,” Mr. Ryan said. “You need the retired coal miners, the retired Teamsters.”

Until a few years ago, the potential of the populist left manifested itself primarily in spasmodic street demonstrations such as the antiglobalization “Battle of Seattle” in 1999 and the ragtag Occupy encampments in 2011. Mr. Sanders capitalized on it, transforming from a rumpled fringe candidate into the most popular politician in America. He rocketed from around 6% in the polls among Democrats in 2015 to a 53% favorability rating among all voters last year.

And left-populist voters were decisive in November 2016. Some 12% of those who supported Mr. Sanders in the primaries cast their votes for Mr. Trump, according to political scientist Brian Schaffner. “I’m with her,” Mrs. Clinton’s bumper stickers proclaimed. But populists wanted a candidate who was with them. From her decision not to consider Mr. Sanders for the ticket to her failure to pick up his call for a $15 minimum wage, from her focus on identity politics over pocketbook issues to her campaign’s outreach to anti- Trump Republicans in the suburbs, Bernie voters got the Big Snub.

They snubbed back. Many Sanders supporters stayed home on Election Day. “Donald Trump probably would have lost to Hillary Clinton had Republican- and Democratic-leaning registered voters cast ballots at equal rates,” wrote Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.

Mr. Trump owes his presidency to the populist left. But he’s not respecting them either. He brags about stripping away regulations and a $1.5 trillion tax cut whose benefits mostly go to the wealthy and big corporations, not to mention a stock market whose gains are leaving many Americans behind. It all tells Bernie America that Hillary America was right about the Republicans and Mr. Trump.

Tom Perez

Fortunately for the GOP, the national Democrats are as clueless about the populist left as they were in 2016. The choice of Clintonite Tom Perez to run the Democratic National Committee broadcasts the Democrats’ determination to nominate another identitarian left-centrist standard-bearer— Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, maybe even Oprah Winfrey. Anyone but Bernie!

DNC-approved “mainstream” presidential prospects have adopted left-leaning positions on a variety of issues. Yet the populist left doesn’t trust them, and for good reason. Ms. Harris was caught fundraising in the Hamptons; Mr. Booker is too close to bankers; Ms. Gillibrand may have vested too much in #MeToo; Ms. Winfrey is a billionaire arriviste. They’re all silent on the working class.

The populist left won’t flip to the GOP again in 2020. But they won’t turn out for another regular Democrat either. This November? They’ll probably stay home with Netflix .

Mr. Rall is co-author, with Harmon Leon, of “Meet the Deplorables: Infiltrating Trump America,” and author of “Francis: The People’s Pope,” forthcoming in March.

Dems: Bill Clinton too toxic to campaign in midterms

February 14, 2018

One of the party’s top surrogates has been effectively sidelined by the #metoo movement.

Bill Clinton is pictured. | AP Photo
And in this political environment, Bill Clinton campaigning anywhere would amount to him campaigning everywhere, forcing Democrats around the country to answer for what they think of colleagues appearing with him. | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

Democrats are looking to embrace the #MeToo moment and rally women to push back on President Donald Trump in the midterms—and they don’t want Bill Clinton anywhere near it.

In a year when the party is deploying all their other big guns and trying to appeal to precisely the kind of voters Clinton has consistently won over, an array of Democrats told POLITICO they’re keeping him on the bench. They don’t want to be seen anywhere near a man with a history of harassment allegations, as guilty as their party loyalty to him makes them feel about it.

“I think it’s pretty tough,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus and one of the leading voices in Congress demanding changes in Washington’s approach to sexual harassment. His presence “just brings up a lot of issues that will be very tough for Democrats. And I think we all have to be clear about what the #MeToo movement was.”

After booting Sen. Al Franken precisely because they wanted to draw a clear contrast with Trump, Democrats across the party’s ideological and geographical spectrum acknowledged the political trouble that any appearance with Clinton would cause.

“I value the assets of what the Clintons can bring. He did a lot for Georgia when he was president,” added Georgia Democratic Chair DuBose Porter, treading delicately. “He carried Georgia. The personal side that is now being highlighted, we’ll have to measure.”

Privately, many Democratic politicians and strategists are harsher and firmer: Don’t come to their states, and don’t say anything about their campaigns. They are still worried about saying it out loud, but they don’t want him now, or maybe ever. They know Republicans would react by calling them — with good reason — hypocrites.

And in this political environment, Clinton campaigning anywhere would amount to him campaigning everywhere, forcing Democrats around the country to answer what they think of colleagues appearing with him, and whether they would do so themselves.

It’s a huge change from eight years ago, when Clinton made over 100 appearances for Democrats during the 2010 midterms as the most in-demand presence on the campaign trail. In his reelection campaign two years later, former President Barack Obama anointed Clinton his “explainer-in-chief.”

Clinton’s likely absence on the stump this year comes amid major demand for high-profile surrogates this year — from Obama, who’s expected make select appearances, to Joe Biden and the full crop of 2020 prospects, who are likely to be all over the place in the thick of election season. Even Hillary Clinton will do some targeted campaigning.

All this reluctance about him would be a surprise to Clinton himself, who, according to a person familiar with his plans, has already received a number of preliminary requests from campaigns for advice and events. He’s had a few conversations with candidates, but hasn’t initiated the calls, the person said. Clinton, the source said, is for now focused on his foundation work that included a tour last week of hurricane damage in the Virgin Islands and Dominica, and getting ready for the spring rollout of a mystery novel he wrote with James Patterson.

Anyway, Clinton wouldn’t even start to evaluate political stops until much closer to the election, the person said.

“President Clinton has been diligently working on his book. He’s also been focused on the work of his foundation,” the Clinton source said. “So beyond a few requests for support and advice from a few candidates, he hasn’t spent much time on the midterms.”

“People call me all the time [to ask] if I can talk to him, put [their] requests in,” said James Carville, the former Clinton strategist who remains close with him.

Carville said he believes the former president will do some campaigning, but given Clinton’s age — 71 — and other factors, “it can’t be like it used to.”

But “there are people who want him, I promise you,” Carville said.

Several Democratic campaigns have already polled Clinton’s popularity in their races, weighing whether to take the risk of inviting him out. Others say they’d love to see him chip in, so long as he sticks to New York, at closed-door fundraisers for them where no photographs of them together are taken.

“People are crass about it and will look to see where his numbers are,” admitted one Democratic member of Congress who is in a tough race and is anxious about going public embracing or trashing Clinton. “He’s still Bill Clinton, and he’s still a draw to certain segments of the party.”

“Depending on the audience, there will definitely be people … [who] will be uncomfortable,” said Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.). But there will also “definitely be people who want to see him.”

A Gallup poll in December had Clinton’s national approval rating at 45 percent, down 5 points since the end of the 2016 campaign, and a 52 percent disapproval. Those were his lowest numbers recorded by Gallup since he left office in 2001.

A variety of congressional Democrats were visibly uncomfortable about discussing Clinton. When approached, some of them asked nervously whether he was actually considering campaigning in the midterms.

Democratic operatives ducked the question, while several close allies of Clinton declined interview requests on the topic.

In an interview earlier this year on the party’s strategy for the midterms, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez — who has not been in touch with Clinton the way he has with Obama and other top Democrats — took a diplomatic approach.

“Bill Clinton’s a former president of the United States, and in his administration, we took an economy that was in the tank and built an economic engine that had been unparalleled. Did he make significant mistakes? Of course he did,” Perez said. “People will make judgments race by race about who are the best surrogates to come down and advocate.”

Donna Brazile strains Dem unity ahead of key gov race in Virginia — Party Boss Tom Perez says

November 6, 2017

Tom Perez

Trump says Clinton team funding for Russia info ‘a disgrace’

October 26, 2017

By Eric Tucker
The Associated Press

Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans latched onto revelations tying Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to a dossier of allegations about his ties to Russia. The president said Wednesday it was a “disgrace” that Democrats had helped pay for research that produced the document.

“It’s just really — it’s a very sad commentary on politics in this country,” Trump said in addressing reporters one day after news reports revealed that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, for several months last year, helped fund research that ultimately ended up in the dossier.

The document, compiled by a former British spy and alleging a compromised relationship between Trump and the Kremlin, has emerged this year as a political flashpoint. Law enforcement officials have worked to corroborate its claims. James Comey, FBI director at the time, advised Trump about the existence of the allegations, and the ex-spy who helped assemble the document, Christopher Steele, has been questioned as part of an ongoing probe into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump camp.

President Donald Trump has described as “sad,” reporting that says Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the DNC helped pay for political research over his ties to Russia. Trump also insists there is “great unity,” within the GOP. (Oct. 25)

Trump has derided the document as “phony stuff” and “fake news” and portrayed himself Wednesday as an aggrieved party, posting on Twitter a quote he said was from Fox News that referred to him as “the victim.” The new disclosure about the dossier’s origins is likely to fuel complaints by Trump and his supporters that the document is merely a collection of salacious and uncorroborated claims.

“Well, I think it’s very sad what they’ve done with this fake dossier,” Trump said Wednesday, adding without elaboration that “they paid a tremendous amount of money.” He contended that Democrats had initially denied any connection to the document, but now, “they admitted it, and they’re embarrassed by it.”

AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel

Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin pictured together in 2012  AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel

Separately Wednesday, the editor of Wikileaks confirmed that his group was approached by Cambridge Analytica, a data firm working for Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.

Julian Assange told The Associated Press that Wikileaks received a “request for information” from Cambridge Analytica. That request, which Assange would not specify, came prior to last November and was rejected. Assange’s comments came after The Daily Beast reported that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix reached out to Assange during the presidential campaign about the possible release of 33,000 of Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. Those emails have never been publicly released.

A spokesman for Cambridge Analytica did not respond to a request for comment. Robert Mercer, a billionaire Trump supporter, is a backer of Cambridge Analytica. Former White House strategist Steve Bannon served as a vice president at the company before joining the administration.

Two people familiar with the newly disclosed dossier matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential client matters, told AP the funding arrangement was brokered in the spring of 2016 by a law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC and that it lasted until right before Election Day. The final memo included in the dossier, a version of which was published online by Buzzfeed in January, is dated December 2016, or after the arrangement had ended.

In March of that year, the person said, the law firm of Perkins Coie was approached by Fusion GPS, a political research firm that had already begun research work on Trump on behalf of an unidentified client during the GOP primary. Fusion GPS expressed interest in continuing to create opposition research on Trump, and Perkins Coie engaged it in April 2016 “to perform a variety of research services during the 2016 election cycle,” according to a letter from the law firm’s general counsel that was obtained by AP.

The identity of the original client has not been revealed, and one of the people who spoke to AP said the law firm did not know who it was. Trump, however, hinted Wednesday that he might know the identity and that it could eventually become public.

“I have one name in mind,” the president said.

 Image result for Robert Mueller, photos
A Sept. 4, 2013 file photo showing incoming FBI Director James Comey, right, talking with retiring FBI Director Robert Mueller at the Justice Department in Washington,D.C.

It’s unclear what Fusion GPS had dug up by the time the law firm hired it, or how much money was involved in the transaction. The Perkins Coie attorney who helped create the arrangement, Marc Elias, did not immediately return an email seeking comment, and representatives of Fusion GPS declined to comment. The Washington Post first reported the funding deal.

The Clinton campaign paid more than $5.6 million to Perkins Coie, recording the expenditures as simply “legal services,” according to Federal Election Commission records. The DNC also paid the law firm more than $2.9 million, nearly all of which was reported as “legal and compliance consulting.” The DNC did report paying the firm $66,500 for research consulting.

The new disclosure placed fresh attention on the world of opposition research and the techniques that political campaigns employ. Trump Jr.’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., received public scrutiny when it was revealed in July that he had met one year earlier with Russians at Trump Tower after being told he would be receiving damaging information on Clinton. In that case, publicly released emails show that Trump Jr. had been told the information was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father.

That June 2016 meeting is being investigated by Robert Mueller, the Justice Department’s special counsel leading an investigation into whether Trump campaign aides coordinated with Russia to influence the outcome of the election.

In a statement Tuesday night, a DNC spokeswoman said the chairman, Tom Perez, was not part of the decision-making and was unaware that Perkins Coie was working with Fusion GPS.

“But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened,” the statement said.

Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said on Twitter that he regretted not knowing about Steele’s hiring before the election, and that had he known, “I would have volunteered to go to Europe and try to help him.”

“I have no idea what Fusion or Steele were paid, but if even a shred of that dossier ends up helping Mueller, it will prove money well spent,” he wrote in another tweet.

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Associated Press writers Chad Day, Ken Thomas and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Democrats fear Russia probe blowback

August 5, 2017

‘We need to talk about what people think about when they wake up in the morning, and it’s not Russia,’ said one strategist.

POLITICO

08/05/2017 07:34 AM EDT

Gavin Newsom is pictured. | Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP
The Russia investigation “doesn’t do anything for Democrats at all,” said California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s running for governor, in a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s a loser.” | Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Democrats are increasingly conflicted about how forcefully to press the issue of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Fearful of alienating voters who appear more concerned about the economy and health care, Democrats campaigning in districts across the country are de-emphasizing Russia in their rhetoric — and some are warning that a persistent focus on the Russia investigation could backfire.

“In the races where I’m working, I think voters think that Russia is important and that the questions need to get answered,” Bill Burton, a veteran Democratic consultant, said at a political convention this past weekend. “But they’re mostly sick of hearing about it, and they want to hear politicians talk about things that are more directly important in their lives.”

In a state that is critical to the party’s efforts to retake the House, Darry Sragow, a Democratic strategist whose California Target Book handicaps races in California, called Russia a “distraction” and said Democrats “are going to be in deep, deep trouble if they don’t start talking about what voters care about.”

“We need to talk about what people think about when they wake up in the morning, and it’s not Russia,” Sragow said. “The more we talk about stuff that voters don’t truly care about in their daily lives … it confirms that the Democratic Party’s brain has been eaten by the elites in Washington who have been sitting fat and happy for a lot of years while working Americans have lost their jobs and lost confidence in the future.”

Public polling suggests the electorate is deeply suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia — but also tired of the months-long inquiry into possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia. According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released this week, 63 percent of American voters believe Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, and in a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll last month, more than half of voters said it was inappropriate for Donald Trump Jr. to meet with an attorney linked to the Russian government.

But a plurality of voters in the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll said Congress should not seek to impeach Trump. An earlier Harvard-Harris Poll found nearly two-thirds of American voters say investigations into Trump and Russia are hurting the country.

In that polling, wary Democrats see shades of 1998, when Republicans were widely believed to have overreached on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, losing five House seats in the midterm elections.

“Obviously, you don’t know how everything’s going to come out and what cycles we’re going to go through with the independent counsel and the report,” said Mark Penn, the Harvard-Harris Poll’s co-director and former adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton. “But if you were to ask me as of today, Democrats are doing a lot better on health care than they’re doing on Russia … There’s a risk that they repeat ‘98, that the Republicans create a campaign on issues and [Democrats] get tagged too much with only being about negative arguments.”

The Russia investigation has proved alluring to Democrats for both the seriousness of the allegations and for the angry response it has provoked from Trump. And for Democrats bidding to unseat Republican incumbents — even those who have generally supported the investigation — the various probes have provided a platform on which to yoke Republican House members to Trump.

Brian Flynn, one of several Democrats challenging Rep. John Faso in New York, said, “The effect of Russia isn’t people think John Faso is involved in Russia … What it is doing is showing the betrayal of the people who put them in office, and that is how we’re using it.”

Still, Flynn said, “I don’t talk a lot about it … We’re not going to win on an anti-Trump, anti-corruption approach.”

Hans Keirstead, one of several Democrats challenging Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in California, said Russia “is not the story … it’s an opener.” Running against Rohrabacher, a fierce defender of Russia on Capitol Hill, Keirstead said, “Russia just shows he is paying attention to things that are not district-focused.”

Even so, the Russia issue and it’s near-constant stream of developments remain a staple for many Democrats. On Thursday night, critics of Rep. Michael Burgess confronted the Republican lawmaker on Trump’s Russia ties at a town hall in Texas, while in California, Democrat Doug Applegate took to Twitter to mock GOP Rep. Darrell Issa as “Trump’s lapdog.”

Earlier this week at a gymnasium in Rohrabacher’s Orange County district, several hundred activists joined in a game of “Who said it? Dana or Putin?”

In a room off the gym floor, Rep. Ted Lieu said, “I think it depends what happens with this special counsel investigation … No one knows. It could be issue No. 8 in voters’ minds, or it could be No. 1 if they find collusion or people start getting indicted.”

Later, at the podium, Lieu told the crowd, “Here is a fun fact for you: the first article of impeachment for Nixon was obstruction of justice.”

Scott Simpson, a Democratic consultant who works on races throughout the country, doubted focusing attention on the Russia investigation would alienate voters or hurt Democrats in the midterm elections. But he said voters are “not attuned” to Russia and that health care is “just so much more top of mind.”

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s running for governor, was even more direct in a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The Russia investigation, he said, “doesn’t do anything for Democrats at all … It’s a loser.”

It’s not just the complicated nature of the Russia probes and their distance from many voters’ immediate concerns, that are leading Democrats to question the value of the issue on the campaign trail. Most voters who consider Russia a significant issue will tie the controversy to Trump, not members of Congress, said Colin Rogero, a Washington-based Democratic media consultant.

And unlike on health care, Republican House members believe they have little cause for concern on Russia, with many echoing Trump’s charge that the investigation is “fake news.”

“Democrats have forgotten one of the edicts of one of the wise men of their party, Tip O’Neill, who said ‘all politics is local,’” said Dave Gilliard, a strategist for four of California’s targeted Republicans — Reps. Jeff Denham, Mimi Walters, Issa and Ed Royce. “Russia is the furthest thing from those voters’ minds … If you went out on the street right now and asked 100 people what the most important issue right now is, I would be shocked if one said ‘Russia.’”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul last month called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has said Washington should “stop chasing Russian ghosts around the closet.”

Even Rohrabacher, who would appear to be the most susceptible House member to any anti-Russia sentiment, dismisses any concern. After audio leaked of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying, supposedly in jest, that he suspected the Russian president of paying then-candidate Trump and Rohrabacher, the congressman said he posed for a photograph with McCarthy at a fundraiser last month — both of them holding drinks known as Moscow mules.

“I think that health care and tax reform will determine who controls the House of Representatives and who controls the Senate,” Rohrabacher said. “Republicans made a serious error when they started yakking away about ‘Within 100 days we’re going to do this and that,’ which was totally unrealistic.”

As for Russia, Rohrabacher said, “This is not an issue that voters are concerned about — not in my area, and certainly I don’t think throughout the country.”

Rohrabacher was heading to the beach for a meeting about shark detection technology, which he said has promising implications for swimmers along the coast.

“That’s the type of thing that I think impresses voters more than telling people that the Russians are just as evil and threatening as they were during the Cold War,” Rohrabacher said. “I’m confident about this election, and it’s not going to be about Russia.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/05/democrats-trump-russia-blowback-241346

Anthem’s Exit From Ohio Exchange Ups Ante for GOP Health Overhaul

June 7, 2017

Insurer cites volatile market, uncertainty on cost-sharing payments for withdrawal

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Updated June 6, 2017 8:08 p.m. ET

Anthem Inc. said it will pull out of the health-insurance exchange in Ohio next year, leaving a second region of the country poised to have no marketplace options under the Affordable Care Act and increasing pressure on Republicans as they seek to replace it.

The move would be the first withdrawal by Anthem, a huge exchange insurer that has warned repeatedly that it was weighing its future in the ACA marketplaces, which sell health…

https://www.wsj.com/articles/anthem-to-pull-out-of-ohio-affordable-care-act-exchange-1496767753

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Anthem will drop out of Ohio’s Obamacare market; 18 counties could be left with no ACA plan

  • Anthem is the only insurer selling Obamacare plans throughout Ohio this year.
  • More than 10,000 Anthem customers may have no option for individual plans next year.
  • Anthem left open the door for leaving other states in 2018.
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People walk past an office building of health insurer Anthem in Los Angeles.

Anthem to exit Ohio health-care exchange in 2018  10 Hours Ago | 01:07

A big Obamacare shoe just dropped in Ohio.

Health insurer Anthem said Tuesday it will effectively exit its Obamacare individual plan business in Ohio, leaving potentially 18 counties in the Buckeye State with no insurer selling plans in 2018.

Anthem, which sells Obamacare plans in 14 states this year, left open the door to dropping out of other states next year.

The company this year sold individual health plans in all 88 counties in Ohio, the only Obamacare insurer to cover the whole state.

But next year, Anthem said, it will sell just a single plan in Pike County, and that will only be available outside of the Obamacare federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov.

There are 10,500 current Anthem customers in the 18 counties who are currently not expected to have an Obamacare plan available as a result of Anthem’s planned exit, which was revealed a day after the deadline for filing proposed rates in Ohio for next year.

The company, in explaining what it called “a difficult decision,” pointed to continued “volatility” in the individual health plan market, as well as to uncertainty about whether President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will continue paying insurers reimbursements for key Obamacare subsidies that reduce low-income customers’ out-of-pocket health costs.

The company also blamed the restoration of a tax on insurers.

“An increasing lack of overall predictability simply does not provide a sustainable path forward to provide affordable plan choices for consumers,” said Anthem.

“As the Individual marketplace continues to evolve, Anthem will continue to advocate solutions that will stabilize the market to allow us to return to a more robust presence in the future,” the company said.

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Getty Images

“We participated in [Obamacare] exchanges in all of our 14 states this year,” an Anthem spokeswoman said. “Regulations and deadlines for making the decisions regarding our participation vary by state and we intend to continue our dialog with regulators in our markets until that time.”

The Ohio Department of Insurance said there were 17 companies selling Obamacare plans in the state through the federal marketplace HealthCare.gov in 2016. That dropped to just 11 companies this year.

Anthem currently is the only Obamacare insurer in the state’s 20 counties that have just one insurer. The insurance department said that based on preliminary rate filings for 2018 Anthem’s pullback across the state will leave at least 18 counties with no Obamacare insurer next year.

“For the past few years, we have seen a weakening in the federal insurance marketplace as a number of companies have withdrawn from the exchange,” said Chris Brock, a spokesman for the state’s insurance department.

“We have always argued the private insurance market is the most severely impacted by the federal law and that is where congressional action is needed to restore stability.”

“The Department of Insurance is looking for options to help the approximately 10,500 Ohioans in counties where there may not be an exchange plan when this takes effect in 2018,” Brock said.

Anthem will continue selling small-group and large-group health plans in Ohio, which currently cover about 3.4 million people.

Alleigh Marré, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said “This news is heartbreaking for the millions of Ohioans who depend on access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, and this is a stark reminder that Obamacare is collapsing.”

“Now is the time to advance real healthcare reform that empowers individuals and families with the choices and resources they need to buy a plan that meets their healthcare needs without breaking their budgets.” Marré said. “The American people can’t afford to wait any longer.”

Katherine Hempstead, senior advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said, “The things that Anthem does are very consequential because in a lot of the markets where they are they’re the only carrier or one of two, so they have a really big footprint and a really important footprint.”

Hempstead said that Anthem in recent years has more like local Blue Cross operators, maintaining a stronger commitment to the Obamacare exchanges, compared with its national peers like Aetna and Humana, which each announced a big pullback from the exchanges for 2018 earlier this year.

“I’m a little bit surprised at the Ohio decision,” Hempstead said.

In an analysis earlier this year, Hempstead wrote, “Anthem is the most significant [Obamacare] marketplace participant.

“With plans in 14 states, an Anthem exit would leave nearly 300 counties and about a quarter of a million marketplace enrollees with no carrier, mostly in Georgia, Missouri, and Kentucky,” she wrote. “An additional half million consumers residing in 227 other counties would find themselves with only one carrier.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in a prepared statement said, “For the past few years we’ve seen premiums and deductibles skyrocket because of the Obamacare law, as we’ve seen a declining number of viable health care choices for families and small businesses.”

“Now, with the pullout of Anthem in Ohio, there are at least 20 counties without a single insurer offering health coverage on the Obamacare exchange,” Portman said. “And many other counties will have only one insurer, with no competition to get costs down for families. This is a problem not just in Ohio but across the country. Approximately one-third of the counties around the United States now only have one insurer, and more and more counties are seeing their last insurer leave just like those in Ohio.”

“Without true competition and choice in the market, we will never be able to lower health care costs for families and small businesses. This is one more reason why the status quo on health care is unsustainable. The Affordable Care Act has failed to meet the promises that were made to Ohio families,” he said.

But Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Anthem’s departure is the result of Trump’s “sabotage” of Obamacare.

“Democrats believe health care is a right for all. That’s why we’re fighting every day to protect health care for families in Ohio and across the country,” Perez said. “More than 664,000 previously uninsured Ohioans have gained access to affordable health care under Obamacare, and as many as 5 million people with pre-existing conditions could have been denied coverage before the law went into effect. Now, because of Donald Trump and Republicans’ efforts to sabotage health insurance markets and play games with the lives of the American people, thousands of families in up to 20 Ohio counties will lose their health insurance.”

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Anthem Will Exit Health Insurance Exchange in Ohio

Anthem said on Tuesday it will stop offering policies on the Ohio individual health insurance marketplace next year. CreditDarron Cummings/Associated Press

Anthem, one of the nation’s largest insurers and a major player in the individual insurance market created by the federal health care law, announced Tuesday that it would stop offering policies in the Ohio marketplace next year.

Although its departure would leave a small number of people — roughly 10,500 who live in about a fifth of the state’s counties — without an insurance carrier, the move was seized on by Republicans as more evidence that the markets are “collapsing” under the Affordable Care Act. President Trump, meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, said it was more proof that insurers are “fleeing and leaving” the marketplaces and added that it was essential for Congress to pass a bill repealing the health law this summer.

Republican senators said on Tuesday that they were trying to reach agreement on some major issues, especially Medicaid.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, said that Republican senators spent much of a meeting on Tuesday with Vice President Mike Pence discussing health care. Mr. Barrasso outlined some differences with the bill that passed the House.

The senators want “a smoother glide path, rather than an abrupt cutoff,” of Medicaid expansion funds that the federal government provides in 31 states, he said.

Read the rest:

Democrats talk of an ‘impeachment clock’ for Trump

May 11, 2017

Blockbuster Scandal: The Obama Administration Weaponized Intelligence for Use Against Trump

April 3, 2017

From The Rush Limbaugh Show

Apil 3, 2017

USH: I want to circle back here to the story that just won’t go away, and it won’t go away because the Democrats have continued to try to make something out of nothing. Even, you know, that bobblehead figure, Adam “Shifty” Schiff, known affectionately here as the Pencil Neck. This guy last week went out there and said there is evidence of Russian collusion. He went out there and said it in an act of total desperation.

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Pencil Neck Schiff

It turns out that Devin Nunes has been running rings around the Democrats, and it looks like they’ve known it all along, and the effort to get Nunes to, quote, unquote, recuse himself as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee or the effort to get rid of him in some other way obviously was undertaken to stop what he is doing and what he is learning. But yesterday on the Sunday shows, Pencil Neck Adam Schiff had to grudgingly admit yet again that there is still not one shred of evidence of any collusion between Trump and the Russians, not a shred.

This is after last week, making the announcement that there was evidence. He just couldn’t help himself. He just couldn’t contain himself. These people are living in a dreamland where they’re hoping that everything they suspect is true, just remains to be found. And he just screwed up and couldn’t help himself and went ahead and announced it when he didn’t have any evidence for it. And it’s a sign of how out of control these people are and unhinged. And I don’t use those terms lightly. I’m not just coming up with descriptive phrases. They genuinely are out of control, and they genuinely are unhinged.

Now, I don’t know if Adam Schiff was embarrassed at all. I don’t know if these people are capable of it. But it helps somebody like him when you know the media is gonna do everything they can to cover for you. But he had to admit, after all of this, folks, after all of this, we now know that Trump has been surveilled for a year. We now know that the Obama administration was responsible for the unmasking. We now know that it was Susan Rice, who lied on five Sunday shows about Benghazi, we know that it was Susan Rice who requested the unmasking of all of these Trump officials.

We now know that what I suspected all along — and I’m not alone — that was happening indeed did happen, that Russians were surveilled, and that they were talking to Americans, the transcript of the conversations was turned over to people in the Obama administration, such as Mike Flynn, and there are others, and now Susan Rice has been fingered as one of the sources who asked that these people be unmasked so that details of the conversations could be leaked.

And they were leaked. But these people were not targets of the surveillance. They are never to be identified. And we now know that it was the Obama administration — go back to the story where Obama, when he left office, proudly said not one scandal in my administration, scandal free eight years. Not so fast. So Schiff has to eat dirt.

Remember, James Comey testified the Russians just wanted Hillary to lose. So why would they involve Trump in their scheme? The Russians know their calls are monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. Why would they risk their effort to defeat Hillary by colluding with Trump’s people? If that had come out before the election, she would have won for sure. In fact, everything that was known today has been known for quite a while by people in the intelligence community, by people at the FBI.

But the real scandal here — and it’s becoming increasingly clear — is that the Obama administration weaponized politically our intelligence services against the Republicans and against Trump. I, for one, am not surprised. The Obama administration weaponized everything else to use against the GOP, from the IRS to NOAA to any of these agencies, EPA, involving climate change.

So here’s where we are. In bullet-point fashion, details to come, here is where we are. This is what we know in this developing blockbuster story about the Obama the White House — and it is a story about the Obama White House. It is not a story about Trump and the Russians. We know that the Obama Regime surveilled Trump’s transition team. We know now that the Obama White House unmasked people who were not targets of legitimate surveillance and investigation. We know now that the Obama White House illegal leaked protected information. And, by the way, we knew this long ago.

The media is our source. The Drive-By Media reported all of this. We know that there had to be unmasking. We know that there had to be leaking. The media proudly told us that sources who could not be identified, blah, blah, blah, blah, fed them data. We know now that the media was complicit. And here’s a little detail. Mike Cernovich reports in his story on all this today that Maggie Haberman at the New York Times has known for two days that Susan Rice was behind the unmasking and sat on it to protect President Obama. That’s an assertion made by Mike Cernovich on his web page today.

There are two stories on this — one by Eli Lake at Bloomberg, the other Mike Cernovich, and he specifically claims that Maggie Haberman of the New York Times has known it was Susan Rice for 48 hours and sat on it. Much like Newsweek sat on the story of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, and then eventually spiked the story leading the way to the Drudge Report. We know that Susan Rice lied about her knowledge of this illegal activity in an interview. The Democrats have loved saying, “We’re not doing that! No, no, no. We’re just following the facts. We’re just going with the facts take us.”

They’re not gonna want to go there anymore. They haven’t been doing that anyway. The facts are beginning to roll in, and it turns out that Trump and Devin Nunes are not the story. They are victims of abuse of power by the Obama administration and Democrat collusion with the media. The first the Eli Lake story: “Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel.” Eli Lake is an intel/foreign policy expert/reporter/journalist. He’s a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast, which is a deranged, lunatic, left-wing site started by Tina Brown.

He covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. I don’t know how he ended up briefly at The Daily Beast, but he was. His story begins thus: “White House lawyers last month…” Discovered last month! White House lawyers! This is the Office of Presidential Counsel. This is the office of Don McGann, essentially. That’s the counsel’s office. That’s the official counselor to the president.

“White House lawyers last month discovered that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.” She requested their identities. She, in other words, demanded that they be unmasked so she could find out who they were. You put this together with Evelyn Farkas, who appeared on MSNBC on March the 2nd pretty much admitting all of this, that they were gathering the evidence.

They were preserving the evidence. They didn’t trust the Trump administration not to throw it all away; so they decided to leak it. “The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on ‘unmasking’ the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally.” The New York Times has also reported this back in January! They’ve used the word “wiretaps.” They’ve used the word “incidentally.”

To review briefly, here’s what happens. An intelligence agency — take your pick: CIA, NSA, DIA, you name it — survivals foreign actors, nations, individuals, spies. In this case, in this example, the Russian ambassador is survived; his phone calls are tapped. The Russian ambassador knows it. This is standard operating procedure standard. They survival us in Moscow, or try. Statecraft, it’s what happens. Nothing illegal about that. That’s what Devin Nunes meant when he said that what he had seen at the Old Executive Office Building, there was nothing illegal about it, because the surveillance was not targeting Americans. It was targeting Russians. So they’re surveilling the Russian ambassador.

You’re tapping his phone, and in the process you overhear conversations that he’s having with, say, Michael Flynn of the Trump transition team. When that happens, those transcribing this call are supposed to not identity the American involved, instead referring to him as “American number one.” If there’s another American in the same call, that would be called “American number two” and so on. The name is not revealed nor are the details of what the American says because the American isn’t the target.

That’s where the Obama administration steps in. Susan Rice asked for the American in these calls to be unmasked so that she and Obama and Valerie Jarrett and probably the whole kit and caboodle would know who was saying what was said on these calls. The interesting thing is the backtrack. Since they’ve had… And there’s a tape of this call between the Russian ambassador and Flynn.

If Flynn had indeed promised anything about lifting sanctions once Trump was inaugurated, they wouldn’t have reported that by now. It is clear that Flynn did not do anything actionable because all they’ve been able to do is leak supposition and create mystery about it. But they’ve known all along that nothing happened! They’ve known all along that Flynn didn’t do anything illegal in his conversation with the Russian ambassador. So the leaks have been intended to create suspicion rather than allay it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Quickly back to the Eli Lake piece: “The pattern of” the requests made by Susan Rice of the Obama administration to unmask all of these Americans in this treasure trove of wiretapped intelligence and retrieved intelligence “was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on ‘unmasking’ the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally.”

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Last week, there were a number of Republicans who were going against the grain and saying the NSA had a bombshell coming. Do you remember that? Immediately there were people who were distrustful of it because the NSA and the FBI and the CIA are all perceived to be part of the Obama deep state, where a number of Obama embeds and holdovers remain attempting to sabotage both the Trump transition and the Trump presidency.

But it turns out that the NSA did indeed have a bombshell. Somebody there — a whistleblower, somebody — revealed that it was Susan Rice who was requesting that all of these Americans incidentally caught up in foreign surveillance be unmasked, and it has to be agents of the Obama administration (which we know instinctively) who were leaking all of this to the media. But it gets even better.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We are in the middle of a blockbuster piece of news that the mainstream still sits on. They still have not reported this. Now, I want to go back to the Eli Lake piece, this one allusion here that “[T]he pattern of [Susan] Rice’s requests” that Americans incidentally caught an intelligence and surveillance of others — the unmasked and identified — again, were “discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on ‘unmasking’ the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets…”

She was instrumental in this.

And we know the National Security Council probably by way of the NSA, but regardless. “The news about Rice also sheds light on the strange behavior of Nunes in the last two weeks.” Now, remember how his behavior’s been characterized by the media: treasonous, unfair, cheating, that Devin Nunes secretly — under the cover of darkness — snuck into the White House grounds to take a look at intelligence that only he saw, and he didn’t share it with his counterpart, Adam Schiff, on the Intelligence Committee.

And this is unseemly, and he should recuse himself, and he should resign from the committee, and he maybe should even leave his office as a member of the House of Representatives. Now, it emerged last week that Nunes went to the White House last month, the night before he made an allegation about Trump transition officials caught up in incidental surveillance. At the time, he said he needed to go to the White House because reports were only on a database for the executive branch. I covered this last week. The National Security Council is in the Executive Office Building on the fourth floor, and nothing leaves there because it’s securely maintained there.

You want to see it; you go there. Nunes went there. It now appears that Nunes needed to view computer systems within the National Security Council that would include the logs of Rice’s requests to unmask Americans. That’s what he saw. That is what led to him alluding to the fact that the president was correct that he had been surveilled. Remember, unmasking — in this case, identifying Americans incidentally caught up in the surveillance of others — effectively means Americans are being surveilled. And in fact, I’ll go so… I want to repeat an allegation. Well, not quite an allegation.

 

I want to repeat a possibility that I mentioned, and it is this: That the Obama administration chose surveillance targets knowing that they would be talking to specific Americans, wanting to see what those specific Americans were talking about. So while they couldn’t get a FISA warrant to target Americans, they purposely targeted for surveillance foreign actors that they knew Trump transition people would be talking to and learned what they were saying that way. And that’s why Rice was requesting that these people be unmasked so that she and Obama and whoever else in this operation would understand who was being talked about and who was saying what.

Now, this brings us back to Pencil Neck, Adam Schiff. The ranking Democrat on the committee that Nunes chairs just had a gasket blown. He went nuts, claiming that the Democrats on the committee were being left out, that we shouldn’t trust what Nunes was saying. He might be making it up, that this was unseemly; it should not be tolerated. So he went up there; he viewed these reports on Friday. And in comments to the press over the weekend, he declined to discuss them, but he said “no evidence.”

After last week, earlier, claiming to have proof now that there was collusion between the Russians and Trump, Pencil Neck went on the Sunday shows and had to totally back out of that. And he’s reduced to once again saying (summarized), “We don’t have evidence of anything. That’s why we need to keep looking.” There isn’t evidence of anything that has been charged. The scandal here is not Trump. The scandal is not Trump and the Russians. The scandal is the Obama administration and these embeds in the deep state surveilling targets with the express purpose of hoping to capture Americans as part of the surveillance.

And as Eli Lake says, “[M]uch about this is highly unusual: if not how the surveillance was collected, then certainly how and why it was disseminated.” So Nunes is looking to be the exact opposite of the way the media portrayed him. Nunes was actually trying to get to the bottom of this and found out how deep the bottom is. Well, let’s go to the Schiff. From State of the Union on CNN Sunday morning. Jake Tapper: Congressman Pencil Neck, “The big issue is whether or not there was collusion among members of the Trump campaign or Trump advisers.

“Can you definitely say that there was collusion, that there were people affiliated with the Trump campaign who were working with the Russians to time the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton that had been hacked either from John Podesta or the DNC?” That’s the entire Democrat case right there. That is it summed up. That is what they want everybody to believe. That’s what this lunatic Tom Perez, the new chairman of the DNC, said at a rally in Newark over the weekend, “Trump didn’t win the presidency.

“Trump and the Republicans don’t give an [excrement] about people.” The guy went off the rails. He made this militant Islamist Keith Ellison look mild-mannered by nature. Ellison was second in the voting for chairman of the DNC. This Perez guy is just an uber-partisan, and was just off the rails. And this is it, but they believe… You know what, folks? They know all of this is made up. Although they are so off the rails, I think they’ve bought their own lie and series of lies for so long now that they actually probably believe it happened.

There isn’t any evidence whatsoever.

There has never been any evidence that voters were tampered with. Nobody’s even alleged that. There was never any evidence whatsoever. And look at what the Democrats are admitting, if their version of events actually happened: That the Russians were able to plant fake news and that the Russians hacked Podesta and that the Russians got to WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks released all the emails. Look at what they’re asking us to believe: that the Russians were able to outsmart the American voter, that the Russians were able to screw with the minds of the American voter and make them vote against Democrats.

 

The Democrats are portraying themselves as weak, ineffective, and incompetent as they attempt to make the case that Russian collusion with Trump stole the election from them. So here is Schiff answering that question from Jake Tapper. (summarized) “Do you have any evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign, Trump advisers and Russia? Can you definitively say there was collusion? Can you say that this resulted in Hillary losing the election?”

SCHIFF: I — I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point. Uh, we are still it he very early stage of the investigation. The only thing I can say that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this. We really need to find out exactly what the Russians did, because one of the most important conclusions that the Intelligence Committee reached is that they are gonna do this again to the United States. They’re doing it already in Europe. So we can say, y’know, conclusively: This is something that needs to be thoroughly investigated. Uh, but it — but it’s way premature to be reaching conclusions.

RUSH: Really? He had just reached a conclusion a few days earlier when he went out and said that there was evidence of collusion. He had to pull it back because there isn’t any. This is gonna blow up on ’em. The media’s gonna cover for ’em when it happens, I understand, but it’s gonna blow up on them. This is going to be… Gorsuch is gonna blow up on ’em too.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: How many of you in the audience think that the Democrats actually believe they can force Trump out of office and that that’s why they are doing this? Think about that, will you? I’m gonna address that as we dig even deeper into this unmasking story, this blockbuster. Hang on. Be right back.

 (Eli Lake)