Category Archives: Democrat Party

What your elected democrat may do for you next!

House Democrats will likely call for an immediate investigation. mrossol

WSJ 9/19/2020

Albany, N.Y.

Look closely at a questionable Empire State health-care policy, and you’re liable to find the fingerprints of the Greater New York Hospital Association, the hospital and health-system trade group that is one of the most influential forces in New York politics.

A case in point is the state Health Department’s directive, issued on March 25, that compelled nursing homes to accept patients who had tested positive for coronavirus. It turns out, as the Journal reported, that this ill-conceived policy was the brainchild of the nonprofit hospital association, which pitched it to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office shortly before it went into effect. In the name of easing a crisis for the association’s members, the Cuomo administration contributed to a disaster for vulnerable nursing-home residents, who died by the thousands.

This fatal misstep grew out of a remarkably tight political alliance between the governor and the trade group that has become increasingly bad for the state’s health. Its recent history began before Mr. Cuomo’s last election when, in March 2018, he browbeat the state’s Catholic bishops into giving up $2 billion in proceeds from the sale of a church-affiliated nonprofit health plan. The money went into a “Health Care Transformation Fund” to be spent at the governor’s discretion in an election year.

That summer the hospital group poured more than $1 million into Mr. Cuomo’s re-election campaign, which was a lot even for one of Albany’s deepest pockets. Much of the funding flowed through a loophole that would keep it secret until after his inauguration. Just before Election Day, with no advance notice, Mr. Cuomo dipped into his health-care slush fund to finance an increase in the fees paid to hospitals and nursing homes for taking care of Medicaid patients, a top lobbying priority of the hospital association.

Cuomo administration officials described it as an “across the board” boost for all facilities. But an internal Health Department analysis, obtained by the Empire Center, made clear that the rate increase was tailored to help hospital association members settle their newly negotiated contract with the health-care workers union 1199SEIU, another Cuomo ally.

By early 2019, unknown to the public, New York’s Medicaid spending was running well over its ample budget. Rather than working with the Legislature to close the gap—which might have required cutting payments to hospitals—Mr. Cuomo papered things over by secretly delaying $1.7 billion in Medicaid payments into the next fiscal year. Although the delay threw the state’s new budget out of balance, the Cuomo administration didn’t disclose what happened until weeks later, by which time the maneuver had spawned a $4 billion deficit.

Mr. Cuomo put off truly confronting the mess until early 2020, when he delegated it to a Medicaid Redesign Team of state officials and industry representatives. To lead that panel, he turned to Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, a member of the hospital association’s board. The other co-chairman was former 1199 chief Dennis Rivera.

Those deliberations were happening when the pandemic hit. Soon, the hospital association was pushing for help in discharging patients to nursing homes, and the Health Department quickly obliged the governor’s major donors and go-to health-care mavens.

The hospital association also successfully lobbied for a last-minute budget provision to limit sharply the ability of coronavirus victims to file malpractice suits against hospitals, nursing homes and other providers—relieving the industry of a potential hit to its finances. There’s a case to be made for liability protections in a crisis, but sending patients to nursing homes was clearly a wrong move. It wasn’t the sole cause of Covid-19’s spread in New York nursing homes, but it made a bad situation worse—as Mr. Cuomo and his aides would have understood had they sought a broader range of advice.

In August, the Greater New York Hospital Association repaid Mr. Cuomo’s favors by featuring him in TV ads touting the state’s success in controlling the pandemic and assuring the worried public that hospitals are safe to use again. New Yorkers can only wonder what their governor will do for them next.

Mr. Hammond is senior fellow for health policy at the Empire Center.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-hospital-lobbyists-behind-cuomos-nursing-home-scandal-11600454566?mod=opinion_lead_pos8

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Mueller Team Had Lisa Page’s Phone It Claimed Was Lost

Anyone surprised that the Democrats are not clamoring for an investigation? Talk about a double-standard.  When in the past has this much evidence been “deleted”?  .. mrossol
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The Epoch Times –  Updated: September 17, 2020

An official who worked on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation wrote in a recently released email that he or she was in possession of an iPhone belonging to Lisa Page three days after the former FBI lawyer’s last day on the job and at a time when the device was thought to have been lost.

The special counsel’s office (SCO) and the Justice Department (DOJ) previously claimed to have no documents to show who handled Page’s iPhone after she turned it in on July 14, 2017, or who improperly wiped it two weeks later, before it could be checked for records, in violation of SCO policy.

But documents released by the DOJ on Sept. 11 tell a different story, with three officials certifying that Page turned over her phone and one claiming to have been in possession of it.

“I have her phone and laptop,” an administrative officer with the initials LFW wrote in a July 17, 2017, email to Christopher Greer, an assistant director at the DOJ Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

Beth McGarry, the executive officer at the special counsel’s office, told Greer in an email sent earlier in the day that Page “returned her mobile phone and laptop.”

On the same day, a property custodian officer, whose name is redacted in the documents, signed a form on which Page certified that she turned in her phone and the officer certified that “all government property has been returned or otherwise properly accounted for.”

The July 17 timing of the two statements and the signature is significant. The DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) previously concluded that there were no records of who had the phone after July 14.

The records about Page’s phone are part of a DOJ disclosure that revealed that members of the Mueller team improperly wiped at least 22 iPhones before they could be checked for records.

“These irregularities with the phones of Mueller investigators are either sloppiness or the deliberate destruction of evidence—and it’s probably not sloppiness,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Epoch Times in an email.

On July 14, Page’s last day at the SCO, McGarry met Page to fill out her exit clearance form. Page checked a box on the form to certify that she “surrendered all government-owned property, including … cellular telephones.” McGarry signed the same form but later told the OIG that “that she did not physically receive Page’s issued iPhone.”

Page told the inspector general that she “had left her assigned cell phone and laptop on a bookshelf at the office on her final day there.”

McGarry left the special counsel’s office for the private sector in March 2019, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“The DOJ OIG investigated the circumstances of the mobile phone issued to Lisa Page by the Special Counsel’s Office,” McGarry told The Epoch Times in an email, referring to the December 2018 OIG report. She didn’t immediately respond to a follow-up query about how to reconcile differences between the findings of the report and the new documents.

The OIG, which interviewed the records officer, McGarry, Page, and LFW for the report, told The Epoch Times that the new documents aren’t at odds with its findings.

“We stand by the information in our text message report about Page turning in the device on July 14,” Stephanie Logan, a senior public affairs specialist at the OIG, wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

The report concluded that neither Mueller’s office nor the DOJ “had records reflecting who handled the device or who reset it after Page turned in her iPhone on July 14, 2017.”

Page’s phone notably never made it into the hands of the special counsel’s records officer, who told the OIG that she never received the phone to examine it for any government records that would need to be retained.

“Phone not found,” the records officer noted in a log she kept about the records on the phones assigned to the special counsel’s office staff.

The DOJ found the device more than a year later and turned it over to the OIG, which determined that all of the data was deleted from the device on July 31, 2017.

Wiped iPhones

The records officer’s log shows that Page’s iPhone wasn’t the only device to elude an examination for government records. A total of at least 22 iPhones with unique asset tags used by the Mueller team were wiped before the records officer could review the contents, according to an Epoch Times review of four inventory logs and various forms released on Sept. 11.

The Mueller team offered a number of excuses for the deletions. Two people claimed the phones wiped themselves. Others said they erased all the data by accident or had to do so because they forgot their passwords. Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor, wiped his iPhone twice.

Mueller’s team used a total of 92 iPhones, according to the documents. Four of the phones appear in the inventory logs, but not on the records officer’s log, suggesting they were either recorded without their unique asset tag or evaded the officer entirely. One of the four phones belonged to deputy special counsel Aaron Zebley. Another belonged to Zainab Ahmad, a special counsel attorney.

One phone was partially wiped. Four phones were improperly handed over to the OCIO and wiped before the records officer’s review. As many as seven phones with no asset tags noted by the records officer were either reassigned or wiped before the officer could assess the device for records.

The pattern of questionable deletions has drawn the attention of lawmakers. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairmen of the finance and oversight committees, respectively, sent a letter to the DOJ and the FBI last week asking for more information about what happened with the phones.

“It appears that Special Counsel Mueller’s team may have deleted federal records that could be key to better understanding their decision-making process as they pursued their investigation and wrote their report,” Grassley wrote. “Indeed, many officials apparently deleted the records after the DOJ Inspector General began his inquiry into how the Department mishandled Crossfire Hurricane.”

Crossfire Hurricane is the FBI codename for the investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign; Mueller took over the probe in May 2017.

Five months after Page left the special counsel’s office, the DOJ authorized a leak of 375 text messages between Page and Strzok, triggering a media firestorm over what the pair discussed. The initial and the subsequent releases of the texts showed that they expressed hatred for Trump and had a clear preference for his rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Strzok told Page that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president, discussed an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the election, and mused about impeachment around the time he joined the Mueller team.

Page’s attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The OIG discovered the biased Page-Strzok texts during an inquiry into the handling of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. After the inspector general informed Mueller of the texts in late July, Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia investigation. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told lawmakers that he learned of the text messages on July 27 and made the decision to remove Strzok the same day. Someone wiped Page’s phone four days later.

Strzok and Page played key roles in the FBI’s investigations of both the Trump campaign and Clinton’s use of an unauthorized email server. The OIG concluded that their bias cast a cloud over the email probe but didn’t ultimately influence the outcome of the investigation.

The OIG began looking for the phones belonging to Page and Strzok after being informed of a six-month gap in the text messages it had recovered. The inspector general received the pair’s four FBI Samsung phones in late January 2018.

On Jan. 26, 2018, Greer reached out to LFW to ask where Page’s SCO iPhone was, because the OIG wanted to speak to the official about the device.

“Yes. I know it is missing. We discovered that first,” LFW wrote back.

The DOJ tracked down the phone eight months later, in early September 2018 and handed it over to the OIG. The records officer later contacted the inspector general to find out if the phone was wiped.

“Yes that’s correct, the device had been reset to factory settings,” the OIG official wrote back.

Three months later, in December 2018, the OIG released the report on its hunt to recover additional text messages Page and Strzok sent on six phones they used, four of which were assigned by the FBI. The effort resulted in the discovery of hundreds of text messages, but none came from the special counsel’s office phones, both of which were wiped before investigators recovered them.

The following January, DOJ officials reached out to Verizon with a request for billing statements to check how many messages Page and Strzok sent on their special counsel’s office phones. Verizon responded by saying no text messages were sent, with a caveat that data did leave the device. Verizon’s report didn’t cover the most common way to send a message on an iPhone—the iMessage app—which uses an internet connection rather than the carrier’s text service.

“Both numbers did have data usage so it could mean that if any messages were sent, it could have been through some type of app but we would not know for sure from our end,” a message from Verizon stated.

Mueller concluded his 22-month investigation having found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mueller-team-had-lisa-pages-phone-it-claimed-was-lost-email-shows_3501024.html?ref=brief_News&utm_source=morningbrief&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mb

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What a mess. can we get out?

Have not heard it spoken this directly in a while. Are enough people paying attention?? Absent our omnipotent, sovereign God, I fear our future.  mrossol 

Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh
The Epoch Times.  September 14, 2020 Updated: September 15, 2020

The headline seems straightforward enough: “Portland woman accused of rioting faces both local and federal charges.” And the story amplifies: “a 29-year-old woman was arrested and federally charged for allegedly punching a Portland cop in the face during a riot in July. According to Justice Department court documents, Laurielle Yvette Aviles, of Portland, assaulted a police officer in an attempt to de-arrest a fellow rioter on July 3.”

There’s even a photo of the suspect, which is captioned, “A 29-year-old woman…” Then you look at the picture of “Laurielle Yvette,” see the acne, the mustache, and the beard, and all you can think of is the line from Austin Powers: that’s a man, baby.

Welcome to Krazytown, U.S.A., 2020, where an obvious biological male can claim to be a woman and the dutiful stenographers of the media repeat the equally obvious falsehood. (Other reports called Aviles a man, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in reporting a charge for felony civil disorder, didn’t take a side.) But with a full-frontal “critical theory” assault by the left on every facet and institution of American society, anything goes.

We used to laugh at things like the gradual modifications of the language (“vertically-challenged” instead of short, “chairperson” or simply “chair,” for chairman). In fact, comedian Bill Maher even had a show called Politically Incorrect from 1993 to 2002, in part to make fun of the trend toward PC.

But the Marxists of the Frankfurt School, who came to the United States as refugees from Hitler and stayed long enough to poison the minds of a generation and more of college students, understood that if you’re going to strike at the foundations of a society you loathe, you have to strike at them all, and the language was a good place to start. Everything from the American political system to the police to the justice system to the universities to the media, Hollywood and popular entertainment had to be assaulted, preferably simultaneously.

Which is exactly what is happening now. If a street fighter like Aviles wants to call himself a girl, so be it—but if he really is a biological woman there seems no evidence of it, and society should not be forced to humor his delusion under the pernicious non-virtue of “tolerance” bequeathed us by the Frankfurters. Especially when he’s punching a cop in the kisser.

But once you’ve become accustomed to doubting the evidence of your own senses—indeed, when your first instinct is to disbelieve them because you’ve internalized the punitive, nihilist relativism of the left—you’re a pushover for anything that comes next.

Rioting and Other Attacks

And so we have the left openly threatening even more intense rioting as we approach a critical presidential election they have all but promised to reject if they lose and try to steal in order to win—and yet they are trying to convince you that it’s President Trump who won’t go quietly should he lose.

Via a George Soros-funded front group called the Transition Integrity Project, they write: “We assess with a high degree of likelihood that November’s elections will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape. We also assess that the [sic] President Trump is likely to contest the result by both legal and extra-legal means, in an attempt to hold onto power.”

This is rich, coming from the party that has never accepted the results of the 2016 election, has fought a prolonged guerilla war in both the courts and the streets against Trump, sandbagged and continues to torture his first national security adviser, Mike Flynn, and impeached him over nothing on the say-so of a time bomb of a military officer who was lying in wait for him on the National Security Council. But then, the first rule of leftism is to hate your country and to believe the worst about it.

Don’t be fooled by the faux-national security phraseology (“we assess with a high degree of likelihood…”): allied thugs from Antifa and Black Lives Matter are currently actively involved in open insurrection in places like Portland and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Democrats are hiding their candidate, the rapidly mentally deteriorating Joe Biden, by propping him up in his basement with a teleprompter and cue cards; and are mounting an unprecedented attack on the integrity of our electoral system under their usual deceptive rubric of “fairness.”

Meanwhile, it’s only a matter of time before they can no longer disguise or justify their elder abuse; even now they’re plotting their Torricelli Maneuver, in which they’ll yank Biden at the last minute and substitute either Kamala Harris or even Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket. Talk about an October Surprise.

But the attacks go beyond the political, to the personal. Until recently, workers at the Sandia National Labs in New Mexico, which handles important issues of nuclear technology and American national security, and elsewhere in the government were being subjected to the racist claptrap known as “critical race theory”—another love child of the Frankfurt School—turning them into re-education camps in which to browbeat white employers about such Marxist fantasies as “systemic racism” and “white privilege.”

The programs were an offshoot of what author Heather Mac Donald has called the “diversity delusion,” the notion that workplaces are somehow—they never quite specify how—improved by ethnic nose-counting and by stirring racial division, instead of by aptitude and merit. Upon learning about it, Trump wisely and immediately put a stop to such pernicious nonsense via executive order, calling it a “sickness” and “anti-American propaganda.”

Which it is—but that is precisely its point.

Blaming ‘Climate Change’

In the realm of nature, perfectly predictable wildfires in California during—wait for it—wildfire season have been exacerbated by the state’s insane “conservation” policies, which are precisely designed to make fires worse so that tinpots like Gov. Gavin Newsom can blame the pink elephant of “climate change.” Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, last seen making an illegal visit to the beauty parlor in San Francisco, tells us that “Mother Nature is angry”—not just about the wildfires but also hurricanes (during hurricane season).

And it’s all our fault, of course.

And then there is the Great CCP Virus lockdown-and-muzzle harum-scarum. Long past the Chinese Communist Party virus’s peak—if it was designed as a biological weapon, it fizzled badly—and well past the point of any meaningful physical danger to the vast majority of the population, the left continues to use Covid-19 as an economic club with which to confine citizens to quarters, abrogate their right to peaceful assembly and free expression of religion, force them to wear a face mask, and beat the formerly roaring economy senseless.

“Two weeks to slow the spread,” they told us. But now it’s clear that, should the left win power, they will never let us go. As far as they are concerned, the “new normal” is here to stay, comrade.

If the colossal failure of the “experts” and most Democrat politicians who used flawed models and their innate taste for tyranny to wreak havoc on nations around the world don’t suffer severe professional consequences after the people finally come to their senses and realize we’ve all been had, then there really will be no justice, no peace.

Which is why it’s good to see a federal judge in Pennsylvania decide on Monday that Gov. Tom Wolf’s onerous lockdown regulations were unconstitutional. District judge William Stickman IV ruled that the governor’s orders violated the First Amendment’s right to peaceable assembly, and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 13th and 14th amendments.

Wrote Stickman: “the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment.”

‘Shook Up World’

And how’s that experiment faring? Just the other day, a so-far unidentified gunman coolly walked up to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s car in Compton and shot both the deputies inside; although badly wounded, they are expected to live. As the wounded officers were taken to a nearby hospital, a mob blockaded the emergency room and shouted, “We hope they die!”

To which the Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, commented: “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time.”

That’s his righteous indignation? A $100,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest—but it’s a measure of how defenseless and overlawyered a society we’ve become that that’s the best we can do. Back in the 1920s and ’30s a cop shooter would have been the object of a citywide manhunt, and most likely he would have gone down in a hail of vengeful gunfire.

But we’re more sophisticated today as we return to paganism and superstition. We believe that a guy with stubble makes a plausible female, that the Dreaded Covid will kill you if you’re having a beer in a bar with some pals but not if you’re all having dinner and a beer with the same guys at a table a few feet away. We believe that the exhaust from a car’s engine enrages the goddess Gaia, that whole swaths of cities being razed is non-violent protest (and besides we had it coming).

Most preposterous of all, we believe that a senile old man who blandly asserts that Edison did not invent the light bulb, snarls at people with the effrontery to challenge him, and takes prepared questions from the Democrat propagandists in the media in advance is a viable presidential candidate.

We believe that the laws of our republic are racist, the founders should be dug up and hanged, that black lives only matter when the police are involved, and that our most critical national-security institutions are better served by critical theory than expertise in nuclear physics.

Who are you going to believe—the Progressive Left or your lying eyes? As the Kinks sang in “Lola,” their classic song about a transvestite—“It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world.”

We’d better get it straightened out, pronto.

Michael Walsh is the editor of The-Pipeline.org and the author of “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” and “The Fiery Angel,” both published by Encounter Books. His latest book, “Last Stands,” a cultural study of military history from the Greeks to the Korean War, will be published in December by St. Martin’s Press.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/full-scale-assault-on-societys-foundations-gives-us-a-shook-up-world_3500118.html?ref=brief_Opinions&utm_source=morningbrief&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mb

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So you want federal ‘Expertise’ to decide for us?

Mitch McConnell’s short speech at the GOP convention [in August] didn’t receive a ton of attention, but in his understated way the Senate majority leader articulated one of the less obvious issues at stake in November.

“This election is incredibly consequential for middle America,” said Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and the only top congressional leader in either party who’s not from California or New York. Democrats prefer that “all of us in flyover country keep quiet and let them decide how we should live our lives,” he said. “They want to tell you when you can go to work, when your kids can go to school. They want to tax your job out of existence and then send you a check for unemployment. They want to tell you what kind of car you can drive and what sources of information are credible.”

Mr. McConnell was imploring voters to think twice before they turn government over to Democratic elites who don’t look to ordinary people for guidance but rather see longstanding traditions, existing institutions, popular opinion and the like as obstacles to overcome in pursuing their grand visions of how things should be.

In an influential 1945 essay titled “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek described two types of knowledge. One was “scientific knowledge,” by which he meant theoretical or technical expertise. The other was “unorganized knowledge,” which he defined as “the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place.” With respect to the second kind of knowledge, he observed, “practically every individual has some advantage over all others,” including the so-called experts. Hayek was explaining the overriding problem with centrally planned economies, which is that no matter how intelligent the people in charge, they’re not omnipotent and therefore can’t possibly know the ever-changing wants and needs of vast numbers of individuals in the marketplace.

A troubling trend in recent decades has been the transfer of decision-making authority to expert intellectuals. Environmental regulations and health-care mandates are two obvious examples. But there’s also the more general nanny state mentality emanating from liberals who tell you that politicians, bureaucrats and academics know better than you do how to live your life and raise your children. The result is fewer decisions made through democratic processes, and more choices determined by an intelligentsia that suffers few if any consequences for being wrong.

Experience tells us that the best way to raise children is with a mother and father in the home, and the most effective anti-poverty program in existence is getting married before having kids. Yet prominent commentators like David Brooks insist that the nuclear family is now passé and that the black underclass needs slavery reparations, not fewer fatherless households. Increases in violent crime have brought calls from the public for more policing, while professional activists call for decarceration and reduced funding for law enforcement. Low-income minorities want to choose where their children are educated, but elite organizations like the NAACP oppose charter schools.

The influence of the intellectual class on our politics is not a new phenomenon—a popular book in the 1960s by the psychiatrist Karl Menninger was titled “The Crime of Punishment”—but it has grown steadily. And given that liberals are far less skeptical of scientific knowledge—as seen most recently in their response to the pandemic—this trend is likely to accelerate if Democrats win back the White House.

In an interview with ABC News last week, Joe Biden criticized President Trump for not being more deferential to the scientific community. “This is about telling the American people the truth, letting the scientists speak, listening to the science . . . and stepping out of the way,” he said. “Let the experts go out and let the American people know what the truth is and what has to be done.” Some of us believe that it’s the job of the president, not the scientists, to decide what has to be done. And while decisions on a Covid response or any other issue should be informed by people with expertise, their views should be weighed against those of others and not accepted uncritically.

In his classic 1980 book, “Knowledge and Decisions,” Thomas Sowell expanded on Hayek’s insight and warned about the “grave implications” of these trends. The “locus of decision making has drifted away from the individual, the family and voluntary associations of various sorts, and toward government,” he wrote. “And within government, it has moved away from elected officials subject to voter feedback, and toward more insulated government institutions, such as bureaucracies and the appointed judiciary.”

On its surface, Mr. McConnell’s speech was a plea to support GOP Senate candidates in November. Underneath, he seemed to be saying that even if you can’t stomach four more years of Donald Trump, it would be a mistake to give Democrats—and the expert intellectuals they hold up as our betters—control of the White House as well as Capitol Hill.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/spare-us-more-of-the-arrogance-of-expertise-11599000757

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