Tag: Ends

Another One Bites The Dust

Lincoln Chafee Ends Quixotic Presidential Bid – Politico

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Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, always a long shot, dropped out of the race for his party’s nomination on Friday morning.

“As you know I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace,” the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat former governor and senator of Rhode Island told a Democratic National Committee gathering in the bowels of a downtown Washington hotel.

“But after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today,” he added, as the crowd lightly groaned. “Thank you. I would like to take this opportunity one last time to advocate for a chance be given to peace.”

Chafee, who never gained any traction by any metric, leaves the race just two days after Vice President Joe Biden opted against a run, and three days after former Virginia senator Jim Webb ended his own bid. It also came just hours after Hillary Clinton, the party’s front-runner, survived a marathon Capitol Hill testimony session on Benghazi.

“We all know that the Republican agenda sets back women’s rights and I pledge all my energy towards a big 2016 victory for Democrats across the country,” he told the DNC’s women’s leadership forum – at which his name was mispronounced as he got on stage as a candidate for the last time.

Immediately after announcing the end of his campaign, Chafee pivoted to the importance of women – by referencing a 2,500-year-old anecdote about politicians’ wives punishing their belligerent spouses by denying them sex.

“Since today is all about women’s leadership it reminds me of one of my favorite Greek plays: Lysistrata, a comedy from about 400 BCE by Aristophanes,” he said, to chuckles. “In that play, a group of women, fed up with the war mongering of their husbands, agree to – how do I put this delicately? – withhold their favors until peace returns. And it worked.”

Chafee then called on voters to reject Republicans’ foreign policies, saying they “prefer to espouse more bellicosity, more saber rattling and more blind macho posturing.”

“Do we want to be remembered as a bomber of weddings and hospitals?,” he asked. “Or do we want to be remembered as peacemakers, as pioneers of a more harmonious world?”

With that, the Democratic field was whittled down to three – with no one else waiting in the wings: Clinton, the insurgent Bernie Sanders, and distant third Martin O’Malley. The three are set to address Iowa Democrats at the state party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner on Saturday night.

Chafee’s announcement did not come as a surprise after he tweeted late on Thursday – amid Clinton’s testimony – “I look forward to speaking at DNC Women’s Forum tomorrow morning. I’ll address my future in the campaign there. #chafee2016″

But it was the most attention his campaign had ever earned outside of his appearance in Las Vegas for the Democrats’ first debate last week. Chafee largely self-funded his bid, raising just $15,000 in the last three months. He rarely broke 1 percent in polling, and never scored any endorsements from elected officials in Washington. (His successor as governor, Gina Raimondo, is backing Clinton.) He was widely mocked for his call to convert the United States to the metric system, though his veiled criticism of Clinton occasionally earned him a headline.

But on Friday, he left the stage to a sympathetic standing ovation.

Asked by reporters afterward why he had dropped out, he said, “Obviously it’s a good week for Secretary Clinton.”

He wished people had paid more attention to his other priorities, he said. But yes, he affirmed, he stands by his support of the metric system.

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Syrian Rebel Training Program Ends After Obama Regime Spends Half A Billion Dollars To Train 5 People

Another Foreign Policy Failure For Obama: Pentagon Training For Syrian Rebels Ends – Daily Signal

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After the grim announcement last month that only four or five Syrian rebels trained by U.S. military personnel remained inside Syria, the Obama administration has decided to call it quits on the program altogether. There were supposed to be roughly 5,400 trained fighters this year and 15,000 within 3 years in order to effectively combat ISIS in Syria.

While some Defense Department officials have masked the ending of the operation as “an operational pause,” others have confirmed that the program has been halted and may soon be replaced by a smaller program focused on supporting existing rebel forces fighting ISIS, rather than trying to create new ones. A covert CIA program to train Syrian rebels has been more successful. But after a pricey $500 million dollar expenditure, it’s easy to see why so many observers are disgusted with yet another Obama foreign policy failure.

The failure of the Pentagon’s plan to train the rebel groups has been looming for months; even Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged in February that the president needed a better – or different – strategy in the region. The administration’s feckless policy in Syria and its initial dismissal of the threat that ISIS poses to the west, and particularly to America, is proving to be one of President Barack Obama’s most costly strategic blunders. As the Islamic State recruits more foreign fighters and gains more territory, it becomes harder for Obama to simply write off the radical terror group as he has done so many times before.

In addition to the mushrooming humanitarian catastrophe inside Syria and the flood of millions of Syrian refugees, the White House’s passivity emboldened Vladimir Putin’s Russia to actively intervene in the crisis. To make matters worse, Russian warplanes have launched airstrikes targeting rebels that the U.S. is trying to support, while Russian officials are falsely claiming that their attacks are aimed at ISIS. Putin’s actions in Syria have further raised the costs and risks of Obama’s hapless foreign policy. Obama’s inaction has provided an opportunity for Putin to seize the initiative and exploit the deteriorating situation to establish Russian presence in the region, as well as affirm Russia’s alliance with Syria and Iran.

There has been heavy criticism of the equip-and-train program in recent months with mounting pressure from Congress. The hesitant halfway measures that have been dispensed by the Obama administration in its efforts to address the Syrian crisis have achieved minimal benefits.

The Obama administration will mask the suspension of the program with a cloud of rhetoric, but the facts remain clear. The Pentagon’s plan to train the rebels has been a disaster from the start, complete with zero accountability on behalf of the government. The formal end of the Pentagon’s program to train Syrian rebels is just an example of the Obama administration’s true foreign policy legacy: one empty promise after another.

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Arkansas Governor Hutchinson Ends Taxpayer-Funded Medicaid Payments To Planned Parenthood

Arkansas Ends Taxpayer-Funded Medicaid Payments To Planned Parenthood – Christian News Network

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The governor of Arkansas has directed the state Department of Human Services to terminate its Medicaid contract with the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

In compliance with the request, the department sent a letter to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland on Friday as notice that the contract was being terminated.

“[T]he Arkansas Department of Human Services is hereby exercising its authority to terminate its existing agreements with Planned Parenthood of Arkansas & Eastern Oklahoma,” the correspondence reads. “The termination… will be effective 30 days from the date of this letter.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has also released a statement about the move, remarking that the decision was influenced by the recent video exposes’ outlining Planned Parenthood’s apparent harvesting and sale of aborted baby organs.

“It is apparent that after the recent revelations on the actions of Planned Parenthood, that this organization does not represent the values of the people of our state and Arkansas is better served by terminating any and all existing contracts with them,” he said. “This includes their affiliated organization, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.”

Planned Parenthood likewise released a statement, stating that by revoking the agreement, states like Arkansas are aligning themselves with “extremists.”

“The politicians behind these reckless policies have allied themselves with extremists who will stop at nothing to end access to abortion – breaking laws, pushing misinformation, and violence and harassment of women and doctors,” it read in part.

Arkansas is the fourth state to pull funding to Planned Parenthood, following Alabama, Louisiana and New Hampshire. As previously reported, the New Hampshire State Executive Council voted earlier this month despite objections from Gov. Mary Hassan to cancel its $650,000 contract with the abortion giant. The funds will be reallocated to other women’s health facilities.

The day prior, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that the state would terminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid contract.

“Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life,” he said. “It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.”

The Obama administration has contended that it is illegal for states to terminate Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood because of its abortion services. Medicaid payments do not include abortions, but still provide support to the organization.

“Even though we anticipate a federal review, standing up for Arkansas values is most important to the governor,” spokesman J.R. Davis told the Arkansas Times.

“American tax dollars should not be used to subsidize billion-dollar corporations that inhumanely and illegally sell baby body parts,” Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Casey Mattox said in a statement. “Tax dollars that went to two Planned Parenthood clinics in Arkansas will be better used by the 179 community health centers and other clinics that actually provide comprehensive health care. We commend the governor and hope other states will follow his example.”

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Leftist Incompetence Update: Yet Another Obamacare Health Co-Op Ends In Utter Failure

Another Obamacare Health Co-Op Ends In Failure – Daily Caller

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Bleeding cash, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) announced Friday that Louisiana’s Obamacare health insurance co-op will be closing its doors by the end of 2015.

It will be the second collapse of an Obamacare health care co-op this year and the third since the Obama administration rolled them out in 2012 as a competitor to commercial health insurance companies.

From the beginning, the Louisiana co-op was fraught with high-paid consultants who were not even from Louisiana, but Georgia. It also suffered from an apparent conflict of interest. George Cromer, its CEO, simultaneously served the Louisiana House of Representatives as chairman of that legislative body’s insurance committee.

Roughly 18 months into its existence, in September 2012, the Louisiana co-op received $66 million from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. By 2014, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reported that the co-op had burned through half of its cash and suffered a net operating loss of $23 million.

The co-op had only enrolled 17,000 paid subscribers out of a total state population of 4.6 million, according to state census data.

AM Best, the insurance rating company, reported in the third quarter of 2014 that the Louisiana co-op’s indebtedness was 198 percent, among the worst performing Obamacare nonprofits in the nation.

“The onerous burdens of Obamacare have shocked health insurance markets and caused instability in pricing and predictability, and as a result, we’ve seen premiums spike upward,” Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon wrote in a press statement July 24 when he announced closure plans for the co-op.

“Start-ups in insurance, especially health insurance, are always a tough row to hoe. Obamacare has made that even more difficult,” the commissioner noted in a press release.

The LDI’s Office of Financial Solvency will be examining the financial issues that led to its decision to close, and the commissioner has said that the department is “on-site at the co-op.”

The Louisiana Health co-op began with controversy over Terry Shilling, its first CEO. Shilling arranged a lavish contract with his own Atlanta-based consulting firm, Beam Partners, LLC, an arrangement approved by federal Obamacare CMS officials.

Federal officials also approved Shilling as original founder and “interim CEO” for the co-op, even though in 1998, the Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned him for insider trading as a health executive. Shilling’s consulting firm received more than $3 million from the co-op in 2013 for “health plan development,” according to its IRS Form 990 filing.

Louisiana insurance documents obtained by the Washington Examiner in August 2013 showed that Beam would receive a separate $4 million contract from the start-up co-op. On top of the contract, the Atlanta firm would receive a 20 percent “performance fee,” according to the documents. Finally, Beam additionally reaped a “benefit payment services” that began at $66,667 per month in 2013, culminating in $72,917 in 2016, according to Louisiana co-op insurance filing documents.

Separate from the preferential contract with Shilling, the co-op represented a potential political conflict of interest. After Shilling’s relationship with the co-op went public, the Atlanta businessman stepped down as interim CEO, to be replaced by Louisiana Rep. George Cromer.

Cromer, a Republican, also was the chairman of the Louisiana House committee on health insurance. He did not step down from the position after assuming the co-op post.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Cromer’s office, but has yet to receive a response.

The Louisiana co-op is not the first to fold.

In February, the Iowa Insurance Department assumed receivership and closed the doors of Co-Opportunity Health, an Obamacare co-op that served more than 100,000 customers in Iowa and Nebraska. Co-Opportunity had a loss ratio of 140, which meant that for every dollar it received in premiums, it had to pay out $1.40 in benefits.

The first failure occurred in 2013, when the Vermont Insurance Commissioner refused to grant a license to a new Obamacare health co-op.

The Commissioner refused to license the co-op because the president had steered as much as $500,000 of the co-op’s money to his own firm. CMS had approved the loan to the Vermont co-op despite the conflict of interest.

She also said the co-op’s math was inadequate and failed to meet the state’s financial standards.

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Over 44,000 Healthcare Workers Flee Leftist SEIU After Michigan Ends Forced Unionization

SEIU Membership, Revenues Plummet After State Ends ‘Underhanded Scheme’ – Fox News

A Michigan branch of the powerful Service Employees International Union saw its membership and revenues plummet after the reversal of a measure that forced caregivers tending to friends or relatives to be members with their dues paid by those they cared for.

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More than 44,000 home-based healthcare workers parted ways with SEIU Healthcare Michigan after learning they did not have to join the union or pay dues, according to reports the union filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. Thousands of the employees were allegedly forced into the union under a plan the SEIU successfully lobbied for that classified even unpaid family members caring for their elderly parents as “home health care workers.” Dues were then automatically collected from the care recipients’ Medicare or Medicaid checks.

“Family members were told they were public employees,” Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, a Michigan-based policy group, told FoxNews.com. “They are not public employees and this was not proper.

“It was an underhanded scheme to get these people in [the union],” he added.

The measure, which counted the home healthcare recipient as an employer and the caregiver as an employee, was adopted during the administration of Demcratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, but abolished by Republicans including current Gov. Rick Snyder, who was elected in 2012. His election coincided with the state’s vote to end forced unionization by approving a right-to-work ballot measure. Snyder subsequently signed a bill that ended the SEIU’s due collection scheme.

Wright’s organization estimates that the SEIU reaped nearly $35 million from Michigan’s elderly and disabled from 2006 to last year. Of some 59,000 residents classified as home-based caregivers, about 80 percent stopped paying when they learned they did not have to.

“What the numbers show is that these people never wanted to be in the union in the first place,” Wright said.

Requests for comment to SEIU Healthcare Michigan were not immediately returned.

Some of those charged under the prior scheme are suing to get their money back.

Retired Detroit police officer Robert Haynes and his wife Patricia say they were forced into the union after they were considered public employees because they cared for two adult children with cerebral palsy in their home.

“Our children’s case worker had come for their usual six-month visit and he had told us that we were now part of the union,” Haynes told FoxNews.com. “I was like, ‘What?’”

But Haynes and her husband weren’t concerned.

“I didn’t think much about it,” she said. “Then my husband heard the news that the law was reversed and we realized they were doing nothing for us.”

Haynes said that every month, $30 was deducted from their children’s Medicare payments, and, while it did not break their bank, they objected on principle.

“They couldn’t get me a raise, they couldn’t get me more vacation time and they certainly did nothing to improve my children’s care,” she said. “I’d hate to say it, but in my opinion, they were stealing.”

Haynes also says that they are also hoping to help others who had to pay dues.

“We are not anti-union. I just don’t understand why we were forced to join because I have two disabled kids,” she said. “That we were told that we had to join a union just because we chose to keep our kids at home to care for them.”

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FINALLY! The Left’s Vicious, Political Witch-Hunt Of Tom Delay Ends In His Vindication, Acquittal

Awesome: Tom Delay Acquitted On All Charges – Right Scoop

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Tom Delay has finally had his day in court and has been acquitted on all charges. It’s taken forever but the left’s goal to destroy him has finally been arrested:

KVUE – A Texas Court of Appeals in Austin has overturned the conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, attorney Brian Wice told KVUE sister station KHOU 11 News.

DeLay, 66, was convicted in 2010 for his alleged role in a scheme to influence Texas elections.

He was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering after he was accused of helping funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

In documents released early Thursday, however, an appeals court said the evidence in the case was “legally insufficient to sustain DeLay’s convictions.”

The court said all judgments against DeLay were reversed, and the former congressman was formally acquitted.

For both DeLay and his critics, the process was frustratingly slow, due in part to some of the appeals court justices in Austin recusing themselves as well as DeLay’s successful effort to have a judge on the panel removed because of anti-Republican comments she made.

DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison, but he stayed free while his case made its way through the appellate process.

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