In case you missed the Blue Angels this weekend:
Labor Day Weekend 2014
As Labor Day looms, President Obama’s immigration policy looks to become a war on American workers. Without prioritizing who’s allowed to come to America, former liberal Ann Corcoran says “the American worker loses. The numbers are too high. We can’t assimilate this many people.”
Marylander Ann Corcoran, who says she was “tea party” before the movement existed, has written a daily blog, as a volunteer activist, at Refugee Resettlement Watch for the last seven years to inform and engage citizens.
Refugee Resettlement Watch is a small but growing daily blog focused on how the government has resettled over 3 million refugees since 1975. Without any financial backing, she is doing what the media and Congress have failed to do – tracking how a federal program is functioning. Corcoran, who has published over 2,500 posts now, says “the open border left wants no borders.” And those involved with resettling refugees with the U.N. and Washington want no scrutiny of this program.
American-bound refugees are selected by the U.N. Then the State Department and the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, are tasked to operate with nine major federal contractors who monopolize the program and contract work to 300 subcontractors to place refugees throughout the nation. According to Corcoran, HHS has now identified growing “pockets of resistance.” Ever vigilant, HHS sends another contractor, “Welcoming America,” to set communities’ “minds right.”
In this 22 minute video interview, Corcoran discusses what might surprise most citizens about this federal program. Specifically, she discusses how church groups are being paid lucratively — by refugee — to do charitable work, the U.N.’s dominant role in our refugee program and the lack of substantive consultation with states and cities about these immigrants. (Click here to watch video)
With all the persecution of Christians going on in the world today, you would think the largest Christian contractor would ask the government to only allow Christians for a time period. Yet, Corcoran says she was “shocked to hear the representative for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops testify at the State Department for more Burmese Muslims next year.”
With a watchful eye on how communities are reacting to new refugees, Corcoran mentions in this interview Dover, NH; Salt Lake City, UT; Nashville, TN; Amarillo, TX; Springfield, MA; and Athens, GA.
Lastly, she gives advice on what citizens can do and shares her ideas on how to reform the program, such as ensuring communities can request economic and social impact statements along with public hearings.
A former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he accepted money from the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign to switch his endorsement from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who was also running for the GOP White House nomination.
Kent Sorenson, of Milo, Iowa, has been at the center of accusations that he was paid for his endorsement, first by the Bachmann campaign and then by the Paul campaign, in late 2011. Sorenson switched his endorsement at the last moment before the Iowa caucuses in the 2012 race, but vehemently denied he had been paid to do so.
Last year, OpenSecrets blog published emails alleged to be between Ron Paul campaign officials and representatives of Sorenson discussing Sorenson’s demands for payment. Later, audio recordings emerged in which Sorenson discussed how a Paul operative named Dimitri Kesari offered him a $25,000 check, written in the name of a jewelry shop owned by Kesari’s wife, to switch sides. Sorenson denied cashing the check but later admitted to an independent investigator from the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee that he had received payments from a company in Maryland.
Today, the Department of Justice said that Sorenson pleaded guilty to two federal charges, for receiving payment to switch his endorsement and for obstructing justice in attempting to conceal those payments.
The DOJ statement does not name the campaigns involved, but describes Sorenson as admitting to receiving monthly payments of $8,000 from the campaign of the candidate he ultimately endorsed, and admitting the payments were funneled through a film production company and then through a second company.
The Paul campaign’s 2012 expenditures reports show that $82,375 was paid to a Hyattsville, Md.-based video company called Interactive Communications, Inc. According to bank records discovered during the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee investigation, Sorenson received payments from a firm called “ICT, Inc”, based at the same Hyattsville address, that closely matched the payments the campaign made.
For example, the campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission that on Feb. 8, 2012, it paid $38,125 to Interactive Communications. On Feb. 9, ICT Inc. wired Sorenson $33,000. Then, on April 3, the campaign paid Interactive Communications $17,770, and on April 9, ICT wired Sorenson $16,000.
On May 4, the campaign paid Interactive Communications $8,850, and on the same day ICT wired Sorenson $8,000. The same thing happened twice more, with Sorenson pocketing a total of $73,000 from ICT Inc. between February and July of 2012. The Ron Paul presidential campaign paid Interactive Communications $83,375 over the same period.
Neither Lori Pyeatt, Ron Paul’s granddaughter and the treasurer of his 2012 presidential campaign, nor Jesse Benton, who was Paul’s campaign manager (and is now manager of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign), had responded to requests for comment at the time this post was published.
It isn’t clear if the investigation is continuing, but Sorenson has been granted immunity from further prosecution on federal and state charges, as has his wife, according to the plea agreement. OpenSecrets.org has learned that two grand juries have been investigating the events in Iowa, one focused on the Paul campaign and one on Bachmann’s. Last August, OpenSecrets.org published a copy of a memowritten by Aaron Dorr, the head of the Iowa Gun Owners, in which he outlined Sorenson’s demands to switch his endorsement. Included in the emails surrounding the negotiations were several top Paul campaign officials, including Benton.
Nobody has been indicted in connection with making the payments to Sorenson.
Sorenson could face up to five years in prison on the first charge and 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts.
Merrill Matthews of Forbes describes the push and pull behind rate setting under Obamacare. What? The rates are set for a free market? Ok, not quite, but there are some bureaucratic ‘forces’ affecting them. And here are some that Matthews discusses:
Throw away your risk tables. “Actuaries set premiums for the upcoming year based on several factors, including the estimated ratio of sick and healthy people in the pool … However, actuaries had ZERO experience with Obamacare’s “metal plans” (bronze, silver, gold and platinum), plus the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and President Obama were making up or changing the rules as they went along—and still are.”
Shoot first, ask questions later. “So if some insurers announce lower-than-expected premium increases for 2015, it may be because they overpriced policies the first time—not because Obamacare is holding costs down.”
Game the price controls. “HHS has a 10 percent red-flag cap. Under Secretary Kathleen Sebelius HHS had warned insurers that if they raised premiums more than 10 percent in one year, the agency would closely scrutinize their justifications. That’s because such increases would undermine Obama’s affordability promise.” So insurers played games like having 9% increases two yerars in a row or increasing premiums against a rainy day, knowing they could not adjust prices in the future.
Politicians and bureaucrats are pressuring insurers to keep premiums down. We saw this in Massachusetts shortly after the passage of Romneycare. Health insurers asked for a premium increase and the state rejected the request. Then Governor Deval Patrick leaned on the insurers to lower their rates, which they did—a tactic that can only work a few times before there’s no more margin to give.
Unfortunately this also forces costs up. The firms make irrational decisions based on a strategy of minimizing bureaucratic caprice. All the classic outcomes of central planning -- hoarding, shortages, misallocation -- show up in the so-called markets. There is also the tactic of putting the premium in the fine print, by loading it onto the deductible.
Obamacare premiums are so expensive that many participants are choosing very high deductible plans. Health Pocket Inc. found the average deductible for an individual in a Bronze plan was $5,081 ,and $10,386 for a family. It was $2,907 for an individual in a Silver plan, and $6,078 for a family.
Matthews says this is actually good because the real proxy price of a policy migrates to its deductible. “That’s actually a very positive step. High deductibles dramatically lower health care utilization and, just as importantly, they encourage patients to seek value for their health care dollars by making them cost-conscious and shopping around for a better price. That practice puts downward pressure on premiums.”
The result is that the premiums contain only a fraction of the price information. Cheap could mean ‘unavailable’. Expensive could be ‘unavailable’ also because it was too cheap last year. Central planning has never worked well, not even when they were not called central planning.
Cuyahoga County Council nominee John J. Currid called on Councilwoman Sunny Simon to introduce legislation to prevent county funds or resources from being used to support federal relocation of illegal immigrants. He is concerned that the United States government would relocate illegal immigrants to Cuyahoga County in a similar fashion to what has been done in other areas. His concern is heightened by the fact that Cleveland has a Federal Immigration Court.
Mr. Currid recently sent Ms. Simon a letter calling on her to to introduce legislation that would prevent county funds from being appropriated to support illegal immigrants that would be relocated to Cuyahoga County by either the federal government or private “hosting/fostering” organizations. The proscription would include the use of any county resources, including personnel, for such purposes.
Currid stated: “The federal government has failed in its mission on the southern border, and that burden should not be shifted to states, counties, and cities. As the nominee to represent the people of the Eleventh District of Cuyahoga County, I feel a responsibility to ensure that the children, elderly, and families of this county are our first priority. I have asked the councilwoman to join me in this effort to immediately ensure the residents she was elected to represent are her number one priority as well.”
While the underlining issue is immigration, candidate Currid made it clear that his request of Ms. Simon comes from a broader concern about the use of limited resources, and the prioritization of the residents of Cuyahoga County over illegal immigrants. He believes that immigration is a federal issue, and one in which the county has no role. Unfortunately, in too many instances, the federal government transfers the financial burden of its failed policies to local and state governments. By being proactive and passing this legislation, Currid believes Cuyahoga County will be in front of an important issue, and will protect the use of the county’s limited resources for local county residents.
Currid believes, “diverting resources or funds away from needy children or families at this critical time would be both irresponsible and unacceptable.”
Read More: Currid: “Cuyahoga County Residents Need to be Our Priority”
Read More: John Currid’s Letter to Councilwoman Sunny Simon