‘Davos Meets Wolf of Wall Street’: ‘Showboat’ Donors Using Politics to Expand Personal Brands

Anthony Scaramucci is described as a “fast-talking hedge fund manager who stands about 5 feet 8 inches on a good day.” Though he has only given “a little more than $16,000 to candidates since 2012” and just over “$130,000 to political action committees,” he has leveraged those donations to build and expand his personal brand.

Like many in the permanent political class with the “This Town” state of mind, it’s all about him.

Before 2012, “the bulk of the cash that he did give went to Democrats,” specifically to Barack Obama, with whom he attended Harvard Law School. However, he reportedly soured on Obama once he started to push for more Wall Street regulations and, just like that, started bragging about being one of Mitt Romney’s “top” fundraisers in 2012.

According to a Politico profile of the “showboat” donor, Scaramucci is known as “The Mooch,” and since he can “steer major Wall Street money to hedge funds and super PACs alike,” Republicans like Karl Rove, Paul Ryan, and Scott Brown have been courting him.

According to the report, “The Mooch” runs the annual SALT Conference, which is reportedly named for his SkyBridge Capital fund. He is “a self-styled Davos meets Wolf of Wall Street” who attracts people from business (Ken Langone), Hollywood (Kevin Spacey), sports (Magic Johnson), and politics (Valerie Jarrett, David Petraeus, Tony Blair, David Plouffe, Larry Summers). Many of these luminaries are lured by appearance fees.

Candidates and politicos put up with the ostentatious Scaramucci, who “favors custom-made Loro Piana pinstriped suits” and has a “golden harp in his living room,” because he can get the attention of campaigns, leveraging his contacts to bundle money for them.

“He has the profile of Sheldon Adelson, but not the bank account,” one person told the outlet, meaning he can’t cut big checks but can get a lot of people to donate significant amounts.

His boasting got him in trouble in 2012, though, when he told a Bloomberg reporter about a closed-door fundraiser for Karl Rove’s Crossroads group. At that event, Rove infamously said Republicans should “sink” Todd Akin and then chillingly commented, “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!” The Bloomberg reporter recorded it all after reportedly walking into the event.

This year’s SALT conference was not off the record, but perhaps that got lost in translation for Valerie Jarrett, who revealed that the White House had a “commitment from” House Speaker John Boehner on amnesty legislation this year. She sheepishly walked back her remarks the next morning on Twitter. Call it the “Tweet of Shame.”

“The Mooch” may have been ahead of the curve, though, no matter how unseemly his “showboating” and allegiances to the bipartisan permanent political class may be. With more ways for politicians to get money in an age when elections are becoming more expensive, there may be more “showboat donors” – and their even more unseemly mini-mes and wannabes – on the way.

Source: Breitbart Feed

HHS Document Reveals Scope of Obamacare Rollout Disaster

Type “Obamacare rollout disaster” into the Google search engine, and you get approximately 290,000 results, most of them dating back to the days immediately following the catastrophic October 2013 launch of Healthcare.gov. 

Significantly, however, the most recent results focus on the Judicial Watch release on May 19, 2014. That’s the date Judicial Watch released a 106-page document we obtained on May 1 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that reveals the shocking details of the rollout disaster. 

Though the Obama administration tried to cover up the full extent of the website failure in the days following its launch, the lengthy HHS document tells a tale of complete collapse. It was forced out of this secretive administration by our November 25, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed suit after HHS refused to respond to our October 7, 2013, FOIA request seeking the following information: 

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013. 

A simple request – that was stonewalled for over six months. Now we know why. This document shows that, on its first full day of operation, October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov received only one enrollment! That’s one – out of 334 million Americans. On the second day, 48% of registrations failed to process. 

The Affordable Health Care Act website immediately encountered massive problems typical of those reported by the Chicago Tribune: “Consumers seeking more information on their new options under the Affordable Care Act were met with long delays, error messages and a largely non-working federal insurance exchange and call center Tuesday morning.” Late-night comedian Jay Leno joked that Americans were getting carpal tunnel syndrome trying to get through to register. 

Pressed for an explanation in a conference call with reporters on Obamacare’s opening day, Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, refused to disclose the number of people who had purchased insurance through the site saying, “We have just decided not to release that yet.”

The full extent of the failure, however, is reflected in the details provided by the Judicial Watch FOIA document revelations. They include: 

  • On October 1, there were 43,208 accounts created and 1 enrollment.

  • As of October 31, 2013, there were 1,319,425 accounts created nationwide – but only 30,512 actual enrollments in Obamacare.

  • On October 1, 2013, at the end of the first day (4:30), the Senior Advisor at Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Brigid M. Russell, sent out an email to her staff with a subject line celebrating “2 enrollments!” The body copy of the email read: “We have our second official FFM enrollment! The first two Form 834s sent out are to: 1) CareSource in Ohio, 2) BCBS of North Carolina.

  • Official figures contained in the HHS report provide conflicting figures as to the number of enrollments. FFM [Federally Facilitated Marketplace] statistics show 23,259 cumulative to-date applications submitted as of 10/2/13 and 286 completed plan selections. Earlier numbers show 356 enrollments created as of 7pm on 10/2/13 that were completed with Form 834s sent.

  • An October 2, 2013, email from HHS Special Assistant Marianne Bowen indicated serious problems with congressional enrollments: “The Congressional issue (68 attempts for Direct enrollment) was an issue stemming from incomplete applications being sent through (started, not finished, sent anyway) and the way the issuers are assigning unique numbers. Turns out there were only 4 complete Direct Enrollment applications that went through, the other 64 were not complete.” [The U.S. Congress has approximately 24,000 professional staffers.]

On October 2, 2013, the Obamacare website had 70 million page views but only 5 million were unique visitors, and 48% of registrations failed. The large number of page views may have been the result of visitors repeatedly hitting the “refresh” button due to long waiting times.

Judicial Watch was able to get information through FOIA that no one else had gotten – in this case, the specifics about the unmitigated failure of Healthcare.gov. The Obama administration tried to cover this up and Congress failed to follow through. Imagine what would have happened to Obamacare if the American people knew that only one person was able to enroll on its first day? And imagine what will happen when the full truth is finally revealed about what other Obamacare failures President Obama is hiding.

Even after it became clear that the Healthcare.gov website had failed to perform, the Obama administration continued putting out bogus figures touting its success. On April 17, Obama boasted that eight million people had signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov. But, that figure appears to have been massively over-inflated. According to testimony in May by the America’s Health Insurance Plans association before the House Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, “Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the Exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again. As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment.”

In addition to our FOIA lawsuit to obtain rollout enrollment figures, on March 27, 2014, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the HHS for records regarding the testing and oversight of the Obama administration’s error-filled “834” reporting forms. Form 834 is an electronic file sent from HealthCare.gov to an insurance company after a consumer picks a health care coverage plan. An inaccurate 834 form may result in consumers either not having coverage, or being turned down for payment claims. It has been estimated that as many as 33 percent of the 834 forms for enrollees in the federal health care website may have been inaccurate, incomplete, or missing altogether.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Benjamin Netanyahu: Jerusalem Is the “Nation’s Heart”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a special Knesset (parliament) session Wednesday to mark Israel’s Jerusalem Day. The Prime Minister took the occasion to remind the world that he intends to keep Jerusalem the unified capital of the Jewish state. “Jerusalem is the heart of the nation. It will never be divided,” said the Prime Minister.

Tuesday night marked the 47th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. From 1948 until the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, Jerusalem was split between Israel and Jordan.

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein talked about the feeling of triumph after Israel’s 1967 victory and reclamation of Jerusalem. “Jews stood tall. They were proud to be Jewish, to go to synagogue, to walk around with a kippah, to speak Hebrew,” he said. Edelstein continued, discussing that Jerusalem belongs to all Jews, no matter how religious they are or where their political ideologies align.

“My dear friends, 47 years ago Jerusalem was united. That is how it always was. And this is how it will always be,” asserted Netanyahu at a Yeshiva (Jewish school) Tuesday night.

Netanyahu also spoke about the Jewish people’s ancient connection to Jerusalem, which is thousands of years old.

The Israeli Prime Minister argued that Zionism, Israel, and Jerusalem go hand in hand. 

Speaking at the school, Netanyahu said:

Rabbi Kook believed that Zionism cannot be disconnected from Judaism. He believed that nationalism alone, without a connection to the eternal wells of Judaism, would not allow for the justification of Israel’s existence or foster the unity needed for its existence. Without spirit, there is no material, without Torah there is no salt.

Netanyahu spoke of Jerusalem as the “heart” of Israel, that it will be forever part of the Jewish state. “We are safeguarding our heart, the nation’s heart, and we will never divide our heart. Because it is the nation’s heart, it must be connected to Israel’s eternal future,” said the Prime Minister.

Jerusalem remains a hotly debated issue in the ongoing “peace-process” between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have demanded East Jerusalem as part of negotiations for a two-state solution.

Many countries, including the United States, have refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Several recent U.S. administrations have spoken of their support to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but no administration has followed through with the initiative.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Liberal Media Bemoans Pro-Life Activists’ Success In Restricting Abortion

A Christian obstetrician practicing in Washington, D.C. says he once refused to perform abortions, but about ten years into his career, he changed his mind. Now, he is willing to perform late-term abortions, even at 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Authors of a pro-abortion article at blog.nj.com by Star-Ledger staff are concerned that Dr. Willie J. Parker will no longer be among the “11 percent of all abortion providers who will do the procedure that late in the second trimester.”

“Some people are determined to stop him,” the authors of the article complain. “Congress is considering a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks in the district, which would affect Parker directly.”

Obviously upset with the recent success of the pro-life movement, the authors cite a record number of new restrictions on abortions over the past year, including bans on late-term abortions, and laws requiring abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety standards as other medical facilities.

In his interview with Julie O’Connor, Parker said that, while he grew up believing that abortion is wrong, once he became an OB/GYN, he saw “the dilemmas women found themselves in,” and found he could not “weigh the life of a pre-viable or lethally flawed fetus equally with the life of the woman sitting before me.”

Parker said he came to a “deeper understanding” of his spirituality after listening to a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, who spoke about the good Samaritan as a man who focused on what would happen to the traveler if he never stopped to help him.

“I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them,” Parker said.

Parker went on to say that women in their second trimester of pregnancy often need an abortion the most because “they lack access to health care or don’t have an understanding of their body changes, and often figure out later that they’re pregnant.”

These women, he said, “are trapped in poverty, often women of color or poor socioeconomic backgrounds, less education, and women and girls at the extremes of reproductive age.”

Parker said that “compelling” reasons for late-term abortion are developmental abnormality, rape, and incest. However, he urges that abortion be considered as part of normal “reproductive health care and a basic human right.”

Citing the long distances some women have to travel to reach an abortion provider, Parker said laws that require waiting limits and notifications “further distort the reality of women’s access to abortion care.”

Parker believes the decision about having an abortion should focus on the woman, not the unborn child.

He stated that limitations on abortion create “a duty and obligation for a woman to make her decision in a time frame acceptable to people other than herself.”

Parker asserts that there is no scientific information to support restrictions on late-term abortions, and claims there is no evidence that unborn babies can feel pain prior to the 25th week of pregnancy, a direct contradiction to the fetal pain research that led to the passage of the U.S. House’s 20-week abortion ban and comparable bans in many states.

A similar article at the Telegraph refers to a woman’s “right to choose” as “America’s new frontline.”

Peter Foster writes in Texas that pro-abortion activists bemoan the fact that those believing abortion is murder are now on the winning side of the argument after 40 years since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-choice groups claim legislation that requires abortion clinics to have the same safety standards as other medical facilities is not really going to help women because, ultimately, women want abortions.

Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld, a 71 year-old abortionist who runs Houston Women’s Clinic said his clinic cannot meet the new health and safety standards passed in Texas.

Referring to pro-life activists as “religious extremists,” Rosenfeld said it would cost him about $3.8 million, not including land and machines, to build a new abortion facility.

“In practice, we would be finished,” he said.

Rosenfeld mocks the polls that show 65 percent of Texans are against abortion.

“What they mean is that they are against other people having abortions,” he quipped. “As soon as their young daughters get pregnant, they change their minds.”

Otherwise America would be full of Christian babies being put up for adoption, but it’s not,” Rosenfeld argues. “I run a gynaecological clinic and I have hundreds of patients who want to adopt babies, but can’t. They have to go to Russia to adopt. It’s a hundred per cent hypocrisy.”

As more abortion restrictions have been passed, the liberal press is publishing an increasing number of articles depicting the pro-life movement as uncaring and unfeeling toward women who are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain an abortion.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America (SFLA), told Breitbart News that she expects to see many “news” articles like these in the coming years.

“Pro-abortion journalists trying to sound the alarm to the millions they believe are on their side, so they can fight for legal abortion,” she said. “Regrettably for them, the majority of America is pro-life and sees the more than 200 laws that have been passed across the country as common sense.”

“I found it sickening that abortionist Bernard Rosenfeld, a man who snuffs out life every day at his Houston facility, went on to comment about a lack of children waiting for adoption as proof that his ‘services’ are needed,” Hawkins added. “Even a freshman in Logic 101 can see through that fallacy.”

Left-wing organizations admit they have been complacent about their long-protected access to legal abortion.

“This feels like an overnight success, but it was 20 years in the planning,” said Poppy Northcutt, president of the Texas chapter of the National Organisation for Women, about the explosion of more than 200 abortion-related measures passed in 30 state legislatures over the last three years.

“They worked like termites, undermining the foundation of a building, and by the time it came crumbling down, it was too late to stop it,” Northcutt acknowledged.

Hawkins agrees.

“When it comes to fighting for the lives of women and the pre-born, being called a ‘termite’ is an honor,'” she said.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Lib Dem Lord Oakshott Resigns Over Bungled Leadership Coup

A close friend and ally of would-be Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has resigned from the Liberal Democrats after he was accused of getting involved with a coup to remove the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. 

Lord Oakshott had commissioned a poll that showed Clegg would lose his Sheffield Hallam seat and leaked it to the press, as reported by Breitbart London.

The peer has always made it clear that he wanted Cable to succeed Clegg when he stands down, but appears to have acted to speed this process up. His move against Clegg badly backfired when Cable temporarily stopped engagements in China to denounce his friend’s actions. This morning, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg began an investigation, claiming that some Lib Dems were out campaigning others were plotting.

Although Oakshott’s plans were weak and poorly executed they did come at a moment after the local and European elections when Clegg was looking very vulnerable. He had suffered major losses at the local elections and all but one of his MEPs had lost their seats.

The blame for this meltdown fell squarely with Nick Clegg because he had taken on Nigel Farage in the Europe debates and lost badly. He had also made a series of pre-election pledges that were remarkably unrealistic and left-wing, many of which he had to U-turn on when he entered the coalition. One such example was his commitment to abolish Tuition Fees at University, however after the election he was forced to raise them to as much as £9,000 due to a funding crisis Labour had left.

Cable is well known for having his eyes on the leadership but it is unclear how much he encouraged Oakshott’s actions. He is known to be far more left-wing than Nick Clegg, he is famed for his regular economic predictions and for crowing when some of them come true. This has led to the joke that Cable has successfully predicted fifteen of the last two recessions.

Oakshott cannot resign from the House of Lords as appointments are for life, he can however take a leave of absence.

Source: Breitbart Feed