Three Things You Need to Know - December 8, 2017

Kicking the Can Down the Road

Today, the threat of a government shutdown still looms like Dickens’ “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come;” A dark phantom warning of misery and chaos unless we keep kicking our impending doom down the road.

Frightened by the specter, the Senate passed a funding bill last night, staving off the government shutdown for the next two weeks.

But imagine for a second that we let the government shutdown occur. What would happen the next day?

Widespread despair and pandemonium?

Nope!

We wake up all snug in our beds like Scrooge on Christmas morning feeling a bit lighter and happier, that’s what happens!

The truth is that the government doesn’t really “shut down” during a government shutdown.

Millions of government workers keep on truckin’.

NSA agents will keep snooping on you. TSA agents will still give pat downs. Traffic controllers will still try to stay alert with Red Bull. The Post office will still deliver your packages. Border patrol officers, federal prison guards, FBI agents, doctors and the nurses at the VA, and most of our military service men and women will all still show up to work.

Social Security and Medicare checks will get mailed and food stamps will be distributed.

There will, of course, be some agencies and institutions that will have to close for a bit.

Like the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The National Organic Program. The United States Antarctic Program. The Smithsonian Institution. The National Museum of Natural History. And the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Just to give you some examples.

But keep in mind that not all employees will be told to go home from these agencies and institutions. Just the non-essential ones.

Which begs the question: Should non-essential employees be employees in the first place?

I’m gonna say probably not.

A government shutdown isn’t scary. What’s truly terrifying is realizing how bloated we have let the government become. If the government shuts down before Christmas, it might just be the best present of all. And then maybe we can finally address the most chilling ghost of them all—The Ghost of Present Debt Ceiling.

Franken Resigns... Sort of

In 1999, Al Franken wrote a satirical book called, Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency.

Yesterday, in the real-life version of the story, Senator Al Franken resigned. Sort of. His announcement came after he drew the short straw and had to be tossed under the #MeToo bus by his fellow Democrat in the Senate. Most of them finally pressured Franken to resign after a sixth woman accused him of being too hands-on in his interactions with her.

It was actually the most non-resignation resignation speech you’ll ever hear. Franken said he would resign “in the coming weeks.” And he did not apologize for anything.

He basically said, “I didn’t do that stuff, but, since they came after me first, I’m taking one for the team. Which is pretty heroic of me to do. But it’s also super-ironic that an upstanding, virtuous Senator like me is getting taken down because those Republican dirt-bags are way worse. And that’s the most important thing I hope you remember from my remarks today.”

Until now, the liberals’ favorite senator from Minnesota was having a great year. He won rave reviews for his performance pretending to care about education while he grilled Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing. Then his bestselling book came out in May titled Al Franken – Giant of the Senate. Democrats said Franken was a well-liked, serious policy-maker. There were even rumors of him running for president in 2020.

But everything began unraveling for Franken last month, with that photo of him leering at Leann Tweeden’s chest as if he’s about to grope her while she was sleeping on a flight.

America is better off without Al Franken in the Senate (if he actually resigns). He’s a sleazy guy who spews a lot of crude hate toward conservatives. But we can’t lose sight of the Democrats’ larger strategy here. Franken’s number may have been up first, but he won’t be the last, on either side of the aisle. By sacrificing Franken, Democrats can now bunker in on the moral high ground and lob their bombs about Republicans hating women and electing alleged perverts. They’ve positioned themselves to appear more ethical than Republicans, just days before Alabama will probably elect Roy Moore to the Senate.

In the never-ending political chess match, the Democrats just made a bold move. Republicans, now it’s your move…

Someone Needs to Watch the Watchers

It’s been an interesting week for the FBI and Department of Justice. A veteran FBI agent has been dismissed from the Muller investigation over his anti-Trump bias. We later found out that same agent was the one that interviewed Mike Flynn AND actually signed the initial paperwork that opened the Trump Russia investigation. We also found out yesterday that one of Muller’s prosecutors is a former attorney who has represented Ben Rhodes and the Clinton Foundation. She’s also donated thousands to Hillary Clinton and the DNC.

All of this came out just over the past week, and this list isn’t even complete. A senior official at the DoJ was just demoted for his contacts with Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS… the firm that works for both the Russians AND the Clinton Campaign, AND who’s responsible for the Dossier that kicked this whole thing off.

It certainly feels like the deck has been stacked lately. The Muller investigation has begun throwing down indictments right and left, but where was this intensity for justice with Hillary Clinton? Mike Flynn was nailed for lying to the FBI, but Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin never were. We all knew Hillary Clinton was guilty - at the very least - of mishandling classified information. Why wasn’t she ever indicted? Remember that FBI agent that was just released from the Muller team for bias? He was the agent that interviewed both Mills and Abedin. No charges filed for lying. He was also the one that changed the wording of Comey’s statement on Hillary from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” Why is that important? “Grossly negligent” is indictable… “extremely careless” isn’t.

Maybe it’s just me, but the Clinton investigations seem like they were conducted with the intention of finding exoneration rather than finding justice. Why are they treating her differently than Trump? I’m not saying everyone surrounding Trump is innocent, but we’ve got to have a level playing field here. If the FBI and DoJ can’t check their bias’ at the door, it’s time to bring in outside investigators. There’s clearly a problem. Someone needs to watch the watchers.

MORE 3 THINGS

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Pat Gray discussed the Trump defense team's arguments in the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.

"This is different than what the Democrats were doing," Glenn said of the Trump team's impeachment defense. "We know the case of the Democrats, they just kept going over and over and over, for three days, the same stuff. The Republicans, at least on Saturday, did not ... and I thought it was really, really good."

Glenn added, "The president's defense was very compelling."

Watch the videos below to hear Glenn's top takeaways from the president's defense team:

Part 1: Why the president's defense is 'very compelling'

Part 2: Top takeaways from president's impeachment defense

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Americans are getting crushed by healthcare costs. In 2018 alone, we spent $3.6 trillion on healthcare — that's more than $11,000 per American and nearly a fifth of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It's on everyone's minds, which is why it has taken center stage in the Democratic party's primary. Of course, the solutions offered by the current crop of presidential candidates would do nothing to help alleviate that enormous spending. In fact, it would only add to it — what with Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All and Joe Biden's proposed ObamaCare expansion.

However, what also deserves attention in discussions about plans that increase the government's role in health care is how religious organizations would be affected. Faith-based hospitals and health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) play an important role in America, often serving as a critical provider and/or facilitator of payments for medical services in many states. If plans like Medicare for All were implemented, these groups would be at risk of going bankrupt or being severely curtailed due to the elimination of choice that comes with these proposals.

Instead of imposing a top-down and expensive health care system overhaul, faith-based providers and groups should be allowed to continue offering a variety of plans that work as high-quality, often cheaper alternatives. And more Americans should consider them.

Instead of imposing a top-down and expensive health care system overhaul, faith-based providers and groups should be allowed to continue offering a variety of plans that work as high-quality, often cheaper alternatives.

As mentioned, one such option is a health care sharing ministry. In this model, individuals contribute money into a pool managed by a religiously or ethically-affiliated organization, and costs for medical treatment are shared by people who adhere to that organization's belief system. Typically, applicants are required to sign a statement of faith in order to be accepted. It's basically like a subscription service: consumers pay a set amount of money into the ministry every month. Then, when they have a medical need or incident, they submit a claim to the ministry. Members whose claims are approved are reimbursed by the ministry from that pool of funds. Note, these ministries don't cover procedures they deem immoral.

Because providers are often getting paid in cash under this model — and typically within 90 days — patients are able to negotiate significant discounts, in some cases slicing procedures' costs to a fraction of the initial price. Insurance companies, by comparison, tend to not pay dollar for dollar on claims, and certainly not in cash. Additionally, insurance companies usually have onerous paperwork requirements, forcing doctors to spend half of their time on electronic health records and desk work. This increase in demand for administrative work is partly responsible for the United States leading the world in administrative costs in healthcare.

There are various types of HCSMs, each offering different benefits depending on what the individual needs — and a lot of savings on monthly plans. Take Christian Healthcare Ministries, for example. It's resulted in enormous savings for its members. Whereas the average healthcare plan can cost about $400 a month on the low end (with high deductibles), CHM plans can run between $78-172 a month for a single person. These kinds of plans are particularly great options for people who are relatively healthy and young, where the need for doctors and prescription drugs is less likely.

HCSMs have seen explosive growth in popularity recently. In 2014, there were only approximately 160,000 members. By 2018, membership ballooned to about 1 million HCSM members around the United States who have shared over $1 billion in medical expenses. But unfortunately, many people still feel locked into the traditional — and expensive — health care insurance model. HCSMs provide a way out, and, depending on their belief system, people should research them and see if there's one that best suit their needs. If more people deviate away from the traditional health care insurance market, insurance companies would be incentivized to adjust their pricing. That won't be possible, of course, if plans like Medicare for All are implemented.

Health care is one of life's biggest expenses, and voters are understandably desperate for a plan that cuts costs without compromising quality of care or access to it. Alternative options to health care insurance such as HCSMs are practical, free-market solutions that saves money. Americans should sift through these options before subscribing to plans that will only break the bank.

James Czerniawski is a Young Voices contributor. Follow him on Twitter @JamesCz19.

Bill O'Reilly: Adam Schiff is in 'wonderland' during the Senate impeachment trial

Image source: BlazeTV video screen save

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, Bill O'Reilly gave his latest take on the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and explained why he thinks House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is like "Alice in Wonderland."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

youtu.be


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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to discuss the latest developments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

According to Cruz, Thursday was a "very consequential day" in the otherwise tedious and redundant impeachment proceedings.

"Yesterday, the House managers effectively threw Joe Biden under the bus," Cruz said. "They doubled down on what they started doing on the first day of arguments, which was making their entire case ... based on the proposition that there was zero evidence to justify investigating Burisma [the Ukrainian natural gas company that paid then-Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on the board]."

Cruz went on to explain that every time the Democrats, namely House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), rehash the "zero-evidence" argument, they open the door for Republicans to present the overwhelming evidence that contradicts those claims.

"That proposition, that there's zero evidence to investigate Burisma, is utterly and completely absurd. So, I'm looking forward to Saturday when the president's lawyers will begin presenting his case. Because what the Democrats have done, is they have opened the door to this. And I hope the president's lawyers will stand up and systematically lay out the case," Cruz said.

"They've been arguing that Hunter Biden is completely irrelevant to this case. Well, the House managers have now, through their arguments, made Hunter Biden not only relevant — he was always relevant — but critical now," he continued. "They built the entire case, like a house of cards, on the proposition that there was no reasonable basis to investigate Burisma. And that's just absurd."

The two also discussed Cruz's new podcast, "Verdict with Ted Cruz," which he records with Daily Wire host Michael Knowles each night following the Senate trial.

"Last night's podcast went through systematically ... all of the overwhelming evidence of corruption from Burisma that any president, not only had the authority to investigate, but the responsibility to investigate," Cruz said. "And that, ultimately, is why President Trump is going to be acquitted at the end of this process."

Watch the video below for more details:

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