Three Things You Need to Know - December 14, 2017

The Justice System Has Been Politicized

Shady meetings in high-level offices, off the books burner phones to hide communications, and whispers of a coup. These plot lines sound like they’re ripped straight out of a late night ID channel espionage series: “Case Files of the KGB”... or something like that. In reality, everything I just described was going inside the hallowed halls of the FBI.

It was reported last week that the former second-in-command of counterintelligence at the FBI had been relieved from the Muller investigation due to a series of anti-Trump text messages. At first - to be honest - this seemed kind of eye roll worthy. I mean, who hasn’t sent a few ant-Trump text messages? Even if you’re fully in the President’s corner - come on - I KNOW you’ve sent at least ONE text saying, “crap I wish he wouldn’t have tweeted that.” That’s really all I was expecting to see here.

On Tuesday night, 375 of the 10,000 text messages were released to the press. Many of them, as expected, were just kind of stupid. Sure there’s a clear disdain for Trump and admiration for Hillary Clinton, but there’s a big difference in having a political opinion versus showing bias in an investigation. That was the vibe Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was giving to Congress yesterday and that’s primarily how the mainstream media is reporting it.

So that’s that… well, not quite. I kept scanning through the meaningless texts until I came across this one. It says quote:

“So look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced…”

Ok, that sounded a little bad. What could they possibly be discussing about Hillary that requires them to hide their communications? Maybe the fact that this FBI agent was the one that doctored Comey’s Clinton statement to help her avoid indictment? I mean I’m just guessing here… let’s read on.

Ok, there’s an “Eff Trump”... yadda yadda yadda… “Congrats on a woman nominated for President”... wait, what’s this:

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office - that there’s no way Trump gets elected - but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’ like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Is that what I think it is, because it sounds an awful lot like the second-in-command of counterintelligence - who was working on both the Clinton investigation AND the Trump/Russia investigation - was making plans with a colleague to undermine Donald Trump. Oh yeah, and the office referenced in the text - “Andy’s” - was likely Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s.

I’m sorry, but this isn’t a case of a little harmless “political preference”, this sounds like bias with the intent to conspire against a then-presidential candidate. How far did this plot go? At this point we need a Special Counsel… to investigate the Special Counsel.

Rotten Apples in the Movie Biz

Have you heard of the new movie review website called Rotten Apples?

Not Rotten Tomatoes – that’s the one people use to try to convince each other to see a movie. “But honey, it got 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. It must be really good.”

Rotten Apples isn’t like that. It really boils things down for the movie, or TV show consumer. You type in any title and it gives you an instant rating, either “Fresh Apples” or “Rotten Apples.”

It’s a website that really addresses current needs. It’s very of-the-moment, you might even say it’s very #MeToo… because that is exactly what inspired it.

You see, Rotten Apples is a brand-new website that tells you if anyone involved in a movie or show has been accused of sexual misconduct. Notice I said accused of. It’s not a criminal database. And no, I’m not making this up.

If you type in a movie title and no one’s been accused of anything, the page reads “Fresh Apples – This movie has no known affiliation to anyone with allegations of sexual misconduct against them.”

If you type in a show like House of Cards, however, the page reads “Rotten Apples” followed by the name of the person accused. If you click on the name, it links to an article from another media source about the allegations against that person.

The team of four – two males, two females – who created the site, say it’s not meant to incite boycotts of movies or shows, but to help people make “ethical media consumption decisions.”

Wow. This site just launched on Tuesday. It’s so new, I’m not even sure what to think of it yet. Is this another example of the internet keeping an industry honest – like travel or restaurant review sites? Could something like this actually help keep Hollywood predators at bay?

Or, is this website a one-way ticket to libel town since it’s based on accusations?

Regardless, it’s kind of a suspenseful game, to type in your favorite movies and shows, cross your fingers, and hope your childhood isn’t ruined by finding out your hero is a total creep. The results can be surprising. Or not.

Whatever you do, just don’t type in Home Alone 2. Under any circumstances. Or The Little Rascals. Trust me. Just don’t type those in.

Harvey Weinstein Was Salma Hayek's #MeToo Monster

“I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”

Those are the cruel words Harvey Weinstein reportedly said to Salma Hayek.

The actress is the latest and one of the most high-profile women to share her frightening experience with Weinstein.

In a shocking essay published by the New York Times, Hayek detailed her hellish encounters with the disgraced producer.

She met Weinstein when she approached his company Miramax to help finance and distribute her film, Frida.

He agreed, but his involvement came with a hefty price: her mental and physical wellbeing.

She claims that Weinstein repeatedly stalked her and asked for sexual favors.

When she declined his advances in private, he made a demand for a sex scene in the film with her co-star, Ashley Judd, who was also harassed by Weinstein. An emotionally battered Hayek begrudgingly agreed because the future of the film was at stake.

Frida went on to win Two Academy Awards.

But Hayek clearly lost when she partnered with Weinstein. After reading her essay, it’s clear he made the most important experience of her career a living hell.

Salma Hayek will not be the last person to add to the mountain of allegations against Weinstein, but her account is noteworthy because it draws the line between Weinstein and the other men accused of sexual misconduct. It’s clear Weinstein is in a league of his own.

MORE 3 THINGS

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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