Forgotten Worlds: From Atlantis to the X-Woman of Siberiaandthe Hobbits of Flores by Patrick Chouinard is a rare gem, as it is a non-mainstream approach to ancient White origins and secrets of the past. Chouinard’s book examines the mythological, historical and archaeological evidence for lost civilizations throughout the world. He explores unexplained mysteries such as the Caucasian mummies of China, the pyramids of Caral in Peru, once the home of an advanced white culture, and the genetically distinctive X-woman of Siberia. Chouinard meticulously offers proof of lost, ancient White civilizations in Asia, Europe and the Americas, including extensive investigations into Atlantis. He even shows that Siberia and the Amazon may have been cradles of humanity before Africa, and offers the revolutionary theory that the first humans were White.
Over and over again, mainstream views of prehistory—which state that the first civilizations arose around 3500 B.C.—are plagued by evidence of much older Caucasian civilizations, evidence ranging from artifacts and inexplicable remains to pyramids and ubiquitous myths that clearly speak of great empires prior to the rise of the Sumerian city-states and pharaonic Egypt. Viewing Atlantis and its many related myths as a metaphor for a long-lost global civilization, Chouinard addresses more unexplained mysteries from around the world, such as Caucasian mummies found in Alaska and reports by European explorers of Whites living throughout the New World. He also talks about ancient writing systems produced by Aryans in India, in Scotland among the Picts, and in Egypt, which is revealed as a White civilization.
Chouinard addresses the “hobbit” remains on Flores Island in the eastern part of Indonesia, the giant statues of Easter Island and the vanished White civilization of the island who built them, the legacy of Lemuria, which the author insists was inhabited by a proto-Aryan race, and the ideology and occult mysticism behind National Socialism.
Chouinard also weighs the evidence for and against ancient alien visits and other paranormal phenomena in the distant past. Using recent archaeological findings, he shows that the Caucasus was the home of the White race millennia before Africa, sounding the call to continue searching ancient, remote and formerly forbidden regions for lost civilizations as well as a new chronology for the emergence of human life and civilization as well as a new mechanism for how and why societies and species change over time.
By finding lost peoples and their forgotten worlds, we can truly begin to understand the human race and learn from its long history. We recommend this book highly to all people wishing to learn about the history that our high schools, universities and media deny us on a daily basis. It truly is a tour de force of White history.
Here is the Tribe member, and neo-con, Bill Kristol suggesting that the lazy white working class be replaced by immigrants. Despite his fears, it is very unlikely that his remarks will have any significant negative consequences for him. If he had expressed comparable contempt for Jews, however, his career would have ended instantaneously.
Kristol was one of the most hardcore never-Trumpers, constantly predicting that “Peak Trump” had been reached and hatching plots to stop him. Bill’s father, Irving Kristol, was the founder of neo-conservatism. It is reported that, as a child, Irving Kristol had been taught by his Rabbi to spit whenever he passed a church.
Sen. Al Franken appeared on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher and said that opinions of the new president among Republican senators vary. Some say, he said, that he’s “not right, mentally.”
“And then, some are harsher,” he said. “I haven’t heard a lot of good things and I’ve heard great concern about his temperament.”
“I saw this today,” Maher said. “Fifty-one percent of Trump voters believe he should be able to personally overturn decisions by judges.”
“That didn’t surprise me,” Franken replied, then pointed out that half of Trump voters is fewer than a quarter of the people in the country and, “I guess that 48 or 49 percent of Trump voters understood [the federal judiciary is independent] and that’s good.”
“Washington has really made you an optimist, Al,” Maher said.
“They have the majority and we can’t stop them from having hearings and we’re going to have hearings,” Franken explained. “Now, what I’m saying is that the Roberts court has been a pro-activist, pro-corporate, pro-pollution, pro-big money in campaigns and in elections and I’m not going to okay another 5-4 Roberts court.”
Maher brought up that Time magazine is already calling for Trump’s impeachment over violations of the emoluments clause, not to mention the president’s “mental problem.”
“Al, when will the impeachment hearings start?” Maher asked.
“Let me remind you again that the Republicans are in the majority,” Franken said, “so it’s months and months away.”
“I know everybody wants a quick fix on this,” he said, “but this is going to be a bit of a marathon.”
However, he said that the last week has been incredible. “People are showing up for town halls” by the hundreds, he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of energy around the country.”
He urged people to stay involved.
“It works, we got hundreds of thousands of calls about Betsy DeVos at the Senate and that makes a difference,” he said. “She is on notice, now, and she’s not going to be able to do a lot of the things that I think she wanted to do because of that. What you people do makes a huge difference.”
After rightly rejecting the new draft Constitution for Syria submitted by Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is wisely rejecting the Trump administration concept of the implementation of “safe zones” inside Syria. In the first interview with Western media since the election of Donald Trump, Assad decried the plan as a bad idea that would have no real ability to protect civilians or end the Syrian crisis.
When asked by the interviewer about Trump’s statement that he would “absolutely” create “safe zones” in Syria “for the Syrian people,” Assad responded by saying,
But actually, it won’t [protect civilians], it won’t. Safe zones for the Syrians could only happen when you have stability and security, where you don’t have terrorists, where you don’t have [the] flow and support of those terrorists by the neighboring countries or by Western countries. This is where you can have a natural safe zone, which is our country. They don’t need safe zones at all. It’s not a realistic idea at all.
When the interviewer pressed Assad on the fact that so many Syrians were displaced and thus “How can you oppose safe zones?” Assad pointed directly at the root of the problem. He stated,
The first thing you have to ask: why were they displaced? If you don’t answer that question, you cannot answer the rest. They were displaced for two reasons: first of all, the terrorist acts and the support from the outside. Second, the [U.S.] embargo on Syria. Many people didn’t only leave Syria because of the security issues. As you can see, Damascus is safe today, it’s nearly normal life, not completely.
But they don’t find a way for life in Syria, so they have to travel abroad in order to find their living. So, if you lift the embargo, and if you stop supporting the terrorists … I’m talking about everyone who supported terrorists, including the United States during Obama’s administration. If you stop all these acts, most of those people will go back to their country.
Indeed. In this short interview clip, Assad echoed the same sentiment and solutions that I and many other Syrian researchers and analysts have been saying from the beginning of the crisis; i.e. if America wants to stop terrorism in Syria, it need only stop funding it, supporting it, and directing it. It’s that simple. The U.S. could also call on its allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey, U.K., France, Qatar, and Israel to do the same. It could work with Russia to eliminate the remnants of terrorist forces and it could provide information and coordinates to both Syria and Russia on the whereabouts of terrorists and terrorist forces.
We should call on the Trump administration to immediately end any and all support for armed groups in Syria, to press America’s allies to stop supporting terrorists, immediately begin rapprochement with Russia and Syria, and look toward the future of investment in rebuilding Syria as a country as well as immediately ending the sanctions currently in place against the Syrian people.
When the cast of Exodus: Gods and Kings—Ridley Scott’s upcoming Biblical epic—was announced a lot of people made the complaint that it was overwhelmingly white, a move they decried as both inaccurate and racist. They were right. Unfortunately, in response a lot of people have peddled another historical (and racist) error: that the ancient Egyptians were black and that modern Egyptians are imposters.
One thing that really irritates me is when I see people making bogus revisionist claims about ancient societies in order to pigeonhole them into one race or another, ignoring the fact that modern conceptions of race didn’t even exist until the 19th century. Most of the time, this is done from a very Eurocentric point of view, such as in most Biblical films, where all the Semitic-speaking, Middle Eastern characters are portrayed as white Europeans. Which is how you get ridiculous casting like this, where an English actor is cast as a Hebrew-speaking Canaanite:
Now, Christian Bale’s a fine actor and I’m sure he’ll give the role all he’s got, but the role really should have gone to a Middle Eastern or Jewish actor. It’s not as if there aren’t plenty to pick from in Hollywood (or abroad): Aki Avni, Oded Fehr, Tony Shalhoub, Alexander Siddig, Ali Suliman, Said Taghmaoui, etc… The issue isn’t that they exist; the issue is that casting directors naturally assume a white/European actor whenever casting any “normal” role and because of the prevalence of Biblical mythology in our culture (which is white-dominated) it is presumed that Biblical characters were “normal” and therefore white. Which is obviously untrue if you actually look at the etymology of most Biblical names and the cultural context of the stories themselves.
This doesn’t just happen with the Bible though. Cultures as different from one another (and Western Europe) as the Mongol Empire, northern India, Arabia, and Comanches have all been portrayed by white actors (not to mention the entire sordid history of blackface minstrel shows), because, again, the presumption is that a white actor is a blank slate within whom everyone can identify, including non-white people (while the reverse, apparently, doesn’t hold true).
However, while the tendency usually is to whitewash historical peoples, the opposite also sometimes occurs. There is an increasing tendency I’ve noticed for some people, for example, to re-envision all of the ancient societies of the Old World as not simply non-white, but specifically “black.” Putting aside for a moment the fact that within Africa itself “black” is a largely meaningless term (there’s more genetic variety within Africa’s “black” population than the rest of the world combined), this is just simply false. The samurai were no more black than they were white. And neither were the ancient Egyptians.
That’s right, the ancient Egyptians weren’t black. They weren’t white either, mind you, but to presume that a culture has to be one or the other is to accept a racial dichotomy that white colonialists themselves invented for the purpose of sorting the world into “civilized” (white) and “savage” (colored) peoples. Most cultures in the world don’t really fit neatly into either category: are Latinos white or colored? The answer depends partially on who’s asking the question: most Latinos identify as white (both in the U.S. and Latin America) but most non-Latino Americans usually sort them as non-white.
The truth is that “white” is essentially a byword for “European” (sometimes northern European specifically) while “colored” basically just means everyone else. And these categories aren’t static or unchanging either. In 19th century Europe, various ethnic groups were sometimes sorted into “more” or “less” white groups. According to many British anthropologists, the Irish were “less white” than the English. According to the Nazis, Slavic-speaking peoples like Poles or Russians were “subhuman” non-Aryans. Today, virtually all of these groups are considered “equally” white (and Jews, who weren’t considered white at all, now often are).
The sad truth is that this outdated way of talking about race was so prevalent and so dominant in academic circles that it’s been accepted as largely accurate even by lots of non-white people. Instead of challenging the arbitrary lines in the sand 19th century racists drew up to sort people into those who were worthy of self-rule and those who weren’t, a lot of people have just flipped the idea on its head, arguing that the roots of all civilization are inherently “black” rather than “white,” as Eurocentric scholars claimed.
Which brings us to Egypt. For some reason or another—possibly because of the highly publicized discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the 1920s, possibly because the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the last remaining wonders of the ancient world—everyone wants to claim ancient Egypt for themselves. Never mind, that Mesopotamia’s an older civilization or that the ancient Chinese ruled a larger region for a longer period of time; Egypt is the holy grail of pseudohistorical racism. And no one apparently cares what the actual Egyptians think.
What were the ancient Egyptians? Were they black or were they white? Because of whitewashing in both popular culture and history classes, a lot of people tend to think they were white. Because they live in Africa (a continent, let’s recall, which is substantially larger than Europe), other people assume they were black. Oddly, it’s occurred to relatively few people to look at how modern Egyptians think of themselves, because we have divorced ancient and modern Egypt in our minds as if they’re two completely unrelated cultures. Which (as I’ll explain in a bit) is largely nonsense.
This is Egypt’s national football (soccer) team. Are these guys black or white? Well, they’re certain darker than most European teams. But compared to Nigeria’s team they look pretty light-skinned. Which makes sense, given Egypt’s quite a bit further from the equator than Nigeria is (and distance from the equator has a strong correlation to skin color). Here’s the Turkish (a non-Arab, Middle Eastern people) football team for comparison. For their part, most Egyptians define themselves as Arabs.
But does any of this matter? After all, the ancient Egyptians didn’t speak Arabic; they spoke their own language, attested in hieroglyphics. Well yes, they did, although Coptic (spoken by some Egyptian Christians) is actually a descendant of that language so that’s not a particularly strong argument. Coptic and Arabic are also both Afro-Asiatic languages (along with Hebrew, the Berber languages, Amhara, and Hausa), so it’s not as if the languages are completely unrelated.
But what about how Egypt got invaded and conquered by a whole bunch of people, including the Arabs? Couldn’t that have impacted the Egyptians’ race? Well sure, that happened. Libyans, Nubians, Canaanites, Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans have all ruled Egypt at one point or another and the Arabs are the most recent bunch (not counting the Turks or the British). But the truth is that conquest only very rarely leads to a massive shift in the native population; the conquest of the Americas aside (which was aided very significantly by the natives’ vulnerability to Afro-Eurasian diseases), the genetic makeup of a country’s populace before and after conquest is usually pretty similar, to a point that it’s almost not worth talking about. And genetic studies in Egypt back this up: the genetic profile of modern Egyptians has been affected less than 15% by foreign admixture.
There’s also the fact that ancient Egyptians didn’t really perceive themselves as either “black” or “white.” Just look at the above painting from Pharaoh Seti I’s tomb. The top right group, with the palest skin are Libyans (Berbers), the next one over to the left are Nubians, followed by “Asiatics” (Mesopotamians). The bottom central group are Egyptians. By their own perception Egyptians were neither particularly dark nor particularly pale, and given their xenophobic attitude towards outside cultures (which was fairly common for most ancient peoples) they would probably resent being sorted into either “race.”
So why does this matter? Why is it important that we acknowledge the Egyptians don’t fit into our constructed dichotomy of black vs. white, of European or African? Well, for one thing many modern Egyptians find it kind of offensive. Despite their modern self-identification as Arabs, most Egyptians still feel a strong claim to the historical legacy of their ancient forebears and find it pretty annoying when American scholars (and, black or white, it is mostly Americans) try to pigeonhole the pharaohs into one racial category or another for political purposes.
Secondly, it’s pretty clearly false as I’ve shown above. The ancient Egyptians were African, but that’s a pretty broad label, just like the word “Asian” includes within its meaning Turks, Indians, Samoyeds, Han Chinese, and Malays. There’s a lot of similarity between Egyptians and Nubians, that’s true. There’s also a lot of resemblance between Egyptians and Palestinians. They don’t fit neatly into one super-category or the other, not when you peel away the labels and look at the actual facts.
It’s also, when you get right down it, kind of imperialistic. Remember, separating people into groups like “white” and “black” or “colored” were ways for European colonialists to determine what rights certain people were entitled to (and more importantly, which people to deny rights to). Whether intentionally or not, the continuance of these categories, even by non-racists, continues to embody this. By separating people around the world into either white Europeans or dark-skinned people we’re implicitly saying that the differences within the latter group are equivalent to the differences within the former group. And that’s incredibly reductive.
There’s a world of difference between the ancient Egyptians and the Chinese, as big as the difference between China and the ancient Celts. Pyramid-building aside (which is a fairly shallow similarity), the cultures of ancient Mesoamerica and ancient Egypt are pretty distinct. The Mauryan Empire is not the same as the Songhai Empire, nor is it any closer in similarity to it than it is to ancient Greece. Instead of celebrating diversity, Afrocentric perspectives on ancient history suppress it despite their good intentions.
Now, that isn’t to say there isn’t any value in talking about “people of color” as one group. There is; with the exception of just one country (Thailand), every nation in the world has been under European domination at some point during the last two centuries. Only one non-European country (Japan) has been a colonial power in modern times. And with the exception of a handful of countries like Japan (again) or China (which per capita is still quite poor), the vast majority of the world’s wealth is concentrated in European nations or countries dominated by the descendants European colonists. So in some sense, it’s perfectly reasonable to talk about “people of color” as a byword for ethnic minorities (and majorities) who continue to be oppressed in a number of individual and systematic ways throughout the world.
But it’s not a historically accurate term and it’s important to recognize its limitations. While it’s an incredibly useful way to talk about race relations and power in modern society, it has virtually no meaning when we’re talking about ancient cultures, who didn’t exist in the same Western-dominated world that we now do.
Besides, shouldn’t we really move on from ancient Egypt? There’s plenty of other ancient societies to obsess over. What about Mesopotamia? Or the Indus Valley civilization? How about the Kingdoms of Kush or Aksum? Ancient China? The Maya? The historical world is a wonderful and diverse place. There’s no reason we have to define it by one culture or another. There’s no reason one race must lay claim to the entire heritage of world civilization. Ancient Egypt is an alluring subject to be sure, but it’s just one of many, all of which deserve to be represented accurately.
Anti-abortion groups have called demonstrations at more than 200 Planned Parenthood locations throughout the United States on Saturday to urge Congress and President Donald Trump to strip the women’s health provider of federal funding.
Planned Parenthood supporters in turn have organized 150 counter-demonstrations outside politicians’ offices and government buildings.
Anti-abortion activists have said they were energized by the election of Republican Trump, who selected their long-time ally Mike Pence as vice president and nominated conservative jurist Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Jan. 27, tens of thousands converged on Washington for the 44th March for Life, where Pence became the most senior government official to speak in person at the annual anti-abortion rally, organizers said.
“We have the wind in our sails. The election was a real benchmark. Pro-life voters were really a key constituency and the Trump administration has taken note,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League, one of the main backers of Saturday’s demonstrations.
In Washington, demonstrators will meet at the Supreme Court and march to a Planned Parenthood location. Other demonstrations have been called in 45 states in cities large and small.
Planned Parenthood, a 100-year-old organization, provides birth control and other women’s health services in addition to abortion at 650 health centers, according to its website.
Its leaders say abortions rights supporters have also been energized by Trump’s election, as exemplified by the hundreds of thousands who flooded Washington a day after Trump’s inauguration in favor of women’s rights, including abortion rights.
The pro-Planned Parenthood events were organized spontaneously, without the group’s initiative, a spokeswoman said.
“All across the country, Planned Parenthood supporters are taking it upon themselves to organize in their communities on their own,” Kelley Robinson, a leader of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Support, said in a statement. “Saturday, and every day, Planned Parenthood advocates and activists show that they refuse to be intimidated and they won’t back down.”
Those looking for a decent laptop for a little over $500 should find Samsung’s new Chromebook Pro blipping constantly on their radar. Of course, there’s a laundry list of Windows laptops under that budget range, but none so feature-rich and decent as Samsung’s offering.
Samsung Chromebook Pro Reviews
The Chromebook Pro was unveiled at this past January’s CES, alongside the Chromebook Plus, with the Pro having been already rumored since October. Differences between the Plus and Pro variant can be found mainly under the hood: Plus houses an ARM processor, the Pro an Intel Core m3 chip, which packs more power. In terms of graphics, the Plus has internal graphics, presumably integrated, while the Pro packs Intel HD Graphics 515.
Google’s Chrome OS
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Pro runs on Google’s Chrome OS, a mostly internet-based software that comes with Google’s cache of cloud-based products, such as Docs, Gmail, Drive, and a handful more, all of which offer stellar synchronization features across different platforms.
Reviews for the Pro have come out ahead of its release, and they’re mostly optimistic for Samsung’s budget-priced Chromebook. CNET, in particular, is very positive about the Pro, calling it a “Chromebook for the Chromebook skeptic.”
“For the price, it’s hard to name a competing product that offers comparable features and performance,” writes CNET. The review also notes that people are generally transitioning into full usage of a cloud-based ecosystem of products, so Chromebooks, while offering a completely new operating system, feels oddly familiar.
“[A]fter five years of evolution, the Chromebook concept finally feels ready for prime time.”
Running Android Apps
There’s one stellar feature on the newest version of ChromeOS that’ll make a Chromebook believer out of a skeptic, but before that, let’s clear the Pro’s specs. This laptop has a 12.3 touchscreen with a 2,400 x 1,600 resolution. There’s 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, and of course, ChromeOS, all powered by an Intel Core m3-6y30 chip, as mentioned.
But the real deal, the real selling point, is its ability to run nearly all Android apps from the Play Store. From every new Chromebook from this month moving forward, users will no longer be limited to web-based apps. Owning a Chromebook, in other words, means opening oneself up to Google’s stellar breadth of apps on the Play Store, although some apps might not function as intended, such as Pokémon GO, Snapchat, and Uber.
Because the Pro’s screen flips 360 degrees to become a tablet, not to mention an accelerometer and gyroscope under the hood, some games that require tilting will work, as noted by Fast Company, who was steadily impressed with the device but also mentioned certain errors that were associated with running android apps on the system.
“Some individual apps are also error-prone,” with examples being Microsoft Office, which didn’t respond to scroll gestures, or 3D Labyrinth, a game which didn’t display properly on the screen. “Although Google has been asking top app makers to optimize their software, most apps still feel like they were made for phones and tablets.”
“Yet despite all of these issues and concerns, here I am using a Chromebook in ways I never did before, and wondering whether I really need a Windows laptop anymore.”
Is The Samsung Chromebook Pro A MacBook Alternative?
Forbes thinks the Pro is a serious PC and MacBook competitor, even going as far as heralding the device as poised to usurp the MacBook. While certainly a bold assumption, the Pro’s combination of a relatively cheap price point, cloud-based features, not to mention its ability to run (some) Android apps, might just be indicative that it deserves Forbes’s glowing review.
“Google’s Chromebooks keep becoming closer and closer to high-end MacBooks and PCs with each iteration,” writes Forbes, noting the stark disparity of prices between MacBooks and Chromebooks.
Reviews were particularly impressed with the Pro’s screen quality, its weight, thickness, and the ability to charge off a USB-C port. There’s also a handy stylus that comes with the Pro, which can be slid inside a dedicated slot when not in use.
Chromebooks were once thought of as backup laptops or secondary devices that didn’t hold a candle to much more powerful primary laptops. While the specs aren’t anything to boast about, the Pro packs just about the right number of features, combined with Google’s evolving ChromeOS, that’ll maybe cause it to be written off the “secondary laptops” category.
The Samsung Chromebook Pro ships in April, and the Plus, which packs slightly lower specs, comes out Feb. 12.
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, took office on Friday with a promise to fix what he called a “broken health care system” that was “harming Americans and their families.”
Mr. Price was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence just hours after the Senate, by a party-line vote of 52 to 47, confirmed his nomination in the early hours of Friday morning.
Republicans said that Mr. Price, 62, an orthopedic surgeon, would bring a physician’s insights to managing a federal agency that they said had become addicted to heavy-handed federal regulation and blind to problems spawned by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“Dr. Price has a thorough understanding of health care policy and the damage that Obamacare has caused,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, where consumers this year saw rate increases averaging 44 percent to 62 percent in the law’s marketplace.
Mr. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate health committee, said Mr. Price would be “an excellent partner” as Congress tries to devise a replacement for the health care law championed by former President Barack Obama.
Senate Democrats and the chamber’s two independents said they feared the worst, based on Mr. Price’s 12-year record as a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Georgia. They said that Mr. Price had led efforts to repeal the health care law and slow the growth of Medicare and Medicaid by shifting some costs to beneficiaries and trimming payments to some health care providers.
“This is a sad evening,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “People will look back and say that the Republicans’ war on seniors began at 2 a.m. Friday morning when the Senate unfortunately confirmed Representative Price.”
The depth of concern about Mr. Price was illustrated by the comments of Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats but is not given to hyperbole.
“To put somebody in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services that is inimical to Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — this guy is a wrecking ball,” Mr. King said. “He is not a secretary. He is going into this agency to destroy it. He wants to undercut and diminish and, in some cases, literally destroy some of the major underpinnings of providing health care to people in this country.”
By contrast, at the swearing-in ceremony, the vice president said Mr. Price had emerged as “the most principled expert on health care policy in the House of Representatives, if not the entire Congress.”
Mr. Trump said again on Friday that the Affordable Care Act was “a total and complete disaster.” With the confirmation of Mr. Price, he said, the administration will “get down to the final strokes,” devising a plan that can provide “tremendous health care at a lower price.”
In a farewell address to the House submitted for publication in the Congressional Record, Mr. Price said that, as chairman of the Budget Committee, he had begun an important effort to “fix our nation’s broken health care system” and “get Washington out of the way” of patients and doctors.
One of the first challenges facing the new secretary is to stabilize insurance markets and decide the future of financial assistance provided to insurance companies that say they have lost large amounts of money treating patients under the Affordable Care Act.
A judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims ruled on Thursday that the Obama administration had illegally reneged on a promise to pay subsidies to an Oregon insurer, Moda Health Plan. Many other insurers have filed similar claims. The Obama administration’s failure to pay the claims was cited as a reason for the collapse of many nonprofit insurance cooperatives created under the Affordable Care Act.
In the Moda case, Judge Thomas C. Wheeler ordered the government to pay $214 million that the company was expecting under a program meant to limit insurers’ losses in their first few years operating under the Affordable Care Act. Federal officials’ failure to keep their promise was “hardly worthy of our great government,” the judge wrote.
The Trump administration has not decided whether to appeal the decision.
The next prospective member of Mr. Trump’s cabinet to be voted on will be Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary nominee, on Monday evening.
Congressional reaction to Mr. Mnuchin, as to Mr. Price, has been divided along party lines. Republicans have been impressed with the former Goldman Sachs banker’s business acumen, while Democrats have argued forcefully that he is ill-equipped to steer America’s economy.
Those divisions were on stark display during Mr. Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing at the Senate Finance Committee last month, when Democrats questioned him over his business record and ultimately boycotted votes on his nomination.
The most significant concern among Democratic critics of Mr. Mnuchin was that he failed to disclose nearly $100 million of his assets and that he did not mention his role as a director of an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven.
Mr. Mnuchin has also been accused by Senate Democrats of lying to Congress when he said during his hearing that OneWest Bank did not engage in the foreclosure practice of “robo-signing” when he was its chief executive. Local news reports suggested that the bank did engage in such practices in some states.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, said on Friday that such discrepancies should disqualify Mr. Mnuchin, who she said was unlikely to look out for working-class Americans.
“There’s nothing in Mr. Mnuchin’s record to suggest that he would want to stand up to Wall Street,” Ms. Warren said in a speech on the Senate floor. “Mr. Mnuchin is the ultimate Wall Street insider.”
The families of a mentally ill teen and his neighbor blasted prosecutors’ decision to not charge the Chicago police officer who fatally shot their loved ones.
The state attorney’s office Friday afternoon said no criminal charges would be brought against Officer Robert Rialmo who shot and killed Quitonio LeGrier, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55, the day after Christmas in 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Officials said it couldn’t be proved the officer didn’t believe he or his partner were in “imminent danger” from LeGrier, who was wielding a bat when he was shot.
“There is absolutely not justification for the use of excessive force in that instance,” attorney Larry Rogers Jr., who represents Jones’ family, said. “Bettie Jones was at her home. She was in her house. She was doing everything right that day … To suggest this is a justifiable shooting is to ignore the objective evidence.”
Police on Dec. 26, 2015 responded to four 911 calls — three by LeGrier and the other by his father — for a domestic disturbance. LeGrier, a sophomore at Northern Illinois University, was staying with his father during the winter break.
Jones, who lived beneath them, answered the door when officers arrived and pointed them toward the correct apartment, but LeGrier was already coming down the stairs with an aluminum baseball bat.
“As the officers walked backward down the stairs, Rialmo’s partner tapped Rialmo on his back and told him to look out,” according to a report from the attorney’s office cited by the newspaper. “Rialmo drew his service weapon and fired eight shots toward LeGrier while backing down the front staircase.”
Jones was fatally struck once in the chest while LeGrier was shot six times.
His mother, Janet Cooksey, said she didn’t understand why the officer wasn’t charged, while his father labeled the decision “totally unacceptable” and “unfair,” the Tribune reported.
“Quitinio did the right thing. He called for help,” Cooksey said. “He called for help not one time, not two, but three (times.) He called for help to get shot… and yet this cop is not going to jail?”
Rialmo both defended his actions and expressed his regret.
“I have always known in my heart that I did not do anything wrong,” the officer said in a statement shared by his attorney. “I wish that Mr. LeGrier would have been able to get help and treatment for his mental illness and that the situation did not escalate to the point where I had no choice but to use deadly force.”
He added that he does not expect the loved ones of those he killed to forgive what he did.
“Being right does not make it any less of a tragedy that two people are dead and I was the cause of their deaths,” Rialmo said. “I will have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
The U.S. Department of Justice in a recent report said the deaths of LeGrier and Jones “laid bare the failures in CPD’s crisis response systems,” and noted issues including the dispatcher’s inability to identify LeGrier as mentally ill and Rialmo and his partner’s lack of proper crisis intervention technique, the Tribune reported.
The attorney’s office in its review of the case said a conviction would require proving Rialmo did not believe he and his partner were in danger, even though LeGrier had a bat — which is considered to be a deadly weapon — when the shooting occurred, according to the news paper.
“The uncontrverted evidence from the investigation into the shooting establishes that LeGrier was armed with an aluminum baseball bat when officers encountered him,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement, “and LeGrier wielded the bat in a threatening manner while in their close proximity.”
Yesterday, President Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was sworn into his office. Trump used the occasion to sign three executive orders relating to crime. In this post, I want to briefly scrutinize these orders and explain what impact they may have on our criminal justice system.
One order calls for the creation of a task force on crime reduction. The new Attorney General will appoint people to the task force and they will meet and discuss ideas and make recommendations for Trump. A second order is titled “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers.” This order is also about exploring new ideas and strategies to “enhance the protection and safety” of law enforcement officers. The third order concerns enforcing federal law against transnational criminal organizations that employ violence and derive revenue “through widespread illegal conduct.” Working groups will be established to discuss ideas and make recommendations to Attorney General Sessions and President Trump.
To begin, these executive orders do not, by themselves, raise any legal or constitutional problems. Sometimes presidents use executive orders to usurp the lawmaking power that is assigned to the Congress. These orders do not fall into that category. These orders only concern the apparatus of the executive branch itself. Trump wants to make sure the Department of State, Homeland Security, and Justice Department are sharing information and coordinating their efforts, for example. There’s no new law or restriction that applies to persons in the U.S. that did not already exist last week.
Second, Trump’s orders are also fairly conventional. This is what Republican presidents usually do. President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush created task forces and working groups to make recommendations about how to better organize the government and fight crime.
Third, one can also fairly say that Trump is simply following through on his campaign promises. Illegal immigration was the centerpiece of his candidacy and these orders are mostly about the specifics. It is true that many people from Mexico and Central America try to make it to the U.S. on their own. Yet it is also true that there are transnational criminal organizations that are in the business of human smuggling. Trump wants recommendations on how to strengthen and improve the government’s efforts to combat these organizations. No major surprise about that.
All in all, some might say that the orders are “no big deal.”
Well, not so fast. There are several reasons that supporters of limited, constitutional government ought to be concerned about the orders that Trump signed yesterday. For the past 30 years, the Right has been sounding the alarm about the growth of government and the federalization of crime. In the landmark Lopez ruling, the Rehnquist Court invalidated the first federal criminal law in 60 years because it was simply beyond Congress’s power to enact. Former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese has testified about the sorry shape of the federal criminal code and the need to scale it back. The Federalist Society has also drawn attention to that problem.
Trump and Sessions seem not only uninterested, they seem intent on exacerbating the problem. The orders instruct the task forces and working groups to see whether existing laws are “adequate” and to recommend legislation “defining new crimes” for the president’s consideration and signature. Same thing with the federal “funding programs.” If they’re not adequate, bring the president budgetary proposals. Note that the budget of the Department of Justice has been on on upward trajectory for many, many years. The Trump administration seems to want that growth to continue.
Trump’s heart may be in the right place. He notes the awful circumstances in so many of our cities for poor minorities who have to live in violent neighborhoods and attend lousy schools. Unfortunately, Trump seems to view the Constitution’s separation and division of powers as bugs instead of features. To paraphrase The Cato Handbook for Policymakers, the identification of a problem does not mean that the government should undertake to solve it, and the fact that a problem occurs in more than one state (carjackings, lousy schools, obesity, termites) does not mean that it is a proper subject for federal policy.
We will be sending complimentary copies of the Handbook to President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and all members of Congress to remind them that the federal government is already too big, and that our fundamental law, the Constitution (to say nothing about our fiscal crisis), requires recommendations for downsizing federal operations.