Washington Free Beacon


    Dem Rep: McCain Will Make ‘Good Choices’ on Health Care Because He’s ‘Staring Death in the Face’


    Rep. Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.) told a group of voters he doesn't think Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) will vote with the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare because "he's staring death in the face right now." The comments, flagged...

    Rep. Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.) told a group of voters he doesn't think Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) will vote with the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare because "he's staring death in the face right now."

    The comments, flagged by the Washington Examiner, came at a town hall meeting Tuesday at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Tamaqua, Penn.

    "McCain I'm worried about. Also because the governor of Arizona came out in favor of the Lindsey Graham-Bill Cassidy bill so that puts pressure on McCain," Cartwright said.

    Then, Cartwright said that he has hopes for Arizona's senior senator.

    "But, man, something tells me McCain, he's staring death in the face right now, so he's probably going to make good choices and he's not going to bend to political pressure," he said.

    The comment comes two weeks after McCain returned full-time to the Senate after receiving treatment for brain cancer. McCain's diagnosis became public in July.

    He joined two other Republicans in voting against the "skinny repeal" of Obamacare in July, dooming the measure as Republicans could only afford to lose two GOP votes.

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    Sanders Inclusion in Healthcare Debate Riles Dems


    CNN's announced debate over the new GOP healthcare bill has left congressional Democrats and reporters aghast at Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presence on the stage. The debate, pitting bill authors Sen. Linsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy...

    CNN's announced debate over the new GOP healthcare bill has left congressional Democrats and reporters aghast at Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presence on the stage.

    The debate, pitting bill authors Sen. Linsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R., La.), against Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Sanders, will take place September 25 at 9:00 p.m., CNN announced.

    Graham and Cassidy's bill is aimed at rolling back Obamacare ahead of the simple-majority reconciliation deadline on September 30. It focuses primarily on devolving responsibility for healthcare to the states. Sanders, meanwhile, has spearheaded efforts to introduce a "Medicare-for-all" healthcare system in a bill backed by 15 of his Senate colleagues.

    Sanders's support for a single-payer system is part of why his presence in the debate is alarming Democrats. The Republican National Committee's talking points in support of the Graham-Cassidy bill make extensive reference to Sanders and his alternative proposal.

    Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Topher Spiro, a leading voice on Twitter in support of Obamacare, thinks the debate will do harm to its chances of survival.

    Thanks for nothing CNN. https://t.co/XAzuVOqU9R

    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) September 21, 2017

    Tommy Vietor, an Obama speechwriter, also expressed frustration with the news of the CNN debate.

    I'm not sure single payer vs Graham-Cassidy is the debate we want right now. https://t.co/toBHvusHug

    — Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) September 21, 2017

    Some journalists reported that Democrats expressed frustration over the debate.

    A Democrat weighs in: "The only way Graham and Cassidy can pass their bill is a distraction. Bernie is serving one up on a silver platter." https://t.co/uYsAzyY1Y1

    — Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 21, 2017

    (It took 30 seconds for a Dem aide to text, worrying: "Republicans get to frame it as single payer vs their alternative in prime time.")

    — Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) September 21, 2017

    Dem source: "This is exactly the debate Graham & Cassidy want to have. Sanders is looking out for himself rather than being a team player" https://t.co/o8wQ7sZqFN

    — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 21, 2017

    And journalists in general suggested that fielding Sanders was a bad idea for Democrats.

    Graham and Cassidy want this to be Rs vs. Ds — not Rs vs. Rs. And Sanders on stage helps them make it about single payer, his true love. https://t.co/5zaOF1hsvL

    — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 21, 2017

    Why on earth would Democrats want to feed into the idea this is somehow a binary choice between single payer (Bernie) and Graham/Cassidy??? https://t.co/WVp3ddFnu7

    — Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) September 21, 2017

    Dems already worrying this will allow Rs to frame bill as alt to single-payer.

    Quiet griping that Sanders jumped gun likely to grow louder. https://t.co/vhPolFkGZx

    — Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) September 21, 2017

    The debate will be broadcasted live from Washington, D.C. CNN’s Jake Tapper will moderate, alongside CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

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    Inside the Ring: ‘Steering Casualty’ Behind USS McCain Collision


    Investigators probing the deadly collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker last month believe the primary cause was a loss of steering control and the crew’s failure to compensate. Preliminary results of the...

    Investigators probing the deadly collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker last month believe the primary cause was a loss of steering control and the crew’s failure to compensate.

    Preliminary results of the investigation into the collision show that the two ships hit as the result of what the Navy calls a "steering casualty," a Navy official tells Inside the Ring.

    Navy ship drivers and crews routinely practice what to do when steering controls on a warship are lost. The first step is immediately shifting to secondary, manual steering, where sailors in the stern of the ship are directed by internal phone commands from the bridge to manually turn the rudder a number of degrees right or left.

    Read the entire article at the Washington Times.

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    45 National Security Experts Urge Trump to Withdraw from Iran Deal


    A group of some 45 national security experts signed a letter, released Tuesday, calling on President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. The letter, released by the Center for Security Policy, called on Trump to withdraw the U.S. from...

    A group of some 45 national security experts signed a letter, released Tuesday, calling on President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

    The letter, released by the Center for Security Policy, called on Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the so-called "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) using a plan proposed by former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. It also asks Trump to not certify that Iran has been in compliance with the agreement.

    Trump has in recent weeks renewed his criticism of the deal, which he attacked vehemently on the campaign trail. Amid speculation that he might refuse to certify compliance at the upcoming October 15 deadline, Trump slammed the JCPOA in front of the United Nations on Tuesday.

    "The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into," Trump said in his speech. "Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me."

    The letter's signatories criticized the JCPOA as allowing Iran to continue to pursue the development of nuclear weapons, having weak verification provisions to ensure Iran's compliance, and ignoring Iran's "increasingly destabilizing behavior."

    "After the JCPOA, Iran’s behavior has significantly worsened," the letter reads. "Tehran stepped up its ballistic missile program and missile launches.  There was a 90% increase in Iran’s 2016-2017 military budget.  Iran has increased its support to terrorist groups and sent troops into Syria.  Harassment of shipping in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea also increased, including missiles fired at U.S. and Gulf state ships by the Houthi rebels, an Iranian proxy in Yemen."

    The letter also highlights the possibility that Iran is sharing nuclear technology with North Korea, which has undertaken a series of escalating nuclear and missile tests in the past several months, provoking sanctions from the international community. It further expresses suspicion at the prospect of Iran ever allowing renegotiation of the terms of the deal, in spite of some analysts' claims to the contrary.

    "The day will never come when the mullahs agree to amend the sweetheart deal they got in the JCPOA," the signatories write.

    The Bolton plan, which the letter's signatories endorse, alleges that Iran has violated the terms of the JCPOA, and advocates for a withdrawal focused on incorporating key allies — including Saudi Arabia and Israel — and waging a diplomatic campaign to "ensure continued emphasis on the Iran threat as a top diplomatic and strategic priority."

    Among the letter's signers are a number of national security notables, including several former under secretaries of defense, a former director of White House science and technology policy, one general, and one admiral.

    The post 45 National Security Experts Urge Trump to Withdraw from Iran Deal appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

    Nikki Haley on North Korea: ‘We’re Not Going to Run Scared’


    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Thursday that "we're not going to run scared" if faced with a North Korean military strike on the U.S. Haley's comments were prompted by a reporter's question as to what circumstances would lead to...

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Thursday that "we're not going to run scared" if faced with a North Korean military strike on the U.S.

    Haley's comments were prompted by a reporter's question as to what circumstances would lead to military action against North Korea.

    "When the president had spoken in his speech about totally destroying North Korea if forced to defend ourselves or allies, what exactly did he mean? Under what circumstances would he consider totally destroying North Korea?" the reporter asked.

    "Well, I think that's just common sense," Haley said.

    She explained that war was undesirable, a point the administration has made repeatedly.

    "I mean, if you look at it, we have said multiple times— the president said it, members of his team have said it, we don't want war. That's the last thing anyone wants. We don't want loss of life. That's the last thing anyone wants," she said.

    However, Haley made clear, this doesn't mean the administration is taking a hands-off approach to North Korea.

    "But at the same time, we're not going to run scared. If for any reason North Korea attacks the United States or our allies, the U.S. will respond. Period. That's what's going to happen," Haley said.

    She explained that the U.S. will continue to use diplomatic measures to crack down on North Korea "until we can get them to come to the negotiating table."

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    ‘Nonpartisan’ Group Offering Help to D.C. Whistleblowers Connected to Progressives


    A newly formed "nonpartisan" legal nonprofit that "arose out of concern emanating from the Trump administration" with numerous connections to liberal outfits and public figures has launched a full-scale public relations effort in Washington, D.C.,...

    A newly formed "nonpartisan" legal nonprofit that "arose out of concern emanating from the Trump administration" with numerous connections to liberal outfits and public figures has launched a full-scale public relations effort in Washington, D.C., promoting its services of offering help to whistleblowers who come forward with information on government wrongdoing.

    Whistleblower Aid, the legal nonprofit, seeks to help potential whistleblowers navigate legal avenues if they were to come forward.

    "Today our Republic is under threat. Whistleblower Aid is committed to protecting the rule of law in the United States and around the world," the website states.

    John Tye, a former government whistleblower at the U.S. Department of State, is a cofounder of Whistleblower Aid. Tye previously worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based liberal nonprofit that is now perhaps best known for its "hate map," which has come under fire for listing mainstream conservative groups alongside racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Tye also worked at Avaaz, a liberal organization that pushes global activism on issues such as climate change.

    Mark Zaid, a Maryland-based attorney who represented Tye and other whistleblowers and who is the nonprofit's other cofounder, is the executive director of another group called the James Madison Project, the website of which lists John Podesta as being on its board of advisers. Zaid also made donations in the past to his local Democratic Party in Maryland.

    Zaid spoke to the Washington Free Beacon on his group's efforts and their liberal connections, which have yet to be discussed in depth in news stories about the group.

    "What prompted the organization to be founded is John Tye's experiences as being a whistleblower himself in 2014 when I represented him," said Zaid. "A more, let's say intense community now since Donald Trump was elected president. It's completely a nonpartisan, apolitical organization. It really doesn't make a difference if it exposed Democrat or Republican wrongdoing or misconduct, but I think it is fair to say that it arose out of concerns emanating from the Trump administration."

    When asked why the group was not founded prior to the Trump Administration—given President Obama's use of the Espionage Act to crack down on whistleblowers more than any previous administration—Zaid said that he doesn't believe that's what Obama was doing.

    "I'm on record giving many speeches that I don't think that's at all what Obama was doing. I don't think that there was a war against whistleblowers, I don't think he abused the Espionage Act. I don't think all the people he prosecuted were whistleblowers," said Zaid. "I've represented a number of people who were prosecuted under the Espionage Act and what the Obama administration did was just what any prior administration would have loved to have done and that was to go after leakers."

    The Obama administration was widely considered among the most secretive and least transparent presidencies in recent American history by members of the media.

    The group does not list any supporters or funders on its website. Zaid said that he does not know who is funding the group when asked how they are raising money. Tye is in charge of its financial side, he said.

    When the Free Beacon asked for comment on his relationship with John Podesta—given Podesta is listed on his other group's website as an adviser—Zaid said he has not talked to Podesta in nearly two decades.

    "I thought I took it off the website. So when I founded it in 1998, I asked him to join the board of advisers. I think he came on around '99 or 2000 and I literally haven't spoken to him since," he said. "So the board of advisers was always meant to have some big names and people that would have some prestige, associated people that were in the community and Podesta was—and still is I think—a very big advocate for transparency. But he hasn't had any communications with us in literally almost two decades."

    Zaid has made more than $3,400 in contributions to his local Democratic Party in Maryland, with the most recent in 2014. Zaid said that they were not outright "donations", but money he paid into silent auctions at annual spring balls for the Democratic Party that he attended as a guest.

    The money was for items such as alcohol and trips, he said. Zaid added that he previously represented right-leaning organizations and advised Republican committees.

    "All of those donations were my winnings in the silent auction, which were usually alcohol and Disney trips," he said. He added politicians would auction off lunches and that he won a lunch with then representative Democrat Chris Van Hollen (Md.). His law firm covered the costs for the Van Hollen lunch, he said, because it was for work-related purposes. Zaid said he testified in front of Van Hollen and that he supported whistleblowers and classification reform.

    "They're listed as donations, but they're not what I would consider donations to the Democratic Party to help them," he said.

    Whistleblower Aid is currently promoting their legal group all around the Washington, D.C., area, including on the metro and outside of the White House.

    "For a month, there are ads in the D.C. metro and half the railcars. For this week, there are individuals walking around the White House general region with cards and whistles, as well as, I believe, two trucks that have billboards on them that are driving around the White House, Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA," he said. "And as well there was an—a full-page, back page ad—in the Express, which is the Washington Post's free newspaper publication that they hand out at the metros."

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    Valerie Plame Wilson Fundraised for Clinton Campaign


    Valerie Plame Wilson, a former CIA operative who sparked outrage by tweeting out an anti-Semitic article Thursday, fundraised for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign. The New York Times reported in August 2015,...

    Valerie Plame Wilson, a former CIA operative who sparked outrage by tweeting out an anti-Semitic article Thursday, fundraised for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign.

    The New York Times reported in August 2015, "Valerie Plame Is Among Hillary Clinton’s September Fund-Raisers."

    "Hillary Rodham Clinton will make a two-day swing across the West Coast to raise money next month, where her campaign will hold a fund-raiser with the exposed former C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame," reported the Times‘ Maggie Haberman.

    Originally the Times reported that Clinton herself would be attending the fundraiser. A correction the next day clarified that, while the fundraiser would took place during Clinton's California swing, she would not be present.

    Plame Wilson, who first made headlines when she was outed as a covert intelligence officer by a Bush administration official in 2003, caused controversy of her own by tweeting out a story that claimed American Jews were "driving America's wars."

    At first, Plame Wilson doubled down and defended the article, which claimed that Jews should be banned from holding U.S. diplomatic positions in the Middle East, and should be forced to identify themselves as Jewish on cable television.

    1) First of all, calm down. Re-tweets don't imply endorsement. Yes, very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish. https://t.co/m5oGgKPo2a

    — Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) September 21, 2017

    2) Just FYI, I am of Jewish decent. I am not in favor of war with Iran, or getting out of the Iran nuclear treaty. There are simply https://t.co/AR3Jsl1yml

    — Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) September 21, 2017

    3) too many who are so ready to go to war. Haven't we had enough for awhile?
    4) Read the entire article and try, just for a moment, to https://t.co/wyd3uJ06nt

    — Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) September 21, 2017

    put aside your biases and think clearly. https://t.co/dHsVF8ZCH6

    — Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) September 21, 2017

    Ultimately though, Plame Wilson admitted her error and apologized.

    OK folks, look, I messed up. I skimmed this piece, zeroed in on the neocon criticism, and shared it without seeing and considering the rest.

    — Valerie Plame Wilson (@ValeriePlame) September 21, 2017

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    ‘Thank Goodness’ for Kate Upton, Fiancé Tells ESPN

    ‘Thank Goodness’ for Kate Upton, Fiancé Tells ESPN


    Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander praised his future wife Kate Upton repeatedly during an interview on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. "Thank goodness my fiancé Kate was there," Verlander said of the night he had to decide whether or not to leave...

    Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander praised his future wife Kate Upton repeatedly during an interview on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.

    "Thank goodness my fiancé Kate was there," Verlander said of the night he had to decide whether or not to leave the Detroit Tigers, where he had played for the previous 13 seasons.

    Once Verlander decided he was ready to go, Upton was nothing but supportive. Her words were so enthusiastically supportive, in fact, that Verlander had to censor them during his interview.

    "Finally, I'm still pacing and I just stop and I look at Kate and I go, ‘Screw it, we're going to Houston,' and she's like, "Heck yeah,'" Verlander said. "I'm kinda trying to say the right language here, but she says, ‘Heck yeah, we're going."

    ESPN, in a surprisingly wise editorial decision, brought the conversation back to Upton.

    "I want to go back to one thing," said host Tony Kornheiser. "If Kate's not there, if you don't have that from her, do you still make that decision?"

    "She was extremely supportive of whatever decision I made," Verlander said.

    Verlander is undefeated in his three starts since being traded to Houston. In 21 innings pitched he has allowed just two earned runs and struck out 26 batters.

    Upton has been equally impressive, stealing the show during the team's playoff-clinching celebration by kissing Verlander through the protective netting.

    GO ASTROS! Congrats on clinching the playoffs! #houstonstrong @astrosbaseball @justinverlander ❤️❤️

    A post shared by Kate Upton (@kateupton) on Sep 18, 2017 at 1:32pm PDT

    Upton has also emerged as one of the teams most passionate fans.

    Kate Upton gives crowd the thumbs up at Minute Maid Park on September 17, 2017 in Houston, Texas / Photo by Bob Levey, Getty Images

    She has also already been hit on by mascot Orbit.

    Soooooo……uhhhhhh……my bad. Friends? #Awkward https://t.co/R1i4VmfmA5

    — Houston Astros Orbit (@OrbitAstros) September 1, 2017

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    Health Insurers in Illinois Request Premium Rate Hikes Averaging 35%


    Health care insurers in Illinois have requested an average premium rate hike of 35 percent for next year, according to the state's insurance commissioner. The four insurers serving the individual market in Illinois are Celtic Insurance Company, CIGNA...

    Health care insurers in Illinois have requested an average premium rate hike of 35 percent for next year, according to the state's insurance commissioner.

    The four insurers serving the individual market in Illinois are Celtic Insurance Company, CIGNA HealthCare of Illinois, Health Alliance Medical Plans (HAMP), and Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC). Humana has announced earlier this year it was leaving the Illinois exchange.

    For Obamacare's lowest silver-plan, the four insurers are requesting a range of 15 to 43 percent in premium hikes, coming to an average of 35 percent.

    A 21-year-old nonsmoker on the lowest cost silver-plan with Celtic Insurance can expect to see premiums of $315.33. For those with Cigna coverage, an individual in this category could expect to see a range of premiums of $448.97 to $344.23. Individuals with HAMP coverage can expect their premiums to go up from a range of $423.96 to $446.71. Those covered by HCSC can expect premiums to increase from a range of $358.46 to $520.94.

    For those purchasing the second-lowest silver plan, the commissioner says many counties will see increases of more than 40 percent.

    In October of last year, the Obama administration announced that premiums for 2017 would rise by double-digits. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, rate increases are a result of the increasing number of insurers experiencing losses on the exchanges.

    "Years before the Trump administration came to office, Obamacare’s double-digit rate increases and onerous mandates have been squeezing the pocket books of the American people," a spokesperson at the Department of Health and Human Services said.

    "Americans are once again facing skyrocketing costs and plummeting choices because of Obamacare’s fundamental failures," the spokesperson said. "Congress should bring relief to American families and end the Obamacare nightmare once and for all."

    The post Health Insurers in Illinois Request Premium Rate Hikes Averaging 35% appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

    Convicted Terrorist Deported, Upsetting Women’s March Organizers


    The organizers of the left-wing Women's March are upset after American authorities deported a convicted terrorist to Jordan. Rasmea Odeh was convicted in 1970 of two bombings in Jerusalem, the Associated Press reports. One of the bombings killed two men...

    The organizers of the left-wing Women's March are upset after American authorities deported a convicted terrorist to Jordan.

    Rasmea Odeh was convicted in 1970 of two bombings in Jerusalem, the Associated Press reports. One of the bombings killed two men at a supermarket. Odeh pled guilty to the charges; although, she has since made unproven claims that she was tortured into confessing.

    Odeh was sentenced to life in prison, but in 1979, was released during a prisoner swap with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

    In 1994, Odeh applied for a U.S. visa without mentioning her criminal convictions as was mandated. When she applied for citizenship in 2004, she again failed to mention her prior convictions.

    In 2014, Odeh was convicted of lying, but the conviction was overturned. Instead of having a second trial, Odeh made a deal with U.S. officilas to plead guilty to misleading American immigration officials. Under the deal, she wouldn't go to prison, but would lose her American citizenship and be deported.

    U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain, in 2015, attempted to excuse Odeh's actions.

    "Technically she was a terrorist," Drain said. "But looking at Ms. Odeh's recent history, I'm convinced she's really been involved in a lot of good works."

    Odeh was a political activist, and the associate director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago.

    Her supporters were at O'Hare International Airport on Tuesday as she prepared to be sent back to Jordan.

    "Thank you for all you did for me," Odeh said to supporters. "What happened is unjust, it's inhuman. They tried to destroy my life, but they will not destroy me."

    Women's March Iowa posted a tweet in strong support of the convicted terrorist.

    We cannot express the amount of sorrow felt, a broken system deported an amazing activist & organizer #HonorRasmea https://t.co/EE1H8RAwna pic.twitter.com/elFg3mrmgE

    — WomensMarchIA (@WomensMarchIA) September 20, 2017

    The coordinator of Odeh's defense committee, Hatem Abudayyeh, called to "liberate" Palestine.

    "We will liberate Palestine," Abudayyeh said. "We will liberate Palestine because of the Rasmea Odehs of the world."

    Odeh is not the first convicted terrorist to receive support from organizers of the Women's March. Organization leaders also celebrated Assata Shakur, who was convicted in 1977 of killing a police officer before she escaped from prison and fled to Cuba.

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