Thursday, July 27, 2017

Chris Christie

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Classic Corruption
Ain't nothing like a little corruption to bring the two parties together.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to force the state’s largest health insurance company to dole out $300 million for a drug addiction treatment program for the poor, an egregious cash grab that media outlets call a “shake down” and “extortion.” Judicial Watch has launched an investigation into the Republican governor’s outrageous targeting of a nonprofit healthcare provider, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, that functions as a tax-paying health services corporation with nearly 4 million policyholders.

Here’s some background before getting into the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request filed by Judicial Watch last week; months ago, Christie launched a peculiar campaign to dig into Horizon’s multi-billion-dollar surplus to fund addiction programs as part of an effort to crack down on the state’s opioid epidemic. The unusual plan has encountered fierce opposition from a multitude of sources, including Democrats and Republicans, not to mention Horizon and the insurance industry in general. Christie has kept pushing, insisting that legislation be introduced to force Horizon to fund his dubious addiction experiment. A local newspaper reported that New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto refuses to support such a measure, calling it a “bad bill”

The same newspaper article said that “Christie’s push to get some money from Horizon included a news conference on Wednesday to spotlight $15.5 million in citations against Horizon over its Medicaid contract compliance with the state, which the governor says predates his effort to use their surplus. He said the citations show that his proposal, which also includes adding board members and requiring the insurer to post information online, is needed.” However, Christie refused to reveal the citations and when the media tried to obtain them through the Open Public Records Act, the governor’s office asserted that “contractual obligations” prevented the release of the documents. Information involving the mysterious multi-million-dollar fine levied against Horizon is among the records Judicial Watch has requested from the Office of the Governor.

When disclosing the citations didn’t work, Christie threatened to withhold school funding unless state lawmakers pushed through legislation giving him $300 million from Horizon and power to add four political appointees to its board of directors. A local news report said Christie threw “an 11th-hour grenade” into state budget negotiations and called his Horizon cash grab a “raid.” This week a state Senate committee voted to allow the governor to control how much surplus Horizon may keep. “The state could require this extraordinary amount of control because Horizon’s charter would be changed to say it “shall have a charitable mission … to fulfill its obligation as an insurer of last resort in this state,” a local newspaper article states. The Assembly would still have to approve the measure and that seems unlikely according to the speaker’s public comments.

Many wonder what is really driving this issue for Christie. Why is the governor hitting a nonprofit healthcare provider with an excellent rating and modest reserves? Sources with firsthand knowledge of the situation tell Judicial Watch that the real story involves New Jersey insurance magnate George E. Norcross, who is chairman of the board of Cooper University Hospital in Camden and owns a piece of AmeriHealth, a small money-losing New Jersey insurer. Norcross is also Executive Chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew, one of the nation’s premier insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokerage and consulting firms. He’s been trying to force Horizon to buy the ailing AmeriHealth firm, sources tell Judicial Watch, but Horizon has refused.

Christie’s former chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, works for Norcross at Cooper University Hospital. His official title is senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Judicial Watch’s public-records request asks for all communications between Christie, his current chief of staff, Amy Cradic, Norcross and O’Dowd concerning Horizon from June 2016 to date. This includes records regarding, concerning, or related to the following: The activities, operations, and/or management of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Inc; The activities, operations, and/or management of AmeriHealth Insurance Company of New Jersey, Inc; The activities, operations, and/or management of Cooper University Hospital and/or Cooper University Health Care; The activities, operations, and/or management of Conner Strong & Buckelew; The $15.5 million fine recently levied against Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Inc; Any proposed legislative or regulatory changes that would significantly impact Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Inc.’s operations. This includes, but is not limited to, the proposals to alter the composition of the company’s board of directors and to reallocate a portion of the company’s financial reserves for public use.

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VP Pick

Last week was a horrible week in America, and for a brief time period, we all focused on the five fallen officers in Dallas.

As we move forward from that tragic event, people are focusing back in on the elections as Donald Trump plans to make his VP pick this week.

Donald Trump spoke to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday and announced that he has narrowed it down to three potential candidates.

The final three are Indiana Governor Mike Pence, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and surprisingly, Chris Christie is still one of his top picks.

Donald Trump recognizes his lack of political experience and wants to have a running mate that has experience as a governor and a leader.

Donald likes Chris Christie because he is a tough guy and Trump even called him a “fighter”. Chris Christie is also the first of the GOP primary opponents to back Trump during the campaign.

Governor Mike Pence could be the front-runner according to some close to Trump. Pence is relatively unknown to the masses, but again Trump likes his “fighting spirit” and he could be fresh face with a lot of experience.

Mike Pence has been on the campaign trail this week with Donald Trump in what some are calling a tryout.

His last pick of this top three is Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker is a guy that knows how to fight the Clintons. He did it in the 1990’s.

Newt is a smart guy and some of the top GOP donors and members are pushing Trump to take Newt.

With the GOP Convention starting next week, Donald Trump said he will make a decision and announce his VP pick before the weekend. Most people close to the campaign, think the decision will happen Friday.

This is a big moment for Trump. He is closing the gap on Hillary in the polls and the right VP choice could really help bring new people to his camp. This is a big decision.

Who do you think Trump should pick? Take the poll below and then let us know why you picked that person in the comments below.

Who do you think Trump should pick for his running mate?

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Christie

Following the GOP debate in Houston, Texas, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stood behind a podium next to presidential frontrunner Donald Trump to throw an endorsement his way.

The move and timing for Trump was brilliant as it sucked all media attention his way following a heated debate performance.

Christie gave the endorsement without looking for anything in trade, saying he’ll finish his term as governor through 2018 then plans to retire from politics.

Before dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination, Christie was polling near Jeb Bush with 3% national support.

While the endorsement is no guarantee that Trump will garner former Chris Christie supporters, it is a paradigm shift in elected leaders supporting the real estate mogul.

Two members of Congress threw their support behind Trump following the Nevada caucus.

Representatives Chris Collins from New York and Duncan Hunter from California endorsed Trump earlier in the week.

No Senate colleagues of Ted Cruz have given the Texan his endorsement, yet 25 members of the House of Representatives endorsed him earlier in the year.

Ten senators have endorsed Marco Rubio.

Outside of politics, Donald Trump has racked up an impressive list of “blue collar” celebrity supporters including Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase, Bob Knight, Jerry Lawler, Tito Ortiz, Latrell Sprewell, Mike Tyson and Herschel Walker.

The New York billionaire also has a mix of support from Joe Arpaio, Phyllis Schlafly, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and even the infamous Paula Jones.

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chris-christie

Things aren’t looking up for presidential candidate Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey.

Not only are his poll numbers–and fundraising totals–tanking, but the one-time frontrunner now found himself kicked out of the quiet car on an Amtrak train.

Christie, who wasn’t able to get the seat he wanted, sat down in the quiet car with his McDonald’s. He called his secret service detail to yell at them for botching his train reservation.

Phone calls–let alone loud and angry phone calls–are not allowed in the quiet car, and Christie was asked by the conductor to get off the phone or leave the car. Christie chose to do the latter.

One of his fellow passengers, Alexander Mann, reported to Gawker what exactly went down:

“He got on last minute yelling at his two secret service agents I think because of a seat mixup, sat down and immediately started making phone calls on the quiet car. After about 10 minutes the conductor asked him to stop or go to another car. He got up and walked out again yelling at his secret service. He was drinking a McDonald’s strawberry smoothie.”

Mann added that Christie’s phone conversation included the repetition of phrases like, “This is frickin’ ridiculous” and, “Seriously?! seriously?!”

It’s unclear whether Christie’s seating arrangement got resolved–but he didn’t return the quiet car for the rest of the trip.

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Rand-Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the libertarian-leaning candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, took the gloves off on Thursday night’s debate.

Paul–who has seen his poll numbers and fundraising totals crater over the last few months–decided to go for broke, and squarely attacked his opponents on the debate stage.

His fiercest fight came when he got into a tough match with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, after Christie advocated for continued government collection of phone records in order to combat terrorism.

Paul, who has been a fierce opponent of the NSA’s domestic wiretapping, shot back: “I want to collect more records from terrorists from less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the revolution over. John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence. And I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights! And I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights!”

Christie responded: “That’s a completely ridiculous answer…. How are you supposed to know [which records are from terrorists]?”

Shouting over Christie, Paul countered, “Use the Fourth Amendment! Use the Fourth Amendment! Get a warrant! Get a judge to sign a warrant! Use the Constitution!”

Rand Paul’s campaign has been under increasing strain over the last few weeks.

Aside from his poll numbers, he’s seen a top aide get indicted and his father’s former director of fundraising pen a scathing editorial about how the younger Paul was apparently abandoning libertarian principles during his presidential run.

Only time will tell whether Rand Paul’s aggressive debate performance will help him regain the ground he’s lost over the past few weeks–or if it will further turn off the Republican base to his beliefs.

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