My Gob Done Been Smacked

This piece by Shaun King on Peyton Manning and his sexual assault and subsequent attempts to ruin the life of his victim, along with help from his father, is your must read today:

On Feb. 29 of that year, Naughright, at that point the university’s director of health and wellness, was in a training room, examining what she thought might be a possible stress fracture in Manning’s foot. At 6 feet, 5 inches, his feet dangled off the edge of the table. Manning allegedly then proceeded to scoot down the training table while Naughright examined his foot. At that point, she said, he forcefully maneuvered his naked testicles and rectum directly on her face with his penis on top of her head. Shocked, disgusted, and offended, Naughright pushed Manning away, removing her head out from under him (see pages 14-15). Within hours, she reported the incident to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville (see page 18).

According to the court records, Manning initially denied the incident ever took place. It was a calculated risk. He was the star quarterback, a Heisman trophy hopeful, and a likely No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. While Naughright was now a respected member of the staff, Manning was the star, the savior of Tennessee football. It was his word against hers.

When Rollo learned of the complaint, he allegedly concocted a story that Manning actually pulled down his pants to moon another student-athlete, Malcolm Saxon, who was nearby. According to Rollo, after mooning the student, Naughright just happened to move her head right into Manning’s pelvic region. Rollo acknowledged under oath that he was the first person to use the word “mooning.”

One person, though, could settle all of this: Malcolm Saxon.

And, in fact, he did settle it. In an affidavit, Saxon refuted Manning’s story and made it clear that Manning never mooned him. In a letter to Manning, Saxon, who stated that he lost his eligibility as a student-athlete over it, practically begged him to come forward and tell the truth (see page 20). Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

“First, I have stuck to my same story throughout this drama. I told Mike Rollo the next day and Coach Fulmer a week or two afterwards. I had nothing to hide at that point and I have nothing to hide today. I have never been on Jamie’s side or on your side (contrary to what the athletic department was telling you and telling her). I stuck to the truth and I lost my eligibility for it. My redshirt request sat on Mike Rollo’s desk for months as the process was going forward. I’m not angry about it anymore, just getting a little tired of it!!

“Peyton, you messed up. I still don’t know why you dropped your drawers. Maybe it was a mistake, maybe not. But it was definitely inappropriate. Please take some personal responsibility here and own up to what you did. I never understood why you didn’t admit to it….”

Saxon goes on to tell Peyton things like:

“Coming clean is the right thing to do.

Peyton didn’t come clean, though. Instead, he and his father dedicated the next 20 years to ruining this woman’s life.

It’s appalling, and I can not believe it hasn’t been discussed in more detail.

Open Thread: Who Says Debates Don’t Get Results?

This seems significant, if only for the record books:

Officials at Concerned Veterans of America are lashing back at the two Democratic presidential frontrunners a day after both panned the group’s proposals in a national debate…

CVA has advocated restructuring the Veterans Health Administration as an independent entity and giving veterans more access to private care options with federal dollars, both radical shifts from the current system. But they reject the accusation that the plans amount to “privatization” of the department…

CVA officials have repeatedly declined to discuss funding sources and trustee information for the group, but numerous news reports have linked the group to the Koch brothers network of conservative activist organizations.

Both Sanders and Clinton — along with numerous mainstream veterans groups — have promised to fight privatization of VA services. CVA officials have said privatization and offering more health care choices are distinctly different things.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Democratic National Committee officials supported Sanders and Clinton.

“The jig is up,” said Eric Walker, spokesman for the DNC. “Vets shouldn’t be fooled by a right-wing front group whose main objective is not helping veterans, but electing Republicans like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and others who support privatizing the VA.”

In recent months, CVA officials have held a series of town halls to discuss their reform proposals, which have sometimes doubled as campaign events for Republican presidential hopefuls…

Am I over-optimistic?

Trump’s Charity of Choice

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned about the whole Trump skipping the debate nonsense, which has basically dominated our news cycle for the last 48 hours because it is so much easier to pay someone a few bucks to sit and wank on tv than it is to actually go out and report things, is the choice of which veterans charity Trump is using in his little dick measuring contest with Roger Ailes- the Wounded Warrior project.

When we last talked about these shitbirds, this is what they were up to:

The founder of a small Pennsylvania charity helping wounded warriors in that state says the group has spent more than $72,000 defending a lawsuit from the Wounded Warrior Project over their similar logos.

“We’re out of pocket a lot of money and I am sure they are out of pocket a lot of money,” said Paul Spurgin, the director of Keystone Wounded Warriors and a Marine who served two combat tours in Vietnam.


As you can see, they both are black and white and have soldiers assisting other soldiers. The reason this is such a priority for the Wounded Warriors Project is because, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, they aren’t a charity, they’re an elaborate grift. And when you are a grift, you gotta protect that brand.

Today, the NY Times released a scathing and very illuminating piece of investigative journalism on this scam:

In 2014, after 10 years of rapid growth, the Wounded Warrior Project flew its roughly 500 employees to Colorado Springs for an “all hands” meeting at the five-star Broadmoor hotel.

They were celebrating their biggest year yet: $225 million raised and a work force that had nearly doubled. On the opening night, before three days of strategy sessions and team-building field trips, the staff gathered in the hotel courtyard. Suddenly, a spotlight focused on a 10-story bell tower where the chief executive, Steven Nardizzi, stepped off the edge and rappelled toward the cheering crowd.

That evening is emblematic of the polished and well-financed image cultivated by the Wounded Warrior Project, the country’s largest and fastest-growing veterans charity.

Since its inception in 2003 as a basement operation handing out backpacks to wounded veterans, the charity has evolved into a fund-raising giant, taking in more than $372 million in 2015 — largely through small donations from people over 65.


The Wounded Warrior Project cuts a different profile. Under Mr. Nardizzi’s direction, it has modeled itself on for-profit corporations, with a focus on data, scalable products, quarterly numbers and branding.

In an interview at the organization’s four-story headquarters in a palm-lined office park in Jacksonville, Fla., Mr. Nardizzi, 45, said spending on fund-raising and other expenses not directly related to veterans programs has enabled the Wounded Warrior Project to grow faster and serve more people. It estimates that 80,000 veterans have used its services.

“I look at companies like Starbucks — that’s the model,” Mr. Nardizzi said. “You’re looking at companies that are getting it right, treating their employees right, delivering great services and great products, then are growing the brand to support all of that.”

Read the whole thing, and here is another piece for good measure:

But granted anonymity, the vet gave voice to what is at the very least a perception problem for the WWP: “They’re more worried about putting their label on everything than getting down to brass tacks. It’s really frustrating.”

The same veteran spoke of waking up in the hospital after an IED hit his supply truck—WWP, he said, had given him only trivial merchandise: a backpack, a shaving kit and socks.

“Everything they do is a dog-and-pony show, and I haven’t talked to one of my fellow veterans that were injured… actually getting any help from the Wounded Warrior Project. I’m not just talking about financial assistance; I’m talking about help, period,” he said.

Some gripe in interviews with the Beast about how the charity has become more of a self-perpetuating fundraising machine than a service organization. WWP certainly is successful at fundraising: It had revenues of more than $300 million, according to its most recent audited report, up from approximately $200 million the year before.

“In the beginning, with Wounded Warrior, it started as a small organization and evolved into a beast,” said Sam, an active-duty Army soldier who works with Special Forces. It’s “become so large and such a massive money-maker,” he says, that he worries the organization cares about nothing more than raising money and “keeping up an appearance” for the public with superficial displays like wounded warrior parking spots at the Walmart.

Fortunately, the word is out, and vets are savvy to it, and hopefully more of the public will become aware. Here is my former CEO, who is basically my political photo negative and vice versa. Politically, we agree on nothing other than that we both think the only reason John Brennan still has a job is he has naked pictures of everyone in Washington:

They are SHIT. One of THE biggest wasters of donations. Their CEO (Nardizzi) is a horse’s ass who pulls down over 300k/yr in salary. Two other execs are in the six figure range as well. They just built a lavish new HQs and actually PAY those celebrities for the commercials. WWP spends less than 10% of the funds they raise on vets themselves…

Friends don’t let friends and family donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Another Democratic “Town Hall” Just Announced

Be careful what you wish for. Per CNN:

The Democratic presidential hopefuls will face voters in a CNN town hall on Monday in Des Moines — one week before the highly anticipated Iowa caucuses.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will field questions from Iowa Democrats in this prime-time event hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party and Drake University…

The town hall, which will be moderated by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, will air from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET, the network announced. A CNN spokesperson added that it will make the town hall available to its Iowa affiliates to air live.

Some of the enticing new-candidate aura may be leaking away from Senator Sanders, as it is. Ta-Nehisi Coates asks “Why Precisely Is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations?”

… For those of us interested in how the left prioritizes its various radicalisms, Sanders’s answer is illuminating. The spectacle of a socialist candidate opposing reparations as “divisive” (there are few political labels more divisive in the minds of Americans than socialist) is only rivaled by the implausibility of Sanders posing as a pragmatist. Sanders says the chance of getting reparations through Congress is “nil,” a correct observation which could just as well apply to much of the Vermont senator’s own platform. The chances of a President Sanders coaxing a Republican Congress to pass a $1 trillion jobs and infrastructure bill are also nil. Considering Sanders’s proposal for single-payer health-care, Paul Krugman asks, “Is there any realistic prospect that a drastic overhaul could be enacted any time soon—say, in the next eight years? No.”…

Speaking of Professor Krugman’s judgement…

[H]ere’s the thing: we now have a clear view of Sanders’ positions on two crucial issues, financial reform and health care. And in both cases his positioning is disturbing — not just because it’s politically unrealistic to imagine that we can get the kind of radical overhaul he’s proposing, but also because he takes his own version of cheap shots. Not at people — he really is a fundamentally decent guy — but by going for easy slogans and punting when the going gets tough.

On finance: Sanders has made restoring Glass-Steagal and breaking up the big banks the be-all and end-all of his program. That sounds good, but it’s nowhere near solving the real problems. The core of what went wrong in 2008 was the rise of shadow banking; too big to fail was at best marginal, and as Mike Konczal notes, pushing the big banks out of shadow banking, on its own, could make the problem worse by causing the risky stuff to “migrate elsewhere, often to places where there is less regulatory infrastructure.”

On health care: leave on one side the virtual impossibility of achieving single-payer. Beyond the politics, the Sanders “plan” isn’t just lacking in detail; as Ezra Klein notes, it both promises more comprehensive coverage than Medicare or for that matter single-payer systems in other countries, and assumes huge cost savings that are at best unlikely given that kind of generosity. This lets Sanders claim that he could make it work with much lower middle-class taxes than would probably be needed in practice.

To be harsh but accurate: the Sanders health plan looks a little bit like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up. Only a little bit: after all, this is a plan seeking to provide health care, not lavish windfalls on the rich — and single-payer really does save money, whereas there’s no evidence that tax cuts deliver growth. Still, it’s not the kind of brave truth-telling the Sanders campaign pitch might have led you to expect…

Looks like Monday will be another long evening of liveblogging.

(Already up past my bedtime, so I won’t be here for you to argue with until this evening.)

President Obama’s Remarks On Iran Deal

I thought I’d drop this here in case you missed it. Once again, the Republicans are OUTRAGED at how diplomacy works. Fuck them.

I’ll try and find the actual video to embed, but until then, click this link for the video and the outline.

UPDATE: Try this video, looks like it’s the entire speech.


The Malheur “Rebellion”, Beyond the Snark

As of this evening, Bundy and his merry men are refusing to go away quietly, per the Huffington Post:

The leader of a group of armed protesters occupying the headquarters of a U.S. wildlife refuge in rural southeastern Oregon on Thursday rejected a sheriff’s offer of passage out of the state to end the standoff.

During a meeting at a neutral site, Harney County Sheriff David Ward offered to escort Ammon Bundy and his group of occupiers out of Oregon, but Bundy declined…

Following the brief meeting, Bundy told reporters that he would consider Ward’s position, but the sheriff had not addressed their grievances. “We always consider what people say,” Bundy said.

The takeover that began on Saturday at the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, about 30 miles (48 km) south of the small town of Burns, is the latest incident in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over federal control of land and resources in the U.S. West…

Federal law enforcement agents and local police have so far kept away from the occupied site, maintaining little visible presence outside the park in a bid to avoid the deadly violence that erupted during conflicts with militants in Idaho and Texas in the 1990s…

Harpers, despite its staunch no-freebies policy, has unlocked a report on the long venal history behind that “Sagebrush Rebellion” grift — “The Great Republican Land Heist”:

… In 1885, William A. J. Sparks, the commissioner of the General Land Office, reported to Congress that “unscrupulous speculation” had resulted in “the worst forms of land monopoly . . . throughout regions dominated by cattle-raising interests.” West of the hundredth meridian, cattle barons had enclosed the best forage along with scarce supplies of water in an arid landscape. They falsified titles using the signatures of cowhands and family members, employed fictitious identities to stake claims, and faked improvements on the land to appear to comply with the law. “Probably most private range land in the western states,” a historian of the industry concluded, “was originally obtained by various degrees of fraud.”…

This culture passed seamlessly to the Bureau of Land Management, which was created out of a merger between the Grazing Service and the General Land Office, in 1946. That same year, members of the American National Livestock Association met in Salt Lake City to discuss how best to undermine what few regulations had been placed on them. The Taylor Grazing Act had made grazing permits revocable. The livestock-permit holders wanted this provision overturned, for obvious reasons. But the stockmen’s ambition went further: they wanted the federal government to transfer control of all federal land, including the national parks, to the states…

One could write a postwar history of the West as a chronology of ranchers’ resistance to federal regulation, and the center of resistance has always been Nevada. In 1979, following the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which for the first time mandated environmental protection of territory controlled by the BLM, cattlemen pushed a law through the Nevada state legislature declaring that federal public lands were now the property of the state. They called it the Sagebrush Rebellion Act. The cattle barons styled themselves “sagebrush rebels,” and engaged in acts of defiance against the BLM, opening dirt tracks onto grazing allotments that had been closed, bulldozing new roads, overstocking their allotments, violating permit agreements, and refusing to pay grazing fees. As the rebellion spread, a conservative interest group called the American Legislative Exchange Council joined the fight. ALEC was founded in 1973 to craft “model legislation” for state governments; it brought together conservative state legislators and industry representatives in closed-door sessions. Copycat Sagebrush Rebellion Acts were passed in Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and New Mexico…

The ALEC agenda has also found its way back to Congress. The vehicle has been the Republican leadership in the House Committee on Natural Resources, which controls the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. The bills proposed in the most recent congressional session speak for themselves. The State-Run Federal Lands Act, sponsored by Representative Don Young, a former ALEC member from Alaska, authorizes federal-land managers to “enter into a cooperative agreement for state management of such federal land located in the state.” The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, sponsored by Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, directs the secretary of the interior to “offer for disposal by competitive sale certain federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.” With Republicans now in control of both the House and the Senate, these bills have a good chance of passing…

The wholesale transfer of public lands to state control may never be achieved. But the goal might be more subtle: to attack the value of public lands, to reduce their worth in the public eye, to diminish and defund the institutions that protect the land, and to neuter enforcement. Bernard DeVoto observed in the 1940s that no rancher in his right mind wanted to own the public lands himself. That would entail responsibility and stewardship. Worse, it would mean paying property taxes. What ranchers have always wanted, and what extractive industries in general want, is private exploitation with costs paid by the public…

Mother Jones has a short profile of one of the most enthusiastic legislative figureheads for the billionaires’ land grab:

As a young man, Ken Ivory served as a Mormon missionary in Guatemala. These days, he’s still looking for converts. Ivory, a Republican state representative from a Salt Lake City suburb, has spent the past three years traveling the American West to convince state and local officials that they can claim millions of acres of federal land to use as they wish…

… Ivory’s concept has caught on beyond the militia types who are demanding that the feds give up control of their holdings such as the eastern Oregon wildlife refuge currently held by armed occupiers. The Republican National Committee has endorsed the idea of turning over federal land to the states, and in March, the Senate passed a budget amendment sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would create a fund for selling or transferring the land. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has set forth a proposal that the federal government cannot own more than half the land in any state. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also endorsed state or private control of federal land… Read more

The next Arkansas 1115 waiver

Arkansas is submitting another round of waivers for their private option Medicaid expansion.  There is one thing I don’t see CMS granting, and a couple of fights but the waiver as a whole is fairly straightforward.  The biggest problem with the waiver is that it is unnecessarily expensive.  Straight up Medicaid expansion would have been cheaper than paying providers Exchange rates but that has never been on the table.  As Arkansas needs to pay 5% and then 10% of the total expansion costs, switching back to a straight expansion would get increasingly attractive as a means of reducing the state government cost exposure.

So let’s look at the details:

    • Requiring individuals eligible for Medicaid to enroll in employer-sponsored insurance where available, with Medicaid covering employees’ costs that would exceed Medicaid levels

This is straight forward. Medicaid should be the payer of last resort, so if ESI coverage is available, it should be the primary payer. Medicaid will be used as secondary coverage to reduce cost sharing to no more than 5% of total income. Coordination of Benefits is an administrative pain in the ass, but this happens everywhere.

    • Requiring premium payments for beneficiaries with incomes above 100% of the federal poverty level, with a consideration of contributions for those with incomes above 50%.

CMS has approved 2% premium requirements for people making more than 100% FPL. This will get approved. Premiums for people making under 100% FPL are solely designed to force people out of the program as the administrative cost of collecting a $3 per person per month premium means there is no net payment by the individual for actual medical care.

    • The state would offer enhanced coverage and other incentives for those who comply and meet goals set in Healthy, Active Arkansas, a Hutchinson initiative encouraging wellness.

This is not a big deal, it is a wellness program that CMS has approved in other states. I don’t think it moves the needle all that much on cost or quality outcomes, but it does not hurt as long as participation is not mandatory.

    • Care coordination for medically frail individuals

This is a good thing in and of itself.

    • Verifying beneficiaries’ incomes through enhanced data matches.

This is an administrative back-end plumbing tweak. It will most likely be used to force marginal cases out of Expansion and onto the Exchanges. The state wants to look at more databases to build an income profile (food stamps, tax records, lottery winnings etc)

Here are some of the areas where I think fights will occur:

    • Eliminating the current retroactive eligibility that allows new beneficiaries to be covered for expenses incurred 90 days before they were enrolled.

Medicaid is assumed to be the payer of last resort and there is a presumption of eligibility. Medicaid in most states is not concerned about adverse selection problems as they assume that they are the dumping ground for adverse selection. Medicaid has a bad risk pool. The problem is Arkansas is trying to use an at risk insurance model for Medicaid where presumptive eligibility creates massive adverse selection problems. I could see CMS agree to a 30 day walkback from the date of application but not the elimination of presumptive eligibility.

    • Restricting coverage or requiring greater cost sharing by individuals with substantial assets.

Medicaid expansion’s only eligiblity requirements are citizenship (or 5 years of legal residency) and income. There are no asset tests in PPACA. I am having a hard time seeing CMS approving a waiver that institutes asset testing even if the threshold is a million dollars (ie the lottery winner who now does not work and is on Medicaid). If the goal of Expansion is to help the working poor, creating asset tests traps people in a narrow income range as they can’t afford a newer car, or they can not afford to save against expected but unknown shocks.

This is the area of straight up disapproval in my eyes:

    • Implementing work training referral requirements with a continued discussion with President Obama’s administration on specific work requirements.

CMS has been vehement against tying eligibility to work requirements. At the most, CMS has told states that they are free to set up and offer voluntary work training programs that are targeted at Medicaid Expansion populations with state money but eligibility is independent of work status.