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GOP takeover: Republicans surge to Senate control

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South Carolina’s Tim Scott

GOP takeover: Republicans surge to Senate control

By DAVID ESPO and ROBERT FURLOW
 
Nov. 5, 2014 2:08 AM EST

Two-term incumbent Mark Pryor of Arkansas was the first Democrat to fall, defeated by freshman Rep. Tom Cotton. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado was next, defeated by Rep. Cory Gardner. Sen. Kay Hagan also lost, in North Carolina, to Thom Tillis, the speaker of the state House.

Republicans also picked up seats in Iowa, West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana, all states where Democrats retired. They had needed a net gain of six seats to end a Democratic majority in place since 2006.

In the House, with dozens of races uncalled, Republicans had picked up 11 seats that had been in Democratic hands, and given up only one.

A net pickup of 13 would give them more seats in the House than at any time since 1946.

Obama was at the White House as voters remade Congress for the final two years of his tenure — not to his liking. With lawmakers set to convene next week for a postelection session, he invited leaders to a meeting on Friday.

The shift in control of the Senate, coupled with a GOP-led House, probably means a strong GOP assault on budget deficits, additional pressure on Democrats to accept sweeping changes to the health care law that stands as Obama’s signal domestic accomplishment and a bid to reduce federal regulations.

Obama’s ability to win confirmation for lifetime judicial appointments could also suffer, including any Supreme Court vacancies.

https://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/050a08651e194c409a95b892b05c9099/senate-control-top-prize-midterm-election

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Republicans get what they want: A midterm election about Obama

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Republicans get what they want: A midterm election about Obama
By Justin Sink – 11/03/14 06:00 AM EST

Less than 24 hours before Election Day, Republicans have what they want: a referendum on President Obama.

GOP candidates are training their closing arguments on Obama, full of confidence that voter dissatisfaction with the White House will punch their ticket to a Senate majority.

“This is not brain surgery,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean, who argued “it’s obvious Obama has become an anchor” for Democrats.

Aaska Republican Dan Sullivan, who hopes to unseat Sen. Mark Begich (D), in his final campaign ad is pledging to “stand up to Barack Obama and federal overreach.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is flooding Georgia with ads highlighting Obama’s claim that a victory by Democrat Michelle Nunn would insure Democrats keep the Senate.

In Louisiana, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is hammering Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) over a comment that suggested race was a reason for Obama’s low approval ratings in the state.

In New Hampshire, where a victory by Republican Scott Brown likely would reflect a huge night for Republicans, Brown is mocking Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for voting with President Obama “99 percent of the time.”

Staffers at the Republican National Committee dressed as Democrats running from the president for Halloween.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/222494-gop-gets-what-it-wants-an-election-about-obama

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Full-Throttle

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Full-Throttle
Ron DuBois
11:27 PM 

I’m sure many of you have been bombarded with daily requests, pleas, prayers, and doomsday prophesies, by the NRSC (Establishment Republicans and RINOS), for money. That money will be used to elect or re-elect the good ol’ boys in the Establishment, rather than solid Conservatives who wish to follow the Constitution, reduce the size of Government (and its unconstitutional  intrusion in our lives), restore free trade, stop the attacks on religion (Islam excluded, since they are not attacked by the Government here, but protected, and welcomed in our Government and the White House), and much more. I started to point out their failures – as the reasons I stopped sending money – and returned my missives in their envelope – without a check. After a while, being sure nobody at the NRSC cared, I stopped. But the government (Republicans) needs to know how the voters really feel about them. I’m hoping that many of you will send the guilty ones a short note, FAX, or make a phone call, expressing your problems with them.  I imply (to them) that I will not vote for them, but will vote for the Democrat running against them. Of course that’s not true, but they don’t know that. When push comes to shove, I’ll hold my nose and vote for them – if there is no Conservative candidate.Anyway, this is my latest attempt to make the traitors think there are at least 18 million of us out here ready to tar and feather them, if they don’t change their evil, sinful ways.

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Jeff Bell : Takes on the Myth that the GOP is the Party of the Rich

Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell : Takes on the Myth that the GOP is the Party of the Rich 
NJ Senate Candidate Jeff Bell 
Leonia, NJ

The Democrats are out-fundraising the Republicans dramatically, yet the GOP is seen as the party of the rich. It’s the worst of both worlds.

Why? The answer to the first part is simple. The Democratic Party has become the party of Big Money. It dominates in fundraising on Wall Street, from the legal profession, in Hollywood, and just about every other major sector of wealth in this country. This year it’s raised more money at every level, including for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives even though the party acknowledges it has no chance of taking back Congress in 2014.

So why have Republicans gotten the reputation as the party of the rich? I believe it’s because the GOP’s policies coming out of Washington haven’t done enough to address the economic concerns of middle and lower income voters. I admire Mitt Romney for many reasons, but I can point to his 2012 convention speech that emphasized helping business owners rather than workers as a widely-watched Republican message that turned people off. Too frequently, the proposals offered by Republican candidates target help toward businesses (and they do need help under President Obama) and neglect to directly address the concerns of working Americans such as rising prices and falling pay.

So what would I do differently? I propose that we level the playing field of money. We can do this by making our dollar as good as gold. Under this monetary system, no one will have to worry about the value of their wages declining over time the way they have under the pure paper dollar; 85 percent since we went off the gold standard in 1971! A gold-backed dollar will let the American people rather than central bankers control the supply of money in the economy, so there will be no financial crashes caused by the Federal Reserve like we had in 2008.


In 1992 I published a book called Populist vs. Elitism. You can guess which path I recommended the Republican Party follow. I’ve been pushing since then for ideas besides the gold standard that put people first: immigration reform, a culture of life rather than abortion, and a tax system with one low flat rate. These are all part of my Senate campaign in 2014.

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Voters See A More Divided Nation; GOPers More Enthusiastic to Vote

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Voters See A More Divided Nation; GOPers More Enthusiastic to Vote
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Voters strongly believe the United States is a more divided nation these days, and they think both sides are to blame. Most are also ready to do something about it at the ballot box in November.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just seven percent (7%) think the country is less divided now, while 21% rate the level of division as about the same.(To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among voters who see more division or about the same level of it, 35% believe President Obama is to blame. But 34% point the finger at Republicans in Congress instead. Twenty-three percent (23%) say they’re both to blame. Just five percent (5%) attribute the division to something else.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of all voters say they are more likely to vote this year than they have been in past elections. Only four percent (4%) say they are less likely to do so, while 38% rate their intention to vote as about the same as in past years.

Perhaps problematic for Democrats is that 65% of GOP voters and 55% of voters not affiliated with either major party are more likely to vote this year, compared to 53% of those in the president’s party. But that could change as the election gets nearer.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters nationwide are at least somewhat confident that the candidates they vote for will steer the country in the right direction, but that includes just 19% who are Very Confident. Thirty-three percent (33%) lack that confidence, with seven percent (7%) who are Not At All Confident that their candidates will make a difference.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 17-18, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.

https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/july_2014/voters_see_a_more_divided_nation_gopers_more_enthusiastic_to_vote

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Tom MacArthur Millionaire New Jersey GOP congressional hopeful ran insurance company accused of cheating hurricane and wildfire victims

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Tom MacArthur Millionaire New Jersey GOP congressional hopeful ran insurance company accused of cheating hurricane and wildfire victims

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 

Tom MacArthur ran York Risk Services Group, a unit of AIG insurance, when the company allegedly skimped on a series of high-risk claims
York paid half of a $285,000 fine following government claims that it underpaid policyholders by $10.8 million after a massive California wildfire
A Christian college in Houston and the Port of Galveston, Texas sued York and other insurers for skirting multimillion-dollar claims after Hurricane Ike
The GOP establishment favorite is fighting a pitched battle with tea-party candidate Steve Lonegan for a chance at a U.S. House seat in November

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR

Tom MacArthur, a multi-millionaire former mayor who leads a prominent tea party challenger for the Republican congressional nomination in a New Jersey district, ran an insurance company accused of cheating disaster victims, MailOnline can reveal.

From 2002 until late 2010, MacArthur was chairman of the board of York Risk Services Group, a unit of the global insurer American International Group. He was also the company’s president and CEO from 1999 to 2009 and a major shareholder until at least 2006.

York boasts on its website that ‘We re-price 500,000 medical bills per year and save clients an average of 61% on each bill.’ That cost-cutting focus caught up with the company in 2008 after Hurricane Ike devastated the U.S. Gulf coast and a massive wildfire laid waste to hundreds of homes in Sylmar, California.

It ended up settling two Ike-related lawsuits and paying a sizable fine to the state of California in connection with allegations of underpaying claims from the fire’s victims.

York isn’t a traditional insurer, but its clients are. It helps them save money by carefully vetting and processing their claims.

Ritchie Venier, the company’s senior vice president, told MailOnline that ‘the amount of work we do is determined by what our clients would like us to process on their behalf.’

‘However, since we are not an insurance company we do not play the role of one.’

York’s apparent hand in determining the size of claim payouts, however, has landed it in the same legal hot water as the companies it serves, facing legal accusations along with them of unfairly slow-walking, low-balling or denying claims.

MacArthur, the New Jersey congressional candidate, is not named personally in any of the legal actions described in this report, but he was both a York officer and a major shareholder.

The Port of Galveston, Texas, which suffered extensive damage following Hurricane Ike in 2008, filed a lawsuit against York and three other insurers. Both the storm and the resulting insurance claims came on MacArthur’s watch.

And York, along with another AIG unit, paid the state of California a $285,000 settlement following charges that they violated the state’s Fair Claims Settlement Practice regulations while handling damage claims following a massive November 14, 2008 fire in the town of Sylmar.

That blaze, known in the American West as the Sayre fire, burned more than 11,000 acres of forest and destroyed 600 structures and 480 mobile homes.

It also produced hundreds of ‘total loss’ homeowners claims, including those covering 370 mobile home policies held by AIG’s New Hampshire Insurance Company.

The California Department of Insurance claimed that the two companies had underpaid the devastated homeowners by 10.8 million.

York, led by MacArthur, was responsible for processing and evaluating those claims as part of New Hampshire Insurance’s outsourcing strategy. The two companies each paid half the penalty, or $142,500, according to court documents.

Both denied wrongdoing, but agreed to a settlement in August 2012 to end California’s years-long investigation into 125 separate alleged violations of the California Insurance Code.

The two suits related to Hurricane Ike, the massive 2008 storm that swept through the Gulf Coast and crippled coastal Texas, were settled with undisclosed terms.

One, filed by Houston Baptist University, alleged that York low-balled its settlement offer after the hurricane laid waste to its main administration building and student center.

Robert Sloan, the school’s president, told The campus Collegian newspaper that it would cost more than $21 million to repair and rebuild the structure. But ACE American Insurance Company and York, which evaluated and vetted the claim, offered about $5 million.

‘They drug [sic] their feet,’ Sloan said in 2010 of the case that began during MacArthur’s tenure.

‘They weren’t very responsive. They obviously have not paid us what they owe us under our coverage. I don’t think the insurance company has acted in good faith.’

Terms of York’s 2011 settlement with Houston Baptist University – which came only after MacArthur left – were kept sealed. But on February 22, 2011 Sloan told the school’s trustees that he ‘went to bed the other night with a big grin on my face, and when I woke up, it was still there.’

The university president was happy enough about the size of the checks York and ACE wrote to credit the Almighty with the result.

‘This is a testament to the goodness and faithfulness of God,’ he said, according to the campus paper.

Another Hurricane Ike legal action involving York came from the Port of Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas harbor was insured for at least $55 million, with Lexington Insurance Company owing the last $15 million after other insurers had paid their part.

York was the company tasked with evaluating and processing the Galveston claim for Lexington.

‘Lexington owed us the last layer of our insurance, which was $15 million,’ Port of Galveston Director Michael Mierzwa told the Houston-based Guidry News – which reported that the port recovered the entire $15 million in a 2012 settlement without going to trial.

The pool of insurers ‘had got to $40 million and had stopped paying us; and that’s why we sued them,’ he said.

The Republican National Committee has embraced MacArthur as one of its so-called ‘young guns,’ suggesting a vigor and fearlessness usually associated with strong retail campaigners.

But according to the Newark Star-Ledger, a $2 million cash loan from MacArthur’s personal wealth makes up nearly his entire election war chest.

He is running a tight race with tea party favorite Steve Lonegan. Both men are former mayors of New Jersey towns. MacArthur’s cash-on-hand, though, reportedly dwarfs Lonegan’s by a 10-to-1 margin.

‘I’m not going to buy a congressional seat,’ Lonegan told the Star-Ledger on April 15. ‘I could put a lot more money in the race. I’m not going to because you don’t buy your seat. You earn it.’

MacArthur has insisted that he is raising money from ordinary New Jerseyans as the June 3 primary election draws near.

Russell, his campaign spokesman, emailed MailOnline an aggressive statement, lashing out at Lonegan – who he claimed was responsible for this report.

‘Another day, another embarrassment for Steve Lonegan,’ Russel wrote, complaining that the tea partier’s campaign ‘would go to such extreme and underhanded lengths to plant a hatchet job story, and then fail to get their facts straight.’

‘Under Tom MacArthur’s leadership, York handled upwards of one million insurance claims,’ Russell added. ‘From that, the best Lonegan’s crew could do was find three cases – all of which were settled after Tom had already left the company and none of which found wrongdoing by York.’

‘Two of the cases were settled out of court and dismissed, and the third was a case pressed by an ultra-liberal California Democrat politician that was also ultimately settled.’

Lonegan lost a shot at a U.S. Senate seat last year, falling in a special election to defeat then-Newark mayor Cory Booker. But in that race, he carried the 3rd Congressional District that he now wants to represent in Congress.

Three Democrats are vying to face the Republican victor, including lawyers Aimee Belgard and Howard Kleinhendler, and Lyndon Larouche devotee Bruce Todd.

The eventual winner in November will replace two-term Rep. Jon Runyan, a former pro football player who is retiring.

In a March poll sponsored by PolitickerNJ, Lonegan held a commanding lead with 41 per cent support. MacArthur ‘barely moved the needle’ with 2 per cent, the political website reported.

But that was in a three-way race: Toms River, NJ city councilman Mo HIll withdrew from the race last month and later endorsed MacArthur. Since then, MacArthur has rocketed to a stronger position over Lonegan.

The state’s Republican establishment has also coalesced around MacArthur, with GOP parties in both counties straddling the 3rd district endorsing him in late March.

His campaign website describes him as ‘a self-made businessman running for Congress to be a leader in promoting policies that spur job creation and empower people; that ensure our recovery and renewal in the wake of [Hurricane] Sandy.’

MacArthur is quoted on the site saying he believes in a small federal government that, among other things, ‘gives a hand up to those in need.’

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GOP foolish to think ObamaCare is fixable

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GOP foolish to think ObamaCare is fixable
By Betsy McCaughey
April 30, 2014 | 10:37pm

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the No. 4 House Republican, is walking back comments attributed to her that ObamaCare can’t be repealed. But she’s not the only one suggesting Congress merely make changes within the framework of the health law. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the goal is to get the law “fixed.” It seems many GOP lawmakers still haven’t read the law, or they’d know the framework is corrupt.

Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speculated Friday that repeal is unlikely because it will be “difficult to turn the clock back.”

Nonsense. Even by the most inflated administration claims, some 8 million people have signed up for exchange plans, out of a nation of 318 million. ObamaCare is repealable, and should be replaced with a plan to cover the uninsured and reduce costs.

ObamaCare’s authors paid lip service to these goals but had an ulterior motive: forging a permanent Democratic majority. The law creates a huge infrastructure for enrolling millions of people not just in insurance but also for food stamps, housing assistance and other welfare programs — and registering them to vote.

https://nypost.com/2014/04/30/gop-foolish-to-think-obamacare-is-fixable/

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GOP report on 9/11 anniversary eve: Make TSA ‘smarter, leaner’

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GOP report on 9/11 anniversary eve: Make TSA ‘smarter, leaner’
By Keith Laing – 09/10/12 04:05 PM ET

Republicans are suggesting ways the Transportation Security Administration can be “rebuilt” into a “smarter, leaner organization” ahead of a hearing on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The House Homeland Security Committee’s Transportation Security subcommittee released a report Monday finding that TSA could be more effective by reducing its number of employees. The report also suggest TSA should consider “enlisting the private sector to modernize and, to the extent possible, automate the passenger screening process to reduce pat-downs, implementing privacy software on all [Advanced Imaging Technology] machines, and sponsoring an independent analysis of the potential health impacts of AIT machines.”

The committee will hold a hearing on the report on on Tuesday, which will mark the 11th anniversary of the hijacking of four U.S. airliners by terrorists.

https://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/tsa/248521-gop-report-on-9-11-anniversary-eve-make-tsa-smarter-leaner-