Tuesday Twitter roundup

The NC DHHS quagmire deepens:

It's worse than you think:

Documents obtained by North Carolina Health News through a public records request show that in January, incoming Sec. Aldona Wos and Medicaid head Carol Steckel eliminated detailed explanations of alleged high administrative costs, management problems and budget overruns in past years.

In a document that displays “track changes” that include Steckel’s electronic signature, whole paragraphs were deleted, with evidence that, for example, North Carolina’s administrative costs are lower than most states rather than 30 percent higher, as maintained by McCrory administration officials.

Incoming administration officials also deleted whole sections explaining that budget overruns were in large part a function of under-budgeting by the General Assembly.

And in her first week in her new office, Steckel struck through paragraphs explaining that Community Care of North Carolina had been studied by two national groups that found cost savings. Instead, she inserted language casting doubt on the efficacy of CCNC and suggesting further study of the statewide program that’s been lauded nationally and that is being replicated in several states.

Beth Wood needs to reopen her audit, and this time focus on why her office was fed misinformation by DHHS. And if that's outside the purview of the State Auditor (don't know why it would be), it needs to be investigated by somebody within the government, and not left to media and non-profit orgs who struggle to get requested documents.

And once again, the timing of document discovery is seriously in question:

I'll bet you my hat (I...don't wear a hat) that the issue of deleting pertinent information prior to the audit won't be brought up in today's Q&A. If there's even any Q going on.

I find it extremely ironic that JLF/Civitas pundits love to opine about "Liberal elitist professors", when in reality they are the real elitists. Those Liberal professors do their very best to make our Democracy inclusive, while the faux-Libertarians do everything they can to exclude certain segments of our population from having a voice in the direction our government.

It's not enough to open the floodgates of shadow money to control the political process from on high. Oh no. You have to use the power of the government to suppress and silence the peasants. That's their definition of Liberty. I wonder what Robespierre would say about that. The answer is, he wouldn't say a damned thing, he'd just send them to the guillotine.

That right there is almost as funny as the Onion. And so is this:

FreedomWorks, a group affiliated with the tea party, sponsored the event to show support for the freshman Republican from Glenville, who has taken a central role in the federal shutdown.

“I know he has been getting calls from the other direction so we are here to say, no, we support what he has been doing,” said Allen Page, FreedomWorks Southeastern director.

And what's even funnier than all that, this guy lives like three blocks from me. ;)

That might not be too surprising for you folks who live in rarified neighborhoods like Chapel Hill or Raleighwood, but out here in the hinterlands it's prime front-porch gossip material.

So much for having a free and open Democracy. Wouldn't there need to be "probable cause" or some other legal basis to conduct this? Very unsettling. And apparently the government-hating you'll-get-my-gun-when-you-pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hand crowd doesn't give a shit when it's the Librals who are being surveilled. Gee thanks for your selective outrage.

I gotta say, the good Reverend is not only a dynamic presence in the continual fight for civil rights, he knows which battles are important. Money in politics has the potential to suppress average people more than any other single element. We're with you, sir.

Speaking of institutional civil rights challenges, it's time for some due diligence:

Which is just one more effort to deceive the American public on who's responsible for the whole shutdown mess. But that's not why I posted this Tweet.

It's been covered here before, but it's time to do so again: NC Political News tries to pass itself off as some sort of mainstream digital news outlet, but it's really just a public relations arm of the NC GOP:

Founded in February 2013, NCPoliticalNews.com is North Carolina’s online source for political news.

NCPoliticalNews.com is managed by Pioneer Strategies, Inc., which also manages Cape Fear Business News.

Peeling the rotten onion further:

Frank has been a featured speaker for a variety of organizations. He has addressed gatherings of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, the Brunswick Community College Small Business Center, the Leland Business Association, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, the N.C. State University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the John William Pope Civitas Institute’s Academy of Practical Politics, Heritage Action for America’s activist skills clinics and numerous other civic and political organizations.

Frank is actively involved in civic and business affairs and local and state politics. He has served as president of the Leland Area Rotary Club and on the boards of directors of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and Communities in Schools of Brunswick County. He has also served on the Brunswick Community College Small Business Center Advisory Committee. Frank served as chairman of the N.C. 7th Congressional District Republican Party from mid-2009 until early 2012, serves on the Brunswick County Republican Party executive committee and has served on the N.C. Republican Party’s central and executive committees. He was elected as an alternate delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

Peeling further still:

After calling Barefoot several times to discuss his race and the GOP strategy, and getting no answer, I received a text from him saying his wife had just given birth to their first child. That's a good reason not to return a call. But Stam, Barefoot's boss Frank Williams and campaign treasurer Chris Ayers—an attorney at Poyner & Spruill— did not return repeated calls and emails seeking comment and additional campaign finance information for this story.

•His mother-in-law is Tami Fitzgerald, a former lobbyist for several groups, including the N.C. Family Policy Council and the N.C. Values Coaliton, which led the successful passage of the anti-LGBT measure, Amendment 1. His wife of 18 months, Paige Barefoot, is on the staff of Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell.

•In January, Barefoot was hired by public relations firm Pioneer Strategies, run by conservative Republican Frank Williams, a Brunswick County Commissioner candidate. Pioneer Strategies does not list its clients—or Barefoot, its director of business development—on its website.

According to several press releases, the firm began representing the N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools, a pet project of charter schools advocate and Barefoot contributor Bob Luddy, in January, about a week after Barefoot's hiring. Pioneer Strategies has not occupied its Raleigh office, listed at 4617 Western Blvd., for the past two years, according to a tenant there. Of course, Barefoot could be working from home.

The #ncpol hashtag and, to a certain extent, the #ncga hashtag, have become cesspools for paid propagandists and delusional RWNJ twisters, like this one:

Which is probably also funded by the Orwellian GOP machine.

It makes for interesting commentary on my weekly roundup, but I don't know how much more I can take of this crap. Their propensity for deceit and thinly-veiled racism is both breathtaking and nauseating, and forcing myself to read this crap even just once a week is not healthy, to say the least.

Which is one reason I fall back on the Onion when I reach the gagging point:

Yeah that's...not helping my nausea. Doesn't his head resemble one of those tightly wrapped honey-roasted turkey...ahh, I need to change the subject real quick:

:) That's better.


What else are they lying about?

If DHHS is going to such an effort to rewrite a report not to their political liking and then go out of their way to cover it up, I have to wonder what else members of the McCrony administration are lying about or sweeping under the carpet.

It's likely the tip of a very ugly - and dangerous - iceberg.

Good question

In a perfect world, it would be one of the questions asked today. But we don't live anywhere near there.

DHHS update:

And tangentially associated with DHHS:

What a fricking mess.

The deviousness of all this has two purposes, I think...

1. To deny medical care to the poor, whom these GOP zealots see as layabouts.
2. To undermine The ACA by creating higher premiums for all North Carolinians. According to what I've read, in North Carolina and other states (like Texas) that have rejected Medicaid funding, premium assistance doesn't kick in unless you're almost dead. A family of three in NC has to earn less than @ $9800/year to get assistance. That's absurd. In Minnesota, it's less than @ $40K for a family of three...a much more logical and realistic number. The numbers are all over the place, but the red states are the worst. We HAVE to find a way to put the blame squarely on these people.

Stan Bozarth

Premium assistance: 1.38*poverty through 4*poverty

For expanded medicaid (i.e.: NOT NC), medicaid covers household making up to 1.38 x poverty level. Above that, ACA premium assistance kicked in (on sliding scale) through 4 x the poverty level.

Poverty levels are here: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm

By rejecting medicaid expansion, NCGA and NC-Gov created a very evil hole: people who do not qualify for medicaid but make

So, a single parent (with 1 child) making 21K gets no help buying insurance. But a single adult making the same amount does get assistance. How does that make sense?

The GOP: Babies are precious until they're born. After that, they're just little parasites.

One thing about the audit:

How much responsibility does Beth Wood have for the stuff she missed—like not thinking to include contractors' administrative costs when comparing North Carolina with other states, or failing to note that demand increases (and pie-in-the-sky budgeting) drove cost overruns?

I guess there's a time-order question here: was the DHHS response part of the process of writing the report? Or was it drafted in response to a report that had already been published? If it was a response to a published report, then I think Wood deserves at least a little flack for missing some important details.

From my understanding,

the information was provided before the audit was completed. So it was part of the initial report. It also seems the "editors" at DHHS didn't cut out entire sections, just a lot of the information that would have further explained stuff. So while it was incomplete, it might not have seemed incomplete, if you catch my drift.

Which is not to say that Beth Wood shouldn't have detected something was missing and pushed for more information. I'd have to read the material myself to see if the footprints of an editor are present. Unless they're really good at removing things, it's usually easy to spot. Then again, I'm a borderline paranoid conspiracy theorist...

Entire sections

The NC Health News report indicates that "entire sections" were indeed removed.

In a document that displays “track changes” that include Steckel’s electronic signature, whole paragraphs were deleted, with evidence that, for example, North Carolina’s administrative costs are lower than most states rather than 30 percent higher, as maintained by McCrory administration officials.

Incoming administration officials also deleted whole sections explaining that budget overruns were in large part a function of under-budgeting by the General Assembly.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

No wonder Steckel left. In

No wonder Steckel left. In fact, the timing of her departure calls into question that she may have known this was coming and left to avoid the outrage. She should be called back to testify under oath.