Congressman Turner wants to repeal tax on medical devices

Published: Friday, February 08, 2013 @ 1:39 PM
Updated: Friday, February 08, 2013 @ 1:39 PM

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, this week reintroduced a bill that would repeal a tax imposed on medical device manufacturers under President Obama’s health care law.

The health care law imposed a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices beginning Jan. 1. Turner said the tax would stifle development of innovative life-saving products during a time when the economy is struggling.

“Southwest Ohio has long been known as an incubator for advanced manufacturing,” he said in a release announcing the legislation. “The gains and jobs medical device manufacturers have made in our state will not continue with the implementation of this tax. This tax is prohibitive to the type of growth Ohio and the nation needs in these difficult economic times.”

Infowars' Alex Jones apologizes for spreading fake 'Pizzagate' story

Published: Sunday, March 26, 2017 @ 2:23 AM

In this Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, the front door of Comet Ping Pong pizza shop in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria for spreading the fake story last year that linked the restaurant to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and human trafficking.

Jones, as the Austin, Texas-based host of Infowars.com, has a long history of pushing wild and false conspiracy theories, such as claiming that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax.

But in a rare backtracking mea culpa, Jones apologized for his role in promoting the baseless “Pizzagate” story that went viral among right-wing bloggers and media sites during the 2016 presidential campaign.

>> Watch the clip here

The gist of the fake story accused Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, of running a child sex abuse ring through the Comet Ping Pong restaurant owned by James Alefantis. Podesta’s comments about the pizzeria — made in Democratic Party emails exposed by WikiLeaks — became fodder for fake news web portals as well as popular user-generated content sites like Reddit and 4chan.

Jones, in a statement he read aloud for his online audience, tried to put some distance between himself and the fake story and blamed “scores of media outlets,” “third-party accounts of alleged activities” and “accounts of (Infowars) reporters who are no longer with us” for the “incorrect narrative” he discussed several times on his program.

>> Read more trending news

“In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones said.

In language that was clearly sculpted by a legal mind hoping to avoid possible litigation, Jones added: “To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking as was part of the theories about Pizzagate.”

For many people, the Pizzagate conspiracy theory became part of the mainstream political discussion only in December, after 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina reportedly brought a gun into a Comet Ping Pong packed with customers, and pointed it at an employee in hopes of finding proof of “Pizzagate.”

Welch surrendered to police when he found no evidence that children were being harbored there, D.C. police said at the time. He pleaded guilty to weapons and assault charges Friday, CNN reported.

Flynn invokes Fifth Amendment, decries “public frenzy” over Russia probe

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 4:01 PM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 4:01 PM

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment rights on Monday, as his lawyers refused to honor a subpoena for documents from a U.S. Senate committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections, the first time that someone with close ties to President Trump has refused to cooperate in the course of this politically charged investigation.

“In these circumstances, General Flynn is entitled to, and does, invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against production of documents,” wrote Flynn’s lawyers in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“He is the target on nearly a daily basis of outrageous allegations, often attributed to anonymous sources in Congress,” the letter stated, decrying an “escalating public frenzy against him.”

Flynn’s lawyers also cited the appointment last week of a special counsel to the probe into Russian influence in 2016 as reason to withhold testimony at this time.

The decision by Flynn did not surprise committee members; last week, panel chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) had told reporters that Flynn was not going to honor their subpoena for documents on meetings and communications with “any Russian official.”

It was not immediately apparent what the Intelligence Committee could do to compel Flynn to either testify, or turn over documents.

One option is holding Flynn in contempt of Congress – but that does not guarantee cooperation of a witness, either.

During the 2016 campaign, Flynn himself had made light of people who had taken the Fifth in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, as well as those who were granted immunity.

“When you’re given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime,” Flynn told NBC’s Meet the Press on September 25, 2016.

Democrats not only dug up old quotes of Flynn, but also some from President Trump, where he also raised questions about those same aides with ties to the Clinton email server.

“If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Mr. Trump asked at a rally in Iowa last September.

Flynn has come under scrutiny for several things – his contacts with Russian officials during the Trump transition, not disclosing payments from Russian groups in 2015 as required for former top military officers, and belatedly disclosing that he was working as a paid agent of the Turkish government, even as he was campaigning for Mr. Trump last year.

Trump budget proposal includes 25 percent cut to food stamps: report

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 1:09 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 18:  U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a joint news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House May 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration has said it wants to slash foreign aide and Santos will most likely seek a renewal of $450 million dollars from the U.S. that supports the peace accord between the Columbian government at the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump will propose a more than 25 percent cut to food stamp funding in a budget proposal expected Tuesday, according to a report.

>> Read more trending news

The president will propose $193 billion worth of cuts over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program, The Associated Press reported, citing talking points circulated by the White House.

The program currently serves about 42 million people, according to numbers released in February by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cuts would drive millions of people off food stamps through changes in eligibility guidelines and the implementation of additional work requirements, according to The AP.

SNAP’s current work requirement is aimed at cutting benefits to the “most able-bodied adults who don’t have children,” The Washington Post reported.

About 44 million people spread across 21 million households got benefits through SNAP last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Officials said participants got an average of $125 per month, while households got an average of $258. The program cost $70.9 billion in 2016.

Trump’s budget proposal is also expected to include large cuts to Medicaid, federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies.

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AP: Flynn to assert Fifth Amendment rights, won’t honor subpoena in Russia probe

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 10:19 AM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 10:20 AM

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will not honor a subpoena for documents from a U.S. Senate panel investigating election interference by Russia, as the one-time aide to President Donald Trump will instead assert his Fifth Amendment rights, the Associated Press reported on Monday.

That report came several days after the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), told reporters that Flynn’s lawyers were not going to honor the committee’s subpoena.

A spokesperson later said last Thursday that Burr had been mistaken – but now that exact story line seems to be developing today.

“Gen. Flynn¹s lawyers said he would not honor the subpoena, and that¹s not a surprise to the committee,” Burr said at the time, “but we¹ll figure out on Gen. Flynn what the next step, if any is.”

Flynn’s lawyers had previously sounded out the idea of getting immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony before the Congress, but that was not accepted by the House and Senate Intelligence panels, which are leading the Congressional probe into Russian actions in 2016.

Flynn has come under scrutiny for several things – his contacts with Russian officials during the Trump transition, not disclosing payments from Russian groups in 2015 as required for former top military officers, and belatedly disclosing that he was working as a paid agent of the Turkish government, even as he was campaigning for Mr. Trump last year.

During the campaign, Flynn himself had raised questions about legal troubles for Hillary Clinton over her private email server, questioning why one Clinton IT aide refused to cooperate with that investigation.

“When you’re given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime,” Flynn told NBC’s Meet the Press on September 25, 2016.