Author

About the Author
Rich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.

LIVE NOW: Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Construction

UPDATE – 11:58 AM EST: President Barack Obama is speaking now. Live feed below.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce that his administration has rejected a proposal to construct a 1,179 mile long pipeline that would have cut across the American heartland according to the New York Times.

TransCanada, the company that was lobbying for the construction of the pipeline had attempted to retract its request for review from the Obama administration after it became clear that the proposal would not be approved by the government. Some have speculated that the company is hoping for a Republican to win the White House in 2016 so that they get the project approved.

Obama will speak to the nation at 11:45 AM.

LIVE FEED: (Via White House/ Youtube)

Stay with Rise News as we cover this developing story. 

Cover Photo Credit: Maureen/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Jeb Bush’s Connection To A Healthcare Company’s ObamaCare Boon

This article was originally published on www.risemiaminews.com on April 10, 2015. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s public political beliefs and personal financial gain seem to have been at odds during his time as a member of the board of directors of Tenet Healthcare.

The potential republican candidate for president stepped down from the company in late December, a move that came as no surprise to political watchers. But with the announcement, new attention is focusing on what Bush actually did at the nation’s third largest for profit hospital chain and whether he supported the corporation’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

Just to put into perspective how big of a boon ObamaCare has been for Tenet, it’s CEO Trevor Fetter reported in a November 2014 press release that the company’s net earnings grew over 59% from the same time in 2013. Fetter said that 40% of that growth had come as a direct result of ObamaCare reforms.

Specifically, the additional revenue came from the Medicaid expansion in five states which Tenet operates in and a decrease in uninsured and “charity” hospital admissions.

“We drove an accelerating contribution in the third quarter from healthcare reform, with sequentially higher declines in uncompensated care and increases in Medicaid volume,” Fetter said in the release. “We achieved another quarter of strong performance across every dimension of our business.”

“It would make sense to pay Jeb Bush, because he’s a well connected guy.”

Bush joined Tenet soon after leaving public office in early 2007 and served until the last day of 2014. Bush came on the board shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the company of wide spread Medicare fraud between 1999 and 2002.

The government said that Tenet’s strong earnings in those years came about because of the company’s “exploitation of a loophole in the Medicare reimbursement system.”

Tenet refused to admit or deny the allegations made in the SEC complaint and agreed to pay a $10 million civil penalty. However, it did also pay $725 million to settle a Justice Department inquiry on the same matter.

Bush was brought on in part to help clean up Tenet’s corrupt image and instill greater public confidence. That strategy seemed to have worked.

And Bush was not the only politician on the ten-member board. Former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska spent over a decade on the board starting in 2001, then temporarily stepped down in order for run for senate in 2012 and quickly rejoined it after losing. Kerrey did not respond to a request for comment.

According to multiple experts on corporate finance and governance, it is not unusual for politicians to be brought into the fold of companies.

“It is to most boards advantage to have people from both sides [of the political spectrum]”, Carlos Parra, a professor and Corporate Sustainability expert at Florida International University (FIU) said. “It would make sense to pay Jeb Bush, because he’s a well connected guy.”

That “well connected guy” happens to be a conservative leader and a son and brother to American presidents. Bush is also according to multiple polls, an early frontrunner in the 2016 republican presidential primary.

Bush at a town hall meeting event at Adams Opera House in Derry, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bush at a town hall meeting event at Adams Opera House in Derry, New Hampshire. Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

He also really doesn’t like ObamaCare, at least not in public.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” in October 2013, Bush emphatically said that, “Obamacare, flawed to its core, doesn’t work.”

But while he was publicly opposing President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, he and his company were profiting from its successes.

According to an SEC filling, Bush was paid $128,000 in cash and received $170,000 in stock options, for just under $300,000 in total compensation from Tenet in 2013.

2013 was a banner year for Tenet as it turned out. The company finalized a blockbuster deal to buy up Vanguard Health Systems, which increased the number of hospitals under Tenet’s management from 49 to 77.

Fetter told CNBC that the merger was sought after because of Vanguard’s footprint in states that had embraced the Medicaid expansion, or soon would. In other words, Fetter sounded confident that the law would be staying in place.

“Any board member has a higher calling to the shareholders than his political beliefs”

“The more you’re exposed to states with large numbers of uninsured people today, the better it is for a hospital in the future,” Fetter said in the cable interview.

Some find Bush’s perceived cognitive dissonance on the issue to be potentially problematic.

“If it were to come out that he were opposing ObamaCare but while on the board he was privately supporting it, then that would be a huge conflict,” Everett Wilkinson, a South Florida Tea Party leader said in a phone interview. “If I was on the board of Tenet Healthcare, I would not be happy that the president of the company came out and supported the legislation.”

A Bush spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that the former governor strongly opposed ObamaCare in Tenet board meetings.

Tenet declined to release copies of the minutes to the meetings from board gatherings during Bush’s tenure, saying through a spokesman that they were not publicly available.

It’s worth noting that many business insiders see nothing wrong with the situation.

Bruce Foerster is the president of South Beach Capital Markets Advisory Corporation, a company that offers advice to firms and corporate boards. He said that he found Bush to be an upstanding businessman who played by the rules and liked the ideological balance on the Tenet board.

“Any board member has a higher calling to the shareholders than his political beliefs,” Foerster said. “The CEO of Tenet [Fetter] has the courage to have differing opinions in the board room, which is a rare trait for a CEO.”

But Qiang Kang, a professor of finance at FIU took a different view, saying that if Bush was making a profit directly from ObamaCare than he should disclose it. “I would not call it a conflict of interest but I do think it is an interesting issue,” Kang said.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Florida State Rep. Shares Facebook Photo That Questions Obama’s Christianity

Florida House Rep. Frank Artiles stepped into hot-water Wednesday after he shared a Facebook photo from a fellow conservative that questions President Barack Obama’s Christian faith.

The post which was posted on a pro Benjamin Netanyahu Facebook group was then shared by Artiles.

The photo uses five examples of what the world looks like “According to Liberal America”. There are references to Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal and the #IStandWithAhmed movement.

But the most controversial photo is the first one. It is a photo that first circulated during the 2008 Democratic Primary campaign and it shows Obama dressed as a Somali Elder during his visit to Kenya in 2006. Obama campaign staffers blamed the Clinton campaign for the photo’s publication in the Drudge Report.

“According to Liberal America… This is a Christian,” the caption says of Obama.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.34.39 PM

Here is a better version of the photo in question:

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Obama is a Christian and has spoken at length about the importance of his faith. 

Artiles is a Republican who represents parts of Miami in the Florida House of Representatives. He came to prominence earlier this year after filing legislation to ban transgender people from public bathrooms.

A message sent to Artiles’ private Facebook page was not answered by publication of this piece. A spokesperson in Artiles’ Tallahassee office said she would pass along Rise News‘ inquiry to Artiles.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot (Rep. Frank Artiles Facebook)

 

WATCH LIVE: Justin Trudeau Sworn In As New Prime Minister Of Canada

Justin Trudeau, the young and dashing leader of the Liberal Party is to set to be sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada later this morning as the country braces for the end of nearly 10 years of Conservative rule.

The ceremony is expected to begin at 10:30 AM EST.

Read More: Justin Trudeau knocks off Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in historic election

Watch Live: Video feed from CBC.

Cover Photo Credit: Alex Guibord/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Ireland Will Decriminalize Small Amounts of Crack, Heroin And Marijuana For Personal Use

Ireland is set to make a radical change in its drug policies in the next year as the government plans to decriminalize small amounts of crack, heroin and marijuana for personal use and hopes to open “injection rooms”, where people can safely use these drugs across the country.

“I am firmly of the view that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we regard substance misuse if we are to break this cycle and make a serious attempt to tackle drug and alcohol addiction,” Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the chief of Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy told the Irish Times.

Ó Ríordáin also told a group at the London School of Economics on Monday that the government would be opening a series of state run “injection rooms” in Dublin next year.

From The Independent:

“The minister said attitudes to drugs needed to move away from shaming addicts to helping them and emphasised there was a difference between legalisation and decriminalisation.

It would remain a crime to profit – from either the sale or distribution of illegal drugs – but drug takers would no longer be criminalised for their addictions.”

The action in Ireland comes on the heels of a failed UN Office on Drugs and Crime effort to pressure nations into decriminalizing the possession of all drugs.

“Small drug related offenses, such as drug dealing to maintain personal drug use or to survive in a very marginalized environment, could be interpreted as drug related offenses of a ‘minor nature’, as mentioned in the international drug control conventions,” the unpublished UN report says according to the BBC. “These cases should receive rehabilitation opportunities, social support and care, and not punishment.”

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Nightlife Of Revelry/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

University Of Missouri Student Starts Hunger Strike To Oust System President From Office

A student at the University of Missouri has started an indefinite hunger strike that he hopes leads to the resignation of the President of the entire four campus Missouri system.

Jonathan L. Butler, a second year masters student at Missouri started his strike at 9 AM CST this morning and he said that he intends to refrain from food until either System President Tim Wolfe resigns or Butler dies trying.

Butler sent a letter explaining his actions to the UM System Board of Curators (the body that helps operate the four campus system and has the power to remove a President) before the strike began.

“During this hunger strike, I will not consume any food or nutritional sustenance at the expense of my health until either Tim Wolfe is removed from office or my internal organs fail and my life is lost,” Butler wrote in the letter that he also published on social media. “Mizzou’s deteriorating culture is like a gaping and infected wound that can only be cured
by scraping out the dead and decaying flesh and starting anew with a flushing of the skin and application of proper antibiotics to begin the healing process. In this scenario, Tim Wolfe is the decaying flesh and the longer her stays in leadership of the UM system the worst the campus climate will become not only at the University of Missouri but also on all UM system campuses.”

“It is extremely concerning when any of our students puts their health and safety in harm’s way,” Wolfe said in a statement supplied to Rise News.

In an interview with Rise News, Butler said that the hunger strike was the next step in civil disobedience that Butler has decided to take after he determined that Wolfe could no longer continue in his current position.

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Jonathan L. Butler. Photo Credit: Jonathan L. Butler/ Facebook

Butler highlighted a series of incidents that have occurred on campus in recent months that he says show how little the administration cares about minority students. These events include the removal of health insurance for graduate students, a swastika that was drawn with human feces at a residence hall, cancellation of University contracts with Planned Parenthood and a lack of response when the student body president was called the N word.

Butler also claims that he was “bumped” by the vehicle that Wolfe was riding in multiple times during a demonstration at this year’s Homecoming Parade. Butler contends that it was done purposefully.

Butler is one of the organizers of the student movement called #ConcernedStudent1950, a reference to the year in which the first African-American student enrolled at Mizzou.

“It is extremely concerning when any of our students puts their health and safety in harm’s way,” Wolfe said in a statement supplied to Rise News. “I sincerely hope that Mr. Butler will consider a different method of advocating for this cause. I respect his right to protest and admire the courage it takes to speak up.”

Wolfe also said that he supported an ongoing dialogue about the racial climate on the four campuses that make up the UM system.

“Immediately after my initial meeting with the ConcernedStudent1950 group on October 26th, I invited Jonathan to meet again so we can build a deeper relationship and open a frank conversation about the group’s frustrations and experiences. I remain hopeful that they will accept my invitation,” Wolfe said in the statement.

Butler claims that Wolfe had no desire to meet with the student group and only did so after being pressured into it.

“He said that he had no intention of reaching out to us,” Butler said. “I think Tim Wolfe chooses not to know and he doesn’t really care.”

“I’m tired,” Butler told Rise News. “But I’m inspired and encouraged. I didn’t do this for publicity or to look cool. I did it because I really believe in this.”

In his statement, Wolfe said that his meeting with the #ConcernedStudent1950 was “one example of our engagement at the UM System level on this complex, societal issue.”

“I have met with our chancellors, campus diversity officers, students and faculty about the scope of the problem, so that collectively we may address these issues that are pervasive and systemic in our society,” Wolfe said. “We must always continue our efforts to affect change at our UM System campuses.”

Butler indicated that Wolfe no longer had the moral authority to lead on the issue.

“There is no reforming him,” Butler said of Wolfe. “With him as a leader, he has not taken a firm stance on these issues or tried to make it a more inclusive campus.

Butler said that he is a person of strong Christian faith and that he consulted with his church leaders and got the input of his family and friends before deciding to hunger strike.

For the past two weeks, he has been physically preparing for the strike, slowly reducing the amount of food he has been consuming over time.

“I’m tired,” Butler told Rise News. “But I’m inspired and encouraged. I didn’t do this for publicity or to look cool. I did it because I really believe in this.”

Stay with Rise News as we cover this developing story. 

READ: Full letter Jonathan L. Butler sent to University of Missouri Curators before hunger strike.


 

 

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Jonathan L. Butler/ Facebook

Bernie Sanders Releases First TV Ad Of Campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) released his first television ad of the 2016 presidential campaign yesterday.

The advertisement is titled “Real Change” and serves as a sort of greatest hits of Sanders’ life in public service starting from his activity in the Civil Rights Movement.

According to NBC News, Sanders’ campaign says that the ad buy is for $2 million and will run in the early vote states of New Hampshire and Iowa. It will start running on television on Tuesday.

WATCH: “Real Change”, Bernie Sanders’ first 2016 campaign TV ad

What do you think? Do you buy into Sanders’ vision for the country? Tell us in the comments below.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders Campaign (Screenshot/ Youtube)

There Is An Unbelievably Creepy Clown In Southwest Florida, And People Are Actually Paying Him Money To Scare Others

Wrinkles are not uncommon among those in the graying population of Southwest Florida. Except they are usually on sweet grandmothers who spend their days at Trader Joes and Michaels.

This is not that.

Meet Wrinkles, the worst clown on Earth who literally exists to haunt your dreams.

“I just want to have a good time,” Wrinkles told NBC 2 in Fort Myers. “Make a little extra money on the side, have a little fun before I die.”

HE LITERALLY WANTS TO MAKE CASH SCARING YOUR KIDS BEFORE HE DIES. THAT IS HIS BUSINESS PLAN!

All we can say is good luck Florida. You’re going to need it.

Just watch:

Here is he stealing balloons from children:

Yeah we are never going to the Florida gulf coast again.

Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Youtube (NBC 2)

Fred Thompson, Law And Order Actor And Former US Senator Dies At 73

Fred Thompson, a former United States Senator and well known actor died at the age of 73 after a battle with leukemia.

The Thompson family broke the news to the media in a statement.

“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the statement read according to the Tennessean. “Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home,” the statement read in part.

From the Tennessean

“As an attorney, he helped lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. As a politician, he served the state of Tennessee for eight years as a conservative Republican in the U.S. Senate and briefly as a possible GOP presidential nominee. As an actor, he stared in some of the most prominent films and television series of his time.

At 6’5″ with a booming voice, Mr. Thompson and his larger-than-life persona played a role in several key moments that shaped the U.S. and Tennessee political landscape.”

Thompson was best known for his campaign for president in 2008 and for his role as the Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch in Law And Order. Thompson won 11 delegates in his 2008 race for the GOP nomination for the highest office in the land and dropped out after competing in 5 states.

Stay with Rise News as we continue to update this developing story. 

Cover Photo Credit: IowaPolitics.com/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

VIDEO: 14 Year Old Tiger Woods Talks Poignantly About Race And Golf

With Tiger Woods in the throes of a major slump, it is sometimes hard to remember how incredible and important he has been for the game of golf.

With few exceptions, Woods has also been a model citizen and a somewhat bland sports star, careful and guarded in public life.

But he is also probably the greatest golfer of his generation (perhaps ever) and without a doubt the most successful African-American golfer of all time. That latter fact about his skin color is dismissed by some in the Obama era as non important. But golf is still a segregated sport in many parts of the country, due to a slew of reasons.

An amazing video that was posted online in 2013 by Trans World Sport shows what a young Tiger Woods thought about race and golf in 1990.

At just 14 years old, Woods was already seen as a future star of the game and judging by the tape, it is also clear that he understood how important his presence on the world stage would be for African-Americans across the country.

H/T: USA Today

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

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