One-third of donations to @SandraFluke campaign come from her & her family

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly
Sandra Fluke

Sandra Fluke

The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow strikes again, this time over reported donations and loans to Sandra Fluke’s state Senate campaign (hat tip):

Liberal darling and free-birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke is her own biggest donor in her state Senate race, according to official California campaign finance reports.

Fluke donated $12,000 to her campaign and $4,826.27 in non-monetary contributions. While $16,826.27 may not sound like a lot, Fluke also loaned her campaign $100,000.

Where does a 2012 law school grad working as a social justice attorney get a loan that size? Her campaign never responded to a Washington Examiner inquiry, so we’re left to speculate.

Perhaps the loan was in part secured by the family of Fluke’s husband, Adam Mutterperl. In 2012, Fluke married Mutterperl, an amateur stand-up comic and son of big-time Democratic donor William Mutterperl.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Mutterperls have donated quite a bit to Fluke’s campaign. William and Nancy Mutterperl have each donated $8,200 to Fluke’s campaign. Adam has given a bit less – $4,100.

As a family, the Mutterperls have given Fluke $20,500. Fluke’s own family has donated $9,600 to her campaign (her mother gave one donation as Betty and one as Elizabeth).

While it’s not unusual for family members to donate to a campaign (it would be far more telling if they didn’t give), the fact that the donations, along with Fluke’s loan, accounts for 33 percent of Fluke’s fundraising is notable.

Well – um, if she doesn’t win that Senate seat, at least we know she can now afford birth control …

Tampon earring-wearing MSNBC host equates Gov. Perry to segregationists

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly
Melissa Harris-Perry

Dum dum.

Another stuck-on-stupid moment from MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry (via Jeffrey Meyer at Newsbusters):

Weekend MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry is known for making controversial statements about race, such as when she mocked Mitt Romney for having adopted black grandson, and on Saturday, July 26 she made yet another controversial statement on race.

Perry used her weekend platform to disgustingly compare Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) and his decision to sent National Guard troops to the border to that of southern Democrats blocking African American children from integrating into previously all-white public schools. [VIDEO]

[…]

Not only is Perry’s comparison between Governor Perry and segregationist Orval Faubas highly offensive but it is historically inaccurate. The Arkansas Democrat deployed the National Guard to prevent African-Americans who were citizens of the United States from accessing public schools. In contrast, Governor Rick Perry called on the National Guard to help stop the flood of non-U.S. citizens from entering the country illegally, which is in no way comparable to the treatment of African Americans during the days of segregation. Southern Democrats used dogs and fire hoses to attack U.S. citizens attempting to access public schools. Those at the border, while opposing illegal immigration, have insisted that the children be treated humanely and receive medical attention.

Will Melissa Harris-Perry issue yet another public apology for the offensive comments she makes on her MSNBC show? Only time will tell.

Don’t count on it.

Perhaps Ms. Perry should get back to rants about “abortion rights” – at least then she is mildly entertaining if not, as usual, completely off base.

Boom: #Obamacare architect upholds #Halbig decision

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly

**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"

“The end of Obamacare?”

I normally use that graphic as a metaphor for the needlessly disruptive, even harmful effects the Affordable Care Act is having on the American health care system and the millions who rely on it. But the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Halbig v. Burwell (formerly Halbig v. Sebelius) turned the ACA into its own flaming wreck by holding that purchasers of insurance on the federal exchange were ineligible for subsidies, meaning those buyers would be forced to pay the full cost of their new, needlessly more expensive O-care plans.

Oops.

Some background: When the writers of Obamacare were designing this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, it was decided that states would be able to set up their own exchanges, with the federal exchange serving as the “insurance mall” for those that didn’t. To encourage states to create exchanges, it was written into the bill that subsidies for insurance purchases would only be available to those who bought their policies via an exchange “established by the State.” The idea was that pressure from purchasers who wanted those subsidies would force even conservative governors and legislatures to “opt in” to the system.

Trouble was for Obamacare fans, it didn’t work out that way.

Only 14 states set up their own exchanges (and some of those have been such disasters that their states are switching to the federal marketplace). That meant that, under the law, insurance buyers in the federal marketplace would be paying full price for their policies. It also meant that the federal government could not collect the “Roberts tax” (penalties) for not buying insurance, since those taxes were triggered by the availability of subsidies. No subsidies, no tax revenues, which the government was relying on to fund those same federal subsidies. You can just imagine how that prospect thrilled the pols in D.C.:

Panic button

So the IRS, hearing its master voice, suddenly decided it had the power to declare that “established by the State” intended to include the federal exchange, and thus the subsidy money could keep flowing.

Enter Halbig  and its argument that, no, the law meant what it plainly said, and then the First Circuit’s agreement.

The reaction on the Left has been amusing, to say the least. Ranging from shrieks of “judicial activism!!” to whines of “it’s just a typo and you know very well that’s not what Congress intended, meanies!”, they want the full, en banc, First Circuit to reverse the ruling. And, if they don’t do it, then, by golly, it’s on to the Supreme Court, where John Roberts will rewrite the law for us! Or something.

That got an awful lot harder to imagine, though, after the Competitive Enterprise Institute last night uncovered video from 2012 in which Jonathan Gruber, one of the key architects of both Obamacare and the earlier Romneycare, point-blank admitted the plaintiffs in Halbig were right:

The key moment starts at minute 31. Here’s CEI’s transcription of the big reveal:

What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.

Per Michael Cannon, Gruber is off on one point, because the “Roberts taxes” are only triggered in states that create exchanges and thus get subsidies. But the core is that this destroys the government’s “congressional intent” argument, because we now have one of the designers saying the limitation of subsidies to state exchanges was the intent of Congress.

Where Obamacare defenders go from here (other than to a bar to drown their sorrows), I don’t know. They can’t give up, because the loss of the subsidies wrecks Obamacare. Can you imagine the reaction when customers on the federal exchange are told they have to pay full price, prices mandated by Obamacare, which was passed solely by Democrats?

I have no idea how the courts will handle this. Assuming the government asks for an en banc hearing, it’s possible the ruling in Halbig will be reversed, thus probably ending the matter, but I’d have to think less so after this revelation. And there is a contradictory ruling from the 4th Circuit, a situation that almost guarantees the Supreme Court would take the case in 2015.

As ST likes to say, stay tuned… popcorn.gif

RELATED: More from Reason. The Federalist on Michael Cannon’s revenge. Mr. Cannon himself points out how Halbig frees tens of millions from an illegal tax. Paula Bolyard reports how Mr. Gruber calls the plaintiff’s arguments in Halbig “nutty,” …er… but they’re his own ideas, too. Oops, again. By the way, did you know 91% of fake applicants for Obamacare can get subsidized coverage? Another reason to kill this thing and bury it under a crossroads at midnight with a stake through it.

UPDATE: This is amusing – four ways in which Obamacare defenders have desperately tried to spin Mr. Gruber’s “speak-o.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

GAO investigation: Non-existent ‘people’ able to sign up for #Obamacare coverage

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly

Obamacare

Wowsers:

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office have been able to register fake applicants with fictitious identifying documents for health plans and federal subsidies through ObamaCare, according to a published report.

The Washington Post reports that investigators were able to obtain subsidized health coverage for eleven of twelve fictitious applicants online or over the phone. The investigators used invalid or missing Social Security numbers or inaccurate citizenship information in applying for coverage. In one of the eleven approved instances, the paper reported that the application was denied, but later approved at the second attempt.

The Post also reported that six attempts were made to sign up false applicants via in-person representatives. In five of those cases, the representative did not know that the applicant’s income was too high to receive a subsidy in the first place.

GAO officials will testify about the findings before a House Ways and Means subcommittee Wednesday. The office is expected to continue the investigation before reaching final conclusions sometime next year.

The inquiries were carried out in several different states. The Post reported that the GAO has not specified which states were investigated because the investigation is ongoing.

Republicans have claimed that the federal health insurance exchange does not properly verify the identity and eligibility of potential customers, leaving it open to fraud and abuse. The GAO investigation was requested last year by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.); Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.), chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee; and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Gee, so Republicans were right about this aspect of Obamacare, too? Hmmm. I sense a pattern developing …

DC Circuit Court of Appeals deals major blow to #Obamacare

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly

Obamacare

Reason’s Peter Suderman has the deets:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered a huge blow to Obamacare this morning, ruling that the insurance subsidies granted through the federally run health exchange, which covered 36 states for the first open enrollment period, are not allowed by the law.

The highly anticipated opinion in the case ofJacqueline Halbig v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell reversed a lower court ruling finding that federally run exchanges did have the authority to disburse subsidies.

Today’s ruling vacates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation allowing the federal exchanges to give subsidies. The large majority of individuals, about 86 percent, in the federal exchange system received subsidies, and in those cases the subsidies covered about 76 percent of the premium on average.

The essence of the court’s ruling is that, according to the law, those subsidies are illegal. They were always illegal, and the administration never had the authority to offer them. (According to an administration official, however, the subsidies will continue to flow throughout the appeals process.)

The court’s ruling agreed with challengers who argued that the plain language of the law, which in multiple instances limits subsidies and credits to any “Exchange established by the State,” does not allow subsidies to be disbursed in exchanges where a state declined to establish its own exchange and is instead run by the federal government. Basically, the federal government cannot step in and create and run an exchange that is somehow still an exchange established by a state.

Think this is interesting? Come to find out, a different circuit court ruled in quite a different direction on this same issue:

Update 2: A different circuit court ruled today that subsidies offered through federally run exchanges are authorized on the law. This creates a circuit court split, which increases, but does not guarantee, the chances of an eventual hearing by the Supreme Court. It is also possible, and arguably even more likely, that the circuit split will be dealt with via en banc review.

Fasten your seat belts, y’all.

Memeorandum has much more.

QOTD: Cruz encourages Reid to leave the DC Ritz-Carlton & visit the border

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly
Senator Harry Reid

How about it, Senator Reid?

I love it:

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) characterization of the U.S.-Mexico border as “secure” by telling his colleague to come take a look for himself.

“President Obama and Harry Reid both engage debates divorced from the facts and divorced from the reality,” Cruz said on Fox News Sunday. “Harry Reid lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., and I’m sure from his perspective the border seems secure. I would invite Harry Reid to come with me down Texas and see the border.”

Make sure to view video of Senator Cruz’s comments at the Mediaite link above.

Meanwhile, reports are surfacing that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will announce today a plan to deploy 1,000 TX National Guard troops to the border:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reportedly plans to dispatch the Texas National Guard to the U.S. border with Mexico, according to news reports.

Perry will announce his plans Monday to mobilize some 1,000 guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley to increase security at the border, according to the Monitor, a south Texas newspaper. The newspaper quoted a state senator and an internal memo it obtained from a state official’s office.

Perry spokesman Felix Browne told The Washington Post he would neither confirm nor deny the report, but said all details will be given at a news conference at 2 p.m. Central time Monday in Austin. It was unclear what mission the guard will have.

I suspect the major TV news outlets will have coverage of Perry’s afternoon presser. Make sure to tune in to your preferred network at that time. If the reports are indeed true, please keep the troops in your thoughts and prayers. It’s not just hot and uncomfortable at the border right now. It’s dangerous.  

Will the #Obamacare employer mandate be delayed again?

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly

Obamacare

The Hill reports that the pressure is on for the White House on whether or not to delay the employer mandate for the third time:

The White House needs to make a decision soon on whether ObamaCare’s controversial employer mandate will take effect in 2015.

With the mandate set to take effect in January, businesses are awaiting final world from the administration on whether they will be required to track and report how many of their employees are receiving coverage.

Federal officials are late in delivering the final forms and technical guidance necessary for firms to comply, raising suspicions that the mandate could once again be delayed.

The mandate has been pushed back twice before, both times in late summer.

The delays to the mandate have angered House Republicans, who are now taking President Obama to court for what they say is his refusal to follow the letter of the law.

Another delay to the mandate would be sure to create a political firestorm and draw charges that the administration is playing politics with ObamaCare ahead of the midterm elections.

But support for the mandate on the left has begun to soften in recent months, with influential figures and former Obama administration officials questioning whether it’s needed to make the law work.

Seven business lobbyists interviewed by The Hill said it is unlikely the administration will defer the employer mandate wholesale one more time, given the intense political pressure from Republicans.

But many groups are expecting partial relief to be announced prior to November, perhaps in the form of looser reporting requirements that would be easier to follow.

“I’d be shocked if they did another [full] delay … but it wouldn’t surprise me if something else came out before the election,” said one source who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

I wouldn’t be shocked one bit, considering their past history of delaying the more controversial parts of this bill they know will hurt them more in the voting booth than any other.  But, as they say, stay tuned.

Why Obama will do nothing about the border crisis

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly

**Posted by Phineas

"Y'all come!"

“Y’all come!”

Per Bryon York:

First, because Republicans want him to do something:

Who is pushing Obama to get tough? Mostly, it’s the Republicans whose wishes Obama has ignored for years. And now, since his well-publicized decision to abandon hopes of making a deal with GOP lawmakers on immigration, Obama needs them even less. It’s to his political benefit to oppose them, not to do their bidding.

Second, because Democrats back him:

…the Democrats, who don’t strongly oppose action on the border but want the president to go forward only if Republicans will agree to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a grand bargain, these Democrats are not terribly bothered by Obama’s handling of the crisis. While a few border state Democrats like Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ron Barber express reservations about Obama’s performance, most won’t give the president any trouble.

Third, because the progressive media is cheering him on:

Next is the liberal commentariat, which supports Obama so strongly in this matter that it is actually pushing back against the idea that the border crisis is a crisis at all. “The besieged border is a myth,” the New York Times editorial page declared on Sunday. “Republicans are … stoking panic about a border under assault.”

And, finally, because Obama himself is simpatico with immigration “activists:”

Finally, there are the immigration activists who don’t want Obama to do anything that involves returning the immigrants to their home countries. “We’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting kids fleeing gang violence, extortion and rape,” Frank Sharry, of the immigration group America’s Voice, said recently. It is Obama’s responsibility, Sherry added, to find a way to settle “thousands of child refugees.”

Obama recently met with a group of those advocates. One of them later told the Washington Post that the president said to them, “In another life, I’d be on the other side of the table.” By that Obama meant that in his old days as a community organizer, pressing for the “refugee” rights would be just the sort of thing he would do.

In other words, all the incentives encourage him to ignore national interests and instead be true to his nature. He doesn’t have to worry ever again about reelection, and, if the Democrats are going to take a drubbing in the midterms, anyway, why not make his Leftist base happy?

There are those who argue that Obama’s actions have to be the result of incompetence, that no one would willingly do something so obviously self-destructive to their political fortunes. See, for example, Andrew Klavan’s essay at PJM, “Is Obama just a hapless putz?”, in which he argues that Cloward-Piven is an “idiot’s strategy.”

Perhaps, but one can still be idiotic enough to try it, with all the harmful effects that would follow.

Having read extensively on Obama’s political background, especially Kurtz’s crucial work, “Radical in Chief,” I’m not at all convinced that he cares about the fortunes of the Democratic Party (let alone the nation, or, frankly, those kids on the border), that he isn’t indeed willing to take a political hit in order to achieve what he and his leftist allies hope will be irreversible change. As with Obamacare, so with immigration. Whether Obama and his administration intended for this crisis on the border to occur, they’re quite happy to take advantage of it.

From his point of view, all the incentives work that way.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obamacare: The pesky issue that won’t go away for #NCsen’s @SenatorHagan

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly
Hagan repeal Obamacare

Tea Party member Judy Carter pickets Sen. Kay Hagan’s local office in Greensboro against Obamacare Photo by Examiner.com’s Matt Maggio.

The Politico has a pretty good write-up this morning on what they call the “disconnect” between North Carolina voters and Obamacare – and how that is not good news for the re-election campaign of vulnerable Democrat Senator Kay Hagan:

The Tar Heel State signed up more than 357,000 people — one-third of those eligible for the new health insurance exchange. Yet President Barack Obama’s health law remains a major liability for Sen. Kay Hagan, who faces one of the toughest reelection races for any Senate Democrat this year, a true toss-up fight against North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. He misses no chance to tie her to Obama and the Affordable Care Act, forcing her to calibrate both how to defend a law she voted for and how to distance herself from it.

The North Carolina dynamic reflects a national problem for the Obama administration in this midterm election: Despite the solid numbers — 8 million enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans, and 6.7 million signed up for Medicaid — they just can’t move the dial on political support for Obamacare.

The state had the third-highest rate of enrollment among states that decided not to set up their own exchange — only Florida and Maine came out ahead of it.

[…]

Many people who enrolled in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country report mixed feelings about their new Obamacare health plans or the costs. The individual mandate, and the threat of a penalty, drove many sign-ups. A polling report by PerryUndem, an opinion research firm that specializes in health care, found that 40 percent of people in one focus group say they might not have signed up without the mandate. But neither an unpopular mandate nor worries about the expense are a political advantage.

[…]

Hagan was not available for an interview during a reporter’s recent visit here. Her campaign spokeswoman downplayed the controversy over Obamacare, and stressed its more popular benefits.

Of course she wasn’t.  The Senator has become almost infamous for sidestepping questions about a law she once bragged about having helped craft.

To make matters worse forif you like your plan you can keep it Hagan and other red state Democrats who shoved the so-called Affordable Care Act down the throats of the American people is that coming soon – very soon – are health insurance rate hikes, set to be announced for North Carolina sometime next month, which is sure to fuel the fire over Obamacare all over again at a critical time for her campaign.  

I should note that one major issue not mentioned in the Politico piece is how close to 500,000 North Carolinians lost their health insurance plans thanks to Obamacare, far more than the number that signed up for it.  That’s a number her GOP opponent/NC House Speaker Thom Tillis will hammer home from now til November – as he should, and if you’re a resident of North Carolina who is sick of Senator Hagan’s repeated attempts at avoiding responsibility for her vote on this disastrous bill, you should remind people of it, too.

Senate Dems, including @KayHagan, set to try & “reverse” #HobbyLobby ruling

FacebookTwitterPrintFriendly

Hobby Lobby

Because religious freedom sucks and stuff – and so do the “five white guys” on the Supreme Court. Via The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up the first procedural vote on a bill that would reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows some employers to deny birth control coverage for women.

“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said while introducing the bill last week.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that companies, such as Hobby Lobby, don’t have to provide their employees birth control coverage as mandated under ObamaCare. The 5-4 decision stated that the mandate violated the religious liberties of employers who don’t believe in the use of contraceptives.

Democrats have pounced on the issue ahead of the November elections in order to draw contrast between the two parties on the issue.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” said Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a lead co-sponsor of the bill. “My common-sense proposal will keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn’t be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”

Senate Democrats will need at least five Republicans to join them in voting to end debate on the motion to proceed to S. 2578, but it seems unlikely they will get that support. That vote is expected Wednesday.

In other words, they know they aren’t going to get anywhere on the bill. It’s just election-year posturing designed to let perpetual (and in some cases “professional”) “feminist” victims on the left who dogmatically support the demagogues in the Democrat party know that when it comes to choosing between respect for the First Amendment versus abortion on demand, they’ll choose baby-killing every single time.

And yes, as the headline to this post suggests, North Carolinians, Senator Hagan (D) supports this bill:


Shameful. And out of touch with North Carolina voters. But not surprising.