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

Posted by: ST on July 23, 2014 at 11:48 am

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 …

 

What happens when you write a book critical of the Clintons

Posted by: ST on July 23, 2014 at 9:34 am
The Clintons

The Clintons

The Politico has published a piece written by Weekly Standard’s Daniel  Harper detailing some of the (predictable) attacks the Clinton machine waged against him in response to his writing of a book critical to both Hillary and Bill Clinton:

When I started to write Clinton, Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, I knew the reaction to expect. I was well aware that the former (and perhaps future) first family and its massive retinue of loyalty enforcers, professional defamers and assorted gadflies would rue my intent to examine the real Clintons—especially in my search for the real Chelsea Clinton, who until now has been a media-protected nonperson despite her aggressive public activities on her family’s behalf and despite raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from her role as former first daughter.

[...]

But even if I hadn’t known it, many, many people in Washington, on the left and right, popped up to warn me of what to expect from the Clinton PR team. Other authors—legitimate ones with serious pedigrees—who’d written about the Clintons said they were threatened and verbally attacked. Of course, nearly everyone in Washington has seen the much-vaunted Clinton PR machine in action. It’s very predictable. Here’s how it works:

1) Media intimidation tactics: Following their usual method of operation, the first thing Team Clinton would do is attempt a media blackout. A producer with CNN said I’d never be able to get any airtime on her show because the Clintons punish networks that give space to their perceived enemies. So far, even claims in my book that were well sourced with on-the-record quotes—such as Bill Clinton offering counsel to John McCain in how to defeat Barack Obama in 2008—have been all but ignored by the mainstream media.

2) Defame and attack: There would be repeated efforts to turn me into a kook or right-wing hit man. Though they haven’t yet gone so far to label me a “crazed stalker” like they did with Monica Lewinsky, the reliable Clinton aide Nick Merrill has repeatedly deployed a classic Clinton spin line on my work—before it was even on sale, mind you, and presumably he hadn’t yet read it. “It’s sad to see Daniel Halper join the discredited and disgraced ranks” of other authors supposedly out to get them at all costs, he emailed the Huffington Post. Sadly, I received no credit from the Clintons or from Merrill for the praise of both Bill (that he’s a “political genius) and Hillary (that she’s “intensely likable”) in various parts of the book. Merrill also claimed I was just out “to make a buck.” Which I take it means that Bill and Hillary Clinton donated all the proceeds of their millions in book deals to charity?

Heh.

Since it’s inevitable (in my view) that La Clinton is going to run again, I’d encourage you to buy Halper’s book for a refresher course … in case you need it … on who the Clintons are, what to expect in the coming months, etc.  Also, Michael Crowley wrote an illuminating piece on the Clintons at the left-leaning New Republic back in 2007 that  sheds some serious light on the devious Clinton war room in action.  There’s a reason they typically get favorable coverage, folks, and it’s not always because the media leans left.

 

Faced with antisemitic riots, French government does what it does best: appeasement

Posted by: Phineas on July 22, 2014 at 6:06 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"We surrender! Don't hurt us!!"

“We surrender! Don’t hurt us!!”

Muslims in France have been rioting, including attacking synagogues, in the wake of Israel’s retaliation against Hamas for months of attacks against Israeli civilians. Faced with growing antisemitic civil disorder, the French government naturally… condemned Israel:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to end violence in the Gaza Strip which Palestinian sources say have left nearly 600 Palestinians dead.

Close to 30 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have been killed as Israel battles to stop Hamas rocket fire, thwart attack tunnels and weaken the Islamist group’s ability to launch attacks from the Strip.

“In Israel and in Gaza, the situation is very hard,” Fabius said as he arrived for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

“Nothing justifies continued attacks and massacres which do nothing but only claim more victims and stoke tensions, hatred,” he said.

“France will act forcefully to demand an immediate ceasefire,” he added

Odd, but I must have missed the Foreign Minister’s demands for an immediate ceasefire when Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians, when three teens were kidnapped and murdered, and when rockets were fired at a nuclear reactor. And surely he condemned in the loudest terms Hamas’ use of women and children as human shields, hoping for casualties in order to get that all-important propaganda coup.

France: Leading the way in caving in since 1940.

PS: Yes, I know a Palestinian teen was murdered by Israeli thugs in retaliation for the killing of the three Jewish boys. Here’s the difference: the Israeli killers were arrested by Israel and will face trial for their crime. Palestinians celebrated the murderers of the three teenagers as heroes. Who is the civilized one, and who is the barbarian? You make the call.

via Jihad Watch

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

Rep. Cummings to Issa: Stop the “public harassment” of #IRS official

Posted by: ST on July 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm

IRS

The Washington Examiner reports that, unsurprisingly, Democrat obstructionist Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is demanding the House Oversight committee stop the “public harassment of an agency head” – IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform panel is objecting to a plan to call the Internal Revenue Service commissioner to testify for a third time in a matter of weeks, calling it “public harassment of an agency head.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sent a letter Monday to Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., objecting to a decision to call Commissioner John Koskinen to testify at a hearing on Wednesday. It would be the third time Koskinen appeared before the panel in the past month, Cummings noted.

“Requiring Commissioner Koskinen to testify again this week not only takes him away from the day-to-day duties of operating an agency with 90,000 employees, but it also diverts our Committee from conducting responsible oversight on many key areas that traditionally have been part of our jurisdiction,” Cummings said in the letter.

Because how dare Congress demand answers!?

In reality, we know exactly why Cummings wants this inconvenient scandal involving a gross violation of the public’s trust, not to mention numerous violations of federal law, to magically go away. And not just because it could potentially implicate Cummings himself, but also because it’s an embarrassment to this White House at a crucial time during a critical election year. Can’t have any pesky facts be made public about the blatant abuses of power at the IRS, now can we?

 

DC Circuit Court of Appeals deals major blow to #Obamacare

Posted by: ST on July 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm

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.

 

Hypocritical White House criticizes journos for use of anonymous sources

Posted by: ST on July 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm
obama-mirror

The two-faced nature of this administration continues.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest angered a lot of journalists at today’s press briefing over his comments regarding the anonymous sources of a story he was questioned on.  Via The Hill:

Complaints from White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday about anonymous news sources prompted a testy exchange with reporters who noted that administration officials regularly demand anonymity.

Earnest was asked about a Washington Post report charging that the administration ignored predictions last year from the Department of Homeland Security about the surge of unaccompanied minors who have flooded across the border in recent months.

ut the spokesman looked to challenge the report by arguing it was “based entirely on anonymous sources.” Earnest also offered a broader critique on the use of anonymous sourcing in a bid to challenge the credibility of the story.

“In the course of reporting, I think it’s important, based on my own personal view, for those kinds of quotes and those kinds of stories to be given greater weight than just anonymous sources,” Earnest said. “So, what that means is, if you have anonymous sources at the White House who are telling you something, and you’re gonna say to them — that anonymous source — ‘Look, I’m willing to give your side of the story a little less weight right now, because you’re telling me this anonymously.’ “

That prompted complaints from reporters who noted that the White House routinely insists on anonymity when unveiling new efforts.

“Would you guys commit then, when you have situations like today’s call, which is people specifically picked by the White House to roll out a policy of the White House, would you commit to have those people speak on the record?” asked Associated Press White House correspondent Julie Pace. “Because there doesn’t seem to be a reason to put them on background.”

[....]

“What I will commit to is a case-by-case evaluation of the background or the ground rules of each of these kinds of calls and a commitment to an open dialogue with you about the ground rules that will serve your interests and the White House interests the best,” Earnest said.

Make sure to click on the link above from The Hill to read how some Washington Post journos responded on Twitter to a particularly ridiculous criticism Earnest leveled at them about not sending anyone to the briefing to “defend themselves” on their border story published today.  It goes without saying that the write-up wasn’t exactly flattering to the administration, and for that – of course – journalists must be punished.  It’s the Chicago-on-the-Potomac way.

As always with this White House, it’s do as I say – not as I do.  “Transparency” you can believe in, and all that … 8-|

 

Scientific proof: Socialism makes you more likely to lie and cheat

Posted by: Phineas on July 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Liar"

“Liar”

This is amusing. Researchers from the University of Munich and ST’s beloved Duke University conducted a joint study that examined a person’s willingness to lie, if he could profit from that lie. The subjects were Berliners who were asked to play a game in which they could win a small amount of money. Each person would roll a die and record the results: higher numbers meant you won more money. This is what they found:

Honest participants would be expected to roll ones, twos and threes as often as fours, fives and sixes. But that did not happen: the sheets handed in had a suspiciously large share of high numbers, suggesting many players had cheated.

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

The article carefully points out that this disparity might also be due to the relative poverty of the old East Germany (and the region does continue to lag the rest of the country to this day), but, come on. A Socialist society, in which the State controls the money you’re allowed to make gives you every incentive to cheat, just as the incidence of tax cheating goes up here when tax rates rise beyond a certain point. These people are doing what the system encouraged them to do.

What makes this amusing is that it’s directly contrary to the Socialist claim of being able to “perfect’ society, culminating in the USSR’s “New Man.” Instead, it’s apparently the capitalist societies, with their bourgeois notions of personal accountability, limited government, free enterprise, the Rule of Law, and property rights that produce more honest citizens.

Maybe they should survey conservatives vs. progressives, next. smiley wink

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

 

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

Posted by: ST on July 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm
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.  

 

.@SkyNews journo rifles through #MH17 luggage, network apologizes after backlash

Posted by: ST on July 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

Unreal. A new low in modern journalism – via the WaPo:

A Sky News reporter drew criticism over the weekend when he rummaged on camera through a bag belonging to a victim of the MH17 air crash in Ukraine, even as he said he “probably shouldn’t be doing this, I suppose.”

It appeared to be a momentary lapse and the reporter, Colin Brazier, quickly put an item back in the bag after picking it up to display to viewers. Coming as foreign leaders were criticizing Ukraine separatists for piling up bodies of victims and going through personal belongings, the footage was not well received.

According to the Guardian, Sky News later apologized:

Huffington Post has documented the widespread outrage from both journalists and non-journos alike. Twitchy Team has more.

Here’s an image from the “news” segment, which you can watch at YouTube. I didn’t feel comfortable posting the video here.

Sky News

Sky News journalist Colin Brazier sifts through the luggage of dead MH-17 passenger.

Just an incredible, stunning lack of judgement, basic sensitivity and common decency, not to mention a total disregard for the feelings of the families of those killed in the crash. As the WaPo noted, even Brazier realized as he was doing it that it was wrong – but really, the whole segment was about sifting through the personal effects of dead passengers. Highly unseemly, to say the least.

I’m sure Sky News has heard quite an earful about this – if you haven’t let them know your thoughts, tag their Twitter account and let them know. And please rise above and express your thoughts respectfully, as hard as it may be to lash out over the completely inappropriate on-scene reporting of Brazier.

 

Surprising no one, California loses another business to Texas

Posted by: Phineas on July 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Moving

This time, Perry’s Poachers have snagged Omnitracs LLC of San Diego, a fleet management firm that will be moving to Dallas and taking 450 jobs with it:

Fleet management software company Omnitracs LLC will relocate it headquarters to Dallas from San Diego, creating 450 jobs and $10 million in capital investment, Gov. Rick Perry’s office announced Friday.

The company will move into KPMG Centre downtown.

Omnitracs is the latest in a wave of California relocations to North Texas announced this spring and summer.
The Texas Enterprise Fund is providing a $3.9 million incentive to attract Omnitracs. The new headquarters will house jobs in a variety of high-paying fields, including engineering, research and development and finance.

Omnitracs provides fleet management solutions for the trucking industry. Its services include software applications, GPS fleet tracking, platforms and information services.

Omnitracs is just the latest in a long line of businesses that have fled or are about to flee the once-Golden State. The article lists others, including Toyota, and mentions Vista Equity Partners, a California firm that specializes in buying firms and moving them to Texas.

Yes, the one business that California can keep is one that helps others get the heck out.

Well, we bloody well deserve it, with a business climate that’s designed to drive people away, not bring them here. I’m old enough to remember when California was a place to people rushed to, in order to build a future.

Now, thanks to 40 years of progressive misrule, they rush to get out, in order to save what future they have left.

via Stephen Frank

RELATED: Victor Davis Hanson, a fellow Californian, on our frivolous legislature. Must reading.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)