Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid’

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Just As Good at Cybersecurity as at Running the DNC

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Debbie Wasserman Schultz has long been the gift that keeps giving for Republicans. Her tenure at the top of the DNC saw dramatic declines Democratic Party officeholder at a time when Obama was still (theoretically) personally popular. Now her incompetence may be endangering not just the Democratic Party, but American security.

Remember earlier this year when three Pakistani brothers (Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan) who managed office IT for Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computer networks without permission?

Refresher:

Jamal handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.

“As of 2/2, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch told TheDCNF Friday.

Jamal also worked for Louisiana Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.

Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, and Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Carson and Speier are members of the intelligence committee. Spokesmen for Carson and Speier did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comments. Imran also worked for the House office of Wasserman-Schultz.

Then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, employed Abid for IT work in 2016. She was a member of House committees dealing with the armed services, oversight, and Benghazi. Duckworth was elected to the Senate in November, 2016. Abid has a prior criminal record and a bankruptcy.

Abid also worked for Rep. Lois Frankel, a Florida Democrat who is member of the foreign affairs committee.

Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was previously the target of a disastrous email hack when she served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

In addition to the brothers Awam, two more staffers, Hina Alvi (Imran Awan’s wife, who worked for Rep. Gregory Meeks (Democrat, New York) and Rao Abbas, were also fired. “The five current and former House staffers are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.”

(Though reports often list five members, Natalia Sova, another Awan wife, also worked as a staffer.)

So when they were accused of stealing and improperly accessing information, they were fired, right? No. Because they were Muslims:

Meeks said he was hesitant to believe the accusations against Alvi, Imran Awan and the three other staffers, saying their background as Muslim Americans, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.

“I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is entitled to due process,” Meeks said.

“They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.”

[Rep. Marcia] Fudge [Democrat, Ohio] told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received “due process.”

“He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don’t fire someone until you talk to them,” Fudge said.

On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn’t provide details about Imran Awan’s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge’s office as of Tuesday afternoon.

The bottom line is simple – these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism.

Then it came to light that “House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.” Turns out that the Awan brothers were incompetent at their jobs, but House Democrats refused to fire them or consider cheaper employees.

Also this: “Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.”

More on that lovely individual the Awan brothers do business with:

The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has reported that while working for Congress, the Pakistani brothers controlled a limited liability corporation called Cars International A (CIA), a car dealership with odd finances, which took–and was unable to repay–a $100,000 loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote that Attar “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012–shortly after the loan was made. Attar has also been accused of helping provoke the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a leader of Iraqi dissidents opposed to Saddam Hussein.

After moving to the U.S., Attar made his money practicing medicine in Maryland and Virginia and defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies by billing for non-existent medical procedures. The FBI raided his offices in 2009 and the Department of Health and Human Services sued his business partner in 2011.

Attar was indicted in March 2012 on separate tax fraud charges after the IRS and FBI found he used multiple bank accounts to hide income. He fled back to Iraq to avoid prison.

“He’s a fugitive. I am not aware of any extradition treaty with Iraq,”

Then the story of the Awan brothers’ security breech took yet another strange turn:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for holding equipment that she says belongs to her in order to build a criminal case against a Pakistani staffer suspected of massive cybersecurity breaches involving funneling sensitive congressional data offsite.

The Florida lawmaker used her position on the committee that sets the police force’s budget to press its chief to relinquish the piece of evidence Thursday, in what could be considered using her authority to attempt to interfere with a criminal investigation.

The Capitol Police and outside agencies are pursuing Imran Awan, who has run technology for the Florida lawmaker since 2005 and was banned from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft.

“My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate Members’ equipment when the Member is not under investigation,” Wasserman Schultz said in the annual police budget hearing of the House Committee On Appropriations’ Legislative Branch Subcommittee.

“We can’t return the equipment,” Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa told the Florida Democrat.

“I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences,” Wasserman Schultz said.

As one of eight members of the Committee on Appropriations’ Legislative Branch subcommittee, Wasserman Schultz is in charge of the budget of the police force that is investigating her staffer and how he managed to extract so much money and information from members.

In a highly unusual exchange, the Florida lawmaker uses a hearing on the Capitol Police’s annual budget to spend three minutes repeatedly trying to extract a promise from the chief that he will return a piece of evidence being used to build an active case.

“If a Member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member’s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no?” she said.

Police tell her it is important to “an ongoing investigation,” but presses for its return anyway.

The investigation is examining members’ data leaving the network and how Awan managed to get Members to place three relatives and a friend into largely no-show positions on their payrolls, billing $4 million since 2010.

The congresswoman characterizes the evidence as “belonging” to her and argues that therefore it cannot be seized unless Capitol Police tell her that she personally, as opposed to her staffer, is a target of the investigation.

When TheDCNF asked Wasserman Schultz Monday if it could inquire about her strong desire for the laptop, she said “No, you may not.” After TheDCNF asked why she wouldn’t want the Capitol Police to have any evidence they may need to find and punish any hackers of government information, she abruptly turned around in the middle of a stairwell and retreated back to the office from which she had come.

Very curious indeed.

It seems that Wasserman Schultz (and very possibly other Democratic congressmen) would prefer to see American intelligence compromised rather than have embarrassing personal information revealed. One wonders if the dismissed staffers were conveying information to overseas jihadis, or if they had incriminating information on any of the DNC, Obama or Hillary Clinton scandals so much in the news.

Stay tuned…

Texas vs. California Update for April 20, 2017

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

This didn’t get done while I was doing my taxes, but here, at last, is another giant Texas vs. California update:

  • Appeals court finds San Diego’s pension reform legal. “California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal unanimously overturned a 2015 state labor board ruling that said the cutbacks were illegal because of then-Mayor Jerry Sanders’ involvement in the successful citizens’ initiative that made the changes.” San Diego transitioned to a 401K style program. Naturally public employee unions screamed bloody murder and sought to have the reforms overturned. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Unions attempts to role back San Diego’s pension reforms amounted to an attempt to retroactively apply collective bargaining to older laws.
  • More: It’s “shocking the agency’s officials would have even argued that a union’s right to negotiate pay and benefits trumps the public’s right to hold an election.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The number of people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in California alone exceeds the total populations of 44 of the other states of the union, according to data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Census Bureau.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California exports its working poor to Texas.

    Every year from 2000 through 2015, more people left California than moved in from other states. This migration was not spread evenly across all income groups, a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data found. The people leaving tend to be relatively poor, and many lack college degrees. Move higher up the income spectrum, and slightly more people are coming than going.

    About 2.5 million people living close to the official poverty line left California for other states from 2005 through 2015, while 1.7 million people at that income level moved in from other states – for a net loss of 800,000. During the same period, the state experienced a net gain of about 20,000 residents earning at least five times the poverty rate – or $100,000 for a family of three.

    Snip.

    The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

  • Hat tip for the above is this Zero Hedge piece, which notes “By some measures, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. And as more and more residents leave, the burden to fund the state’s welfare exuberance will fall more and more on the wealthier (that actually pay taxes). Rather than secession, perhaps it’s time for the wealthy to join ‘the poor’ exodus and beat the crowd out of California…”
  • A look at a California tent city of 1,000 people.
  • Kevin Williamson on why Houston’s diversity is different than the liberal ideal of same:

    Living in a place where it is less of a struggle to pay the rent or make the mortgage payment does indeed chill most everybody out a little bit. But it is not at all obvious that what Houston — or Texas at large — enjoys is in fact a culture that is generally welcoming to immigrants in a way that is different from Scottsdale or Trenton or Missoula. What Texas does have is something close to the opposite of that: a large and very well-integrated Mexican-American community. Anglos in Texas aren’t welcoming to Latinos because we are in some way uniquely open to the unfamiliar, but because they are not unfamiliar.

    This matters in ways that are not obvious if you didn’t grow up with it. My native West Texas, along with the whole of the border and much of the rest of the state, has a longstanding, stable Anglo–Latin hybrid culture. Houston does, too, but Houston, being a very large city, is a little more complicated; I had lunch yesterday with a conservative leader who chatted amiably with the staff in Spanish at . . . an Indian restaurant.

    That robust hybrid culture ensures that the people Anglos hear speaking Spanish are not always poor, not mowing the lawn or cleaning a hotel room, that they are not usually immigrants, not people who cannot speak or read English — not alien. They are neighbors who, if you are lucky, make Christmas tamales. And they might be your employer or your employee, the guy who sells you a car or approves your car loan, a pastor at your church, a professor, a member of your Ultimate Frisbee team . . . or an illegal immigrant, or a criminal, or someone who is in some way unassimilated, alien, or threatening. When one out of three people in your county is “Hispanic” — a word that in Texas overwhelmingly means “Mexican-American” — then you tend to know Hispanic people of all descriptions: the good, the bad, and the ordinary.

    That is not the case in, say, Arlington, Va., which does not have a large and well-assimilated Mexican-American population but does have a large and poorly assimilated population of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The two things are not the same — more like opposites. Add to that the fact, sometimes lost on Anglos, that there is no such thing as a “Hispanic” culture or population, that people with roots in Mexico do not think of themselves as being part of a single cultural group that includes people from Central America and South America. A while back, I heard an older fellow of Mexican background complaining about the Guatemalans moving into his area — and he was an illegal immigrant. That’s a funny reality: In Texas, even some of the illegals don’t think that we can let just anybody cross the border. But ethnic politics is a strange business: In West Texas, young whites without much money (college students and the like) who would never for a moment seriously consider moving into a low-income black neighborhood will not give a second thought to moving into a largely Hispanic neighborhood.

    All of which is not to say that Texas does not have a fair number of poorly assimilated Spanish-speaking immigrants: It surely does, especially in the big cities. (People forget how urban Texas is: Six of the 20 largest U.S. cities are in Texas.) But it is easier to accommodate — and, one hopes, to assimilate — those newcomers when you have a culture of mutual familiarity and trust, which is based not on newcomers but on oldcomers. Texas’s ancient Mexican-American community — whose members famously boast, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!” — is a kind of buffer that makes absorbing newcomers less stressful.

  • Leaving coastal California is a ‘no-brainer‘ for some as housing costs rise.”

    Huntington Beach residents Chris Birtwistle and Allison Naitmazi were about to get married and decided it was time to buy a home.

    They wanted to stay in the area but couldn’t find a house they both liked and could reasonably afford — despite a dual income of around $150,000.

    So they decided to go inland — all the way to Arizona, where they recently opened escrow on a $240,000, four-bedroom house with a pool just outside Phoenix. Their monthly mortgage payment will be about $500 less than what they paid for a two-bedroom apartment in the Orange County beach community.

  • “California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities.” Versus zero for Texas. So they have the nation’s most stringent pollution laws…and the nation’s worst air pollution. (Golf clap) (Hat tip: Chuck DeVore’s Twitter feed.)
  • 16 Reasons Not To Live In California. Samples (snippage implied):

    #2 Out of all 50 states, the state of California has been ranked as the worst state for business for 12 years in a row…
    #3 California has the highest state income tax rates in the entire nation. For many Americans, the difference between what you would have to pay if you lived in California and what you would have to pay if you lived in Texas could literally buy a car every single year.
    #4 The state government in Sacramento seems to go a little bit more insane with each passing session.
    #5 The traffic in the major cities just keeps getting worse and worse. According to USA Today, Los Angeles now has the worst traffic in the entire world, and San Francisco is not far behind.

  • CalSTRS’ funded status falls to 64% as deficit grows $21 billion following rate reduction.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas is on its way to passing a conservative budget.
  • A Democrat-sponsored bill in the California legislature guarantees free healthcare for all, without specifying a way to pay for it. Maybe they’ll institute a unicorn tax… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection spells out exactly what Californians would actually get under the plan:
    • With no choice, there is no competition, unless you are wealthy enough to leave the state for medical care. However, this is a golden opportunity for medical tourism companies!
    • There will be a limited supply of doctors, as those who don’t want to go through the bureaucratic hoops for procedures and payment will also leave the state.
    • Clinicians will be forced to make their treatment decisions based on the state-run rules: Why choose surgery when a pill will do?
    • Shockingly, some funds need to be directed to other budget items instead of perks for illegal aliens (refer to Oroville Dam for a handy reference).
    • Medicare, the system that is the foundation for this proposal, is rife with waste, fraud and abuse (e.g., 3 Floridians bilked the system for $1 billion).
    • Co-pays and deductibles will be transformed into monies paid for non-state government healthcare services (like the Canadians who cross into the United States to obtain MRI’s and other innovative treatments).
    • Public oversight will translate into political wheeling-and-dealing strictly for the benefit of those plugged into the rigged system. An indication that Sacramento may be headed for such a system, I offer this piece published in The Sacramento Bee for consideration: Why California must accept more corruption.
    • The cost of drugs has soared, despite Obamacare. As an example, I had a skin medication that would cost me $150 for an annual supply. The same medication now costs nearly $1000 a year, and I no longer use it.
  • In order to further bestow members of the ruling Democratic coalition with rights and privileges mere citizens don’t enjoy, California’s Senate Bill 807 proposes making teachers exempt from state income tax. Some pigs are evidently way, way more equal than others…
  • Teacher’s unions have helped create California’s teacher shortage. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California hikes its gas taxes yet again, making them the highest in the nation.
  • Pension liabilities are pinching in Gilroy, California: “Gilroy’s three biggest public employers have amassed more than $183 million in unpaid pension liabilities. That’s likely more than ever, and a figure that, absent major reform, will grow and siphon budget funds from essential public services, say officials and pension experts. In Gilroy, 23 city pensions exceed $100,000 and more than 60 exceed $70,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Court to determine whether California’s public employee union members can simply continue to buy years of service rather than actually working them.
  • Silicon Valley slows down. “Tech companies in San Francisco and San Mateo counties lost 700 jobs from January to February and tech employment has dropped by 3,200 jobs since hitting a peak last August.”
  • What the lords of Silicon Valley actually think: “Inequality is a feature, not a bug.”
  • Hold on to your seats for this one: California’s government actually did something right, legalizing the selling of home-made food. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Hotel construction continues apace in the United States, and dozens of new properties are expected to open this year in two major corporate and tourist destinations, New York and Los Angeles. But the three other cities with the most hotels projected to open in 2017, according to the industry research company STR, are all in Texas — Dallas, Houston and Austin.” Notice the implied condescension in the NYT piece: New York and LA are real places, whereas Dallas, Houston and Austin are “other cities.”

    More:

    The number of new hotels in Texas is notable. In 2017, Marriott plans to open eight hotels in Austin, seven in Houston and 23 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the company. Ninety-two other Marriott hotels are in the planning stages for the three metro areas. Hilton says it is planning for 75 new hotels there. InterContinental Hotels Group has more than 100 hotel projects in the Austin, Dallas and Houston metro areas, including the Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts and Staybridge Suites brands.

    Austin is home to the state capital; the University of Texas at Austin, a campus with 50,000 students; and a long list of technology companies. Its growing recreation and dining scene is attracting more leisure travelers, filling guest rooms on weekends and making the city “more of a seven-day-a-week hotel market,” according to Tim Powell, the managing director for development for Hilton’s southwest region.

  • A bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of California plays Santa Claus with a bank’s money.
  • Just what illegal aliens cost California.
  • “L.A. To Worsen Housing Shortage With New Rent Controls.”
  • “California Dems Promise Taxpayer Dollars to Defend Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Calpers Is Sick of Paying Too Much for Private Equity…Pension fund’s private-equity returns were 12.3% over 20 years, but they would have been 19.3% without fees and costs.” (WSJ hoops apply.) (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Texas top state for number of new, expanded corporate facilities for fifth consecutive year.”
  • It’s not just Oroville Dam that needs maintenance: a section of Highway 50 collapsed in February. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Jerry Brown wants to spend nearly $450 million on flood control following dam emergency.”
  • “A state senator is removed from the chamber for her comments about Tom Hayden and Vietnam.” Namely for noting that Hayden supported “a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family.” Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) came to America as a Vietnamese refugee, and Democrats were incensed she was allowed to speak truth to power when it came to hagiography for one of their own. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Crime Increasing in California After ‘Prison Reform.'”
  • Selling carbon indulgences just isn’t what it used to be under Trump:

    February’s quarterly auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances under California’s cap and trade program was another financial washout for the state.

    Results for last week’s auction were posted Wednesday morning, revealing that just 16.5 percent of the 74.8 million metric tons of emission allowances were sold at the floor price of $13.57 per ton.

    The state auctions emission allowances to polluters and speculators as part of its program to reduce greenhouse gases. The proceeds are supposed to be spent on public programs to slow climate change.

    February’s auction is being closely watched by market analysts because the last three quarterly auctions in 2016 posted sub-par results.

    Almost all of February’s proceeds went either to California’s utilities, who sell allowances they receive free from the Air Resources Board, or the Canadian province of Quebec, which offers emission allowances through California. Both are first in line when auction proceeds are apportioned.

    The ARB was offering 43.7 million tons of state-owned emission allowances, but sold just 602,340 tons of advance 2020 allowances, which means the state will see only $8.2 million, rather than the nearly $600 million it could have received from a sellout.

    (Hat tip: Chuck DeVore on Twitter.)

  • California’s high speed train-to-nowhere is still doomed.
  • “Six former LA safety officers collected pension payouts of over $1,000,000 apiece last year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Oakland Fire Chief Announces Retirement Days After Pension Vested, Warehouse Fire Probe Continues.”
  • San Rafael has the the highest pension costs in California by percentage of their total budget (18%). “Money that goes to one thing can’t go to another thing, so if you’re spending almost $1 out of $5 on pension payments, that is a lot less money available for tangible public services such as filling potholes, keeping the library open and making sure there is sufficient police protection.”
  • Remember Anthony Silva, mayor of formerly bankrupt Stockton? He’s been arrested again, this time for embezzling “at least $74,000 from the Stockton Kids Club over the past five years.” That would be the same Anthony Silva who is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose own guns were stolen and used in crimes, and who was also arrested for “for playing strip poker with minor and giving them alcohol while at a youth camp.” Given such august leadership, I can’t imagine how Stockton went bankrupt… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • New survey of the Permian Basin in Texas shows that there’s another 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil than previously thought.
  • More on the fracking boom:

  • Minimum wage hike watch: Wendy’s to try out more than 1000 self-serve kiosks.
  • San Francisco’s wage hike is already closing restaurants. Especially those that serve affordable food. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • California’s “hide actor’s age” law struck down.
  • “Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty on obstruction of justice and other charges.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • I would like to celebrate Austin Austin having the shortest commute time in this study of major cities except, since I now experience that commute time every weekday, I can tell you that 16 minute estimate is utter crap. Maybe Austin is the best if the commute time for other cities is similarly underestimated. By contrast, the Austin rental rate of $476 a week seems slightly high, while the London rate of $489 a week seems way too low…
  • Kubota Tractor Corp. finished its’ U.S. headquarters from Torrance, California, to Grapevine, Texas. (Previously.)
  • “West Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West development has landed another big name business. Boeing will locate the headquarters for its newly formed global services division in the 250-acre mixed-use project at the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121.”
  • Los Angeles-based fashion company Nasty Gal declares bankruptcy. Also, nice proofreading on this subhead, LA Times: “Why couldn’t they the company hold on to shoppers?” Note: That’s still up for a story published February 24th…
  • Los Angeles clothing brand BCBG Max Azria Group, owner of Hervé Leger, also filed for bankruptcy.
  • The City of St. Louis sues the NFL, and all 32 NFL teams, over the Rams relocation to Los Angeles.
  • “L.A. County Sheriff’s Department switches from silver to gold belt buckles at a cost of $300,000.” That’s some might fine resource allocation there, Lou… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • TPPF Call on ObamaCare Replacement: “Mend and Expand, Not Repeal and Replace”

    Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

    I just got off a conference call with the Texas Public Policy Foundation on the House GOP ObamaCare replacement discussed yesterday. Here are some brief notes from the call:

    Chris Jacobs:

  • Only one mandate repealed, retains the rest and maintains federal control over health care.
  • The current bill doesn’t limit Medicaid expansion the way the 2015 bill did.
  • Federal subsidies for insurers remain.
  • The bill actually increases federal control of health care.
  • Conservatives need people to stand up for actual repeal of ObamaCare.
  • Dr. Deane Waldman:

  • The GOP treatment plan doesn’t address why the patient is actually sick.
  • The problem is federal control of the health care system.
  • It’s not repeal and replace, it’s mend and expand.
  • Need control at the state level.
  • Chip Roy:

  • Fundamentally not a repeal of ObamaCare.
  • Maintains the medicaid expansion to able-bodied adults.
  • Maintains the preventative and contraception mandate.
  • Maintains the incentive to drive more people into Medicaid.
  • I asked a followup question of Chris Jacobs about the preventative and contraception mandate. He said it’s left entirely in place. While that mandate can be eliminated administratively by HHS Secretary Tom Price, Democrats could reinstitute it by the same method in the future.

    Chip Roy: This bill fundamentally embraces all that is wrong with ObamaCare.

    Three Texas Planned Parenthood Clinics Raided Over Medicaid Fraud

    Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

    “Health investigators with the state of Texas went into Planned Parenthood’s clinic in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas Thursday morning, but declined to say why.”

    Snip.

    “Earlier this week, the [Texas Health and Human Services Commission] alleged that Planned Parenthood “committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video that reveal repeated program violations and breach the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee.”

    I’m sure Planned Parenthood’s backers will soon tell us why abortion is such an important and fundamental right that the organization should be allowed to commit Medicaid fraud at will…

    LinkSwarm for January 19, 2015

    Monday, January 19th, 2015

    Enjoy a Monday LinkSwarm to get your week started:

  • Police conduct anti-terrorism raids in Germany, Belgium and France. Could this be the start of a real effort to halt Islamic extremism in Europe? I rather doubt it. Too many leftist parties across Europe need Muslim votes, and European elites still seem implacably hostile to the Euroskeptic parties pushing for an end to unlimited Muslim immigration.
  • Old and Busted: Never again! The New Hotness: More dead Jews? Meh.
  • The late Anwar al-Awlaki was good at two things: drawing up plans to kill innocent people in the name of Islam, and banging skanky whores.
  • The Prime Minister of France: “I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology.” (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • More from France’s PM on the new antisemitism:

    “There is a new anti-Semitism in France,” he told me. “We have the old anti-Semitism, and I’m obviously not downplaying it, that comes from the extreme right, but this new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have turned anger about Gaza into something very dangerous. Israel and Palestine are just a pretext. There is something far more profound taking place now.”

    In discussing the attacks on French synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses this summer, during the Gaza war, he said, “It is legitimate to criticize the politics of Israel. This criticism exists in Israel itself. But this is not what we are talking about in France. This is radical criticism of the very existence of Israel, which is anti-Semitic. There is an incontestable link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Behind anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

  • Michael Totten quotes the late Christopher Hitchens. on the jihadist opinion of the current controversy: “Carving up grandfathers and granddaughters with an axe on New Year’s Eve can be okay if it’s done to protect the reputation of a seventh century Arabian man who heard voices.”
  • Bobby Jindal: “Islam has a problem.”
  • Victimology is the language and currency of our politics.”
  • All those Harvard professors supporting ObamaCare are shocked to discover they’re paying for it.
  • “In 2009, 76 Democrats represented primarily white working-class congressional districts. Just 15 of them are still in the House today.”

    A majority of the GOP gains since then have come from the Democrats’ near-total collapse in one set of districts: the largely blue-collar places in which the white share of the population exceeds the national average, and the portion of whites with at least a four-year college degree is less that the national average. While Republicans held a 20-seat lead in the districts that fit that description in the 111th Congress, the party has swelled that advantage to a crushing 125 seats today. That 105-seat expansion of the GOP margin in these districts by itself accounts for about three-quarters of the 136-seat swing from the Democrats’ 77-seat majority in 2009 to the 59-seat majority Republicans enjoy in the Congress convening now.

  • “It was not merely Democratic politicians who were wiped out in November. A plethora of liberal shibboleths were also massacred.”
  • Virginia voters won’t let a little thing like pleading guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor prevent him from regaining his seat in the House of Delegates. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • How big is Texas?
  • Three myths about Medicaid expansion. I hope that Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick understand that we didn’t elect them to cave in on ObamaCare…
  • Are your tweets University of Indiana-approved, comrade? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Feminism’s empathy gap. Or the Shanley Kanes of the world reject the experiences of women that don’t fit their preferred victimhood narrative…
  • How a Global Warming true believer became a skeptic.
  • 10 bodies, 11 severed heads found in Mexico.
  • Pictures of empty Venezuelan store shelves, as Socialism continue to work its usual magic.
  • Liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer may run for the senate. Hopefully he’ll have the same luck as the politicians he donated to in 2014…
  • Only found out recently that Death by Government and genocide/democide expert R. J. Rummel died March 2, 2014.
  • Conservatives win several rule fights in the Texas House.
  • Rick Perry’s farewell address.
  • Gregg Abbott’s inauguration will have 4 tons of brisket. Or, as we call it in Texas, “an appetizer.”
  • Times when climbing down a chimney is a good idea: Your name is “Santa Claus.” Otherwise? Not so much.
  • A cure for cracked winter hands.
  • “My personality is as spartan as a Danish furniture catalog, why can’t yours be the same?” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • American Sniper kills at the box office:

  • ObamaCare Ruling May Hasten Demise of Blue State Model

    Monday, July 2nd, 2012

    One effect of the ObamaCare ruling is that states can safely reject ObamCare’s Medicaid expansion without losing access to all Medicaid funds. It appears that Texas, wisely, will be doing just that, as will Florida.

    Hopefully all this won’t matter, as Republicans will take the White House and Senate in November and repeal ObamaCare as job one in 2013. But in the unfortunate scenario where ObamaCare isn’t repealed, here’s an example of Blue States increasing the size and scope of government while converting more of their residents from independent citizens to wards of the state while Red States continue to either scale back intrusive government or at least refrain from expanding it. And with the Medicaid portion of the ObamaCare ruling, it’s going to be easier than ever for Red State government to Just Say No to new federal welfare initiatives with new funding strings attached.

    So Red States will continue to stay lean, while Blue States move ever more quickly toward bankruptcy.

    TPPF Conference Call on the ObamaCare Decision

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012

    Just got off a Texas Public Policy Foundation conference call with Chuck DeVore and Arlene Wohlgemuth on the effects of the Supreme Court ObamaCare decision. Just in case you hadn’t read anything on the Internet today, that ruling was 5-4 affirming ObamaCare as constitutional, majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, not on Commerce Clause grounds, but on congress’ ability to tax:

    The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.

    Here some no-doubt random bits of information I gleaned from the conference call:

  • Of all the possible scenarios experts looked at in a possible ObamaCare ruling, this wasn’t one of them.
  • All the cost drivers and massive increase in bureaucracy is still there.
  • Texas was already looking at a $5 billion Medicaid shortfall for the next biennium; ObamaCare will likely make that a $15 shortfall.
  • No one knows if Texas will undertake Medicaid expansion or not.
  • ObamaCare was a consequence of Republican losses in 2006 and 2008, and a cause of Republican victories in 2010.
  • As a tax, ObamaCare can be repealed with 51 Senate votes (no filibuster).
  • Roberts’ decision “built a fence” around the Commerce Clause, possibly preventing further expansion of federal powers under that guise. (This has lead to some observers to suggest that Roberts is playing the “long game” of constraining the growth of the federal government.)
  • The court did invalidate (7-2) Medicare/Medicaid penalties for non-compliance, in that states cannot be “dragooned” into post-facto changes with the threat of withdrawn funding for established programs. DeVore: “This is a victory for the 10th Amendment and Federalism.”
  • That change might offer challenges to a whole lot of legislation.
  • The politicized way in which the Obama Administration has granted waivers to the politically connected might also offer avenues for equal protection challenges.
  • This TPPF policycast also covers some of the same topics discussed on the conference call.

    So: That’s my brief recap of the conference call. I’m still digesting the ruling itself, and reactions to the ruling. I might be doing that for some time…