Exposed: Rand Paul’s Hypocrisy On Illegal Congressional ObamaCare Benefits

It doesn’t take a lot of politicians very long to become captured by Washington, D.C.’s sense of aristocratic entitlement; but given Rand Paul’s “outsider” image, his recent committee vote to protect illegal Congressional ObamaCare benefits was stunning. And disappointing.

The Senate Small Business Committee, chaired by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, voted recently on whether to issue a subpoena to the officials in charge of the District of Columbia’s ObamaCare Small Business Exchange. They wanted to know who from Congress (both the House and Senate) signed the applications swearing that Congress is a small business.

These applications opened the conduit for the federal government to give Members of Congress and their staffs ObamaCare benefits that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. This is in direct contravention to what the Affordable Care Act unambiguously states. The law enacted by Congress included an amendment that requires Congress to live under ObamaCare just as any citizen who lost the insurance they liked has.

But then, Congress realized that they, like millions of other Americans, were facing far higher costs, narrowed networks, and the headache of actually signing up. Worse, the law only provides subsidies to those below certain income limits. So, Congressional leaders from both parties quickly and quietly worked out a deal with the Obama Administration’s Office of Personnel Management that illegally put legislators and their staffs above the law.

Under this “aristocrat’s waiver,” legislator and staff salaries were simply not counted. Every applicant gets Gold level coverage with a 75% subsidy toward the cost. The DC Small Business Exchange even set up a dedicated line so Congressional applicants wouldn’t have to suffer the same frustrations as average Americans. It was a gold-plated bribe by the White House to quell Congressional anger that might have seen even Democrats cross the aisle to repeal or heavily modify what citizens–and they–were suffering.

But why were Congressional Obamacare benefits handled by a “small business” exchange? That’s the very question posed by Senator Vitter. In fact, the applications for Congress have congressional personnel administrators swearing to the complicit DC exchange that Congress has no more than 45 employees! In fact, more than 13,000 staffers and legislators now receive benefits through a small business exchange that cannot, by law, accept any business with more than 50 employees. “Fraud” is the word used by Vitter and many others.

To their credit Senator Vitter and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson passionately disagreed with the backroom deal to put Congress above the law they enacted. Johnson sued (and was denied standing), and Vitter is investigating. When Vitter first obtained the documentation allowing the benefits to pass through the DC Small Business Exchange, he saw that the names of the officials who signed the applications had been blacked out. Thus, he proposed a subpoena to force answers about who made these fraudulent assertions—which would then lead to the Congressional leaders (think Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell, and Reid) who authorized such a fraud.

Going into the committee meeting, it was expected that every Democrat would vote against issuing the subpoenas; and that’s exactly what happened. But Republicans enjoy a majority on the committee, and the widespread expectation was that they would prevail. Unfortunately, Rand Paul turned the tide against the motion.

When the vote was taken, five Republicans, led by Paul, voted to stop the subpoena. Together with the nine Democrats, the motion failed. Paul, who vows to “stop the Washington machine” as President, just derailed an effort to at least throw a wrench into the “machine’s” works.

He now says that he just didn’t want to put Congressional staffers on the line. Instead, he says, he’s introduced a measure to amend the Constitution to require Congress to obey all laws passed by Congress. But he knows full well that such a measure will never leave the Senate. It’s the very thing that drives voters mad—a pose without any substance that is designed to deceive.

The “Washington Machine” includes putting legislators above the laws that citizens must suffer under. It now includes Rand Paul who ran, won, and came to Washington an outsider and who now appears to be just like so many others—another insider who will willingly break ranks with those he represents.

Ken Hoagland is an author and long-time grassroots advocate who raised and delivered 2.2 million petitions to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Steve Wynn: ‘America Is In A Very Bad Place’

International gaming and casino magnate Steve Wynn said this week in a PBS interview that the great economic recovery is pure fiction. The founder and CEO of Wynn Resorts told KNPB‘s John Ralston that labor statistics are inaccurate.

Well, the idea that America is in the grips of a great recovery is pure fiction. It’s a lie. It’s not true. It’s a jobless recovery because recoveries are marked by the amount of real employment. And if you count the people who have left the work force, real unemployment is 15 to 20 percent.

Mr. Wynn said that he intends on waiting until the general election before he endorses any of the candidates for president; yet he acknowledged that the next president is going to have a monumental challenge.

I’m not endorsing anybody for president. What I do know is that we’ve got a mess in terms of the global economy, geopolitically, Mid-Eastern foreign policy, immigration – beyond disgrace.

Mr. Wynn weighed in on the impact that Obamacare has had on his business and his employees.

I may not agree with things like the Affordable Healthcare Act which was the single worse piece of junk in my lifetime that ever got passed. It was all wrong. And I’m a healthcare provider. It made things worse, not better. I hope to God we can fix it for the sake of my employees. And my union hates it.

The casino mogul summed up the current state of the country by saying:

America is in a hard spot economically, geo-politically. A very bad place. Not to mention race relations have gone to an all-time low.

Mr. Wynn commented that the $18 trillion debt, the devaluation of the dollar, and real inflation is impacting every working American and making it very difficult for the middle class to prosper.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The Dismaying RINO Co-opting Of Rush Limbaugh

The purpose of recent articles about RINO Speaker John Boehner and his supporters (herehere, and here) was to make clear that the biggest problem conservative voters face is betrayal by candidates who lie about what they will do if elected. Because the United States leans conservative, RINO conservative poseurs have the greatest need to lie in order to win elections. Apparently, this is still not clear.

On April 14, Rush Limbaugh effusively praised an egregious phony, Marco Rubio. The next day, Limbaugh astonishingly defended that praise with toxic acquiescence in preemptive surrender to contempt for the Constitution and rule of law.

Fool-Me-Once/Fool-Me-Twice

The gist of Limbaugh’s initial commentary was that Rubio is a “serious” candidate with a “powerful message.” How depressing! Where has Limbaugh been? How many times have true conservatives been betrayed by “serious” people who abandoned their “powerful messages”? Powerful messages mean nothing if never acted upon. Elections then become farces as meaningless as those staged by any totalitarian regime.

Marco Rubio is a painful case in point. The first thing he did when he got to the Senate was to give the finger to his supporters by trying to grant amnesty to alien lawbreakers, teaming up with the likes of Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Richard Durbin, and Charles Schumer — yes, Charles Schumer! (That’s the very same Charles Schumer who is a poster-boy for Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. The very same Charles Schumer so fanatically opposes freedom of speech for conservatives that he zealously advocates eviscerating the First Amendment. A shocking 48 senators supported his assault on the right of the right to criticize the left.)

Limbaugh repeatedly rails against bipartisanship and “compromise,” which, he correctly says, comes down to giving leftist Democrats whatever they want. Conservatives give; they take. In joining the Gang of 8, Rubio demonstrated that he is infected by this mindset.

Moreover, Limbaugh has often claimed to oppose both illegal immigration and amnesty for this law-breaking. He has argued it would be the death knell of often antonymous conservatism and the Republican Party. Yet he disregards the broken clear and well-documented anti-amnesty promises made by Rubio in order to be elected senator. Did Limbaugh believe the strident gaseous fulminations against amnesty emitted by John Boehner?

It was no surprise when Boehner caved in. By contrast, Rubio actively, publicly, and aggressively promoted the very amnesty he opposed as a senate candidate. Does Limbaugh expect a senator who breaks his promises on a major issue to be different as president? Does one have to be a proverbial rocket scientist to understand that pledges by a candidate with a record of insincerity and lack of integrity mean nothing? How often are conservatives going to let themselves be fooled by the faithless elected? Shouldn’t they declare that candidates who betray them on major issues will never again have their support, no matter what they profess?

Let this “powerful message” ring out: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”

Let’s Make John Roberts an Honest Chief Justice

If Limbaugh’s initial Rubio praise was disappointing, his next day’s rationalization of that praise should appall anyone who believes in the rule of law and the Constitution. Limbaugh gushed over Rubio’s

prescient prediction …. in part an explanation for why he was participating in the Gang of Eight [amnesty bill].  …Rubio said that … if there is an executive [Obama] amnesty granted to millions and millions of illegals … he could not envision a new Republican president being elected and rescinding it. 

How can Limbaugh call “prescient” and “spot-on” a prediction about what a Republican president would do before any Republican president takes office? Has he turned from optimist to pessimist? Is he now on the side of defeatist hopelessness and despair? With this kind of thinking, there may never again be a Republican president–and it would make no difference if there were. Notwithstanding Limbaugh’s Republican cheerleading, conservatives are unlikely to vote for a candidate promising not to reverse his predecessor’s unlawful and unconstitutional acts. (On April 17, days after Limbaugh praised Rubio, the latter pulled the rug out from under the former by making just such a promise!)

If the coming contest for the Republican presidential nomination is to mean anything, primary and caucus voters should have a choice between RINOs who see anything done by a tyrant as a fait accompli and at least one candidate who unmistakably rejects the notion that tyrannical acts must be accepted as irreversible.

It has been argued that Chief Justice Roberts slandered American voters by suggesting that they voted for ObamaCare:

[O]ur Nation’s elected leaders … can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

The voters were given no choice prior to the imposition of ObamaCare against the wishes of clear majorities in poll after poll after poll. When they were given clear choices, in 2010 and 2014, numerous incumbents who voted for ObamaCare were ousted by opponents who promised to repeal or defund it. The promises were promptly broken, showing the futility of “throwing leaders out of office” and, hence, the futility of elections.

Isn’t making Chief Justice Roberts’ statement honest long overdue? Isn’t it long overdue for the Republican Party to give the voters a genuine choice by nominating an honest presidential candidate (or at least one not demonstrably dishonest)?

An honest Republican nominee would elevate this issue above all others: whether to ratify or reject lawless and unconstitutional tyrannical presidential malfeasance.

Encouraging and Defending Lawlessness

The essence of Limbaugh’s Rubio defense is that it would be unimaginable to take away unlawfully and unconstitutionally acquired plunder. That is contrary to the bitter lesson of ObamaCare. It was never inconceivable to President Obama and Speaker Pelosi to unconstitutionally deprive millions of their doctors and insurance. What was inconceivable to them was to tell the truth about it. Amnesty is doubly offensive. First, illegal aliens broke the law to get ahead of law-abiding potential immigrants. Second, Obama violated both the law and the Constitution to grant them amnesty.

Limbaugh advanced his defense of Rubio’s amnesty betrayal on tax day, April 15, when millions of Americans were having lawfully acquired money and property confiscated by government — in order to bestow unmerited benefits upon those for whom Limbaugh and Rubio contend it would be inconceivable to cease providing.

It is, of course, no surprise that the Supreme Court has expressed contempt for those who follow the law in good faith. When a retroactive change in law relied upon by Jerry W. Carlton cost him over $600,000 (page 39), the Court effectively declared him to be a fool (33, 34):

Tax legislation is not a promise, and a taxpayer has no vested right in the Internal Revenue Code. ….a taxpayer should be regarded as taking his chances of any increase in the tax burden which might result from carrying out the established policy of taxation. [Internal quotation marks omitted.]

Going further, five justices have not found it inconceivable to throw an 88-year-old lower middle class lady out of the only home she ever lived in. They unconstitutionally approved government confiscation of that privately-owned property not for “public use,” but to turn over to a huge corporation for private use. (The corporation ultimately abandoned it.) Now, frequently corrupt local politicians can seize lawfully-held private property from the less well-off and turn it over to influential private parties, often much better off, who did nothing to deserve it.

Right now, the Supreme Court is considering whether government bureaucrats may “constitutionally” steal raisins from private citizens who lawfully produced them.

If the Limbaugh/Rubio view prevails, nothing can be done by Americans to avoid living in a country where, with the approval of any five U.S. Supreme Court justices, tyrannical and corrupt government officials, often unelected, can confiscate what ordinary people lawfully obtain and earn on their own–and prevent use of the doctors and insurance obtained by responsible individuals.

In sum, the United States would be a country where people are penalized for responsibly complying with the law and rewarded for breaking the law. Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, some might have been unable to “envision” that.

Can there be greater invitation to lawlessness and unconstitutionally despotic actions by government officials, as well as by ordinary people, than to say that it would be unthinkable to take away anything unlawfully or unconstitutionally obtained? Such actions would never be undone, regardless of what voters want. That is the import of a Rubio presidency. Voters should think long and hard about whether they want to elect a president who won’t reverse what a prior president had no constitutional right to do in the first place. We have already seen the consequences of electing Republicans promising to repeal or defund Obamacare, only to shrink from the task in cowardly fear. So far, contrary to Chief Justice Roberts, “throwing the bums out” is no meaningful choice at all.

Are Conservatives Gullible Turtles?

An example of the fool-me-once adage is the ancient parable of the turtle and the snake. A snake persuades a turtle fearing a lethal bite to give him a ride across a river, arguing that for the snake to bite the turtle would cause the snake to drown along with the turtle. Whereupon, the snake bites the turtle with poisonous venom, explaining that he could not help himself because he was, after all, a snake–and that was his character.

Conservatives are almost benumbed by the bad faith of those who deliver “powerful messages.” Nevertheless, the primary 2016 goal of conservatives must be to seek the candidate who is least likely to betray them. Although there can never be 100% guarantees, at a bare minimum, they cannot be turtles succumbing to smooth-talking snakes.

Of course, a candidate with a conservative message must be sought. It is to be expected that anyone seeking the Republican presidential nomination will at least repeat conservative lines. But that should be just a start. It is much more important to find someone with a record of honesty and integrity. Not just important, but critical — critical because the next election will probably be the last chance to repel the relentless march toward complete leftist tyranny.

Flip-floppers and promise-breakers need not apply and must be rejected if they do. Conservatives must exclude from consideration anyone with a proven record of major dishonesty.

Conservatives must exclude Marco Rubio.
Copyright © 2015 by Lester Jackson, Ph.D., a former college Political Science teacher who views mainstream media suppression of the truth as essential to harmful judicial activism. His recent articles on the U.S. Supreme Court, capital punishment and American Politics are collected here and here.        

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Because Of Obamacare, 123-Year-Old Major Health Insurance Provider Set To Close Its Doors

After expanding to accommodate the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) last year, a Wisconsin-based health insurance provider, founded in 1892, announced it will be closing its doors.

Assurant Health opted not to participate in the first Obamacare enrollment period in 2013; however, in November of that year, the company announced it would be selling plans in 16 states in 2014.

The company and industry watchers blamed its losses directly on the impact of Obamacare. Following implementation of the requirements to participate in the ACA exchanges, Assurant lost $63.7 million in 2014. The insurer raised its rates by 20 percent in 2015, in hopes of returning to profitability, but lost between $80 to $90 million during the first quarter of this year.

Assurant currently provides plans for approximately 1 million people, with a revenue of about $2 billion.

“In a letter to its shareholders, [the company] said it lost money because of a reduction in recoveries under Obamacare’s risk mitigation programs and increased claims on the health care law’s 2015 policies,” the Daily Signal reports.

“It’s significant,” Andrew Edelsberg, a vice president of the rating agency A.M. Best, told The Daily Signal of how Obamacare affected Assurant Health. “It’s impacted the industry.”

Ed Haislmaier, health policy expert at The Heritage Foundation, says that government intervention in the healthcare market is having the predictable effect of pushing private companies out of business.

When the government standardizes any product, you’re going to end up with fewer producers. That’s because the effect of government standardization is to turn the product into commodity, which leaves little room for the supplier to show how its version is better than those of its competitors.

According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, Assurant Inc., the parent company of Assurant Health, plans to sell the division or close it down by 2016. Assurant Health employs 1200 people at its downtown Milwaukee headquarters. The Journal reports that a strong market for mergers and acquisitions makes the prospects good that another health insurance provider will purchase the company. If it is purchased, the future of its current employees would still be uncertain.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Report: Almost Half Of ObamaCare Exchanges Struggling Financially

Nearly half of the ObamaCare state exchanges face financial troubles, according to a new report.

The Washington Post reports that some of the factors contributing to the woes include high costs and less-than-anticipated enrollment:

But for the recently completed open enrollment period, sign-ups for the state marketplaces rose a disappointing 12 percent, to 2.8 million people. That compared with a 61 percent increase for the federal exchange, to 8.8 million people, according to Avalere Health, a consulting firm. States with the smallest enrollment growth are among those facing the greatest financial problems.

Currently, there are 17 state exchanges with the rest of the states using healthcare.gov. Some states, like Minnesota, Vermont, and Hawaii, are considering handing over some or all the functions of their exchanges to the federal government. Oregon abolished its state exchange in March.

Image Credit: Washington Post

Image Credit: Washington Post

The federal exchange, in turn, is on uncertain legal ground, with its fate in the hands of the Supreme Court. The justices are expected to hand down a decision by late June on whether paying subsidies through the federal exchange is authorized by provisions of the Affordable Care Act. If the Supreme Court rules the payments are not authorized, the Obama Administration has admitted it has no back-up plan in place.

JIm Wadleigh, executive director of Connecticut’s state exchange told the Post: “Even if some state exchanges wind up handing the reins to HealthCare.gov, doing so is not free. Each exchange would have to be made compatible with the federal marketplace at a cost of about $10 million per exchange.”

As Western Journalism reported this week, another promised benefit of ObamaCare has been proven false: emergency room visits have increased, not decreased, since its implementation.

h/t: Fox News

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth