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The Patriots News Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:59:56 GMT  

The National Popular Vote Fallacy
In 2000, out of a total popular vote of 101,455,900, the Gore-Lieberman ticket won a narrow majority, 50,999,900 votes (50.26%) to 50,456,000 (49.74%) for Bush-Cheney.

http://www.cnsnews.com/rss/headlines.xml Sun, 05 May 2013 05:17:45 GMT  


http://www.newsbusters.org/node/feed Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:59:56 GMT  


http://americandaily.ws/index.php/amdws-rss Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:01:01 GMT  


Breitbart Feed Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:01:01 GMT  

Obama Proposes Lower Safety Standards to Haul Oil by Trains Than by Ships

The Obama Administration tried to make a big deal this week out of their proposed safety regulations to make the infamous “exploding oil trains” hauling crude oil across the U.S. less dangerous. But despite at least one fiery oil train accident a month, the Obama Administration refuses to green light safer oil pipelines or to require oil trains to strip crude oil of flammable natural gas liquids (NGLs) before loading. 

The White House has chosen to propose safety regulations that will be far inferior for shipping domestically produced crude oil by railroads to refineries in the U.S. than exporting the same crude oil to foreign refineries by ships. 

The Administration says it wants to phase out “old tank cars,” enforce lower speed limits, require better brakes, and try rerouting trains around populated areas. Each of these steps may provide small incremental improvements, but as I reported on June 25th (“Obama Executive Order Allows U.S. Crude Oil Exports for First Time in Decades”), the White House just set mandates that require all domestically produced crude oil exported by tanker ships to first be degassed before loading. 

There have been an increasing number of fiery crashes from “oil-trains” carrying crude oil out of North Dakota’s Bakken and Three Forks fields, where hydraulic fracking of shale has created a spectacular American domestic oil boom. The major reason for the fires to turn into explosions in some of the accidents is that oil-train operators do not “stabilize” crude oil by stripping off flammable natural gas liquids (NGLs) before loading. 

The infrastructure for railroads to degas NGLs might cost billions of dollars to build. This type of facility is very economically justified for large economy-of-scale crude oil loading operations at a port. But with Bakken crude oil allowed to travel south up to 1,500 miles by rail tankers to the Gulf Coast without mandates for stabilization, producers and logistics companies are being incentivized to ship more volume by rail.

Six years ago, trains seldom pulled tank cars loaded with crude oil, and most railroads loaded their DOT-111 tankers with cargoes of non-explosive products like corn syrup sweeteners and industrial chemicals. 

But the American crude oil boom since 2008 has driven domestic production up by about 70%, or 3 billion barrels. Fracking of underground shale formations in the Bakken region of North Dakota allowed the state to grow production by 177% over the last three years. Domestic production reached 8 million barrels a day by the end of last year and has been accelerating by an additional 100,000 barrels a day each month this year.  

Railroads are now making fortunes carrying North Dakota crude oil from the Bakken field at an average cost of $17 a barrel of crude oil to southern refineries, versus the estimated $10 a barrel the delayed Keystone XL Pipeline would have charged. The U.S. oil boom has overwhelmed America’s ability to move crude oil by the existing pipeline system. This has caused distribution bottlenecks and created the opportunity for railroads to steal over a million barrels a day from pipeline companies.

But railroads were specifically designed to transport freight near where people live, whereas pipelines carry toxic products and go to refineries that are specifically located at safe distances away from populated areas. This explains why in August of 2013 a 100-car oil train took 47 lives in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when it crashed and exploded. With about one detonation and fire from an oil-train in North America every month, it is fortunate that there have not been more lives lost. 

Many reporters are baffled by what Business Week referred to as “labyrinthine rule-making process reached by the White House back in April when the U.S. Department of Transportation sent its crude-safety proposal for consideration.”  

But of the roughly 92,000 U.S. rail tankers being used today to haul crude oil and other flammable liquids in the U.S., only 14,000 have been updated with modern safety features. Modifying the 78,000 DOT-111 other rail tankers to meet higher flammability standards could cost the industry about $5.2 billion, according to a Bloomberg estimate. The railroad industry is not in any hurry to make this level of investment.

The simple fact is that the Obama Administration is proposing safety regulations that will be far inferior for shipping domestically produced crude oil by railroads to refineries in the U.S. than exporting the same crude oil to foreign refineries by ships. 

The author welcomes feedback and will respond to reader comments.

From July 15th to July 29th, Chriss Street is teaching “Entrepreneurship and Capitalist Business Strategy" at Ho Chi Minh University in Vietnam.








Save Our American Dream: Fight Reverse Discrimination in College Admissions

I am a proud naturalized American citizen. When I immigrated at 14, I learned that if I worked hard and did my best, this country would give me the opportunity to make my dreams come true. My father taught me this, while he worked as a cook to support our family, finally rising to own Sir Wiener even though he spoke little English.

His values and teachings brought me to San Jose State, where I was able to earn a degree and go on to own a Farmers Insurance Agency, as well as start and run other entrepreneurial ventures. Hard work and education brought me to where I am, and I teach my children the value of perseverance and practice as well. 

This understanding was the rule in California, but something has happened to change that. That is the passage, and then the suspension, of Senate Constitutional Amendment 5.  SCA-5, which if confirmed by voters, would overturn the education portions of Proposition 209, passed in 1996. 

Prop. 209 made it illegal for the state, local governments, districts, public universities, colleges, schools, and other government institutions to discriminate against or give preferential treatment to, any individual or group in public employment, public education, or public contracting based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.

The California state Senate debated all of 20 minutes before passing the bill with the then Democrat two-thirds super-majority voting in favor along party lines. The measure was expected to sail through their super-majority in the Assembly as well. 

But voters began to pay attention and they didn’t like what they saw.

When they learned more about SCA-5, California’s Asians began to see it for what it was – an attack on them and their children by a numerically superior and powerful coalition of other minority groups.

Proposition 209 brought meritocracy to admissions in the UC and the State University systems. The result is that those who now attend a UC or CSU are better prepared, and their graduation rates prove it. Recent scholarship shows that Black and Latino graduation rates improved post Prop. 209 and that on-time college degree attainment rates have improved as well.

Latino and Black enrollment increased after Prop. 209, although it did fall relative to their population numbers, and there has also been a substantial increase in Asians attending the UC and CSU systems. Hard work and awards based on merit are Asian cultural values, and by focusing on the hard work and persistence needed to excel academically, Asians have gained a prominent place on California’s campuses. Asians have grown to 52 percent of students at UC Irvine, 50 percent at UC San Diego, 43 percent at UC Berkeley, and 40 percent at UCLA. Overall, 30 percent of UC students are Asian, while the state’s population is just 14 percent Asian.

Asians can see the future. Any artificial increase in the numbers of Latino or Black students will mean a reduction in Asian students and a cap on their numbers. With passage of SCA-5, competition and the drive for excellence are eliminated in favor of membership in certain racial groups. This is pure power politics, not sound educational policy. Capping the number of students from any ethnic background based on their overall percentage of the state population is simply racial discrimination.

I am making the complete defeat of SCA-5 a major part of my campaign for the state Senate in District 10. Admission to higher education should rest on individual merit, yet the goal of SCA-5 is to eliminate what I was taught about America -- work hard and you shall achieve. 

SCA-5 is fundamentally flawed and now Asians have forced three Democrat state Senators to change their minds. Assembly Speaker Perez also had to pull the bill (but did not kill it). Now Democratic factions are at a standoff, with Sen. Ricardo Lara, chair of the Latino caucus saying that he is “committed to put something on the ballot in 2016.”

Asians in California need to stand together and defeat those politicians who would denigrate hard work and achievement. Access to higher education is what has propelled our community forward, and we cannot afford to let others try to limit our children’s future because we aren’t the right kind of people. 

Your children and my children deserve the opportunities that we have worked so hard for – the very opportunities that brought my parents here all those years ago. I urge you, stand with me, defeat SCA-5, and stop anything like it from harming our children’s future and our American Dream.

Peter Kuo, a naturalized citizen, is a Farmers insurance agent, entrepreneur, and a candidate for California’s 10th senate district. He lives in Santa Clara with his wife and three children. Follow Peter Kuo on Twitter@KuoForSenate.






Report: NYC Mayor de Blasio Wages War on Poor Asian Students to Benefit Wealthy Liberals

Liberal New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his progressive allies often accuse conservatives of waging a war on women and love to gin up the "income inequality" and "class warfare" rhetoric. 

But they want to wage war on poor and working-class New Yorkers, many of whom happen to be of Asian descent, by radically changing the admissions criteria for the state's prestigious high schools to benefit wealthy liberals. Asians "have the highest poverty rate of any racial group in New York."

In the summer edition of City Journal, Dennis Saffron, an appellate lawyer who was a candidate for city council in Queens, lays out the case against de Blasio's anti-meritocracy education reforms in an article titled, "The Plot Against Merit: Seeking racial balance, liberal advocates want to water down admissions standards at New York’s elite high schools."

De Blasio wants to deemphasize merit and test scores in admissions to some of the state's most prominent specialized high schools, which Saffron concludes will benefit "affluent white students who didn’t study hard enough to perform really well on the test but seem more 'well-rounded' than those who did." 

"As always, the losers in this top-bottom squeeze will be the lower middle and working classes," he observes.

Saffron notes that "New York’s specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant and the equally storied Bronx High School of Science, along with Brooklyn Technical High School and five smaller schools, have produced 14 Nobel Laureates—more than most countries." But concerned about the lack of Latinos and blacks at those schools, the NAACP and liberal politicians like "New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, whose son, Dante, attends Brooklyn Tech, has called for changing the admissions criteria." Saffron notes that though the socialist de Blasio argues that "relying solely on the test creates a 'rich-get-richer' dynamic that benefits the wealthy, who can afford expensive test preparation," the "reality is just the opposite."

Saffron tells the story of an Asian immigration named Ting Shi, who "arrived in New York from China when he was seven years of ago, speaking no English":

For two years, he shared a bedroom in a Chinatown apartment with his grandparents—a cook and a factory worker—and a young cousin, while his parents put in 12-hour days at a small Laundromat they had purchased on the Upper East Side. Ting mastered English and eventually set his sights on getting into Stuyvesant High School, the crown jewel of New York City’s eight “specialized high schools.” When he was in sixth grade, he took the subway downtown from his parents’ small apartment to the bustling high school to pick up prep books for its eighth-grade entrance exam. He prepared for the test over the next two years, working through the prep books and taking classes at one of the city’s free tutoring programs. His acceptance into Stuyvesant prompted a day of celebration at the Laundromat—an immigrant family’s dream beginning to come true. Ting, now a 17-year-old senior starting at NYU in the fall, says of his parents, who never went to college: “They came here for the next generation.”

"It’s not affluent whites, but rather the city’s burgeoning population of Asian-American immigrants—a group that, despite its successes, remains disproportionately poor and working-class—whose children have aced the exam in overwhelming numbers," Saffron notes. In other words, kids like Ting are hurt and left behind while privileged kids like de Blasio's son will ironically get ahead the more "holistic" the admissions policy is. The "holistic" policy "would be much more likely to benefit children of the city’s professional elite than African-American and Latino applicants—while penalizing lower-middle-class Asian-American kids like Ting." 

As Saffron details, since the 1970s, blacks and whites have seen their numbers decrease at these schools as "New York City’s fastest-growing racial minority group, Asian-Americans," have seen their numbers increase. According to Saffron, "Asian students constituted 6 percent of the enrollment at Stuyvesant in 1970" and now make up "an incredible 73 percent of the student body this year." At Bronx Science, Asians made up 5 percent in 1970 and make up 62 percent today. At Brooklyn Tech, Asians made up 6 percent in 1970 and now make up 61 percent:

Asians now make up 60 percent of enrollment throughout the specialized schools, though they constitute only 15 percent of New York’s public school population. Blacks and Latinos, by contrast, make up 13 percent of the specialized school population but 70 percent of the overall public school enrollment, while whites account for 24 percent of specialized school enrollment and 14 percent of the overall public school population.

As Saffron mentioned, "looked at another way, 33 percent of Asian test takers and 28 percent of whites, but only 5 percent of blacks and Latinos, gained admission." And contrary to stereotypes, most of the Asians who make it into these top schools are from some of the poorest families in the city as Asians "have the highest poverty rate of any racial group in New York":

They’re hardly affluent, notwithstanding de Blasio’s implication that families who get their kids into the specialized schools are “rich.” True, Asians nationally have the highest median income of any racial group, including whites—and in New York City, their median household income ranks second to that of whites and well ahead of blacks and Hispanics. But Asians also have the highest poverty rate of any racial group in New York, with 29 percent living below the poverty level, compared with 26 percent of Hispanics, 23 percent of blacks, and 14 percent of whites. Poor Asians lag far behind whites and are barely ahead of blacks and Latinos. Thus, the income spectrum among Asians in New York ranges from a surprisingly large number in poverty, through a hardworking lower middle class, and on to a more affluent upper middle class. Half the students at the specialized high schools qualify for free or subsidized school lunches. federal Title I funding, given to schools with large numbers of low-income students. Think about that: two public high schools that, along with half their students, are officially classified as poor by the federal government rival the most exclusive prep schools in the world.

According to Saffron, that hard work--and meritocracy--to “progressive” elites, "is intolerable." And since the Hecht-Calandra Law mandates the use of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (“SHSAT”), groups like the NAACP are citing "disparate impact" to try to throw out the importance of the test in favor of a "holistic" system that puts a premium on "backgrounds" and "experiences" and "commitment to community service" and "proven leadership" and portfolio assessments." 

Keep in mind that these subjective assessments will be used to assess 13-year-old children. De Blasio and his liberal allies failed to pass a bill to reform the system this year, but Saffron anticipates that "a renewed push is likely in 2015." What that will do is tip the scales in favor of privileged New Yorkers:

Such subjective admissions criteria would be likelier to favor the kids of New York’s professional class than children from less affluent backgrounds. But as a past president of the Stuyvesant Parents Association noted, “the kids that have the best résumés in seventh and eighth grades have money.” A Chinese student like Ting Shi who has to help out in his parents’ Laundromat is not going on “service” trips to Nicaragua with the children in de Blasio’s affluent Park Slope neighborhood. The LDF’s suggested admissions criteria—student portfolios, leadership skills, and community service—are all subject to privileged parents’ ability to buy their children the indicia of impressiveness.

Ironically, eliminating the SHSAT would magnify the role of what progressives call “unconscious bias”—the idea that we have a preference for those who look like us and share our backgrounds. Subjective evaluation measures like interviews and portfolio reviews are much more susceptible to such bias than is an objective examination. Evaluators are inherently predisposed toward applicants who mirror their own lifestyles and values—which, for the teachers and edu-crats who would be doing the evaluating under a “holistic” process, are generally those of a professional elite. The upper-middle-class applicant who volunteers at the food co-op or the AIDS walk and who manifests an air of self-confident irony will have a leg up over the quiet immigrant kid who works hard and studies. Sure, the decision makers will do their best to admit a few more black and Latino kids (especially those from the same upper-middle-class backgrounds), 

As always in social engineering experiments, "the losers in this top-bottom squeeze will be the lower middle and working classes." In New York, "that means Asians." And the winners will be those who live in "de Blasio’s upscale Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn," as the numbers Saffron cite reveal:

A comparison of the eight most selective screened schools with the eight specialized schools shows that the screened schools, while more heavily black and Latino, are also considerably whiter and more affluent—and considerably less Asian. Remember that the specialized schools are 13 percent black and Hispanic, 24 percent white, and 60 percent Asian. The top screened schools are 27 percent black and Hispanic, 46 percent white, and only 26 percent Asian. And while 50 percent of the students at the specialized schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, only 37 percent of the students at the top screened schools do.

Saffron notes that these educational reforms are even more radical -- and dangerous -- than previous proposals that only wanted to suspend the exam until blacks and Latinos had better access to "curricula and instruction that would prepare them for this test."

"Adopting this cynical approach would do no favors for black and Latino children, while opening the door to discrimination against Asian kids like Ting," Saffron concludes. "It is not the specialized schools’ emphasis on merit, but rather the advocates’ defeatist worldview that is truly—and tragically—wrongheaded."

Read Saffron's full article here and a condensed version here. 









2014 Election News - Election Projection Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:01:03 GMT  

Projection updates - good day for Democrats
Last night's Georgia primary runoff election cemented the GOP nominee, David Perdue, and allowed me to move the 2014 Georgia Senate election from a preliminary projection to an official one. As a result, Democrat Michelle Nunn is now ...
It's Perdue and Nunn in Georgia - updated
David Perdue, cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, surprised pollster yesterday by claiming a narrow victory over Congressman Jack Kingston in the Republican Senate primary runoff. Kingston led the polls going in ...
Georgia Senate: Nunn's opponent to be determined today
The GOP senate primary runoff today in Georgia will determine who will run against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn. The two Republicans battling for that honor are Jack Kingston, a congressman who represents the Savannah-area 1st district and David Perdue ...

DrudgeReportArchives.com Recent Headlines Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:27:21 GMT  

Obama Readying 'Very Significant' Executive Action On Immigration...
Obama Aide: 'Very Significant' Executive Action On Immigration After Summer...
WHITE HOUSE WARNS ON IMPEACHMENT
Sessions: Will 'end immigration enforcement'...

MichelleMalkin.com Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:27:22 GMT  

Hey, Snotty Bloomberg: Mind your own crumbling city!

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 12.31.55 AM
Shooting off his mouth…again

Hey, Snotty Bloomberg: Mind your own crumbling city!
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

Some sore losers just don’t know when to pick up their billion-dollar marbles and go away. Far, far away.

I’m looking at you, Michael Bloomberg.

The former New York City mayor mouthed off about my adopted hometown of Colorado Springs and my friends in nearby Pueblo in Rolling Stone magazine this month. He snidely bashed our neighborhoods as backwater holes “where I don’t think there’s roads. It’s as far rural as you can get.”

Snotty Bloomberg is as clueless about geography as he is about the Second Amendment. Colorado Springs and Pueblo are the second and seventh largest cities in the state, respectively. If we’re hee-haw, everyone’s hee-haw. (And what’s wrong with hee-haw, anyway?)

Why such vitriol and hatred for the Rockies from the man who pompously co-founded the “No Labels” movement for “civility” in politics?

Simple: Bloomberg’s still smarting from the ground-breaking losses he and his gun-grabbing East Coast elite pals suffered last fall.

Grass-roots activists — independents, former Democrats, constitutional conservatives and Republicans — successfully recalled two top gun control zealots in our state legislature.

The recall organizers were outspent by a whopping 7-to-1 margin. Bloomberg poured $350,000 into the failed effort to stave off the historic recalls.

Listen up, Bloomie: Butt out of our state and mind your own crumbling city before you bash anyone else’s infrastructure.

You were mayor of New York City for 12 years. How are your roads, bridges and utilities doing, pal?

According to the Center for an Urban Future’s Adam Forman, “1,000 miles of water mains, 170 school buildings and 165 bridges were constructed over a century ago. The city’s public hospital buildings are 57 years old, on average, and 531 public housing towers were built prior to 1950.” The center’s report documented 403 water main breaks last year. And in 2012, “162 bridges across the city—or 11 percent of the total—were structurally deficient,” and 47 of these were deemed “fracture critical.”

Take a Big Gulp of these additional fun facts:

“Thirty seven percent of all subway signals exceed their 50-year useful life, slowing the movement of trains.”

“Approximately 4,000 miles of sewer pipe across the city are made of vitreous clay, a material susceptible to cracking and blockage.”

Meanwhile, 1,500 of the 2,600 public housing buildings do not comply with local standards for exterior and facade conditions.

In Manhattan and Staten Island, less than 60 percent of roads were rated “good” by residents. A “staggering 65.9 percent of streets in West Harlem/Morningside Heights” were in “fair to poor condition.”

Highway maintenance has deteriorated over Bloomberg’s tenure. In 2012, 51 percent of highways were rated poor to fair, compared to 38 percent in 2008. “Conditions have declined in every borough except Brooklyn.”

Oh, and dare I mention to you and your city slicker clique that embarrassing time you had a few Christmas seasons ago dealing with a few feet of snow. Hundreds of ambulances were left stranded. Mass transit was paralyzed. Businesses suffered. Your bungling and AWOL jet setting (Bloomberg was flying to Bermuda while New Yorkers braced for the storm) cost taxpayers the entire $40 million snow removal budget and $30 million in city overtime.

But we’re the bumbling yokels?

Go home, Nanny Bloomberg. Keep your high-and-mighty nose out of our business, your hands off our guns and your money out of our state.

Shooting off his mouth…again Hey, Snotty Bloomberg: Mind your own crumbling city! by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2014 Some sore losers just don’t know when to pick up their billion-dollar marbles and go away. Far, far away. I’m looking at you, Michael Bloomberg. The former New York City mayor mouthed off about my adopted […]
Sen. Patty Murray authors ‘Not My Boss’s Business Act’ to exempt O-care from law she voted for in ’93

**Written by Doug Powers

Sen. Patty Murray has written the “Not My Boss’s Business Act” as a “fix” to get around the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision:

Democrats and women’s health groups believe they have a powerful campaign weapon in pushing back on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that Hobby Lobby and other closely held for-profit companies don’t have to comply with the health law’s contraceptive coverage requirement if it violates the owners’ religious beliefs.

The bill was drafted by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a longtime women’s health advocate, and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who is up for reelection this year. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat up for reelection in Alaska, joined them at the press conference to release the bill.

The Democrats’ bill would essentially exempt the Affordable Care Act from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law that the Supreme Court said the contraception requirement violated.

Some Democrats have Wile E. Coyote’d their way into having to remove another obstacle of their own placing (to read more about this subject, search DADT and DOMA).

Dems, including Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray, overwhelmingly supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, and Bill Clinton signed it into law that same year. Now they’re blaming the Supreme Court for applying a law they helped put into existence. But how many MSM stories about this will point out that little detail?

If anybody finds the idea of politicians attempting to overturn the same laws they voted for a couple of decades earlier to be ridiculous, I suggest term limits.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Band Aids for self-inflicted wounds
Obama’s Immigration Lawyers’ Enrichment Act

Obama’s Immigration Lawyers’ Enrichment Act
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

The American Dream is dying for tens of millions of unemployed, underemployed and long-term jobless citizens. But the White House has guaranteed that one sector of the U.S. economy will thrive for decades to come: Open-borders immigration lawyers.

Don’t believe the fibbing D.C. flacks. While the president’s spokesman Josh Earnest promised that “most” of the illegal immigrant youths from Central America flooding across our borders will “likely” be deported, decades of reality expose the White House lie. Our deportation system is designed to fail.

“Due process” in deportation is a euphemism for interminable delay. According to TRAC Immigration, which gathers data on the chronically backlogged immigration court system, there are currently more than 366,000 pending deportation cases with average wait times nationally of nearly 600 days. There are a measly 59 immigration courts staffed by a meager 235 judges to handle all those cases.

Insiders have told me again and again over the years: “It ain’t over ’til the alien wins.”

Democrats, as always, will blame lack of taxpayer funding. But here’s the cold, hard fact: The system is “broken” on purpose. As they clamor for mass illegal alien amnesty, left-wing immigration lawyers and ethnic activists operate a lucrative industry whose sole objective is to help illegal aliens and convicted criminal visa holders evade deportation for as long as possible. Groups such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the American Friends Service Committee make their livelihoods off administrative bottlenecks.

The racket’s chief enablers: The federal Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the immigration courts nationwide, and its unaccountable appellate arm, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which routinely puts aliens’ rights over citizens’ safety.

The BIA’s 15 members are politically appointed, career bureaucrats who have the power to overturn deportation orders nationwide. The panel is comprised largely of alien-friendly advocates from immigration-law circles, former Justice Department attorneys and former BIA staff. These meddling activists regularly reopen factual findings of lower trial courts, violating fundamental principles of appellate review and giving illegal aliens more opportunities to press their cases in federal courts than legal American citizens have.

The legal tricks for evading the flimsy immigration dragnet are well known among the immigrant population, as I first reported 12 years ago in a Center for Immigration Studies report on the deportation abyss. “Even if an alien is removable,” an EOIR bureaucrat testified back then, “he or she may file an application for relief from removal, such as asylum, voluntary departure, suspension of deportation, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, registry or a waiver of inadmissibility.”

Today’s young illegal border surgers have a plethora of litigation bites at the apple that will keep them in our country in perpetuity. As one of countless immigration law firms now advises, “There a several forms of relief that an unaccompanied child may apply for in immigration court.” Voluntary departure is the de facto “catch and release” option that entrusts illegals to deport themselves. Then there’s the scam-riddled asylum application process, which is significantly loosened for minors. Next alternative: the special juvenile immigrant visa which offers lawful permanent resident status to unaccompanied illegal alien children.

Another route: The fraud-friendly U visa. It’s a program for illegal alien victims of trafficking or domestic violence that was supposed to grant temporary legal status if the beneficiaries assisted law enforcement, but has morphed into an ever-expanding path to residency, work authorization and citizenship for virtually anyone who applies.

An attorney who worked as a law clerk in the Fifth Circuit shared his firsthand experience with me several years ago. Nothing has changed. “It was amazing the number of petitions for review of BIA decisions we handled,” he said. “You are absolutely correct that immigration lawyers use the current system of endless appeals to make illegals essentially undeportable. (It amazes me that illegal aliens, unlike American citizens, get TWO appeals as of right — one to the BIA and then another to the Circuit Court of Appeals.)”

One real solution: “Repeal the statutory provisions that provide for judicial review by the Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” the lawyer told me. “It is clearly permissible for the Congress to do this under the Constitution. This would eliminate the biggest ‘bottleneck’ in the removal/deportation process. It would also reduce greatly the overburden dockets of our federal appellate courts.”

Another solution: As I first proposed 12 years ago in my book “Invasion,” it’s long past time to abolish the EOIR and BIA and transfer their functions to existing law enforcement officers within the immigration bureaucracy.

Expedient promises by both parties to “secure the border” are worthless unless America shuts down the litigation boondoggle that rewards foreign law-breakers, their saboteur lawyers and their amnesty advocates.

Obama’s Immigration Lawyers’ Enrichment Act by Michelle Malkin Creators Syndicate Copyright 2014 The American Dream is dying for tens of millions of unemployed, underemployed and long-term jobless citizens. But the White House has guaranteed that one sector of the U.S. economy will thrive for decades to come: Open-borders immigration lawyers. Don’t believe the fibbing D.C. […]

http://kkk.bz/?feed=rss2 Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:27:22 GMT  


RedState Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:27:22 GMT  

US embassy in Libya evacuated

As a fitting capstone to the Obama administration’s ill-conceived support of the various “Arab Spring” uprisings, and a worthy metaphor for his entire foreign policy, the US embassy in Libya has been evacuated. Via USA Today: The U.S. embassy in strife-torn Libya was evacuated early Saturday, under cover of American warplanes and spy aircraft, according to the State Department and Pentagon. Personnel from the embassy | Read More »

The post US embassy in Libya evacuated appeared first on RedState.

libya crowd

As a fitting capstone to the Obama administration’s ill-conceived support of the various “Arab Spring” uprisings, and a worthy metaphor for his entire foreign policy, the US embassy in Libya has been evacuated. Via USA Today:

The U.S. embassy in strife-torn Libya was evacuated early Saturday, under cover of American warplanes and spy aircraft, according to the State Department and Pentagon.

Personnel from the embassy were evacuated as security deteriorated in the capital of Tripoli.

“Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

Embassy personnel were taken temporary offices in neighboring Tunisia with security provided by U.S. forces.

The underlying strategy of the Obama administration in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria was to draw a clear and distinct line in how really smart people did foreign policy (that would be the collection of rubes, charlatans, and mouth-breathers that occupy the upper reaches of the Obama administration’s foreign policy claque) and the dumbass Bush and his cowboys. It was to be a face off between soft power and leading from behind and hard power and world leadership. In no time at all Libya and Egypt descended into violence from which Libya has yet to extricate itself. And we’ve all seen just how swimmingly things are going in Syria where an armed revolt there has been nurtured by the Obama administration to the extent that Iraq is in the throes of a civil war and Jordan could very well be next.

If Hillary Clinton does run for president she needs to be held to account for her leading role… or her cowardly acquiescence… to a foreign policy that has killed more people than Bush did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The post US embassy in Libya evacuated appeared first on RedState.

Wikipedia bans Capitol Hill from making Wikipedia edits.

To the best of my knowledge, Donald Rumsfeld is NOT an alien lizard.

The post Wikipedia bans Capitol Hill from making Wikipedia edits. appeared first on RedState.

Of course.

Wikipedia administrators have imposed a ban on page edits from computers at the US House of Representatives, following “persistent disruptive editing”.

The 10-day block comes after anonymous changes were made to entries on politicians and businesses, as well as events like the Kennedy assassination.

The biography of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was edited to say that he was an “alien lizard”.

Although that one arguably pales in comparison to the nameless Congressional staffer who needed the world to know that Mediate is “sexist transphobic*.”  Or perhaps not; but I’m noting it largely because I’d like the record to show that this is all at best (or worst) a bipartisan exercise in wearing-your-posterior-as-a-head-covering.  And, of course, to make it clear that, to the best of my knowledge, Donald Rumsfeld is NOT an alien lizard.  I mean, sheesh: everybody knows that he’s from a cadet branch of the Merovingian dynasty.  Where do you think he got the money to fund Fang Island in the first place?

Via Memeorandum.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: All joking aside: I would appreciate it if certain Congressional Chiefs of Staff took their jobs a little more seriously and made sure that their staffers did the same.  This isn’t why people work on Capitol Hill.

*Let me note, in passing, that while religious cant like that is certainly protected by the First Amendment it’s still probably not appropriate when done from a work station. Wait until you go home like everybody else.

The post Wikipedia bans Capitol Hill from making Wikipedia edits. appeared first on RedState.

Halbig’s Critics Hoist By Their Own Petards

This has not been a good week for defenders of Obamacare and their scorn for the legal arguments challenging whether the statute provides subdsidies for buyers of health insurance policies on the federal Helthcare.gov exchange. On Monday, a divided panel of the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v Burwell that the statute only provides subsidies for purchases on the state exchanges (the Fourth Circuit reached | Read More »

The post Halbig’s Critics Hoist By Their Own Petards appeared first on RedState.

oopsobama

This has not been a good week for defenders of Obamacare and their scorn for the legal arguments challenging whether the statute provides subdsidies for buyers of health insurance policies on the federal Helthcare.gov exchange. On Monday, a divided panel of the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v Burwell that the statute only provides subsidies for purchases on the state exchanges (the Fourth Circuit reached the opposite conclusion). The reaction to Halbig from pundits on the Left – most of them not lawyers, and many of them obviously woefully ignorant of how courts read laws – can only be characterized as an unhinged meltdown. The latest news has only further undermined their position.

In the end, it remains to be seen who will win in court. But there are a couple of lessons here that liberal/progressive pundits and Democratic politicians would be wise to learn, about the perils of hyperbolic arguments, the dangers of pronouncing on things you don’t understand, the difference between law and political rhetoric, the hazards of forgetting recent political history, and the continuing bitter harvest of the way in which Obamacare was rammed through Congress in violation of the usual methods for writing laws.

No, The Good Faith Of The Lawsuit Doesn’t Matter: One of the stranger arguments made against Halbig, not only by non-lawyers who don’t know any better but even in the opening lines of Judge Edwards’ dissent, is that the lawsuit is somehow illegitimate because the people filing it are not really trying to help the ACA, but are foes of the statute. Here’s a little secret: people who file lawsuits against federal laws are not usually big fans of those laws. Do you think the Guantanamo detainees who challenged the Military Commissions Act were really just disinterested scholars motivated by a concern for proper functioning of the military justice system? It’s the job of courts to determine the meaning of laws, not the motives of litigants.

Textualism, Intent, Context, and How To Read Laws: To review some ground I covered on Monday, the core question here is what the law actually says. While courts use a variety of rules or “canons” of interpretation to resolve difficult questions, as Justice Thomas explained in an opinion for the Court back in 1992:

[C]anons of construction are no more than rules of thumb that help courts determine the meaning of legislation, and in interpreting a statute, a court should always turn first to one cardinal canon before all others. We have stated time and again that courts must presume that a legislature says in a statute what it means and means in a statute what it says thereWhen the words of a statute are unambiguous, then this first canon is also the last: “judicial inquiry is complete.”…Germain says that legislative history points to a different result. But we think that judicial inquiry into the applicability of 1292 begins and ends with what 1292 does say, and with what 158(d) does not.

By contrast, as Justice Scalia wrote in a concurring opinion this spring, courts should not be in the business of trying to dig behind the language of the law to figure out what it really meant to say:

Reliance on legislative history rests upon several frail premises. First, and most important: That the statute means what Congress intended. It does not. Because we are a government of laws, not of men, and are governed by what Congress enacted rather than by what it intended, the sole object of the interpretative enterprise is to determine what a law says. Second: That there was a congressional “intent” apart from that reflected in the enacted text. On most issues of detail that come before this Court, I am confident that the majority of Senators and Representatives had no views whatever on how the issues should be resolved—indeed, were unaware of the issues entirely. Third: That the views expressed in a committee report or a floor statement represent those of all the Members of that House. Many of them almost certainly did not read the report or hear the statement, much less agree with it—not to mention the Members of the other House and the President who signed the bill.

The view that courts should read statutes to mean what they say, rather than trying to bend them to whatever “purpose” the court thinks the statute was supposed to serve, is referred to in legal circles as “textualism,” and it is a close cousin of “Originalism,” the view that courts should read the Constitution to mean what it said – and was understood to say – at the time it was written. (The principal difference being that most of the Constitution is quite old and more general than your typical statute, so courts are more apt to look at dictionaries, public debates and the like to interpret the understood meaning of terms. But in both cases, the goal is not to get inside the heads of the legislators but rather to determine the plain meaning of the language at the time it was written).

Here, the plain language of the ACA is straightforward: Section 1401 of the ACA, codified at Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code, provides tax credit subsidies to individuals who buy insurance on exchanges “established by the State under section 1311″ of the ACA. Section 1304(d) clearly sets forth the definition of “State,” and it’s what you would expect: “the term ‘State’ means each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.” A separate section of the ACA, section 1321, allows the federal government to “establish and operate such Exchanges within the State” if the State does not do so, and the statute nowhere provides a similar subsidy to buyers on the state exchanges or states that the federal exchange should be treated as a state exchange for purposes of the subsidies. This is not at all ambiguous.

Moreover, regardless of how strict a textualist you are, one of the rules of construction that courts typically follow most rigorously is the rule that laws should not be read so that some words in the statute are meaningless “surplusage” – that is, that the law would say the exact same thing whether those words were there or not. As Jonathan Adler notes, this is the problem with saying that an exchange “established by the State under section 1311″ includes an exchange established by the federal government established under the separate section 1321 – it would render the phrase “by the State” (and for that matter the cross-reference to section 1311) completely meaningless, since the statute would then mean the same as if it simply said “exchange established under this Title,” and yet the statute uses the term “exchange” elsewhere without adding “established by the State,” suggesting that it did so in Section 1401 for a reason. By contrast, the IRS regulation interpreting the statute gives away that game when it states that subsidies would be available “regardless of whether the Exchange is established and operated by a State”.

Now, courts should not read the words of a statute in isolation, but in context; on this, textualist defenders agree with Halbig‘s critics. But textualists talk about context, we mean that words should not mean one thing in one part of a statute and another in another part, or that one piece of a statute should not render another piece meaningless. The government has made a few arguments of this nature in Halbig, but even the Fourth Circuit, ruling in the government’s favor, did not find them particularly persuasive. “Context” does not just mean “the statute should be read to say whatever people who supported it would like it to say.”

The alternative is to argue that the statute is ambiguous – this is what the Fourth Circuit found – and therefore the courts should defer to the IRS in deciding what it means (despite the fact that, as a House oversight committee report detailed, the IRS’ did not exactly follow a thorough and rigorous process in interpreting the statute). But the argument for ambiguity, given the entirely clear language of the key provisions, is not that persuasive. Here’s the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

The problem with that construction is its premise: That the phrase “says” something clear. That presumes that the phrase itself settles the core question at the heart of these legal challenges. To believe that, you have to believe that the literal meaning of the phrase is that subsidies should only goes [sic] to those on state exchanges, and not on the federal one. But the phrase does not literally say that subsidies should not go to people who get subsidies from the federal exchange, which under the law must be established in states that decline to set up their own exchanges. In fairness, opponents are right — the phrase also does not literally say that subsidies should go to those on the federal exchange.

But all of that is precisely what makes the statutory language in question ambiguous.

This is not how laws work, and most certainly not the tax code or federal appropriations statutes. Just try telling the IRS in any other context that you’re entitled to a deduction because the tax code doesn’t specifically say you can’t take it. If the law doesn’t expressly create the subsidy, it doesn’t exist, period.

What the critics have mostly argued instead of express statutory language is that the purpose of the ACA is to provide subsidies for buyers of insurance, so it would be a nonsensical result to conclude that it omitted to provide those subsidies to buyers on the federal exchange, which by now covers 36 states. As I’ll discuss below, that is not a nonsensical idea at all – but more to the point, the job of the courts is to say what statutes mean, not to rewrite them if for some reason they don’t do enough to accomplish whatever policy purpose the judges think Congress was trying to accomplish. Congress writes lots of laws that don’t really do what they claim to do – let’s not get started on the many ways in which Obamacare fails to do the things it was promised to do – but it’s not the job of the courts to repair that. It’s not some sort of right-wing judicial activism to read the statute carefully; to the contrary, the point of textualism is to avoid the activist practice of rewriting the laws from what they actually say.

Why this matters so much is that this dispute is likely bound for the Supreme Court. As with the original Obamacare case, there are all sorts of institutional and political reasons why Chief Justice Roberts may not want to join the other four Justices who were ready, last time around, to throw out the entire statute. But as a matter of legal interpretation, the Halbig plaintiffs are on much more solid ground than the government. Critics of textualism, like Rick Hasen in this Slate essay, argue that the courts have gone astray in taking a plain-language approach to reading laws rather than looking to effect broader statutory purposes. But like it or not, the battle for textualism and against reliance on legislative history and purpose has mostly been won by Justice Scalia over the last 30 years (even among the more liberal Justices – Michael Cannon notes an example of textualism from Justice Kagan), and it is highly unlikely that the Court will retreat from textualism now, in its hour of triumph. As Sean Trende explains:

As a purely theoretical matter, the theory behind the Halbig case is much less novel than the ones that animated the constitutional challenge to Obamacare. Were it any other law and I were advising a client, I would proceed with a pretty high degree of confidence that my client would be victorious using plaintiff’s arguments, especially before conservative judges….[A]s a general matter…for statutes the basic process is to look at the plain language of the statute first, either ignoring Congress’ intent entirely, or turning to it only in the case of an ambiguity in the statute. In this case, the law passed by Congress says that subsidies are available in exchanges established by a state. For a conservative justice, the temptation will be for the analysis to begin and to end there.

Analysts don’t have to like this mode of interpretation…But when analyzing the likelihood that the court will side with plaintiffs, you have to understand that this is how those justices will approach the question.

…John Roberts cares mostly about doctrine, and doctrinally he got everything he wanted and more [in the 2012 decision upholding Obamacare]. He sacrificed a political outcome to do so….It is unclear how Roberts can achieve such an outcome here. If the court does take the case, I am not sure how it does that without creating a powerful nationwide precedent for a more liberal approach to statutory interpretation. Because of the unique circumstances of the law, he may ultimately be willing to do that. I don’t think, however, that you can simply look at his vote in 2012, and be certain that he would behave similarly in 2015.

I agree with Trende – if this was a politically uncontroversial case, I’d much rather be representing a client with the Halbig plaintiffs’ argument than the government’s argument, and an argument like Hasen’s frontal assault on textualism would be an obvious dead letter.

There has been lots of incredulity from non-lawyers at the idea of reading laws to mean exactly what they say. This Charles Gaba post attempted to analogize the Halbig argument with this “gotcha”:

The exact wording of the passage is “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State”. Setting aside the question of whether the “S” in “State” was meant to be capitalized or lower-case, and even setting aside the fact that “State” could be interpreted as referring to either one of the 50 individual “United States of America” or to the sovereign “State” of the Federal Government, I’ll throw one more at you: What about the District of Columbia’s exchange?? D.C. is not a “State” by most interpretations of the word; it doesn’t have voting U.S. Representatives or Senators, it doesn’t have it’s own Constitution and so forth. Yet their ACA exchange isn’t being challenged by the plaintiffs in the Halbig case. Why not?

Furthermore, what about Virginia, Massachusetts and Kentucky? Technically speaking, as someone in the comments pointed out the other day, all three of these are “Commonwealths”, not “States”. Yet, again, the Halbig plaintiffs aren’t challenging these three. Is the DC Circuit Court and/or the Supreme Court of the United States going to rule that they don’t count as “states”? Will they be stripped of their Senators and Representatives like the District of Columbia? Will we have to change the children’s song to “47 Nifty United States (and 3 Commonwealths)”?*

Of course they won’t. Which means that “established by the State” is, by definition, extremely ambiguous.

Gaba had to update his post to claim that he was just kidding after I pointed out to him on Twitter that the reason nobody is challenging the definition of “State” as including DC and the “Commonwealth” states is that the statute explicitly defines the term “State” to include “each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.” But that goes to the heart of the argument: Congress defined the term, it included DC, but it did not include the federal government. This kind of definition-reading is lawyers’ daily work, and it really is not controversial in most cases. But fans of the ACA seem shocked that courts would do it here, and they seem to think that being shocked is an argument in and of itself.

Is It Plausible That Congress Meant To Do This?: Notwithstanding the language of the statute, the main argument made against Halbig by left-wing pundits is that it is simply inconceivable that Congress would have provided subsidies only to buyers on the state exchanges, and that at most any omission of subsidies on the federal exchanges must have been some sort of typo that the courts ought to fix. But even if you could get a court to ignore the statutory text, there are four main problems with this line of argument.

As a practical matter, the first problem with this argument – that Congress would never, ever, ever have intended to cut off healthcare funding as a club to get states to join the program – is that it ignores the fact that this is precisely what Congress did in the Medicaid section of the statute. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion didn’t just condition new Medicaid funding on states agreeing to Obamacare’s new rules for Medicaid eligibility. It went even further, and stripped away every penny of federal Medicaid funding for states that would not go along.

Is it plausible that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid wanted to completely defund Medicaid anywhere in the country? Of course not. Did they pass a statute doing just that? They did. Did the Administration defend that statute in court? Yes it did (and lost; the Supreme Court threw out that part of the ACA). But they did it because they expected that the leverage of holding hostage 20-25% of a state’s budget would be so powerful that all 50 states would have to go along. It is hardly a fantasy to think that the exchange subsidies were drafted with a similar thought in mind and a similar assumption that every state could be made to go along, so the federal exchange would never be more than a short-term stopgap (recall that early drafts of the law did not even include a provision for a federal exchange).

Second, recall the wider political context. It was widely assumed in 2009-2010 that Obama’s 2012 opponent would be a then-sitting GOP governor: Sarah Palin, or if not Palin then Tim Pawlenty, Mark Sanford, Rick Perry, Jon Hunstman, Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, or Charlie Crist. The major battle in Washington immediately before Obamacare was the stimulus bill, which provoked a huge fight between the Administration and various state governors who did not want to accept federal funds that came with a lot of strings attached, but many of whom ended up with little choice but to accept at least some of those, in some cases due to bruising fights with their own state legislatures and heavy-handed ad campaigns directed by the DNC from Washington. The Administration seemed obsessed with co-opting and neutralizing as many potential adversaries as possible by forcing them to sign on to its policies, and was visibly frustrated that Republicans (with exceptions like Huntsman, who took an Administration job, and Crist) were not cooperating in eliminating distinctions between themselves and Obama. At the same time, Democrats were still convinced that their healthcare policies would be popular and that Republicans would be compelled by public pressure to support them. Using heavy-handed tactics to coerce recalcitrant governors into accepting both Medicaid and the Obamacare exchanges made all sorts of political sense from this perspective, and it is entirely plausible that the drafters of the ACA simply assumed that they would succeed in setting up exchanges in all 50 states, and didn’t consider what would happen if that plan didn’t work.

Third, there is another entirely plausible reason why this statute got passed without a lot of thought being given to the consequences. Normally, issues with the language and details of a large, complex bill get hammered out in the House-Senate conference that follows passage of separate bills through both Houses of Congress. But here, that never happened. The Senate passed a bill, the House passed a different bill, and then the election of Scott Brown in January 2010 made it impossible to muster the 60 votes to pass anything else through the Senate. (Ironically, as you may recall, Brown’s main theme against Obamacare was that Massachusetts voters were perfectly happy with their own state exchange – and as it turned out, that exchange was driven into the ground by Obamacare, throwing the state’s voters onto the federal exchange). So Democrats basically broke the rules and disregarded the usual legislative process, passed the Senate bill through the House, and then pretended it was a budget bill so they could re-pass it through the Senate without 60 votes. That not only means there was never a conference to determine which provisions the sponsors really wanted in the bill, there was also never a conference report detailing what Congress meant in provisions that might seem ambiguous or counterintuitive. The blame for the mess made in the statute rests squarely on those who insisted that they didn’t need to follow the usual rules and procedures for passing bills.

And now, fourth, we have the damning vidoetapes of Jonathan Gruber, one of the key architects of the law as a White House consultant. Halbig‘s critics have sung from a unanimous songbook all week on the idea that – even if it was theoretically possible that Congress might have intended to reserve subsidies to the state exchanges – there was no evidence at all that anybody in Congress actually thought that. Brian Beutler at The New Republic was the most strident on this point: “The claim that the ACA *intends* to deny subsidies to people in Healthcare.gov states is a demonstrable fraud,” Beutler wrote, and “I sympathize with the poor clerks who were assigned to Google for evidence that the administration and Congress were content with ignoring the importance of the subsidies to the expansion goal,” and this:

I suspect many of the people advancing this claim realize that it is false, and are engaged in an elaborate gaslighting campaign. Others have probably convinced themselves that they are correct, and are now mansplaining the intent of Congress to both the reporters who covered the bill and the aides who drafted it, all of whom understand how absurd this revisionist history really is.

…as far as the academic question of what Congress intended goes, there can be no debate. You can ask the people who wrote the bill. You can ask the reporters who chronicled the legislative process, to whom the intent argument is an incredible affront. You can ask state officials, who were advised that federal Medicaid dollars were conditional upon the Medicaid expansion (as originally envisioned) but not that the subsidy dollars were conditional upon establishing an exchange.

Now, as a legal matter, none of this is relevant (and conservative commentators were flagging this issue in the statute as far back as 2011), but Beutler’s claim that nobody imagined that the law meant what it plainly said is blown to shreds by two videos (so far) showing Gruber doing exactly the thing Beutler and his cited sources at Vox.com claimed was impossible, inconceivable and had never happened: telling audiences that states needed to set up exchanges to avoid leaving the subsidy money on the table. Moe Lane has covered those vidoes here and here. Gruber is one of the drafters of the law who has been going around this week saying the same thing as Beutler and even filed an amicus brief telling the court that the statute provides subsidies on the federal exchange, and Sargent cites some other fairly vauge examples of his later tune, but on tape closer in time to the events, he was telling audiences who had come for his advice on this point that the statute conditioned subsidies on state exchanges. In a wonderful bit of new Washington-speak on a par with “I lied to my diary,” Gruber told TNR after the first video surfaced that it was “just a speak-o—you know, like a typo,” but the second video shows him making this point in prepared remarks. And Gruber isn’t just any old staffer – he was paid almost $400,000 in consulting fees by the Administration for his work on Obamacare, and his remarks on the subject were part of the continuing cash-in on his expertise on the statute’s implications for states, what was apparently a regular stock speech.

If anything, Gruber’s change of tune over time is yet further evidence of why reliance on the statements – sometimes conflicting, sometimes self-interested – of proponents of a bill is a poor substitute for reading the bill itself. And the fact that none of the journalists covering the debate actually got statements on the record at the time on this issue is not proof of anything but the incompetence of those journalists. Beutler, Sargent, Ezra Klein and the rest of the Vox crowd are now stuck furiously backpedaling from the Gruber videos because they insisted on overselling the unanimity of opinion on an issue that was not so much a consensus as an oversight. One hopes they will learn something from this episode about calling people liars and frauds, but I would not hold my breath.

The post Halbig’s Critics Hoist By Their Own Petards appeared first on RedState.

Speak-o softly, and carry a big subsidy stick

While we’re all having a good time with the concentrated stupidity of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber (who allegedly holds some sort of advanced degree from a major institution) claiming he repeatedly made “verbal typos” when clearly stating that only state-run exchanges would be eligible for ObamaCare subsidies, let’s keep an eye on the big picture.  Gruber’s “speak-o” is another way of saying that ObamaCare is | Read More »

The post Speak-o softly, and carry a big subsidy stick appeared first on RedState.

While we’re all having a good time with the concentrated stupidity of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber (who allegedly holds some sort of advanced degree from a major institution) claiming he repeatedly made “verbal typos” when clearly stating that only state-run exchanges would be eligible for ObamaCare subsidies, let’s keep an eye on the big picture.  Gruber’s “speak-o” is another way of saying that ObamaCare is fundamentally incompatible with the American system and the rule of law.  This has become a death match between ObamaCare and our constitutional republic.  Only one will survive.

This is nothing new.  The painful lesson of the Twentieth Century is that collectivism in all its forms – socialism, communism, fascism, Obama’s vision of a centrally planned economy – is incompatible with the rule of law.  There is nothing terribly complicated about the reason for this, and contrary to the ongoing delusions of Twenty-First Century academics, it is an immutable principle: law cannot be allowed to obstruct power.

Collectivism relies upon tremendous concentrations of power.  People don’t participate in collectivist schemes voluntarily, particularly those on the losing end of wealth redistribution networks.  Contrary to the infantile Democrat slogan about government being “a name for the things we all do together,” the collectivist vision is about forcing people to do things.

This doesn’t sit well with those who still retain the freedom to vote their way out of government schemes, so until collectivism’s losers can be maneuvered into permanent electoral defeat (or, better yet, made dependent on compulsory benefits, so there is no longer an absolute distinction between “takers” and “makers”) it is necessary to lie to the public a great deal.  ObamaCare is an endless stream of lies, blown into Americans’ faces from countless directions.  All of these evasions, misrepresentations, and false promises were used to conceal the amount of raw centralized power in the system.  It was disguised as something that would be almost completely voluntary.

You know the whole litany by now: if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  Insurance under ObamaCare would be significantly cheaper than it was before.  The exchange system would work so beautifully that people would flock to use it.  This new debacle concerning subsidies was part of an effort to make state participation in the ObamaCare exchange system appear voluntary – the states could refuse, if they didn’t like what they saw.  Only later would recalcitrant state governments learn that their citizens were denied access to subsidies for their health care plans, and be pressured into giving in and establishing an exchange.

The devious creators of ObamaCare underestimated how many states would refuse, so when the velvet glove slipped off ObamaCare’s mailed fist, its masters suddenly found themselves punching their own lights out.  If the courts don’t save ObamaCare from the Halbig v. Burwell decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and rewrite the law so federal exchange customers do get subsidies, it’s very possible this will all play out exactly as the collectivists who created this monstrous system intended, with the 36 resisting states hastily creating their own exchanges.

But I doubt they’ll let things get to that point, because ObamaCare is so broadly unpopular – as is President Barack Obama – that it’s equally likely the whole system will come crashing down, repealed at the demand of enraged citizens who suddenly get stuck paying the full cost of their own insurance.  Overturning the Halbig decision will demonstrate the primacy of power over law.  The power structure will simply refuse to obey the letter of the law it passed.  Their alleged “intentions,” as of today, will trump the clear wording of the Affordable Care Act, and the considerable evidence that its authors did mean to restrict subsidies to state exchanges.  In other words, it won’t matter that the Democrats who wrote and passed the ACA, or the President who signed it, failed miserably at their legislative duties.  Their will to power will matter more than the papers upon which their witless hands scrawled signatures.

ObamaCare is the biggest, most outrageous example of power triumphing over law, but it’s hardly the only one.  Immigration and border security provide another excellent example.  When law places a burden of inescapable duty on the Ruling Class, it becomes an obstacle to their power.  In theory, a nation with an impenetrable maze of confusing laws should have a government paralyzed as thoroughly as its citizens… but that’s hardly the way it works in practice, is it?  The Ruling Class simply exempts itself and its friends from troublesome laws, and ignores unappealing duties.  It cannot work any other way, if the central State is to enjoy the power it requires to enforce a collectivist vision on the entire country.  Our rulers see themselves as giants, men and women of towering wisdom and intellect.  Giants do not walk on their knees.

You will never find a socialist nation with a deep respect for the rule of law, because those ideas are in many ways diametrically opposed.  Socialist rulers must be exempt from the rules they impose on others; they must have great power to grant favors and exemptions; they must be able to re-interpret the law to fit their changing vision, rather than allowing themselves to be bound by past promises and obligations.  If ObamaCare was a “contract,” it has been broken to the point where everyone involved would be sued into oblivion.  It was presented as a contract, but it’s not.  There are no consequences for the failure to meet its promises.  The Administration still routinely lies to the American people about how the program is doing, concealing vital information about everything from enrollment figures to the payment of corporate subsidies.  It is very much a one-way street, placing a heavy burden of rules (enforced by the IRS!) onto American citizens, who will be punished severely for non-compliance… but the State doesn’t even have to obey the clearest of provisions it finds inconvenient.

It doesn’t matter what our representative government voted for in 2010, or what the American people were told to keep us mostly quiescent.  Yesterday’s lies don’t have a long shelf life in a “one man, one vote, one time” arrangement.  ObamaCare is the “settled law of the land” now, as far as the peons are concerned, so it doesn’t matter that they were tricked into accepting it.  As for the Ruling Class… well, no law is ever truly “settled” for those who have real power.  

That point will be made beyond dispute if the courts fully uphold the Halbig decision, and the Obama Administration simply ignores them and keeps ladling out subsidies.  That is what will happen, in the unlikely event judges friendly to Barack Obama and his vision of the supreme State don’t make it unnecessary by overturning the decision.  Obama and his followers would consider it sheer madness if their grand plan was ruined by a couple of legislative sentences they no longer believe are necessary.  And if that is what comes to pass – who, exactly, will force the imperial President and his trillion-dollar monstrosity to obey the law?

 

The post Speak-o softly, and carry a big subsidy stick appeared first on RedState.


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