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States sue feds over another Obamacare tax

obama-pointing

Obamacare has been challenged in court since Democrats in Congress passed it with no Republican support more than five years ago.

Looks like it’s going to be there for a long time to come.

A new lawsuit brought by Kansas, Texas and Louisiana challenges the law’s health-insurance provider fee on several grounds, not the least of which is the Tenth Amendment.

Other states are considering joining the case, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas,

Legal expert Hans von Spakovksy explained the lawsuit in a commentary.

“They argue that the fee is ‘an unconstitutional tax on the plaintiff states in violation of the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the doctrine of intergovernmental tax immunity,’” he wrote.

He noted that in America’s federalist system, the federal government “has no right to tax state governments.”

The private insurers with whom most states contract to provide services must pay the Health Insurance Providers Fee to Washington. But since the Obamacare law requires states to pay the fees, the complaint argues it amounts to a tax on states.

Your roadmap for surviving the nationalization of health-care decision-making is here, in “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare.”

The complaint also argues it’s illegal for federal lawmakers to delegate regulatory authority to a private entity, noting the fees are set by the private Actuarial Standards Board.

Further, the suit claims states were not given “clear notice” of the massive costs in the Obamacare law.

And, the complaint contends, the Supreme Court already ruled the federal government cannot force the states to accept expanded Medicaid coverage as a condition of receiving any Medicaid funding.

The fees for 2014 totaled about $8 billion, but like many other variables in Obamacare, they are expected to reach $14.3 billion in just three years.

“It is important to note that this lawsuit is not over the Medicaid expansion that was part of the Obamacare law and that states like Texas refused to accept. This is about a fee that the Obama administration, through the IRS, is now imposing on states as a condition of continuing to receive federal funds for the basic Medicaid and CHIP programs,” von Spakovsky explained.

“There is no question that this is a serious lawsuit raising substantive issues against the Obamacare law and the way it has been implemented in relation to Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs.

“A win by the states could knock a substantial hole in the financing of the Obamacare program. The question now is how quickly the case will move through the courts, and how many other states will join the suit,” he said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sounded off: “This threat to cut Medicaid funding to Texans unless the state continues to pay hundreds of millions in taxes to Washington amounts to the very ‘gun to the head’ the Supreme Court warned about in earlier rulings on Obamacare.

“Not only is the federal government threatening the health care needs of millions of Texans, but it is doing so using Texans’ own money, collected from them through taxes. This represents yet another huge overstep of authority for this administration, which once again has demonstrated their willingness to circumvent the Constitution in order to achieve their policy goals.”

It’s also been argued that Obamacare, as a tax-revenue measure, was required to originate in the U.S. House. The Obamacare law came from the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid simply took the number of a House bill and slapped it on the front of his Senate Obamacare package.

The U.S. Supreme Court already has reviewed Obamacare three times, first changing its “fees” to “taxes” to comply with the Constitution and later ruling that “exchanges established by the state” as written in the law actually means exchanges established by states or the federal government.

The Supreme Court also ruled that the government could not force business owners to pay for abortion-causing drugs in violation of their religious faith, although the government continues to fight for that mandate in several other cases.

Your roadmap for surviving the nationalization of health-care decision-making is here, in “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare.”

Another current challenge to Obamacare alleges it violates the Fourth, Fifth and Ninth amendment provisions on privacy.

Yet another case is suing the Obama administration for making arbitrary changes in the law outside of Congress.

 

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He Volunteered to Go to Auschwitz

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.


In this great mortuary of the half-living — where nearby someone was wheezing his final breath; someone else was dying; another was struggling out of bed only to fall over onto the floor; another was throwing off his blankets, or talking in a fever to his dear mother and shouting or cursing someone out; [while still others were] refusing to eat, or demanding water, in a fever and trying to jump out of the window, arguing with the doctor or asking for something — I lay thinking that I still had the strength to understand everything that was going on and take it calmly in my stride.

That was on a relatively good day at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942, in the words of the only known person to have ever volunteered to be a prisoner there. His name was Witold Pilecki. His story is one of history’s most amazing accounts of boundless courage amid bottomless inhumanity.

Powerful emotions gripped me when I first learned of Pilecki and gazed at his picture. I felt rage toward the despicable regimes that put this honorable man through an unspeakable hell. I welled up with admiration for how he dealt with it all. Here you have a story that depicts both the worst and the best in men.

To label Pilecki a “hero” seems hopelessly inadequate.

Olonets is a small town northeast of St. Petersburg, Russia, 700 miles from present-day Poland. It’s where Witold Pilecki was born in 1901, but his family was not there by choice. Four decades earlier, when many Poles lived under Russian occupation, the czarist government in Moscow forcibly resettled the Pileckis in Olonets for their part in an uprising.

For the first time since 1795, Poland was reconstituted as an in…

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Michael Savage: ‘We’ve lost the battle’

Listen to “The Savage Nation” segment:

A major battle in a war over the future of Western civilization has been lost as millions of migrants from the Middle East who largely oppose Judeo-Christian values and have no intention of assimilating flood the United States, Britain, France, Germany and other nations, talk-radio host Michael Savage told his listeners Tuesday.

Savage said he received an email from someone he described as “far smarter than I am” and “farseeing.”

“He said to me, ‘It’s over.'”

Paraphrasing the email, Savage said that what German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “doing to Germany, what the weakling is doing to England, what the socialist is doing to France, what Obama the psychopath is doing to America, will render this country non-existent in less than 50 years.”

“And I said to him, ‘Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong,'” Savage recalled to his audience.

“But the fact of the matter is the world is changing in ways you could never have imagined.”

Savage later affirmed to a caller that he hasn’t given up, noting he presents in his upcoming book, “Government Zero: No Borders, No Language, No Culture,” “40 actions to save America,” including in the private sector and at the state and local government level.

“We haven’t lost the war. The war has just begun,” Savage said. “Because 30 million to 40 million Americans are finally awakened to what the psychopath has done to this country, and they want to stop him from doing more. They want to stop him before it’s too late.”

See the entire Savage collection in the WND Superstore.

Savage criticized President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Merkel and other Western leaders with a provocative comparison he recognized could be misunderstood.

They are doing, he said, what Adolf Hitler did in reverse: Instead of invading other countries, they are letting foreigners invade their countries.

“Hitler was a psychopath,” Savage said, who “invaded other countries to impose his nation’s, let us say, his distorted values and race on other countries.”

“What is Obama doing?” Savage asked. “He’s invading his own country with people of other races and other cultures and other languages to wipe away the predominant language, the predominant culture of his own nation. He is equally mad.

“Barack Obama is as equally mad as Adolf Hitler in that regard,” Savage emphasized.

“Write it down,” Savage said, directing his words to establishment media. “Maybe it will make it to CNN: ‘Talk show host says Obama as crazy as Hitler, because he’s invading his own country with foreigners.’ But they’d better get the whole quote correct. And I don’t know if they’re capable of it.”

Savage said Merkel “is invading Germany with foreigners.”

“She’s invading her own nation,” he said.

Regarding the war for Western Civilization – which was built largely on English common law, Judeo-Christian morality “and the uniquely American principles of individualism and self-reliance” – Savage also referenced the cultural revolution of the 1960s.

Some 50 years later, he said, “Can anyone say that has worked out well?”

Get Savage’s free weekly insider newsletter five days a week in your email inbox by going to the top of the home page on Savage’s website and clicking the green “SUBSCRIBE” box.

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There’s No Such Thing as Excessive Profits

If you want to do business in Venezuela, you will have to let the government do your bookkeeping to make sure you aren’t making too much. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s decree, called the “Organic Law of Fair Prices,” sets a maximum “fair” profit at 30 percent of costs.

Besides the practical problems of implementing such a measure, the ceiling rests on a basic misconception: the idea that there is such a thing as “fair” or “excessive” profits misunderstands the function of profit — and loss — in a market economy.

To bemoan a capitalist earning high profits is like complaining about a surgeon saving too many lives.

The Profit-and-Loss Test

The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises cherished the market process because he thought it was a wonderful institution for using the world’s scarce resources in the way that best serves consumers. The market prices of various resources, from labor hours to tons of iron to acres of farmland, show entrepreneurs how valuable those resources are in the most valuable activity — as judged by the spending decisions of consumers — and thus provide the right incentives to deploy them rationally.

As I detail in my new book on Misesian thought, Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action, we can understand Mises’s perspective by imagining a silly scenario where a building contractor decides to coat apartment interiors with solid gold. Surely tenants would be willing to pay a lot more in rent if their apartment had gold-coated countertops. So why would this be a foolish move for our entrepreneur?

The answer, of course, is that even though revenues might be much higher, the use of gold would drive the monetary costs of the project higher still. The decision to start using large amounts of gold would transfo…

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NYPD officer shot in the head, dies

(NYPD) An NYPD housing officer was killed Tuesday night, shot in the head by a trigger-happy perp during a chase and gunfight on a pedestrian overpass above the FDR Drive in East Harlem, police said.

Officer Randolph Holder, 33, was shot in the forehead by the callous gunman, who had stolen a bike and was being pursued by cops along the promenade hugging the East River around 8:30 p.m., Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. The brave officer died at 10:22 p.m. at Harlem Hospital.

A suspect, shot in the legs, was arrested.

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Depression-Era Laws Threaten the Sharing Economy

Imagine you’re driving for Uber or Lyft. As an independent contractor, you enjoy setting your own work hours, picking up people you like chatting with (well, for the most part), learning about new parts of town, and earning back some of the investment in your car. Then, one day, an email from your ride-sharing service informs you that some bureaucrats you’ve never heard of have decided that Uber is now your employer. You have to work a certain number of hours and within prescribed times, and the company will start withholding a portion of your pay for taxes, like a typical paycheck. More changes are probably coming. What do you do?

That’s the dilemma ridesharing drivers may soon be facing if the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division follows through on its stated intention to radically redefine what constitutes an employment contract. Ridesharing companies and other sharing-economy startups have operated somewhat freely thanks to the DOL’s relatively laissez-faire attitude toward contracting and other innovative work arrangements. All of that may soon change.

The Wage and Hour Division is, for all intents and purposes, the nation’s wage regulator. In a blog post last July, its head, David Weil, issued new guidance regarding what makes someone an employee rather than an independent contractor. The guidance relies on the expansive wording of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which President Franklin Roosevelt regarded as one of the most important parts of his New Deal.

That act defines employment as simply including “to suffer or permit to work,” giving the Department of Labor huge discretion in defining the term for practical purposes. The New Deal Congress, in choosing this language, specifically re…

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The Nightmare of Living in the Past

Swedish doctor Hans Rosling loads a washing machine with laundry on stage at the beginning of his TED talk. When his talk is over, he returns to the washer and pulls out … books.

His presentation, “The Magic Washing Machine,” is about how this one example of consumer technology is far more than a convenience. By mechanizing the arduous process of doing the household laundry, the washing machine gave women back all of the many hours they spent washing, agitating, and wringing out clothes by hand.

With a machine to do the wash, Rosling’s mother had time to read to him and to learn English. That’s what the books he pulled out represented: the age-old opportunity cost of doing laundry the old-fashioned way.

Telling Stories

Over the last few years, I’ve written a lot about how much better life is today than at any time in the past. It’s pretty easy to make that case with a variety of economic data, but data never seem to pack the punch that I wish they could. What’s more effective are presentations like Rosling’s. He provides an incredibly powerful visual image to demonstrate what economic development has done for women both historically and across the globe.

But it’s just one exampl…

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Big Pharma and the Opposite of Science

Can we all agree that no reasonable and compassionate person would want to force people to choose between food and medicine?

Unfortunately, too many people across the ideological spectrum assume that by opposing or favoring certain measures — greater regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, for example — you forfeit your reason and compassion.

Politics Is the Opposite of Science

The question of effective means to achieve a particular end is often a question of science — physics or economics, for example — rather than of politics. Determining whether it’s technically feasible or economically worthwhile to explore Mars is a matter of science; trying to gather sufficient popular backing to do so is a matter of politics.

Strictly speaking, pure science is about the search for the genuine causes of observable phenomena; politics is about gaining the authority to pursue favored outcomes. The method of science entails tolerance of and relentless but reasoned criticism of all views, including one’s own; the tools of politics include what urbanist Jane Jacobs calls “deception for the sake of the task.” Real science is about critically examining premises; pure politics is about defeating your opponent.

In politics, you focus on that part of what is seen that supports your position, while in science, you try to get at the part of reality that is often not seen.

There’s no denying that there’s some science in practical politics and some — perhaps a lot — of politicking in the practice of science. But when it comes to the pursuit of truth versus winning or principle versus expediency, politics is the opposite of science.

What Is Seen about Daraprim

A rich entrepreneur named Mar…

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Minnesota cop killed when suspect wrestles away gun

Police were investigating why a suspect shot and killed a cop.

Police were investigating why a suspect shot and killed a cop.

A Minnesota police officer was shot dead after the domestic abuse suspect he was guarding grabbed the cop’s weapon and fired at him during a tragic turn of events at St. Cloud Hospital.

Police on Monday said they are still trying to determine the suspect’s motive in the shooting.

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Killed was Steven Martin Sandberg, 60, by shooter Danny Leroy Hammond, 50. Police and security officials quickly subdued Hammond with a stun gun. Hammond later became unresponsive and died, Gawker reported.

Hammond was being treated at the hospital for unspecified reasons. Sandberg was tasked to guard him. The Associated Press reported Hammond, who had been detained for a domestic incident, had prior convictions for burglary, terroristic threats and escaping police custody.

Colin Flaherty’s book, “Don’t Make the Black Kids Angry: The Hoax of Black Victimization and Those Who Enable It,” documents black crime in America and exposes how the media and politicians are willing partners in what the author calls “the greatest lie of our generation.”

The St. Cloud TImes said Hammond was in his hospital bed but got up and “initiated a struggle” with Sandberg, and subsequently wrestled away the officer’s gun. Hammond had not been official under arrest at the time of incident, and had therefore not been handcuffed or restrained.

An officer had just arrived at the hospital to replace Sandberg as guard when the shooting occurred.

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‘Unplugging the American Matrix’

snapping-of-the-american-mind-coverSince its national debut last week, David Kupelian’s latest book, “The Snapping of the American Mind,” has soared up the Amazon bestseller charts and elicited rave reviews, which the author hopes is a sign Americans are hungry for a rare commodity in today’s culture: truth.

In the book, says Kupelian, “I endeavor – kind of like Neo in the popular sci-fi film ‘The Matrix’ – to ‘unplug’ the virtual reality program that has captured the minds of so many of us. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that in today’s America, tens of millions of people are living in a delusional dream state.”

He explains: “Even our everyday terminology is fantastical and dreamlike, seemingly designed to obscure our reality. For example, in politics and culture we speak casually of ‘the left’ and ‘the right,’ as though these were two morally equivalent camps or worldviews. In reality, as I document in the book, the socialist/Marxist ideology that has captivated today’s Democrat Party is at war with reason, human nature, common sense, history and truth – indeed, at war with God and His laws.”

In fact, Kupelian claims the far left cannot operate without violating the Ten Commandments. “Leftist radicals,” he says, “continually elevate and excuse murder (abortion), adultery (‘sexual liberation’), stealing (‘wealth redistribution’), lying (deceiving Americans as to their real intentions) and covetousness (Churchill called socialism ‘the gospel of envy’) – thereby wiping out Commandments 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, all in the guise of championing freedom, justice and equality.”

The problem for the rest of us, he adds, is that the political and cultural left that dominate today’s America is “driving millions of unsuspecting Americans completely over the edge – into depression, family breakdown, debauchery, mental illness, violence, addiction and worse.” “The Snapping of the American Mind” exhaustively documents this stunning correlation.

“Fortunately”, he adds, “the better we understand the madness that has captured us – both as a nation and as individuals – the more clear becomes our escape route back to the God-blessed land we once knew, and would know again if we could find the way back.” The book is hopefully subtitled: “Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and a Godless Culture.”

Kupelian, vice president and managing editor of WND and editor of Whistleblower magazine, is the author of two other influential books, “The Marketing of Evil,” and its sequel, “How Evil Works.”

Rave reviews

On Tuesday, radio talker and Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, while interviewing Kupelian, told her vast radio audience, “David’s a compelling writer, and the way he presents the narrative of what’s happened to our political psyche, our spiritual psyche, all of it, is really compelling. It’s a page-turner. I really urge you all to get this book.”

She added, “Some people may think, ‘Oh I already know all this stuff, we’re going to hell in a handbasket, why do I need to read it?’ Because you need to know the way out! And we need to help each other.”

Other interviews in the last few days – including George Noory on “Coast to Coast AM,” Steve Deace, Barry Farber, Bill Martinez, Dr. Michael Brown, Carl Gallups, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson and Fox News radio host Kate Dalley – have echoed Ingraham’s assessment.

Joseph Farah, who as CEO of WND Books is the publisher of Kupelian’s latest work, says “‘The Snapping of the American Mind’ is so unique and deeply affecting that I believe it could actually influence the presidential race and even the future of our country.”

Here’s what other prominent voices are saying:

“David Kupelian is one of the most thought-provoking and iconoclastic writers I know.” – Sean Hannity, top-rated radio and TV talk host

“David Kupelian is one of the very few must-read writers in the 21st century.” – Dr. Ted Baehr, Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, and publisher of MovieGuide®

“David Kupelian’s ‘The Snapping of the American Mind’ chronicles the decline and fall of America and shows that it is no accident, but rather a direct result of progressive misrule – an eye-opening, scary and galvanizing book.” – Dinesh D’Sousa, author and filmmaker

“In an era when our nation’s Judeo-Christian foundation is coming under increasingly open and brutal attack, Kupelian’s powerful and redemptive book couldn’t have come at a better time.” – David Barton, historian, author, and founder of WallBuilders

“An absolute must-read in the Age of Obama.” – Jamie Glazov, editor of Frontpagemag.com and host of “The Glazov Gang”

“Read it!” – Michele Bachmann, former congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate

“David Kupelian has once again given us a must-read in these times of political turbulence and cultural insanity.” – Paul Kengor, author of “Takedown” and professor of political science at Grove City College

“This book is a stunning exposé of all that is evil and delusional in the liberal-progressive plan to destroy the American miracle. A moral tour de force!” – Lyle Rossiter, M.D., forensic and general psychiatrist and author of “The Liberal Mind”

“Kupelian points the way to national and personal renewal.” – Phyllis Schlafly, author, lawyer and founder of Eagle Forum

“Maybe once in a generation are we so graced with a communicator like David Kupelian. … In ‘The Snapping of the American Mind,’ David explores the root cause of our age of lawlessness and moral anarchy, yet somehow leaves us filled with hope for American revival and renewal. It’s just the book Americans need at such a time as this.” – J. Matt Barber, columnist and associate dean at Liberty University School of Law

SPECIAL OFFER: Get your copy of David Kupelian’s “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture” – autographed and personalized – at a special discount at the WND Superstore!

Also, get Kupelian’s culture-war bestseller, “The Marketing of Evil” – now available in paperback – and the acclaimed sequel, “How Evil Works,” also in paperback – all available, autographed by the author, at the WND Superstore!