Nixon

The Pronk Pops 1110, July 18, 2018, Story 1: Mass Hysteria of Big Lie Media — Pathetic Progressive Propaganda Peddling Meddling Mischief– Blaming Russians for Their Lying Lunatic Leftist Loses — “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” — Videos — Story 2: More Obama Globalist Propaganda — Takes A Lying Politician To Know One — Obama Keeps On Lying — Obama The Appeaser Did Not Stop China and Russian Interventions in The United States — Unindicted Co-conspirator Obama Lead The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy! — Videos

Posted on July 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, James Comey, Killing, Language, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, National Interest, News, Nixon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Senate, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

 

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Story 1: Mass Hysteria of Big Lie Media — Pathetic Progressive Propaganda Peddling Meddling Mischief– Blaming Russians for Their Lying Lunatic Leftist Loses — “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” — Videos —

YouTube Debate: Would You Meet with Iran/Syria/North Korea?

Obama on meeting anti-US leaders

Tucker: The main reason Trump’s Russia critics hate him

Bruce: Americans know Trump loves the US

Analyzing the media coverage of the Trump-Putin summit

‘Special Report’ panel on fallout from Trump-Putin summit

Rand Paul sides with Trump over US intel

Sen. Rand Paul on John Brennan, the Mueller Investigation, and Diplomacy – July 18, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul Discusses Trump-Putin Meeting with Neil Cavuto – July 16, 2018

Mark Levin on media freakout over Trump-Putin summit

RUSH: What’s really behind this hysteria over Trump-Putin meeting? (July 17 2018)

Tomi Lahren slams selective outrage from the left on Russia

Ann Coulter Responds to the Trump-Putin Summit

Dr. Sebastian Gorka sounds off about the Helsinki hysteria

Dr. Gorka on the left’s reaction to the Trump-Putin summit

Hannity: Worst 24 hours in history of mainstream media

Trump Capitulates And Reads Incongruous Apologia, Still Distrusts Intel Fantasy of Russian Collusion

Ignore Leftie News Sockpuppets: Trump Was Magnificent With Putin in Helsinki, We’re Lucky He’s POTUS

Irin Burnett: How stupid does Trump think we are?

‘Sounds Like Collusion’: Hannity Rips Media for ‘Double Standard’

Ingraham: Trump Committed ‘Unforced Error,’ But Critics Should Look at His Actions Against Russia

Trump: Witch hunt drove a phony wedge between US, Russia

Anderson Cooper: Disgraceful performance by Trump during Putin meeting

John King on Trump: Never seen a president surrender to Russia

President Donald Trump Accused of Committing Treason | Good Morning Britain

Schumer: Possibility that Putin has damaging info on Trump

‘Nothing Short of Treasonous’: Former CIA Director Brennan Blasts Trump After Appearance With Putin

Aspects of Collective Behavior: Fads, Mass Hysteria, and Riots | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

 

Mass Hysteria

by Mike Mish Shedlock

The mass hysteria following Trump’s meeting with Putin is likely to last for days. Most are outraged. Few see the light.

My article Congratulations to President Trump for an Excellent Summit with Putin spawned numerous some I could not tell if they were sarcastic or not.

For example, reader Brian stated ” There is zero doubt now that Putin stole the election from Hillary. So much so that she MUST be given the nomination again in 2020. All potential challengers must step aside. To refuse her the 2020 nomination would be evidence of traitorous activities with Putin.”‘

I congratulated Brian for brilliant sarcasm but he piled on. It now seems he was serious.

Mainstream media, the Left an the Right were in general condemnation.

Numerous cries of treason emerged from the Left and the Right (see the above link)

It Happened – No Trial Necessary

A friend I highly respect commented “There is simply no question that they did it. You can legitimately claim that it’s not important or that there has been no tie to Trump shown. On the Russians’ side, they can say, screw off, we were pursuing our interests. But you can’t take the view it did not happen. It happened.

There is a question who did it. Indictments are just that, not proof.

The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him.

They Are All Liars

It’s a mystery why anyone would believe these proven liars. That does not mean I believe Putin either. They are all capable liars.

Let’s step back from the absurd points of view to reality.

US Meddling

The US tries to influence elections in other countries and has a history of assisting the forcible overthrow of governments we don’t like.

  • Vietnam
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Drone policy

All of the above are massive disasters of US meddling. They are all actions of war, non-declared, and illegal.

I cannot and do not condone such actions even if they were legal.

911 and ISIS resulted from US meddling. The migration crisis in the EU is a direct consequence of US meddling. The Iranian revolution was a direct consequence of US meddling.

Now we are pissing and moaning that Russia spent a few million dollars on Tweets to steal the election. Please be serious.

Let’s Assume

Let’s assume for one second the DNC hack was Russia-based.

Is there a reason to not be thankful for evidence that Hillary conspired to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination?

Pity Hillary?

We are supposed to pity Hillary?

The outrage from the Right is amazing.

It’s pretty obvious Senator John McCain wanted her to win. Neither faced a war or military intervention they disapproved of.

Common Sense

Let’s move on to a common sense position from Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept.

Greenwald vs. Joe Cirincione

​GLENN GREENWALD: In 2007, during the Democratic presidential debate, Barack Obama was asked whether he would meet with the leaders of North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran without preconditions. He said he would. Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t, because it would be used as a propaganda tool for repressive dictators. And liberals celebrated Obama. It was one of his greatest moments and one of the things that I think helped him to win the Democratic nomination, based on the theory that it’s always better to meet with leaders, even if they’re repressive, than to isolate them or to ignore them. In 1987, when President Reagan decided that he wanted to meet with Soviet leaders, the far right took out ads against him that sounded very much just like what we just heard from Joe, accusing him of being a useful idiot to Soviet and Kremlin propaganda, of legitimizing Russian aggression and domestic repression at home.

GLENN GREENWALD: It is true that Putin is an authoritarian and is domestically repressive. That’s true of many of the closest allies of the United States, as well, who are even far more repressive, including ones that fund most of the think tanks in D.C., such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. And I think the most important issue is the one that we just heard, which is that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication, as well.

JOE CIRINCIONE: Right. Let’s be clear. Glenn, there’s nothing wrong with meeting. I agree with you. Leaders should meet, and we should be negotiating with our foes, with those people we disagree with. We’re better off when we do that. And the kind of attacks you saw on Barack Obama were absolutely uncalled for, and you’re right to condemn those.

JOE CIRINCIONE: What I’m worried about is this president meeting with this leader of Russia and what they’re going to do. That’s what’s so wrong about this summit coming now, when you have Donald Trump, who just attacked the NATO alliance, who calls our European allies foes, who turns a blind eye to what his director of national intelligence called the warning lights that are blinking red. About what? About Russian interference in our elections. So you just had a leader of Russia, Putin, a skilled tactician, a skilled strategist, interfere in a U.S. election. To what? To help elect Donald Trump.

GLENN GREENWALD: I think this kind of rhetoric is so unbelievably unhinged, the idea that the phishing links sent to John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee are the greatest threat to American democracy in decades. People are now talking about it as though it’s on par with 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, that the lights are blinking red, in terms of the threat level. This is lunacy, this kind of talk. I spent years reading through the most top-secret documents of the NSA, and I can tell you that not only do they send phishing links to Russian agencies of every type continuously on a daily basis, but do far more aggressive interference in the cybersecurity of every single country than Russia is accused of having done during the 2016 election. To characterize this as some kind of grave existential threat to American democracy is exactly the kind of rhetoric that we heard throughout the Bush-Cheney administration about what al-Qaeda was like.

JOE CIRINCIONE: Why does Donald Trump feel that he has to meet alone with Putin? What is going on there? I mean, that—when Ronald Reagan met with Gorbachev at Reykjavik, at least he had George Shultz with him. The two of them, you know, were meeting with Gorbachev and his foreign minister at the time. This is—it’s deeply disturbing. It makes you feel that Trump is hiding something, that he is either trying to make a deal with Putin, reporting something to Putin. I tell you, I know U.S. intelligence officials—I’m probably going right into Glenn’s wheelhouse here. But U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about what Donald Trump might be revealing to the Russian leader, the way he revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister when he met privately with him in the Oval Office at the beginning of his term. No, I don’t like it one bit.

GLENN GREENWALD: I continue to be incredibly frustrated by the claim that we hear over and over, and that we just heard from Joe, that Donald Trump does everything that Vladimir Putin wants, and that if he were a paid agent of the Russian government, there’d be—he would be doing nothing different. I just went through the entire list of actions that Donald Trump has taken and statements that he has made that are legitimately adverse to the interest of the Russian government, that Barack Obama specifically refused to do, despite bipartisan demands that he do them, exactly because he didn’t want to provoke more tensions between the United States and Russia. Sending lethal arms to Ukraine, bordering Russia, is a really serious adverse action against the interest of the Russian government. Bombing the Assad regime is, as well. Denouncing one of the most critical projects that the Russian government has, which is the pipeline to sell huge amounts of gas and oil to Germany, is, as well. So is expelling Russian diplomats and imposing serious sanctions on oligarchs that are close to the Putin regime. You can go down the list, over and over and over, in the 18 months that he’s been in office, and see all the things that Donald Trump has done that is adverse, in serious ways, to the interests of Vladimir Putin, including ones that President Obama refused to do. So, this film, this movie fairytale, that I know is really exciting—it’s like international intrigue and blackmail, like the Russians have something over Trump; it’s like a Manchurian candidate; it’s from like the 1970s thrillers that we all watched—is inane—you know, with all due respect to Joe. I mean, it’s—but it’s in the climate, because it’s so contrary to what it is that we’re seeing. Now, this idea of meeting alone with Vladimir Putin, the only way that you would find that concerning is if you believed all that.

JOE CIRINCIONE: So, Trump knew that this indictment was coming down, before he went to Europe, and still he never says a word about it. What he does is continue his attacks on our alliances, i.e. he continues his attacks on our free press, he continues his attacks on FBI agents who were just doing their job, and supports this 10-hour show hearing that the House of Representatives had. It’s really unbelievable that Trump is doing these things and never says one word about it. He still has not said a word about those indictments.

GLENN GREENWALD: That’s because the reality is—and I don’t know if Donald Trump knows this or doesn’t know this, has stumbled into the truth or what—but the reality is that what the Russians did in 2016 is absolutely not aberrational or unusual in any way. The United—I’m sorry to say this, but it’s absolutely true. The United States and Russia have been interfering in one another’s domestic politics for since at least the end of World War II, to say nothing of what they do in far more extreme ways to the internal politics of other countries. Noam Chomsky was on this very program several months ago, and he talked about how the entire world is laughing at this indignation from the United States—”How dare you interfere in our democracy!”—when the United States not only has continuously in the past done, but continues to do far more extreme interference in the internal politics of all kinds of countries, including Russia.

GLENN GREENWALDThe United States funds oppositional groups inside Russia. The United States sent advisers and all kinds of operatives to try and elect Boris Yeltsin in the mid-1990s, because they perceived, accurately, that he was a drunk who would serve the interests of the United States more than other candidates who might have won. The United States interferes in Russian politics, and they interfere in their cyber systems, and they invade their email systems, and they invade all kinds of communications all the time. And so, to treat this as though it’s some kind of aberrational event, I think, is really kind of naive.

GLENN GREENWALD: It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton in 2016 who lost this election. The entire Democratic Party has collapsed as a national political force over the last decade. They’ve lost control of the Senate and of the House and of multiple statehouses and governorships. They’re decimated as a national political force. And the reason is exactly what Joe said. They become the party of international globalization. They’re associated with Silicon Valley and Wall Street billionaires and corporate interests, and have almost no connection to the working class. And that is a much harder conversation to have about why the Democrats have lost elections than just blaming a foreign villain and saying it’s because Vladimir Putin ran some fake Facebook ads and did some phishing emails. And I think that until we put this in perspective, about what Russia did in 2016 and the reality that the U.S. does that sort of thing all the time to Russia and so many other countries, we’re going to just not have the conversation that we need to be having about what these international institutions, that are so sacred—NATO and free trade and international trade organizations—have done to people all over the world, and the reason they’re turning to demagogues and right-wing extremists because of what these institutions have done to them. That’s the conversation we need to be having, but we’re not having, because we’re evading it by blaming everything on Vladimir Putin. And that, to me, is even more dangerous for our long-term prospects than this belligerence that’s in the air about how we ought to look at Moscow.

Indictments and First Year Law

Mish: I now wish to return to a statement my friend made regarding the idea “No question Russia did it“.

From Glenn Greenwald

As far as the indictments from Mueller are concerned, it’s certainly the most specific accounting yet that we’ve gotten of what the U.S. government claims the Russian government did in 2016. But it’s extremely important to remember what every first-year law student will tell you, which is that an indictment is nothing more than the assertions of a prosecutor unaccompanied by evidence. The evidence won’t be presented until a trial or until Robert Mueller actually issues a report to Congress. And so, I would certainly hope that we are not at the point, which I think we seem to be at, where we are now back to believing that when the CIA makes statements and assertions and accusations, or when prosecutors make statements and assertions and accusations, unaccompanied by evidence that we can actually evaluate, that we’re simply going to believe those accusations on faith, especially when the accusations come from George W. Bush’s former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who repeatedly lied to Congress about Iraq and a whole variety of other issues. So, I think there we need some skepticism. But even if the Russians did everything that Robert Mueller claims in that indictment that they did, in the scheme of what the U.S. and the Russians do to one another and other countries, I think to say that this is somehow something that we should treat as a grave threat, that should mean that we don’t talk to them or that we treat them as an enemy, is really irrational and really quite dangerous.

Mish – Six Questions

  1. Is this a trial or a witch hunt?
  2. Do we need to see the evidence or do we believe known liars?
  3. Is Trump guilty of treason? Before we even see proof Putin was involved?
  4. Is the CIA incapable of fabricating evidence?
  5. Even if Russia interfered in the election, why should anyone have expected otherwise?
  6. Has everyone forgotten the US lies on WMDs already?

Irrational and Dangerous

I don’t know about you, but I have no reason to believe known liars and hypocrites.

I disagree with Trump all the time, in fact, more often than not.

The amount of venom on Trump over this is staggering.

Adding a missing word, I stand by my previous statement: “Nearly every political action that generates this much complete nonsense and hysteria from the Left and Right is worthy of immense praise.”

If you disagree please provide examples. The only two I can come up with are Pearl Harbor and 911. In both, the US was directly attacked.

For rebuttal purposes I offer Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Iran, WWI, treatment of Japanese-American citizens in WWII, and McCarthyism.

Greenwald accurately assesses the situation as “really irrational and really quite dangerous.”

Indeed.

And if indictments and accusations were crimes, we wouldn’t need a jury.

 

How the left’s tactic of mass hysteria against Trump is playing out with the general public

By Rick Moran

Donald Trump has yet to be inaugurated, he has yet to make any specific proposals for legislation, has yet to issue any executive orders, and has yet to even comment on many of the cultural issues that divide America.

That lack of specificity has played directly into the hands of his opponents on the left.  Into the void, the left has substituted mass hysteria about what Trump might do rather than reasoned argument against the positions he took during the campaign.

The left in America doesn’t have that luxury – at least, not officially.  But there is little doubt that their attempts to massively exaggerate the danger of a Trump presidency to certain minority groups has found a mainstream media compliant, even eager in their efforts to conciously aid in spreading propaganda, hyperbole, even lies in the cause of opposing Trump.

How is the left’s campaign to convince large numbers of people that their freedoms, even their lives are in danger going?

Not bad at all.

Huffington Post asked 14 women who never participated in a demonstration before why they were going to take part in the Women’s March on Washington later this week.  Here are some of the answers:

I’m attending the march with my partner because I’m gay, scared and I want to be a part of history. The day after the election, three young white men came up to her and started yelling “Trump!” I went to a few of the protests in New York City and posted about it on Facebook, and I got horrible backlash, mostly from men I don’t know. I’ve also had extended family comment on some of my political posts. One went on a rant cursing all over my page. But I’m not going to make myself small to make others feel comfortable.

I actually have been to a march before, but not really by choice. When I was 15, I attended a Christian high school that was very pro-life and I did the March for Life. I was really afraid of hell and I had some sense that I was queer, so I was absolutely terrified. I went to the march because I felt like God would love me if I did. I remember holding up a big sign with all these photoshopped images of dead fetuses. It was traumatic.

What is this young, gay woman so scared of?  During the campaign, a gay Republican wrote on op-ed in the gay publication The Blade and put it simply:

The fact is that any honest look at Trump’s record and views on gay rights shows that most of the attacks by gay Democrats on his views are simply incorrect.

In fact, the attacks on Trump’s record on gay rights are dishonest.  Trump has been a social liberal most of his life, although he has trimmed some of those views to satisfy culturally conservative Republican voters.  He has been a passionate supporter of anti-discrimination laws against gays since 2000 and became the first GOP nominee to acknowledge the LGBT community in his acceptance speech.  He has come out strongly against violence directed at gays.  Again, what does this woman have to fear from a Trump presidency?

I’m going to take the bus in for the day. So far, I’m going alone, but I’m trying to convince my mother and some friends to come with me. Either way, I feel like I have to march because I’m frightened. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I don’t wear the hijab, but I think a lot about why my reaction would be if I saw someone else being harassed. I’m a protector and I worry about how defensive I would get.

I’m very excited not only for this first march, but to be part of a movement. I’m not just a woman. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I represent a lot of different groups and to me, this is about sending a message about civil rights on a broader scale.

There has been some highly publicized incidents of morons making idiots of themselves by harassing or even attacking Muslims – just as there have been morons making idiots of themselves attacking Trump supporters.  We don’t see mass hysteria among Trump supporters because the media really don’t care if they’re attacked or harassed.  But Trump’s election has clearly generated strong feelings against one’s political opponents, and the press have been willing partners in promoting the hate.

Sidney: I feel like it’s my obligation to support my wife and to be a man who stands up for women in these times. We’re taking alarming steps back in the fight for women’s rights and equality. I don’t want our side to falter. We need to stand up against belligerent cynicism and misguided machismo.

What legal “steps back” for women have there been under Trump?  None, of course, because he hasn’t even taken office yet.  But there has been a constant babble for the last several years that has implied that all men are rapists, or could be rapists, and any expression of masculinity threatens women.  This is an example of what could happen under a Trump presidency – that is, if Trump is as evil and misogynistic as the left says he is.

I am a 38-year-old mother of four and I will be flying to D.C. for the march with my sister, mother and niece. This election has brought out a fierceness in me that I didn’t know I had, mostly because of my children and my health. My kids are biracial (Korean and white) and are being raised in a small, mostly Republican farm community. My daughter has come home from school telling me that the kids there were afraid for her that Trump would “send her back to where she came from.” That really jarred me.

I’m also a breast cancer survivor. A lot of the women in my family are breast cancer survivors. We’ve always made it a point to get together and do breast cancer walks, but we have never done anything political. This feels big. I fear the day when [Republicans] do away with the Affordable Care Act, and my preexisting condition makes me ineligible for insurance.

Another example of someone getting hysterical over absolutely nothing.  It is very likely that the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions will remain in any replacement legislation.  Few Republicans have come out in favor of repealing that requirement.  But the left has ginned up fear and terror among sick people that they will all lose their insurance when Obamacare is repealed.

Mass hysteria is a kind of delusion that fits well with people who consider themselves “victims.”  This virulent form of Trump hate is easy to promote, given that so many Americans are comfortable with the “victim” label and can’t imagine life without it.  But the reality is, even if you’re a Trump-hater like me, a reasonable person would give the new president a chance to prove his detractors right or wrong.

Unfortunately, reason left the building in November.

Donald Trump has yet to be inaugurated, he has yet to make any specific proposals for legislation, has yet to issue any executive orders, and has yet to even comment on many of the cultural issues that divide America.

That lack of specificity has played directly into the hands of his opponents on the left.  Into the void, the left has substituted mass hysteria about what Trump might do rather than reasoned argument against the positions he took during the campaign.

As a political tactic, generating mass hysteria against an opponent has been wildly successful in history.  The two largest purveyors of mass hysteria – Nazi Germany and Communist Russia – used the ploy to convince large majorities of their populations of a clear and present danger in society, be it the Jews or “counterrevolutionaries.”  In this, they were ably aided by a captive media, where the state controlled all information disseminated to the public.

The left in America doesn’t have that luxury – at least, not officially.  But there is little doubt that their attempts to massively exaggerate the danger of a Trump presidency to certain minority groups has found a mainstream media compliant, even eager in their efforts to conciously aid in spreading propaganda, hyperbole, even lies in the cause of opposing Trump.

How is the left’s campaign to convince large numbers of people that their freedoms, even their lives are in danger going?

Not bad at all.

Huffington Post asked 14 women who never participated in a demonstration before why they were going to take part in the Women’s March on Washington later this week.  Here are some of the answers:

I’m attending the march with my partner because I’m gay, scared and I want to be a part of history. The day after the election, three young white men came up to her and started yelling “Trump!” I went to a few of the protests in New York City and posted about it on Facebook, and I got horrible backlash, mostly from men I don’t know. I’ve also had extended family comment on some of my political posts. One went on a rant cursing all over my page. But I’m not going to make myself small to make others feel comfortable.

I actually have been to a march before, but not really by choice. When I was 15, I attended a Christian high school that was very pro-life and I did the March for Life. I was really afraid of hell and I had some sense that I was queer, so I was absolutely terrified. I went to the march because I felt like God would love me if I did. I remember holding up a big sign with all these photoshopped images of dead fetuses. It was traumatic.

What is this young, gay woman so scared of?  During the campaign, a gay Republican wrote on op-ed in the gay publication The Blade and put it simply:

The fact is that any honest look at Trump’s record and views on gay rights shows that most of the attacks by gay Democrats on his views are simply incorrect.

In fact, the attacks on Trump’s record on gay rights are dishonest.  Trump has been a social liberal most of his life, although he has trimmed some of those views to satisfy culturally conservative Republican voters.  He has been a passionate supporter of anti-discrimination laws against gays since 2000 and became the first GOP nominee to acknowledge the LGBT community in his acceptance speech.  He has come out strongly against violence directed at gays.  Again, what does this woman have to fear from a Trump presidency?

I’m going to take the bus in for the day. So far, I’m going alone, but I’m trying to convince my mother and some friends to come with me. Either way, I feel like I have to march because I’m frightened. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I don’t wear the hijab, but I think a lot about why my reaction would be if I saw someone else being harassed. I’m a protector and I worry about how defensive I would get.

I’m very excited not only for this first march, but to be part of a movement. I’m not just a woman. I’m black. I’m Muslim. I represent a lot of different groups and to me, this is about sending a message about civil rights on a broader scale.

There has been some highly publicized incidents of morons making idiots of themselves by harassing or even attacking Muslims – just as there have been morons making idiots of themselves attacking Trump supporters.  We don’t see mass hysteria among Trump supporters because the media really don’t care if they’re attacked or harassed.  But Trump’s election has clearly generated strong feelings against one’s political opponents, and the press have been willing partners in promoting the hate.

Sidney: I feel like it’s my obligation to support my wife and to be a man who stands up for women in these times. We’re taking alarming steps back in the fight for women’s rights and equality. I don’t want our side to falter. We need to stand up against belligerent cynicism and misguided machismo.

What legal “steps back” for women have there been under Trump?  None, of course, because he hasn’t even taken office yet.  But there has been a constant babble for the last several years that has implied that all men are rapists, or could be rapists, and any expression of masculinity threatens women.  This is an example of what could happen under a Trump presidency – that is, if Trump is as evil and misogynistic as the left says he is.

I am a 38-year-old mother of four and I will be flying to D.C. for the march with my sister, mother and niece. This election has brought out a fierceness in me that I didn’t know I had, mostly because of my children and my health. My kids are biracial (Korean and white) and are being raised in a small, mostly Republican farm community. My daughter has come home from school telling me that the kids there were afraid for her that Trump would “send her back to where she came from.” That really jarred me.

I’m also a breast cancer survivor. A lot of the women in my family are breast cancer survivors. We’ve always made it a point to get together and do breast cancer walks, but we have never done anything political. This feels big. I fear the day when [Republicans] do away with the Affordable Care Act, and my preexisting condition makes me ineligible for insurance.

Another example of someone getting hysterical over absolutely nothing.  It is very likely that the Obamacare requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions will remain in any replacement legislation.  Few Republicans have come out in favor of repealing that requirement.  But the left has ginned up fear and terror among sick people that they will all lose their insurance when Obamacare is repealed.

Mass hysteria is a kind of delusion that fits well with people who consider themselves “victims.”  This virulent form of Trump hate is easy to promote, given that so many Americans are comfortable with the “victim” label and can’t imagine life without it.  But the reality is, even if you’re a Trump-hater like me, a reasonable person would give the new president a chance to prove his detractors right or wrong.

Unfortunately, reason left the building in November.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/01/how_the_tactic_of_mass_hysteria_against_trump_is_playing_out_with_the_general_public.html#ixzz5Le2TkIzK

 

Interfering In Democratic Elections: Russia Against The U.S., But U.S. Against The World

Doug Bandow

 2,806 views #ForeignAffairs

The Cold War finally and dramatically ended almost 30 years ago when the Berlin Wall fell, soon followed by the disintegration of the Soviet Union. But despite the election of Donald Trump, the U.S. and Russia have descended into what increasingly looks like a Little Cold War with Moscow’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomats.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.President Vladimir Putin on July 30, 2017 said the United States would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Indeed, paranoia seems more intense in Washington than Moscow. Democrats and Republicans alike have convinced themselves that Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation, a shadow of the old U.S.S.R., threaten the combined colossus of America and Europe.

Both parties also are angry over Moscow’s apparent interference with the 2016 election. By an almost unanimous vote frenzied legislators voted to tighten sanctions and end the president’s discretion to relax the penalties. Yet Russia’s most rabid critics, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, also are among the most enthusiastic supporters of American intervention overseas, including meddling in other nations’ elections.

Russia behaved badly, but hacking emails which put a candidate in a poor light is much different than manipulating election results. The latter would be extremely serious, threatening a genuinely vital American interest, in free and fair elections. For that reason the controversy should act as Thomas Jefferson’s famous “fire bell in the night” and force states in particular to improve election security. Imagine the constitutional crisis if Moscow had changed the election outcome.

Of course, hacking the campaign still was illegal and improper. Nevertheless, it didn’t undermine the election process. After all, revealing hidden truths about one of the candidates actually increased voter knowledge. The method was wrong, but the result was positive. In fact, Ukraine engaged in a more limited and less intrusive effort on behalf of Hillary Clinton, mostly researching and disseminating embarrassing information about the Trump campaign.

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In any case, Russia’s presumed Clinton hack seems minor compared to attempts by foreign governments to influence U.S. policy. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recently invested heavily to win Washington’s support against Qatar, creating the spectacle of countries which have financed terrorism accusing a neighbor of financing terrorism.

Israel’s political influence is legendary. There may be no more powerful lobby, domestic or foreign, with a greater stranglehold over policy. Simply attempting to debate the issue is politically dangerous for Israel’s critics. Turkey and Greece routinely battle each other. Other countries hire lobbyists, some permanently. That’s no surprise: the U.S. imposes itself on other nations, which understandably seek to turn that power to their advantage or forestall its use against them.

Most striking about the ongoing controversy is how U.S. policymakers appear oblivious to the fact that America has routinely interfered in other nations’ elections. Washington is understandably outraged that someone else would interfere with Americans’ sacred right to choose their own government. However, the same officials believe that they have a sacred right to interfere with the right of others to choose their own governments. Sadly, Russia’s efforts really were not “unprecedented,” as claimed by Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy Vladimir Korolev (L) watch a terrestrial globe while visiting Russia’s Navy Headquarters during Navy Day in Saint Petersburg on July 30, 2017. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Some of America’s foreign interventions have been dramatic and violent. Washington backed the 1973 ouster of Chilean President Salvador Allende. Thankfully years of brutal repression passed into history as the country returned to democracy. But the U.S. continues to pay the price of its support for the coup which overthrew Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossedegh in 1953. The victorious Shah ruled for a quarter century, but then was overthrown by an Islamic revolution, the consequences of which continue to roil the Middle East and U.S. policy.

More common has been more mundane electoral interference—closer to the Russian model. Indeed, Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University identified 81 instances between 1946 and 2000 in which Washington attempted to influence other nations’ elections. (In contrast, the Soviet Union did so less than half as often, 36 times.) Levin does not include in this number coups and other post-election “remedies,” such as in Chile and Iran.

During the Cold War America’s focus was containing communism. Explained Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment: “The U.S. didn’t want to see left-wing governments elected and so it did engage fairly often in trying to influence elections in other countries.”  However, attitudes in Washington haven’t changed much. In 2014 the U.S. backed a street putsch against the elected Ukrainian president and then American officials shamelessly plotted to get their favored candidate appointed prime minister.

The U.S. uses numerous tools to advance its interests. Explained Nina Agrawal of the Los Angeles Times: “These acts, carried out in secret two-thirds of the time, include funding the election campaigns of specific parties, disseminating misinformation or propaganda, training locals of only one side in various campaigning or get-out-the-vote techniques, helping one side design their campaign materials, making public pronouncements or threats in favor of or against a candidate, and providing or withdrawing foreign aid.”

It’s not clear how much impact Washington’s efforts had: Levin figured the vote increase for U.S.-backed candidates averaged three percent. The consequences often didn’t seem to satisfy Washington; in almost half of the cases America intervened at least a second time in the same country’s electoral affairs.

Ironically, given the outrage directed at Moscow today, in 1996 Washington did what it could to ensure the reelection of Boris Yeltsin over the communist opposition. The U.S. backed a $10.2 billion IMF loan, an ill-disguised bribe were used by the Yeltsin government for social spending before the election. Americans also went over to Russia to help. Time magazine placed Boris Yeltsin on the cover holding an American flag; the article was entitled “Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win.”

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris, France, Friday, June 2, 2006.  (Photographer: Caroline Blumberg/Bloomberg News.)

However, America’s election interventions started decades before. Levin pointed to the 1948 Italian poll, into which the U.S. “threw everything, including the kitchen sink.” The U.S. provided money for pork barrel projects, experts to run the campaign, and cash for campaign expenses, as well as threatened to cut aid if the Communists triumphed. CIA case officer F. Mark Wyatt remembered: “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets.” Washington didn’t stop then: it intervened in seven subsequent Italian elections. Japan came in second with five separate interventions. Israel, Laos, and Sri Lanka shared third place at four times.

Not all meddling was tied to the Cold War. After the overthrow of Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the U.S. supported opponents, including military officers, against popular (and elected) demagogue Jean-Bertrande Aristide. Ironically, President Bill Clinton later threatened to invade if the military did not yield control back to Aristide.

In 1990 the U.S. mimicked Russia’s apparent efforts last year by leaking information on alleged corruption by Sandinista leader (and again now president) Daniel Ortega to German newspapers. The winning opposition candidate used the information to her advantage. Also in 1990 Washington provided aid, money and training to Vaclav Havel’s party in that nation’s first free election since the takeover by Nazi Germany decades before.

Two years ago Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to influence the debate over the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran. But the U.S. preceded his meddling by a couple of decades. In 1996 the Clinton Administration supported Shimon Peres against Netanyahu, hosting a peace conference and White House summit in advance of Israel’s vote. Three years later Clinton administration political strategists decamped to Israel to assist Ehud Barak against Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (Photo: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg)

In 2000 Washington backed opposition presidential candidate Vojislav Kostunica against Slobodan Milosevic, America’s beta noire in the Balkans. The U.S. provided money and communications equipment to the opposition, which Levin figured was critical for Kostunica’s victory. The U.S. subsequently turned against Kostunica for being too independent, and used “pro-democracy” financial aid to help his opponents.

There’s no authoritative list of countries in which Washington intervened in elections, since the form of involvement varied widely. However, according to Levin and Michael Brenner of the University of Pittsburgh, countries suffering from America’s malign attention included: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic,  Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malta, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, and Yugoslavia.

When Washington admits to its role, it claims to be nonpartisan. For instance, in Russia the U.S. would did nothing wrong, wrote Tom Malinowski, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, since Washington would merely “help fund some of the country’s leading nongovernmental organizations.” However, groups backed by the West typically lean toward the West and rarely look disinterested to the governments they criticize.

In fact, U.S.-backed organizations participated in the “color revolutions” and Arab Spring. Joseph Thomas of the Thai journal The New Atlas said of their activities: such groups “as well as myriad fronts around the world … fund, support and direct, are openly dedicated to manipulating foreign elections, creating U.S.-friendly opposition movements and even overthrowing governments that impede U.S. interests worldwide.”

Washington’s objective is clear, and it is not democracy in the abstract. American groups such as the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute choose who and how to help. Complained my colleague Ted Galen Carpenter: “The reality is that they fund and help train political factions that are deemed friendly to the United States, and specifically to Washington’s foreign policy.” In one Balkan nation a friend informedme that the ambassador forbade officials from even meeting with democratically elected parliamentarians deemed too nationalist and insufficiently pro-EU. America was never very interested in supporting “color revolutions” against its allies, irrespective of how tyrannical.

At least Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) acknowledged the appearance problem caused by promiscuous American election interference: “we live in a big glass house and there are a lot of rocks to throw.”

President George W. Bush makes remarks at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, emphasizing his push for democratic changes in the Middle East 06 November, 2003, in Washington, DC. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Of course, there is an obvious logic to U.S. behavior. American officials want to secure the U.S. from foreign interference while helping advance Washington’s international interests by supporting friendly politicians, movements, and parties in as many foreign states as possible. However, such dramatic inconsistency has become even more embarrassing with all the sanctimonious rhetoric regarding Russia’s conduct emanating from Washington.

The Trump administration should make the security of America’s elections a priority. Russia should know that any future attempt to interfere in U.S. elections would result in serious retaliation. However, Washington should begin with a pledge to stay out of other nations’ elections. Let people in a democracy make their own choices and select their own leaders. After all, if that policy is appropriate for America, it should be right for the world’s other democracies as well.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2017/08/01/interfering-in-democratic-elections-russia-against-the-u-s-but-u-s-against-the-world/#28358d7e6644

 

Database Tracks History Of U.S. Meddling In Foreign Elections

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Carnegie Mellon University researcher Dov Levin about his historical database that tracks U.S. involvement in meddling with foreign elections over the years.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is hardly the first time a country has tried to influence the outcome of another country’s election. The U.S. has done it, too, by one expert’s count, more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000. That expert is Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. I asked him to tell me about one election where U.S. intervention likely made a difference in the outcome.

DOV LEVIN: One example of that was our intervention in Serbia, Yugoslavia in the 2000 election there. Slobodan Milosevic was running for re-election, and we didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency, you know, to disrupts the Balkans and his human rights violations.

So we intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate, Vojislav Kostunica. And we gave funding to the opposition, and we gave them training and campaigning aide. And according to my estimate, that assistance was crucial in enabling the opposition to win.

SHAPIRO: How often are these interventions public versus covert?

LEVIN: Well, it’s – basically there’s about – one-third of them are public, and two-third of them are covert. In other words, they’re not known to the voters in the target before the election.

SHAPIRO: Your count does not include coups, attempts at regime change. It sounds like depending on the definitions, the tally could actually be much higher.

LEVIN: Well, you’re right. I don’t count and discount covert coup d’etats like the United States did in Iran in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954. I only took when the United States is trying directly to influence an election for one of the sides. Other types of interventions – I don’t discuss. But if we would include those, then of course the number could be larger, yeah.

SHAPIRO: How often do other countries like Russia, for example, try to alter the outcome of elections as compared to the United States?

LEVIN: Well, for my dataset, the United States is the most common user of this technique. Russia or the Soviet Union since 1945 has used it half as much. My estimate has been 36 cases between 1946 to 2000. We know also that the Chinese have used this technique and the Venezuelans when the late Hugo Chavez was still in power in Venezuela and other countries.

SHAPIRO: The U.S. is arguably more vocal than any other country about trying to promote democracy and democratic values around the world. Does this strike you as conflicting with that message?

LEVIN: It depends upon if we are assisting pro-democratic side – could be like in the case of Slobodan Milosevic that I talked about earlier. I believe that that could be helpful for democracy. If it helps less-nicer candidates or parties, then naturally it can be less helpful.

SHAPIRO: Obviously your examination of 20th century attempts to influence elections does not involve hacking because computers were not widespread until recently.

LEVIN: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: In your view, is technology – the way that we saw in the November election – dramatically changing the game? Or is this just the latest evolution of an effort that has always used whatever tools are available?

LEVIN: I would say it’s more the latter. I mean the Russians or the Soviets before unfrequently did these type of intervention, just, you know, without the cyber-hacking tools – you know, the old style people meeting in the park in secret giving out and getting information and things like that, so to speak.

SHAPIRO: Dov Levin is with the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks for joining us.

LEVIN: Thank you very much.

https://www.npr.org/2016/12/22/506625913/database-tracks-history-of-u-s-meddling-in-foreign-elections

 

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President Obama delivers the Nelson Mandela Lecture in South Africa

REPLAY – Former US president Barack Obama honours Nelson Mandela on the centerary of his birth

Obama sounds off on “lying politicians” in speech

‘Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly’: Key moments from Obama’s Mandela lecture

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Obama made a rare public appearance to deliver a biting critique of Trump’s worldview — without saying his name

Obama

President Barack Obama delivered a speech in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday in South Africa on Tuesday.

 Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

  • Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered a sharp rebuke of his successor’s worldview.
  • Obama delivered the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa, slamming “strongman politics” and the rejection of intellectualism he feels is permeating today’s political culture.
  • Obama did not once say President Donald Trump’s name during the address, but his words represented a biting critique of the current president’s political philosophy.
  • Obama concluded his speech by encouraging young people to stay politically active and have faith in democracy despite how “slow” and “frustrating” it can be at times.

Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered a sharp rebuke of his successor’s worldview as he delivered the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in South Africa, slamming “strongman politics” and the rejection of intellectualism he feels is permeating today’s political culture.

Obama did not once say President Donald Trump’s name during the address, held one day before what would’ve been Mandela’s 100th birthday. But his target was clear as he offered a biting critique of the current president’s political philosophy.

The former president used the speech as an opportunity to outline what he views as troubling trends in the political arena.

—CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2018 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed” style=”box-sizing: border-box; margin: 20px 0px;”>

CBS News

@CBSNews

Obama: “Strong man politics are ascendant suddenly. Whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained the form of it. But those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.” https://cbsn.ws/2JvKIhe 

“Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly,” Obama said. “Whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it. But those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

‘The free press is under attack’

As Trump on Tuesday again used Twitter to denounce “Fake News,” a phrase he typically employs in response to negative coverage of his actions or rhetoric, Obama said that “the free press is under attack.”

Obama also urged people to reject xenophobia and “rabid nationalism,” warning that history shows countries that embrace “doctrines of tribal, racial, or religious superiority” eventually “find themselves consumed by civil war or external war.”

—CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2018 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed” style=”box-sizing: border-box; margin: 20px 0px;”>

CBS News

@CBSNews

“The fact that countries which rely on rabid nationalism and xenophobia and doctrines of religious or racial superiority… Eventually those countries find themselves consumed by civil or external war,” Obama says during keynote speech https://cbsn.ws/2JvKIhe 

“You can be proud of your heritage without denigrating those of a different heritage,” Obama added.

Obama’s speech came after Trump’s high-profile visit to Europe, which Trump claimed was losing its “culture” because of immigration policies.

“These people who are so intent on putting people down and puffing themselves up, they’re small-hearted,” Obama said. “There’s something they’re just afraid of.”

‘You have to believe in facts’

In addition to warning against the dangers of excessive nationalism, the former president expressed concern over the apparent rejection of objective truth among leaders.

“You have to believe in facts. Without facts, there’s no basis for cooperation,” Obama said, adding: “Unfortunately, too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up.”

An analysis from The Washington Post in May found that Trump had made at least 3,001 false or misleading claims so far as president.

Obama concluded his speech by encouraging young people to stay politically active and to have faith in democracy despite how “slow” and “frustrating” it can be at times.

“Keep believing. Keep marching. Keep building. Keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world,” Obama said. “Mandela said, ‘Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.’ Now is a good time to be aroused.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-speech-in-south-africa-trump-transcript-2018-7?r=UK&IR=T

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018, Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos — Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime — Videos

Posted on May 14, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, James Comey, Japan, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Nixon, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Networking, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

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Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos —

]

Did an FBI spy infiltrate the Trump 2016 campaign?

Dan Bongino – There Were Two Moles in the Trump Tent, 2217

Rep. Peter King on possibility of Trump campaign mole

After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole FBI Director Comey Used To Destroy Trump

World In Shock After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole

FBI may have placed a mole inside the Trump campaign: report

Strassel: Did FBI outright spy on the 2016 Trump campaign?

Did an FBI spy infiltrate the Trump 2016 campaign?

Strassel: FBI used human intel to spy on Trump campaign

See the source image

Mark Felk, Aka “Deep Throat” Dead at 95

New: CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Rosenstein under fire from Trump, Congress

Judicial Watch: FBI advised Comey to consult with Mueller

Mark Levin: Mueller’s purpose is to remove the president

Vice President Pence calls on Mueller to “wrap it up”

Ryan backs Nunes in feud with DOJ

Hannity: Mueller probe suffers two major blows

Time for Mueller to show his cards: Fmr. Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy

AN OBAMA FBI INFORMANT PLANTED INSIDE THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN

BREAKING FBI Planted Mole In Trump Administration… Spread This Like WILDFIRE

Fact-checking Obama’s denial of Trump wiretap claims

What happens if Obama was involved in illegal surveillance?

Rep. Nunes threatens AG sessions with contempt of Congress

Scalise turns up the heat on Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Deep state is weaponizing staff security clearances against Trump: Sean Bigley

Trump threatens to use presidential powers on DOJ

EVERY TREY GOWDY QUESTION: GRILLS John Brennan on Trump Russia Collusion Leaks Unmasking

Trump Claims Obama wiretapped Trump Tower | ABC News

Washington reacts to Trump’s claims of secret surveillance

What Are FBI Informants? Domestic Terrorism, Entrapment, Program, Payments (2011)

Ex Weatherman Larry Grathwohl – Obama’s mentor Bill Ayers wanted to kill millions like Mao

Larry Grathwohl Final Thoughts on Bill Ayers

Larry Grathwohl (Part 1 of 3) Soros Files

Larry Grathwohl (Part 2 of 3) The Soros Files

Larry Grathwohl (Part 3 of 3) The Soros Files

Freeway Ricky: Top Informants Make $5 Million a Year, Downfall of BMF

Joaquín “Jack” García Undercover FBI Agent Lecture at The Mob Museum

Jack Garcia on Being a Undercover FBI Agent in the Mob

The Secret Life of CIA and FBI Informants

Ex F.B.I Informant talks infiltration of BLACK CULTURE

LIKE IT IS: BLACK SPY TELLS ALL

One of the FBI’s Biggest Secrets: The Informant – A Bizarre Financial Scandal (2000)

FBI Informant Exposes Sting Operation Targeting Innocent Americans in New “(T)ERROR” Documentary

(T)ERROR Official Trailer 1 (2015) – Counterterrorism Documentary HD

(T)ERROR Documentary with Directors Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe

(T)ERROR Documentary.Film 2015

Former FBI Asst. Director Bill Gavin on FBI spying on Trump campaign advisor

Fmr. FBI asst. director on wiretap claims: I warned Trump

Byron York reacts to Clapper denying wiretap of Trump

What we know about Stefan Halper and Joseph Mifsud | Jack Posobiec Periscope

Professor Joseph Mifsud Who Told Trump Campaign About Hillary Clinton “Dirt” From Russia Has Vanished

G7 International forum – Joseph Mifsud

Joseph Mifsud about World Energy Market Trends

All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence

The Bill Walton Show: Episode 27 – “It’s Time to Get Serious About China” with Stefan Halper and…

Stefan Halper, “Legitimating Authoritarianism in Our Time”

Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me: Why don’t we shag?

Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery: Miss Kensington

Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery: Alotta Fagina

 

May 12, 2018

World In Shock After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole FBI Director Comey Used To Destroy Trump

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A somberly written new Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) report circulating in the Kremlin today states the entire world is in shock today after confirmation was received that an active CIA-MI6 operative named Stefan Halper was inserted as deep-cover spy (mole) into the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump by former FBI Director James Comey—and whose single role was to destroy Trump before he could achieve an election victory over his rival Hillary Clinton—but in whose failing to accomplish this feat, has exposed the United States as being a “failed statewhose grim future includes it possibly collapsing into civil war.  [Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

 

CIA-MI6 deep cover spy Stefan Halper’s task was to link and dirty up (make to look illicit) the connections between the Trump campaign and operatives associated with Russia

 

According to this report, though the United States has a long history of bitter and contentious presidential elections, the world community could always rely on the American’s conducting free and fair elections without interference from their powerful, and very secret, intelligence agencies—and that thus marked the US as being a reliable partner in the conducting of vital global affairs.

With the rise to US presidential power of New York City multi-billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, however, this report notes, America’s powerful state intelligence apparatus, for the first time in its history, obliterated the US Constitution and all US laws in order to destroy presidential candidate Trump—and whose “device” to do so was described by the FBI’s Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division Peter Strzok as “The Insurance Policy”—but known today as the “Trump-Russia Dossier”.

 

Once secret texts of FBI Deputy Counter Terror Chief Peter Strzok reveal existence of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump

 

The creation of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump, this report explains, was as comically stupid as it was insidious—and involved British MI6 operative Christopher Steele being illegally paid millions-of-dollars by Hillary Clinton and her Democratic National Committeeto create what is known as the “Trump-Russia Dossier—with Steele being aided in this effort by one of the Russian turncoat spies he had once recruited named Sergei Skripal—but with Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, being “taken out” after MI6 discovered that he had written to President Putin asking to be allowed to come back home to Russia.

 

 

Upon the completion of “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” by MI6 operative Christopher Steele, this report continues, it was given to CIA Director John Brennan—who then recruited the notorious CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper to lure Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos to London—with Halper paying $3,000 to Papadopoulos for a research paper, and that, also, covered the cost of his room, board, and flight to London.

Next to be ensnared by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report notes, was another Trump campaign volunteer named Carter Page—whom, like Papadopoulos before him, was lured to London by Halper.

 

 

Once he had the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy”, and whatever lies were concocted by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report explains, CIA Director Brennan couldn’t use them as the CIA is forbidden to interfere in US domestic affairs—but with the workaround being having US Senator John McCain take “The Insurance Policy” from the CIA and give it to FBI Director James Comey—that the FBI had to admit they couldn’t verify any of its spurious claims—but didn’t stop them from shockingly using this information to become the first US intelligence agency to obtain a warrant to spy on the presidential campaign in all of history.

 

 

With the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” having failed to keep Trump from winning the US presidency, this report continues, any rationally thinking state intelligence agency would have buried everything about this sordid plot so far down it would never see the light of day, particularly because of how rapidly it could be exposed—but that, of course, didn’t happen because of the insane hatred everyone in power in the US had because of their now having to deal with President Donald Trump.

So, and in one of the most ill conceived and transparent coup plots ever devised, this report details, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (who oversaw both the FBI and CIAordered FBI Director Comey to “brief” the newly elected President Trump about the existence of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy—with Clapper, immediately afterwards, leaking” this information to the “fake news” cable television media giant CNN, thus giving them the “hook” to call it “real news—and for which Clapper was handsomely rewarded when CNN hired him for millions-of-dollars.

 

 

However, what DNI ClapperFBI Director Comey and CIA Director Brennan failed to realize when they unleashed the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” against President Trump in retribution for his daring to defeat Hillary Clinton, this report says, was that the most vulnerable flaw in any intelligence operation are the operatives involved in it—most particularly in this case being CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper.

In anyone ever attempting to create in writing a description of what a “Deep State” operative would be like, this report explains, they’d be best not to even try and, instead, just describe the life of Stefan Halper—who, upon his graduation from an Ivy League universitytraveled to London to get a Ph.D. at Cambridge, then returned to the United States where he was quickly hired by the President Nixon administrationmarried the daughter of one of the CIA’s most feared high-ranking directorsover the past nearly 50 years has worked in every single branch and department of the US governmentran a CIA covert operation to discredit former President Jimmy Carterbecame an operative for the British intelligence agency MI6—and in his spare time, created a private bank used by the President Ronald Reagan administration to funnel money to both Iran and Central American terrorists (called Contras) trying to illegally overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

 

On 27 January 2017, seven days after President Trump took his oath of office, this report continues, FBI Director Comey had his agents interview George Papadopoulos—which immediately exposed CIA-I6 operative Stefan Halper as being a spy (mole) secretly placed into Trump’scampaign, that even a novice intelligence agent could follow the trail of—and though the “Deep State” is working feverishly to keep this fact hidden from the American public, the truest reporting coming from the US states that “the Obama State department, CIA, and FBI conspired to set “Russian espionage traps” for minor players in the Trump campaign, and the FBI had a mole within the Trump campaign, that giant sucking sound you might hear is nothing short of the US Intelligence community starting to implode”.

With the so-called Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” being nothing more than a cover-up of Obama’s Department of Justice and FBI efforts to destroy the Trump Presidency, this report concludes, the real investigation currently ongoing is the one headed by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz—whose exposure of the entire plot to overthrow Trump is about to explode upon the American political landscape—with former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano even warning his “fake news” colleagues at CNN what’s about to strike by his stating:

Sources with knowledge of the impending DOJ Inspector General Report confirm that it will be a fairly damning indictment of FBI’s seventh floor during the Comey era.

It’s worse than expected,” seems to be the consistent theme.

 

I’ve always won, and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.

45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2560.htm

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md. PHOTO:JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it agreed to brief House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

 

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

Correction
The FBI briefed House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source but did not allow them to see documents. An earlier version of this article misstated this.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/about-that-fbi-source-1525992611

Secret intelligence source who aided Mueller probe is at center of latest clash between Nunes and Justice Dept.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person’s role.The showdown marked a rare moment of alignment between the Justice Department and Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top Justice officials for the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.But it is unclear whether Trump was alerted to a key fact — that information developed by the intelligence source had been provided to the Mueller investigation.

The debate over the risk to the source is now at the center of a pitched battle between House Republicans and the Justice Department.

After the White House sided with the department’s decision to refuse the request, Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly vented his frustration, saying Sunday that he may try to hold Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply. He said that his classified-document request and subsequent subpoena to the Justice Department did not refer to an individual.

“They are citing spurious national security concerns to evade congressional oversight while leaking information to The Washington Post ostensibly about classified meetings,” he said in a statement to The Post. “Congress has a right and a duty to get this information and we will succeed in getting this information, regardless of whatever fantastic stories the DOJ and FBI spin to the Post.”

Several administration officials said they fear Trump may reverse course and support Nunes’s argument.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

For the intelligence agencies, Nunes’s request threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering, according to people familiar with their views. Intelligence officials fear that providing even a redacted version of the information Nunes seeks could expose that person and damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners.

The role of the intelligence source in the Mueller investigation may now be seized upon by conservative Republicans who have publicly accused the Justice Department and intelligence agencies of overreach and misuse of their surveillance powers.

Some have alleged that officials within the government have worked against Trump, and they have criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, for refusing to let members of Congress see a “scope memo” outlining the people and issues under investigation by Mueller.

Last month, House allies of Trump drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein as a “last resort” if he does not provide Congress with more information.

It’s not clear what documents Nunes requested in his classified April 24 letter to the Justice Department. He told reporters this week that he is investigating the FBI’s abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “and other matters.”

Because Sessions is recused from the Russia investigation and investigations involving the 2016 campaign, he is not involved in the discussions surrounding Nunes’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter.

During a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, senior FBI and intelligence officials told Chief of Staff John F. Kelly that turning over the information could contradict years of policy about protecting intelligence sources, according to three people familiar with the matter. The people who described the meeting include those who support the release of the information and those opposed to it.

Kelly then consulted with Trump, who agreed it was important to protect intelligence sources, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd laid out those concerns to Nunes in a letter the following day, noting that the department made the decision after “consultations” with the White House and intelligence agencies.

“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities,” Boyd wrote.

Nunes told reporters Monday that the Justice Department’s stance was “awfully suspicious,” suggesting that the White House did not share the department’s concerns.

“The word that comes to me is obfuscation,” he said.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) said he had not discussed the matter with Nunes but added that he expected congressional subpoenas to be enforced.

“We expect the administration to comply with our document requests,” Ryan said.

The Justice Department has been sparring with lawmakers and congressional committees for months over document requests related to the FBI investigations. In most instances, officials have turned over materials.

At one point, Nunes had threatened to impeach top Justice Department officials when they did not immediately hand over an unredacted document detailing the origin of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The department later gave Nunes access to a version with modest redactions, and Nunes thanked Rosenstein for his cooperation.

Rosenstein has sought to make clear in recent weeks that while he is willing to compromise, he will go only so far. Last week, in response to the revelation that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment, Rosenstein declared that the Justice Department was “not going to be extorted” and would not hand over documents that might harm national security or ongoing investigations.

“If we were to just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files, that would be a serious infringement on the separation of powers, and it might resolve a dispute today, but it would have negative repercussions in the long run, and we have a responsibility to defend the institution,” Rosenstein said.

Josh Dawsey, Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/risk-to-intelligence-source-who-aided-russia-investigation-at-center-of-latest-showdown-between-nunes-and-justice-dept/2018/05/08/d6fb66f8-5223-11e8-abd8-265bd07a9859_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7d4943870599

 

WSJ: The FBI Hid A Mole In The Trump Campaign

On Wednesday we reported on an intense battle playing out between House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Department of Justice, and the Mueller investigation concerning a cache of intelligence that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refuses to hand over – a request he equated to “extortion.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Nunes was denied access to the information on the grounds that it “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.

After the White House caved to Rosenstein and Nunes was barred from seeing the documents, it also emerged that this same intelligence had already been shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, news emerged that Nunes and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would receive a classified Thursday briefing at the DOJ on the documents. This is, to put it lightly, incredibly significant.

Why? Because it appears that the FBI may have had a mole embedded in the Trump campaign.

In a bombshell op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel shares a few key insights about recent developments. Perhaps we should start with the ending and let you take it from there. Needless to say Strassel’s claims, if true, would have wide ranging implications for the CIA, FBI, DOJ and former Obama administration officials.

Strassel concludes: 

“I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it.”

Authored by Kimberley Strassel, op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?
And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. But what is clear is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the FBI’s 2016 behavior, and the country will never get the straight story until President Trump moves to declassify everything possible. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-10/wsj-fbi-hid-mole-trump-campaign

 

AN FBI INFORMANT IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?

Rush Limbaugh summarizes Kim Strassel’s Wall Street Journal column of this past Friday, today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (obviously written by Kim), and a related Washington Post story in which the deep state strikes back against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. It’s a complicated story to unravel. In the transcript posted at his site, Rush links to each of the three sources and summarizes the salient details.

Close reading is required, and Rush zooms in to provide it. There seems to be a serious question whether the FBI had an informant in the Trump campaign.

At last word, Chairman Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy had met with Rod Rosenstein, FBI and intelligence authorities. They agreed to keep talking about obtaining the documents in issue (statement embedded in tweet below).

Jeremy Herb

@jeremyherb

Nunes and Gowdy issue statement saying they had a “productive” meeting at DOJ today, and will keep talking next week about latest doc request

What is going on here? Kim Strassel comments today in her tweet below. Support Devin Nunes!

Kimberley Strassel@KimStrassel

Alternate (and reality) read: DOJ/FBI don’t want HPSCI to see what shenanigans they were up to in 2016. And now gunning for Nunes, cuz he won’t give up. Side note: Ryan said in his presser this morning that he’s read HPSCI request and it is “wholly appropriate.” https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey/status/994322371443089408 

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/05/an-fbi-informant-in-the-trump-campaign.php

T H E ATTORNEY GENERAL’S GUIDELINES REGARDING
T H E USE OF FBI CONFIDENTIAL HUMAN SOURCES

EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions

Photo of Chuck Ross

CHUCK ROSS

Two months before the 2016 election, George Papadopoulos received a strange request for a meeting in London, one of several the young Trump adviser would be offered — and he would accept — during the presidential campaign.

The meeting request, which has not been reported until now, came from Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.

Halper’s September 2016 outreach to Papadopoulos wasn’t his only contact with Trump campaign members. The 73-year-old professor, a veteran of three Republican administrations, met with two other campaign advisers, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

Papadopoulos now questions Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’s thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.

Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed.

Halper’s encounters with Papadopoulos were not the only encounters that the professor had with the Trump campaign.

[Stefan Halper speaks at Wellesley College, Oct. 23, 2013. (YouTube screen capture)]

Halper met campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told TheDCNF. The pair remained in contact for several months.Halper also requested and attended a one-on-one meeting with another senior campaign official, TheDCNF learned. That meeting was held a day or two before Halper reached out to Papadopoulos. Halper offered to help the campaign but did not bring up Papadopoulos, even though he would reach out to the campaign aide a day or two later.

Halper’s intentions are unclear, while a source familiar with the investigations into Russian meddling told TheDCNF Halper’s name popped up on investigators’ radar. There is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, and it is not clear if he has been in touch with investigators.

Halper’s activities are all the more eye-catching because Papadopoulos and Page are central figures in the Russia investigation. Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had during the campaign with Russian nationals and a London-based professor with links to the Russian government.

That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 he learned the Russians had possession of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. That conversation would later spark the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. It is not known whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks.

Page is also a prominent figure in the investigation due to allegations made against him in the infamous Steele dossier. Page’s trip to Moscow in early July 2016 is a central piece of the dossier. Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded report, alleges Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders as part of the Trump campaign’s collusion effort.

Page attended the Cambridge event Halper set up, four days after that trip to Moscow.

***

London was a veritable stomping ground for Papadopoulos during the campaign.

In addition to meetings there with Halper and Mifsud, the Chicago native had an encounter that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.

In May 2016, a month after his meeting with Mifsud, an Israeli embassy official, who Papadopoulos knew, introduced him to Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer.

During a barroom conversation at Kensington Gardens, Papadopoulos told Downer about the emails Mifsud mentioned to him, The New York Times reported in December 2016.

After WikiLeaks published a trove of stolen DNC emails in July 2016, Australian government officials told the FBI about Downer’s interaction with Papadopoulos. The bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation July 31, 2016.

[Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

What remains unclear is why Downer sought the meeting with Papadopoulos. Was it to become acquainted with a member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory team, or was it an opportunity to gather intelligence?The latter scenario — of a spy operation — is what Papadopoulos wonders was at play when Halper contacted him before the election. There are no clear connections between Halper and Downer, though the pair did speak on the same panel at a 2010 Cambridge seminar.

Papadopoulos and Halper met several times during the London trip, including at the Connaught Hotel and the Travellers Club — a classic 19th century club foreign diplomats and politicians frequent. Halper’s research assistant — a Turkish woman named Azra Turk — also met with Papadopoulos. The Connaught Hotel meeting was scheduled for Sept. 13, 2016, and the Travellers Club conclave was two days later.

While discussing the policy paper Papadopoulos was to write, Halper made an out-of-left-field reference to Russians and hacked emails, according to a source with direct knowledge of Papadopoulos’s version of events.

Turk contacted Papadopoulos to thank him for attending after the meeting. Papadopoulos delivered the paper through email Oct. 2.

Neither Halper nor Turk responded to numerous requests for comment. A phone call placed to a number listed for Halper was answered by a man who claimed Halper was not available. A message left with the man was not returned. Halper also did not reply to a detailed list of questions about his interactions with Trump campaign advisers.

Halper’s resume provides mixed clues about why he might have reached out to Papadopoulos.

On one hand, he worked on several geopolitical policy projects as a contractor for the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. Federal records show he has been paid $928,800 since 2012 on four separate research projects.

At the time of the Papadopoulos meeting, Halper was working on a project related to China and Russia’s economic relations. There are no public records of Halper releasing reports on Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.

Fitting with Papadopoulos’s theory of Halper’s outreach is the professor’s longstanding connections to both British and American intelligence agency officials. He also worked at the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and in three presidential administrations.

Halper is a close associate of Sir Richard Dearlove — the former MI6 chief.

In December 2016, Halper, Dearlove and espionage historian Peter Morland made international news when they announced they were leaving an organization called the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar due to concerns Russian operatives had infiltrated the group.

Months earlier, in early fall 2016, Dearlove reportedly met with dossier author Steele. Steele sought out Dearlove’s advice on how to proceed with information he gathered on Trump’s ties to Russia, The Washington Post reported. Former MI6 Moscow station chief Steele had been told Trump campaign members were colluding with Kremlin operatives to release emails stolen from the DNC.

[Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

Steele’s dossier does not mention Papadopoulos, though the former spy was made aware of the Trump campaign aide while he was working on his anti-Trump document. FBI agents asked Steele during an October 2016 meeting in Rome if he was aware of Papadopoulos. Steele did not have information on Papadopoulos, the former spy said.But Papadopoulos does have at least one possible connection to the dossier. During the campaign, Sergei Millian approached him. Millian is a Belarus-born businessman who was allegedly an unwitting source for some of the most salacious claims in the dossier.

Halper also had connections to the CIA — most notably through his late father-in-law, Ray Cline.

Cline once served as director of the CIA’s bureau of intelligence and research. He was also the agency’s top analyst during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Halper got a job as foreign policy director on George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential primary bid on Cline’s recommendation.

Halper, who has a residence in Virginia, was also allegedly in charge of a team of former CIA analysts who kept tabs on the Jimmy Carter campaign.

In an ironic twist given the Russia probe’s focus on election meddling, Halper was also linked to a Reagan-era scandal dubbed “Briefing-gate.”

Halper was one of several Reagan White House officials linked to the scandal, which involved campaign briefing materials stolen from Carter’s campaign. Prior to the 1980 election, stolen Carter-campaign briefing papers containing classified information ended up in the hands of Reagan’s campaign officials.

The theft was not revealed until 1983. Halper was not directly implicated in stealing the documents, but he was identified as one of the campaign advisers who handled and disseminated them.

http://dailycaller.com/author/chuck-ross/

Stefan Halper (born 1944) is a foreign policy scholar. He served as a White House official in the NixonFord, and Reagan administrations and is currently the Director of American Studies at the Department of Politics, University of Cambridge.[1] He is also a Life Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

He is the co-author of the bestselling book, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order published by the Cambridge University Press (2004), and The Silence of the Rational Centre: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing (Basic Books, 2007). In April 2010, his book The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in our Time, was published by Basic Books. Also a “best seller,” it has been published in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea and France.

Background and education

Halper graduated from Stanford University in 1967 and gained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford (1971) and the University of Cambridge (2004).[2][1] Halper is the son-in-law of Ray S. Cline.[3]

Career

US government (1971 – 1984)

Halper began his US government career in 1971 in the United States Domestic Policy Council, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, serving until 1973.[2] He then served in the Office of Management and Budget until 1974, when he moved to the Office of the White House Chief of Staff as Assistant to the Chief of Staff where he had responsibility for a range of domestic and international issues. During this time, Halper worked as an assistant for three Chiefs of Staff, Alexander HaigDonald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. He held this position until January 20, 1977.[2]

In 1977 Halper became Special Counsel to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Legislative Assistant to Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-Del.).[2] In 1979 he became National Policy Director for George H. W. Bush‘s Presidential campaign and then in 1980 he became Director of Policy Coordination for the Reagan- Bush Presidential campaign.[2] In connection with this position Halper’s name came up in the 1983/4 investigations into the Debategate affair.[3]

After Reagan entered the White House, Halper became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.[2] Upon leaving the Department in 1984, he remained a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice until 2001.[2]

Academic and media career

From 1986 to 2000 Halper wrote a national security and foreign policy-focused weekly newspaper column, syndicated to 30 newspapers.[2]

Halper has worked as a senior foreign policy advisor to various think-tanks and research institutions, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Center for the National Interest, where he is a Distinguished Fellow, and The Institute of World Politicswhere he is a Research Professor. He has served on the Advisory Board of Directors of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and contributed to various magazines, journals, newspapers and media outlets. These include: The National Interest, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, the BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-Span, and a range of radio outlets.

Professor Halper is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, and the Travellers Club in London. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the Defense Department’s Superior Honor Award.

Business career

From 1984 to 1990 Halper was chairman and majority shareholder of the Palmer National Bank of Washington, D.C., the National Bank of Northern Virginia and the George Washington National Bank.[2]

References

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan_Halper

 

Joseph Mifsud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joseph Mifsud
Born 1960 (age 57–58)
Malta
Nationality Maltese
Academic background
Education University of Malta (BA)
University of Padua (MA)
Queen’s University Belfast (PhD)
Academic work
Discipline Education
Diplomacy
Institutions University of Stirling[1]
Link Campus University[1]

Joseph Mifsud (born 1960)[2] is a Maltese academic, with high level connections to the Russian state.[3]

He is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, a former principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice, a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling[4] in Scotland, and director of the Diplomatic Academy of London,[5] where he held seminars on Brexit.[6]

He was awarded a PhD upon acceptance of his thesis entitled “Managing educational reform: a comparative approach from Malta (and Northern Ireland); a headteachers’ perspective” in 1995 from Queen’s University Belfast.[7]

Investigators say Mifsud enticed George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, with a promise of Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.[1][8]

He is a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),[9] and a former President of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI).[10] He was a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, attended by Vladimir Putin.[8]

On February 27, 2018, Buzzfeed News reported that Mifsud claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.[11] Mifsud has subsequently gone missing, having been seen last on October 31, 2017.[12]

On March 21, 2018, The BBC revealed that Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos in April 2016 via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and a third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire described as a “wheeler-dealer”. Roh could not be reached for comment by the BBC and has since attempted to erase links between the two men on his company website.[13]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Mifsud

Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime Regime — Videos

Special Report: Americans released by North Korea arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Freed North Korean prisoners arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Trump welcomes US prisoners released by North Korea

President Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome the Secretary of State and Three American Returnees

Cruz: Release of US prisoners is a ‘major victory’

3 US captives held in North Korea on way home with Pompeo

Gutfeld on Trump and the Americans freed from North Korea

Comedian Dennis Miller: I’m happy for Trump

Geraldo Rivera: Trump attained a tremendous triumph

‘We want to thank Kim Jong-un’: Trump praises North Korean leader for freeing three American prisoners ‘early’ as he and Melania give them heroes’ welcome as they land back at U.S. Air Force base

  • Kim Jong-un released Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim – who were greeted as heroes in the U.S.
  • Trump and Melania personally met with them after their plane from Pyongyang arrived at 2:00 a.m.
  • President said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did’
  • Trump aims to sit down with North Korean dictator in late May or early June and thanked him personally

Donald Trump welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to the U.S. in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and said words most observers thought no American president would ever utter: ‘We want to thank Kim Jong Un.’

The president and his wife Melania arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington at 2:00 a.m. to greet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, and called them ‘incredible people.’

In extraordinary scenes, Trump and the first lady clapped and cheered as the men walked down the steps with their arms in the air and giving triumphant ‘V’ signs signifying both peace and victory.

Their first steps back on American soil came hours earlier, in Alaska, when the plane carrying them home stopped to refuel.

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On the tarmac in suburban Maryland, Trump said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did. It was important to get these people out. This is a special night for these three really great people.’

Trump also thanked Kim Jong-un for freeing ‘the folks early.’ calling it ‘a wonderful thing’ and adding he believes the North Korean despot ‘really wants to do something’ and bring the hermit kingdom ‘into the real world.’

He said: ‘We’re starting off on a new footing. I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful, and if anybody would’ve said that five years ago, 10 years ago, even a year ago, you would’ve said, ‘That’s not possible.’

‘My proudest achievement will be when we denuclearize that entire [Korean] peninsula,’ he added.

The freed trio were joined by a translator who relayed their sentiment that being home felt ‘like a dream’ and that the men were ‘very, very happy’ to be freed. They later gave President Trump a round of applause.

Kim Dong-chul, speaking about his time in North Korea, said: ‘We were treated in many different ways. For me, I had to do a lot of labor. But when I got sick, I was also treated by them.’

Scroll down for video 

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, warmly embraced former North Korean detainee Tony Kim upon tthe plane's 2:00 a.m. arrival at a Maryland air base

The prisoners walked onto American soil with their arms in the air giving triumphant 'V' signs signifying peace and victory

Trump called the prisoners 'wonderful people' and thanked Kim Jong-un for letting them come home ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

Trump also thanked the North Korean dictator for freeing 'the folks early,' calling it 'a wonderful thing' and adding that he believes Kim finally wants to bring his country 'into the real world'

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

The three men were released Wednesday after up to three years of imprisonment and hard labor when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang following a meeting with Kim to formalize final plans for a Trump-Kim summit in late May or early June.

He added that the talks between his administration and the North Korean government have ‘never been taken this far.’

While Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘was excellent to these three incredible people,’ Vice President Mike Pence hinted in an ABC interview they had endured harsh conditions.

Pence said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him that at a refueling stop in Anchorage, ‘one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane because he hadn’t seen daylight in a very long time.’

Who are the Americans freed by North Korea today?

Kim Dong Chul

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea, Kim Dong Chul was seized in North Korea on October 2, 2015 and accused of spying.

Though a resident of Virginia – he became an American citizen in 1987 – Kim had lived with his wife in Yanji, China since 2001.

He worked just across the North Korean border in the Rason-Sonbong special economic zone, where he ran a hotel services company. He was also a pastor.

Very little was known about his status until a CNN news crew interviewed him during their visit to Pyongyang in January 2016.

He told reporters during a news conference organized by the dictatorship two months later that he was a spy, explaining that he ‘apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans’ and called his own actions ‘unpardonable.’

The North accused him of receiving a USB drive and various papers containing nuclear secrets during a meeting with a defector from the regime.

After a one-day trial in April, he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for his supposed espionage.

But previous victims of the regime have explained that they were forced to make similar public declarations of their guilt after being tortured, despite being innocent.

Kim Hak-song

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim Hak-song, also known as Jin Xue Song, had been working for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), undertaking agricultural development work with the school’s farm.

He was arrested at a Pyongyang railway station in May 2017 on suspicion of committing ‘hostile acts’ against the government, as he was boarding a train headed for his home in Dandong, China.

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California, CNN reported, citing a man who had studied with him.

He said Kim returned to China after about 10 years of living in the U.S., where he is a citizen.

PUST was founded by evangelical Christians overseas and opened in 2010, and is known to have a number of American faculty members.

Pupils are generally children from among the North’s elite.

It is not known whether Kim was sentenced for his supposed ‘hostile acts.’

Kim Sang-duk

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Korean-American Kim Sang-duk – known as  Tony Kim – was arrested in April 2017 at Pyongyang’s main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks as a guest lecturer, also at PUST.

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border.

Its website lists his speciality as accounting.

He graduated from the University of California Riverside in 1990 with a master’s degree in business administration.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has reported Kim as being in his late 50s and said he had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea.

It cited a source who described him as a ‘religiously devoted man.’

He was detained with his wife at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on April 22, 2017 while waiting for a flight.

Police later arrested Kim but did not explain why. His wife was allowed to leave the country.

PUST said the arrest was not related to his work at the university.

In a Facebook post, Kim’s son had said that his family has had no contact with him since his arrest.

Kim will soon become a grandfather.

Trump said he will not disclose whether he will have any personal conversations with Kim as they prepare for their historic summit in the coming weeks.

But he did admit it was possible that ‘one day’ he may visit Pyongyang, should peace talks continue to go well.

The three former detainees were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for evaluation and medical treatment before being reunited with their families.

Singapore is the likely site for the historic meeting between the U.S. President and North Korea’s dictator. The summit could last up to two days.

When asked if the talks will lead to prolonged peace, the president said: ‘We’ll see how it all works out. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the entire world. We hope it all works out.’

President Donald Trump tweeted after the reception to say: 'On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME!' A video showing the welcome was attached 

In usual Trumpian fashion, the president also joked with reporters, saying: ‘I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning.’

The highly public display stood in stark contrast to the low-key private reception the State Department had envisioned, and in keeping with a tradition of trying to protect potentially traumatized victims from being thrust into the spotlight so soon after their ordeal.

Department officials took great pains on the prisoners’ release in North Korea, as well as on their flights to Japan and Alaska, to keep them sequestered not only from the two journalists traveling with Pompeo but also from staffers not immediately involved in their cases.

The trio, along with medical personnel, including a psychiatrist, were cloistered in the middle of Pompeo’s plane in a small section of 12 business class-size seats that was cordoned off by curtains on both ends.

Trump shakes hands with North Korea detainees welcomed back to US
 President Donald Trump greets the freed Americans aboard their plane after they landed in Maryland. The image is from a video posted by Trump on Twitter 

State Department officials refused to discuss anything but the most basic details of their conditions, citing privacy concerns in keeping with the minimal amount of information they had released since the men were imprisoned.

The Americans had boarded Pompeo’s plane out of North Korea without assistance and then transferred in Japan to the Boeing C-40 outfitted with medical facilities for the trip back to the US.

Shortly after they touched down on American soil in Alaska – for a refueling stop Wednesday afternoon – the State Department released a statement from the freed men.

‘We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,’ they said. ‘We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.’

The release of the three men was only sealed about an hour before the secretary of state left the North Korean capital.

They walked on their own from a van and onto the plane, the culmination of Pompeo’s 12-hour visit to the North Korean capital, which included a 90-minute meeting with leader Kim Jong Un.

Returning to his hotel from that meeting, Mr Pompeo had given reporters a fingers-crossed sign when asked if there was good news about the detainees.

Trump thanks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for freeing hostages

The president and his wife Melania are waiting at Joint Base Andrews near Washington to meet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim

President Donald Trump stands with Americans just released from North Korea, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands nearby, at Joint Base Andrews early this morning

President Donald Trump greets the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on 

America's commander-in-chief salutes as he was met by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in the wee hours of Thursday morning

President Donald Trump arrives to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

The president and the first lady left the White House at 2:00 a.m. to make the short journey to Andrews

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence (together at center) arrive to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea

President Donald Trump talks to the media next to the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

President Trump arrives at air base to greet American detainees

A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly after to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted amnesties to the three and that they would be released at 7:00 p.m. local time, according to a senior U.S. official present for the exchange.

Carl Risch, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and a doctor went to another hotel to pick up the men and bring them to the airport, the official said.

They finally left custody at 7.45 p.m., and by 8.42 p.m. they were flying home.

As soon as the plane cleared North Korean airspace, Mr Pompeo called Mr Trump to inform him of the releases – with the men all apparently in good health.

Even before Mr Pompeo’s plane had touched down for a stopover at Yokota Air Base in neighboring Japan, the president announced to the world on Twitter that the ‘3 wonderful gentlemen’ were free.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Kim Jong Un in North Korea

U.S. citizen Kim Hak-song was detained 'on suspicion of acts against the state'

Kim Dong-chul, pictured above had been detained since 2015. He was arrested for spying and had been sentenced to 10 years' hard labor

In a statement released by the State Department, the former detainees expressed their ‘deep appreciation’ to the U.S. government, Trump, Pompeo and the American people ‘for bringing us home.’

The three were the latest in a series of Americans who have been detained by North Korea in recent years for seemingly small offenses and typically freed when senior U.S. officials or statesmen personally visited to bail them out.

The last American to be released before this, college student Otto Warmbier, died in June 2017, days after he was repatriated to the U.S. with severe brain damage.

Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-Duk, was a Korean-American professor and aid worker before his arrest

Warmbier was arrested by North Korean authorities in January 2016, accused of stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the government of torturing and killing their son.

‘We are happy for the hostages and their families,’ the Warmbiers said in a statement Wednesday. ‘We miss Otto.’

After the release of the detainees, North Korea’s state-run media explicitly mentioned plans for the summit for the first time. Pyongyang has been exceptionally cautious about its public framing of Kim’s recent diplomatic moves, which are a major shift from the more aggressive focus on missile launches and nuclear development that heated tensions to a boil last year.

The trio’s release draws a line under an issue that had weighed on plans for a historic summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump that will focus on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

‘We’re granting amnesty to the three detained Americans,’ the North Korean emissary told Mr Pompeo at Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel, according to the senior U.S. official.

‘We issued the order to grant immediate amnesty to the detainees.’

‘That’s great,’ the secretary of state replied.

The North Korean official then advised that the releases would follow a ‘very brief ceremony’ – which he described as more like a legal process.

The official closed with a gentle warning for the United States to prevent a repeat: ‘You should make care that they do not make the same mistakes again,’ the official said. ‘This was a hard decision.’

Mr Trump pledged to show the world how happy he was that the three Americans are now free men

Mr Trump has thanks the North Korean leader for releasing the prisoners ahead of their summit

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was 'Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.'

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was ‘Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.’

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

University founded by Christian Korean-American who was once detained in North on suspicion of being a spy

The university where two of the latest three American detainees released by North Korea taught is unique: an institution founded and funded by foreign Christians in an isolated country that decries religion.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy.

Only North Korean citizens can enrol, and it is known to educate many children of the country’s elite.

Opened in 2010, it now has 560 students and 100 ‘international volunteers,’ according to its website, many of them coming to it through church organisations.

PUST says its mission is ‘to pursue excellence in education, with an international outlook, so that its students are diligent in studies, innovative in research and upright in character, bringing illumination to the Korean people and the world.’

But sources stress that it carries out no Christian proselytising, which is unwelcome by Pyongyang.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus 

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus

About half of PUST's 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements. Pictured: People walk around the university's campus

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the North Korean constitution, it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognized groups linked to the government.

Agricultural expert Kim Hak-song and former accounting professor Tony Kim were both lecturers at the institution but were arrested by North Korean authorities as they were leaving the country.

The university previously said their detentions were ‘not connected in any way with the work of PUST,’ and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere.

The two, along with fellow detainee Kim Dong-chul, were granted ‘amnesty’ by Pyongyang following a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and landed back in the United States on Thursday, to be welcomed by President Donald Trump.

‘Our hopes and prayers have been fulfilled by their release,’ PUST said in a statement. The university expressed ‘sincere hope’ that the detainees would be able to ‘now enjoy some peace and rest with their families and friends, and begin to rebuild normal life.’

The school itself has faced indirect repercussions from their detentions.

Tony Kim was arrested in April last year, Kim Hak-song the following month. Weeks later American student Otto Warmbier, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to steal a propaganda poster, was released in a mysterious coma and died shortly afterwards.

The university (pictured) previously said their detentions were 'not connected in any way with the work of PUST,' and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere

That prompted Washington to slap a travel ban on American citizens.

About half of PUST’s 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements.

It has also had problems transferring funds and importing materials due to the sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear programme by the UN Security Council and others.

‘We do of course hope that this is a step in a positive process that will lead to the U.S. administration ending the travel ban on U.S. citizens,’ a school official told AFP, ‘so that many of our regular faculty and leadership can come back to the PUST campus and we can resume operations in a more normal way.’

On its website, PUST says it is hiring new faculty members: English and Chinese instructors, and professors for subjects ranging from stem cell culture technology to genetic engineering.

It does not mention the detention of its lecturers.

Korean-American writer Suki Kim went to PUST undercover as an English teacher in 2011 and later wrote a book about her experiences.

‘PUST offers a mutually beneficial arrangement for both North Korea and the evangelicals,’ she wrote in an essay published in the Washington Post last year following Tony Kim’s detention.

‘The regime gets free education for its youth and a modern facility… while the evangelicals get a footing in the remote nation,’ she said.

Source: AFP

North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has been photographed smiling and laughing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just moments before three American detainees boarded a flight home after months in captivity

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5712509/Trump-Melania-meet-three-Americans-imprisoned-North-Korea-land-2am.html#ixzz5FE2k7Baj

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 865, March 31, 2017, Story 1: Conservative and Libertarian Talk Radio Could Turn On Trump For Attacking Freedom Caucus and Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare By Law (Statute) Not Discretion of Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Thomas Price — Establishment Republican House Speaker Ryan’s Bad Faith, Bad Process, Bad Bill — Socialized Medicine Obamacare Lite vs. Good Faith, Good Process, Good Bill — Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Competitive Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles Decreases! — Close The Deal Mr. President — Videos — Story 2: Obama Administration Spied On American Citizens Including Trump and Trump Team — Obama Scandal Far Worse Than Nixon’s Cover-up of Watergate Break-in — Legacy Fading Fast — Grand Jury Should Be Impaneled Now! — Videos

Posted on March 31, 2017. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Communications, Computers, Congress, Consitutional Law, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Human, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Language, Law, Life, Media, Medicare, Mike Pence, National Security Agency, News, Nixon, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: Conservative and Libertarian Talk Radio Could Turn On Trump For Attacking Freedom Caucus and Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare By Law (Statute) Not Discretion of Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Thomas Price — Establishment Republican House Speaker Ryan’s Bad Faith, Bad Process, Bad Bill — Socialized Medicine Obamacare Lite  vs. Good Faith, Good Process, Good Bill — Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Competitive Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles Decreases! — Close The Deal Mr. President — Videos —

 

“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,”

 Image result for trump tweet freedom caususImage result for Trump on freedom caucus ring leaders

Image result for cartoons obama spyied on trump

Image result for obama spied on trump

Limbaugh on Trump’s Shots at Freedom Caucus: These Guys Are Not the Enemy — Dems Are the Enemy

Laura Ingraham: ‘Really Unhelpful’ to Trump’s Agenda for Him to Be Slamming House Freedom Caucus

Hannity 3⁄31⁄17 ¦ HANNITY Fox News March 31, 2017

Laura Ingraham: Trump’s Attacks on Freedom Caucus ‘Ridiculous’

Hannity: Freedom Caucus not to blame for health care failure

Newt Gingrich outlines why GOP health care bill failed

Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan: Ryan’s Legislation Doesn’t Lower Premiums For Americans!

Rep. Mo Brooks Files A Bill To Repeal Obamacare

Published on Mar 27, 2017

On the same day that the House of Representatives canceled its vote on Ryancare, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks filed a simple one-line bill to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.
The Huntsville Republican titled the bill ‘Obamacare Repeal Act.” It is short and to the point, AI.com reported.
“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,” the bill reads.
Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told constituents last week that he was a “no” vote on the Obamacare repeal/replace bill offered by Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Also last week, in an interview with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Brooks called the Speaker’s bill “a horrible replacement bill.”

Rep. Brooks: We need a bill that repeals Obamacare

Rep. Mo Brooks: ‘Deceptive’ to call GOP’s plan a repeal of Obamacare

Donald Trump THREATENS The Freedom Caucus, said Rush Limbaugh

SEAN SPICER ON TRUMP’S ANTI FREEDOM CAUCUS TWEET

Rand Paul: 75 Percent Chance We Repeal Obamacare

Ep. 239: Trump Needs To Lead Not Oppose The Freedom Caucus

Employers Will Cut Wages and Workers to Pay for Obamacare Premiums

News Wrap: Trump takes aim at the Freedom Caucus

SMOKING GUN Devastating New Email Released, Look What Obama’s Caught Ordering His Spy Ring To Do

The House Freedom Caucus: What You Need To Know | TIME

Wh On Changes Of President Trump Working With House Freedom Caucus Again: It Depends – Cavuto

Mark Levin Interviews Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows

Is The House Freedom Caucus Unwilling to take “Yes” For an Answer?

Freedom Caucus’s reasonable demand on Obamacare repeal

Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan

 

Poll: Just 17 percent of voters back ObamaCare repeal plan

A majority of American voters oppose the Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, while very few voters support it, a new poll finds.

A poll published Thursday by Quinnipiac University found that 56 percent of voters disapprove of the GOP healthcare plan, while just 17 percent support it.

Even among Republicans, only 41 percent support the American Health Care Act, while 24 percent oppose it. And 80 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Independent voters disapprove of the plan.

Republicans are scrambling to shore up support for the repeal-and-replace bill ahead of an expected House vote later Thursday. President Trump is meeting with members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who are seeking a number of changes to the bill in exchange for their support.But centrist Republicans are fleeing from the bill as it changes to fit the conservatives’ desires, complicating efforts to get the bill passed in the House.

The poll found that 46 percent of voters say they will be less likely to vote for their Congressional representative if they vote to approve the GOP health insurance plan.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from March 16 to 21 and surveyed 1,056 voters. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/325448-poll-majority-of-voters-disapprove-of-gop-obamacare-repeal-plan

 

Essential health benefits

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the context of health care in the United States, essential health benefits (EHBs) are a set of benefits that certain health insurance plans are required to cover for patients.[1]

Essential health benefits must be offered by health plans in individual and small group markets, both inside and outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace.[2][3] Large-group health plans, self-insured ERISA plans, and ERISA-governed multiemployer welfare arrangements not subject to state insurance law are exempt from the EHB requirement.[4]

Essential health benefits

The ACA sets forth the following ten categories of essential health benefits,[5][6] at Section 1302(b)(1) of the Affordable Care Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 18022(b):[7]

  1. Ambulatory patient services. [outpatient care]
  2. Emergency services.
  3. Hospitalization. [inpatient care]
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.
  6. Prescription drugs.
  7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
  10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

The essential health benefits are a minimum standard: “Qualified health plans are not barred from offering additional benefits, and states may require that qualified health plans sold in state health insurance exchanges also cover state-mandated benefits.”[8]

The ACA’s list of essential health benefits is defined in terms of ten broad classes.[9] The act gives “considerable discretion” to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine, through regulation, what specific services within these classes are essential. However, the Act provides certain parameters for the secretary to consider. The secretary (1) must “ensure that such essential health benefits reflect an appropriate balance among the categories … so that benefits are not unduly weighted toward any category”; (2) may “not make coverage decisions, determine reimbursement rates, establish incentive programs, or design benefits in ways that discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, or expected length of life”; (3) must take into account “the health care needs of diverse segments of the population, including women, children, persons with disabilities, and other groups”; and (4) must ensure that essential benefits “not be subject to denial to individuals against their wishes on the basis of the individuals’ age or expected length of life or the individuals’ present or predicted disability, degree of medical dependency, or quality of life.”[10]

According to a Commonwealth Fund report in 2011:

As it stands, federal regulations for 2014 and 2015 do not establish a single, nationally uniform package of health services. Instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave states discretion to determine the specific benefits they deem essential. This approach was well-received by many state officials, who valued the opportunity to tailor benefit standards to reflect state priorities, and by insurers, who retained more control over benefit design. Groups representing consumers and providers were less supportive, however, expressing concern that the degree of flexibility found in the rules undermines the law’s promise of consistent, meaningful coverage.[11]

History

Coverage of essential health benefits was first required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) of 2010, which was a major piece of health care reform legislation.[1] The EHB provisions of the ACA was an amendment to the Public Health Service Act.[12]

Dr. Shana Alex Lavarreda, the director of health insurance studies for the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, explains that before the ACA’s passage, U.S. health insurance sector experienced “a race to the bottom, with insurers cutting benefits to lower premiums.”[1] The establishment of essential health benefits “set a standard for insurance. Anything below that is not true health insurance.”[1] The EHB requirement came into effect on January 1, 2014.[1]

Revision and repeal of essential health benefits coverage was proposed in the Republican part American Health Care Act of 2017.[13] House Freedom Caucus members lobbied during legislation discussion with House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove EHBs as a condition for approval of the AHCA bill.[14]

Comparison with minimum essential coverage

Essential health benefits should not be confused with minimum essential coverage (MEC). MEC is the minimum amount of coverage that an individual must carry to meet the individual health insurance mandate, while EHBs are a set of benefits that qualified health plans (QHPs) must offer.[15] MEC is a low threshold; many forms of coverage that do not provide essential health benefits are nevertheless considered minimum essential coverage.[15]

Notes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Frank Lalli, The Health Care Law’s 10 Essential Benefits: The Affordable Care Act ensures you’ll have access to these medical and wellness services, AARP The Magazine (August/September 2013).
  2. Jump up^ Essential Health Benefits, HealthCare.gov (accessed November 12, 2015).
  3. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 2.
  4. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  5. Jump up^ 10 health care benefits covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace, HealthCare.gov (accessed November 12, 2015).
  6. Jump up^ Alexandra Ernst, 10 Essential Health Benefits Insurance Plans Must Cover Starting in 2014, FamiliesUSA (March 28, 2013).
  7. Jump up^ 42 U.S. Code § 18022 – Essential health benefits requirements
  8. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  9. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 3.
  10. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, pp. 3-4
  11. Jump up^ Giovannelli, Lucia & Corlette, p. 2.
  12. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Teitelbaum & Hayes, p. 2.
  13. Jump up^ “Republicans may gut an overlooked provision of Obamacare — and disrupt health insurance”. Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  14. Jump up^ Luhby, Tami. “Essential Health Benefits and why they matter”. CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  15. ^ Jump up to:a b Susan Grassli & Lisa Klinger, Understanding the Difference between Minimum Essential Coverage, Essential Health Benefits, Minimum Value, and Actuarial Value, Leavitt Group (January 27, 2014).

Sources

External links

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long title The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Acronyms(colloquial) PPACA, ACA
Nicknames Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Reform, Healthcare Reform, Obamacare
Enacted by the 111th United States Congress
Effective March 23, 2010; 7 years ago
Most major provisions phased in by January 2014; remaining provisions phased in by 2020
Citations
Public law 111–148
Statutes at Large 124 Stat.119through 124 Stat.1025(906 pages)
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Houseasthe “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009” (H.R. 3590) byCharles Rangel (DNY) on September 17, 2009
  • Committee consideration byWays and Means
  • Passed the House on October 8, 2009 (416–0)
  • Passed the Senate as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on December 24, 2009 (60–39) with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on March 21, 2010 (219–212)
  • Signed into law by PresidentBarack Obamaon March 23, 2010
Major amendments
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011
United States Supreme Court cases
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
King v. Burwell

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by PresidentBarack Obama on March 23, 2010. Under the act, hospitals and primary physicians would transform their practices financially, technologically, and clinically to drive better health outcomes, lower costs, and improve their methods of distribution and accessibility.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase health insurance quality and affordability, lower the uninsured rate by expanding insurance coverage and reduce the costs of healthcare. It introduced mechanisms including mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges.[1][2] The law requires insurers to accept all applicants, cover a specific list of conditions and charge the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.[3]

The ACA has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance, with estimates ranging from 20-24 million additional persons covered during 2016.[4][5] Increases in overall healthcare spending have slowed since the law was implemented, including premiums for employer-based insurance plans.[6] The Congressional Budget Office reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the budget deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8]

As implementation began, first opponents, then others, and finally the president himself adopted the term “Obamacare” to refer to the ACA.[9]

The law and its implementation faced challenges in Congress and federal courts, and from some state governments, conservativeadvocacy groups, labor unions, and small business organizations. The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate as an exercise of Congress’s taxing power,[10]found that states cannot be forced to participate in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion,[11][12][13] and found that the law’s subsidies to help individuals pay for health insurance are available in all states, not just in those that have set up state exchanges.[14]

Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system‘s most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][18]

Contents

 [show] 

Provisions

The President and White House Staff react to the House of Representatives passing the bill on March 21, 2010.

The ACA includes provisions to take effect between 2010 and 2020, although most took effect on January 1, 2014. Few areas of the US health care system were left untouched, making it the most sweeping health care reform since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.[15][16][17][19][18] However, some areas were more affected than others. The individual insurance market was radically overhauled, and many of the law’s regulations applied specifically to this market,[15] while the structure of Medicare, Medicaid, and the employer marketwere largely retained.[16] Most of the coverage gains were made through the expansion of Medicaid,[20] and the biggest cost savings were made in Medicare.[16] Some regulations applied to the employer market, and the law also made delivery system changes that affected most of the health care system.[16] Not all provisions took full effect. Some were made discretionary, some were deferred, and others were repealed before implementation.

Individual insurance

Guaranteed issue prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions. States were required to ensure the availability of insurance for individual children who did not have coverage via their families.

States were required to expand Medicaid eligibility to include individuals and families with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level, including adults without disabilities or dependent children.[21] The law provides a 5% “income disregard”, making the effective income eligibility limit for Medicaid 138% of the poverty level.[22]

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment process was simplified.[21]

Dependents were permitted to remain on their parents’ insurance plan until their 26th birthday, including dependents that no longer live with their parents, are not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, are no longer a student, or are married.[23][24]

Among the groups who remained uninsured were:

  • Illegal immigrants, estimated at around 8 million—or roughly a third of the 23 million projection—are ineligible for insurance subsidies and Medicaid.[25][26] They remain eligible for emergency services.
  • Eligible citizens not enrolled in Medicaid.[27]
  • Citizens who pay the annual penalty instead of purchasing insurance, mostly younger and single.[27]
  • Citizens whose insurance coverage would cost more than 8% of household income and are exempt from the penalty.[27]
  • Citizens who live in states that opt out of the Medicaid expansion and who qualify for neither existing Medicaid coverage nor subsidized coverage through the states’ new insurance exchanges.[28]

Subsidies

Households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level were eligible to receive federal subsidies for policies purchased via an exchange.[29][30] Subsidies are provided as an advanceable, refundable tax credit[31][32] Additionally, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit provided that they enroll in the SHOP Marketplace.[33] Under the law, workers whose employers offer affordable coverage will not be eligible for subsidies via the exchanges. To be eligible the cost of employer-based health insurance must exceed 9.5% of the worker’s household income.

Subsidies (2014) for Family of 4[34][35][36][37][38]
Income % of federal poverty level Premium Cap as a Share of Income Incomea Max Annual Out-of-Pocket Premium Premium Savingsb Additional Cost-Sharing Subsidy
133% 3% of income $31,900 $992 $10,345 $5,040
150% 4% of income $33,075 $1,323 $9,918 $5,040
200% 6.3% of income $44,100 $2,778 $8,366 $4,000
250% 8.05% of income $55,125 $4,438 $6,597 $1,930
300% 9.5% of income $66,150 $6,284 $4,628 $1,480
350% 9.5% of income $77,175 $7,332 $3,512 $1,480
400% 9.5% of income $88,200 $8,379 $2,395 $1,480
a.^ Note: In 2014, the FPL was $11,800 for a single person and $24,000 for family of four.[39][40] See Subsidy Calculator for specific dollar amount.[41] b.^ DHHS and CBO estimate the average annual premium cost in 2014 would have been $11,328 for a family of 4 without the reform.[36]

Premiums were the same for everyone of a given age, regardless of preexisting conditions. Premiums were allowed to vary by enrollee age, but those for the oldest enrollees (age 45-64 average expenses $5,542) could only be three times as large as those for adults (18-24 $1,836).[42]

Mandates

Individual

The individual mandate[43] is the requirement to buy insurance or pay a penalty for everyone not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare or other public insurance programs (such as Tricare). Also exempt were those facing a financial hardship or who were members in a recognized religious sect exempted by the Internal Revenue Service.[44]

The mandate and the limits on open enrollment[45][46] were designed to avoid the insurance death spiral in which healthy people delay insuring themselves until they get sick. In such a situation, insurers would have to raise their premiums to cover the relatively sicker and thus more expensive policies,[43][47][48] which could create a vicious cycle in which more and more people drop their coverage.[49]

The purpose of the mandate was to prevent the healthcare system from succumbing to adverse selection, which would result in high premiums for the insured and little coverage (and thus more illness and medical bankruptcy) for the uninsured.[47][50][51] Studies by the CBO, Gruber and Rand Health concluded that a mandate was required.[52][53][54] The mandate increased the size and diversity of the insured population, including more young and healthy participants to broaden the risk pool, spreading costs.[55] Experience in New Jersey and Massachusetts offered divergent outcomes.[50][53][56]

Business

Businesses that employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to their full-time employees pay a tax penalty if the government has subsidized a full-time employee’s healthcare through tax deductions or other means. This is commonly known as the employer mandate.[57][58] This provision was included to encourage employers to continue providing insurance once the exchanges began operating.[59] Approximately 44% of the population was covered directly or indirectly through an employer.[60][61]

Excise taxes

Excise taxes for the Affordable Care Act raised $16.3 billion in fiscal year 2015 (17% of all excise taxes collected by the Federal Government). $11.3 billion was an excise tax placed directly on health insurers based on their market share. The ACA was going to impose a 40% “Cadillac tax” on expensive employer sponsored health insurance but that was postponed until 2018. Annual excise taxes totaling $3 billion were levied on importers and manufacturers of prescription drugs. An excise tax of 2.3% on medical devices and a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services were applied as well.[62]

Insurance standards

Essential health benefits

The National Academy of Medicine defined the law’s “essential health benefits” as “ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care”[63][64][65][66][67][68][69] and others[70] rated Level A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.[71] In determining what would qualify as an essential benefit, the law required that standard benefits should offer at least that of a “typical employer plan”.[68] States may require additional services.[72]

Contraceptives

One provision in the law mandates that health insurance cover “additional preventive care and screenings” for women.[73] The guidelines mandate “[a]ll Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”.[74] This mandate applies to all employers and educational institutions except for religious organizations.[75][76] These regulations were included on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine.[77][78]

Risk management

ACA provided three ways to control risk for insurers in the individual and business markets: temporary reinsurance, temporary risk corridors, and permanent risk adjustment.

Risk corridor program

The risk-corridor program was a temporary risk management device defined under the PPACA section 1342[79]:1 to encourage reluctant insurers into the “new and untested” ACA insurance market during the first three years that ACA was implemented (2014-2016). For those years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “would cover some of the losses for insurers whose plans performed worse than they expected. Insurers that were especially profitable, for their part, would have to return to HHS some of the money they earned on the exchanges”[80][81] According to an article in Forbes, risk corridors “had been a successful part of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and the ACA’s risk corridors were modeled after Medicare’s Plan D.”[82] They operated on the principle that “more participation would mean more competition, which would drive down premiums and make health insurance more affordable” and “[w]hen insurers signed up to sell health plans on the exchanges, they did so with the expectation that the risk-corridor program would limit their downside losses.”[80] The risk corridors succeeded in attracting ACA insurers. The program did not pay for itself as planned with “accumulated losses” up to $8.3 billion for 2014 and 2015 alone. Authorization had to be given so that HHS could pay insurers from “general government revenues”. Congressional Republicans “railed against” the program as a ‘bailout’ for insurers. Then-Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), on the Appropriations Committee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department “[slipped] in a sentence” — Section 227 — in the “massive” appropriationsConsolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (H.R. 3547) that said that no funds in the discretionary spending bill “could be used for risk-corridor payments.” This effectively “blocked the administration from obtaining the necessary funds from other programs”[83] and placed Congress in a potential breach of contract with insurers who offered qualified health plans, under the Tucker Act[79] as it did not pay the insurers.[84][84] On February 10, 2017, in the Moda Health v the US Government, Moda, one of the insurers that struggled financially because of the elimination of the risk corridor program, won a “$214-million judgment against the federal government”. Justice Thomas C. Wheeler stated, “the Government “made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, ‘to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.”[85]

Temporary reinsurance

Temporary reinsurance for insurance for insurers against unexpectedly high claims was a program that ran from 2014 through 2016. It was intended to limit insurer losses.[citation needed]

Risk adjustment

Of the three risk management programs, only risk adjustment was permanent. Risk adjustment attempts to spread risk among insurers to prevent purchasers with good knowledge of their medical needs from using insurance to cover their costs (adverse selection). Plans with low actuarial risk compensate plans with high actuarial risk.[citation needed]

Other provisions

In 2012 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse created this summary to explain his view on the act.

The ACA has several other provisions:

  • Annual and lifetime coverage caps on essential benefits were banned.[86][87]
  • Prohibits insurers from dropping policyholders when they get sick.[88]
  • All health policies sold in the United States must provide an annual maximum out of pocket (MOOP) payment cap for an individual’s or family’s medical expenses (excluding premiums). After the MOOP payment cap is reached, all remaining costs must be paid by the insurer.[89]
  • A partial community rating requires insurers to offer the same premium to all applicants of the same age and location without regard to gender or most pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use).[90][91][92] Premiums for older applicants can be no more than three times those for the youngest.[93]
  • Preventive care, vaccinations and medical screenings cannot be subject to co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles.[94][95][96] Specific examples of covered services include: mammograms and colonoscopies, wellness visits, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, STI counseling, HIV screening and counseling, contraceptive methods, breastfeeding support/supplies and domestic violence screening and counseling.[97]
  • The law established four tiers of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. All categories offer the essential health benefits. The categories vary in their division of premiums and out-of-pocket costs: bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums and highest out-of-pocket costs, while platinum plans are the reverse.[68][98] The percentages of health care costs that plans are expected to cover through premiums (as opposed to out-of-pocket costs) are, on average: 60% (bronze), 70% (silver), 80% (gold), and 90% (platinum).[99]
  • Insurers are required to implement an appeals process for coverage determination and claims on all new plans.[88]
  • Insurers must spend at least 80–85% of premium dollars on health costs; rebates must be issued to policyholders if this is violated.[100][101]

Exchanges

Established the creation of health insurance exchanges in all fifty states. The exchanges are regulated, largely online marketplaces, administered by either federal or state government, where individuals and small business can purchase private insurance plans.[102][103][104]

Setting up an exchange gives a state partial discretion on standards and prices of insurance.[105][106] For example, states approve plans for sale, and influence (through limits on and negotiations with private insurers) the prices on offer. They can impose higher or state-specific coverage requirements—including whether plans offered in the state can cover abortion.[107] States without an exchange do not have that discretion. The responsibility for operating their exchanges moves to the federal government.[105]

State waivers

From 2017 onwards, states can apply for a “waiver for state innovation” that allows them to conduct experiments that meet certain criteria.[108] To obtain a waiver, a state must pass legislation setting up an alternative health system that provides insurance at least as comprehensive and as affordable as ACA, covers at least as many residents and does not increase the federal deficit.[109] Such states can exempt states from some of ACA’s central requirements, including the individual and employer mandates and the provision of an insurance exchange.[110] The state would receive compensation equal to the aggregate amount of any federal subsidies and tax credits for which its residents and employers would have been eligible under ACA plan, if they cannot be paid out due to the structure of the state plan.[108]

In May 2011, Vermont enacted Green Mountain Care, a state-based single-payer system for which they intended to pursue a waiver to implement.[111][112][113] In December 2014, Vermont decided not to continue due to high expected costs.[114]

Accountable Care Organizations

The Act allowed the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are groups of doctors, hospitals and other providers that commit to give coordinated, high quality care to Medicare patients. ACOs were allowed to continue using a fee for service billing approach. They receive bonus payments from the government for minimizing costs while achieving quality benchmarks that emphasize prevention and mitigating chronic disease. If they fail to do so, they are subject to penalties.[115]

Unlike Health Maintenance Organizations, ACO patients are not required to obtain all care from the ACO. Also, unlike HMOs, ACOs must achieve quality of care goals.[115]

Others

Legislative history

President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010

Background

An individual mandate coupled with subsidies for private insurance as a means for universal healthcare was considered the best way to win the support of the Senate because it had been included in prior bipartisan reform proposals. The concept goes back to at least 1989, when the conservativeHeritage Foundation proposed an individual mandate as an alternative to single-payer health care.[125] It was championed for a time by conservative economists and Republican senators as a market-based approach to healthcare reform on the basis of individual responsibility and avoidance of free rider problems. Specifically, because the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires any hospital participating in Medicare (nearly all do) to provide emergency care to anyone who needs it, the government often indirectly bore the cost of those without the ability to pay.[126][127][128]

President Bill Clintonproposed a healthcare reform bill in 1993 that included a mandate for employers to provide health insurance to all employees through a regulated marketplace of health maintenance organizations. Republican Senators proposed an alternative that would have required individuals, but not employers, to buy insurance.[127]Ultimately the Clinton plan failed amid an unprecedented barrage of negative advertising funded by politically conservative groups and the health insurance industry and due to concerns that it was overly complex.[129] Clinton negotiated a compromise with the 105th Congress to instead enact the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997.[130]

John Chafee

The 1993 Republican alternative, introduced by Senator John Chafee as the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act, contained a “universal coverage” requirement with a penalty for noncompliance—an individual mandate—as well as subsidies to be used in state-based ‘purchasing groups’.[131] Advocates for the 1993 bill included prominent Republicans such as Senators Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett and Kit Bond.[132][133] Of 1993’s 43 Republican Senators, 20 supported the HEART Act.[125][134] Another Republican proposal, introduced in 1994 by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK), the Consumer Choice Health Security Act, contained an individual mandate with a penalty provision;[135] however, Nickles subsequently removed the mandate from the bill, stating he had decided “that government should not compel people to buy health insurance”.[136] At the time of these proposals, Republicans did not raise constitutional issues with the mandate; Mark Pauly, who helped develop a proposal that included an individual mandate for George H. W. Bush, remarked, “I don’t remember that being raised at all. The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax.”[125]

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts went from 90% of its residents insured to 98%, the highest rate in the nation.[137]

In 2006, an insurance expansion bill was enacted at the state level in Massachusetts. The bill contained both an individual mandate and an insurance exchange. Republican Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the mandate, but after Democrats overrode his veto, he signed it into law.[138] Romney’s implementation of the ‘Health Connector’ exchange and individual mandate in Massachusetts was at first lauded by Republicans. During Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Jim DeMint praised Romney’s ability to “take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured”. Romney said of the individual mandate: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be the model for the nation.”[139]

In 2007, a year after the Massachusetts reform, Republican Senator Bob Bennett and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act, which featured an individual mandate and state-based, regulated insurance markets called “State Health Help Agencies”.[128][139] The bill initially attracted bipartisan support, but died in committee. Many of the sponsors and co-sponsors remained in Congress during the 2008 healthcare debate.[140]

By 2008 many Democrats were considering this approach as the basis for healthcare reform. Experts said that the legislation that eventually emerged from Congress in 2009 and 2010 bore similarities to the 2007 bill[131] and that it was deliberately patterned after Romney’s state healthcare plan.[141]

Healthcare debate, 2008–10

Healthcare reform was a major topic during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. As the race narrowed, attention focused on the plans presented by the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and the eventual nominee, Barack Obama. Each candidate proposed a plan to cover the approximately 45 million Americans estimated to not have health insurance at some point each year. Clinton’s proposal would have required all Americans to obtain coverage (in effect, an individual mandate), while Obama’s proposal provided a subsidy but rejected the use of an individual mandate.[142][143]

During the general election, Obama said that fixing healthcare would be one of his top four priorities as president.[144] Obama and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, proposed health insurance reforms though they differed greatly. Senator John McCain proposed tax credits for health insurance purchased in the individual market, which was estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by about 2 million by 2018. Obama proposed private and public group insurance, income-based subsidies, consumer protections, and expansions of Medicaid and SCHIP, which was estimated at the time to reduce the number of uninsured people by 33.9 million by 2018.[145]

President Obama addressing Congress regarding healthcare reform, September 9, 2009

After his inauguration, Obama announced to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 his intent to work with Congress to construct a plan for healthcare reform.[146][147] By July, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives.[148] On the Senate side, from June to September, the Senate Finance Committee held a series of 31 meetings to develop a healthcare reform bill. This group — in particular, Democrats Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman and Kent Conrad, along with Republicans Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe — met for more than 60 hours, and the principles that they discussed, in conjunction with the other committees, became the foundation of the Senate healthcare reform bill.[149][150][151]

Congressional Democrats and health policy experts like MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber[152] and David Cutler argued that guaranteed issue would require both community rating and an individual mandate to ensure that adverse selection and/or “free riding” would not result in an insurance “death spiral”.[153] This approach was taken because the president and congressional leaders had concluded that more progressive plans, such as the (single-payer)Medicare for All act, could not obtain filibuster-proof support in the Senate. By deliberately drawing on bipartisan ideas — the same basic outline was supported by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Tom Daschle and George J. Mitchell—the bill’s drafters hoped to garner the votes necessary for passage.[154][155]

However, following the adoption of an individual mandate, Republicans came to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[125] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to prevent defections:[156]

It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[157]

Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional”. Journalist Ezra Klein wrote in The New Yorker that “a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[128] Reporter Michael Cooper of The New York Times wrote that: “the provision … requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[127][134]

Tea Party protesters at the Taxpayer March on Washington, September 12, 2009

The reform negotiations also attracted attention from lobbyists,[158] including deals between certain lobby groups and the advocates of the law to win the support of groups that had opposed past reforms, as in 1993.[159][160] The Sunlight Foundation documented many of the reported ties between “the healthcare lobbyist complex” and politicians in both parties.[161]

During the August 2009 summer congressional recess, many members went back to their districts and held town hall meetings on the proposals. The nascent Tea Party movement organized protests and many conservative groups and individuals attended the meetings to oppose the proposed reforms.[147] Many threats were made against members of Congress over the course of the debate.[162][163]

When Congress returned from recess, in September 2009 President Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress supporting the ongoing Congressional negotiations.[164] He acknowledged the polarization of the debate, and quoted a letter from the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy urging on reform: “what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”[165] On November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on a 220–215 vote and forwarded it to the Senate for passage.[147]

Senate

The Senate began work on its own proposals while the House was still working. The United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House.[166] To formally comply with this requirement, the Senate used H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax changes for service members.[167] It had been passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill became the Senate’s vehicle for its healthcare reform proposal, discarding the bill’s original content.[168] The bill ultimately incorporated elements of proposals that were reported favorably by the Senate Health and Finance committees. With the Republican Senate minority vowing to filibuster, 60 votes would be necessary to pass the Senate.[169] At the start of the 111th Congress, Democrats had only 58 votes; the Senate seat in Minnesota ultimately won by Al Franken was still undergoing a recount, while Arlen Specter was still a Republican (he became a Democrat in April, 2009).

Negotiations were undertaken attempting to satisfy moderate Democrats and to bring Republican senators aboard; particular attention was given to Republicans Bennett, Enzi, Grassley and Snowe. On July 7 Franken was sworn into office, providing a potential 60th vote. On August 25 Ted Kennedy—a longtime healthcare reform advocate—died. Paul Kirk was appointed as Senator Kennedy’s temporary replacement on September 24.

After the Finance Committee vote on October 15, negotiations turned to moderate Democrats. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying centrists. The holdouts came down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and conservative Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson. Lieberman’s demand that the bill not include a public option[153][170] was met,[171] although supporters won various concessions, including allowing state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[171][172]

Senate vote by state.

  Democratic yes (58)
  Independent yes (2)
  Republican no (39)
 Republican not voting (1)

The White House and Reid addressed Nelson’s concerns[173] during a 13-hour negotiation with two concessions: a compromise on abortion, modifying the language of the bill “to give states the right to prohibit coverage of abortion within their own insurance exchanges”, which would require consumers to pay for the procedure out of pocket if the state so decided; and an amendment to offer a higher rate of Medicaid reimbursement for Nebraska.[147][174] The latter half of the compromise was derisively termed the “Cornhusker Kickback”[175] and was repealed in the subsequent reconciliation amendment bill.

On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for it, and all Republicans against (except Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[176] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[177]

On January 19, 2010, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in a special election to replace Kennedy, having campaigned on giving the Republican minority the 41st vote needed to sustain Republican filibusters.[147][178][179] His victory had become significant because of its effects on the legislative process. The first was psychological: the symbolic importance of losing Kennedy’s traditionally Democratic Massachusetts seat made many Congressional Democrats concerned about the political cost of passing a bill.[180][181]

House

House vote by congressional district.

  Democratic yes (219)
  Democratic no (34)
  Republican no (178)
  No representative seated (4)

Brown’s election meant Democrats could no longer break a filibuster in the Senate. In response, White House Chief of StaffRahm Emanuel argued that Democrats should scale back to a less ambitious bill; House SpeakerNancy Pelosi pushed back, dismissing Emanuel’s scaled-down approach as “Kiddie Care”.[182][183]

Obama remained insistent on comprehensive reform. The news that Anthem Blue Cross in California intended to raise premium rates for its patients by as much as 39% gave him new evidence of the need for reform.[182][183] On February 22, he laid out a “Senate-leaning” proposal to consolidate the bills.[184] He held a meeting with both parties’ leaders on February 25. The Democrats decided that the House would pass the Senate’s bill, to avoid another Senate vote.

House Democrats had expected to be able to negotiate changes in a House-Senate conference before passing a final bill. Since any bill that emerged from conference that differed from the Senate bill would have to pass the Senate over another Republican filibuster, most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill.[181] They drafted the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which could be passed by the reconciliation process.[182][185][186]

As per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. But reconciliation is limited to budget changes, which is why the procedure was not used to pass ACA in the first place; the bill had inherently non-budgetary regulations.[187][188] Although the already-passed Senate bill could not have been passed by reconciliation, most of House Democrats’ demands were budgetary: “these changes—higher subsidy levels, different kinds of taxes to pay for them, nixing the Nebraska Medicaid deal—mainly involve taxes and spending. In other words, they’re exactly the kinds of policies that are well-suited for reconciliation.”[185]

The remaining obstacle was a pivotal group of pro-life Democrats led by Bart Stupak who were initially reluctant to support the bill. The group found the possibility of federal funding for abortion significant enough to warrant opposition. The Senate bill had not included language that satisfied their concerns, but they could not address abortion in the reconciliation bill as it would be non-budgetary. Instead, Obama issued Executive Order 13535, reaffirming the principles in the Hyde Amendment.[189] This won the support of Stupak and members of his group and assured the bill’s passage.[186][190] The House passed the Senate bill with a 219–212 vote on March 21, 2010, with 34 Democrats and all 178 Republicans voting against it.[191] The next day, Republicans introduced legislation to repeal the bill.[192] Obama signed ACA into law on March 23, 2010.[193] Since passage, Republicans have voted to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act over sixty times; no such attempt by Republicans has been successful.[194] The amendment bill, The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, cleared the House on March 21; the Senate passed it by reconciliation on March 25, and Obama signed it on March 30.

Impact

Coverage rate, employer market cost trends, budgetary impact, and income inequality aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

This chart illustrates several aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including number of persons covered, cost before and after subsidies, and public opinion.

Coverage

The law has caused a significant reduction in the number and percentage of people without health insurance. The CDC reported that the percentage of people without health insurance fell from 16.0% in 2010 to 8.9% during the January–June 2016 period.[195] From Q4-2013 to Q1-2016, a Gallup survey found that the uninsured rate among adults declined from 17.1% to 11.0%, a decline of 6.1 percentage points.[196] In a 2016 review, Obama presented data showing that the uninsured rate had declined by 43%, from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015, mostly in 2014.[197] The uninsured rate dropped in every congressional district in the U.S. between 2013 and 2015.[198]

In March 2016, the CBO reported that there were approximately 27 million people without insurance in 2016, a figure they expected would range from 26-28 million through 2026. CBO also estimated the percentage of insured among all U.S. residents would remain at 90% through that period, 92-93% excluding unauthorized immigrants.[4]

Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[199] As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[200]

The Congressional Budget Office reported in March 2016 that there were approximately 12 million people covered by the exchanges (10 million of whom received subsidies to help pay for insurance) and 11 million made eligible for Medicaid by the law, a subtotal of 23 million people. An additional 1 million were covered by the ACA’s “Basic Health Program,” for a total of 24 million.[4] CBO also estimated that the ACA would reduce the net number of uninsured by 22 million in 2016, using a slightly different computation for the above figures totaling ACA coverage of 26 million, less 4 million for reductions in “employment-based coverage” and “non-group and other coverage.”[4] The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimated that 20.0 million adults (aged 18–64) gained healthcare coverage via ACA as of February 2016, a 2.4 million increase over September 2015. HHS estimated that this 20.0 million included: a) 17.7 million from the start of open enrollment in 2013-2016; and b) 2.3 million young adults aged 19–25 who initially gained insurance from 2010-2013, as they were allowed to remain on their parent’s plans until age 26. Of the 20.0 million, an estimated 6.1 million were aged 19–25.[5]

By 2017, nearly 70% of those on the exchanges could purchase insurance for less than $75/month after subsidies, which rose to offset significant pre-subsidy price increases in the exchange markets.[201] Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[202]

The ACA also helps reduce income inequality measured after taxes, due to higher taxes on the top 5% of income earners and both subsidies and Medicaid expansion for lower-income persons.[203] CBO estimated that subsidies paid under the law in 2016 averaged $4,240 per person for 10 million individuals receiving them, roughly $42 billion. For scale, the subsidy for the employer market, in the form of exempting from taxation those health insurance premiums paid on behalf of employees by employers, was approximately $1,700 per person in 2016, or $266 billion total in the employer market. The employer market subsidy was not changed by the law.[4]

Insurance exchanges

As of August 2016, 15 states operated their own exchanges. Other states either used the federal exchange, or operated in partnership with or supported by the federal government.[204]

Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion by state.[205]

  Adopted the Medicaid expansion
  Medicaid expansion under discussion
  Not adopting Medicaid expansion

As of December 2016 there were 32 states (including Washington DC) that had adopted the Medicaid extension, while 19 states had not.[200] Those states that expanded Medicaid had a 7.3% uninsured rate on average in the first quarter of 2016, while those that did not expand Medicaid had a 14.1% uninsured rate, among adults aged 18 to 64.[199] Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2012, which held that states would not lose Medicaid funding if they didn’t expand Medicaid under the ACA, several states rejected expanded Medicaid coverage. Over half of the national uninsured population lived in those states.[206] In a report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent above previous estimates. An estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[207] The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in October 2015 that 3.1 million additional people were not covered because of states that rejected the Medicaid expansion.[208]

States that rejected the Medicaid expansion could maintain their Medicaid eligibility thresholds, which in many states were significantly below 133% of the poverty line.[209]Many states did not make Medicaid available to childless adults at any income level.[210] Because subsidies on exchange insurance plans were not available to those below the poverty line, such individuals had no new options.[211][212] For example, in Kansas, where only able-bodied adults with children and with an income below 32% of the poverty line were eligible for Medicaid, those with incomes from 32% to 100% of the poverty level ($6,250 to $19,530 for a family of three) were ineligible for both Medicaid and federal subsidies to buy insurance. Absent children, able-bodied adults were not eligible for Medicaid in Kansas.[206]

Studies of the impact of state decisions to reject the Medicaid expansion calculated that up to 6.4 million people could fall into this status.[213] The federal government initially paid for 100% of the expansion (through 2016). The subsidy tapered to 90% by 2020 and continued to shrink thereafter.[214] Several states argued that they could not afford their 10% contribution.[214][215] Studies suggested that rejecting the expansion would cost more than expanding Medicaid due to increased spending on uncompensated emergency care that otherwise would have been partially paid for by Medicaid coverage,[216]

A 2016 study led by Harvard University health economics professor Benjamin Sommers found that residents of Kentucky and Arkansas, which both accepted the Medicaid expansion, were more likely to receive health care services and less likely to incur emergency room costs or have trouble paying their medical bills than before the expansion. Residents of Texas, which did not accept the Medicaid expansion, did not see a similar improvement during the same period.[217] Kentucky opted for increased managed care, while Arkansas subsidized private insurance. The new Arkansas and Kentucky governors have proposed reducing or modifying their programs. Between 2013 and 2015, the uninsured rate dropped from 42% to 14% in Arkansas and from 40% to 9% in Kentucky, compared with 39% to 32% in Texas. Specific improvements included additional primary and preventive care, fewer emergency departments visits, reported higher quality care, improved health, improved drug affordability, reduced out-of-pocket spending and increased outpatient visits, increased diabetes screening, glucose testing among diabetes patients and regular care for chronic conditions.[218]

A 2016 DHHS study found that states that expanded Medicaid had lower premiums on exchange policies, because they had fewer low-income enrollees, whose health on is worse than that of those with higher income.[219]

Healthcare insurance costs

U.S. healthcare cost information, including rate of change, per-capita, and percent of GDP. (Data source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services[220])

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[221] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[222]

Healthcare premium cost increases in the employer market continued to moderate after the implementation of the law. For example, healthcare premiums for those covered by employers rose by 69% from 2000-2005, but only 27% from 2010 to 2015,[6] with only a 3% increase from 2015 to 2016.[202] From 2008-2010 (prior to Obamacare) health insurance premiums rose by an average of 10% per year.[223]

Several studies found that the financial crisis and accompanying recession could not account for the entirety of the slowdown and that structural changes likely share at least partial credit.[224][225][226][227] A 2013 study estimated that changes to the health system had been responsible for about a quarter of the recent reduction in inflation.[228] Paul Krawzak claimed that even if cost controls succeed in reducing the amount spent on healthcare, such efforts on their own may be insufficient to outweigh the long-term burden placed by demographic changes, particularly the growth of the population on Medicare.[229]

In a 2016 review of the ACA published in JAMA, Barack Obama himself wrote that from 2010 through 2014 mean annual growth in real per-enrollee Medicare spending was negative, down from a mean of 4.7% per year from 2000 through 2005 and 2.4% per year from 2006 to 2010; similarly, mean real per-enrollee growth in private insurance spending was 1.1% per year over the period, compared with a mean of 6.5% from 2000 through 2005 and 3.4% from 2005 to 2010.[230]

Effect on deductibles and co-payments

While health insurance premium costs have moderated, some of this is because of insurance policies that have a higher deductible, co-payments and out-of-pocket maximums that shift costs from insurers to patients. In addition, many employees are choosing to combine a health savings account with higher deductible plans, making the impact of the ACA difficult to determine precisely.

For those who obtain their insurance through their employer (“group market”), a 2016 survey found that:

  • Deductibles grew by 63% from 2011 to 2016, while premiums increased 19% and worker earnings grew by 11%.
  • In 2016, 4 in 5 workers had an insurance deductible, which averaged $1,478. For firms with less than 200 employees, the deductible averaged $2,069.
  • The percentage of workers with a deductible of at least $1,000 grew from 10% in 2006 to 51% in 2016. The 2016 figure drops to 38% after taking employer contributions into account.[231]

For the “non-group” market, of which two-thirds are covered by the ACA exchanges, a survey of 2015 data found that:

  • 49% had individual deductibles of at least $1,500 ($3,000 for family), up from 36% in 2014.
  • Many marketplace enrollees qualify for cost-sharing subsidies that reduce their net deductible.
  • While about 75% of enrollees were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their choice of doctors and hospitals, only 50% had such satisfaction with their annual deductible.
  • While 52% of those covered by the ACA exchanges felt “well protected” by their insurance, in the group market 63% felt that way.[232]

Health outcomes

Insurance coverage helps save lives, by encouraging early detection and prevention of dangerous medical conditions. According to a 2014 study, the ACA likely prevented an estimated 50,000 preventable patient deaths from 2010 to 2013.[233]City University public health professors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler wrote in January 2017 that a rollback of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion alone would cause an estimated 43,956 deaths annually.[234]

Federal deficit

CBO estimates of revenue and impact on deficit

The CBO reported in several studies that the ACA would reduce the deficit, and that repealing it would increase the deficit.[7][8][235][236] The 2011 comprehensive CBO estimate projected a net deficit reduction of more than $200 billion during the 2012–2021 period:[8][237] it calculated the law would result in $604 billion in total outlays offset by $813 billion in total receipts, resulting in a $210 billion net deficit reduction.[8] The CBO separately predicted that while most of the spending provisions do not begin until 2014,[238][239] revenue would exceed spending in those subsequent years.[240] The CBO claimed that the bill would “substantially reduce the growth of Medicare’s payment rates for most services; impose an excise tax on insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and make various other changes to the federal tax code, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs”[241]—ultimately extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by 8 years.[242]

This estimate was made prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling that enabled states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, thereby forgoing the related federal funding. The CBO and JCT subsequently updated the budget projection, estimating the impact of the ruling would reduce the cost estimate of the insurance coverage provisions by $84 billion.[243][244][245]

The CBO in June 2015 forecasted that repeal of ACA would increase the deficit between $137 billion and $353 billion over the 2016–2025 period, depending on the impact of macroeconomic feedback effects. The CBO also forecasted that repeal of ACA would likely cause an increase in GDP by an average of 0.7% in the period from 2021 to 2015, mainly by boosting the supply of labor.[7]

Major new sources of increased tax receipts include:[95] higher Medicare taxes; annual fees on insurance providers; fees on the healthcare industry such as manufacturers and importers of brand-name pharmaceutical drugs and certain medical devices; limits on tax deductions of medical expenses and flexible spending accounts; a 40% excise tax on plans with annual insurance premiums in excess of $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family; revenue from mandate penalty payments; a 10% federal sales tax on indoor tanning services. Predicted spending reductions included a reduction in Medicare reimbursements to insurers and drug companies for private Medicare Advantage policies that the Government Accountability Office and Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found to be excessively costly relative to government Medicare;[246][247] and reductions in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that failed standards of efficiency and care.[246]

Although the CBO generally does not provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period because of the degree of uncertainty involved in the projection, it decided to do so in this case at the request of lawmakers, and estimated a second decade deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion.[241][248] CBO predicted deficit reduction around a broad range of one-half percent of GDP over the 2020s while cautioning that “a wide range of changes could occur”.[249]

Opinions on CBO projections

The CBO cost estimates were criticized because they excluded the effects of potential legislation that would increase Medicare payments by more than $200 billion from 2010 to 2019.[250][251][252] However, the so-called “doc fix” is a separate issue that would have existed whether or not ACA became law – omitting its cost from ACA was no different from omitting the cost of other tax cuts.[253][254][255]

Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton health economist, wrote. “The rigid, artificial rules under which the Congressional Budget Office must score proposed legislation unfortunately cannot produce the best unbiased forecasts of the likely fiscal impact of any legislation”, but went on to say “But even if the budget office errs significantly in its conclusion that the bill would actually help reduce the future federal deficit, I doubt that the financing of this bill will be anywhere near as fiscally irresponsible as was the financing of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.”[256]Douglas Holtz-Eakin, CBO director during the George W. Bush administration, who later served as the chief economic policy adviser to U.S. Senator John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign, alleged that the bill would increase the deficit by $562 billion because, he argued, it front-loaded revenue and back-loaded benefits.[257]

Scheiber and Cohn rejected critical assessments of the law’s deficit impact, arguing that predictions were biased towards underestimating deficit reduction. They noted that for example, it is easier to account for the cost of definite levels of subsidies to specified numbers of people than account for savings from preventive healthcare, and that the CBO had a track record of overestimating costs and underestimating savings of health legislation;[258][259] stating, “innovations in the delivery of medical care, like greater use of electronic medical records[260] and financial incentives for more coordination of care among doctors, would produce substantial savings while also slowing the relentless climb of medical expenses… But the CBO would not consider such savings in its calculations, because the innovations hadn’t really been tried on such large scale or in concert with one another—and that meant there wasn’t much hard data to prove the savings would materialize.”[258]

In 2010 David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General then working for The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, stated that the CBO estimates are not likely to be accurate, because they were based on the assumption that the law would not change.[261] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities objected that Congress had a good record of implementing Medicare savings. According to their study, Congress followed through on the implementation of the vast majority of provisions enacted in the past 20 years to produce Medicare savings, although not the payment reductions addressed by the annual “doc fix”.[262][263]

Economic consequences

CBO estimated in June 2015 that repealing the ACA would:

  • Decrease aggregate demand (GDP) in the short-term, as low-income persons who tend to spend a large fraction of their additional resources would have fewer resources (e.g., ACA subsidies would be eliminated). This effect would be offset in the long-run by the labor supply factors below.
  • Increase the supply of labor and aggregate compensation by about 0.8 and 0.9 percent over the 2021-2025 period. CBO cited the ACA’s expanded eligibility for Medicaid and subsidies and tax credits that rise with income as disincentives to work, so repealing the ACA would remove those disincentives, encouraging workers to supply more hours of labor.
  • Increase the total number of hours worked by about 1.5% over the 2021-2025 period.
  • Remove the higher tax rates on capital income, thereby encouraging additional investment, raising the capital stock and output in the long-run.[7]

In 2015 the Center for Economic and Policy Research found no evidence that companies were reducing worker hours to avoid ACA requirements[264] for employees working over 30 hours per week.[265]

The CBO estimated that the ACA would slightly reduce the size of the labor force and number of hours worked, as some would no longer be tethered to employers for their insurance. Cohn, citing CBO’s projections, claimed that ACA’s primary employment effect was to alleviate job lock: “People who are only working because they desperately need employer-sponsored health insurance will no longer do so.”[266] He concluded that the “reform’s only significant employment impact was a reduction in the labor force, primarily because people holding onto jobs just to keep insurance could finally retire”, because they have health insurance outside of their jobs.[267]

Employer mandate and part-time work

For more details on health insurance mandates, see Health insurance mandate.

The employer mandate requires employers meeting certain criteria to provide health insurance to their workers. The mandate applies to employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer health insurance to their full-time workers.[268] Critics claimed that the mandate created a perverse incentive for business to keep their full-time headcount below 50 and to hire part-time workers instead.[269][270] Between March 2010 and 2014 the number of part-time jobs declined by 230,000, while the number of full-time jobs increased by 2 million.[271][272] In the public sector full-time jobs turned into part-time jobs much more than in the private sector.[271][273] A 2016 study found only limited evidence that ACA had increased part-time employment.[274]

Several businesses and the state of Virginia added a 29-hour-a-week cap for their part-time employees,[275][unreliable source?][276][unreliable source?] to reflect the 30-hour-or-more definition for full-time worker.[268] As of yet, however, only a small percent of companies have shifted their workforce towards more part-time hours (4% in a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).[270] Trends in working hours[277] and the effects of the Great Recession correlate with part-time working hour patterns.[278][279] The impact of this provision may have been offset by other factors, including that health insurance helps attract and retain employees, increases productivity and reduces absenteeism; and the lower training and administration costs of a smaller full-time workforce over a larger part-time work force.[270][277][280] Relatively few firms employ over 50 employees[270] and more than 90% of them offered insurance.[281] Workers without employer insurance could purchase insurance on the exchanges.[282]

Most policy analysts (on both right and left) were critical of the employer mandate provision.[269][281] They argued that the perverse incentives regarding part-time hours, even if they did not change existing plans, were real and harmful;[283][284] that the raised marginal cost of the 50th worker for businesses could limit companies’ growth;[285] that the costs of reporting and administration were not worth the costs of maintaining employer plans;[283][284] and noted that the employer mandate was not essential to maintain adequate risk pools.[286][287] The effects of the provision generated vocal opposition from business interests and some unions not granted exemptions.[284][288]

A 2013/4 survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that about 75 percent of those surveyed said ACA hadn’t influenced their planning or expectations for 2014, and 85 percent said the law wouldn’t prompt a change in their hiring practices. Some 21 percent of 64 businesses surveyed said that the act would have a harmful effect and 5 percent said it would be beneficial.[289]

Hospitals

From the start of 2010 to November 2014, 43 hospitals in rural areas closed. Critics claimed that the new law caused these hospitals to close. Many of these rural hospitals were built using funds from the 1946 Hill–Burton Act, to increase access to medical care in rural areas. Some of these hospitals reopened as other medical facilities, but only a small number operated emergency rooms (ER) or urgent care centers.[290]

Between January 2010 and 2015, a quarter of emergency room doctors said they had seen a major surge in patients, while nearly half had seen a smaller increase. Seven in ten ER doctors claimed that they lacked the resources to deal with large increases in the number of patients. The biggest factor in the increased number of ER patients was insufficient primary care providers to handle the larger number of insured patients.[291]

Insurers claimed that because they have access to and collect patient data that allow evaluations of interventions, they are essential to ACO success. Large insurers formed their own ACOs. Many hospitals merged and purchased physician practices. The increased market share gave them more leverage in negotiations with insurers over costs and reduced patient care options.[115]

Public opinion

Prior to the law’s passage, polling indicated the public’s views became increasingly negative in reaction to specific plans discussed during the legislative debate over 2009 and 2010. Polling statistics showed a general negative opinion of the law; with those in favor at approximately 40% and those against at 51%, as of October 2013.[292][293] About 29% of whites approve of the law, compared with 61% of Hispanics and 91% of African Americans.[294]Opinions were divided by age of the person at the law’s inception, with a solid majority of seniors opposing the bill and a solid majority of those younger than forty years old in favor.[295]

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Congressional Democrats celebrating the 6th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in March 2016 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Specific elements were popular across the political spectrum, while others, such as the mandate to purchase insurance, were widely disliked. In a 2012 poll 44% supported the law, with 56% against. By party affiliation, 75% of Democrats, 27% of Independents and 14% of Republicans favored the law overall. 82% favored banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, 61% favored allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, 72% supported requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employees, and 39% supported the individual mandate to own insurance or pay a penalty. By party affiliation, 19% of Republicans, 27% of Independents, and 59% of Democrats favored the mandate.[296] Other polls showed additional provisions receiving majority support, including the creation of insurance exchanges, pooling small businesses and the uninsured with other consumers so that more people can take advantage of large group pricing benefits and providing subsidies to individuals and families to make health insurance more affordable.[297][298]

In a 2010 poll, 62% of respondents said they thought ACA would “increase the amount of money they personally spend on health care”, 56% said the bill “gives the government too much involvement in health care”, and 19% said they thought they and their families would be better off with the legislation.[299] Other polls found that people were concerned that the law would cost more than projected and would not do enough to control costs.[300]

Some opponents believed that the reform did not go far enough: a 2012 poll indicated that 71% of Republican opponents rejected it overall, while 29% believed it did not go far enough; independent opponents were divided 67% to 33%; and among the much smaller group of Democratic opponents, 49% rejected it overall and 51% wanted more.[296] In June 2013, a majority of the public (52–34%) indicated a desire for “Congress to implement or tinker with the law rather than repeal it”.[301] After the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, a 2012 poll held that “most Americans (56%) want to see critics of President Obama’s health care law drop efforts to block it and move on to other national issues”.[302]A 2014 poll reported that 48.9% of respondents had an unfavorable view of ACA vs. 38.3% who had a favorable view (of more than 5,500 individuals).[303]

A 2014 poll reported that 26% of Americans support ACA.[304] Another held that 8% of respondents say that the Affordable Care Act “is working well the way it is”.[305] In late 2014, a Rasmussen poll reported Repeal: 30%, Leave as is: 13%, Improve: 52%, i.e., 65% wanted to leave ACA alone or improve upon it.[306]

In 2015, a CBS News / New York Times poll reported that 47% of Americans approved the health care law. This was the first time that a major poll indicated that more respondents approved ACA than disapproved of it.[307] The recurring Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from December 2016 reported that: a) 30% wanted to expand what the law does; b) 26% wanted to repeal the entire law; c) 19% wanted to move forward with implementing the law as it is; and d) 17% wanted to scale back what the law does, with the remainder undecided.[308]

Separate polls from Fox News and NBC/WSJ both taken during January 2017 indicated more people viewed the law favorably than did not for the first time. One of the reasons for the improving popularity of the law is that Democrats who opposed it in the past (many prefer a “Medicare for All” approach) have shifted their positions since the ACA is under threat of repeal.[309]

A January 2017 Morning Consult poll showed that 35% of respondents either believed that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different or did not know.[310] Approximately 45% were unsure whether the repeal of Obamacare also meant the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.[310] 39% did not know that “many people would lose coverage through Medicaid or subsidies for private health insurance if the A.C.A. were repealed and no replacement enacted,” with Democrats far more likely (79%) to know that fact than Republicans (47%).[310]

A 2017 study found that personal experience with public health insurance programs leads to greater support for the Affordable Care Act, and the effects appear to be most pronounced among Republicans and low-information voters.[311]

Political aspects

“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was originally coined by opponents as a pejorative. The term emerged in March 2007 when healthcare lobbyist Jeanne Schulte Scott used it in a health industry journal, writing “We will soon see a ‘Giuliani-care’ and ‘Obama-care’ to go along with ‘McCain-care’, ‘Edwards-care’, and a totally revamped and remodeled ‘Hillary-care‘ from the 1990s”.[9][312] According to research by Elspeth Reeve, the expression was used in early 2007, generally by writers describing the candidate’s proposal for expanding coverage for the uninsured.[313] It first appeared in a political campaign by Mitt Romney in May 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa. Romney said, “In my state, I worked on healthcare for some time. We had half a million people without insurance, and I said, ‘How can we get those people insured without raising taxes and without having government take over healthcare?’ And let me tell you, if we don’t do it, the Democrats will. If the Democrats do it, it will be socialized medicine; it’ll be government-managed care. It’ll be what’s known as Hillarycare or Barack Obamacare, or whatever you want to call it.”[9]

By mid-2012, Obamacare had become the colloquial term used by both supporters and opponents. In contrast, the use of “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or “Affordable Care Act” became limited to more formal and official use.[313] Use of the term in a positive sense was suggested by Democrat John Conyers.[314] Obama endorsed the nickname, saying, “I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care.”[315]

In March 2012, the Obama reelection campaign embraced the term “Obamacare”, urging Obama’s supporters to post Twitter messages that begin, “I like #Obamacare because…”.[316]

In October 2013 the Associated Press and NPR began cutting back on use of the term.[317] Stuart Seidel, NPR’s managing editor, said that the term “seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular”.[318]

Common misconceptions

“Death panels”

Main article: Death panel

On August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin pioneered the term “death panels” to describe groups that would decide whether sick patients were “worthy” of medical care.[319] “Death panel” referred to two claims about early drafts.

One was that under the law, seniors could be denied care due to their age[320] and the other that the government would advise seniors to end their lives instead of receiving care. The ostensible basis of these claims was the provision for an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).[321] IPAB was given the authority to recommend cost-saving changes to Medicare by facilitating the adoption of cost-effective treatments and cost-recovering measures when the statutory levels set for Medicare were exceeded within any given 3-year period. In fact, the Board was prohibited from recommending changes that would reduce payments to certain providers before 2020, and was prohibited from recommending changes in premiums, benefits, eligibility and taxes, or other changes that would result in rationing.[322][323]

The other related issue concerned advance-care planning consultation: a section of the House reform proposal would have reimbursed physicians for providing patient-requested consultations for Medicare recipients on end-of-life health planning (which is covered by many private plans), enabling patients to specify, on request, the kind of care they wished to receive.[324] The provision was not included in ACA.[325]

In 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that 85% of Americans were familiar with the claim, and 30% believed it was true, backed by three contemporaneous polls.[326] A poll in August 2012 found that 39% of Americans believed the claim.[327] The allegation was named PolitiFact‘s “Lie of the Year”,[319][328] one of FactCheck.org‘s “whoppers”[329][330] and the most outrageous term by the American Dialect Society.[331]AARP described such rumors as “rife with gross—and even cruel—distortions”.[332]

Members of Congress

ACA requires members of Congress and their staffs to obtain health insurance either through an exchange or some other program approved by the law (such as Medicare), instead of using the insurance offered to federal employees (the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program).[333][334][335][336][337]

Illegal immigrants

ACA does not provide benefits to illegal immigrants.[338] It explicitly denies insurance subsidies to “unauthorized (illegal) aliens”.[25][26][339]

Exchange “death spiral”

One argument against the ACA is that the insurers are leaving the marketplaces, as they cannot profitably cover the available pool of customers, which contains too many unhealthy participants relative to healthy participants. A scenario where prices rise, due to an unfavorable mix of customers from the insurer’s perspective, resulting in fewer customers and fewer insurers in the marketplace, further raising prices, has been called a “Death Spiral.”[340]During 2017, the median number of insurers offering plans on the ACA exchanges in each state was 3.0, meaning half the states had more and half had fewer insurers. There were five states with one insurer in 2017; 13 states with two; 11 states with three; and the remainder had four insurers or more. Wisconsin had the most, with 15 insurers in the marketplace. The median number of insurers was 4.0 in 2016, 5.0 in 2015, and 4.0 in 2014.[341]

Further, the CBO reported in January 2017 that it expected enrollment in the exchanges to rise from 10 million during 2017 to 13 million by 2027, assuming laws in place at the end of the Obama administration were continued.[342] Following a 2015 CBO report that reached a similar conclusion, Paul Krugman wrote: “But the truth is that this report is much, much closer to what supporters of reform have said than it is to the scare stories of the critics–no death spirals, no job-killing, major gains in coverage at relatively low cost.”[343]

Opposition

Opposition and efforts to repeal the legislation have drawn support from sources that include labor unions,[344][345]conservative advocacy groups,[346][347] Republicans, small business organizations and the Tea Party movement.[348] These groups claimed that the law would disrupt existing health plans, increase costs from new insurance standards, and increase the deficit.[349] Some opposed the idea of universal healthcare, viewing insurance as similar to other unsubsidized goods.[350][351] President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “repeal and replace” it.[352][353]

As of 2013 unions that expressed concerns about ACA included the AFL-CIO,[354] which called ACA “highly disruptive” to union health care plans, claiming it would drive up costs of union-sponsored plans; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and UNITE-HERE, whose leaders sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi arguing, ” ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”[345] In January 2014, Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and D. Taylor, president of Unite Here sent a letter to Reid and Pelosi stating, “ACA, as implemented, undermines fair marketplace competition in the health care industry.”[344]

In October 2016, Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, said that the ACA had “many good features” but that it was “no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people” and called on the Minnesota legislature to provide emergency relief to policyholders.[355] Dayton later said he regretted his remarks after they were seized on by Republicans seeking to repeal the law.[356]

Legal challenges

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

Opponents challenged ACA’s constitutionality in multiple lawsuits on multiple grounds.[357][358][not in citation given] In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled on a 5–4 vote that the individual mandate was constitutional when viewed as a tax, although not under the Commerce Clause.

The Court further determined that states could not be forced to participate in the Medicaid expansion. ACA withheld all Medicaid funding from states declining to participate in the expansion. The Court ruled that this withdrawal of funding was unconstitutionally coercive and that individual states had the right to opt out without losing preexisting Medicaid funding.[359]

Contraception mandate

In March 2012 the Roman Catholic Church, while supportive of ACA’s objectives, voiced concern through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that aspects of the mandate covering contraception and sterilization and HHS‘s narrow definition of a religious organization violated the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and conscience. Various lawsuits addressed these concerns.[360][361]

On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 that federal subsidies for health insurance premiums could be used in the 34 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges.[362]

House v. Burwell

In United States House of Representatives v. Burwell the House sued the administration alleging that the money for premium subsidy payments to insurers had not been appropriated, as required for any federal government spending. The Obamacare subsidy that helps customers pay premiums was not part of the suit. Without the cost-sharing subsidies, the government estimated that premiums would increase by 20 percent to 30 percent for silver plans.[363]

Non-cooperation

Officials in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Wyoming, Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri opposed those elements of ACA over which they had discretion.[364][365] For example, Missouri declined to expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance marketplace engaging in active non-cooperation, enacting a statute forbidding any state or local official to render any aid not specifically required by federal law.[366] Other Republican politicians discouraged efforts to advertise the benefits of the law. Some conservative political groups launched ad campaigns to discourage enrollment.[367][368]

Repeal efforts

ACA was the subject of unsuccessful repeal efforts by Republicans in the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses: Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) introduced bills in the House to repeal ACA the day after it was signed, as did Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) in the Senate.[369] In 2011, after Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, one of the first votes held was on a bill titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” (H.R. 2), which the House passed 245–189.[370] All Republicans and 3 Democrats voted for repeal.[371] House Democrats proposed an amendment that repeal not take effect until a majority of the Senators and Representatives had opted out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; Republicans voted down the measure.[372] In the Senate, the bill was offered as an amendment to an unrelated bill, but was voted down.[373] President Obama had stated that he would have vetoed the bill even if it had passed both chambers of Congress.[374]

2017 House Budget

Following the 2012 Supreme Court ruling upholding ACA as constitutional, Republicans held another vote to repeal the law on July 11;[375] the House of Representatives voted with all 244 Republicans and 5 Democrats in favor of repeal, which marked the 33rd, partial or whole, repeal attempt.[376][377] On February 3, 2015, the House of Representatives added its 67th repeal vote to the record (239 to 186). This attempt also failed.[378]

2013 federal government shutdown

Strong partisan disagreement in Congress prevented adjustments to the Act’s provisions.[379] However, at least one change, a proposed repeal of a tax on medical devices, has received bipartisan support.[380] Some Congressional Republicans argued against improvements to the law on the grounds they would weaken the arguments for repeal.[284][381]

Republicans attempted to defund its implementation,[365][382] and in October 2013, House Republicans refused to fund the federal government unless accompanied with a delay in ACA implementation, after the President unilaterally deferred the employer mandate by one year, which critics claimed he had no power to do. The House passed three versions of a bill funding the government while submitting various versions that would repeal or delay ACA, with the last version delaying enforcement of the individual mandate. The Democratic Senate leadership stated the Senate would only pass a “clean” funding bill without any restrictions on ACA. The government shutdown began on October 1.[383][384][385] Senate Republicans threatened to block appointments to relevant agencies, such as the Independent Payment Advisory Board[386] and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.[387][388]

2017 repeal effort

During a midnight congressional session starting January 11, 2017, the Senate of the 115th Congress of the United States voted to approve a “budget blueprint” which would allow Republicans to repeal parts of the law “without threat of a Democraticfilibuster.”[389][390] The plan, which passed 51-48 is a budget blueprint named by Senate Republicans the “Obamacare ‘repeal resolution.'”[391] Democrats opposing the resolution staged a protest during the vote.[392]

House Republicans announced their replacement for the ACA, the American Health Care Act, on March 6, 2017.[393] On March 24, 2017 the effort, led by Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, to repeal and replace the ACA failed amid a revolt among Republican representatives.[394]

Implementation history

Once the law was signed, provisions began taking effect, in a process that continued for years. Some provisions never took effect, while others were deferred for various periods.

Existing individual health plans

Plans purchased after the date of enactment, March 23, 2010, or old plans that changed in specified ways would eventually have to be replaced by ACA-compliant plans.[citation needed]

At various times during and after the ACA debate, Obama stated that “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan”.[395][396] However, in fall 2013 millions of Americans with individual policies received notices that their insurance plans were terminated,[397] and several million more risked seeing their current plans cancelled.[398][399][400]

Obama’s previous unambiguous assurance that consumers’ could keep their own plans became a focal point for critics, who challenged his truthfulness.[401][402] On November 7, 2013, President Obama stated: “I am sorry that [people losing their plans] are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”[403] Various bills were introduced in Congress to allow people to keep their plans.[404]

In the fall of 2013, the Obama Administration announced a transitional relief program that would let states and carriers allow non-compliant individual and small group policies to renew at the end of 2013. In March 2014, HHS allowed renewals as late as October 1, 2016. In February 2016, these plans were allowed to renew up until October 1, 2017, but with a termination date no later than December 31, 2017.[citation needed]

2010

In June small business tax credits took effect. For certain small businesses, the credits reached up to 35% of premiums. At the same time uninsured people with pre-existing conditions could access the federal high-risk pool. Also, participating employment-based plans could obtain reimbursement for a portion of the cost of providing health insurance to early retirees.[405]

In July the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) took effect to offer insurance to those that had been denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. Despite estimates of up to 700,000 enrollees, at a cost of approximately $13,000/enrollee, only 56,257 enrolled at a $28,994 cost per enrollee.[405]

2011

As of September 23, 2010, pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied coverage for children’s policies. HHS interpreted this rule as a mandate for “guaranteed issue“, requiring insurers to issue policies to such children.[citation needed] By 2011, insurers had stopped marketing child-only policies in 17 states, as they sought to escape this requirement.[406]

The average beneficiary in the prior coverage gap would have spent $1,504 in 2011 on prescriptions. Such recipients saved an average $603. The 50 percent discount on brand name drugs provided $581 and the increased Medicare share of generic drug costs provided the balance. Beneficiaries numbered 2 million[407]

2012

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius decided on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional when the associated penalties were construed as a tax. The decision allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. Several did so,[408] although some later accepted the expansion.[409]

2013

In January 2013 the Internal Revenue Service ruled that the cost of covering only the individual employee would be considered in determining whether the cost of coverage exceeded 9.5% of income. Family plans would not be considered even if the cost was above the 9.5% income threshold. This was estimated to leave 2–4 million Americans unable to afford family coverage under their employers’ plans and ineligible for subsidies.[410][411]

A June 2013 study found that the MLR provision had saved individual insurance consumers $1.2 billion in 2011 and $2.1 billion in 2012, reducing their 2012 costs by 7.5%.[412] The bulk of the savings were in reduced premiums, but some came from MLR rebates.

On July 2, 2013, the Obama Administration announced that it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.[281][413][414]

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (or CLASS Act) was enacted as Title VIII of Obamacare. It would have created a voluntary and public long-term care insurance option for employees.[121][123] In October 2011 the administration announced it was unworkable and would be dropped.[415] The CLASS Act was repealed January 1, 2013.[416]

The launch for both the state and federal exchanges was troubled due to management and technical failings. HealthCare.gov, the website that offers insurance through the exchanges operated by the federal government, crashed on opening and suffered endless problems.[417] Operations stabilized in 2014, although not all planned features were complete.[418][419]

CMS reported in 2013 that, while costs per capita continued to rise, the rate of increase in annual healthcare costs had fallen since 2002. Per capita cost increases averaged 5.4% annually between 2000 and 2013. Costs relative to GDP, which had been rising, had stagnated since 2009.[420] Several studies attempted to explain the reductions. Reasons included:

  • Higher unemployment due to the 2008-2010 recession, which limited the ability of consumers to purchase healthcare;
  • Out-of-pocket costs rose, reducing demand for healthcare services.[421] The proportion of workers with employer-sponsored health insurance requiring a deductible climbed to about three-quarters in 2012 from about half in 2006.[224]
  • ACA changes[224] that aim to shift the healthcare system from paying-for-quantity to paying-for-quality. Some changes occurred due to healthcare providers acting in anticipation of future implementation of reforms.[120][225]

2014

On July 30, 2014, the Government Accountability Office released a non-partisan study that concluded that the administration did not provide “effective planning or oversight practices” in developing the website.[422]

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby the Supreme Court exempted closely held corporations with religious convictions from the contraception rule.[423] In Wheaton College vs Burwell the Court issued an injunction allowing the evangelical college and other religiously affiliated nonprofit groups to completely ignore the contraceptive mandate.[424]

A study found that average premiums for the second-cheapest silver plan were 10-21% less than average individual market premiums in 2013, while covering many more conditions. Credit for the reduced premiums was attributed to increased competition stimulated by the larger market, greater authority to review premium increases, the MLR and risk corridors.[citation needed]

Many of the initial plans featured narrow networks of doctors and hospitals.[425][not in citation given]

A 2016 analysis found that health care spending by the middle class was 8.9% of household spending in 2014.[426]

2015

By the beginning of the year, 11.7 million had signed up (ex-Medicaid).[427] On December 31, 2015, about 8.8 million consumers had stayed in the program. Some 84 percent, or about 7.4 million, were subsidized.[428]

Bronze plans were the second most popular in 2015, making up 22% of marketplace plan selections. Silver plans were the most popular, accounting for 67% of marketplace selections. Gold plans were 7%. Platinum plans accounted for 3%. On average across the four metal tiers, premiums were up 20% for HMOs and 18% for EPOs. Premiums for POS plans were up 15% from 2015 to 2016, while PPO premiums were up just 8%.[citation needed]

A 2015 study found 14% of privately insured consumers received a medical bill in the past two years from an out-of-network provider in the context of an overall in-network treatment event. Such out-of-network care is not subject to the lower negotiated rates of in-network care, increasing out-of-pocket costs. Another 2015 study found that the average out-of-network charges for the majority of 97 medical procedures examined “were 300% or higher compared to the corresponding Medicare fees” for those services.[citation needed]

Some 47% of the 2015 ACA plans sold on the Healthcare.gov exchange lacked standard out-of-network coverage. Enrollees in such plans, typically received no coverage for out-of-network costs (except for emergencies or with prior authorization). A 2016 study on Healthcare.gov health plans found a 24 percent increase in the percentage of ACA plans that lacked standard out-of-network coverage.[citation needed]

The December spending bill delayed the onset of the “Cadillac tax” on expensive insurance plans by two years, until 2020.[429]

The average price of non-generic drugs rose 16.2% in 2015 and 98.2% since 2011.[426]

2016

As of March 2016 11.1 million people had purchased exchange plans,[citation needed] while an estimated 9 million to 10 million people had gained Medicaid coverage, mostly low-income adults.[207] 11.1 million were still covered, a decline of nearly 13 percent.[430] 6.1 million uninsured 19-25 year olds gained coverage.[431]

Employers

A survey of New York businesses found an increase of 8.5 percent in health care costs, less than the prior year’s survey had expected. A 10 percent increase was expected for 2017. Factors included increased premiums, higher drug costs, ACA and aging workers. Some firms lowered costs by increasing cost-sharing (for higher employee contributions, deductibles and co-payments). 60% planned to further increase cost-sharing. Coverage and benefits were not expected to change. Approximately one fifth said ACA had pushed them to reduce their workforce. A larger number said they were raising prices.[432]

Insurers

The five major national insurers expected to lose money on ACA policies in 2016.[433] UnitedHealth withdrew from the Georgia and Arkansas exchanges for 2017, citing heavy losses.[204] Humana exited other markets, leaving it operating in 156 counties in 11 states for 2017.[434] 225 counties across the country had access to only a single ACA insurer. A study released in May estimated that 664 counties would have one insurer in 2017.[435][not in citation given]

Aetna cancelled planned expansion of its offerings and following an expected $300 million loss in 2016 and then withdrew from 11 of its 15 states.[436] In August 2016 Anthem said that its offerings were losing money, but also that it would expand its participation if a pending merger with Cigna was approved.[437] Aetna and Humana’s exit for 2017 left 8 rural Arizona counties with only Blue Cross/Blue Shield.[438]

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Minnesota announced that it would exit individual and family markets in Minnesota in 2017, due to financial losses of $500 million over three years.[439]

Another analysis found that 17 percent of eligibles may have a single insurer option in 2017. North Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina and Wyoming were expected to have a single insurer,[440] while only 2 percent of 2016 eligibles had only one choice.[441]

Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group also exited various individual markets. Many local Blue Cross plans sharply narrowed their networks. In 2016 two thirds of individual plans were narrow-network HMO plans.[425]

One of the causes of insurer losses is the lower income, older and sicker enrollee population. One 2016 analysis reported that while 81% of the population with incomes from 100-150% of the federal poverty level signed up, only 45% of those from 150-200% did so. The percentage continued to decline as income rose: 2% of those above 400% enrolled.[442]

Costs

The law is designed to pay subsidies in the form of tax credits to the individuals or families purchasing the insurance, based on income levels. Higher income consumers receive lower subsidies. While pre-subsidy prices rose considerably from 2016 to 2017, so did the subsidies, to reduce the after-subsidy cost to the consumer. For example, a study published in 2016 found that the average requested 2017 premium increase among 40-year-old non-smokers was about 9 percent, according to an analysis of 17 cities, although Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed increases of 40 percent in Alabama and 60 percent in Texas.[221] However, some or all of these costs are offset by subsidies, paid as tax credits. For example, the Kaiser Foundation reported that for the second-lowest cost “Silver plan” (a plan often selected and used as the benchmark for determining financial assistance), a 40-year old non-smoker making $30,000 per year would pay effectively the same amount in 2017 as they did in 2016 (about $208/month) after the subsidy/tax credit, despite large increases in the pre-subsidy price. This was consistent nationally. In other words, the subsidies increased along with the pre-subsidy price, fully offsetting the price increases.[222]

Cooperatives

The number of ACA nonprofit insurance cooperatives for 2017 fell from 23 originally to 7 for 2017. The remaining 7 posted annual losses in 2015. A General Accountability Report found that co-ops’ 2015 premiums were generally below average. At the end of 2014, money co-ops and other ACA insurers had counted on risk corridor payments that didn’t materialize. Maryland’s Evergreen Health claims that ACA’s risk-adjustment system does not adequately measure risk.[citation needed]

Medicaid

Newly elected Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order to accept the expansion, becoming the 32nd state to do so. The program was expected to enroll an additional 300,000 Louisianans.[443]

2017

More than 9.2 million people signed up for care on the national exchange (healthcare.gov) for 2017, down some 400,000 from 2016. This decline was due primarily to the election of President Trump, who pulled advertising encouraging people to signup for coverage, issued an executive order that attempts to eliminate the mandate, and has created significant uncertainty about the future of the ACA. Enrollments had been running ahead of 2016 prior to President Obama leaving office, with 9.8 million expected to sign-up, so President Trump’s actions potentially cost about 600,000 national enrollments (i.e., 9.8 million expected – 9.2 million actual = 0.6 million impact).[444]Of the 9.2 million, 3.0 million were new customers and 6.2 million were returning. The 9.2 million excludes the 11 states that run their own exchanges, which have signed up around 3 million additional people.[444] These figures also exclude the additional coverage due to the Medicaid expansion, which covers another approximately 10 million persons, as described in the impact section above.

In February, Humana announced that it would withdraw from the individual insurance market in 2018, citing “further signs of an unbalanced risk pool.”[445] That month the IRS announced that it would not require that tax returns indicate that a person has health insurance, reducing the effectiveness of the individual mandate, in response to an executive order from President Donald Trump.[446]

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini stated that ACA was in a “death spiral” of escalating premiums and shrinking, skewed enrollment.[447] However, a U.S. judge found that the Aetna CEO misrepresented why his company was leaving the exchanges; an important part of the reason was the Justice Department’s opposition to the intended merger between Aetna and Humana. Aetna actually pulled out of states where it was making money on the exchanges, while remaining in some states where it was not.[448] Further, the CBO reported in March 2017 that the healthcare exchanges were expected to be stable; i.e., they were not in a “death spiral.”[449]

Molina Healthcare, a major Medicaid provider, said that it was considering exiting some markets in 2018, citing “too many unknowns with the marketplace program.” Molina lost $110 million in 2016 due to having to contribute $325 million more than expected to the ACA “risk transfer” fund that compensated insurers with unprofitable risk pools. These pools were establish to help prevent insurers from artificially selecting lower-risk pools.[450]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act

 

Story 2: Obama Administration Spied On American Citizens Including Trump and Trump Team — Obama Scandal Far Worse Than Nixon’s Cover-up of Watergate Break-in — Legacy Fading Fast — Grand Jury Should Be Impaneled Now! — Videos

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BREAKING: Obama SCREAMS LIKE A BABY After Being Refused A Meeting With Trump At The White House

Four Secret Service agents and two United States Marines had a good laugh earlier today when Barack Obama showed up unannounced at the White House, demanding a meeting with President Trump. At first, the former president just nodded and waved and started walking through the door at the ellipse like he owned the place until he came face to face with Agent Brock Neidemeir, who used to serve on his detail.

After a short discussion, Neidemyer agreed to call down to the Oval Office and was told by Trump’s secretary Rosalita that he wasn’t welcome and that Trump had no time for him. Obama, being the sore loser that he is, started stomping around like a baby and demanding he be allowed in. People as far away as the south gate could hear him whining.

There’s no telling why Obama felt the need to show up at the White House or why he thought he could just waltz right in like he owned the place. One thing is for sure: Trump isn’t going to allow someone who knows how to do his job that much better than him come down the halls of the West Wing to show him up. He has real issues to deal with.

http://thelastlineofdefense.org/breaking-obama-screams-like-a-baby-after-being-refused-a-meeting-with-trump-at-the-white-house/

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The Pronk Pops Show 780, October 20, 2016, Part 1 of 2 — Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 — Story 2: Hillary Clinton Is Nurse Ratched! — Would Turn America Into An Insane Asylum — Videos

Posted on October 19, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Benghazi, Blogroll, Budgetary Policy, College, Communications, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Fast and Furious, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, IRS, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Mike Pence, Monetary Policy, News, Nixon, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Sector Unions, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Scandals, Science, Second Amendment, Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, Unions, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 780: October 20, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 778: October 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 777: October 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 776: October 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 775: October 13, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 772: October 10, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 769: October 5, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 768: October 3, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 711: July 1, 2016

Story 1: Who Won The Third 2016 Presidential Debate? Trump — Who Will Be Elected President of The United States? — Who Do You Trust The Most? — Trump — Verdict On Hillary Clinton’s Criminal Activities Given By American People on Election Day, November 8 —  Videos

 

Electoral College Projections as of October 19th

October 19, 2016

As we head into the final presidential debate, and with just under three weeks to go until the 2016 presidential election, here’s the state of the race from the viewpoint of 14 forecasters. You can find all the associated maps, as well as a few others, on our2016 Presidential Election Forecasts page.

Since our last update on October 13th, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s average total electoral votes are little changed. Clinton is at 300, Trump 187. Within Trump’s average, however, we are beginning to see an erosion in states where the Republican nominee is favored vs. those that are leaning in his direction. For example, a couple forecasters have moved Texas from favored to leaning.

Note that the statistical projections (shaded in gray) in the table may change several times a day as new input data (e.g., polls released that day) are processed by the models. This will lead to more variability vs. the other forecasters.

http://www.270towin.com/news/2016/10/19/electoral-college-projections-october-19th_398.html#.WAgvH-iAOko

Latest Polls

Wednesday, October 19
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Quinnipiac Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 7, Stein 1 Clinton +7
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton Quinnipiac Clinton 50, Trump 44 Clinton +6
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein IBD/TIPP Clinton 40, Trump 41, Johnson 8, Stein 6 Trump +1
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton IBD/TIPP Clinton 44, Trump 41 Clinton +3
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Bloomberg Clinton 47, Trump 38, Johnson 8, Stein 3 Clinton +9
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Economist/YouGov Clinton 42, Trump 38, Johnson 6, Stein 1 Clinton +4
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Reuters/Ipsos Clinton 42, Trump 38, Johnson 6, Stein 2 Clinton +4
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Rasmussen Reports Clinton 42, Trump 42, Johnson 7, Stein 1 Tie
General Election: Trump vs. Clinton LA Times/USC Tracking Clinton 44, Trump 44 Tie
North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson SurveyUSA Clinton 46, Trump 44, Johnson 6 Clinton +2
North Carolina: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson Civitas (R) Clinton 45, Trump 43, Johnson 5 Clinton +2
Pennsylvania: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Clinton 45, Trump 41, Johnson 4, Stein 4 Clinton +4
New Hampshire: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Clinton 44, Trump 36, Johnson 10, Stein 6 Clinton +8
New Hampshire: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein WMUR/UNH Clinton 49, Trump 34, Johnson 8, Stein 2 Clinton +15
Missouri: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Emerson Trump 47, Clinton 39, Johnson 5, Stein 2 Trump +8
Arizona: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Arizona Republic Clinton 43, Trump 38, Johnson 7, Stein 4 Clinton +5
Wisconsin: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Monmouth Clinton 47, Trump 40, Johnson 6, Stein 1 Clinton +7
New York: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Siena Clinton 54, Trump 30, Johnson 5, Stein 4 Clinton +24
Kansas: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein KSN News/SurveyUSA Trump 47, Clinton 36, Johnson 7, Stein 2 Trump +11
Utah: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein vs. McMullin Emerson Trump 27, Clinton 24, McMullin 31, Johnson 5, Stein 0 McMullin +4
Vermont: Trump vs. Clinton vs. Johnson vs. Stein Vermont Public Radio Clinton 45, Trump 17, Johnson 4, Stein 3 Clinton +28

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Presidential Debate – October 19, 2016

Full. Third Presidential Debate. Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. October 19, 2016

LIVE: Third Presidential Debate (C-SPAN)

Social media mocks Hillary Clinton’s ‘creepy grandma’ grin

Hillary Clinton ~~ Pure Evil Devil Laugh (Remix)

Trump: Clinton such a nasty woman

Donald Trump: We need to get out ‘bad hombres’

Trump: Justice Ginsburg apologized to me

TRUMP RESPONDS! Project Veritas Action – Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

UPDATE , A MUST WATCH Project Veritas #3

Fox & Friends 10/15/16 NEW Wikileaks Bombshell Hillary Clinton Open Border

WikiLeaks Doc Dump on Hillary! Calls for Open Borders in Leaked Emails! – 10/7/16

WikiLeaks Hits Hillary Clinton with a 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake | 08 Oct 2016

Michael Savage – If Trumps Wins Elite Will Blame Russia And Cancel Elections

RUSH: What In The World Happened To All The Trump Voters?

LIMBAUGH: Woman Who Claims Trump ‘OCTOPUSED’ Her Is MAKING IT UP!

Wikileaks Blows To Pieces Rigged Media, Project Veritas Destroys Democratic Party Operatives

Rigging the Election – Video I: Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

Rigging the Election – Video II: Mass Voter Fraud

FOX NEWS ALERT 10/18/16 Trump On Clinton Email Scandal This Is Big Stuff. This Is Watergate.

Hillary Clinton The Movie Banned by the Courts in 2008

3 Reasons Not To Sweat The “Citizens United” SCOTUS Ruling

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

Justice Scalia on Citizens United (C-SPAN)

Crooked Hillary Threatens to Ban Gun Ownership With Supreme Court Nominations

Hillary Clinton Outlines Plan to Abolish the Second Amendment

The Heller Ruling, Five Years On (Robert Levy)

Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times

PETER HASSON

Reporter, Associate Editor

A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show.

Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and “protesters” who tried — and succeeded — to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama during 47 of those 342 visits, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016.

Creamer, whose White House visits were first pointed out by conservative blog Weasel Zippers, is stepping back from his role within the Clinton campaign. (RELATED: Second O’Keefe Video Shows Dem Operative Boasting About Voter Fraud)

Hidden camera video from activist James O’Keefe showed Creamer bragging that his role within the Clinton campaign was to oversee the work of Americans United for Change, a non-profit organization that sent activists to Trump rallies. (RELATED: Activist Who Took Credit For Violent Chicago Protests Was On Hillary’s Payroll)

Scott Foval, the national field director for Americans United for Change, explained how the scheme works.
“The [Clinton] campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, The Foval Group goes and executes the shit,” Foval told an undercover journalist.
One example of the “shit” Foval executes was an instance in which a 69-year-old woman garnered headlines after claiming to be assaulted at a Trump rally.

“She was one of our activists,” Foval said.

Creamer’s job was to “manage” the work carried out by Foval.

“And the Democratic Party apparatus and the people from the campaign, the Clinton campaign and my role with the campaign, is to manage all that,” Creamer told an undercover journalist.

“Wherever Trump and Pence are gonna be we have events,” he said.

http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/18/exposed-dem-operative-who-oversaw-trump-rally-agitators-visited-white-house-342-times/#ixzz4Naebnlzy

 

 

Citizens United v. FEC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Citizens United” redirects here. For the political organization, see Citizens United (organization). For other uses, see Citizens United (disambiguation).
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 24, 2009
Reargued September 9, 2009
Decided January 21, 2010
Full case name Citizens United, Appellant v. Federal Election Commission
Docket nos. 08-205
Citations 558 U.S. 310 (more)

130 S.Ct. 876
Argument Oral argument
Reargument Reargument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history denied appellants motion for a preliminary injunction 530 F. Supp. 2d 274 (D.D.C. 2008)[1]probable jurisdiction noted128 S. Ct. 1471 (2008).
Holding
The Freedom of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. And the provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Alito; Thomas (all but Part IV); Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor (only as to Part IV)
Concurrence Roberts, joined by Alito
Concurrence Scalia, joined by Alito; Thomas (in part)
Concur/dissent Stevens, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor
Concur/dissent Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
McConnell v. FEC (in part)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558U.S.310 (2010), is a U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.[2][3]

In the case, the conservativenon-profit organizationCitizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts, which was a violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”.[4] Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][5] The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.[4] The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[6] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[7]

Background

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act) – specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C.§ 441b – prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, a docudrama critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the film and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[8] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:

The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[9]

In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[10]

In the District Court

In December 2007 Citizens United filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of several statutory provisions governing “electioneering communications”.[11] It asked the court to declare that the corporate and union funding restrictions were unconstitutional both on its face and as applied to Hillary: The Movie, and to enjoin the Federal Election Commission from enforcing its regulations. Citizens United also argued that the Commission’s disclosure and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutional as applied to the movie pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.. It also sought to enjoin the funding, disclosure, and disclaimer requirements as applied to Citizens United’s intended ads for the movie.

In accordance with special rules in section 403 of the BCRA, a three-judge court was convened to hear the case. On January 15, 2008, the court denied Citizens United’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the suit had little chance of success because the movie had no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote against Senator Clinton, that it was therefore express advocacy, not entitled to exemption from the ban on corporate funding of electioneering communications, and that television advertisements for the movie within 30 days of a primary violated the BCRA restrictions on “electioneering communications”.[12] The court held that the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC (2003) had found the disclosure requirements constitutional as to all electioneering communications, and Wisconsin RTL did not disturb this holding because the only issue of that case was whether speech that did not constitute the functional equivalent of express advocacy could be banned during the relevant pre-election period.

On July 18, 2008, the District Court granted summary judgement to the Federal Election Commission. In accordance with the special rules in the BCRA, Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court which docketed the case on August 18, 2008 and granted certiorari on November 14, 2008.[13]

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 24, 2009[10][14][15] and then asked for further briefs on June 29; the re-argument was heard on September 9, 2009.[13]

Before the Supreme Court

During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or labor union.[16] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring a writer to author a political book.[17]

According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.[18]

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the initial opinion of the Court, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to become the majority opinion.[18]

On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result – an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.[18]

According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on.[18] Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.[19]

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[20] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[21]

Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[22] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.[23]

Opinions of the Court

Majority opinion

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion[24] found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”[25]

Justice Kennedy’s opinion also noted that because the First Amendment does not distinguish between media and other corporations, the BCRA restrictions improperly allowed Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs.[4] The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).

The majority ruled that the Freedom of the Press clause of the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals therefore, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

The decision overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the decision said that Austinwas based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue in Austin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over the dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.[24]

The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.”[24] The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.

The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda.[24] Specifically, the Court echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant Freedom of the Press protections to media corporations, but not others, presented a host of problems; and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.

The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself.[24] The majority ruled for the disclosure of the sources of campaign contributions, saying that

…prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are “in the pocket” of so-called moneyed interests…This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.[26][27]

Concurrences

Chief Justice Roberts, with whom Justice Alito joined, wrote separately “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case”.[28]

Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the Court’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.[28]

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, and wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to theoriginal understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia said Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.”[29] Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.[24]

Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.[30]

Dissent

Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[31] was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90-page dissent from the bench.[32] Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the Court. He argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He added: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”[33]

Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”.[24] He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.

Stevens referenced a number of major cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”.[34] After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation.[24] Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.

Stevens’ dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:

First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside strict quid pro quo exchanges. He referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures.[24] The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.

Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he said, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions.[24] Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.,[35] where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.[24] Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.

Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established.[24] Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont,[36] and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.

Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”.[24] This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.

Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout his dissent, Stevens said that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.

Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to him because it did not relate to the facts of this case – if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to him, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”.[24] Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.

Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech.[37] Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.

Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending.[24] Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.

Stevens concluded his dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.[25]

Subsequent developments

There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.

Support

Politicians

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a plaintiff in the earlier related decision McConnell v. FEC, said:[38][39]

For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.

Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.[40]

Advocacy groups

Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit, said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”[41] During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.[42]

Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”[43]

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”[44]

Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”[45]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision,[46] saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration.[47] On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’sCitizens United ruling.[48]

Academics and attorneys

Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations – and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group – to make its voice heard” frightens them.[49] In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.[50][51][52]

Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberals and campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.[53]

Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.[43]

The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision.[54] Three of the seven wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.[54]Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”.[54] Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.[54]

Journalists

The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”[55]

Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”.[56] A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.[57]

Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”[58]

Opposition

Politicians

President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”.[59] Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.[60]On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law[61] to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” On television, the camera shifted to a shot of the SCOTUS judges in the front row directly in front of the President while he was making this statement, and Justice Samuel Alito was frowning, shaking his head side to side while mouthing the words “Not true”.[62][63][64][65][66][67]

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”[68]RepresentativeAlan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come.[69] Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment.[70] Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution.[71] Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision.[72] On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.[73][74]

Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”.[75] McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.”[68] Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”[76]

Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”

Ralph Nader condemned the ruling,[77] saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.[78]Pat Choate, former Reform Party candidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”[79]

Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender in the 2016 Democratic Primary, has filed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Decision.[80] Further, both Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said that, if elected, they will only appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to the repeal of Citizens United.[81] In September 2015, Sanders said that “the foundations of American Democracy are being undermined” and called for sweeping campaign finance reform.[82]

International

Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, speaking for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe‘s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (which has overseen over 150 elections) said the ruling may adversely affect the organization’s two commitments of “giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance” in that “it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena”.[83]

Academics and attorneys

Money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people
— David Kairys[84]

The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”[85]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”[86]

Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.[87]

Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear.[88][89] Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.[90]

The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementionedNew York Times article were critical.[54]Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” andFred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”[54]

Journalists

The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”[91]Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”.[92] The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.[93]

Business leaders

In 2012, Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, founded Stamp Stampede, a sustained protest to demonstrate widespread support for a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The campaign encourages people to rubber stamp messages such as “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians” on paper currency. In 2014, Cohen told Salon, “As long as the Supreme Court rules money is speech, corporations and the wealthy are using it by giving piles of it to politicians to pass or not pass laws that they want. Now, the rest of the people, [those] who don’t have that money, can actually make their voice heard by using money to stamp a message out.”[94]

Media coverage

Political blogs

Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack ObamaSamuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address.[95] There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate contributions dates back to the 1907 Tillman Act, and the ban on union and corporate expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.

Opinion polls

ABC-Washington Post poll results.

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.[96][97][98]

A Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.[99][100]

Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision.[101] In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll[102] found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.

Further court rulings

SpeechNow v. FEC

Main article: SpeechNOW v. FEC

SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.[103]

On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in SpeechNow.org. v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow.[103] A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals[104] struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.[105] In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures.[103] The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.[103]

Public electoral financing

Main article: McComish v. Bennett

On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases of Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.[106] Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics.[107] Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.[107]

As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.”[108] The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.[109]

State campaign-spending limits

Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”.[110] In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, 567, U.S. __ (2012).[111] The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.”[112] The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.[113]

McCutcheon v. FEC

Main article: McCutcheon v. FEC

In addition to limiting the size of donations to individual candidates and parties, the Federal Election Campaign Act also includes aggregate caps on the total amount that an individual may give to all candidates and parties. In 2012, Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican Party activist,[114][115] sought to donate more than was allowed by the federal aggregate limit on federal candidates.[116] McCutcheon et al filed suit against theFederal Election Commission (FEC).[117] In 2014, the US Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the DC District Court‘s dismissal of McCutcheon v. FEC and struck down the aggregate limits. The plurality opinion invalidated only the aggregate contribution limits, not limits on giving to any one candidate or party. The decisive fifth vote for McCutcheon came from Justice Thomas, who concurred in the judgment on the grounds that all contribution limits are unconstitutional.[118]

Legislative responses

Legislative impact

The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.[119]

After Citizens United and SpeechNow.org numerous state legislatures raised their limits on contributions to candidates and parties.[120] At the federal level, lawmakers substantially increased contribution limits to political parties as part of the 2014 budget bill.[121] Such changes are widely perceived as efforts to place candidates and parties on something closer to equal footing with organizations making independent expenditures.[121]

While many states and the federal government have raised contribution limits in response to Citizens United, proposals aimed at discouraging political spending, or providing for public financing of campaigns, have been less successful.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money, but the proposal has not been acted on by Congress. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.[92]

In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision.[122] In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively.[123] On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors.[124] The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certainspecial interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”.[125] The bill was criticized as prohibiting much activity that was legal before Citizens United.[126]

The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster.[127][128] A scaled down version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.[citation needed]

Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Although the decision does not address “corporate personhood,” a long-established judicial and constitutional concept,[129] much attention has focused on that issue. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling,[130] seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution.[131][132] In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”.[133] He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”[133]

Legislative reactions by state and local lawmakers

Members of 16 state legislatures have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.[134][135]

Most of these are non-binding resolutions. However, three states – Vermont, California, and Illinois – called for an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.[136] In Minnesota, the Minnesota Senate passed a similar resolution, “Senate File No. 17,” on May 2, 2013, but the House of Representatives returned the measure to the General Calendar (meaning the measure did not pass) on May 15, 2013.[137] Thirty-four states are needed to call an Article V convention.

On a local level, Washington D.C. and 400 other municipalities passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment.[138]

Since Citizens United, however, 13 states have actually raised their contribution limits.[120]

Political impact

The Citizens United ruling “opened the door” for unlimited election spending by corporations, but most of this spending has “ended up being funneled through the groups that have become known as super PACs”.[139]While critics predicted that the ruling would “bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics” allowing companies and businesspeople to “buy elections” to promote their financial interests, as of 2016, in fact large corporations still play a “negligible role” in presidential election spending. Instead large expenditures, usually through “Super PACS,” have come from “a small group of billionaires”, based largely on ideology. This has shifted power “away from the political parties and toward the … donors themselves. In part, this explains the large number and variety of candidates fielded by the Republicans in 2016.”[139] The ability of individuals to spend unlimited sums was first affirmed by the Supreme Court, however, not in Citizens United, but in Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976.

Super PACs

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no financial contributions to candidates or parties, and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.[140]

However, it took another decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5,000. In Speechnow.org, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate, but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.

Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election, in which single individuals contributed large sums to “super PACs” supporting particular candidates. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt Gingrich. Foster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s super PAC. Karl Rove organized super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.[141]

In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservative Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the liberal 21st Century Colorado have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending.[142][143] This has led to claims[144][145][146] of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.

In an August 2015 essay in Der Spiegel, Markus Feldkirchen wrote that the Citizens United decision was “now becoming visible for the first time” in federal elections as the super-rich have “radically” increased donations to support their candidates and positions via super PACs. Feldkirchen also said in the first six months of 2015 the candidates and their super PACs received close to $400 million: “far more than in the entire previous campaign.” He opined that super-rich donating more than ever before to individual campaigns plus the “enormous” chasm in wealth has given the super-rich the power to steer the economic and political direction of the United States and undermine its democracy.[147] In October 2015, the New York Times observed that just 158 super-rich families each contributed $250,000 or more, while an additional 200 families gave more than $100,000 for the 2016 presidential election. Both groups contributed almost half of the “early money” for candidates in the 2016 presidential election as of June 30, 2015 through channels like super PACs legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.[148][149]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

District of Columbia v. Heller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Dick Heller” redirects here. For the sportswriter, see Dick Heller (sportswriter).
District of Columbia v. Heller
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 18, 2008
Decided June 26, 2008
Full case name District of Columbia, et al. v. Dick Anthony Heller
Docket nos. 07-290
Citations 554 U.S. 570 (more)

128 S. Ct. 2783; 171 L. Ed. 2d 637; 2008 U.S. LEXIS 5268; 76 U.S.L.W. 4631; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 497
Argument Oral argument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history Provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 infringe an individual’s right to bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment. District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Procedural history Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Holding
The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Scalia, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito
Dissent Stevens, joined by Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer
Dissent Breyer, joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. II; D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22–4504, 7–2507.02

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was a landmarkcase in which the Supreme Court of the United States held in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution applies to federal enclaves and protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. The decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond federal enclaves to the states,[1] which was addressed later by McDonald v. Chicago (2010). It was the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.[2]

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia.[3][4] The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock“. Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning