Steve’s post earlier today is a great reminder of how over the last 200 years, free enterprise has led to an unprecedented explosion of wealth, individual liberty and creativity. Nothing in human history – putting aside for the moment the claims of religion – has enriched the human race to anything like the same degree. If human history has conclusively established any fact, it is that free enterprise is fantastically successful, while socialism is a pitiful failure. Think of North Korea, the USSR, Maoist China, Albania, East Germany, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, India until it wised up. The list goes on and on.
And yet… the siren song of socialism still lures suckers. Currently, Venezuela is learning the age-old lesson the hard way. But we can’t laugh at Venezuelans, when Bernie Sanders is a serious contender for our presidency and is far and away the campus favorite. How is it that socialism (or the urge toward socialism, anyway) can survive? It is the cockroach of ideologies, seemingly impervious to all efforts to kill it.
It may be helpful to think of socialism as a species of fraud. There are many types of fraud, but nothing new under the Sun. The same frauds that Venetian merchants guarded against persist today. The same con games that flourished hundreds of years ago still work. Charles Ponzi’s financial empire collapsed in 1920, and he was arrested and sent to prison. Yet hardly a month goes by without another Ponzi scheme being revealed. There is only one way in which a Ponzi scheme can end: in disaster. This is a mathematical fact. Yet people fall for them, over and over.
People seem to be drawn to fraud like moths to a candle. When I was in law school, I learned about a relatively ingenious fraud. Someone placed an ad in all of the major newspapers on the East Coast. All it said was: “Friday, March 31, is the last day to send in your dollar. P.O. Box 1234, New York, NY.” Many thousands of people sent in their dollars: they didn’t want to miss the deadline. The perpetrators of the scheme were prosecuted, but it was a close-run thing: what was the fraud? The court accepted the idea that the ad made an implicit representation that there was a benefit to be gained or an evil to be avoided by sending in one’s dollar, but it was a pretty skinny case.
In the realm of fraud, the wisdom of the ages is reflected in the adage that a fool and his money are soon parted. The same, I think, is true of socialism. Socialism is fraud writ large. It is a fraud perpetrated by the cynical and greedy on the ignorant and credulous, just like a Ponzi scheme. Only we can add: a fool and his freedom are soon parted.
Only under socialism could Fidel Castro become the richest warlord, relative to his subjects’ wealth, in recorded history. (And that was the least of his sins.) Only under socialism could Maria Gabriela Chavez, daughter of socialist tribune of the people Hugo Chavez, beloved by the American left, waltz off with a $4 billion fortune. But then, she was a piker: Chavez’s Minister of the Treasury stashed $11 billion in Swiss bank accounts.
Charles Ponzi’s mistake was that he should have gone into politics. He could have gone far as a socialist politician, and could have avoided prison.
Socialism is, I think, a species of fraud, but socialism is also much worse than that. A fraudster like Bernie Madoff will only take your money. A socialist will take your money, but that is just the beginning. When you give power to the power-mad, your freedom and human dignity, and perhaps your life, are soon forfeit. So socialism is a uniquely evil variety of fraud.
The bottom line, though, is that, just as the familiar types of fraud have endured for centuries even though they have repeatedly been exposed and are known to the well-informed, so socialism persists, and will continue to endure, as long as men and women fall for the lies and blandishments of the cynical, the greedy and the power-mad.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell awarded a rarely used open-ended sole-source contract to a firm whose corporate owners were embroiled in a $400 million fraudulent medical data scheme that cheated doctors and consumers, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.
The company Burwell selected is Optum Labs, which is part of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum subsidiary. Andrew Slavitt, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was formerly a top Optum executive at the time of the fraudulent database involved in the scheme. The database enabled insurers to pay dramatically lower reimbursements to doctors and patients for out-of-network care.
Optum and UnitedHealth Group settled the landmark fraud case with then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in 2009 and paid out a record $400 million. Optum Labs – which is one of nation’s largest medical data analytics companies – was not a party to the settlement.
Under the contract, Optum Labs will provide HHS with 160 million administrative claim records it accumulated over 20 years and 40 to 50 million electronic medical records it collected over the last seven years, according to Optum Lab spokesman Jeffrey Smith. Some of the records to be given to HHS are part of the database involved in the 2009 settlement, Smith says.
Cuomo – now New York’s Democratic governor – said at the time of the settlement that Optum and UnitedHealth Group had “ripped off patients” by rigging out-of-network reimbursements to providers and consumers. “Too many people have been hurt,” he said.
UnitedHealth Group’s insurance division, United Healthcare, is the nation’s biggest health insurance company and warned last month it may stop participating in Obamacare in 2017 due to unexpectedly large financial losses.
Slavitt left Optum to join CMS as deputy administrator and became acting administrator when Marilyn Tavenner stepped down after the troubled launch of Obamacare. Obama nominated Slavitt as the permanent administrator July 10, 2015, but a confirmation vote has yet to be taken in the Senate.
Slavitt was granted a rare “ethics waiver” by the Obama administration that permits him to rule on issues involving past employers. American Commitment, a conservative non-profit advocacy group, recently delivered to the Senate more than 20,000 letters it generated demanding rejection of Slavitt’s nomination.
It was clear from the beginning of the award process Burwell’s choice for the contract was Optum Labs. In a May 29 public notice, she declared the contract would be awarded without any competition, declaring, “this is a notice of intent, not a request for a quote. A solicitation will not be issued and quotes will not be requested.”
Optum Labs has hundreds of rivals. There are 971 health IT companies registered with the federal government under the same service code in which Optum Lab was awarded the account.
Burwell added in the May 29 notice that the sole-source contract also was a “blanket purchase agreement,” (BPA) which means the contract will provide continuous government orders without competing bidders. No dollar amount is specified for the contract.
Federal officials aren’t required by BPA procurement rules to issue any public notice or solicitation when the contract is up for renewal. The contract is for one year, with options to renew over the following four years. It started in September of this year.
“This seems like another example of the revolving door paying off for a contractor, and more proof that who you know might be more lucrative than what you know,” Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, tells TheDCNF.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, tells TheDCNF that “sole-source contracts by their nature raise questions about whether the taxpayers are getting the best deal.”
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance that oversees Obamacare, demands the administration justify its decision to offer Optum Labs a sole-source contract.
“The administration should be explicitly transparent about the reasons for any sole source contracts, and especially here where the firm getting the contract has been controversial,” Grassley tells TheDCNF.
“Companies would love to get that contract because it means that there won’t be any on follow-on competition and the agency will place their orders only with them,” says a 30-year senior procurement officer in an interview with TheDCNF.
The procurement officer who requested anonymity tells TheDCNF that “when they say ‘sole- source,’ that means they’re not going to look to other people. They’re not going to consider anyone else. They’re going to go straight to who they’re going to pick.” He requested anonymity because he is barred from speaking on the record due to his governmental post.
“A sole source BPA is an instrument that any company would be probably would be happy to have. Let’s not kid ourselves,” the procurement officer tells TheDCNF.
American Commitment president Phil Kerpen says “it’s rather remarkable that a division of Andy Slavitt’s UnitedHealth Group, Optum Labs, has now gotten an open-ended contract from HHS.”
Kerpen points to the ethics waiver that allows Slavitt to make decisions involving his former employers as an especially important factor in questioning the Optum Labs sole-source award.
“I think that certainly the perception of corruption is one reason why the unusual ethics waiver from the administration is so inappropriate. You now have a top executive of a company that does business every day, both as a regulated entity and as a vendor, with a top executive right there in the building,” Kerpen says.
CMS officials insist Slavitt is not involved in the Optum Lab contract. But an HHS spokeswoman refused to make public the memorandum of understanding between the department and Optum Labs.
The Optum Lab contract is with an obscure HHS operation called the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The House Appropriations Committee zeroed-out the agency in June. The bill is in the Senate awaiting action.
Republicans charge AHRQ duplicates many other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health for which congressional Republicans have increased funding.
Just as detractors of President Barack Obama’s healthcare power grab predicted in the midst of Democrat lawmakers shoving their unread law down the throats of the American people, the finished product is living up to expectations: it is filled with deceit, waste, misconduct, and “a big bowl of fraud,” according to several attorneys and investigators who spoke with the ConservativeBase.com’s editor.
Although non-profit, conservative watchdog groups have frequently reported corruption, misconduct, malfeasance and deception within the Obama administration’s signature program known as Obamacare, the Democrats and their news media partners found it relatively easy to dismiss the watchdogs’ reports by claiming a right-wing conspiracy.
However, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) officials – who report to the U.S. Congress and are reputed to be nonpartisan at least when their reports prove the Democrats’ point of view – released their latest “indictment” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on Friday, the majority of denizens in American newsrooms ignored the GAO’s disturbing report describing its undercover operation.
The PPACA requires the health-insurance marketplace to review application information to verify applicants’ eligibility for enrollment and to review eligibility for income-based subsidies or Medicaid for those claiming such entitlements. The verification process includes reviewing and validating information about an applicant’s Social Security number, if one is provided; citizenship, status as a national or lawful presence; and household income and family size.
GAO investigators reported that they tested application and enrollment controls for obtaining subsidized health plans available through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) (for New Jersey and North Dakota) and two selected state marketplaces (California and Kentucky). Although 8 of these 10 fictitious applications failed the initial identity-checking process, all 10 were subsequently approved by the federal Marketplace or the selected state marketplaces.
According to GAO officials: “To perform our undercover testing of the federal and selected state eligibility and enrollment processes for the 2015 coverage year, we created 18 fictitious identities for the purpose of making applications for health-care coverage by telephone and online.18 The undercover results, while illustrative, cannot be generalized to the full population of enrollees. For all 18 applications, we used publicly available information to construct our scenarios.
“We also used publicly available hardware, software, and materials to produce counterfeit or fictitious documents, which we submitted, as appropriate for our testing, when instructed to do so. We then observed the outcomes of the document submissions, such as any approvals received or requests to provide additional supporting documentation.”
Four applications used Social Security numbers that, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), have never been issued, such as numbers starting with “000.” Other applicants had duplicate enrollment or claimed their employer did not provide insurance that meets minimum essential coverage. For 8 additional fictitious applicants, GAO tested enrollment into Medicaid through the same federal Marketplace and the two selected state marketplaces, and was able to obtain either Medicaid or alternative subsidized coverage for 7 of the 8 applicants:
* Three were approved for Medicaid, which was the health-care program for which GAO originally sought approval. In each case, GAO provided identity information that would not have matched SSA records. For two applications, the marketplace directed the fictitious applicants to submit supporting documents, which GAO did (such as a fake immigration card), and the applications were approved. For the third, the marketplace did not seek supporting documentation, and the application was approved by phone.
* For four, GAO did not obtain approval for Medicaid; however, GAO was subsequently able to gain approval of subsidized health plans based on the inability to obtain Medicaid coverage. In 1 case, GAO falsely claimed that it was denied Medicaid in order to obtain the subsidized health plan when in fact no Medicaid determination had been made by the state at that time.
* For one, GAO was unable to enroll into Medicaid, in California, because GAO declined to provide a Social Security number. According to California officials, the state marketplace requires a Social Security number or taxpayer-identification number to process applications.
According to officials from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), California, Kentucky, and North Dakota, the marketplaces and Medicaid offices only inspect for “supporting documentation that has obviously been altered. So if the documentation submitted doesn’t show such signs, it wouldn’t be questioned for authenticity.
The latest survey by Rasmussen Polling shows that only 32% of likely voters believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Most voters (56%) continue to oppose Obamacare’s insurance requirement, and this is the highest level of opposition in nearly two years. Twelve percent (12%) remain undecided.
Obamacare premium costs will soar 20.3 percent on average in 2016 instead of the 7.5 percent increase claimed by federal officials, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016.
When data for all four plans are included, premium costs will actually rise on average 20.3 percent next year. The 2015 Obamacare price hike was 20.3 percent.
The Obamacare program’s federal exchange operates in 37 states where officials declined to set up state-run exchanges. Officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare Services, which manages Obamacare, only calculated price changes for the health insurance program’s Silver plan, thus ignoring data for the Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans.
The CMS officials said they did so because the IRS uses the Silver plan as a “benchmark” for tax purposes. That approach, however, gave consumers an incomplete picture of what is happening in the health insurance marketplace through the Obamacare program.
The DCNF analysis reviewed price data for all four plans obtained from CMS, insurance companies, state insurance regulators and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
The 20.3 percent figure is the average for all plans. Premium increases in some states will be much higher. In Utah, for example, some enrollees in an individual plan will face a 45 percent price jump. In Illinois, the highest price hikes for individuals in the federal exchange will be 42.4 percent. Some insurers in Tennessee will experience a 36.3 percent price rise.
Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS 7.5 percent forecast number is “misleading and a meaningless statistic” that “isn’t actually relevant to any individual in any state. If you go across the four different metals, what happened in the Gold plan, what happened in the Platinum plan, what happened to the Bronze plan?”
Charles Gaba, a data analyst who tracks Obamacare trends and is an Obamacare supporter, reported earlier this year that Obamacare consumers in all 50 states will experience an average 14.4 percent increase. His analysis can be found on his web site, acasignups.net.
“I was hoping they would include all of the rates,” Gaba told TheDCNF. “I would love it ideally if they had all the medal levels.”
Gaba called the CMS price analysis, “fairly representative, but there’s the Gold, the Platinum, the Bronze, the catastrophic plan even, and there’s also a variety of Silver plans. So there are a bunch of different ones in addition to the benchmarks which they did not include.”
The difference between premium cost projections based only on the Silver plan and those that result from using all four plans can be dramatic. Silver enrollees in Pennsylvania, for example, will experience a 10.6 percent increase. Using all four plans, the average price hike for Obamacare enrollees is 20.3. Time Insurance Co. pulled out of Obamacare after state officials rejected its 61 percent increase request.
South Dakotans using Silver will pay 24.7 percent more this year. But among all exchange users in the state, the average increase will be 39 percent. Dakota Care hiked its Obamacare exchange prices 63 percent for 2016, while Blue Cross Blue Shield raised its rates by 43 percent.
In South Carolina, the Silver increase will be 10.8 percent, compared to 23.4 percent when all four plans are considering.
Some worrisome trends appear when specific Silver plan offerings are measured against other medal levels. The National Conference of State Legislators has begun tracking Obamacare price hikes by levels.
In Colorado, for example, Silver customers will see a 12.94 percent price hike. But Gold users will face a 20.33 rate increase and Platinum enrollees will see a 29.80 percent price rise, according to NCSL data.
Idaho Silver customers will have an 8.69 percent increase. But Bronze customers will face 11.03 percent rise and Gold will face 15.9 percent, according to NCSL. Idaho did not offer Platinum coverage for 2016.
The mainstream media was quick to embrace the 7.5 percent number, claiming it reflected the real- world experience of most Obamacare customers. The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reported in a story filed last Saturday that “the [CMS] analysis includes all plans being sold in the 37 states that will continue to rely on the federal exchange next year.”
In fact, Platinum, Gold and Bronze price changes were excluded from the federal analysis.
Thomas Miller a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS is “always trying to put the best face on things going forward.” But, he said, “you got your initial press release. Only a few people catch up with what might be the final results.”
Nowhere has there been so much hand-wringing over a lack of “affordable housing,” as among politicians and others in coastal California. And nobody has done more to make housing unaffordable than those same politicians and their supporters.
A recent survey showed that the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco was just over $3,500. Some people are paying $1,800 a month just to rent a bunk bed in a San Francisco apartment.
It is not just in San Francisco that putting a roof over your head can take a big chunk out of your pay check. The whole Bay Area is like that. Thirty miles away, Palo Alto home prices are similarly unbelievable.
One house in Palo Alto, built more than 70 years ago, and just over one thousand square feet in size, was offered for sale at $1.5 million. And most asking prices are bid up further in such places.
Another city in the Bay Area with astronomical housing prices, San Mateo, recently held a public meeting and appointed a task force to look into the issue of “affordable housing.”
Public meetings, task forces, and political hand-wringing about a need for “affordable housing” occur all up and down the San Francisco peninsula, because this is supposed to be such a “complex” issue.
Someone once told President Ronald Reagan that a solution to some controversial issue was “complex.” President Reagan replied that the issue was in fact simple, “but it is not easy.”
Is the solution to unaffordable housing prices in parts of California simple? Yes. It is as simple as supply and demand. What gets complicated is evading the obvious, because it is politically painful.
One of the first things taught in an introductory economics course is supply and demand. When a growing population creates a growing demand for housing, and the government blocks housing from being built, the price of existing housing goes up.
This is not a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge. Economists have understood supply and demand for centuries – and so have many other people who never studied economics.
Housing prices in San Francisco, and in many other communities for miles around, were once no higher than in the rest of the United States. But, beginning in the 1970s, housing prices in these communities skyrocketed to three or four times the national average.
Why? Because local government laws and policies severely restricted, or banned outright, the building of anything on vast areas of land. This is called preserving “open space,” and “open space” has become almost a cult obsession among self-righteous environmental activists, many of whom are sufficiently affluent that they don’t have to worry about housing prices.
Some others have bought the argument that there is just very little land left in coastal California, on which to build homes. But anyone who drives down Highway 280 for thirty miles or so from San Francisco to Palo Alto, will see mile after mile of vast areas of land with not a building or a house in sight.
How “complex” is it to figure out that letting people build homes in some of that vast expanse of “open space” would keep housing from becoming “unaffordable”?
Was it just a big coincidence that housing prices in coastal California began skyrocketing in the 1970s, when building bans spread like wildfire under the banner of “open space,” “saving farmland,” or whatever other slogans would impress the gullible?
When more than half the land in San Mateo County is legally off-limits to building, how surprised should we be that housing prices in the city of San Mateo are now so high that politically appointed task forces have to be formed to solve the “complex” question of how things got to be the way they are and what to do about it?
However simple the answer, it will not be easy to go against the organized, self-righteous activists for whom “open space” is a sacred cause, automatically overriding the interests of everybody else.
Was it just a coincidence that some other parts of the country saw skyrocketing housing prices when similar severe restrictions on building went into effect? Or that similar policies in other countries have had the same effect? How “complex” is that?
An investigative blogger has accused Shaun King, a key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, of misleading media icon Oprah Winfrey by pretending to be biracial in order to qualify for an “Oprah scholarship” to historically black Morehouse College. The blogger says King is white and has been lying about his ethnicity for years.
King is a high-profile campaigner against “police brutality” and “justice correspondent” for the liberal Daily Kos website who told Rebel magazine in 2012 that he was biracial, with the magazine reporting that he is the “son of a Caucasian mother and an African-American father.” He has also described himself as “mixed with a black family” on Twitter.
King has been lionised by the press, praised as hero of civil rights and social activism. He has written extensively about a childhood in which he was terrorised by “decades old racial tensions.” He claims to have been “the focus of constant abuse of the resident rednecks of my school.”
Yet, in recent weeks, rumours have been circulating about his ethnicity. A 1995 police incident report lists Shaun King’s ethnicity as white. And blogger Vicki Pate, who has been assembling forensic accounts of Shaun King’s background and family tree on her blog, “Re-NewsIt!,” has published her findings.
King’s case echoes that of Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist from Washington who claimed to be biracial while in fact being of caucasian origin. Dolezal continues to insist she “identifies as black,” despite her parents revealing that she is entirely white.
If Pate is right, Shaun King, who often uses black and white photographs of himself online rather than colour images, may have misled African-American hero Winfrey by applying for and accepting an Oprah Scholarship to the historically black Morehouse College. Oprah Scholarships are given exclusively to black men.
In his Daily Kos diary, King refers to himself as a “brother,” writing: “Oprah Winfrey paid my way through Morehouse. The leadership scholarship that I received from her is why I have a college degree today. Five hundred other brothers have the exact same story.”
Shaun King’s biography has attracted the attention of bloggers and journalists thanks to several bizarre inconsistencies in his public claims. He often struggles when asked to recall basic facts about his own life. For instance, in August 2014, King wrote on Twitter that he was father to three “black girls,” while, six months earlier, he claimed to be father to four.
It is of course possible that a family tragedy is responsible for the inconsistency, but the unexplained change in biographical details is not a one-off. In October 2009, King claimed to have endured four spinal surgeries. By February 2010, the number of surgeries had shrunk to three. There is also some confusion about when an alleged car crash may or may not have happened.
As it turns out, these explosive new racial allegations are just the latest in a string of controversies surrounding Shaun King: on July 21, a conservative blog reported that his account of a “brutal, racially-motivated beating” in 1995, which at least two reports have described as “Kentucky’s first hate crime,” did not match up with a police report from the case.
“King, 35, has related the story of the hate crime on his blogs and in his recent self-help book, seemingly to bolster his credibility as an activist and as a self-help guru,” wrote the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross. “While King has said that he was attacked by up to a dozen ‘racist’ and ‘redneck’ students, official records show that the altercation involved only one other student.”
“And while King has claimed that he suffered a ‘brutal’ beating that left him clinging to life, the police report characterized King’s injuries as ‘minor,’” Ross reported.
This month, more details have emerged from King’s account that do not match up with the police report or eyewitness accounts from journalists who noticed that King’s public claims did not square with reality.
Remarkably, King’s own publication the Daily Kos, at which he is listed as a staff writer, ran a provocatively titled blog post in July of this year: “Is there something fishy about Shaun King?” The post alleged that people had been asking questions about King for some time and linked to the earlier Daily Caller report.
“While I know that it’s in a right-wing publication, there was something that prevented me from instantly dismissing the article… I’ve seen a number of people on Daily Kos complain that Shaun plays fast and loose with the truth,” wrote contributor Burt Miles. “So I started to do some digging on the Internet and found a lot of information which, if true, makes me very concerned about Shaun, his motives, and how his actions could reflect badly on this site and be used to smear the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Miles continued: “Is there anything to all this, or is it some kind of organized smear campaign? And, if it is a smear campaign, how does it involve so many different sites, publications and individuals?”
It was around the same time that Breitbart contacted Vicki Pate, who has been investigating King’s claims for several years. Pate provided key documents that appear to show that King has two white parents and that he has been lying to the public about his race.
One of them is his birth certificate, listing his parents as Naomi Kay Fleming and Jeffery Wayne King and a birth date of September 17, 1979 in Versailles, Kentucky. King had already told journalists his mother was white. So all that remained for Pate to determine was whether his father was white too.
King has always claimed that his father is black. But King’s father, Jeffery, is white, says Pate. She points to a man born 11 November 1955 in Campbell, Kentucky who has been the subject of multiple arrests, including for motoring and drug offences. That birth date would make him 23 at the time of Shaun King’s birth, the same age given on Shaun’s birth certificate.
The Jeffery Wayne King whose name and date of birth concord with Shaun King’s birth certificate is pictured below, in a 2007 police mug shot. Various documents give his name as “Jeffery” and “Jeffrey” Wayne King, names which are common variants of one another, but King Snr’s date of birth and place of residence is the same in all records.
What’s more, Pate says she has definitively linked the man pictured in these mugshots to Shaun King via Shaun’s brother, Kentucky Air Guard Russ King, who is also clearly caucasian. Finally, public records show only one J Wayne King in the state.
…………………………….Jeffery Wayne King in 2007
By 2015, Shaun King had finessed his account of growing up black and suffering discrimination. “I was raised in rural Kentucky,” he told the blog Generation Progress. “It was actually pretty rough. African Americans faced a lot of racism and discrimination growing up. I never really experienced overt racism myself until high school,” he claimed.
“I was put into a weird position when a huge group of students (who called themselves “rednecks”) hated me for no reason.”
We all know that people are the same wherever you go…
6:06 PM – 17 Aug 2015
King must have known while giving interviews as late as 2015 that Vicki Pate was tracking down his family history. But he continued to deliver craftily-worded answers to interview questions that gave the impression he was a person of color and that he had been the victim of hate crimes.
Neither is true, says Pate. She told Breitbart last night that King has never denied her accusations. “Shaun King has not denied the story to me, or anyone else, as far as I know,” she said. “Whenever it is mentioned on Twitter he simply blocks whoever is asking and reports them for ‘harassment.’ He did reply to one person but only to say, ‘Haters gonna hate.’ I myself have been suspended from Twitter just for posing the question.”
In a real-life story that seems taken out of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, a New York lawyer accused of fraud is actually asking for a trial by combat to settle a legal dispute.
Richard Luthmann says his bizarre request may sound ludicrous to most people, but it certainly isn’t against the law. He pointed out that the right to Trial by Combat was technically never outlawed in the state of New York, or anywhere else in America. “The common law of Britain was in effect in New York in 1776,” he told reporters “And the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution recognises the penumbra of those rights. It’s still on the books.” Historically, trial by combat was indeed a little-used but accepted aspect of English common law.
Luthmann, 35, feels that his request for a combat trial is fair, given that the legal dispute itself is silly and “baseless”. It started in 2013, when Luthmann represented the losing side in a lawsuit between two investment firms. His client, David Parker, was supposed to pay $550,000 to the opposition, but he disappeared without a trace. So the opponents decided to sue him instead, alleging the lawyer helped his client hide his assets in order to avoid payment.
After spending the past two years filing motions and countermotions against the other lawyer, Luthmann was at his wits’ end. “This is not a lawsuit anymore; this is an absurdity,” he told the New York Post. “So I will give them absurdity in kind.” That’s when he decided to make use of a loophole in the law and challenge them to a medieval-style duel to settle the matter.
In his brief, Luthmann asks “that the court permit the undersigned (Luthmann) to dispatch plaintiffs to the Divine Providence of the Maker for Him to exact His divine judgment once the undersigned has released the souls of the plaintiffs and their counsel from their corporeal bodies, personally and or by way of a champion.” Alternatively, he’s willing to settle for just having the case dismissed.
It sounds like a joke, but Luthmann is actually pretty serious about testing the power of the Ninth Amendment. “The judge may look askance at it, but I’m prepared to take it to the highest level,” he said. “I’d love to have a court determine whether we have those rights under the Constitution. This is a matter of honor.”
It’s highly unlikely that the judge will accept Luthmann’s request, but in any case, he’s prepared to go to combat dressed as Game of Thrones character Robert Baratheon. His weapon of choice – a warhammer.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Richard Chusid, feels differently about the issue. “It should be clear that we do not find the brief amusing and, we believe, neither will the court, both from a legal and ethical perspective,” he said.
You have to admit, seeing two lawyers fighting for their lives medieval style would be fun to watch.