Huffington Post Lies About Scott Brown to Cover Jeanne Shaheen’s Support For Raising Gas Tax

Let’s start with Jeanne Shaheen’s support for increasing the federal gas tax.  Despite pressure from her campaign, the Portsmouth Herald, one of the most liberal newspapers in New Hampshire, is standing by its story that Shaheen is in favor of raising the gas tax.

On June 9, the Portsmouth Herald reported that Shaheen, while speaking to the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials in Portsmouth, said that the increase may have to be part of a broader solution to fixing the country’s infrastructure needs. The story did not quote her directly.

“Shaheen said she believes the solution is going to involve ‘a whole variety’ of moves, including raising the gas tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1993, asking states to pay more of the burden and turning to the private sector for support,” the story read. … 

Howard Altschiller, executive editor of the Portsmouth Herald, said the Herald this month received requests from Shaheen’s campaign asking the Herald to change the story because they believed it was inaccurate.

He said he reviewed reporter Deborah McDermott’s typewritten notes, and said McDermott was sure about her reporting and that he believed the story was accurate.

“We stand by our reporter and our story,” he said.

In order to protect Shaheen, who very well could be the vote that keeps Harry Reid Senate President and thereby allows Obama to continue his lawlessness for another two years, the Huffington Post ran an attack piece on Scott Brown.

Here is what the Huffington Post wrote:

There are two problems with Brown hitting Shaheen on gas taxes. One is that Brown himself said during his campaign against Warren that he may be open to raising gas taxes, although he more often said he opposed increasing the tax.

But when you clink on the Huffington Post’s internal link what you get is that Scott Brown was apparently asked a question about the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, and he said that although he was keeping an open mind on Simpson-Bowles he thought that gas taxes were already high enough:

Asked whether he could support an increase in the gas tax – part of the so-called Simpson-Bowles commission’s omnibus proposal – Brown said, “We’ll see. It depends where it goes… By the way before we raise any gas taxes, we have plenty of money right now.”

Brown clearly is saying that he opposed the kind of gas tax increase that Shaheen just recently proposed.  It is, at best, misleading for the Huffington Post to claim that, simply because Brown said he was not going to dismiss Simpson-Bowles out of hand, that means he was “open to raising gas taxes,” especially when he went on to say that the federal government has a spending, not a revenue, problem.

Back to the Huffington Post’s attack-piece:

The second problem is that Brown, while a member of the Massachusetts state legislature, supported a bill that critics at the time called a “back-door” hike of the state gas tax. In 2003, then-Gov. Mitt Romney decided to raise by a factor of five the half-cent per gallon gasoline tax that fuel suppliers paid into a fund for cleaning up underground storage tanks. Romney also decided to stop dedicating that money to cleanups, and Brown voted in favor of that budget.

The link for the “back-door” hike does not reference any bill.  Rather, it simply says that then Governor Romney increased an assessment:

The smoking gun in all this was when the Romney administration, after boosting the assessment on wholesalers, made no increase in the appropriation for oil spills.

As for the vote on the budget, weren’t these the same people calling the GOP terrorists, anarchists, fascists, etc. for threatening not to pass a budget that funded Obamacare?  Yet apparently Scott Brown was supposed to vote to shut down Massachusetts government because the revenue from the assessment was not going to be dedicated to clean-ups.

The examples cited by the Huffington Post aren’t examples of Scott Brown proposing and supporting an increase in the gas tax, which is precisely what Jeanne Shaheen, according to the very liberal Portsmouth Herald, recently did.

There Are Liars, There Are Damn Liars, And There is Jeanne Shaheen

Well let’s start with the political LIE OF THE YEAR.  Jeanne Shaheen telling the infamous, ” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

And then there is the recent Hobby Lobby decision.  Jeanne Shaheen, or more likely some ghostwriter, penned an oped on the Hobby Lobby decision that began with “employers can now deny coverage for birth control.” That claim, that “now” employers can deny coverage is clearly untrue.

Under Obamacare tens of millions of women may be, to use Shaheen’s words, “denied” all of the 20 contraceptives that HHS says employers have to provide for free, never mind just the four that Hobby Lobby did not want to pay for based on religious beliefs. Quoting directly from the Hobby Lobby decision:

All told, the contraceptive mandate “presently does not apply to tens of millions of people.” 723 F. 3d 1114, 1143 (CA10 2013). This is attributable, in large part, to grandfathered health plans: Over one-third of the 149 million nonelderly people in America with employer-sponsoredhealth plans were enrolled in grandfathered plans in 2013. Brief for HHS in No. 13–354, at 53; Kaiser Family Foundation & Health Research & Educational Trust, Employer Health Benefits, 2013 Annual Survey 43, 221. The count for employees working for firms that do not have to provide insurance at all because they employ fewer than 50 employees is 34 million workers. See The Whitehouse, Health Reform for Small Businesses: The Affordable Care Act Increases Choice and Saving Money for Small Businesses.

So that is approximately 84 million people, according to the United States Supreme Court, whose employers can, to use Shaheen’s words, “deny” them birth control. Assuming one-half are women, that’s 42 million women whose employers can “deny” them birth control.

The obvious question is how can Jeanne Shaheen, on the one hand disagree strongly with Hobby Lobby and claim it allows employers to “deny” birth control, yet on the other hand be OK with the contraception mandate not applying to companies with under 50 employees or with “grandfathered” plans? Is she unaware of the exception for companies with under 50 workers and for “grandfathered plans,” or is she playing fast and loose with the facts like she did in the video above?  I would say the latter.

As I have blogged elsewhere, Hobby Lobby’s employers are only “denied” birth control coverage if the Obama administration fails to make the same accommodation for Hobby Lobby as it makes for religious nonprofits. Quoting from the United States Supreme Court decision:

… There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contra­ceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives.

In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of reli­gious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the em­ployees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of compa­nies whose owners have no religious objections to provid­ing such coverage. The employees of these religious non­profit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.

Although HHS has made this system available to religious nonprofits that have religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections. We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government’s aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty. And under RFRA, that conclusion means that enforcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate against the objecting parties in these cases is unlawful.

Jeanne Shaheen is misleading people by leaving this out of her op-ed and creating the false impression that Hobby Lobby is the ultimate decision-maker as to whether its employees get the free contraceptives mandated by Obamacare.

And, finally, let’s talk taxes.  Shaheen is doing a John Kerry on the federal gas tax.  She was for raising it before she was against raising it.  From the New Hampshire GOP’s website:

CONCORD – One month after clearly stating her support for an increase in the federal gas tax, Senator Jeanne Shaheen is now trying to conceal her support for the disastrous tax hike.

On June 8th, 2014, Senator Shaheen met with transportation officials in Portsmouth and said she would support a gas tax hike according to the Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth Herald columnist Douglas Rooks even congratulated Shaheen on supporting the unpopular tax hike.

“The idea of a gas tax increase has even won support from such cautious lawmakers as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who’s advocating an immediate increase for bridge projects,” wrote Rooks.

Facing a difficult reelection campaign, Shaheen is trying to shift her position and hide her support for a gas tax hike. The Concord Monitor reports that the Shaheen campaign is dishonestly trying to claim she opposes a gas tax increase while refusing to deny the accuracy of the Portsmouth Herald story on her support for it.

“Senator Jeanne Shaheen clearly announced her support for a burdensome federal gas tax increase that will hurt working families and damage small businesses. In the wake of Governor Maggie Hassan’s disastrous state gas tax increase, Senator Shaheen is trying to walk back her comments and hide her obvious support for more taxes,” said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. “Fortunately, Granite Staters are able to see through her dishonest election year stunt and realize that a vote for Jeanne Shaheen is a vote for higher taxes.”

Shaheen has been a longtime advocate of a gas tax hike. According the Union Leader, Shaheen supported an increase in New Hampshire’s gas tax as a state senator in 1995.

Shaheen also a history of hiding her position on tax increases during election years. As a state senator she was open to a broad-based tax. As a candidate for governor, she took The Pledge against a sales or income tax, then broke her word and proposed a disastrous sales tax.

“When it comes to taxes, Jeanne Shaheen is a proven liar. She is willing to do and say anything to get elected, break her word, and then saddle working families with higher taxes once in office,” said Horn. “Jeanne Shaheen has proved that she is a two-faced Washington politician who cannot be trusted to hold the line on taxes.”

BACKGROUND:

In June 2014, Shaheen Suggested Raising The Federal Gas Tax As A Solution To Funding For Infrastructure Investment: “Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., told a group of East Coast transportation officials that the United States is woefully behind other nations in adequately funding infrastructure, and it has to make a commitment to catch up. … Shaheen said she believes the solution is going to involve ‘a whole variety’ of moves, including raising the gas tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1993, asking states to pay more of the burden and turning to the private sector for support.”(Deborah McDermott, “Sen. Shaheen Calls For Investment In Infrastructure,” Portsmouth Herald, 6/9/14)

The Shaheen Campaign Won’t Deny The Accuracy Of The Portsmouth Herald Story On Her Support For A Gas Tax Hike: “The campaign could not confirm or deny whether the Herald article, which did not quote Shaheen directly, accurately portrayed her comments. The Herald reporter who wrote the article could not be reached for comment, but there is no correction accompanying the story.” (Kathleen Ronayne, Campaigns use gas tax increase as latest talking point, Concord Monitor, 7/6/14)

As A State Senator, Jeanne Shaheen Supported Raising The State Gas Tax: “Co-sponsor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-Madbury, who has participated in four previous bills studying the turnpikes, said many motorists ”want to know why they pay a toll to use a highway in their area when motorists elsewhere in the state do not.” She wants the state to look at raising the gas tax to ease the burden on those who use toll roads.” (Donn Tibbetts, “Additional NH Toll Road Study Could Examine Gasoline Tax,” Union Leader, 1/26/95)

The Nashua Telegraph Has Some Explaining To Do

Yesterday the Nashua Telegraph ran an op-ed by Jeanne Shaheen on the Hobby Lobby decision that began with “employers can now deny coverage for birth control.”  That claim, that “now” employers can deny coverage is clearly untrue.

Under Obamacare tens of millions of women may be, to use Shaheen’s words, “denied” all of the 20 contraceptives that HHS says employers have to provide for free, never mind just the four that Hobby Lobby did not want to pay for based on religious beliefs.   Quoting directly from the Hobby Lobby decision:

All told, the contraceptive mandate “presently does not apply to tens of millions of people.” 723 F. 3d 1114, 1143 (CA10 2013). This is attributable, in large part, to grandfathered health plans: Over one-third of the 149 million nonelderly people in America with employer-sponsoredhealth plans were enrolled in grandfathered plans in 2013. Brief for HHS in No. 13–354, at 53; Kaiser Family Foundation & Health Research & Educational Trust, Employer Health Benefits, 2013 Annual Survey 43, 221. The count for employees working for firms that do not have to provide insurance at all because they employ fewer than 50 employees is 34 million workers. See The Whitehouse, Health Reform for Small Businesses: The Affordable Care Act Increases Choice and Saving Money for Small Businesses.

So that is approximately 84 million people, according to the United States Supreme Court, whose employers can, to use Shaheen’s words, “deny” them birth control.  Assuming one-half are women, that’s 42 million women whose employers can “deny” them birth control.

The obvious question, and one that I haven’t see the Nashua Telegraph editorial page raising is – How can Jeanne Shaheen, on the one hand disagree strongly with Hobby Lobby and claim it allows employers to “deny” birth control, yet on the other hand be OK with the contraception mandate not applying to companies with under 50 employees or with “grandfathered” plans?  Is she going to call for the contraception mandate to be applied to the 42 million women who works for employers with less than 50 employees or who have “grandfathered plans”?

As I have blogged elsewhere, Hobby Lobby’s employers are only “denied” birth control coverage if the Obama administration fails to make the same accommodation for Hobby Lobby as it makes for religious nonprofits.  Quoting from the United States Supreme Court decision:

… There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contra­ceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives.

In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of reli­gious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the em­ployees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of compa­nies whose owners have no religious objections to provid­ing such coverage. The employees of these religious non­profit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.

Although HHS has made this system available to religious nonprofits that have religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections. We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government’s aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty. And under RFRA, that conclusion means that enforcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate against the objecting parties in these cases is unlawful.

Will the Nashua Telegraph call out Jeanne Shaheen for leaving this out of her op-ed and creating the misleading impression that Hobby Lobby is the ultimate decision-maker as to whether its employees get the free contraceptives mandated by Obamacare?

Fact-Checking the Local Press — Ronayne’s Capital Beat

Kathleen Ronayne covers the Hobby Lobby decision in this week’s Capital Beat:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision is re-engerizing Democrats around a message that’s been key to the party’s success in recent elections: We are the party that cares about women’s health and women’s equality.

Accuse me of nitpicking if you want, but it’s important to understand that under Obamacare tens of millions of women may be, to use Shaheen’s words, “denied” all of the 20 contraceptives that HHS says employers have to provide for free, never mind just the four that the Supreme Court said Hobby Lobby cannot be fined for not providing (because the government can provide these to Hobby Lobby’s employees through the same accommodation it makes for religious nonprofits).

Quoting directly from the Hobby Lobby decision:

All told, the contraceptive mandate “presently does not apply to tens of millions of people.” 723 F. 3d 1114, 1143 (CA10 2013). This is attributable, in large part, to grandfathered health plans: Over one-third of the 149 million nonelderly people in America with employer-sponsoredhealth plans were enrolled in grandfathered plans in 2013. Brief for HHS in No. 13–354, at 53; Kaiser Family Foundation & Health Research & Educational Trust, Employer Health Benefits, 2013 Annual Survey 43, 221. The count for employees working for firms that do not have to provide insurance at all because they employ fewer than 50 employees is 34 million workers. See The Whitehouse, Health Reform for Small Businesses: The Affordable Care Act Increases Choice and Saving Money for Small Businesses.

So if my math is correct, that is approximately 84 million people.  Assuming one-half are women, that’s 42 million women to whom the mandate does not apply.

The reason that this is significant and I think should have been noted in Ronayne’s column is: How can Jeanne Shaheen, and her Democrat colleagues, on the one hand disagree strongly with Hobby Lobby, yet on the other hand be OK with the contraception mandate not applying to companies with under 50 employees or with “grandfathered” plans?

Perhaps Shaheen is not even aware that the contraception mandate does not apply to tens of millions of women, as she writes in an op-ed that appears in the Concord Monitor that the Hobby Lobby decision means “employers can now deny coverage for birth control,” which suggests she is not aware that is precisely what employers with “grandfathered plans” and who employ less than 50 employees could do and were doing before Hobby Lobby.

This certainly is a question that Ronayne should ask Shaheen: “Senator, given your reaction to Hobby Lobby, are you going to call for the contraception mandate to be applied to the 42 million women who works for employers with less than 50 employees or who have ‘grandfathered plans’?”

Jeanne Shaheen Op-Ed on Hobby Lobby a Pack of Lies

In an op-ed published in today’s Nashua Telegraph, Jeanne Shaheen writes that the Hobby Lobby decision “allows certain employers to deny health insurance coverage for health care services – like contraception – that they find objectionable based on their religious beliefs.”  That is so far from the truth that it can only be described as a BLATANT LIE.

I already blogged about Hobby Lobby here.   The decision simply says that the owners of closely-held corporation cannot be compelled to engage in activity that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs when the government can achieve its objective through less restrictive means.

In the case of Hobby Lobby, the owners objected to paying for four contraceptives that operate after conception, the point at which they, based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, believe life begins. (Note — the owners had no objection to paying for the other sixteen free contraceptives mandated by Obamacare).  Contrary to what Shaheen writes in her op-ed, nobody is denied the four contraceptives in issue.  Rather, under the Hobby Lobby decision, the employees still get the contraceptives in issue for FREE.  It is just that the government has to pay for these contraceptives, which is the same accommodation that Obamacare already has in place for religious nonprofits.

Shaheen’s claims, which are part of a general campaign by Democrats to exploit the Hobby Lobby decision for partisan political purposes, are so outrageous that even liberal Harvard Law School Professor Larry Tribe, said so, on MSNBC of all places.  A summary of what Tribe said and the video follow:

1.  The Supreme Court was merely interpreting a Congressional Act.  It was not, elevating corporations above human beings.

2.  The religious beliefs of the owners of closely-held corporations don’t have to be burdened because the government can pay for the insurance coverages in issue (which as I noted above is exactly what already happens for religious non-profits under Obamacare).

3.  The decision is not as radical as some are asserting.

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Yet Jeanne Shaheen’s op-ed is based on the LIE, yes it is a LIE and a BLATANT LIE too, that under the Hobby Lobby decision, Hobby Lobby’s employees will be denied the four contraceptives in issue.

Jeanne Shaheen quotes liberally from Justive Ginsburg’s dissent.  The Wall Street Journal said “[h]er hyperbolic dissent is a political call to arms unworthy of a junior judge, much less the nation’s highest Court.”  Here is what Justice Alito had to say about Ginsburg’s dissent:

As this description of our reasoning shows, our holding is very specific. We do not hold, as the principal dissent alleges, that for-profit corporations and other commercial enterprises can “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Post, at 1 (opinion of GINSBURG, J.). Nor do we hold, as the dissent implies, that such corporations have free rein to take steps that impose “disadvantages . . . on others” or that require “the general public [to] pick up the tab.” Post, at 1–2. And we certainly do not hold or suggest that “RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on . . . thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby.” Post, at 2. The effect of the HHS-created accommodation on the women employed by Hobby Lobby and the other companies involved in these cases would be precisely zero. Under that accommodation, these women would still be entitled to all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing.

You would have thought that Jeanne Shaheen would be a little more reticent about telling political LIES after being called out for telling the political LIE OF THE YEAR on Obamacare. Clearly, that’s not the case.

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The Proof That Jeanne Shaheen is Not Telling the Truth About Hobby Lobby

On June 30, 2014, Jeanne Shaheen issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision:

“… Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women and I’m very disappointed by the ruling. Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.”

Shaheen’s statement is a damn lie.  What the Supreme Court said was that Obamcare violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as to Hobby Lobby because because HHS could have accomplished the objective, providing free contraceptive coverage as to the four types of contraception in issue, without causing the owners of Hobby Lobby to violate their religious beliefs that they would be paying for abortions if they paid for those particular contraceptives.  The Supreme Court pointed out that Hobby Lobby could be treated the same way religious non-profits are treated — “The employees of these religious nonprofit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.”

Here are relevant portions of the Supreme Court’s decision:

… There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contra­ceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives.

In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of reli­gious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the em­ployees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of compa­nies whose owners have no religious objections to provid­ing such coverage. The employees of these religious non­profit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.

Although HHS has made this system available to religious nonprofits that have religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections. We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government’s aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty. And under RFRA, that conclusion means that enforcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate against the objecting parties in these cases is unlawful.

Sadly, Jeanne Shaheen telling us the political “LIE OF THE YEAR” doesn’t seem to have been any accident:

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If We Had Listened to Jeanne Shaheen, ISIS Could Have Gotten Assad’s Chemical Weapons

Protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria began in March, 2011.  In August, 2011 President Obama said that Bashar al-Assad had to go.

So now let’s fast-forward to August, 2012, which is when Obama drew his “red line”:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

          And now  let’s fast-forward again to August, 2013, Assad crossed the “red line” in a big way, launching a chemical weapons attack near Ghouta which may have caused hundred to thousands of casualties. 

On September 4, 2013, Jeanne Shaheen, who votes with Obama 99 percent of the time, voted for a resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorizing Obama to use military force in Syria.

The problem is that, by this point in time, the nature of the opposition in Syria had changed radically.  Syria had become a magnet for Sunni extremists, including those operating under the banner of Al Qaeda.  An even more radical group than Al Qaeda, ISIS, had emerged that was so extreme it would be formally disavowed by Al Qaeda in February, 2014.  So it was no longer just the “Free Syrian Army” battling Assad.  It was Assad battling the Free Syrian Army and the Sunni extremists battling both and each other.

Degrading Assad’s military capability, as Obama proposed to do and Shaheen voted to do, could have resulted in Assad’s chemical weapons ending up in the hands of ISIS because Obama’s lack of a Syrian policy resulted in, as note above, Syria becoming a magnet for Sunni extremists.

Far Too Many Unanswered Questions About the Shaheens and the Stock Options

          The Boston Globe reported last week that in 2009, a California company named Ultrawave Labs entered into some type of an arrangement with Jeanne Shaheen’s husband, Billy, where Billy would act as an “adviser” to the company.  

          In November of 2009, Billy would purchase stock options in Ultrawave that according to Jeannie’s financial disclosure cost between $1,001.00 and $15,000.00.  We don’t know the precise cost because the disclose form from which we got this information allows Senators to report ranges.  

          From the disclosures, we know the “strike price,” the price at which Billy and Jeannie could buy the Ultrawave stock, was 25 cents per share.  But it’s unclear how many shares the Shaheens could have purchased.  

          It’s also unclear what the options were worth in 2009 and in later years because Ultrawave is not publicly traded.  We know from the disclosures that the Shaheens valued the options as worth between $1,001.00 and $15,000.00 in 2009.  So Billy might have paid $1,500.00 for options worth $15,000.00?  Or it might have been he paid $1,500.00 for options worth $1,500.00.  We just don’t know.   

          That same year, 2009, Ultrawave received $78,000.00 in “stimulus” money.  Jeannie not surprisingly –after all she votes with Obama 99 percent of the time– voted for the “stimulus.”  

          There are some pretty basic questions that still haven’t been answered.  I don’t know whether the press has asked and the Shaheens have refused to answer, but if the Shaheens are refusing to answer that needs to be reported.  

          To begin with, there is the timing:  why was Billy hired/retained in 2009, the year that Jeannie became a United States Senator.  Ultrawave was founded in 2007.  So it’s not like 2009 was the earliest Billy could have been brought on as an “adviser.”  When did Ultrawave first have contact with Billy?  How did they connect with him?

          The second is exactly what was the arrangement between Billy and Utrawave.  Was there a written agreement?  Was Billy to be compensated for “advising” the company based on his time, or a flat fee, a percentage of the company’s profits, or some other arrangement?  Or were the stock options his only compensation.

          The third is what type of “advice” could Billy have provided to this California company.  According to Bloomberg, “Ultrawave Labs, Inc. develops medical imaging solutions. It develops breast imaging solutions; and imaging solutions for the non-invasive real-time detection of cardiac diseases, such as in-stent restenosis.”  Billy, to my knowledge, has no technical expertise in these areas.  Why would a California company bring on a New Hampshire lawyer for legal advice?

          Fourth, did Ultrawave engage other “advisers” in 2009, or was a New Hampshire lawyer this Claiforia company’s only “adviser”?  If there were other “advisers,” who were they?

          Fifth, how many stock options did Ultrawave issue in 2009?  If Billy was the only person to have purchased stock options in 2009, why was that?  Was it a special offer just for Billy?  If there were others who purchased stock options in 2009, who were they and why were they offered the opportunity to purchase options.

          Sixth, why did the Shaheens let the stock options expire, if indeed the Shaheens did let the options expire.

          One possibility is that the value of the stock declined (or didn’t increase) and the Shaheens would have lost money if they exercised the options.  But we have no information indicating that this is why the Shaheens let the options expire.  We don’t know how many shares had already been issued when Billy bought the options.  We don’t know how many options, if any, were issued to others.  We don’t know what Ultrawave, which is not publicly traded, was worth in 2009 or subsequent years.  In other words, the Shaheens have provided no information whatsoever that allows anyone to perform a valuation of their stake in the company in 2009 or subsequent years.

          Seventh is what services (advice) Billy provided to Ultrawave.  If the answer is none, then it certainly looks like the stock options were nothing more than a quid pro quo, that the Shaheens received stock options in return for Jeanne Shaheen’s support.  Here too the Shaheens have been far less than forthcoming.  They have, to my knowledge, released no information regarding the work, if any, that Billy did for Ultrawave.

          Until the Shaheens provide satisfactory answers to the foregoing questions, the logical conclusion is that Ultrawave brought Billy on as an “adviser” for one reason and one reason only – his wife was a United States Senator and was in a position to affect federal spending that could benefit Ultrawave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hampshire’s Jeannie/Maggie Press and the Myth of 50 Different Obamacare Plans

         The New Hampshire Insurance Department has been claiming that there will be 50 different insurance plans to choose from in 2015, as opposed to the current 14.  The local press has been repeating that claim, without giving it any scrutiny.

         From the Nashua Telegraph:  “It’s possible that in 2015, New Hampshire residents will be able to choose from more than 50 plans instead of the current 14. Several of those new plans will offer coverage at all 26 hospitals.”  The Concord Monitor:  “With these additional carriers, the number of distinct plans is also expected to grow from 14 in 2014 to more than 50 in 2015.”  NHPR:  “Consumers will have more than 50 plans to choose from next year on the Affordable Care Act health exchange.”

          The Insurance Department’s claim that there are going to be 50 different plans next year is like saying the option of leasing a Toyota Avalon with limited monthly mileage and a limited area you can drive it, versus unlimited mileage but a limited driving area, versus no limitations means that you have the choice of leasing three different cars.  You tell the salesman, “I would prefer to lease a Corolla, that meets all my needs.”  The salesman says, “sorry, but we can no longer lease you a Corolla, the government has determined that it’s ‘junk.’”  So you say, “OK well how about the Camry, I want to lease that instead of the Avalon.  It’s more than I need, but that would be better than the Avalon.”  And the salesman says, “Can’t do that either, the minimum that we can offer, unless you fall into a special exception, which you don’t, is the Avalon.”  That’s how Obamacare works.

          More particularly, only 4 types of insurance plans can be sold on the Obamacare exchanges, the “Bronze,” “Silver,” “Gold” and “Platinum” plans.  People under 30 and people with hardship exemptions can buy a “catastrophic” health plan through the marketplace, but those are not generally available.  All of the “metal” Obamacare plans must offer “essential” coverage.  And this is why I used the Avalon versus the Camry versus the Corolla analogy above.  The “essential” coverages under Obamacare are not essential.  For example, if you are a single male in his twenties, or a couple in your sixties, you must still purchase maternity coverage, including a breast pump.  If you are a teetotaler you still have to purchase “substance abuse disorder services.”  “Preventative and wellness” coverages are not optional; they are mandatory.  The list goes on, so suffice it to say that Obamacare is a one-size-fits-all-top-down-government-knows-better-for-you-than-you-do approach to health insurance.

          Given the expansive definition of “essential coverage” under Obamacare, the real difference between the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans comes down to how they cover, not what they cover.  For example, Bronze plans are the cheapest because insurers pay only 60 percent of covered health expenses, while the policy holder must come up with the other 40 percent.  The split for Silver plans is 70 percent to 30 percent.  For Gold plans, 80 percent to 20 percent.  And for Platinum, 90 percent to 10 percent.

          So how does the Insurance Department get 50 different insurance plans in 2015?  I assume that what Sevigny and company are referring to is the option to buy the four “metal” plans via a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Participating Provider Options (PPO) or Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP), which can be paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

          The HMO limits the consumers to the doctors, clinics and hospitals within the HMO’s network, and you need a referral.  To use my Toyota analogy, you get a cheaper lease payment because you need permission to drive outside a 25 mile radius from your home and you are prohibited altogether from driving the Avalon out of state.  The PPO is essentially an upgraded HMO where you don’t need the referral.  The CDHP like the option for “catastrophic coverage” is not generally available. 

           So the 50 different plans we are supposedly going to see in 2015 don’t provide real choice.  You don’t get to lease the Corolla; you don’t get to lease the Camry.  You have to lease the Avalon, but you’ll get all sort of choices as to how to lease the Avalon.  Choice for Sheeples.

 

 

 

Bob Smith Reminds Voters Why They Fired Him Over a Decade Ago

          You could call it ring-rust, to use a sports analogy, except Bob Smith ran for the U.S. Senate twice during his self-imposed more-than-a-decade-long exile to Florida after his primary loss to John E. Sununu in 2002.  No it’s just Bob being Bob.  There’s shoot first, aim later.  With Bob it’s talk first, think later.  Twice recently, Bob has put his big foot in his big mouth.  First, he suggested that American foreign policy in the Middle East comes down to two choices: isolationism or a genocide of Muslims like the Nazi’s genocide of Jews:

          Then comparing Jennifer Horn’s call for him to support Scott Brown or Jim Rubens should either be the voters’ choice in the GOP primary (Brown is on record as saying he will support whomever the nominee is) to supporting Hitler:

         It was precisely because of these types of bizarre statements and actions over a decade ago -leaving the GOP because they supposedly didn’t live up to Bob’s high principles, then coming back to the GOP after they gained control of the Senate so he could, through his seniority, have a Chairmanship- that the voters fired him.