Archives for November 2011

NFIB Healthcare Bulletin: PPACA’s Pyroclastic Plume

By Dr. Bob GraboyesNFIB Research Foundation, Senior Fellow for Health and Economics

A thick volcanic plume is flowing over the 2010 healthcare law. Rumbles are heard from the U.S. Supreme Court which, in 2012, will issue a fourfold constitutional judgment. To one centrist scholar, the law’s constitutional frailty suggests chambers of operational dysfunction beneath the surface. An NFIB study estimates how that dysfunction will waft over small business and the rest of the economy. And a Treasury Inspector General’s report indicates that the law’s overhyped tax credit provides little shelter. As the law sags beneath the ash, NFIB suggests twelve ways that Congress could begin to replace the law with real reform that improves healthcare and cuts costs.

The constitutional challenge: The U.S. Supreme Court announced on November 14 that in 2012, it will decide the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). From the many cases wending their way through the federal courts, the Supreme Court selected NFIB v Sebelius as the centerpiece of its deliberations. In March, the Court will hear arguments on four questions: (1) Is the unprecedented individual mandate constitutional? (2) If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, must it also strike down the entire law? (3) Does the Anti-Injunction Act require courts to wait until 2014 to consider constitutional challenges, since no penalties will be paid on the mandate until then? (4) Does PPACA’s massive increase in Medicaid unlawfully coerce the states into participating? A ruling is likely to come in June.

In 2010, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) joined with 26 of the 50 states to challenge the healthcare law’s constitutionality. A Florida federal court ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional and ordered the entire law struck down, since it lacked a severability clause. The Eleventh Court of Appeals agreed that the mandate was unconstitutional but allowed the rest of the law to stand. NFIB appealed the second part of that ruling, arguing that without a severability clause, the entire law must fall. More information on NFIB’s lawsuit is available at

Operational dysfunction: In a penetrating column, Walter Russell Mead (Bard College) explored the deeper significance of the lawsuit: “Writing a bill that passes constitutional muster should be easy in a Congress so rich in lawyers and legislation writers.  Writing a bill that successfully improves American healthcare delivery while controlling costs, on the other hand, is hard.  Very, very hard.  If they did so poorly at the easy part of their task, the part where we can actually measure and monitor their success, what kind of mess have they made of the hard and murky parts that nobody, including the authors of the bill, really understands?”

Job losses: NFIB has supported healthcare reform for decades but strongly opposed PPACA because it failed to do what Professor Mead suggested was important: improving healthcare delivery while controlling costs. As an example, the NFIB Research Foundation has just released a job-loss study enumerating the damage that PPACA’s higher costs will do to small business. “Effects of the PPACA Health Insurance Premium Tax on Small Businesses and Their Employees,” by Michael J. Chow, estimates the job losses that will result from just one provision of the law – PPACA’s health insurance premium tax. Chow estimates that this tax “will reduce private sector employment by 125,000 to 249,000 jobs in 2021, with 59 percent of those losses falling on small business.” This tax falls heavily on small business while bypassing big business, labor unions, and governments; and it is only one of a constellation of cost-increasers that small business faces in PPACA. NFIB is spearheading a repeal coalition aimed at dropping this tax; toward this end, H.R. 1370 and S. 1880 have been introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Credit oversold: At the same time, the most heavily-touted cost-decreasing measure in the law turns out to be a dud. PPACA supporters have argued that over 4 million businesses would benefit from a tax credit of up to 35% of the businesses’ health insurance costs (50% beginning in 2014). NFIB consistently said that the credit is fine for those who can make use of it, but that relatively few businesses would get much out of it. The preliminary figures are in now, and they are worse than NFIB’s pessimistic estimates were. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that as of mid-October, only 309,000 businesses had claimed the credit for 2010 and that the average credit per business was around $1,346 – not much of inducement to offer insurance.

Twelve doable reforms: Whichever way the Supreme Court rules, the country will need real healthcare reform that improves healthcare delivery and moderates costs. Toward this end, NFIB has posted a set of twelve NFIB Healthcare Solutions that could begin the task of replacing PPACA. The proposals include (1) Tax parity between the group and individual markets; (2) Tax parity between insurance purchased by the self-employed and groups insurance; (3) Defined contribution health insurance; (4) More transparent measures of cost, options, and quality; (5) Public and/or private exchanges; (6) Interstate insurance purchasing. (7) More risk-pooling options for small businesses and individuals; (8) Mechanisms to get insurance for those with pre-existing conditions; (9) Greater insurance portability; (10) Greater latitude for consumer-driven health insurance products; (11) Wellness incentives; and (12) Malpractice reform. These reforms are just a start and did not touch on two big areas where reform is needed: healthcare delivery systems and entitlements.


Those who wrote this law ought to go to bed each night fearing two things. Their lesser fear should be that the Supreme Court overturns PPACA, leaving their vision of healthcare reform as dead as Pompeii. Their greater fear should be that the Supreme Court doesn’t overturn the law, for then they will spend the next generation explaining the destruction they brought upon American healthcare and the American economy.

State Senator Sylvia Allen: Arizona In a State of Emergency

By Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen

The Arizona border remains under assault. This assault is not diminishing but increasing! Just south of Arizona, Mexico is in a state of civil war. The death toll in Mexico is more than 40,000 lives lost since 2006. Only the Mexican military is able to maintain any semblance of order, and many within Mexico are now even openly questioning “for how long?” In a recent exclusive interview with Newsmax, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said bluntly his nation was at “war” with drug cartels. “Everybody’s trying to deny that we’re going through a war but that’s what it is.”

Graphic photos of beheadings, kidnapping scenes, and mass graves are sent to me weekly in Border Briefing reports. The cartels/gangs have corrupted Mexican law enforcement at all levels, thereby protecting their illicit $12-billion-a-year criminal enterprise. You would think the United States government would be greatly concerned; you would think those in positions of public trust in Washington would spend at least as much time working on stabilizing Mexico as they do on Egypt and Libya. Yet hardly a word is said about the increasing problems and threats stemming from our immediate neighbor to the south other than the spin from Washington that “the border is safer now than ever.” But to those of us tasked with providing security to the citizens of Arizona and beyond, nothing of substance is said or enacted and, all the while, a war is headed this way. This war is real, and it is dangerous, and soon this war will be fought with increasing measures in America.

NewsMax devoted two months last Spring conducting more than 20 interviews during visits to border areas in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. They found overwhelming evidence that Mexico’s drug cartels have already penetrated deep into our nation’s heartland, and Americans are increasingly fearful.

As Chairman of the Arizona Senate Committee on Border Security, my committee heard testimony last year from many citizens who live in the border area. They reported home invasions, vandalism, stolen property, and a host of other criminal activities. An Intelligence Briefing to a Joint Session of Selected Legislators on November 10th, 2011, by Zack Taylor, retired Border Patrol Supervisory Agent, and Dr. Lyle Rapacki, a Threat Assessment and Intelligence Specialist, went even further than the NewsMax articles. These experts reported how “lookout posts” are positioned in key points throughout the desert, and as far north (65-miles from the border) as the City of Casa Grande, Arizona, the I-8 corridor and Apache Junction, and along the I-10 corridor approaching the bedroom community of Ahwatukee. This briefing further revealed that the cartels (and lookouts) are heavily armed with military-grade weapons, camouflage, sophisticated and expensive night-vision goggles, satellite communications, food and water, and organized logistical support. If you go to the Pinal County Sheriff’s website, you can read many reports of drug busts, fire fights, auto chases, and other serious encounters with the cartels/gangs/human smugglers occurring frequently in Pinal County, which is far inside the border of the United States of America.

Additionally, and with as much concern, Arizona has to deal with health issues and trash, mounds of trash left by illegals marching into America. Fifth-generation rancher Jim Chilton has seen his once-beautiful ranch, just a few miles from the border with Mexico, be destroyed with crushed trees and cactus, whole hillsides turned into charred eyesores, years worth of his award-winning conservation projects obliterated – and his ranch is littered with trash, tons of trash, and some of this trash is dead bodies. Mr. Chilton stated: “I’ve got 30,000 to 40,000 illegal aliens coming right through my ranch every year, and the Forest Service says each one leaves about eight pounds of trash. This means 100 tons of trash. Some of my cows eat the plastic bags that are thrown down, and about 10 head of cattle die per year, and their deaths are slow and painful. At $1,200 per cow lost, this means I lose $12,000 a year in cows to trash!”

Adding insult is the Bureau of Land Management with their insane proposal to shut down target shooting on 490,000 acres in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, and another 1.4 million acres of additional public lands in Pinal County. The Bureau claims shooters are leaving trash behind. It is NOT the shooters who are decimating the desert but drug and human smugglers! The BLM knows this but have developed this ploy to restrict Arizonans from entering this land. Arizona Game and Fish, on their maps, warn hunters that 35 miles north of the Border the land is impacted by illegal activity from illegals. Arizona is losing control of her sovereign land!

Tragedy upon tragedy, as we add the fires set by illegals that have destroyed our lands! Senator McCain was correct this past summer laying blame on the illegals for some of the horrific and terribly destructive fires that were purposefully set. It cost more than $70 million to fight these insidious fires, and the official U.S. Government response was to attempt to silence McCain. Why is the apparent official policy of the United States to ridicule and silence those who are trying to protect our state of Arizona? Why are the cartels protected? Why do official U.S. government departments, sworn to protect American citizens, extend protection to gangs working with the drug cartels, and even to terrorists entering our nation from various border entry points?

In 2007, speaking on the Larry King show, former Mexican President Vicente Fox confirmed the coming merger with Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Not only did Fox admit that he and George W. Bush had agreed to create a common currency, the Amero, he also contended that a North American Union is “inevitable.” There is, on the other hand, no will to secure our borders or to enforce our laws. There is a concerted, deliberate, and sophisticated program under way to erase our national boundaries and create a North American Union. Merging our country with Mexico and Canada would be a losing proposition for Americans. The governments of these three countries are not alike. The gift of sovereignty handed to us by our Forefathers would be extinguished, and we would become subjects, no longer free. I do not want this for myself or my grandchildren!

Progressive groups, radicals of many persuasions, and even anti-American groups are using the cry for “Open Borders” for their own purposes, and not for the concern of migrants. Those purposes include, but are not limited to, undermining our form of government and eroding our national sovereignty. Many of those entangled are innocent bystanders who become subject to blackmail and abuse by “coyotes,” cartels, human and slave traffickers, and radical political groups who have agendas that reach far beyond the safety and legal status of a vulnerable illegal family. With the recent recall of Senator Russell Pearce, the open borders crowd feels empowered, and they have no intention of stopping until they rid the political and governing scene of each and every individual who stands in the way of full and completely open borders, no national boundaries, and the complete remaking of America into the North American Union.

As an Arizona state legislator, I took an oath to uphold the Federal and State Constitutions and the laws of our land. If those laws need to be changed, we have a process by which people, through their elected representatives, can change them. In the meantime, elected representatives and residents are encouraged to live by the laws intended to provide order and safety for all. There is no higher calling for an elected official, state or federal, than to protect the freedom and public safety of the citizens they represent. Border Security ranks supreme. Without first securing the border, we will never be able to solve the myriad issues involving illegal immigration.

Arizona is in a State of Emergency. If we want to protect our national and state sovereignty, we must secure our border and enforce our laws. This is NOT a political move or call to action; this is a call to declare a State of Emergency in Arizona to preserve our land, our citizens and their property, and our state sovereignty, with all the means afforded to us by the Constitution of the United States of America.

We are still seeking donations to build the border fence. Please take a look at the “Build the Border Fence” website, and consider making a generous donation.

Best wishes to all of you during this holiday season. Despite the gloomy news on the border, we have much to be grateful for! God willing, we will make some progress on securing the border in the months ahead. The next Update will discuss some solutions to the border emergency.

Club for Growth PAC Endorses Matt Salmon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Deguire

Club for Growth President Chris Chocola: “Matt Salmon will be an excellent replacement for Jeff Flake in the house and we are excited to support his candidacy.” 

EAST VALLEY – Club for Growth PAC today announced that it is endorsing former Congressman Matt Salmon. The Club for Growth is one of the nations leading organizations in advocating for lower taxes, limited government, less government spending, and free trade.

“The Club for Growth PAC strongly supports returning Matt Salmon for Congress,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “Matt will bring rock-solid conservative principles to Congress and he’s also a courageous veteran who will certainly play a leadership role for the new generation of pro-growth Congressmen. Matt Salmon will be an excellent replacement for Jeff Flake in the house and we are excited to support his candidacy.”

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of Club for Growth today,” said Matt Salmon. “The Club for Growth is one of America’s leading conservative organizations advocating for the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, and economic freedom. These are the very same principles I have always fought for in my career and will continue to fight for in Congress.”

About Club for Growth
Club for Growth is a national network of thousands of pro-growth Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. We work to promote public policies that encourage a high growth economy and a swift return to America’s founding principles primarily through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, training and educational activity.

The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable candidates to Congress who believe in pro-growth policies, limited government, low taxes and economic freedom, both in Republican primaries and general elections.

About Matt Salmon
Matt Salmon was first elected to the United States Congress in 1994 and served until 2000, honoring his term limit pledge. A proud conservative, Salmon was rated in the top five among all 535 members of the House and Senate by Citizen’s Against Government Waste for all six years he was in office. He is a lifetime member of the NRA with an A+ rating and also earned a 100% rating by the National Right to Life. He was also the proud recipient of the American Cancer Society’s “Top National Elected Official” award.

Matt Salmon has received endorsements from Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49), Mayor Scott Smith (Mesa), Mayor Jay Tibshraeny (Chandler), Mayor Hugh Hallman (Tempe), Mayor John Insalaco (Apache Junction), Mayor Gail Barney (Queen Creek), former Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, Arizona State Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs (LD22), State Senator John McComish (LD20), and State Representatives Eddie Farnsworth (LD22), Jeff Dial (LD20), and Bob Robson (LD20).


Congressman Flake: So Just How Broke Are We?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 29, 2011
CONTACT: Genevieve Frye Rozansky

Washington, D.C. – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today illustrated the size and scope of the growing national debt.

According to a retail traffic counting service, $11.4 billion in retail purchases were made on “Black Friday” this year, which represents a 6.6 percent increase from last year’s busiest shopping day of the year.

The U.S. is so broke that even based on the huge amount of Black Friday sales this year, our outlandish federal debt of $15 trillion could pay for all the items purchased on 1,315 Black Friday shopping days.

“ ‘Shop ‘til you drop’ can’t be a mantra for offering plans to fix our fiscal woes,” said Flake.

Along with Senators McCain and Rubio, Congressman Flake introduced H.R. 634, the Debt Buy-Down Act, which allows taxpayers to designate up to 10 percent of their federal income tax liability to reduce the national debt.  The bill then requires Congress to reduce federal spending by that amount.  More information on the Debt Buy-Down Act can be found here.



Does “transparency” trump the First Amendment

by Nick Dranias
Goldwater Institute

Almost two years ago, in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the government from forcing any corporation, union or other association to channel their money through a political action committee in order to make independent expenditures. Arizona responded by thumbing its nose at the decision.

Under the guise of requiring disclosure of independent expenditures, the state enacted a law that effectively forces any corporation, union or limited liability company that exists “primarily” to influence elections to channel its independent expenditures through a political committee. Now, in the name of transparency, the Arizona Secretary of State is engaged in a headlong effort to enforce compliance with this unconstitutional regulatory regime.

Independent groups are right to resist. Applied to independent expenditures, Arizona’s political committee regulations are essentially the same as those struck down in Citizens United. Both threaten civil or criminal penalties merely for raising and spending money to talk about politics.

To avoid such sanctions, both sets of regulations require forming and registering an elaborate political organization, complete with segregated accounts, appointed officers and responsibility for regular financial reporting, as well as exposure to audits by governmental agencies. This forces groups who want to engage in political speech to develop an expertise in volumes of campaign finance laws, related regulations, and agency interpretations of regulations.

As a result, both sets of regulations minimally impact well-funded, politically-connected groups, but heavily impact the least sophisticated, the least connected, and the most underfunded.

Neither the federal government nor Arizona have the constitutional authority to require such high regulatory hurdles for independent groups engaging in free speech. The First Amendment does not allow “transparency” to become a banner under which the government silences independent voices.

American citizens have a constitutional right to spend money expressing their support or opposition for candidates. That right is not forfeited when they organize a corporation, union or limited liability company to serve as the means of pooling their resources.

Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: A Case for Limiting Campaign Finance Regulations

A.R.S. § 16-902 (2011): Arizona Political Committee Regulations

A.R.S. § 16-901 (2011): Arizona Statutory Definitions

A.R.S. § 16-919 (2011): Criminal Sanctions for Contributions other than to Independent Expenditure Committee

Even Liberals Can’t Stand DeeDee Garcia Blase!

Earlier this year (April, 2011) the liberal Lou Show exposed DeeDee Blase for the imposter poser Republican she is. Actually, she claims that she has now registered as an Independent which will prohibit her from voting in the Presidential Primary Election in February.  Here is the segment from the Lou Show detailing DeeDee’s heavy-handed tactics:

The Lou Show recently aired this expose on DeeDee Blase which discusses her formation of the “Tequila Party.”

Two Men Trapped in One Candidate – Who is Mitt Romney?

Two Men Trapped in One Candidate  The “Bob Dole” of 2012…

Tonight the Faux News Network reported that he “did what he had to do” in order to be elected in a Blue State.   Does that mean he’ll do whatever he has to do in order to win the White House?  Isn’t that what we don’t like about Obama?  Seriously why have so many of Arizona’s political class endorsed him in the Primary so early?

Had a Democrat done this many flips and flops the GOP would be all over them like a ill-fitting suit.   What I’m reading and hearing is that the voters want a clear vision and a leader to move us forward, not more McBlandness.

Here’s my forecast:  Gingrich wins New Hampshire by +3% over Romney and Herman Cain takes Iowa.  That leaves Florida and South Carolina and the game changes.

Senator Steve Pierce: Redistricting chief’s actions overtly partisan

By Steve Pierce

When voters approved Proposition 106 in 2000, creating the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, they included a procedure for removal of a member of the commission. A member could be removed from the commission for “gross misconduct” or “substantial neglect of duty.” The determination is to be made by the governor, and the state Senate must sign off on the removal by a two-thirds vote.

Prop. 106 set a high bar for a person to be removed, but with all the evidence piled up, Colleen Mathis soars over that bar, and must not serve on the IRC.

The priority of the IRC and its chair is to produce constitutional maps every 10 years. Mathis presided over a process that produced unconstitutional maps. In fact, they were unconstitutional in all six criteria used to measure the validity of the maps.

Part of the sales job for the original passage of Prop. 106 was that it would take the redistricting process out from the closed doors of the Legislature and into the open for all of the public to see. Instead, the IRC faces allegations of open meetings law violations, and Mathis admits to taking the maps home with her on a weekend, making key changes to the congressional maps and then springing them on commissioners the following Monday for a vote. That is hardly the transparency Arizona voters wanted.

Mathis also apparently held clandestine meetings with Strategic Telemetry, the mapping company from D.C., without the knowledge of other commissioners. This partisan firm had no track record on mapping, never in Arizona, but Mathis made an aggressive pitch for ST outside the IRC meetings. Her husband also has reportedly attempted to broker side deals with Republican commissioners in blatant violation of constitutional transparency requirements.

The IRC allegedly shredded key bidding documents. The procurement process was so bad that the Arizona Department of Administration pulled out of it, sending a letter to the IRC saying that it was not complying with basic requirements.

Even in her application to the IRC, Mathis wasn’t completely open with information. She now admits she should have disclosed that her husband was campaign treasurer for Democratic Rep. Nancy Young-Wright.

When the IRC hired attorneys for each party, Mathis sided with the Democrats in hiring the Democrats’ attorney, and sided with the Democrats in hiring the Republicans’ attorney. That’s right – Republicans weren’t even allowed to hire their own attorney.

The Constitution requires that mapping be done by “adjustments to the grid.” Mathis appears to have ignored that requirement and used a mapping method she called a “doughnut hole.” It was an unconstitutional plan that left Arizonans looking to clean up the crumbs of that doughnut.

The evidence is overwhelming that Mathis has committed “gross misconduct” and “substantial neglect of duty.” And no matter what the Arizona Supreme Court justices may think, Prop. 106 makes it clear the determination is to be made not by men and women in black robes, but by the governor with the approval of the Senate. That has happened, and Colleen Mathis should no longer serve on the IRC.

In our own Yavapai County, we have the population to be our own district. It fits perfectly, and we are a community of interest. We all have the same issues in front of us. This commission saw fit to chop us up so we wouldn’t have the voice we now have. After all, we are a political powerhouse, and it is clear the opposition doesn’t want us to have the clout we currently have.

There is a long list of ways the Constitution has been disregarded and broken. I won’t go into further detail. The simple fact is, this extremely important redistricting exercise has been done in a very poor manner and its effects will last for at least 10 years – especially here in Yavapai County.

Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, is the Arizona Senate President-elect.

Newt Gingrich Secures Endorsement of Manchester Union Leader

Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich just scored the endorsement of New Hampshire’s most prominent newspaper, The Manchester Union Leader. This is a coup for the former Speaker who has been rising in the polls slowly but steadily against the once-presumed nominee, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Here is recent media coverage of the endorsement detailing today’s announcement.

Another great clip of Newt explaining what value(s) we have left behind and why it is so important:

Supervisors award cronies large settlements from taxpayers

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Supervisors, their employees and judges filed large lawsuits against county over Arpaio, Thomas   

Supervisors are in charge of defending against those same lawsuits; award more generous settlements to their cronies

County IT Director Stephen Wetzel

This is so unethical it is unbelievable. The corrupt Maricopa County Supervisors, their high-level employees, and several judges have filed million dollar lawsuits against the county. Over what? Being investigated and prosecuted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. We all know what they were prosecuted for, things they have gotten away with years since they threaten anyone who stands in their way of corruption. Maricopa County has become another Cook County.

Incredulously, the Supervisors control these lawsuits and those of their employees and judges. First they awarded $100,000 to Judge Fields on September 3. For what? Stress over being investigated and prosecuted. Fields was a retired liberal judge that former presiding Superior Court judge Barbara Mundell would handpick out of retirement to handle political cases to ensure a liberal resolution, such as cases involving Sheriff Arpaio.

This past week the Supervisors awarded more generous settlements to their cronies. Their handpicked head of county IT, Stephen Wetzel, settled his multimillion dollar lawsuit for an undisclosed sum. Arpaio had investigated him for his assistance helping the Supervisors do a sweep for bugs in order to thwart Arpaio from criminally investigating them.

Judge Baca’s $4.75 million dollar lawsuit against the county was settled for $100,000. Baca was one of the defendants in the racketeering case Arpaio and Thomas filed.

It comes as no surprise why these million dollar lawsuits are all being settled. The Supervisors know they wouldn’t stand a chance in court.

Taxpayers want to know: why are the defendants in charge of these lawsuits? An independent adjudicator should have been appointed. It is like the fox guarding the henhouse. It is appalling that that the Arizona Republic will not report the full story. Taxpayers are paying for this expensive cronyism.

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