According to Conservatism Inc., advocating for alleged Mexican Medicare frauds is a right wing crusade. As Reconquista proceeds in South Texas, the Beltway Right would rather champion phony libertarianism rather than National Conservatism.
Bill Whittle at PJTV is promoting the case of Gracie Escamilla, a Mexican immigrant accused of Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Federal agents executing a warrant detained her, which is being spun by the conservative online network as a militaristic raid on a “non-violent grandmother.” Exclusive: Federal Agents Break Into Home of a Non-Violent Grandmother! May 21, 2014. (Youtube version here)
Unfortunately, the PJ Media story leaves out quite a bit. Most important is the context of the alleged crime. Even while the government is cutting Medicare spending that would benefit Americans, taxpayers are losing billions of dollars because of a seemingly endless series of scams and fraud.
Forbes May 31, 2012 by Merrill Matthews
Though most of the reports involve only a few people and scamming under $10 million, that’s chump change when compared to some of the bigger busts.
For example, federal authorities announced on May 2 they had arrested 107 health care providers, including doctors and nurses, in several cities and charged them with cheating Medicare out of $452 million.
To put this in perspective, the collapse of the solar company Solyndra, which had taken $535 million in taxpayer dollars from the Obama administration, has been a recurring topic in the media and public debates. The Medicare fraud arrest mentioned above was a news story for only a day or two.
Or there was the 2010 story in which federal officials charged 94 people with $251 million in phony claims.
For some reason, Bill Whittle minimizes the crime, claiming it is not like bank robbery or grand larceny. Actually, as the amount is over $400, it actually does meet the legal definition of grand larceny, generally any larceny, including fraud, over $400.00. This brings us to the motivation of Whittle and PJTV.
In recent years, fears of big government have evolved into rhetoric about “dictatorship” or outright police state repression coming from the leftist dominated federal apparatus. Thus, “law and order” conservatives are increasingly skeptical of law enforcement. Unfortunately, this is another case of the American Right taking refuge in politically correct conspiracy theories rather than confronting hard truths.
The issue is not how police execute their orders, what uniforms they wear, or what weapons they use, but what their orders actually are. The issue is that law enforcement is enforcing laws that are already unconstitutional. Complaining about how they do it is confusing the symptom with the cause. What’s worse, complaints about a Federal “Gestapo” gets in the way of insisting that the government actually perform the few duties it is supposed to such as enforcing immigration law or stopping fraud. Argue that the Federal government is not permitted by the Constitution to subsidize ambulances, but don't tell me that anyone, including Mexican grandmothers, can steal from the monies the Federal government provides to ambulance operators.
Here, Whittle’s argument against law enforcement seems to be based on the fact that Escamilla was a grandmother and had never been audited. Thin stuff. What is left out is the vast amount of fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid system, with the Government Accountability Office finding massive and ongoing fraud in the programs. Whittle for some reason sought to denigrate the issue as a minor white-collar crime unworthy of Federal agents making arrests in the early morning.
Furthermore, South Texas is dominated by Mexican immigrants like Escamilla. The counties of the Rio Grande Valley are ethnically part of Mexico, and consequently, are corrupt, plagued with crime, and Obama supporting.
Healthcare fraud in the Rio Grande Valley, where Escamilla resides, is massive. Story after story appears in the local press in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas, one of the top 5 States for Medicare/Medicaid fraud, had the most arrests for such fraud. [“5 States top Medicaid fraud list, States recover $1.7B,” by Karen Cheung-Larivee, FierceHealthcare, April 3, 2012]
Therefore, it doesn't seem completely unreasonable that where there is smoke, there’s fire. But Whittle simply treats the idea that there is fraud going on in this case with bemused contempt.
More to the point, even the details of the “raid” don’t seem especially surprising to the knowledgeable observer. Whittle and Escamilla are obsessed with the fact that agents climbed over her wrought-iron fence before knocking on her door. In the report, both wonder aloud as to why the agents did not telephone first and ask to be let in. Of course, no federal agents call the person to be arrested and ask to be admitted, as that would give the suspect a warning.
The next issue that Whittle and Escamilla complain about is that Escamilla was half naked when the agents entered her house. However, she admits (at minute 1:47 of the video) to hearing what is later identified as the Federal agents pounding on the door. That is important, as Whittle and Escamilla both claim that Escamilla was worried about home invasions (see minute 2:11 of the video). That might be possible (and is another side effect of mass immigration in South Texas,) but when Federal agents serve a warrant, they do what is called “knock and announce,” a requirement from the courts.
What the agents did was knock loudly, which Escamilla admits she heard as what she describe as “a loud noise,” but in fact was the federal agents announcing their presence, identity, and purpose, to wit (see minute 1:47 of the video), a loud knocking on the door and the verbal announcement: “Police, Arrest Warrant, Open The Door!” Escamilla admits that her husband heard that as well, was dressed and downstairs, and opened the door in response to the lawful demand for entry into the house (see minute 2:15 of the video). Escamilla admits her husband opened the door for “It was, I guess, the police and the investigators.” (see minute 2:27 of the video) In fact Escamilla admits that shortly after that [Her husband opening the door for the Federal agents] she remained standing at the top of the stairs topless until a Federal Agent appeared at the bottom of the stairs (see minute 2:32 of the video).
Of course the written description of the report on PJTV says:
Early in the morning in October, several men broke into Gracie Escamilla's Texas home. Hurtling themselves over their fence and entering without knocking, she suspected the worst. But actually, they were Federal law enforcement officials.
This is sensationalism at its worst.
Next Escamilla complains that after she was handcuffed the agent refused to give her purse and cell phone to her. Well, when you are arrested, you don’t get to take a purse and cell phone with you to jail. Most jails refuse to take property from arrestees, and the responsibility for any property in the possession of the arrestee is the responsibility of the arresting agency. Consequently, if you are arrested, the officers will not allow you to take anything with you.
Much was also made by Whittle, the reporter Bryan Preston, and Escamilla, that she was not read her Miranda rights. First, just because you have been arrested does not mean that the arresting law enforcement officer had to read you your Miranda rights. Law enforcement only has to read you the Miranda warnings when they are questioning you and want to use your answers against you. Miranda warnings excludes your statement from use against you, and only you, if the warning is not read to you before questioning. Law enforcement does not need to read the Miranda warning if the officers do not intend to question the arrestee.
In the case of Escamilla, she was not read her rights because the agents did not question her. Apparently she had made voluntarily obtained incriminating statements during interviews at the agents’ office during the investigation, so they did not need to interview her again.
Much also is made of the fact that the agents only showed Escamilla the arrest warrant, and did not let her read it. Well, the warrant itself is the authority to make the arrest. There is no requirement to show the arrested person the warrant, unlike a search warrant, where a copy of the search warrant must be given to the person whose property was searched.
What happened here is that law enforcement raided a suspected fraudster in an area where that crime is hardly unique in accordance with basic procedure. However, an investigation of Medicare fraud, the consequences of mass immigration, and the increasing lawlessness of South Texas would prompt a discussion that the Beltway Right does not want to have.
Far better to hysterically rail about militaristic police. It’s emotionally satisfying, but it is an act of misdirection from the more substantial issues at stake. But then again – that may be the point. There is a lot of hysteria about law enforcement out there and I guess PJTV is not paying attention to its own writers at PJ Media:
PJ Media July 21, 2014 by Jack Dunphy (Nom de Plume)
Local racial grievance industry mobilized to defend suspect’s cause.
Imagine the following scenario: Several motorists on a busy Los Angeles freeway call 911 to report a woman walking along the shoulder and acting strangely. The California Highway Patrol responds to the calls, sending officers to investigate. The first officer to arrive is alone in a marked patrol car. He gets out of his car and talks to the woman, ordering her to stop. She refuses, and instead turns and walks away as traffic continues to pass.
And now this officer must make a decision: If I pursue her, he says to himself, she will very likely resist my attempt to restrain her and I will have to subdue her by force. The ensuing altercation may be captured on video by people in any of these passing cars, video that will soon be posted on YouTube and, if deemed sufficiently inflammatory, picked up by television news stations.
And should this occur, the officer thinks, I will surely not be cast in a favorable light. The woman is black and I am not, a fact that will be pointed out endlessly should the encounter turn violent. I may even be viewed as a villain by those whose experience with such encounters is limited to reading about them or watching them on television, a group that may include some of my own superiors in the Highway Patrol. My home, my livelihood, even my very freedom may be jeopardized if I take action on my own here.
No, the officer says to himself, the more prudent course is to wait for backup to arrive, maybe even a supervisor. That way, should things go awry, blame can be shared with others, or perhaps even shifted entirely onto the supervisor. And besides, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
So the officer watches and follows on foot as the woman continues on her way down the freeway’s shoulder. And as she walks facing the oncoming traffic, she sees more patrol cars approaching and realizes her avenue of escape will soon be closed. But she sees that the freeway traffic has now slowed, the passing drivers braking so as to take in the spectacle unfolding at the side of the road. Sensing her last chance for freedom, the woman runs into the traffic lanes, hoping to make it to the opposite side of the freeway before the arriving officers can assemble and stop her.
So, it appears that PJTV has adopted Hispanic grandmother criminals just as the racial grievance industry has adopted crazy black criminals. Why?