I had to laugh reading the news that Florida insurance regulators are zapping a major insurance firm because of the travel preferences of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20).
Schultz apparently applied for an 'increased amount' of life insurance because she planned to travel internationally. I guess one needs more money if one dies in Tel Aviv rather than Tallahassee.
In any case, a representative of American General Life Insurance, a subsidiary of AIG, called about her travel plans and was told by Wasserman Schultz's husband that she planned to visit Israel.
The mere question of where Wasserman Schultz planned to go allegedly violates Florida's "Freedom to Travel" statute.
Last Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz stated "Our legal travel choices should not adversely impact our ability to purchase life insurance."
Legal travel choices? Who in America says "legal travel choices"??
This sounds like what an apparatchik from the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union might have said. And the notion of a "freedom to travel" statute in Florida certainly sounds at oddes with the sound of "legal travel".
Well -- it is no surprise that Debbie Wasserman Schultz offered such a qualification of her comment and her own pretty silly claim that has tried to throw AIG out of the State of Florida.
She has worked with three of the most right-wing Republicans in the State of Florida -- Ilieana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-18), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL-21) -- to maintain the US embargo against Cuba and to tighten the noose around not only Cuban-American families hoping to see loved ones in Cuba -- but on ALL Americans.
Wasserman Schultz, despite serving as a National Co-Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Red-to-Blue Program has refused to campaign against these three Republicans, who are moderates in no one's books and have successfully made Cuba the only place in the entire world where the Cold War actually got colder in the last decade.
The freedom of Americans to travel has long been considered a human right by nearly every member of Congress. When I worked in the Senate, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and others spoke of the right of Americans to travel as a protected human right.
There are court cases that challenge the notion that free travel is a Constitutionally-protected right, but nonetheless -- it is a "fringe view" that believes that the federal government of the United States of America has the legal right to tell its citizens where they can and cannot go.
Wasserman Schultz has the audacity to challenge AIG because she feels that her "freedom to travel" has been inhibited by an insurance firm that made a phone call?!
She is complicit in one of the most significant cabals preempting the travel of Americans today and she has no moral authority or legitimacy complaining in her own case that her travel latitude has been restricted when she is directly responsible for inhibiting the freedoms of so many other American citizens.
I recommend to Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to go pay a call on Republican House Member Jeff Flake (R-AZ-06) who will remind her that it is communist governments that restrict the travel of their freedom-challenged citizens. The U.S. government should not be party to such practices, he will tell her -- as will more than a hundred of her Democratic colleagues, with whom she is politicaly out of line.
Regarding this AIG claim, Wasserman Schultz should feel pretty ashamed that she can twist the state to do her bidding while she is forcing Cuban-American families to choose whether they attend a mother's funeral, or a father's -- because the legal constraints on travel that Wasserman Schultz helped to construct and supports won't allow these families to go to both.
-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note