DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Your tax dollars at work – and play.' Category

TSA Gave my MacBook Pro to Another Passenger at LAX, and Now It’s Gone

27th May 2016

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Prediction: Nobody will get fired, nobody will go to jail.

Flying on an airline these days is like marching up to the front gate of Dachau and asking for a job.

Just don’t.

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Massachusetts’ Legislature Gives Preliminary Approval to Millionaire’s Tax

26th May 2016

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Last week, the majority of Massachusetts state legislators voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to enact a “millionaire’s tax.” The organization, Raise Up, collected the necessary signatures needed in order to bring the millionaire’s tax measure to the legislature. This proposal would apply a 4.0 percent surtax on income above $1 million, which would be levied on top of the Bay State’s 5.1 percent flat income tax. The good news is, despite legislative action last week, enactment of such a tax hike is far from imminent. The Boston Globe’s Evan Horowitz explains:

“For one thing, backers need something more than a new law; they need a constitutional amendment — because at present the state constitution doesn’t allow for differential tax rates.”

An 80 percent tax surge would hit small businesses especially hard, as the majority of small businesses file under the individual income tax system. The IRS accounts that more than 3,000 small businesses in Massachusetts report incomes over $1 million. The proposed millionaire’s tax would severely burden small business and stymie future economic growth for the Bay State.

Plenty of room in Texas still.

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Airport Screening Made 70,000 Miss American Airlines Flights This Year

26th May 2016

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Sure, put the government in charge. What could go wrong?

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Why Governments Hate It When Other Countries Have Low Taxes

26th May 2016

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In most cases, investing in low-tax nations isn’t illegal; the problem for high-tax nations and those at the World Bank is that it’s getting in the way of maximum tax extractions for countries such as France. They also claim that their fight against tax competition is a fight against tax evasion. However—as we have seen after the release of the Panama Papers, which were stolen from Panama-based firms—for the most part, taxpayers are pretty honest. Politicians, not so much.

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Tribes Create Their Own Food Laws to Stop USDA From Killing Native Food Economies

26th May 2016

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Hey, that’s what government agencies do … for your protection, of course.

Indigenous communities have been sustained by thousands of years of food knowledge. But recent federal food safety rules could cripple those traditional systems and prevent the growth of agricultural economies in Indian Country, according to advocates and attorneys. Of the 567 tribal nations in the United States, only a handful have adopted laws that address food production and processing. Without functioning laws around food, tribes engaged in anything from farming to food handling and animal health are ceding power to state and federal authorities.

To protect tribal food systems, those advocates and attorneys are taking the law into their own hands, literally, by writing comprehensive food codes that can be adopted by tribes and used to effectively circumvent federal food safety codes. Because tribes retain sovereignty—complicated and sometimes limited though it may be—they can assert an equal right with the federal government to establish regulations for food handling.

We didn’t eat tacos in Ireland, so I refuse to eat them here.

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Legislation: Tax Medicine to Treat Drug Addicts

26th May 2016

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Just when I thought our elected representatives had reached the apex of moronic ideas. Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) want to tax opioid medicines–needed by very ill and disabled patients to treat severe pain–to pay for addiction treatment programs.

(I-ME) means ‘Idiot-Maine’.

Isn’t this just typical of our political leadership these days? Make medicine more expensive for those who need it–or for insurance companies that fund the treatment–to pay for the care of people who abuse those medicines.

Yeah, that’s a pretty fair statement. Witness the notorious ‘medical devices tax’.

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Washington’s Chicken Retreat

25th May 2016

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Victories against the Obama regulatory juggernaut are rare, and thus all the more worthy of note. Congratulations, then, to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Republicans in Congress over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision on May 10 to drop its quest to list the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species.

Fish and Wildlife’s decision in 2014 to list was never about helping that particular range bird. It was part of an attempted federal land grab by green activists. Using a strategy called “sue and settle,” these groups propose species for protected status under the Endangered Species Act, then sue the Obama Administration to follow through. The agency then settles the suits on terms that the greens want.

Their goal in the case of the prairie chicken was to impose development restrictions on private landowners in five western states. Because the prairie chicken’s range is so wide, the greens hoped to shut down oil and gas drilling in much of the West, especially and around the fossil-fuel rich Permian Basin.

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NYC Mayor Proposes $2 Million Deer Vasectomy Campaign

25th May 2016

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I am not making this up.

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Fmr. McDonald’s USA CEO: $35K Robots Cheaper Than Hiring at $15 Per Hour

25th May 2016

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Next up: Government rules that they have to hire people rather than buy robots to do certain jobs.

“I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries — it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe,” said former McDonald’s (MCD) USA CEO Ed Rensi during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria.

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Transgender Teacher Gets $60k After Co-Workers Won’t Call Her ‘They’

24th May 2016

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I am not making this up.

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New York City Lets You Choose From 31 Different Gender Identities

24th May 2016

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I am not making this up.

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Feds to Build Separate Detention Unit for Transgender Illegal Immigrants

24th May 2016

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I am not making this up.

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The Real Obama Legacy Revealed: 20,642 New Regulations

24th May 2016

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More than $22 billion per year in new regulatory costs were imposed on Americans last year, pushing the total burden for the Obama years to exceed $100 billion annually.

Hey, it’s what Democrats do.

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Federal Regulations Work Overtime to Kill American Prosperity

24th May 2016

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Every time the government makes a new law or regulation (nowadays, pretty much the same thing) restricting the freedom of employers and employees to set the terms of the employment, it enables more ‘black market’ off-the-books relations.

You’d think that Prohibition might have taught them some basic economics, but apparently not.

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When Leaders Cheat, Followers … Follow

24th May 2016

Glenn Reynolds blows the whistle.

But, of course, the CIA’s “accident” was only the latest in a long rash of “accidental” losses of incriminating information in this administration. The IRS — whose Tea Party-targeting scandal is now over 1,100 days old without anyone being charged or sent to jail — seems to have a habit of ”accidentally” destroying hard drives containing potentially incriminating evidence. It has done so in spite of court orders, in spite of Congressional inquiries and in spite of pretty much everyone’s belief that these “accidents” were actually the deliberate, illegal destruction of incriminating evidence to protect the guilty.

Then there’s Hillary’s email scandal, in which emails kept on a private unsecure server — presumably to avoid Freedom of Information Act disclosures — were deleted. Now emails from Hillary’s IT guy, who is believed to have set up the server, have gone poof.

“Destroy the evidence, and you’ve got it made,” said an old frozen dinner commercial. But now that appears to be the motto of the United States government.

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IRS Chief Skips Own Impeachment Hearing

23rd May 2016

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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will not appear at a Tuesday impeachment hearing examining allegations of his misconduct despite an invitation to testify from the House Judiciary Committee.

As reported by Politico, the IRS says the Commissioner Koskinen does not have time to “fully prepare” because he just returned from China. The agency claims that he was not given enough notice of the hearing, which was scheduled more than a week ago.

Hey, what does he need to prepare? An alibi? Either he did what they say he did or he didn’t; either way, he ought to know.

The hearing is the first step in examining findings from the House Oversight Committee, which last year called for Koskinen’s impeachment.

Following the revelations that the IRS had been applying improper, politically motivated scrutiny to tea party and conservative organizations, Koskinen was appointed head of the agency promising reform and transparency.

Guess it didn’t work.

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Obama: Hey, Let’s Sell Weapons to Vietnam’s Police State!

23rd May 2016

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Sure, what could go wrong?

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Bankruptcy and the Case for Puerto Rico’s Independence

23rd May 2016

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BLUF: American taxpayers ought not to have to pay to support a Third World kleptocracy.

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5 Times ‘Transgender’ Men Abused Women and Children in Bathrooms

23rd May 2016

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My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

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Airport Lines and the TSA: Your Government Is Failing You

23rd May 2016

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But you knew that.

This summer, air travel is for people who expect to go to hell and want to know what it will be like. Security lines have reached epic lengths in many airports. Thousands of travelers have missed flights. And the Transportation Security Administration now advises passengers to arrive two hours before departure for domestic flights—and three in some places.

I’ll belabor the obvious and point out that the terrorists have won.

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How Corporate America Bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

23rd May 2016

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Mandatory financial disclosures released this month show that, in just the two years from April 2013 to March 2015, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state collected $21,667,000 in “speaking fees,” not to mention the cool $5 mil she corralled as an advance for her 2014 flop book, “Hard Choices.”

Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her ex-president husband hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.

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Cell Therapy Reversed Blindness for 47,000 Patients in 2015. So Why Is It Against the Law?

21st May 2016

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As medical miracles go, restoring sight to the blind is right up there. A mother seeing her baby for the first time, or a child being able to count the stars is a beautiful gift, and its value cannot be overstated. Last year 47,000 Americans received that gift and had their blindness reversed through the transplantation of cells from a corneal donor’s final selfless act.

It is safe, it is effective, and because it is curative, it is a relatively cost effective procedure. It is medicine at its most beautiful. And according to FDA regulations, the distribution of this cell therapy is in violation of federal law.

That’s right. The regulation says that no matter how competent the surgeon, the FDA must first approve cells from donated corneas as if they were a drug—a process that takes over a decade and can costs billions of dollars — all for a practice that has been successfully restoring sight for more than 50 years. And this is only one example.

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Evidence Scant California’s Licensed Illegal Immigrant Drivers Getting Insurance

21st May 2016

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Southern California mom-of-two Jennifer Brawley had just been rear-ended by a truck driver near Rancho Cucamonga, and was preparing for the post-accident ritual of exchanging insurance information when the driver handed her his cellphone.

A voice on the other end explained that his non-English speaking friend had no coverage.

Police came to the scene and determined the driver had a valid license, and sent him on his way. Brawley, grateful to be unhurt, was nonetheless left with a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. In the push to grant illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, Californians had been assured that doing so would spur them to get safety training and insurance coverage. Nearly a year-and-a-half later, there’s no evidence it worked.

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High Court Rules Non-U.S. Citizens Can Be Deported if Convicted of Minor Crimes

20th May 2016

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This would appear to be a no-brainer, although the writeup makes it obvious that the writer is trying to characterize it as some sort of oppression.

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Cuomo Billion Dollar NY Economic Redevelopment Program Investigated for Corruption

19th May 2016

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is urging caution by the media as a far-reaching federal investigation into a slush fund economic redevelopment program the state set up for the Buffalo area, “Buffalo Billion.”

“Questions are normal, questions are natural,” told reporters in Rochester yesterday as the federal probe got closer to Alain Kaloyeros, the president and CEO of SUNY Poly, which administers the Buffalo Billion program. “Get the facts, don’t rush to judgement.”

Gee, that doesn’t sound like a Democrat.

The investigation has engulfed a number of former top Cuomo aides, including one who the governor has called a “brother” and another that is a friend of the Cuomo family. “If there is something wrong, I want to know about it,” Cuomo told reporters. “We will fully prosecute according to the law.”

Uh-huh. And if you believe that one, he’ll tell you another one.

Politicians like Cuomo talk a lot about money in politics but they don’t mean the money politicians spend on programs like Buffalo Billion that enrich all kinds of government hangers-on, from the donors looking for a kickback to the low-level bureaucrats those government functions depends on. The kinds of campaign finance reforms Cuomo and his ideological fellow-travelers support could stifle attempts at blowing the whistle on wasteful, corrupt spending like Buffalo Billion while keeping the routes to government money open for exploitation by the political class.

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Professor Run Out of Classroom for Offending Students Will Lose Job

19th May 2016

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Andrea Quenette, the University of Kansas communications professor subjected to protests and a formal investigation after offending her liberal students, was cleared of wrongdoing. But she is still ultimately out of a job.

“Andrea has been denied continuation of her tenure,” her husband, Scott Quenette, told Reason. “Despite having a recommendation from the tenure committee and her department. The new dean unilaterally denied it.”

Last fall, members of Quenette’s class asked to discuss the racial tensions on campus. Quenette made the mistake of confessing her own blind spots, and used imperfect language when she did so. She said, “It’s not like I see nigger spray-painted on walls,” according to her students. She also denied that racism was the sole explanation for some black KU students falling behind in their studies.

Quenette’s statements weren’t malicious, and she didn’t use the n-word as a slur. Moreover, she’s a professor of communications, and the classroom was an appropriate place to have a conversation about these issues—even if the conversation bothered some people.

But her students didn’t see it that way, and published a letter calling on KU to fire her. A lengthy investigation ensued: months later, the university determined that Quenette had broken no policies.

ThoughtCrime leads inevitably to the MemoryHold.

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House Oversight Chairman Moves to Censure IRS Chief, Strip Pension

19th May 2016

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The chairman of the top House investigative panel introduced a measure Wednesday to censure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen — and remove him from office without a pension — in the latest bid by Republicans to pressure him into being more cooperative in their probe of the 2013 IRS targeting scandal.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is seeking Koskinen’s resignation or removal for what he calls an alleged “pattern of conduct inconsistent with the trust and confidence placed in him as an officer of the United States.”

One of the reasons that Donald Trump has been so successful in the Republican primaries is that people don’t think that their Representatives in Congress are doing their job and pushing back against oppressive administration actions. Perhaps this is a shift in the right direction.

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School Suspends 5-Year-Old Girl for Bringing Bubble Gun to School

18th May 2016

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“Potential safety concern.” That’s the reason school officials cited for giving a 5-year-old girl a one-day suspension after she brought a bubble gun to school.

The brightly-colored non-weapon is Frozen themed, and has pictures of Princesses Elsa and Anna on it.

Where was this when I was that age? I’d have loved to get a day off school for the mere price of a bubble gun.

These kids today are so spoiled….

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Would You Be Afraid to Fly If the TSA Were Abolished?

18th May 2016

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Complaints about long lines at security checkpoints in U.S. airports are crescendoing. More folks are missing their flights even though they show up at the airports hours in advance. “I don’t know what that was,” responded TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger when told about the major such snafu at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport yesterday. Let’s abolish the Transportation Security Administration.

But wouldn’t that put lots of people in danger of terrorist attacks? First, let’s agree that after the September 11, 2001 atrocities American air passengers will never again permit a commercial flight to be hijacked. So, no need for a TSA to protect against hijacking.

But what about bombs? Doesn’t the TSA protect us against terrorist bomb attacks? First, consider that last year TSA security screeners missed 95 percent of weapons and explosives in security tests. According to the TSA, its screeners found 2,653 firearms in carry-on baggage last year, and lots and lots of knives. Keep in mind that these weapons were in general not hidden by essentially innocent (if forgetful) travelers. So far, I can find no reports that the TSA has caught a single terrorist.

The perfect government program: Pisses everybody off and has no discernible impact.

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3 Reasons EPA Sided With Environmentalists Over Science on Methane

18th May 2016

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1) Environmentalists increasingly work at EPA. Want to find a former Union of Concerned Scientists employee? Look at the Obama administration.

2) EPA officials are throwing parties for environmentalists, they are using secret email servers to send them regulations in advance for commentary, they are even letting environmentalists draft them under the President’s name.

3) How many EPA officials have recused themselves from a decision because their friends at their former employer are doing the lobbying? Zero.

Look for ‘cronyism’ in the dictionary — it’s right after ‘collusion’ and ‘corruption’.

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Highmark Sues U.S. Over Affordable Care Act

18th May 2016

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Highmark, the insurance arm of Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Highmark Health, said in the suit that the U.S. failed to live up to obligations to pay the insurer nearly $223 million owed under an ACA program known as “risk corridors,” which aimed to limit the financial risks borne by insurers entering the new health-law markets. The suit claims “violations of the mandatory risk-corridor payment obligations prescribed” in the health law.

This is money that Congress refused to appropriate, so Obama is providing it from his ‘stash’.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced last fall that insurers initially would receive only 12.6% of the money they claimed under the risk-corridor program for 2014, its first year of operation. Highmark is seeking the full amount it says is due to it for that year.

Apparently Obama’s ‘stash’ is pretty bare.

The risk-corridor suits are the latest sign that six years after its passage, the ACA continues to generate intense legal controversy. Just in the past week, a federal court ruled that the Obama administration overstepped its authority in making certain payments under the law without explicit appropriations from Congress, and the Supreme Court sent back to lower courts a case regarding religious employers’ role in covering contraception.

Apparently Obama doesn’t really have a ‘stash’ after all. Perhaps he’ll dip into his book royalties. (Cue raucous laughter.)

Highmark’s suit says agency officials have reiterated that the federal government is obligated to make full risk-corridor payments.

But that acknowledgment “is an insufficient substitute for full and timely payment of the amounts owed,” the complaint says.

Obamacare – the gift that keeps on shivving.

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You’re Gonna Need a License for That

17th May 2016

Megan McArdle looks at the creeping totalitarian state.

Welcome to the modern economy, where increasingly, everything not compulsory is forbidden. We are hedged around with rules to protect us, to protect other people, to protect some theoretical victim who exists only in the minds of regulators and judges. And there’s reason to worry that this red tape is getting wrapped so tight that it risks rendering us immobile.

I’m not talking about environmental regulations, or even the labor regulations that make it increasingly expensive and burdensome to employ people. Today I’m talking about occupational licensing, and the burden it places on people who want to build a career.

The government doesn’t want you to have a career, much less build one yourself. They want you dependent on government benefits.

Why, you might ask, is the state requiring a license to decorate an interior? Are customers at risk of death from collapsing piles of pillow shams? Must we fear that they will be blinded by the decorator’s decision to pair fuchsia chiffon drapes with a chartreuse brocade sofa? Do we worry that without the threat of losing their license to keep them on the straight and narrow, these fly-by-night operators might be tempted into purchasing furniture from unlicensed auctioneers, and sourcing their floral arrangements from black-market florists?

Well, no. Mostly, these regulations benefit folks who are already plying the trade. They get helpful state legislators to protect them from competition by instituting tough licensing requirements. Their income goes up; the consumer’s wallet suffers. And people who want to follow their dreams into the industry get shut out if they lack the time to study for the licensing exams, the capital to pay the licensing exam fees (which can run in to the hundreds of dollars), or the social capital to know how to work the system.

In international trade this is called ‘protectionism’ and is recognized as a Bad Thing.

We can see just how little protection these laws provide by noting that in the 1950s, only about 5 percent of workers required an occupational license; now that number is closer to one in three. Yet few histories of the 1950s record epidemics of mass child death at the hands of unlicensed babysitters, or poisoning in the hands of unlicensed bartenders.

Moreover, there is still a great deal of variation from state to state. We free citizens of DC have managed to live surprisingly happy and healthy lives despite the fact that there is no government agency to protect us from predation by incompetent florists. This suggests that perhaps the folks of Louisiana could do the same.

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Shukla’s Emails Tell a Very Different Story About How NY AG’s RICO Campaign Started Off

17th May 2016

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A new batch of emails, released late Friday afternoon, pulls back the curtain further on the level of collusion and coordination between anti-fossil fuel activists, their funders, and the attorneys general that have launched climate investigations into people, companies, and think tanks with which they disagree on the issue.

These emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by brought by The Competitive Enterprise Institute and Chris Horner, show that key activists behind this campaign had hoped they could make a case for prosecuting climate “deniers” under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. But, due to multiple warnings from experts that such a case would be have no chance to actually succeed, they decided instead to shift their strategic focus to state-level attorneys general to get the job done. Interestingly, these emails date back to last summer, months before the Rockefeller-funded InsideClimate News and the Columbia School of Journalism published their #ExxonKnew investigations.

The key players that emerge from this latest batch of emails are George Mason University (GMU) professors Jagadish Shukla and Edward Maibach, who spearheaded a letter in September 2015 with several other colleagues to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and President Obama asking them to explore RICO charges against climate “deniers” and their funders.

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Weak Enforcement Will Blunt the Impact of New York’s $15 Minimum Wage

17th May 2016

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Markets work even when you don’t want them to.

In January, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer made the case to the State Senate that a $15 minimum wage would be good even for “smaller businesses.” He pointed to the example of Brooklyn Brine, “a pickle manufacturer in Sunset Park [that] pays workers at least $16 an hour.”

It’s telling that an artisanal pickle maker that prides itself on “hand-crafted, non-GMO, Kosher-certified” fare and a “spicy maple bourbon” flavored variety that sells for $10 per jar is Stringer’s model small business. Notably, he didn’t mention the numerous Ecuadorian restaurants, Chinese dumpling houses, and Mexican coffee shops in the same predominantly immigrant neighborhood. youtube

The Crustian definition of ‘small business’ is not necessarily yours. They think of Whole Foods as a neighborhood grocery store, for example, where the rest of us think of Kroger or even Walmart.

Ensuring that New York businesses comply with government-mandated wage floors falls primarily to a dysfunctional and understaffed division of the state government. Many businesses don’t heed the current $9 minimum; when the rate rises to $15, the ranks of the noncompliant will swell.

The only thing that saves us is that we don’t get all the government we pay for.

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Streetcar Boondoggles

17th May 2016

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“The Dallas streetcar project is another great example of how the Recovery Act is creating jobs and providing accessible transportation,” said then-Secretary of Immobility Ray LaHood in 2011 when he funded the project. Now that it’s been open for about a year, how many people are riding it? About 150 to 300 per day.

This is just one in a series of dramatic failures documented by the transit-friendly Streetsblog. After Atlanta began charging fares for its streetcar, ridership fell below 1,000 per day. Salt Lake’s streetcar carries a few more than that, but only about a third of the original projections. Tucson’s is supposed to be more successful, carrying 4,000 per day, but most of them are students who get major discounts.

Meanwhile, the cost of the Cincinnati streetcar has gone up from $102 million to $148 million. It won’t be completed until September, so there’s still time for more cost overruns.

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Obama Still Making It Up as He Goes Along

17th May 2016

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President Obama spoke today with local reporters from around the country about the stalled Supreme Court nomination of his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. As America Rising Squared (AR2) reports, the president got several facts wrong (which, says AR2, has become the new normal for this Administration).

Obama told reporters that “in the past, [Garland] has been confirmed unanimously by the Senate for the current position that he holds.” Not so. In 1997, 23 Senators voted against his nomination to the D.C. Circuit. Among them were current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and current Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley.

Obama went on to criticize Republicans for citing the fact that this an election year as grounds for not holding a hearing or a vote on the Garland nomination. With feigned incredulity, he asked “where’d that rule come from?”

It comes from Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden. In 1992 as Judiciary Chairman, Talkin’ Joe stated on the Senate floor that a President should not even nominate a Supreme Court justice in an election year.

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Milwaukee School Officials Say Budget Item Listing $471G for Black Lives Matter a Misunderstanding

17th May 2016

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I’m sure it is.

Although the budget draft lists the controversial activist group, whose members have called for attacks on police officers, as the recipient of the funds, school officials said much of the money would go to hiring and training three social studies teachers.

I suspect that all three will be black activists.

The funding would also pay for a “cultural studies curriculum” which aims to “[ensure] that culturally responsive teaching practices are in place at all schools, enhancing the district vision for student participation in a wide range of after-school activities…”

In other words, Black Lives Matter, except we aren’t going to call it that.

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Temporary Protected Status Means Never Having to Go Home

16th May 2016

Mark Krikorian pulls back the curtain.

Congress in 1990 created something called Temporary Protected Status in an attempt to hem in unilateral executive actions on immigration. The law created a framework for presidents to let illegal aliens from a country stay here for a limited period of time if there was a natural disaster or civil violence back home that made the country “unable, temporarily, to adequately handle the return of its nationals.” The point was to prevent presidential freelancing, though what had happened up to that time was microscopic compared to Obama’s outrages. (I wrote last month about the likely grant of TPS to Ecuadorian illegals in the wake of the earthquake there.) Predictably, there’s nothing “temporary” about TPS. No one – not a single person – has ever been made to leave the United States because his TPS ran out. There are now maybe 300,000 or so illegal aliens with this status, which gives them work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and more. Obama’s lawless DACA and DAPA amnesties were modeled on TPS, though they target politically sympathetic categories of people rather than all aliens from a particular country, as TPS does. The reason this “temporary” status is de facto permanent is that it is renewed every 12 or 18 months, forever. The Liberians who were the first group to benefit from the new formal status are still here a quarter-century later.

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Lawmakers Rip TSA for $90K Bonuses Amid Failed Security Tests

16th May 2016

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House lawmakers on Thursday blasted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for doling out $90,000 in bonuses to one agency official despite a damning report that showed screeners failing to detect fake bombs and weapons during security tests.

A Homeland Security inspector general report released in June 2015 found that auditors were able to smuggle mock explosives and weapons past TSA screeners 95 percent of the time.

Committee members questioned why bonuses, awards and other forms of compensation were granted to senior TSA officials in the face of security lapses and allegations that employees were being reassigned to other airports as a form of retaliation.

They pointed to a $90,000 bonus that was paid over a yearlong period to Kelly Hoggan, an assistant administrator for the office of security administrations, whose base salary is $181,500.

I could live on that.

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The F-35 Stealth Fighter’s Dirty Little Secret Is Now Out in the Open

15th May 2016

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The U.S. Senate just confirmed what an Air Force general hinted at in February 2016?—?and which should have been obvious for years to close observers of U.S. air power.

The Joint Strike Fighter program is not developing one, common warplane for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and the air arms of America’s closest allies.

No, the Joint Strike Fighter is actually three different plane designs sharing a basic cockpit, engine and software and a logistical network. The Air Force’s F-35A, the Marines’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C should, in all fairness, be the F-35, F-36 and F-37.

“Despite aspirations for a joint aircraft, the F-35A, F-35B and F-35C are essentially three distinct aircraft, with significantly different missions and capability requirements,” the Senate stated in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017.

And each one is a flying piece of shit.

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State Department Fails to Vet or Monitor Military Aid to Egypt

15th May 2016

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According to a new report by the Government Accountability Office, the State Department also fails to consistently conduct legally-required review of the Egyptian forces that are supplied and trained by the U.S.

The U.S. government has sent Egypt more than $6.4 billion in military aid since 2011, which has been used to purchase F-16 jets, Apache helicopters, tanks, explosives, and police equipment.

The U.S. government has bankrolled the Egyptian military for decades, propping up the rule of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. But the aid was widely criticized after 2013, when a military coup deposed Egypt’s new democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi. To skirt a law banning aid to coup regimes, the State Department has refused to call what happened a “coup.”

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It Ain’t Over ‘til the Alien Wins

15th May 2016

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“Immigration cases — like old soldiers — seem never to die.”

That’s the opening line of the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in a recent case that exemplifies the relentless war on America’s borders being waged by immigration lawyers and their illegal-alien clients.

This is an utterly conventional case, like thousands of others that clog the courts, the result of “serial attempts to revisit a final order of removal” (a deportation order), in the words of the ruling. The alien plaintiff’s 20-year campaign of lies and immigration fraud shows what our immigration-enforcement system is up against.

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House Panel to Consider Whether to Impeach IRS Chief

14th May 2016

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The House Judiciary Committee announced Friday that it will hold hearings to consider whether to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who is accused of failing to comply with a congressional subpoena and lying under oath to Congress.

The committee announced that two hearings in May and June would be held to investigate alleged misconduct by the IRS chief. Committee members claim Koskinen did not comply with a subpoena, which in turn led to the destruction of IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails related to the alleged targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. The committee claims Koskinen lied under oath and did not inform Congress that the emails were missing.

It’ll never happen, but it’s fun to think about.

 

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University of California Announces $8.4 Million in Support for Undocumented Students

13th May 2016

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Not much needs to be said, except maybe come and live in Texas.

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Obama Food-Stamp Free-for-All: Feds Bust Largest Fraud Operation in U.S. History

13th May 2016

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President Obama’s expanded food-stamp program certifying flea market retailers as vendors to provide low-income neighborhoods with fresh produce has ripped open a Pandora’s Box of fraud and corruption. This week federal authorities in south Florida busted the largest food-stamp fraud operation in U.S. history. Twenty-two defendants in the largely black and Hispanic areas of Miami-Dade County known as Opa-Locka and Hialeah swindled the government out of $13 million by fraudulently trading food stamps for cash.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

The crooked vendors operated food and produce stands at a local flea market as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to eradicate “food deserts,” common in poor, minority communities where fresh, healthy food is tough to find or often unavailable. The feds say the business owners and their employees let food-stamp recipients use their welfare benefit to get cash in exchange for a cut of the money. They swiped the recipient’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card (the government created the name to avoid stigma) for an inflated amount, doled out cash and kept a percentage. In most instances the recipient didn’t actually get food, according to federal authorities. “These flea market retailers are charged with having taken advantage of a provision in the SNAP program designed to provide locally sourced fresh produce and meat to low income families who otherwise would likely have no option for such food items,” said a special agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Inspector General in an announcement. The USDA funds food stamps, which are then distributed by states.

It’s free! Just swipe your EBT!

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TSA Officials Say Phoenix Airport Bag-Screening Issue Fixed

13th May 2016

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A bag-screening issue that caused more than 3,000 checked bags to miss their outbound flights has been fixed, Transportation Security Administration officials said Friday.

“We are cautiously optimistic that it will be fully operational in the morning,” Melendez said. Additional canine units from other airports and network specialists will be on hand in case any problems arise, he added.

And if you believe that one they’ll tell you another one.

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Union for Border Patrol Agents Under Fire for Endorsement of Trump

12th May 2016

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Tough. If government employees are going to be allowed to unionize, and if unions are going to be allowed to endorse candidates, then the border patrol agents have as much right to endorse Trump as the Teamsters have a right to endorse Obama. (And don’t get me started on teh NEA….)

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This Isn’t a Google Streetview Car, It’s a Government Spy Truck

12th May 2016

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An SUV tucked away in the shadows of the Philadelphia Convention Center’s tunnel bears the ubiquitous logo for Google Maps, and mounted on top of the vehicle are two high-powered license plate reader cameras. To the average passerby, it might appear to be a Google street view vehicle.

Others, such as Matt Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania computer and information science professor, saw it for what it truly was: a crudely disguised tool for surveillance. Blaze tweeted a photo of the vehicle with the appropriate opening: “WTF?”

It had to happen.

Or maybe they just wished they didn’t have Boring Bureaucrat jobs and actually worked for Google instead. There’s a lot of that around.

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Federal Court Rules That Obamacare Subsidies Were Illegally Funded

12th May 2016

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A federal judge ruled today that the Obama administration has been implementing Obamacare illegally, paying out billions in subsidies to insurers that aren’t authorized under the law.

The lawsuit, led by House Republicans, argued that the administration had no authority to fund law’s cost-sharing reductions, which provide an additional subsidy to people who earn up to 250 percent of the poverty line, which ended up being a little more than half of people enrolled in coverage through the health law’s exchanges. (The cost-sharing subsidies are distinct from the law’s main insurance subsidies, which cover a portion of the cost of insurance coverage for people up to 400 percent of the poverty line.)

The subsidies were authorized by the law, but Congress rejected an appropriations request from the administration to fund them. The administration moved some money around and funded them anyway. Estimates indicate that the program would funnel about $130 billion to insurers over the course of a decade.

Of course, the Crust will find a way around this temporary bump in the road. But it will be entertaining to see what form the necessary wiggle-dance will take.

It’s pretty sad when a political system degenerates into sophistry as a spectator sport — but that’s all we’ve got, so we’d better enjoy it.

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Revealed: How Congress Mysteriously Became a ‘Small Business’ to Qualify for Obamacare Subsidies

12th May 2016

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Funny how that works.

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