DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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

What Happens if the High Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies?

4th March 2015

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Well, for one thing, that’s another welfare program that won’t be costing the taxpayers money.

For another, people might realize that the Affordable Care Act isn’t.

But I doubt it.

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New York City Public Schools to Close on Muslim Holidays

4th March 2015

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Yet another reason not to send your kid to a government school.

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Bill Seeking Congressional Iran Review Hits Partisan Rocks

4th March 2015

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The two lead Senate Democrats on a measure giving Congress oversight over any nuclear deal with Iran balked Tuesday when Senate Republicans moved to fast-track the bill through the chamber.

‘Hey, we weren’t serious about that…!’

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Obama Hit for Filling Embassies With Political Allies, Highest in 27 Years

4th March 2015

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Just look at the numbers. Silverman’s group said that 40.6 percent of Obama’s second term ambassadorial positions, the top jobs, have gone to political hacks, with 59.4 to career foreign service careerists. Some Obama picks have been criticized for having no experience in or knowledge of the country they are being sent to.

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

I thought that the reason  we had ambassadors is to provide sinecures for political hacks that support the current administration.

Certainly our foreign policy would suggest that it’s being handled by a team of amateurs.

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White House Eyes Executive Action for Possible Corporate Tax Hikes

4th March 2015

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The White House may be inching closer to the idea of raising taxes by executive action – the same path President Obama took to push through his controversial immigration actions.

Press Secretary John Earnest told reporters on Monday that Obama was “very interested,” when asked about the prospect of changing the tax code via executive action.

Obama is really letting his inner dictator express itself, isn’t he?

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., on Tuesday urged Obama not to heed these calls.

“I worry that unilateral action, publicly justified by your spokesperson as a response to an obstinate Congress and dependent upon an improper expansion of executive power, is becoming standard practice under this Administration,” he wrote in a letter to the president. “… Just as troubling are recent reports that your Administration is exploring ways in which it can implement new tax revenues without the support of either house of Congress.”

Perhaps Congress will become alarmed at what the President can do with the stroke of a pen under current law. But I doubt it.

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It’s Raining Taxes in Maryland

3rd March 2015

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In Maryland, the government has decided to tax residents for the privilege of having rain fall on their property.  For the past 5 years, Maryland has taxed residents for simply having a roof over their heads.  In order to comply with EPA regulations, the Maryland State legislature has implemented a “rain tax.”  According to Forbes,

“This tax is an annual fee on impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, garages, and any other surface that could create drainage problems and water contamination situated on property owned by an individual or a business.”

Because of the nature of this regulation, it only affects nine counties and the city of Baltimore; making them responsible for paying the fee.  Along with being intrusive and frivolous, the “rain tax” is implemented differently in each county.  This makes it difficult for Marylanders to correctly follow the law.  For example,  Charles County levies a flat fee of $43 per property, while Montgomery County has fee rates ranging from $29.17 to $265.20 depending on size of impervious surfaces.

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Feds Raid California ‘Maternity Hotels’ for Birth Tourists

3rd March 2015

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But they can’t be bothered deporting illegal alien criminals. Sounds kinda racist to me.

I have a question: How does this differ from the ‘anchor babies’ that illegal immigrants from Mexico keep dropping? Where’s the ‘sting’ in that?

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China Submarines Outnumber U.S. Fleet: U.S. Admiral

3rd March 2015

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China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top U.S. Navy admiral told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of deployment.

 

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Netanyahu’s Moment

3rd March 2015

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President Obama’s outrage at Prime Minister Netanyahu is undoubtedly genuine, but every ground presented for it by the administration for it is a transparent pretext. One such ground is Netanyahu’s appearance before Congress within a few weeks of Israeli elections. The timing of the speech, however, is rather obviously dictated by the administration’s March 23 deadline for the outline of a final agreement with Iran. Obama’s outrage is keyed to Netanyahu’s opposition to the terms of the coming deal and his desire to explain his opposition to the American people before it is presented to them as a fait accompli.

Yesterday Secretary of State Kerry and others warned Netanyahu not to reveal details of the coming deal in his speech to Congress. One can only wonder why such details are to be kept from Congress and the American people when they have been entrusted to the mullahs.

Actually, one need not wonder. One can reasonably infer that Obama seeks to present a bad deal to Congress and the American people as a given fact.

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Hillary Clinton’s Use of Private Email Address While Secretary of State Draws Scrutiny

3rd March 2015

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal e-mail account to exclusively conduct official business during her time at the State Department, a move that raises questions about access to the full archive of her correspondence, as well as the possibility that she violated federal law requiring official messages to be retained for the record.

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

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Good Samaritans Warned: Stop Giving Away Free Things or Face $1,000 Fine

2nd March 2015

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In Sacramento, a group of charitable housemates has been holding free giveaways on their front lawn. All recently homeless, the housemates say they benefitted from the kindness of strangers in their times of need and now want to pay the goodwill forward by distributing donated goods to others. But the city is trying to shut down the operation, which it says counts as an illegal garage sale.

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Is the Government Mandating Incompetent Banking?

2nd March 2015

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For years, I heard from my friends in the banking industry that the government was requiring them to make bad loans. They could stand it, on account of Freddie and Fannie taking the risk off their hands and transferring it to the taxpayers, at least as far as mortgages were concerned, although the bad loans didn’t end there. We all know how that turned out.

Dodd-Frank, legislation that was passed ostensibly to prevent future financial collapses, in fact institutionalized bailouts and bad banking practices.

Banking is increasingly intertwined with government. We are steadily approaching the national socialist ideal in which all industries, while nominally private, are subordinate to government.

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Loretta Lynch’s Secret Prosecutions

2nd March 2015

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The office headed by the woman poised to become the next attorney general has used an unusual method to keep many of its prosecutions hidden from the public, an NBC News investigation has found.

Federal prosecutors in New York’s Brooklyn-based Eastern District pursued cases against secret, unnamed “John Doe” defendants 58 times since Loretta Lynch became head prosecutor in May 2010. Two of the 58 are terrorism cases.

Eastern District prosecutors have also sought permission to close the courtroom to the public for 11 different Doe cases during the same period, and judges have granted permission in at least 10 of the cases, as recently as February 12.

Critics are concerned the practice may infringe the Constitution’s guarantee of a public trial.

Oh, ya think?

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Why 40-Year-Old Tech Is Still Running America’s Air Traffic Control

27th February 2015

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At any given time, around 7,000 aircraft are flying over the United States. For the past 40 years, the same computer system has controlled all that high-altitude traffic—a relic of the 1970s known as Host. The core system predates the advent of the Global Positioning System, so Host uses point-to-point, ground-based radar. Every day, thousands of travelers switch their GPS-enabled smartphones to airplane mode while their flights are guided by technology that predates the Speak & Spell. If you’re reading this at 30,000 feet, relax—Host is still safe, in terms of getting planes from point A to point B. But it’s unbelievably inefficient. It can handle a limited amount of traffic, and controllers can’t see anything outside of their own airspace—when they hand off a plane to a contiguous airspace, it vanishes from their radar.

The FAA knows all that. For 11 years the agency has been limping toward a collection of upgrades called NextGen. At its core is a new computer system that will replace Host and allow any controller, anywhere, to see any plane in US airspace. In theory, this would enable one air traffic control center to take over for another with the flip of a switch, as Howard seemed to believe was already possible. NextGen isn’t vaporware; that core system was live in Chicago and the four adjacent centers when Howard attacked, and this spring it’ll go online in all 20 US centers. But implementation has been a mess, with a cascade of delays, revisions, and unforeseen problems. Air traffic control can’t do anything as sophisticated as Howard thought, and unless something changes about the way the FAA is managing NextGen, it probably never will.

And yet people believe all those movies that show the CIA and other federal agencies with super-tech gear. In their dreams….

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Murdered By a Dreamer: Do Black Lives Matter?

27th February 2015

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Jamiel Shaw, Jr. was murdered by an illegal alien–a “dreamer”–the day after the dreamer was released from jail after a trivially short sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, and left to roam the streets rather than being deported. There have been many such stories; Jamiel Shaw’s story only came to light because his father, Jamiel Shaw, Sr., was called to testify before an Oversight Subcommittee hearing. His heartbreaking testimony illustrates the human cost of our government’s failure to enforce the immigration laws.

Apparently it depends on whose political agenda is being served.

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3 Charts That Show the FCC Is Full of Malarkey on Net Neutrality and Title II

27th February 2015

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But of course you already knew that. History tells us, if it tells us nothing else, that any action taken by government employees is probably the wrong action to take in any particular situation. There are occasional examples to the contrary, but not enough to seriously impair the rule.

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32,000 Emails Recovered in IRS Targeting Probe Amid Allegations Agency Chief May Have Lied

27th February 2015

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But they don’t know how many of them are new, and told a congressional oversight committee that IRS employees had not asked computer technicians for the tapes, as directed by a subpoena from House oversight and other investigating committees.

That admission was in direct contradiction to earlier testimony of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

‘May have’ lied?

 

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Why Eric Holder Won’t Let Go of Ferguson

25th February 2015

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Mostly, because he’s a partisan asshole.

Professional agitators in the civil-rights community push false narratives to stay relevant, but we should expect more from the Justice Department. Instead, we have Attorney General Eric Holder channeling Al Sharpton . Last week Mr. Holder said that he will soon announce the results of his Ferguson investigation. CNN, citing “sources,” reported that Darren Wilson, the police officer involved in the shooting, is unlikely to be charged but that Justice is preparing to sue the Ferguson police department “over a pattern of racially discriminatory tactics used by police officers, if the police department does not agree to make changes on its own.”

After months of looking into the incident, the Justice Department seems to have come to the same conclusion as the Ferguson grand jury and found no grounds for a criminal prosecution of Mr. Wilson. Mr. Holder might now be trying to justify his bigfooting by suing the city, but there is probably no basis for that, either. Hence, the leak to the media that a civil lawsuit may be in the works. The leak was an egregious breach of protocol and, in effect, a threat. We’ve seen this movie before, too.

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Treasury Issues Reprieve for ObamaCare Tax Errors

25th February 2015

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Taxpayers who’ve filed their 2014 returns only to learn that the government provided them with erroneous information on health care subsidies won’t be required to submit corrected returns, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.

The decision amounts to a reprieve from paperwork headaches for an estimated 50,000 early filers, out of a pool of some 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers affected by a tax reporting goof disclosed last week.

The majority who haven’t yet filed their tax returns are still being urged to wait until they receive corrected information from the federal Health and Human Services department.

How generous.

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Beef Producers Say Obama Is Trying to Kill Their Industry

24th February 2015

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Hey, it’s what he does.

A panel of nutrition experts recruited by the Obama administration to craft the newest dietary guidelines suggested last week that the government should consider the environment when deciding what people should eat.

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

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Obama Administration Has Already Handed Out Millions of Illegal Work Permits

23rd February 2015

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A federal court has ruled that the Obama administration’s plan to issue work permits to illegal immigrants is–this is not exactly a surprise–illegal. But the Democrats are undeterred. Today, for the fourth time, they filibustered funding for the Department of Homeland Security, insisting that if Obama’s illegal program isn’t funded, the entire DHS must be shut down.

In the meantime, it has come to light that the Obama administration has been handing out illegal work permits for years. The Center for Immigration Studies has received documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act request that indicate millions of such illegal work permits have been issued since 2009. Here is the CIS report in its entirety:

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Low-Fat Diet Advice Was Based on Undercooked Science

23rd February 2015

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Undercooked? Then, obviously, what they need is some Global Warming!

 

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The Dangers of Oil by Rail

23rd February 2015

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As President Obama readies his veto pen for a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline, the primary alternative to the controversial infrastructure project is sending trains laden with volatile crude through cities and small towns across the country. Despite having access to the world’s most extensive pipeline network, producers have had to turn to trains to transport booming crude output to refineries. But as we saw last week in West Virginia, more oil trains means more fiery derailments.

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Wisconsin Prof Offers Extra Credit for Attending Anti-Walker Budget Protests

23rd February 2015

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Hey, they’re learning how to be Tools of the Crust. That’s educational.

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Five Myths About Net Neutrality

23rd February 2015

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Recall all those bullshit taxes and fees that get tacked onto your phone bill? If ISPs are regulated as common carriers, those (or one like them) will get tacked onto your Internet bill as well. “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help … ourselves to your money”.

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LA School Officials Admit iPad Plan Was Unaffordable and Distracting

23rd February 2015

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Ramon Cortines, the new superintendent, recently admitted that the district’s billion-dollar idea to buy every single student an iPad, Chromebook, or laptop was never affordable or practical in any sense—and in fact clashed with more urgent priorities, like procuring suitable textbooks and rebuilding infrastructure.

Yeah, that was a winner: Giving a $600 device to kids whose reaction would be “I wonder how much I can hock this for?”

Prediction: Nobody loses his job, nobody goes to jail. Your tax dollars at work.

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The Affordable Care Act Isn’t So Affordable for the Chronically Ill

23rd February 2015

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Human growth hormone is a specialty drug, a category of pharmaceuticals that includes medications for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia and HIV. As the name would suggest, specialty drugs aren’t cheap. There are no generic alternatives.

As such, insurance companies treat specialty drugs differently. Instead of having a flat co-payment, consumers pay co-insurance, which is a percentage of the price the insurer has negotiated with the drug’s manufacturer. Our co-insurance is 30 percent.

So specialty drugs have always been expensive, and co-insurance is not new. But the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act turned a cost problem into a bona fide cost crisis – pricing middle-class families out of an already heavily regulated market, sometimes forcing people to seek alternatives in Canada or Mexico, and leaving many patients to suffer.

Obamacare’s critics – many on the left as well as the right – weren’t wrong when they complained that the law would be a gift to insurance companies. Although the law capped out-of-pocket medical expenses, specialty drugs were exempt. But that only perverted an already distorted marketplace, encouraging insurers to raise consumer costs while narrowing their choices.

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Terror Apologist Named to Federal Anti-Terror Post

23rd February 2015

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President Obama is appointing an openly terrorist-sympathizing Muslim to head a government office dedicated to countering Islamic State propaganda.

In April, Rashad Hussain will take over as director of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, a small office within the U.S. Department of State that Obama plans to make bigger. A new component called the Information Coordination Cell will be added to the expanded center and will reportedly be staffed by intelligence analysts. It will have a staff of around 80 people and will coordinate with other government agencies.

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Obama’s Multipronged Assault on Truth and Reality

23rd February 2015

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President Obama is fond of invoking the term “narrative,” so it’s worth considering several instances in which he invokes exactly the wrong narrative–the wrong frame–around events.

The most obvious is the president’s repeated insistence that militant Islam is utterly disconnected from the Islamic faith.

But that hardly exhausts the examples of false narratives employed by the president. As this exchange between Fox’s Ed Henry and White House press secretary Josh Earnest demonstrates, in its statement the White House avoided saying that the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded by members of ISIS were Christian, even though that was the reason they were beheaded. At the same time the president suggested that the murder of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina was because they were Muslim, when in fact that wasn’t by any means clear when the White House issued its statement. (The shooting appears to have involved a long-standing dispute over parking.) So when Christian faith is a factor in a massacre, it’s denied, and when there’s no evidence that the Islamic faith was a factor in a killing, it’s nevertheless asserted.

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More Taxes Equal More Pork

22nd February 2015

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

The interstates were successful because they provided transportation that is faster, cheaper (because it saves fuel), more convenient, and safer than before.

For the past two decades or so, however, much of our transportation spending has focused on infrastructure that is slower, more expensive, less convenient, and often more dangerous than before. Too many cities have given up on trying to relieve congestion. Instead, they have allowed it to grow while they spend transportation dollars (nearly all paid by auto users) on other forms of travel such as rail transit.

A very simple test can determine whether any particular transportation project will be faster, cheaper, more convenient, and/or safer than before: Will the users themselves pay for it? Users will pay for real improvements in transportation; they won’t pay for slower, more expensive, less convenient, and more dangerous transportation.

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The White Mosque Summit on Countering Kinetic Activism

22nd February 2015

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As we all know, “Violent Extremism” is a euphemism for “Islamic Terrorism”. However, “violent” is pejorative and inherently discriminatory, and “extremism” implies a value judgment that says “moderate” ideologies are in some way preferable and superior to “extremist” ones.

Therefore I propose that we replace the outmoded phrase “Violent Extremism” with “Kinetic Activism”, which remains value-neutral while still addressing the dangerous tendencies of certain ideological radicals who interpret core documents in ways that negatively impact their fellow humans of all races, creeds, colors, and sexual orientations.

This past week President Barack Hussein Obama (pbuh) convened a summit in Washington D.C. to address the pressing issue of kinetic activism. The second day of the summit opened with an Islamic prayer in Arabic. No other religious invocations were offered — neither Christian, nor Jewish, nor Buddhist, nor Wiccan, nor Ásatruar. Only Muslim.

That makes sense, of course, since Mohammed was the final prophet of the only true religion, whose ministry made all previous avatars irrelevant. So let’s not quibble about the fact that a conclave of responsible theophostics chose to offer a prayer to Allah only, and nothing else. Those esteemed mantics have a legitimate claim to being the best of all people, beloved of Allah. They deserve their righteous privilege.

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Study Says the Poor Bear the Brunt of Sales Tax Hikes

22nd February 2015

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Hey, how can Democrats buy votes with free stuff if the underclass don’t need the money?

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Milking Taxpayers

20th February 2015

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To this day, to be treated as a farmer in America doesn’t necessarily require you to grow any crops. According to the Government Accountability Office, between 2007 and 2011 Uncle Sam paid some $3m in subsidies to 2,300 farms where no crop of any sort was grown. Between 2008 and 2012, $10.6m was paid to farmers who had been dead for over a year. Such payments explain why Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, is promoting a rule to attempt to crack down on payments to non-farming folk. But with crop prices now falling, taxpayers are braced to be fleeced again.

American farm subsidies are egregiously expensive, harvesting $20 billion a year from taxpayers’ pockets. Most of the money goes to big, rich farmers producing staple commodities such as corn and soyabeans in states such as Iowa.

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Libya’s Chaos Is Obama’s Shame

20th February 2015

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President Obama attacked Libya in 2011 without congressional authority, and then shirked any responsibility to help stabilize the country after deposing its dictator.

By 2013, Libya had become a chaotic hellhole mired in a permanent war. Today it is a new beachhead and recruiting ground for the Islamic State.

Obama’s illegal, ill-considered, and immoral drive-by war in Libya ought to be a permanent stain on his presidency. The recent video of masked ISIS killers beheading 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya deserves to be the emblem of this president’s rash foreign policy.

 

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Obama’s “Violent Extremism” Summit: An Exercise in Community Organizing

20th February 2015

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Andy McCarthy points out that, even as the White House throws “a public hissy fit” over the upcoming speech to Congress by Benjamin Netanyahu, it chooses to be “chummy” with Salam al-Marayati, the Muslim activist best known for saying, right after the 9/11 attacks, that we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.

You have to hand it Obama, he knows who his friends are. It’s America’s friends that he hasn’t a clue about, and that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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Obama to Give Free Parks Admission to Fourth Graders

20th February 2015

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Hey, he’s a Democrat — that’s what they do. ‘Vote for us and get free stuff!’

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White House Delusions, Islamist Realities

19th February 2015

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As the only person to have won the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of sheer hope rather than actual achievement, President Barack Obama might have been expected to do everything within his power to vindicate this unprecedented show of international trust. Instead he has presided over a clueless foreign policy that has not only exacerbated ongoing regional conflicts but has made the world a far more dangerous place. And nowhere has this failure been more glaringly manifested than in his much ballyhooed “new beginning” between the United States and Muslims around the world.

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Executive Amnesty Was Illegal Until Recently

19th February 2015

John Hinderaker at Powerline points out some inconvenient truth.

There is no serious debate about the fact that Obama’s recent amnesty/work permit decrees were illegal, but the Democrats just don’t care. Hence the current outrage, after a federal judge made the obvious decision. Have we ever had such a lawless administration? Not in my lifetime, certainly.

The Ramirez cartoon is especially apropos.

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Live by the Fascism; Die by the Fascism

18th February 2015

Bob Belvedere reminds us of some inconvenient truth.

“Sue and settle “ practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits”, are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action both they and the litigants want.

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Fun-Killing D.C. Cops: No Sledding on Capitol Hill

18th February 2015

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Cops told sledders on the southwest side of the Capitol to pack it in on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal, which also noted that the sledding ban has existed since 9/11. But if American children aren’t allowed to enjoy a bit of fun on public property, surely the terrorists have already won.

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The Obamacare Effect: Greater Distrust of Government

18th February 2015

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

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Estranged Wife Calls Police Over Suicidal Husband, Cops Pursue, Shoot, and Kill Him

18th February 2015

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Now that’s public service.

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Insured, But Not Covered

17th February 2015

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WHEN Karen Pineman of Manhattan received notice that her longtime health insurance policy didn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements, she gamely set about shopping for a new policy through the public marketplace. After all, she’d supported President Obama and the act as a matter of principle.

Ms. Pineman, who is self-employed, accepted that she’d have to pay higher premiums for a plan with a narrower provider network and no out-of-network coverage. She accepted that she’d have to pay out of pocket to see her primary care physician, who didn’t participate. She even accepted having co-pays of nearly $1,800 to have a cast put on her ankle in an emergency room after she broke it while playing tennis.

But her frustration bubbled over when she tried to arrange a follow-up visit with an orthopedist in her Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield network: The nearest doctor available who treated ankle problems was in Stamford, Conn. When she called to protest, her insurer said that Stamford was 14 miles from her home and 15 was considered a reasonable travel distance. “It was ridiculous — didn’t they notice it was in another state?” said Ms. Pineman, 46, who was on crutches.

She instead paid $350 to see a nearby orthopedist and bought a boot on Amazon as he suggested. She has since forked over hundreds of dollars more for a physical therapist that insurance didn’t cover, even though that provider was in-network.

How about that government-regulated health care, eh? God knows what kind of hell we’d be living in if we didn’t have that.

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Yep, ObamaCare Costs a Fortune

17th February 2015

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Whenever I write about ObamaCare’s expansion of health insurance, most of the emails I get from readers include some version of: Sure, the premiums may be low, but who can afford to see a doctor?

A survey released [last week] by the Kaiser Family Foundation, tracking 2015 deductibles and copayments across most exchange plans, says those complaints are at least half right. For all but the most generous ObamaCare plans, out-of-pocket payments are usually higher than for employer-based insurance — in some cases, drastically so.

And it’s not as if nobody said anything beforehand. (Excepting Obama, and he lied like a rug.)

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Treatments From Our Own Cells Could Cure Many Diseases—If Washington Will Only Allow It to Happen

16th February 2015

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The widespread interest in human-cell therapies—together with the still-blurry lines between the broad statutory definition of “drugs,” which require FDA approval, and the “practice of medicine,” which does not—has set the stage for an extended and fractious struggle for control, pitting many doctors and patients against Washington. At stake are extremely versatile treatment methodologies that can regenerate damaged tissues and organs and have the potential to cure many currently incurable diseases.

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By ‘Editing’ Plant Genes, Companies Avoid Regulation

15th February 2015

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An industry-sponsored study said that the large companies spend an average of $136 million on the development of a genetically engineered crop, including $35 million in regulatory costs. The Agriculture Department once took two to five years to review applications, though it is trying to reduce that to 13 to 16 months.

Look what the government does for you: Increased the cost of food research by a third, and delays things by years. Thanks, guys.

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A Tale of Two Pensions

14th February 2015

Public vs Private pensions

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Barack Obama: Hand-washer-in-chief

13th February 2015

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Executives are supposed to deal with or avoid problems. Barack Obama, elected U.S. president with essentially no executive experience, prefers to wash his hands of them.

He washed his hands of Iraq, though now he has been forced to dirty them there again. He’s trying to wash his hands of Afghanistan. He just washed his hands of Yemen, presiding over an ignominious U.S. exit during which, reportedly, American Marines turned over their weapons, apparently, as a condition of their withdrawal [see UPDATE below].

Today, Obama washed his hands of a totally predictable consequence of Obamacare — reduced staffing and reduced working hours for workers.

“Shaming” bad actors is fine for a fourth grade teacher. But the job of a leader is to anticipate the shameful — or in the case of companies that cut staffing or hours in response to Obamacare, the economically rational — potential behavior of those affected by his decisions, and to shape the decisions accordingly.

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10 Social Security Rules You Won’t Believe

13th February 2015

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The Deck May Seem Slightly Stacked
“Even if we caused the (benefits) overpayment, you must show that you are without fault.”

You Can Actually Die Twice
Cash benefits for disabled workers end “the month before the month you die.”

Department of Circular Definition
“What does ‘actually paid’ mean? Actual payment occurs when you are actually paid.”

Catch the Address on That Coffin?
“The lump-sum payment cannot be paid on the earnings record of a worker who dies in or after the month we receive notice of deportation or removal.”

And Social Security Would Know This How?
“Third parties may assist a claimant when completing the (online) application, but the claimant must be present to select the ‘Submit Now’ button.”

We’ll Report That Income Right Away
“The illegality of an activity does not prevent it from being a trade or business. For example, professional gamblers, bookies, etc. may be engaged in a trade or business. If you’re in this category, you are considered self-employed and are required to report your income and pay self-employment taxes.”

The Fat Lady Never Sings I
“We may always make a new initial determination whenever a change occurs in the factual situation despite how much time elapses from the date of that change.”

The Fat Lady Never Sings II
“The fact that we determine that a claimant meets the requirements for entitlement does not preclude us from making another determination that the claimant no longer meets those requirements at some subsequent date.”

The Case of the Missing Corpse
“In a disappearance case where the body is not recovered, you must clearly prove the death of the missing person. Submit all available evidence, including: statements of persons having knowledge of the situation; (or) letters or notes left by the missing person that have a bearing on the case.”

The Department of Really, Really Helpful
Social Security representatives are instructed: “Do not attempt to explain the rationale for any particular operational guidelines, nor go to any great lengths to justify them.”

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »

5 Government Programs That Abuse Taxpayers’ Money

13th February 2015

Read it.

Boy, I’d be hard put to pick only five.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | No Comments »