DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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

Sen. Bob Casey Wants to Ban Gun Sales to “Anyone Reasonably Suspected to be Guilty” of Misdemeanor Hate Crimes

13th June 2016

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In the wake of this past weekend’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced in a press release today that he intends to introduce new legislation which “would prohibit the purchase, possession or shipment of a firearm by anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime or who received a hate crime sentence enhancement.”

This is, of course, unconstitutional. But that never stops Democrats.

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The FBI Is Building a Tattoo-Reading System to Chart Criminal Affiliations

13th June 2016

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An investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation has shed new light on an experimental tattoo recognition program run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and raised serious questions about the privacy safeguards in place.

I don’t see how marks on your body come under the category ‘privacy’. ‘Advertising’ perhaps.

The tattoo project has two potential uses. A simple recognition system can use individual tattoos to identify specific suspects over time, supplementing fingerprints and simple facial photos. But more sophisticated systems will also be able to identify tattoo patterns that may suggest particular criminal affiliations. Law enforcement agencies already catalog specific tattoos associated with Russian mafia and white supremacist groups, and the FBI believes an automated system might help uncover previously unrecorded associations. “Tattoos provide valuable information on an individual’s affiliations or beliefs and can support identity verification of an individual,” one researcher wrote in a NIST whitepaper.

And, indeed, having a tattoo at all reflects a degree of narcissism that constitutes, in my view, a character flaw at least as significant as anything one might post on ‘social media’.

It’s that second use case that EFF finds most concerning, potentially standing as a threat to free expression. “Tattoos are free speech that we wear on our skin,” the group writes. “Our tattoos express who we were, who we are, and who we hope to be. But when law enforcement looks at our tattoos, they see unique biometric identifiers and a shortcut to learning our personal beliefs and our social connections.”

Well, if tattoos express ‘who we are’, I don’t see any legitimacy to objecting to it being used to ‘learning our personal beliefs and our social connections’. We have a right to free speech, but it you use your free speech to shout ‘I hate Jews!’ I’m going to presume that it reflects a personal belief and feel perfectly justified in not hiring or doing business with you. You can’t have it both ways, although there’s a lot of that going around these days.

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ATR Urges Support for H.R. 5053, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act

13th June 2016

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Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 5053, the “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act,” introduced by Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). This important legislation prevents the IRS from targeting non-profits by prohibiting the agency from collecting the identity of donors who contribute to these organizations. Members of Congress should vote yes on H.R. 5053.

Currently, the IRS requires non-profits to submit a schedule B form, listing the names and addresses of their donors. However, this form is not used by the IRS for any purpose. Given the increasing politicization within the agency, the existence of these forms is an “accident” waiting to happen.

I would seriously love to see the Schedule B for the Clinton Foundation.

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President Obama’s Wealth Destroying Goal: Taking the ‘Curley Effect’ Nationwide

12th June 2016

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As defined by Harvard scholars Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer in a famous 2002 article, the Curley effect (named after its prototype, James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston in the first half of the 20th century) is a political strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.” Translation: A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.

Here’s an example of how the Curley effect works: Let’s say a mayor advocates and adopts policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the not-so-prosperous by bestowing generous tax-financed favors on unions, the public sector in general, and select corporations. These beneficiaries become economically dependent on their political patrons, so they give them their undivided electoral support—e.g., votes, campaign contributions, and get-out-the-vote drives.

This is the constant Democrat agenda: Make more and more people dependent on government handouts so they will more and more vote for the party of government handouts, i.e. Democrats.

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White House Insists Endorsement Won’t Influence Hillary Clinton Email Probe

10th June 2016

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

We’re not worried about the probe. We’re worried about the indictment.

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Light Rail Runs at Heavy Price in Dallas, Houston

10th June 2016

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Houston’s Metro rail is catching up to Dallas’ DART trains in ridership, but both systems are more dependent than ever on taxpayer subsidies.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s light-rail trains recorded 29.9 million passenger trips in fiscal 2015. The newer Houston Metro rail is on track for 23.6 million fares this year if its bullish numbers from March continue.

The competition for ridership comes at a price. DART’s rail system receives $619,960,000 in annual operating subsidies, with local sales tax and the Federal Transit Administration providing the most funding.

Houston’s Metro says it averages $4.75 in subsidies for every rail ride. Multiplied by projected ridership, that comes to $112,100,000 in taxpayer support this year.

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The Precedent For Hillary: A Special Prosecutor

9th June 2016

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With the race for the Democratic nomination effectively concluded, Hillary Clinton now awaits the endorsement of President Obama, which they expect to come within the next few weeks. Obama is poised to play a big role in Clinton’s campaign against Donald Trump, acting as an emissary to groups and audiences that have been more reluctant to support Clinton in the past. But this creates its own set of problems: namely, that the FBI under the auspices of Obama’s administration is also actively investigating Clinton’s email server and her mishandling of classified information.

It’s hard to see any way that a conclusion reached under people like Loretta Lynch, serving at the pleasure of a president advocating vociferously for Clinton’s election, would be seen as treating the candidate fairly. Even if Clinton is cleared, a dark cloud will hang over the process. And Clinton herself should not be comfortable with the prospect of a process Trump will certainly denounce as crooked, especially considering that many Americans would likely agree with him.

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In the Fiscal Health Beauty Pageant, Everyone Loses

9th June 2016

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Many states are broke, even though their constituents don’t know it. The two main drivers of states’ fiscal problems are the bloated promises made by lawmakers to their public employees about health care and pension benefits and an unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of a problem. Whether the dodging of long-term obligations is done knowingly or inadvertently hardly matters. The results are still the same. Faulty accounting always comes back to hurt the people in the cities and states that have used it—for example, Puerto Rico, Detroit, and Chicago.

Jerry Pournelle is fond of saying that the function of government is to hire and pay government workers. Now those buzzards are coming home to roost.

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New Legislation Would Let Vets Get Care Outside the VA

9th June 2016

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, on Tuesday introduced a new bill in the House to completely overhaul how the nation’s soldiers receive care from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

The solution: Start turning the sole, and worst, example of the federal government’s single-payer system back to the private sector.

About fargin time. The VA system is the poster child proving that government-provided health care would be a disaster.

The “Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act” would launch a “Veterans Accountable Care Organization” to run the VA’s health care facilities. It would help create a new voucher system whereby soldiers could use VA funding to get care from the private sector. Specifically, it would enroll all new veterans into VetsCare Choice, which covers private health care, and it would let already-enrolled veterans opt in or stay with their existing coverage.

In other words, Obamacare without the lies.

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Oooooklahoma! Where the Cops Can Stop and Empty Your Bank Cards – on Just a Hunch

8th June 2016

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Police in Oklahoma are deploying an electronic scanner that can drain currency from prepaid credit cards seized at the roadside using civil asset forfeiture laws.

The Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) handheld scanner was developed at the request of the Department of Homeland Security for use by US border guards. But the gadget’s maker is now marketing it to local and state police, and Oklahoma has bought 16 of the scanners for its highway patrol.

The reader can record data from any magstripe card – even down to hotel keys – and works with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, as well as Best Buy, Costco, Macy’s and Walmart gift cards. Any funds found can be frozen or transferred directly to a law enforcement bank account “to protect the integrity of the evidence and ensure the funds are available for trial or forfeiture,” ERAD’s advertising states.

I do not enter Oklahoma until they get this fixed.

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Man Admits Taking $250K From Head Start; Bought Maserati, Mink Coat

8th June 2016

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He is, as you might expect, not a Person of Pallor.

The former executive director of a former Head Start program in Jersey City Tuesday admitted that he diverted more than $250,000 from programs for underprivileged children and used the money for personal expenses, including a Maserati and a mink coat, prosecutors said.

 

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Gondola: Thy Name Is Boondoggle

8th June 2016

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As if we need any more evidence of profligate waste in the transit industry, Chicago, Austin, and other cities are considering aerial trams, also known as gondolas. Portland’s infamous aerial tram, which opened in 2006, cost 500 percent more than the original projection, carries a mere 3,200 round trips per day, and collects fares that cover just 22 percent of its operating costs. The economic development that was promised if Portland taxpayers helped build it went to Florida instead.

The most famous aerial tram is, of course, the one from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island in New York City, an expression of the deep desire by the Crust of the Other Left Coast to live in Switzerland but still have access to Broadway and Fifth Avenue. It is perhaps not insignificant that before Roosevelt Island was ‘gentrified’ it was called Welfare Island.

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Nearly Half Of Dc Employers Said They Have Laid Off Workers, Reduced Hours Due To Minimum Wage Hikes

8th June 2016

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Nearly half of Washington, D.C. employers said they have either laid off employees or reduced the hours of employees to adapt to the District of Columbia’s minimum wage hikes since 2014, according to a report from the Employment Policies Institute.

The minimum wage in the District of Columbia has increased from a $8.25 hourly rate in 2014 to the current rate of $11.50 per hour. Mayor Muriel Bowser advocated a $15 minimum wage in her State of the District address earlier this year.

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

According to the report, just over half of the businesses surveyed said they planned to raise prices in order to offset the cost of a minimum wage hike. Thirty-five percent said they would likely reduce staffing levels and 37 percent said they would reduce employees’ hours or reduce the number of hours they were open for business. Thirty-one percent of businesses said they were very likely to hire more skilled workers in the future to offset the higher wage.

But raising the minimum wage has no effect on unemployment, no sirree.

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Mexican Man Deported 4 Times Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Meth Trafficking

8th June 2016

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Marcos Benitez Camacho’s travels across the U.S.-Mexico border are over.

The Mexico native managed to sneak back into the United States four times after being deported. But then state troopers stopped him in Duluth, Georgia in the spring of 2015, and found nearly 100 lbs. of methamphetamine, valued at $1.5 million.

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Cobb County Has No Money Left for Public Parks Because They Gave it All to the Atlanta Braves

7th June 2016

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Cobb County (Ga.) Commission Chairmain Tim Lee has broken the news to his constituents that their taxes will have to be increased to complete the funding of a $40 million bond — which they voted overwhelmingly in favor of — to build public parks. To date, only about half of that bond has been funded, according to AJC.com.

But in a jaw-droppingly cynical act of crony capitalism and untransparent government, the county has found a way to come up with approximately $400 million in public funds to subsidize the new stadium being built for Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, even though it denied the public a vote in the matter.

It’s shit like this that make people vote for Donald Trump.

I won’t live in a city that has a major sports stadium for precisely this reason.

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California Lawmakers Try to Extend ObamaCare to Illegal Immigrants

7th June 2016

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Of course they do.

When the President ignores the law, why should state legislators hesitate?

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Fired Head of Veterans Affairs Office in Phoenix About To Be Rehired

6th June 2016

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The Crust takes care of its own.

Sharon Helman, who oversaw the Phoenix office for Veterans Affairs—the one that created phony waiting lists to avoid oversight and criticism and whose exposure by CNN prompted a new law—is probably going to get rehired. Forget for the moment that “Helman plead guilty earlier this year to not reporting $50,000 in gifts she received from a lobbyist seeking business with the VA, including a car and a $5,000 check.” And hell, let’s forget what was going on in the Phoenix office that she headed up: An investigation discovered at least 3,500 vets stuck on secret waiting lists so they wouldn’t be counted on official lists that tracked how quickly former soldiers got treatment. At least a few dozen of the vets died while on such lists.

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Are Members of Congress Too Rich?

6th June 2016

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A person can’t open the newspaper these days without encountering a reminder of the plummeting value of the dollar. Sunday’s New York Times was a perfect example. The lead editorial, about money in politics, reports, “As the money torrent rises, it’s no coincidence that for the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires (268 of 534 House members), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”

This is indeed “no coincidence,” but not in the way the Times intends. The rising number of millionaires in Congress is not some indication that the legislature has been overrun by the rich, but further evidence, as if it were needed, that a million dollars isn’t what it used to be. The Center for Responsive Politics count the Times references makes no adjustment for inflation, so there’s no way to tell, as measured by any real yardstick, whether today’s Congress is richer or poorer than it used to be. In fact, the rising number of millionaires in Congress may be a sign that the chamber is more representative than it is plutocratic; CNBC reported recently that there are a “record number of millionaires living in the U.S.,” an estimated 10.4 million of them, if one counts by assets and does not include the value of one’s primary residence.

Find the government’s Consumer Price Index (thank you, Google) and figure out what your annual salary for your first job out of school is in today’s dollars. You will be shocked.

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Ms. Psaki corrects

6th June 2016

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The now famous exchange on video between FOX News reporter James Rosen with then State Department spokesman Jen Psaki was sent down the memory hole by someone at the State Department. The exchange homed in on the administration’s deceit regarding negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Whoever dun it with the video at the State Department archives was likely acting at the behest of someone else in the Obama administration. Current State Department spokesman John Kirby has declared that the department’s less than Sherlockian investigation failed to identify a perpetrator.

Where is that super-efficient and super-effective government that we see in the Jason Bourne movies? Where are the paragons of virtue to which we are supposed to entrust our health care? Either the government is full of crooks or the government is full of incompetents. Either way, I suggest that we not give them any more money or power.

From her position at the State Department Psaki has of course failed upward. She now serves as the White House communications director. Her current position in the least transparent administration in American history can also make one wonder.

Democrats investigating Democrats: Nobody gets fired, nobody goes to jail.

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US Police Under Fire After Trump Rally

4th June 2016

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San Jose’s police department are facing mounting complaints of a tepid and tardy law enforcement response to attacks on Donald Trump supporters after a political rally.

Videos circulating online show physical clashes occurring in front of San Jose police officers dressed in riot gear and standing stoically in a line outside the convention centre where Trump spoke.

At least Australians noticed, although history is full of corrupt Democrat urban machine police doing selective enforcement.

San Jose police chief Eddie Garcia commended his officers’ response to the violence after the Thursday night rally, saying the 250 officers on hand showed ‘discipline and restraint’.

In other words, they just stood by.

Garcia said uniformed officers refused to break from their ‘skirmish line’ to break up nearby scuffles because they weren’t deemed life-threatening and that ‘additional force can incite more violence in the crowd’.

Oh, that’s a real comfort.

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Family of Artist Killed With Agent’s Stolen Weapon Moves to Sue ICE

4th June 2016

Resd it.

The family of an Oakland artist who was shot while working on an anti-violence mural has filed a claim against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, saying it is partly responsible for the shooting because it was committed with an agent’s stolen gun.

Ramos was shot and killed Sept. 29 with a weapon that was stolen Sept. 13 in San Francisco from a car being used by an ICE agent. Marquise Holloway, of Oakland, was charged with murder in Ramos’ death. Police say the shooting stemmed from an argument after Holloway eyed Ramos’ camera equipment to steal.

“Despite ICE’s knowledge and awareness of the problem and despite recommendations by other government agencies for corrective action, ICE agents continue to have their unsecured firearms stolen at alarming rates,” said Frank Pitre, the attorney for Ramos’s family.

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Lawyers Accuse Federal Prosecutors of Routinely Spying on Defense Strategies

3rd June 2016

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Oh, they wouldn’t do that, would they?

The allegations surfaced days ago on the eve of a scheduled trial, which is now delayed. In court papers filed May 26, lawyers alleged that prosecutors had secretly gained access to discovery document files assembled by the defense team.

The lawyers wrote that an assistant U.S. attorney informed them in April that an FBI agent had received CDs containing duplicates of discovery files the defense had assembled and scanned from the more than 200 boxes of seized government evidence made available to them.

The duplicates, they wrote, were provided by a government-contracted service that makes copies of government discovery documents that defense lawyers want to inspect.

The lawyers said the owner of the service told them in an email that he has routinely provided the FBI with duplicates of the set-aside files — and not just in their case.

“It appears that this practice of surreptitiously duplicating the discovery work-product of defense counsel in the Southern District of Florida has been the norm for at least the last ten years,” lawyers representing Salo Schapiro, a Broward County doctor charged with health-care fraud, stated in court papers.

Oops.

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DHS Quietly Moving, Releasing Vanloads of Illegal Aliens Away from Border

3rd June 2016

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly transporting illegal immigrants from the Mexican border to Phoenix and releasing them without proper processing or issuing court appearance documents, Border Patrol sources tell Judicial Watch. The government classifies them as Other Than Mexican (OTM) and this week around 35 were transferred 116 miles north from Tucson to a Phoenix bus station where they went their separate way. Judicial Watch was present when one of the white vans carrying a group of OTMs arrived at the Phoenix Greyhound station on Buckeye Road.

Apparently ‘homeland security’ doesn’t mean what we all thought it means.

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The Pentagon spent $170K on a study called ‘Walking with coffee: Why does it spill?’

3rd June 2016

Read it. Feel free to barf.

To unravel the great mysteries of this phenomenon, the Pentagon gave $170,000 to researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The grant was made through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, whose mission is “to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.”

In a resultant study entitled, “Walking with coffee: Why does it spill?” the scientists found that “in the walking with coffee problem the motions of the human body, while seemingly regular, are quite complex and are coupled to a coffee cup and liquid therein, which makes it difficult to unravel the precise reasons behind coffee spilling.”

They ultimately determined differences like “common cup sizes, the coffee properties, and the biomechanics of walking [are] responsible for the spilling phenomenon.”

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Immigration Field Office Failed in San Bernardino Aftermath, Says Report

3rd June 2016

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The day after a San Bernardino, Calif., couple killed 14 people in a rampage, federal investigators thought they had a crucial bit of evidence.

The childhood friend and neighbor of one of the shooters was believed to be accompanying his Russian wife to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services meeting that afternoon. Officials raced to the scene to bring the two in for questioning and to safeguard against the possibility of a second attack.

But when five agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), dressed in tactical gear, arrived shortly after noon, they were blocked from moving beyond the lobby of the building.

The agents were visibly anxious as they waited for up to 30 minutes before being able to speak to the field office director, who told them they could not make an arrest in the building. Only later was it discovered that the couple never arrived for their appointment.

“The contract security personnel at the facility should have immediately permitted entry to the [Homeland Security Investigations] agents once they identified themselves and explained their official purpose,” the report claimed.

And, contrary to the field office head’s claims, the report claimed that there is no policy against making arrests in Citizenship and Immigration Services buildings.

What’s more, the field office director initially refused to hand over the file on the couple, until they were given an order from Washington after the investigators had already left.

Repeat after me: Government employees are incompetent. Government employees are incompetent. Government employees are incompetent.

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State Mismanagement Meant Cover Oregon Obamacare Exchange Doomed From the Start

3rd June 2016

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As a report released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform notes, there were multiple issues with the project that ultimately contributed to its failure:

“An overly ambitious project scope and technically inexperienced (and constantly changing) leadership caused challenges for Cover Oregon. Those challenges were compounded by Oregon’s ambitious health care initiative, which was the source of discord among the various state agencies and organizations developing the exchange, especially the Oregon Health Authority and Cover Oregon.”

These many issues resulted in the failure to launch by the October 2013 deadline. This botched launch, combined with political corruption, a failure of federal oversight, and unrealistic plans led to the ultimate demise of the Cover Oregon exchange.

Obamacare – the gift that keeps on shivving.

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Lawmakers Furious at DOJ Move That Could Protect Fired VA Official

3rd June 2016

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in a letter sent Tuesday, notified House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that the DOJ would not defend a key provision of the Veteran Affairs reform law, passed in the wake of the scandal over officials covering up long patient wait-times.

The provision in question had helped uphold the expedited firing of the Phoenix official at the heart of the scandal, Sharon Helman.

Now, lawmakers say Lynch’s decision could put Helman back on the job, as she pursues a lawsuit against the government.

Must be nice having a job where you can just decide not to do what you’re paid to do.

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How EmailGate Weakened America’s National Security

2nd June 2016

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Here we have Lanny Davis, a top Clinton consigliere for more than two decades, explaining how Hillary is innocent of any wrongdoing, citing five allegedly “indisputable” facts. Then follows the customary litany, cited by her defenders whenever EmailGate comes up. This was legal. Besides, everybody does it. Plus nothing was “labeled” classified at the time it appeared in Ms. Clinton’s private email. To those acquainted with Clintonspeak, the only thing missing is a discussion of the meaning of “is.”

Same Old Story.

This is deception of a special kind. In the first place, why has the Romanian hacker Guccifer pleaded guilty to hacking into Hillary’s server if he did not, in fact, do so? Moreover, the FBI has been in possession of said server for months, and they have uncovered several successful hacking efforts into it when it resided in an upstairs bathroom of the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, New York.

“We know it was hacked numerous times, it’s that simple,” explained a senior U.S. counterintelligence official who is privy some of the FBI’s findings. “If I were Vladimir Putin I’d fire the head of the SVR [Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service] if he didn’t get a good look at Hillary’s emails when they were sitting in plain sight online,” he added with a laugh.

Repeat after me: Hillary Is A Crook.

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California Targets Religious Colleges Over Trans Rules

2nd June 2016

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And so it begins. Trans people will now be used as a wedge issue against colleges for people of faith.

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Apparently He Left “War Criminal” Off His Resumé

2nd June 2016

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I’m not saying Yusuf Abdi Ali is a war criminal. But I am saying he’s an alleged war criminal, accused of murder, torture, arbitrary detention, and other crimes while a commander in the Somali National Army during the 1980s. He allegedly fled to Canada after the regime fell, claiming to be a refugee, but Canada deported him. Then he came here, but left “voluntarily” while we were getting ready to deport him. He later came back, apparently with a fake visa, but was arrested by INS agents in 1998 for lying on application forms about whether he had ever “participated in genocidal acts.” He wasn’t deported then, though it’s not clear why.  He’s being sued right now by someone who claims Ali detained, tortured, and shot him in 1987. Again, these claims haven’t yet been proven, I’m just saying that one who looked into his background to any extent might see a few red flags.

I’m also saying that neither the FBI nor the TSA apparently did that, because CNN just found him working security at Dulles International Airport.

Set a terrorist to catch a terrorist?

According to CNN, Ali and his wife have lived, under their real names, in the DC area for almost 20 years now, currently residing in Alexandria. That’s more than an hour by train and bus from Dulles, but you go where the work is, I guess. And to get this job, though he works for a private company and not the TSA, he still had to clear a “full, federally mandated vetting process” that included an FBI background check and a TSA assessment.

And Obama wants these people in charge of our health care and anything else he can get. Oy.

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State Department Admits Iran Remarks Were Intentionally Edited From Video

1st June 2016

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The State Department on Wednesday acknowledged that an archived video of a 2013 press briefing was intentionally edited to remove a snippet of conversation about the Iran nuclear talks, an omission it had previously blamed on a “glitch.”

Earlier this year, journalists discovered that several minutes of the 2013 press briefing had been deleted from an archived video posted on YouTube. The deleted segment of tape included a discussion related to the nuclear deal with Iran, and a suggestion by spokeswoman Jen Psaki that negotiations for that deal had begun earlier than previously disclosed.

The State Department a few weeks ago blamed the missing portion of the video on a “glitch,” but did a rapid about-face on Wednesday.In reviewing the events surrounding the missing videotape, State Department officials “learned that a specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing,” spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “We do not know who made the request to edit the video or why it was made.”

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

Q: What do you call it when your government deliberately lies to you?

A: Obamanation!

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Census: Illegal Immigration Up 57% to 550,000, One New Albuquerque A YEAR

1st June 2016

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Gee, you’d think nobody’s enforcing the immigration laws.

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1,037 Syrian Refugees Admitted in May: Two Christians, 1,035 Muslims

1st June 2016

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Of the 2,099 Syrian refugees admitted so far this year, six (0.28 percent) are Christians, 2,043 (97.3 percent) are Sunni Muslims. The remaining 50 are 17 (0.8 percent) Shi’a, 30 (1.4 percent) other Muslims and 10 (0.47 percent) Yazidis.

Not a program that I’m likely to support.

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Supreme Court Rules 8-0 for Landowners Fighting Clean Water Act Regulations

1st June 2016

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The case of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. centered on a peat-mining business that has been prevented from using some of its property because the Army Corps of Engineers determined that the land in question contained federally protected wetlands. The Hawkes Co. disagreed with that determination and set out to challenge it in federal court. But the federal government maintained that judicial review was not an option for landowners at this stage under the Clean Water Act.

In his opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts rejected the federal government’s position. “If respondents discharged fill material without a permit, in the mistaken belief that their property did not contain jurisdictional waters, they would expose themselves to civil penalties of up to $37,500 for each day they violated the [Clean Water] Act, to say nothing of potential criminal liability,” Roberts observed “Respondents need not assume such risks while waiting for EPA to ‘drop the hammer’ in order to have their day in court.”

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Feds Shirked Oversight Duties Over Cover Oregon Obamacare Funds

1st June 2016

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The federal government failed to conduct oversight over the $305 million taxpayer funded Cover Oregon Obamacare exchange, according to a report released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). This absence of federal oversight occurred even as the state’s independent quality assurance manager, Maximus, flagged the state exchange as “high risk.”

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The IRS Warned the Obama Administration That Its Decision to Pay Obamacare Subsidies to Insurers Was Illegal

1st June 2016

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But they don’t care, because He Won.

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University of Missouri to Spend $1 Million on Diversity Audit Despite Budget Shortfall

1st June 2016

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Mizzou is currently facing a $32 million dollar budget shortfall but they have the money for a diversity audit?

Sometimes, institutions deserve to fail.

‘Audit’ is an accounting term. I object to it being used by people who don’t understand the basic principles of accounting.

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Ohio’s Obamacare Co-op Shutting its Doors

31st May 2016

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With the end of Obama’s presidency approaching, the end of the ill-fated Obamacare co-op experiment appears to be fast approaching too. Last week, The Ohio Department of Insurance announced that InHealth Mutual, the Obamacare co-op operating in the state would shut down and enter into receivership. This news makes InHealth Mutual the 13th Obamacare co-op to fail, a reckless experiment that has resulted in well over a billion in taxpayer dollars wasted.

Obamacare: The gift that keeps on shivving.

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A ‘Diet’ to Give California Drivers Indigestion

31st May 2016

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The Jerry Brown administration’s obsession with becoming a global model for reducing greenhouse gases is leading to an unprecedented drive to completely reshape how Californians live. Rather than focus on more pragmatic, affordable steps to reduce greenhouse gases – more efficient cars, rooftop solar systems and promoting home-based work – the goal increasingly seems like social engineering designed to force Californians to adopt the high-density, transit-oriented future preferred by Brown’s green priesthood.

The newest outrage comes from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in the form of a proposed “road diet.” This would essentially halt attempts to expand or improve our roads, even when improvements have been approved by voters. This strategy can only make life worse for most Californians, since nearly 85 percent of us use a car to get to work. This in a state that already has among the worst-maintained roads in the country, with two-thirds of them in poor or mediocre condition.

The OPR move reflects the increasingly self-righteous extremism animating the former Jesuit’s underlings. Ironically, the governor’s proposals to impose this road diet rest partly on expanding the California Environmental Quality Act, which Brown, in a more insightful moment, described as a “vampire” that needs a “stake through the heart.” Now, instead, the inquisitors seize on vague legislative language and push it to what the Southern California Leadership Council has dubbed “an undesirable and unmanageable extreme.”

Never a better time to flee California and escape to Texas.

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The Real Reason DC’s Metro Doesn’t Work

31st May 2016

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The continuing decline of the Washington Metro Rail can be traced to two mistakes made by the people who planned it. Their first was to chose an expensive, obsolete technology that most American cities had already abandoned. Of the hundreds of cities that had rail transit in 1910, only eight were left when the Metro Rail system was planned in the late 1960s.

By sharing infrastructure with cars and trucks, buses cost far less than trains and can go anywhere there are streets. The high costs of rails means they can only reach limited destinations.

The second mistake was to fail to plan for maintenance and rehabilitation costs. Such costs start out low but rapidly grow rapidly as rail lines approach thirty years of age.

Governments exist to keep people safe and to keep people honest. Once they wander outside of their natural sphere, they screw things up.

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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?

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | 3 Comments »

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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