DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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

3 Girls Walk to School. Cops Force Them into Truancy Van Right Before They Get There.

12th May 2016

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Three Atlanta girls walking to school were forced into a truancy van last week, even though they were just 50 yards from the school.

WXIA 11Alive reports that Carrie and Colleen Miller, twins in their teens, normally take the school bus. But on May 4, a substitute driver missed their stop, so they decided to walk the 2.5 miles instead, along with another friend. Just when they had almost reached the school, truant officers confronted the girls and told them they had to get into the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) van.

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‘We Could Have Been There’: Squadron Member Speaks Out on Stalled Benghazi Response

12th May 2016

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His squadron got the alert: a “real world mission was going down.”

The team – at Aviano Air Base in northeastern Italy – raced to the field and was briefed, as planes were armed and prepared to launch. Hundreds of miles away, fellow Americans were under attack in Benghazi.

“There were people everywhere. That flight line was full of people, and we were all ready to go” to Benghazi, he said.

Only they were waiting for the order. It never came.

When Hillary Clinton got that ‘call at 3 a.m.’ — she rolled over and went back to sleep.

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NYC Airports Will ‘No Longer Tolerate’ TSA Screening Inadequacies

11th May 2016

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The government agency in charge of New York City’s JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia airports has sent a scathing letter to the Transportation Security Administration criticizing growing passenger wait times at the three airports, some of the busiest in the country. Additionally, the letter reveals that the airports are “exploring” participation in a program that replaces TSA screeners with private security contractors.

Pushback is coming.

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One Thing Government Is Great At: Making Improper Payments

11th May 2016

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Did You Hear the One About Obamacare?

11th May 2016

Read it. And watch the video.

David Rutz draws attention to alleged journalist Charlie Rose and three of Barack Obama’s former speechwriters having a good laugh Monday night wjoking about the president’s infamous, oft-repeated false promise that under Obamacare, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” (video). It must have been a helluva whopper for the leftist PolitiFact to name it the 2013 “Lie of the Year.”

As Rutz notes, Obama speechwriters Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and David Litt appeared on Rose’s PBS program “to gush over Obama’s writing abilities and the art of speechwriting in general.” Rose asked if they had significant “impact” on Obama’s more “serious speeches.”

“The joke speech is the most fun part of this, but the things I’m the most proud of were the most serious speeches, I think,” Lovett said. “Health care. Economic speeches.”

“Lovett wrote the line about, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep it,’” Favreau said.

“How dare you,” Lovett said, as Rose and the three wordsmiths roared with laughter.

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Judge Rejects Brief Defending Astorino’s Free Speech

11th May 2016

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Last Thursday, May 5, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the District of Southern New York refused to consider a friend of the court brief presented by the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) on behalf of Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, the nation’s most prominent local critic of the Obama administration’s housing policies. CIR’s brief argues that a “federal monitor” appointed by President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is unconstitutionally attempting to interfere with Astorino’s First Amendment rights to free speech, and violating the constitutional principles of federalism and the separation of powers as well.

The Obama administration’s housing policies are arguably its most radically transformative—and most underreported—policy initiatives. Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule spells the end of local government as we know it in the United States, and the creation of a federally-controlled “regional” system in its place. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, AFFH will be fully entrenched and our federalist system will be a thing of the past. The federal government will force the zoning and planning policies of your locality to favor dense development, and Washington will begin to dictate where Americans live by race, ethnicity, and class. Suburbs and even towns and small cities will increasingly be turned into helpless satellites of large regional urban centers.

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Kerry’s Wrong Address

11th May 2016

Steve Sailer picks at the scab.

There’s been a lot of talk about Trump as the so-called “alt-right” candidate, but he’s actually been running an “alt-center” campaign, staking out positions that are controversial because they dissent in a commonsensical fashion from the increasingly bizarre mainstream globalist ideology.

One of the striking side effects of the Trump phenomenon is how he encourages more respectable sorts to attempt to articulate their establishment principles, which, when spelled out, turn out to be terrifying in their implications.

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Obamacare Chief Caught Lying Under Oath About State Exchange Cash

10th May 2016

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Obamacare chief Andy Slavitt lied before a Congressional hearing investigating wasted Obamacare state exchange funds, according to a new report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. While under oath, Slavitt claimed that “over $200 million” in funds had been returned to the federal government. In actuality, just $21.5 million has been recovered despite state exchanges receiving $4.5 billion in taxpayer funds. In addition, the $21.5 million figure represented leftover funds, not money that had been recovered as a result of federal oversight.

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

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How Western Aid Enables Graft Addiction In Ukraine

8th May 2016

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Typically, ‘foreign aid’ merely enables enrichment on the part of 3d-world kleptocrats. If you are very very lucky a bit of it trickles down to the people who actually need it.

Nobody bothers to say ‘Thanks’ to the U.S. taxpayers who foot the bill, so I’m not sure what the point of foreign aid really is. Except perhaps to allow American (and foreign) bureaucrats feel good about themselves for ‘trying to help’.

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The Runt of Rhodes

7th May 2016

Scott Johnson of Powerline sums it up.

Obamacare was built on an edifice of calculated lies. Some of us could see the propositions on which President Obama sold Obamacare as falsehoods at the time of the selling. Others have learned from bitter experience after the buying. President Obama and his team hold a low opinion of the intelligence of the American people. See, for example, the case of Jonathan Gruber. Having elected him president twice, we have done much to earn his contempt.

Now comes Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to reveal the lies on which Obama’s alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran was promoted. See David Samuels’s May 8 New York Times Magazine profile of Rhodes, “The aspiring novelist who became Obama’s foreign-policy guru.”

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Hate Student Loans? Thank Bill Clinton (and Hillary Wants to Repeat the Same Mistakes)

6th May 2016

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The Federal government opened the money spigot and so colleges (naturally) raised their prices. Now you can’t afford college unless you put yourself into debt-slavery.

Now ponder the effect on medical care prices of (a) insurance and (b) Federal health care programs.

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California Shippers Face Trucking Surcharge

6th May 2016

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And quite naturally respond by raising shipping prices.

The nearly $6-per-shipment surcharge, levied by ABF Freight System Inc. and Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., comes after California this year began requiring trucking companies to pay drivers for time spent refueling, on rest breaks and other periods.

Trucking companies typically pay per mile driven, and industry groups say calculating additional wages in California add to the already elevated cost of moving freight in California. The state is home to the country’s two busiest ports, as well as some of the strictest labor protections and environmental standards.

One of the reasons that the economy is bad is because politicians keep raising everyone’s costs with bullshit regulations.

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Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru Boasts of How the Administration Lied to Sell the Iran Deal

6th May 2016

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It’s hardly any wonder that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has a “mind meld” with his boss, the president. According to a David Samuels New York Times Magazine article to be published Sunday and already posted to the website, Rhodes, like Barack Obama, is contemptuous of “the American foreign-policy establishment.” What Obama calls the “Washington playbook” dictating the sorts of responses available to American policymakers, Rhodes calls the “Blob.”

The Blob includes “editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker,” etc. It also encompasses, according to Rhodes, Obama’s former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and the administration’s first defense secretary Robert Gates. Presumably Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief and CIA director, who goes on the record to criticize Rhodes and the president, is also part of the Blob, alongside “other Iraq-war promoters from both parties who now whine incessantly about the collapse of the American security order in Europe and the Middle East.” In other words, the emotion driving the administration’s foreign policy is contempt—contempt for allies, colleagues, and the generations of American policymakers who built the post-WWII international order, ensuring relative global stability, and peace and prosperity at home.

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Attrition: Where Have All the Good Officers Gone

5th May 2016

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ROTC has long depended on college grades as a major factor in determining which cadets would become officers. That seemed to work. But since 2001 it has become more obvious that the quality of ROTC officers was declining while those from the service academies (West Point and the like) and OCS (Officer Candidate School, mostly for enlisted troops) was not. On closer examination it was found that the problem was grade inflation in American colleges. The old standards for acceptable grades no longer applied thus using college grades to select qualified ROTC members to become competent officers had ceased to work. The service academies were much less affected by the grade inflation craze in part because they were run by the military and their students were basically studying technical subjects. The enlisted candidates for OCS were the result of the quality control program still enforced for new recruits since the 1970s.

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AG Targets 90 Conservative Groups in Controversial Climate Change Probe

5th May 2016

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The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is targeting dozens of conservative and libertarian organizations in a racketeering lawsuit against climate change skeptics that has been widely described as an effort to silence political opponents.

In a subpoena issued in March, the office of USVI attorney general Claude Walker demanded from Exxon Mobil copies of communications between the oil company and 90 different political and policy organizations “and any other organizations engaged in research or advocacy concerning Climate Change or policies.”

The subpoena was part of a national, coordinated legal campaign by state attorneys general and left-wing advocacy groups to use the legal system against companies and organizations that disagree with and advocate against Democratic policies to address global climate change.

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Number of Illegal Immigrant Families at Southern Border Surging, Data Shows

5th May 2016

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Maybe they want in before Trump builds his fence.

Maybe Obama wants to let in as many as they can before the election.

 

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The Department of Justice Just Declared War on North Carolina

4th May 2016

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To exactly no one’s surprise, the Obama Department of Justice has sent a letter to North Carolina governor Pat McRory demanding that that the state “not comply with or enforce H.B. 2? — it’s so-called transgender bathroom law. The reason? The DOJ claims that it violates Title VII, a statute that doesn’t reference sexual orientation or gender identity at all — a statute that the Obama administration and various activist courts have purported to lawlessly expand entirely by executive and judicial fiat. Indeed, the EEOC last year unilaterally declared that “Equal access to restrooms is a significant, basic condition of employment, and that denying transgender individuals access to a restroom consistent with gender identity discriminates on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII.”

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Oregon State University Will Force Incoming Students to Take ‘Social Justice Training’

4th May 2016

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DreamstimeCritics of the current intellectual climate at university campuses believe classrooms are indoctrination camps where left-wing academics brainwash students into becoming social justice activists. They are mistaken. The most pernicious and questionably legal forms of indoctrination aren’t happening in the classroom at all, and are primarily driven by administrators rather than professors.

Oregon State University provides a good example. The campus has plans to implement a new training program for incoming freshmen in the fall of 2016. Dr. Angela Batista, the campus’s interim diversity officer, sent an email to students earlier this week asking them to review the proposed training program. This training is ideological by its very nature: students will complete on-line modules in “social justice learning,” “diversity,” and “inclusivity.”

“This training initiative is intended to provide all students entering Oregon State University an orientation to concepts of diversity, inclusion and social justice and help empower all OSU students to contribute to an inclusive university community,” according to the proposal.

Presumably they will all wind up loving Big Brother.

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New Georgia Law Makes Sure Undercover Cops Can Count as Sex-Trafficked Teens

4th May 2016

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A new sex-trafficking law in Georgia clarifies that undercover cops totally count as minors for purposes of handing out 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentences. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed the measure, which is being touted as a crackdown on the sex-trafficking of minors, into law this week. In addition to enhancing the penalties for sex trafficking someone with a developmental disability, House Bill (HB) 770 says that it shall be no defense to charges of sex trafficking of a minor that no such minor actually existed.

Making the world safe for entrapment….

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UMass Officially Embraces Role of Turning Out Social Justice Warriors, Say Critics

4th May 2016

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Incoming freshmen at one Massachusetts university are supposed to do more than pay tuition and study — they are now being officially told to become social justice warriors.

The latest guidelines at the public University of Massachusetts Amherst instruct students “to create change toward social justice” and to hold “attitudes which value cultural differences.” Colleges have long tried to foster good citizenship among their charges, but Amherst’s approach has drawn criticism – including from faculty – for codifying left-wing indoctrination.

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New York’s “Food Desert” Myth

3rd May 2016

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To encourage a “sustainable, resilient food system,” New York’s city council has proposed a $5 million municipal farm-subsidy program, under which the city would buy development easements in the Hudson Valley. In this way, the council plans to help feed “3 million New Yorkers liv[ing] in neighborhoods without adequate supermarkets.” It’s alarming to consider that New York could suffer food shortages so acute that the city government must establish its own agricultural supply chain. Indeed, according to the council, 1.4 million New Yorkers are “food insecure,” indicating a massive failure of markets to respond to this most basic need.

But is it true? If it’s hard to reconcile the idea that New York City has, simultaneously, starvation-level conditions and an “epidemic” of obesity in the same neighborhoods and among the same people, it is because the contemporary debate about food availability tends to ignore individual choice (and taste). Paternalism and finger-wagging masquerading as science distort the argument about how and what poor people eat. For example, the idea of “food deserts,” which is what the council means when it refers to neighborhoods without adequate supermarkets, has become a truism among liberals concerned about urban dietary habits. First Lady Michelle Obama, for example, has made their elimination one of her top priorities. And indeed, some areas around the country, especially in rural regions, lack good grocery stores.

Few of these are in New York City, however. According to the Department of Agriculture, which originated the term, two small areas on Staten Island qualify as food deserts—meaning that at least one-third of the local residents live one mile or more from a grocery store that sells fresh food. The rest of the city, the department concludes, is reasonably well served.

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It Takes 300 Hours to Become a Shampooer in Tennessee

3rd May 2016

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Tammy Nutall-Pritchard had been braiding hair with her older sister, Debra Nutall, since she was 18 years old.

Nutall taught Nutall-Pritchard the craft when she was 15, and the sisters would stand side-by-side behind the chairs of scores of clients at Nutall’s Memphis, Tenn., salon who came in to get their hair braided while chatting and gossiping with customers.

Nutall-Pritchard did well—she charged around $300 per head and sometimes made more than $1,000 each week.

“It gave me joy,” Nutall-Pritchard, 47, told The Daily Signal of working with her sister. “She told me, ‘You learn a skill, it will bring an income for you if you do it the right way.’ She taught me to be the woman I am today, and she taught me that you can be your own boss.”

But Tennessee’s onerous licensing laws governing natural hair stylists like Nutall and Nutall-Pritchard eventually drove Nutall out of the state she and her family have called home their whole lives.

As a result, Nutall-Pritchard, who worked at the shop for more than six years, was out of a job.

Black Lives Matter, but apparently Black Jobs Don’t.

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Mizzou Race Relations Committee Video Aims to Teach White People About Racism

3rd May 2016

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I guess they must be doing it wrong.

Isn’t it amazing how academic institutions which have been controlled by progressives for decades are such hotbeds of racism?

The University of Missouri is already suffering greatly from the protests of last fall but they keep digging the hole deeper.

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Administrative Law Judges Are Unconstitutional

2nd May 2016

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The Securities and Exchange Commission, no longer content with just regulating securities, has accused a company called Timbervest of fraudulently taking undisclosed real-estate commissions. Timbervest was found liable by an SEC administrative law judge (“ALJ”), but even without getting into the merits of the allegations, there are several problems with this prosecution inquisition.

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The Logic of Logistics

1st May 2016

Robert Fernandez reveals some inconvenient truth.

However threatening the Taliban offensive becomes, the avalanche of logistics now has a momentum all of its own. The timing of the Islamic assault was probably no coincidence. The Taliban have been watching the Obama policy for years. All they had to do was wait till things passed the point of no return and then strike.

Perhaps the most tragic thing about Afghanistan is that the president picked a useless objective and made the decision to lose it at the greatest possible cost.

He has a gift.

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An Unteachable President

1st May 2016

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It’s a remarkable record of prediction. One hundred percent wrong. The professor president who loves to talk about teachable moments is himself unteachable. Why is that?

When you’ve defined your political task as “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”—as Mr. Obama did on the eve of his election in 2008—then your hands are full. Let other people sort out their own problems.

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Only One of Six Air Force F-35s Could Actually Take Off During Testing

29th April 2016

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More evidence that the F-35 is a flying piece of shit.

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One Regulation Is Painless. A Million of Them Hurt.

28th April 2016

Megan McArdle reports.

“In one year,” wrote Warren Meyer in 2015, “I literally spent more personal time on compliance with a single regulatory issue — implementing increasingly detailed and draconian procedures so I could prove to the State of California that my employees were not working over their 30-minute lunch breaks — than I did thinking about expanding the business or getting new contracts.”

Dude, it’s time to come to Texas.

A new working paper from the Mercatus Center attempts to document the cumulative cost of all these regulations. It finds that the growth of regulation between 1977 and 2012 has shaved about 0.8 percent off the rate of growth, costing the nation a total of $4 trillion worth of GDP.

You won’t see that in Obama’s State of the Union address.

That matters, and not just because of business owners’ headaches. The burden of regulation is not distributed symmetrically. It falls heaviest on firms that deal with dangerous substances, yes. But it also falls most heavily on smaller businesses, which cannot afford staffs of pricey compliance specialists to make sure that their desk chairs meet the new California workplace seating requirements. This may help explain why the number of firms is falling, and markets are consolidating.

Big companies just love government regulations, because they can afford to have massive teams to ensure compliance, teams that smaller competitors can’t afford. (This is the same motive for ‘rich people’ to push for higher income taxes.)

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America’s Subway: America’s Embarrassment?

28th April 2016

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When is the last time that the entire New York subway was closed with 12 hours notice to make repairs critical to the safety of the system? Or when was the last such shutdown of the London Underground, the Paris Metro, or for that matter the Kolkata Metro or the Caracas Metro, much less the threat of closing lines for months at a time?

How many of America’s many light rail systems have shut down as a result of their having failed to sufficiently maintain their safety? There is plenty to criticize about the many new urban rail systems in the United States. They may not carry the number of passengers projected, and often have cost far more than taxpayers were told and they may not have reduced traffic congestion. But they have managed to provide safe transportation to their riders. Only one of America’s rail systems has failed so abjectly in the most fundamental of its responsibilities: America’s subway in Washington.

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Feds Fund Search for Microaggressions

27th April 2016

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After an email exchange with the principal investigator, University of Michigan psychology professor Denise Sekaquaptewa, I found out that the press reports had some inaccuracies: for one, the study does not focus solely on men’s microaggressions toward women but also tracks offenses by women, toward other women and sometimes toward men. Yet, in a more basic sense, the critics were on point.  Whatever valuable data this study may yield, it is primarily an exercise in trivial pursuit coupled with speech policing—directed at a problem that may not exist.

Hey, tenure doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

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Costly Broken Wind Turbines Give College Whopping Negative 99.14% Return on Investment

26th April 2016

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When they say ‘Go Green!’ they’re talking about how much taxpayer money can be wasted.

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Subsidies for Supercars

26th April 2016

Kevin Williamson blows the whistle.

Governments have decided, for various reasons, that they like plug-in hybrids, electric cars, alternative-fuel vehicles, etc., and that they will therefore subsidize the purchase (and, in some cases, the manufacture) of such vehicles. That is pure economic central planning and destined to result in nothing other than the misallocation of scarce resources, but leave that aside for the moment. If you create subsidies, you should not complain when people take advantage of the subsidies you created. That is what they are there for.

In the U.S. context, this is a truly maddening phenomenon. In every State of the Union speech he ever has made, Barack Obama has proposed creating a portfolio of new tax credits and direct and indirect subsidies for businesses. He also complains a great deal about businesses not “paying their fair share” and exploiting “loopholes” in the law. But companies such as General Electric do not end up with $0.00 federal tax bills because of “loopholes.” They end up with those bills because of intentionally designed features of the tax code, namely those manufacturing credits so beloved of politicians, ordinary deduction of business expenses, etc.

You know what politicians do after creating those manufacturing tax credits? They complain about them. Endlessly.

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F-35’S Dodgy Software in the Spotlight Again

26th April 2016

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America’s toothless Tiger Moth, the F?35, has copped another backhander from US government auditors: the US Government Accountability Office reckons its logistics software isn’t ready for battlefield deployment.

The GAO also warns that the US$16.7bn Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) could, instead, swallow anything between $20 and $100bn.

Those warnings are contained in a report (PDF) titled DoD Needs a Plan to Address Risks Related to Its Central Logistics System.

The GAO is also concerned that the DoD’s management of ALIS is so ad-hoc that the “full scale production” due-date of 2019 might not be met.

More evidence that the F-35 is a flying piece of shit.

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Why Are We Growing Corn to Fuel Our Cars? Three Reasons Why Ethanol Is a Bad Idea

26th April 2016

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The problem is that ethanol’s benefits have been greatly exaggerated, leading to congressional regulations that required ever-increasing amounts of ethanol in our gasoline supply. The government requirement goes back to 2005, when gas prices were much higher and the U.S. was in the midst of the Iraq war. Ethanol was supposed to be a clean way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The growing mandate for ethanol has instead created an enormous, artificial demand that has had unintended consequences, many of them bad.

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Defunding Diversity

24th April 2016

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Tennessee Legislature votes to cut all state funds for office that promotes diversity at state’s flagship university, where students walked out of class to oppose the legislation.

I suspect that rigidly controlled double-blind tests will discern that the academic achievement of those who walked out of class doesn’t not differ significantly from that of those who stayed in class.

I have always thought that any real scholar is delighted when students walk out of class, and is barely restraining himself from saying to the half dozen or so students remaining, ‘Great! The dead wood has been flushed away. You remnant are obviously here to learn so let’s get to it!’

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Is University of Wisconsin-Madison the Next Mizzou? Some Say ‘Race War’ Brewing

24th April 2016

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It’s a Blue state, so chances are pretty good.

“Racizm in the air.” “Don’t breathe, God.” “White supremacy iz a disease.” “Fuck the Police.” “The devil iz a white man.”

Those are some of the spraypainted messages that have greeted students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison over the last six months. Recently, campus police arrested the student suspected of the vandalism. The 21-year-old has yet to be formally charged.

Police said they had trouble apprehending the black, male suspect — so they had nabbed him during his black visual culture class last week. A University of Wisconsin Police Department officer entered his classroom and asked him into the hallway, according to Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

I suspect that if you automatically arrested anyone who signed up for a course called ‘black visual culture’ the crime rate in the area would drop and the average IQ on campus would rise. But that’s just a surmise on my part.

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Plain Omelette. No Potatoes. Tomatoes, Instead

22nd April 2016

Richard Fernandez dishes out some inconvenient truth.

… the basic laws of institutional behavior remain, one of the most important is that organizations can only do what is in their repertoire. Bureaucracies are like jukeboxes.  They can’t play what’s not on the list.  One of the most striking examples of this is the scene in the 1970s movie, Five Easy Pieces. in which the character played by Jack Nicholson unsuccessfully tries to order breakfast items in a diner which are scattered in different parts of the menu.  He simply couldn’t get a “plain omelette. No potatoes. Tomatoes, instead”.

In the old days the phrase for this was “just following orders”.  Today the same constraints will apply to the EU’s response to  refugee/migrant crisis.  Even though logic dictates that the only long term policy alternative to absorbing the MENA population  is helping them make their countries “habitable” again by reforming its Human Terrain, this option is not on the menu.

The Eurocrats have looked in the handbook and there’s no entry under “crisis” for effecting the transformation the Allies did to Germany 70 years ago —  described by Dwight Eisenhower in his book Crusade in Europe. The new EU handbook says “Crusades” are strictly forbidden and are to be regarded as “cultural chauvinism” and “evil”.

That’s out so the EU will give you something else. Like the waitress in Five Easy Pieces,  it can provide items from a wide selection of welfare products, even if it’s not what anybody needs or wants.   Is ISIS blowing up Palmyra?  “We can provide you resettlement.”  Are they beheading the sheiks in Anbar?  “We can provide you with public housing.”  Is Saudi Arabia now invading Yemen and vice versa?  “We can point you to the nearest transgender bathroom.”

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Green Energy Companies Waste Government Money

22nd April 2016

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Except, of course, that it isn’t government money, it’s taxpayer money, i.e. our money.

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IRS Can Track Your Cell Phone, but Leaves Billions in Taxes Uncollected

22nd April 2016

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Since 2006, the IRS has overseen an annual tax gap—the shortfall between taxes owed and collected—of about $385 billion, government analysts say. And according to an April report, the agency has not implemented 70 of 112 actions identified by the Government Accountability Office to close that loop.

In 2009, though, the IRS purchased a “cell-site simulator,” more commonly known as Stingray technology. And since November, the agency has been trying to buy another of the devices.

Like something from a spy movie, a Stingray device mimics a cellphone tower, tricking all mobile phones in an area into revealing their location and numbers. Authorities can deploy the powerful technology to tag and track an individual’s location in real time.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the IRS uses its Stingray to hunt down fraudsters and stop money laundering. The agency’s use of the devices remained a secret until an October report in the Guardian.

Hey, if we need more money, the government can just print more. The important part is stepping on these bothersome enemies of the state.

 

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Pentagon Spin Zone: F-35’s Logistics Don’t Matter

21st April 2016

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Last summer, F-35 program officer Lt. Gen. Bogdan said the F-35’s logistics system was “the brains and blood of operating this weapons system.” Despite many fixes, the aircraft’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is so flawed that government auditors believe the computer system may not be deployable. These problems may also delay the Air Force’s declaration of Initial Operational Capability.  And now, in a surprising twist, General Bogdan is saying ALIS is not really critical after all, insisting the F-35 can fly without it for 30 days.

F-35 supporters enjoy telling people how the plane is a “flying computer,” as if that alone makes it worth the hundreds of billions of dollars spent so far. Lockheed Martin goes one step farther, calling it a “supercomputer” in its own promotional materials. ALIS is the ground-based computer system meant to diagnose mechanical problems, order and track replacement parts, and guide maintenance crews through repairs. It also allows pilots to plan missions and later review their performance. At least, it’s supposed to do all of those things. So far, the software has been so flawed that maintenance crews have had to resort to time-consuming workarounds. In one instance, maintainers even had to manually burn data onto CDs and drive off base to send the massive files across a civilian WiFi network.

The plane is absolutely dependent on computer technology and millions of lines of software code to operate. So the fact that ALIS is years behind schedule and plagued with bugs is particularly disturbing. The Government Accountability Office has now released a report] confirming POGO’s earlier reporting]: flaws in ALIS can ground the entire fleet.

More evidence that the F-35 is a flying piece of shit.

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Another Lesson From the Iraq War

20th April 2016

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Liberals of a certain stripe—those who talk up “soft power” and diplomacy and disdain militarism—oppose efforts by America to impose its will by force abroad. “There are no easy or magical solutions,” as Bernie Sanders says in the “War and Peace” section of his campaign website. Yet he and those of his persuasion are ceaselessly enthusiastic about imposing their will by force at home, through the endless expansion of government power and control.

Wages too low? Force employers to pay more.

Too many uninsured? Force Americans to buy coverage.

Not enough parental leave? Force companies to provide it.

Rich people speaking too freely about politics? Rewrite the First Amendment so you can stop them.

A horrific school shooting? Take guns away from people who didn’t do it.

People drinking too much soda? Ban big servings or tax the stuff.

Fantasy sports gambling getting too popular? Shut it down.

The list could run on for pages. Except for abortion, there seems to be nothing in America for which the progressive answer is not “more government”—their own magical solution to everything.

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With Obama, Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

20th April 2016

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Over the weekend, President Obama met at the White House with some rappers to get their ideas on the pressing criminal justice issues of the day. During the meeting, one of the deep thinkers had his ankle bracelet go off. It turns out that rapper Ricky Ross is on $2,000,000 bond for kidnapping and pistol whipping his house contractor.

Imagine the outcry if Reagan or Bush had invited such a person to the White House.

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Red Tape Keeps Coast Guard’s Night-Vision Equipment Idle, Says Lawmaker

20th April 2016

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Night-vision technology, which could help the U.S. Coast Guard rescue stranded boaters, nab drug smugglers and even prevent terrorists from sneaking onto American shores, is collecting dust because of a quirk in the federal bureaucracy, a lawmaker charged Tuesday.

Coast Guard choppers are equipped with the night-penetrating Electro-Optical Sensor System, but the equipment can’t be activated. Although the technology is used by other Pentagon branches of the Armed Forces, the Coast Guard falls under Department of Homeland Security, and its use of the equipment is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

“The Coast Guard intends to use the ESS technology and is in the process of ensuring that it can be done safely,” Saylor said in a statement. “The systems are administratively prohibited, and there are locks on the controls to prevent access/use.”

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Pelosi’s Husband Invested in Solar Firm Weeks Before Lucrative Expansion

20th April 2016

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House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s husband bought up to a quarter million dollars of stock in a now financially troubled green energy company just weeks before it announced a major 2014 acquisition that sent stock prices soaring, public records show.

All perfectly above-board, I’m sure.

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Undocumented Man Back in U.S. After Being Deported Arrested in Fatal Hit-And-Run

20th April 2016

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“(The) driver was very intoxicated, had difficulty speaking,” Chief Deputy Tom Wheeler told local media .

Elvir-Palma also reportedly had no driver’s license and is an undocumented immigrant from Honduras. He currently has an immigration hold.

“He had been deported on a previous occasion back to Honduras,” Wheeler said. “And we matched his name up with the fingerprint cards that were on file with the FBI. Not sure which channels or routes he chose, but certainly he was back in the country.”

We need that fence. It won’t solve the whole problem but it will be a start.

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Deserting ObamaCare: UnitedHealth, Nation’s Largest Health Insurer, Bolts, Fears Huge Losses

20th April 2016

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The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

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This May Mark the Beginning of the End for Obamacare

19th April 2016

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The Congressional Budget Office initially projected that Obamacare would have more than 20 million enrollees by 2016. As of the end of the 2016 calendar year enrollment period, there were “about 12.7 million” enrollees, per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This massive shortfall in expected enrollees has left insurers, both national and regional, working with fewer enrolled patients, many of which have been shown to be costlier and sicker compared to consumers who are covered by employer-based health plans.The Congressional Budget Office initially projected that Obamacare would have more than 20 million enrollees by 2016. As of the end of the 2016 calendar year enrollment period, there were “about 12.7 million” enrollees, per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This massive shortfall in expected enrollees has left insurers, both national and regional, working with fewer enrolled patients, many of which have been shown to be costlier and sicker compared to consumers who are covered by employer-based health plans.

Making matters worse, many of the dynamics that insurers had been counting on (aside from higher enrollment totals) haven’t played out.

The failure of the “risk corridor” has also been a disappointment. In simple terms, the risk corridor was a fund that profitable insurers on Obamacare’s exchanges were expected to pay into. This cash would then be distributed to struggling and/or new Obamacare plan insurers to help prevent excessive losses from mispriced premiums. In 2016, the risk corridor wound up being underfunded by more than $2 billion, leading more than half of Obamacare’s approved healthcare cooperatives to shut their doors.

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Beating Up Berta

18th April 2016

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Expected news: The Ladies in White have been beaten very badly. They are the human-rights advocates in Cuba, who are attacked by state-security agents when they do things such as try to attend mass. Yesterday, the leader of the group, Berta Soler, was struck in the head, causing her to suffer convulsions.

In an interview three years ago, Berta Soler told me what they say. They say to her, “Nera! Why are you protesting against us? You should be thankful to the revolution. If you went to America, you would be killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Obama may be president, but you’re just an ordinary black woman.” Last year, Berta told me that, in his unilateral opening to Cuba, President Obama had given the Castros a “green light” to “crush civil society.”

BlackLivesMatter — except when it’s inconvenient.

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‘I Am President. I Am Not King’

18th April 2016

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One reason American politics is so polarized is that President Obama has been so cavalier about his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws he dislikes. On Monday the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to one of his worst abuses, his 2014 order that rewrites U.S. immigration law.

In United States v. Texas, 26 states sued to block Mr. Obama’s executive diktat that awards legal status, work permits and other government benefits to some 4.3 million illegal immigrants, with no consent from Congress. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction stopping this ukase last year, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. Those were narrow rulings, but the Justices enlarged the case to reach constitutional questions and will hear an unusual 90 minutes of oral argument.

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Fiery Gop Rhetoric About Impeaching IRS Chief Rings Hollow After Decades of Inaction on Tax Code Reform

17th April 2016

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The speaker of the House flashed frustration as he addressed the National Retail Federation.

“I am astonished when I go around the country at the intensity of anger at the IRS,” said the speaker. “People are determined to get the IRS out of their life. They are furious at the IRS.”

“We say a tax code should go away,” suggested the House Majority Leader during an appearance before the Senate Finance Committee.

“We must tear the income tax code out of by its roots so it can never come back again,” thundered the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the panel in charge of crafting tax policy.

And nearly 21 years after those remarks by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey. R-Texas, and then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, little has changed.

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