Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Suicides are surprisingly high among middle-aged men in the US
...Men are more likely to commit suicide when they’re without traditional support systems—family and employment, for example. This isn’t just an American occurrence: in the UK, another society where men’s careers often are touted as a key part of their identity, middle-aged men were far more likely to commit suicide during the last economic recession compared with people in other demographics....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cops Kill Man In Wal-Mart Carrying An Air Rifle That He Might Have Planned To Buy
A man who was carrying an air rifle in an Ohio Wal-Mart told the police officers that fatally shot him that the gun was “not real,” according to a family member.

John Crawford was shot by police Tuesday evening at a Beavercreek store. The Ohio attorney general’s office announced Thursday that he was merely carrying a brand of air rifle that Wal-Mart sells....

Store Owner Says Bank Accounts Closed Because He Sells Guns
...Williams, who opened up two checking accounts with SunTrust in 2006, was given little explanation for the bank’s sudden decision.

“The only thing that they will tell us is that we have been deemed a prohibited business type,” he told Fox Carolina, adding that he believes his shop was targeted by the federal government because he sells guns.

Williams wouldn’t be the first to make such a claim. Lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups have blamed a Department of Justice initiative called Operation Choke Point for pressuring banks to cut off relationships with customers like Williams.

Operation Choke Point was designed to prevent crooks from using the banking and financial payments systems to conduct their business. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation also created a list of industries which it deemed “high-risk.” Those industries included gun sellers, pawn shops, coin dealers, pay day lenders and about two dozen industries....
Doctors Begin To Refuse Obamacare Patients
Obamacare plans have shrunk payments to physicians so much that some doctors say they won’t be able to afford to accept Obamacare coverage, NPR reports.

Many of the eight million sign-ups in Obamacare exchanges nationwide already face more limited choices for physicians and hospitals than those in the private insurance market. But with low physician reimbursement rates, the problem could get even worse.

For a typical quick patient visit, Dr. Doug Gerard, a Connecticut internist, told NPR a private insurer would pay $100 while Medicare would pay around $80. But Obamacare plans are more likely to pay closer to $80, which Gerard says is unsustainable for his practice.

“I cannot accept a plan [in which] potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates,” Dr. Gerard told NPR. ”You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on.”...
Study: Climate Models Overestimated Global Warming For The Last 55 Years
Climate models relied upon by scientists and governments may be greatly overstating the warming that has occurred since the late 1950s, argues a paper analyzing the discrepancies between modeled and observed temperatures.

The paper, which was published in the journal Environmetrics, found that observed temperatures differed greatly from modeled temperatures in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere.

“Over the 55-years from 1958 to 2012, climate models not only significantly over-predict observed warming in the tropical troposphere, but they represent it in a fundamentally different way than is observed,” says Ross McKitrick, economist with the University of Guelph in Canada and co-author of the study.

According to McKitrick, all climate models predict that rising carbon dioxide levels will cause rapid warming in the troposphere over the tropics. But that’s not what has happened, as neither satellites nor weather balloons have detected much warming in the tropical troposphere — meaning something is likely wrong with the models.
Downscale
... It matters — a great deal — what government spends that money on. Even the wooliest anarcho-capitalist must look with some sympathy and admiration upon the small-scale model of township government that once characterized New England and the West. “But who will pave the roads?” is a standing libertarian punchline (“The federal government spends enormous sums of money getting monkeys addicted to cocaine, the police have murdered your puppies — But who will pave the roads?”) and, as noted in a certain volume of political speculation, the first paved intercity road in these United States was in fact privately built, suggesting that private enterprise is more than capable of road-making....

...Progressives argue that we need deeper government involvement in the economy in order to assuage the ill effects of economic inequality. But, as Joel Kotkin points out, inequality is the most pronounced in places where progressives dominate: New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago. The more egalitarian cities are embedded in considerably more conservative metropolitan areas in conservative states. “Part of the difference,” Mr. Kotkin writes, “is the strong growth of higher-paid, blue-collar jobs in places like Houston, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake, and Dallas compared to rapidly de-industrializing locales such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Even Richard Florida, the guru of the ‘creative class,’ has admitted that the strongest growth in mid-income jobs has been concentrated in red-state metros such as Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Austin, and Nashville. Some of this reflects a history of later industrialization but other policies — often mandated by the state — encourage mid-income growth, for example, by not imposing high energy prices with subsidies for renewables, or restricting housing growth in the periphery. Cities like Houston may seem blue in many ways but follow local policies largely indistinguishable from mainstream Republicans elsewhere.” In Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia, African Americans earn barely half of what whites earn — and in San Francisco, African Americans earn less than half of what whites earn....

...Progressivism is a luxury good for college-educated white people. It is the Hermes sneaker of political tendencies. California is not an especially wealthy state — its median income is right between Wyoming’s and Nebraska’s — but it is a state in which one needs to be pretty well off to live decently. The value of the median home in San Francisco is more than ten times the median income; in San Jose, it’s nine and a half times the median income; in Houston, it’s only four times the median income. California is a great place to be a technology executive or a screenwriter, but it’s a rotten place to be a truck driver. California-style progressivism is oriented toward serving the needs of rich people in San Jose, not those of middle-class people in Riverside County or poor people in the agrarian villages. If you’re a well-off lawyer in the gilded suburbs of Los Angeles, you have a great selection of poor, brown gardeners and housekeepers to lessen life’s burdens, which is great for you but stinks for them. It is not an accident that our nation’s most segregated cities are mostly strongholds of the Left: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Boston....
HOW YALE BRANDS INNOCENT MALES AS RAPISTS
...In the second case, the accuser (after discussing matters with Yale’s Title IX coordinator) elected not to file a formal complaint against the accused student. But even in a case without an accuser, Yale went ahead, and charged the student with “sexual assault.” (To Yale, the Anglo-Saxon tradition of an accused being able to confront his accuser seems quaint and old-fashioned.) And in a case relying wholly on hearsay, words of an accuser who chose not to participate in the proceedings, Yale deemed the student a rapist and expelled him....
Obamacare Enrollment Is Sinking Rapidly
...Aetna’s enrollment reached 720,000 by May 20, after the final end to the the extended open enrollment period. But by the end of June Aetna had less than 600,000 paying customers, IBD reports, and the company expects paying customers to fall to “just over 500,000″ by the end of 2015. That would be a drop of just under 30 percent from the May sign-up numbers — the last time the Obama administration released its official Obamacare enrollment tally.

Aetna’s reported drop-off rate appears to be more extensive than other companies. Cigna reported that between both its exchange customers and those in the private individual market, it expects to lose around 20,000 paying customers throughout the year, out of 300,000....

Americans Subsidize the World’s Medical Costs – Fair?
...In the best case scenario, Americans pay twice as much for popular prescription drugs. In the worst case, we pay five times more. Prescription drugs are not the only medical goods where this cost disparity exists. Prices in the United States are always higher for any medical good than in any other global market.

How the World Screws the US on Health Care

The key difference between American medical care and the medical care in foreign countries is not profit motive. It is not a public or private model, nor is it the role of health care insurance companies. The sole difference between American health care and health care around the world is the role of government in setting prices.

In other countries governments negotiate prices for every medical good from hospital beds to prescription drugs. They lowball on prices, paying for only part of the true cost of research and development. Americans then pay for the remainder....
Fifty Years Of Government Intervention Fails To Boost Home Ownership
Despite decades of federal intervention in the housing market, home ownership rates are virtually the same today as they were in 1968, according to an brief released by the Heritage Foundation on Monday....

...The pace of government intervention was especially frenetic in the 1990s, the report says, such that, “from 1990 to 2003, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac] went from holding 5 percent of the nation’s mortgages ($136 billion) to more than 20 percent ($1.6 trillion),” all with implicit government backing....
If You Have "Visit the Mosul Dam" on Your Bucket List, Better do it Soon
...This isn't a condemnation of Saddam's Iraq per se: It's a condemnation of ANY country where political connections among contractors and subcontractors, sketchy material suppliers and corrupt or frightened quality control inspectors come together in a big Venn Diagram of "Oh Shit!" Hell, it's hard enough to keep infrastructure standing tall in America (remember the I35 West bridge collapse in Minneapolis/St. Paul?), but The Third World? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Three Gorges? Toast. The Mosul Dam? Toast. Burj Dubai? Toast. It doesn't matter how many First World engineers and architects participate in the design process. As long as the construction or maintenance process is left up to a 3rd cousin of the King in the Middle East, or a business subsidiary of the PLA in China, the structure will never live up to the promise of its design life. Ozzymandias by any other name is still a big pile of debris. And a big-name project that is touted as a crowning achievement of a country where a significant portion of its population has to burn animal dung for cooking or haul their own "night soil" out to fertilize the crops will fail before it should. Every time....
'The border fence is a joke': Filmmaker crosses from US to Mexico dressed as Osama bin Laden as Border Patrol says 'we can't be everywhere at once'
...In Monday's video release, O'Keefe focuses on the implications for national security: He illegally crosses into Mexico twice and returns – first in street clothes and again in army fatigues, wearing an Osama bin Laden Halloween mask...

Sunday, August 03, 2014

WaPo's Greg Sargent Devastates Vindicates Halbig Case Against Obamacare Federal Subsidies With Bombshell Reporting
...Sargent just helpfully informed us that an earlier version of the ACA -- not a draft, mind you, but one that was actually passed out of committee -- included explicit language granting subsidies to people on federal exchanges, language that was later dropped from the final bill.

If Sargent had been an attorney rather than a layman, this is the point where he would have hit "delete" on his draft post and forgotten all about it.

One of most fundamental rules of statutory interpretation used by courts when they are asked to discern legislative intent from ambiguous statutory language is this: if explicit language was in an earlier version of a bill but dropped from the final version, the court will treat that as proof it was removed on purpose.

For example, if the draft copy of the "Jeff B. Memorial RINO-Hunting Act" states that "no more than six mature RINOs" can be bagged by any one hunter during open season, but the final legislation lacks the word "mature," then every court in the land would apply standard canons of construction and say that the legislature therefore intended to allow people to go after RINOs of all ages -- the earlier language was dropped for a reason, and so long as it doesn't render the statute facially nonsensical it's not the place of the court to wade any deeper into the thicket and find out what that reason was, or whether it's a "good idea."

Similarly, the argument advanced by the Left (and Sargent) that "of course the ACA intended all along for subsidies to cover federal exchanges!" is runs squarely onto the rocks of this earlier language. Thanks to Sargent's crack reporting we have now confirmed that earlier iterations of the ACA specifically granted subsidies to federal exchanges...but that, for whatever reason, this language was later stripped from the bill.

The subsequent blathering about "why" this language fell out of the bill ("drafting errors," you see) is immaterial as far as the Court is concerned, and this is apparently what Sargent doesn't seem to realize; in a case where the wording of the statute is otherwise clear, the Court's inquiry will stop cold right here -- or at least it should....

Again: In Another Briefing in 2012, Jonathan Gruber Committed the Same "Speak-O" and Said that States Which Refuse to Set Up Obamacare Exchanges Would Lose "Hundreds of Millions in Tax Credits" (Federal Subsidies)
...Flashback: Senator Max Baucus: Hey, you know tax credits for Obamacare are only available on state exchanges.

Watch Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Admit in 2012 That Subsidies Were Limited to State-Run Exchanges (Updated With Another Admission)
...What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this....

Oh, by the way: Obama just quietly suspended ObamaCare’s individual mandate until 2016
...The IRS was never going to enforce the mandate strictly this year, but now they don’t have to enforce it at all. Anyone who’s declined to buy insurance by April 1st can simply claim hardship and that’s that. This makes three major rule changes to the core components of ObamaCare in the past month alone: On February 10th, the White House delayed the employer mandate for small businesses until 2016, and then, 10 days ago, it extended for two more years the rule allowing insurers to un-cancel plans for consumers who want their old, cheaper coverage back. Little did we know until now that, on the same day, they also all but suspended the individual mandate until 2016. And like Levin says, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever bring it back. Why would the next president, eager to begin his/her term on a strong note, want to reinstate a harsh financial penalty for noncompliance with O-Care when the guy who signed the law was unwilling to? The mandate is dead. Obama’s repealing ObamaCare himself, piece by piece. And he’s creating a two-tiered, less sustainable health-insurance system in the process....

The U.S. Health Care System: The Global Sugar Daddy
A new pill for hepatitis C is unmasking a huge global inequality in pharmaceutical costs—one that disproportionately burdens the United States. The FT has a must-read report on Solvadi, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences that costs $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment for American patients, but sells for a song in other countries—as low as $11 per pill in Egypt, for example. As a result, an increasingly noisy movement in America is starting to ask why this is:

“The answer is because it can,” says [Chief medical officer of Express Scripts] Dr [Steve] Miller, one of Gilead’s fiercest critics. “Sovaldi has shone a light on the fact America is subsidising healthcare innovation for the rest of the world.”...

Obamacare: The Bait-And-Switch Double Whammy
Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
...New emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday provide more evidence that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner is not fond of conservatives.

“So we don’t need to worry about teRroists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in a Nov. 9, 2012 email exchange with an IRS colleague....

...Lerner’s email mocking conservative “crazies” came at the end of an exchange with an unnamed colleague.

“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to,” wrote Lerner’s correspondent.

“And I’m talking about the hosts of the shows,” the colleague wrote. “The callers are rabid.”...

“A**holes”: Turns out Lois Lerner’s not a fan of conservative talk radio or its listeners
...She really is the perfect symbol for federal bureaucracy. Exit quotation from Becket Adams, paraphrasing the Lois Lerner view of reality: “Wow, these right-wing lunatics sure are paranoid, huh? Anyway, how close are we to turning the IRS into a weapon?”

Lois Lerner Warned IRS Employees to “be cautious about what we say in emails”
Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official who cannot provide email records to congressional investigators because of a computer crash shortly after a congressional committee began its probe, warned other IRS employees to be "cautious about what we say in emails" that could be released to Congress....

Lois Lerner’s Former FEC Colleague Has Emails Go Missing Too
The Federal Election Commission recycled the computer hard drive of April Sands — a former co-worker of Lois Lerner’s — hindering an investigation into Sands’ partisan political activities, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Sands resigned from the Federal Election Commission in April after she admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activities on federal time and at federal facilities.

The twist is that Sands also worked under Lois Lerner when the ex-IRS agent — who is currently embroiled in a scandal over the targeting of conservative political groups — worked at the FEC’s enforcement division....

Recycled Ploys: Lois Lerner's Former Co-Worker at the FEC Also Had Her Hard Drive Recycled During an Inquiry
"Mr. Bond, we have a saying in Chicago: Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."
Liberal billionaires ‘hijacking’ EPA: report
...According to the report, billionaire environmentalists funnel large amounts of money to environmental groups to lobby on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Up From Greenwich
WHEN Barack Obama won the White House in 2008, he did so in an unusual way for a Democrat: As the candidate of the rich. He raised more in large-dollar donations than any of his rivals and raked in more cash from Wall Street than John McCain. In November, he won the upper class’s votes: By 52 percent to 46 percent, according to exit polls, Americans making more than $200,000 cast their ballots for Obama....

Study: Hundreds of rules passed by Obama administration are technically illegal
...Under a 1996 statute, most federal rules are supposed to be reported to the House and Senate in paper form and to the Government Accountability Office electronically. But since the start of 2012, that hasn’t happened for many of the regulations put out by the Obama administration, either because of bureaucratic oversight or because they were considered too minor to be reported.

Failing to report many of the rules is a “technical violation” of the statute, “and the law says they can’t take effect,” according to Robert Cramer, the GAO’s managing associate general counsel.

But there’s another catch: Congress also barred such rules from judicial review. Two federal appeals courts and two district courts have upheld this principle even when the regulation in question was not submitted to Congress as required. Since Congress cannot pass a resolution of disapproval for a rule until it receives it, this means neither lawmakers nor the courts can step in and demand that agencies submit the required paperwork....

The ObamaCare/IRS Nexus: The supposedly independent agency harassed the administration’s political opponents and saved its health-care law.
..Emails viewed by congressional investigators nonetheless showed that Treasury and the IRS remained worried they were breaking the law. An email exchange between Treasury employees in the spring of 2011 expressed concern that they had no statutory authority to deem a federally run exchange the equivalent of a state-run exchange....

Eleanor Holmes Norton says 'you don't have a right to know' what's going on in government ..."You don't have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government," Norton said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.

It was, to put mildly, a significant departure from the more traditional liberal stance that openness and transparency are must to prevent abuses of power by government officials. Instead the leading advocate for statehood for the District of Columbia literally argued that even the congressional committee charged with oversight shouldn't be asking questions in the first place.

She made the comments while protesting the committee's Republican majority for voting to ignore a claim by the White House that David Simas, director of it's Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, was immune to a congressional subpoena to testify. Republicans believe the office is being used a political campaign operation, a violation of federal election law....
New Zealand: Rape case shakeup on cards this election
...Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims, and are looking at changes that would effectively make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions.

National wants to explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused's refusal to give evidence in a negative light, while Labour wants to shift the burden of proof of consent from the alleged victim to the accused....

Meet The Man Who Apologized After Being Falsely Accused Of Rape
...I will continue to be a feminist and an advocate for women’s rights to the best of my capacity.

...You will not harass or threaten the woman making these claims. I am not looking for a mob of people carrying pitchforks on my behalf. If you harass her or go after her in any way, you are not a friend of mine, and you are not a friend of Cards Against Humanity....

Father freed after a decade in jail as daughter admits she lied about him raping her when she was 11 as she was 'disappointed in him'
A 23-year-old woman has told police she lied about her father raping her when she was 11 - accusations that put him behind bars for nine years.

But Cassandra Kennedy, from Longview, Washington, will not be charged as prosecutors fear it could stop others from reporting sexual assaults....

Survey Reveals Unhappy Person Profile: She's 42, Single, and Working
If you were thrown into a random group of white-collar workers and offered a million dollars if you could select the happiest person in that group, what kind of person would you pick? Would you select a man or a woman? Married or single? Children or no children?

Well, according to a new survey released this month, your odds of winning would be increased if you skipped over the 40-something, single, female doctor or lawyer and opted for the middle-aged, married senior manager with a child at home and a wife who works part-time. In its Office Pulse survey, Captivate Network, a media solutions company, says its uncovered "profiles of the happiest and unhappiest workers." And women don't fare so well....

6th Circuit Court: Ex-Judge Wade McCree's conduct 'reprehensible' but immune from lawsuit
Disgraced former Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade McCree, who had an affair with a woman while presiding over her child custody case, got some good news from a federal appeals court this week: He can’t be sued by the child’s father.

That’s what the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in a 24-page decision Monday, stating that while McCree’s actions were “often reprehensible,” he is immune from lawsuits under the long-held doctrine of judicial immunity....

...The courts, meanwhile, have long held that judges can’t be sued by litigants. Sklar said he hopes the U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders....

...Einhorn also applauded the 6th Circuit for upholding the judicial immunity doctrine on McCree’s behalf. ...

Misandry Hat

Have You Ever Beat Up A Boyfriend? Cause, Uh, We Have
...According to a study of relationships that engage in nonreciprocal violence, a whopping 70% are perpetrated by women. So basically that means that girls are beating up their BFs and husbands and the dudes aren't fighting back. With Amy Winehouse busting open a can of whupass on her husband last week, we decided to conduct an informal survey of the Jezebels to see who's gotten violent with their men. After reviewing the answers, let's just say that it'd be wise to never ever fuck with us....

Dear Feminists: This Is Why You Are In Trouble
...You've attacked male sexuality with bloodthirsty abandon, belittling the "male gaze" and objecting to "objectification" - without understanding that objectification is as important to male sexuality as emotional context is to female sexuality. Your relentless fight against "rape culture" has put you at odds with every heterosexual man in the country, as you rampage for the right to only be approached by attractive men, and demonize unattractive men by their "misogyny". Feminism has been responsible for more male sexual guilt that the Catholic Church. But you don't know that, because we stopped talking to you a long time ago....

...But like the 35 year old woman who is still trying to rock a miniskirt, you still think feminism is about equality. No, it is not about equality, and hasn't been for a long time. What you think feminism is and what it does in the real world are two entirely separate things, and your association with an ideology that is, in effect, anti-male, anti-marriage, and anti-freedom of thought is not doing yourselves any good...
The Stupidest Article About Guns You Will Ever Read
...The “types of guns most often recovered from crime scenes and/or used in murders”? Amazingly, they are exactly the same types of guns most often used in defense of one’s person, property, family or nation. Here is the Rolling Stone List of Death:
Pistols
Revolvers (also handguns)
Rifles
Shotguns and…
Derringers
In other words, all guns. Plus Derringers, just for good measure. ...
Teen who sued parents files domestic order against beau
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Rachel Canning, the teenager who moved out of her parents' home and then sued them for support and college costs, has gotten a domestic violence temporary restraining order against her boyfriend — the man her parents had wanted her to stop seeing....
THE GREAT WAR: THE FIRST GLOBAL JIHAD?
...Christian theologians – of all denominations – appeared to regard the promotion of the war as their sacred duty. Their appeal for sacrifice and martyrdom was communicated in a language that makes some contemporary jihadists appear moderate by comparison. In 1915, Arthur F Winnington-Ingram, the Anglican bishop of London, declared that it was the nation’s duty to mobilise for ‘a holy war’. In one of his sermons he urged British soldiers to ‘kill Germans – do kill them; not for the sake of killing, but to save the world, to kill the good as well as the bad, to kill the young as well as the old, to kill those who have shown kindness to our wounded as well as those fiends… As I have said a thousand times, I look upon it as a war for purity, I look upon everyone who died in it as a martyr.’...
You Can't Blame Fracking for Every Natural Disaster
I'm seeing a lot of stories about the link between injection wells and induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, but most of them make the same error. This study had nothing to do with fracking. The injection wells in Oklahoma causing the swarms of small-magnitude earthquakes are actually used for getting rid of wastewater....

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Scientists and Studies predict ‘imminent global COOLING’ ahead – Drop in global temps ‘almost a slam dunk’
Growing number of scientists are predicting global cooling: Russia’s Pulkovo Observatory: ‘We could be in for a cooling period that lasts 200-250 years’

Danish Solar Scientist Svensmark declares ‘global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning…enjoy global warming while it lasts’

New paper by Russian solar physicist by Habibullo Abdussamatov predicts another Little Ice Age within the next 30 years

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi on declining global temps: ‘Has the Obama administration, the EPA or anyone that can read a chart actually looked at what global temperatures are now doing?’

Climate Scientist Prof. Anastasios Tsonis at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Predicts: ‘I would assume something like another 15 years of leveling off or cooling’

Prominent geologist Dr. Don Easterbrook warns ‘global COOLING is almost a slam dunk’ for up to 30 years or more Australian Astronomical Society warns of global COOLING as Sun’s activity ‘significantly diminishes’
Obama Administration Knew About VA’s Secret Wait Lists For Years
The Obama administration knew about allegations of secret waiting lists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as early as 2010, The Daily Caller has learned.

The current VA scandal involving secret waiting lists that led to preventable veteran deaths at the Phoenix VA Medical Center claimed the scalp of Obama-appointed former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned at the end of last month. Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that President Obama only found about the VA wait-list scandal from watching the news.

But the Obama administration knew that an internal VA investigation into secret “paper” waiting lists was conducted in 2010 under Shinseki....

Obamacare-Forced Narrow Networks Will Spread To The Whole Country, Expert Warns
Obamacare-created narrow networks are preventing Americans from actually using their health insurance and will soon spread to the entire insurance market, health policy expert and physician Scott Gottlieb testified to a House committee Thursday.

“These narrow networks will start to roll out to other parts of the market — the commercial market, the Medicare Advantage market,” Gottlieb said at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. “It’s not going to be confined to Obamacare.”...

Testimony: Obamacare Plans Limit Patient Access to Expensive Drugs
Obamacare plans are controlling costs by limiting patients’ access to more expensive — and possibly more effective — drugs, according to revelations made at a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday....

Socialized medicine: British National Health Service is world’s best healthcare system
...The only serious black mark against the NHS was its poor record on keeping people alive. On a composite “healthy lives” score, which includes deaths among infants and patients who would have survived had they received timely and effective healthcare, the UK came 10th. The authors say that the healthcare system cannot be solely blamed for this issue, which is strongly influenced by social and economic factors. ...
One way to end violence against women? Married dads.
...This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers. The bottom line is this: Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father....

...Start with the threat that girls face from men. One of the most comprehensive portraits of sexual and physical abuse of girls (and boys) comes from the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. As the figure above indicates, children are more likely to be abused when they do not live in a home with their married father. What’s more: girls and boys are significantly more likely to be abused when they are living in a cohabiting household with an unrelated adult—usually their mother’s boyfriend. Indeed, the report notes that “only 0.7 per 1,000 children living with two married biological parents were sexually abused, compared to 12.1 per 1,000 children living with a single parent who had an unmarried partner.”...

Woman shown mercy after sex attack lies led to arrest
A woman who lied about being sexually assaulted - leading to an innocent man’s arrest - has been shown mercy by the courts.

Tracy Kent was spared prison after a judge learned how she was a “damaged and vulnerable woman” with a catalogue of woes behind her.

Kent, 36, admitted she falsely told police she’d been sexually assaulted to get sympathy from her husband after a row.

She ripped her own clothes to make her story more believable, Teesside Crown Court heard today....

Steven Greenhut on California Democrats' Plan to Get in Your Bed
...S.B. 967 would require all California colleges and universities that accept state financial aid to adopt sexual-behavior policies that include a standard by which students must provide their "affirmative consent" before engaging in a wide range of sexual activity.

And a simple "yes" might not suffice. As a senate analysis explains, the bill "requires consent to be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and authorizes a participant, at any time, to communicate that he/she no longer consents to continuing the sexual activity."

The bill, now in the assembly after passing the senate 27-9, also lowers the bar for on-campus sexual assault punishments to the "preponderance of evidence" standard used in lawsuits. It also requires colleges to provide prevention programs and to make services available for sexual assault victims....
A Moment for the Late R.J. Rummel, Who Documented the Murderous Nature of Government
...On his website, still maintained by the University of Hawaii Political Science Department, Rummel noted, "given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century."

The specific numbers of dead kept rising as Rummel's research continued, especially as he gathered records of horrifying colonial-era misdeeds and of the stacks of bodies piled by secretive communist governments. His final total for 20th century victims of state power was 262,000,000.

Rummel went beyond the morbid busines of counting the dead, and maintained, "It is true that democratic freedom is an engine of national and individual wealth and prosperity. Hardly known, however, is that freedom also saves millions of lives from famine, disease, war, collective violence, and democide (genocide and mass murder). That is, the more freedom, the greater the human security and the less the violence."...

Cops Harass Wheelchair-Bound Vet, Take His Cellphone Out of Spite, Arrest Him on Probation Violation After Story Goes Viral
...They accused him of “disturbing the peace,” and ordered him, along with his dog, to follow them downstairs to their office, where they could cite them.

“I told them, ‘write me a ticket or shut the fuck up,’” he said, acknowledging that he doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind to the cops…

A week later, his 23-year-old daughter dropped him off for his weekly blood tests, but because she had to attend class at the local college, she left him two hours earlier than his appointment.

So he entered the Starbucks on hospital property with his dog, which is completely allowed, but then one of the cops from the previous week entered, recognized him, and started hassling him about his “vicious dog” not being muzzled.

The cop ordered him off the hospital under threat of trespass arrest, which caused MacRae to miss his weekly appointment for his blood tests that enables him to survive despite having more than 20 pieces of metal in his neck.

“I had to call my daughter to come pick me up and she had to leave school,” the former construction worker said.

On Tuesday, he was at the hospital for another appointment, minding his own business in front of the hospital, when a VA cop walks up and begins hassling him about his dog.

Unlike the two prior incidents, MacRae began recording with his phone, only for the cop to lie and say he was not allowed, then eventually snatching it from him....

Autopsy Shows Cops Shot Miriam Carey Five Times From Behind
...The office of the District of Columbia medical examiner said in the autopsy that one round struck Carey in the left side of the back of her head, and she was also hit three times in the back and once in her left arm. The report didn't determine in what sequence Carey was hit.

Toxicology tests determined Carey didn't have alcohol or drugs in her blood.

Her family has questioned since the day of the incident whether shooting Carey was the only way to end the chase, which went through the heart of the nation's capital.

[Family attorney Eric] Sanders said on Tuesday that Carey's family members still feel police should have considered other options. The autopsy only "confirms what we said. It was unjustified."...

Student Accuses High School Of Blocking Conservative Websites
...Andrew Lampart, a senior at Nonnewaug High School, discovered that he couldn’t get on the National Rifle Association’s website while on campus as he was doing research for a classroom debate on gun control in May.

“So, I went over to the other side,” Lampart told WTIC. “And I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance and I could get on these websites but not the others.”

The 18-year-old decided to investigate further by broadening his search terms to political parties in Connecticut.

“I immediately found out that the State Democrat website was unblocked but the State GOP website was blocked,” Lampart said.

The student took it a step further and looked at websits focusing on abortion issues and religion. He discovered that “right-to-life” groups were blocked by the firewall but that Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice America weren’t....

WATCH WHAT YOU SAY, THE NEW LIBERAL POWER ELITE WON’T TOLERATE DISSENT
...An alliance of upper level bureaucrats and cultural elites, the Clerisy, for for all their concerns about inequality, have thrived, unlike most Americans, in recent years. They also enjoy strong relations with the power structure in Washington, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Wall Street....

...The Clerisy operates on very different principles than its rival power brokers, the oligarchs of finance, technology or energy. The power of the knowledge elite does not stem primarily from money, but in persuading, instructing and regulating the rest of society. Like the British Clerisy or the old church-centered French First Estate, the contemporary Clerisy increasingly promotes a single increasingly parochial ideology and, when necessary, has the power to marginalize, or excommunicate, miscreants from the public sphere....
IRS Pays Out $50K To National Organization for Marriage Over Donor Info Scandal
The IRS will pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for illegally leaking donor information to a pro-gay marriage group, it was announced Tuesday.

The Human Rights Campaign posted NOM’s 2008 tax return, along with the names and contact information of major donors, on their website during the 2012 presidential campaign. The unauthorized dissemination of such information is a felony.

TheDC broke the story, obtaining NOM’s official demand for a federal investigation. Now, an investigation that is part of the civil suit NOM filed against the IRS has found that someone at the IRS did give NOM’s confidential tax and donor information to a gay rights activist in Boston....

IRS Chief Koskinen Has Donated Big to Democrats Over the Years
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen looks like he got the job atop the taxman agency the old fashioned way: He bought it.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Koskinen has donated about $100,000 to Democrat candidates and committees since his first donation in 1979. His donor recipients include Gary Hart, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic nominee in each presidential campaign since 1980 (which would even include Walter Mondale, who stood no chance of beating President Ronald Reagan in 1984), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns. He most recently donated $2,500 to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in 2013.

He has given no money to Republicans. The taxman is a partisan Democrat....

Deunionize the IRS
...The government’s tax collecting agency is unionized? Think about that for a moment. The union in question is the National Treasury Employees Union. According to the web site of the NTEU, the mission of the union is “to organize federal employees to work together to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.” That’s a tall order, in part because there are so very many federal employees. The NTEU’s web site includes a nifty interactive graphic that shows you just how many there are in each state: 279,622 in Texas, for example, 350,544 in California, 165,943 in New York, etc., etc. There are, in short, millions of them.

And what political party do you suppose they support? In the 2012 election cycle, 94% of its PAC contributions went to Democrats, 4% to Republicans. That’s only one year, of course. How about 2010? That year 98% of its contributions went to Democrats, 2% went to Republicans. 2008 was a bit more balanced: that year only 96% went to Democrats. As Andrew Stiles pointed out at National Review, the NTEU is a “powerful, deeply partisan union whose boss has publicly disparaged the Tea Party and criticized the Republican party for having ties to it.”...

Report: Lois Lerner Tried to Get a Sitting GOP Senator in IRS Trouble (Update: Email Added)
...Ways and Means has provided the email in question. In the exchange, Lerner mistakenly receives an invitation to an event that includes Grassley. She leaps to the conclusion that travel expenses were “inappropriately” offered for Mrs. Grassley. So she suggests referring the senator for an audit....

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Looking Over the Wreckage of Obama's Year and a Half of Benghazi Lies
...Relatively few documents have been provided that shed light on White House involvement in the post-Benghazi narrative. Previously, emails showed that then-deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough, on Rhodes' behalf, assigned Hillary Clinton-aide Jake Sullivan to work with Deputy Director of the C.I.A. Mike Morell to edit the talking points on Benghazi. As the various agencies worked to edit and approve the talking points on Sept. 14, Rhodes emailed that there would be a Deputies meeting the next morning to work out the issues. "That's polite code for let's not debate this on e-mail for 18 hours," one official involved told me last year.

Multiple government officials including those in the military, State Department and C.I.A. have stated in documents or under questioning that they immediately believed the attacks, using heavy weaponry and mortar shells, were the work of terrorists. Prior to the attacks, there had been multiple warnings of al Qaeda threats in Libya and, specifically, in Benghazi.

In fact, in an early version of the government's "talking points," the C.I.A. stated that it had "produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa'ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya," and that "These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks." The administration later removed these C.I.A. disclosures about the advance warning of a threat.

Morell testified to Congress earlier this month that he, and not the White House, was responsible for making some of the most controversial revisions to the talking points, including removing the language about the advance warnings....
Michael E Mann: Liar, Cheat, Falsifier and Fraud
...Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another's result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data....

The Climate Change Debate Is Over, And Environmentalists Lost
The bloodcurdling National Climate Assessment is here and it portends catastrophe; floods, clouds and other assorted weather events are imminent! … but , says the report, “there is still time to act to limit the amount of climate change and the extent of damaging impacts.”

Have you noticed that we’re always at the cusp of a cataclysm, yet the deadline to act always moves to a politically convenient not-too-distant future? I guess when the time to act runs out – it will at some point, right? — we can begin thinking about defunding all these panels and reinvesting in something more productive: like figuring out how we can adapt to the future....

The Climate Change Debate Is Over, And Environmentalists Lost:
...You mean like former NASA scientist James Hansen? “January 17, 2009 – NASA’s James Hansen told us that Obama had only four years to save the planet.”

And that was on top of declaring in 2004, as the American Thinker noted, “that there is only a ten-year window to act on AGW (presumably by transferring mass quantities of taxpayer funds to global warmist causes) before climate Armageddon destroys humanity.”

And then there were all of the not-so-final countdowns that were made on the first Earth Day, which have long since quietly expired, and Al Gore declaring in 2008 that “the entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in 5 years,” before tacitly declaring Mission Accomplished on radical environmentalism by selling out last year to big oil?...

EPA Refuses to Turn Over Subpoenaed Documents to Congress; Agency Explains That Some Subpoenaed Emails Were "Lost" In a "Hard Drive Crash" in 2010
...The hearing also included a bit of deja vu for the committee when members grilled McCarthy on lost emails from a hard-drive crash (the same issue that wiped out emails from IRS employee Lois Lerner). In this case, the emails in question were from retired EPA employee Philip North, who was involved in the agency's decision to begin the process of preemptively vetoing the Pebble Mine project in Alaska.

North, who declined an interview request by the committee, is retired, and committee staff say they have been unable to track him down. According to a committee aide, North's hard drive crashed in 2010--which was around the same time that the committee is investigating the agency's discussions of a potential veto--and the emails were not backed up....

Issa Threatens EPA With Contempt as Team Obama Celebrates Its Climate Anniversary
...The hearing also included a bit of deja vu for the committee when members grilled McCarthy on lost emails from a hard-drive crash (the same issue that wiped out emails from IRS employee Lois Lerner). In this case, the emails in question were from retired EPA employee Philip North, who was involved in the agency's decision to begin the process of preemptively vetoing the Pebble Mine project in Alaska.

North, who declined an interview request by the committee, is retired, and committee staff say they have been unable to track him down. According to a committee aide, North's hard drive crashed in 2010—which was around the same time that the committee is investigating the agency's discussions of a potential veto—and the emails were not backed up.

McCarthy said it appeared there were some emails the agency could not produce that should have been kept, but she was still working to see if they could be recovered. McCarthy made it clear that it was a small set of emails and that the agency had notified the National Archives of the problem Tuesday, though had told Oversight Committee staff earlier....

Greenpeace executive flies 250 miles to work
One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged.

Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began "commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam" when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month.

The flights, at 250 euros for a round trip, are funded by Greenpeace, despite its campaign to curb "the growth in aviation", which it says "is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”....

Climate-Change Exaggeration: Then and Now
...What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
-- Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator (D-Colorado). Quoted in Michael Fumento, Science Under Siege (1993), p. 362.

“On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means we must include all the doubts, caveats, and ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change.

To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to off up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical blind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”
-- Stephen Schneider, quoted in Jonathan Schell, “Our Fragile Earth,” Discover Magazine, October 1989, p. 47
New ObamaCare Enrollment Report Shows Death Spiral Is Likely
...Why does this matter for the death spiral? Because so many enrollees choosing silver plans suggests that the risk pool may be sicker than is optimal. For enrollees at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, silver plans tend to offer the most coverage for the lowest price. For persons under 250 percent FPL, ObamaCare offers help with copays and deductibles, but only if the consumer chooses a silver plan. The actuarial value for a silver plan is 70 percent (that is, a silver plan must, on average, cover 70 percent of a policyholder’s medical claims), but when the subsidies for cost-sharing are included, the actuarial value rises to between 73 and 94 percent. As one writer notes, “Why would someone opt for a silver-level plan over a cheaper bronze or catastrophic-level plan? The most plausible explanation is that the enrollee anticipates incurring significant medical expenses over the coming year, which is to say that he’s not healthy.” ...

Under Obamacare, People Must Be Broken of Their Preference for Choice
We have a new contender for most-telling-ever Obamacare quote this morning: “We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has.” That’s Marcus Merz, head of Minnesota health insurer PreferredOne, in a New York Times report on the increasing prevalence of narrow network health plans.

Merz is basically stating openly what the Obama administration won’t, which is that Obamacare is intentionally designed to narrow consumer choice and plan design within the health insurance market. The Obama administration doesn't want to say this because it is bad politics generally, and also because President Obama specifically and repeatedly promised that, under the law, people would be able to keep their choice of health plans and doctors, not that they would be broken of their preference for medical choice. But the law’s authors and administrators have a pretty good idea of what kind of health insurance they want you to have, and that’s the kind of insurance that you’re going to get....

2.45 Million Obamacare Enrollees Paid Their Premiums by April 15. Yay?
...Just 67 percent of Americans who purchased insurance through federal-facility ObamaCare exchanges have paid their premiums, according to information insurers participating in the program gave to Congress....

Big Increases in Obamacare Premiums and Deductibles Coming in November
...When Obamacare first rolled out last fall, the failure of the federal and state exchanges were only the first signs of disaster. Premiums spiked upward in both the individual and group markets, and insurers raised deductibles and narrowed provider networks to save themselves money. Millions of people lost their existing insurance plans in the individual market, and many ended up in plans that either didn’t fit or cost far more than they spent in the past....

The Challenge of Measuring Obamacare's Results
...The problem is that in addition to expanding health coverage, Obamacare also modified a variety of existing federal programs, and it was through those modifications that it achieved much of its deficit reduction. But those changes have not all been implemented as originally planned, and now the agency says it can no longer judge the complete fiscal effects. "Isolating the incremental effects of those provisions on previously existing programs and revenues four years after enactment of the Affordable Care Act is not possible," a budget office report said in April....

...But in April, The New York Times reported that the Census Bureau would be changing the way it asked about insurance status in what the Bureau describes as a "total revision to health insurance questions."

Researchers say that the old methodology significantly overstated the number of uninsured; the new questions will produce a lower number. That's convenient for Obamacare. But what it means is that it won't be possible to determine how much of the reduction is caused by the change in questions rather than by policy changes or other factors....

However Bad You Think the VA Scandal Is, It’s Worse. Much Worse.
...The problems at Veterans Affairs extend well beyond long wait lists, with a report Tuesday showing the department is plagued with poor care that has cost up to 1,000 veterans their lives and left taxpayers on the hook for nearly $1 billion in malpractice settlements since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some of the problems detailed in the report by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma are downright ghoulish. They include the case of a former security chief at a New York Veterans Affairs medical center whom the FBI arrested on charges of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder women and children....

• Female patients received unnecessary pelvic and breast exams from a sex offender....
Lois Lerner, Colonel Mustard and the Blue Screen of Death
...Well, because as I mentioned above, the Blue Screen of Death is an operating system error. The operating system lives on the hard drive. Which raises a question: If Lerner’s hard drive was so thoroughly malfunctioning that no one could even get the data off of it, how was it booting up far enough for the operating system to malfunction? This is not the description of the problem that I would have expected to hear; I would have expected to hear that her computer wouldn’t really boot up at all, perhaps while horrible grinding noises emanated from its innards. In most cases, a computer displaying the Blue Screen of Death is a computer with a hard drive functioning well enough for data recovery. If I were Lerner's IT support person, I would waste no time in getting the hard drive to a working computer, where I’d connect it as a secondary drive and transfer off all the files, because the Blue Screen of Death is often a harbinger of future hard drive failure. But it was not, in my experience, usually a symptom of the actual failure....

MORE ON THE IRS’S ILLEGAL DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE
...True the Vote’s brief points out that the first lawsuit alleging discriminatory targeting of conservative groups was filed by a pro-Israel group called Z Street, Inc., on August 25, 2010. On that date, at the very latest, the IRS had a legal duty to take measures to ensure that no emails, correspondence, memoranda, notes, or other evidence of any sort that could be relevant to the case was lost or destroyed. (Congressional investigations, or other information known to the IRS, may have triggered the duty at an earlier date.) Lois Lerner’s communications would have been at the very top of the list of materials that the IRS had a legal duty to go out of its way to preserve.

But, according to IRS representatives who have testified before Congressional committees, the IRS ignored the law. Instead of making sure that relevant information was preserved, the IRS blithely continued erasing back-up email tapes every 90 days. Further, the IRS continued its policy of assigning each employee a ridiculously small space on an email server, and then authorizing employees (like Lois Lerner) to delete at will to keep space open. And, finally, when Lerner’s hard drive crashed ten months after the Z Street case was commenced, the IRS made no effort to preserve it, but rather, by its own account, recycled the hard drive in a business-as-usual manner....

ON THE IRS EMAILS, THE PLOT THICKENS
...Lerner’s concern was about the “personal files” on her computer, nothing about emails. This would make no sense if her computer crash had destroyed the principal record of her work for the IRS over the previous two years, i.e. her email traffic. But it makes perfect sense for Lerner to be unconcerned about emails if she knew the IRS had a contract with Sonasoft and that her emails were safely archived. All she needed to worry about were her own personal files. That unconcern would have been entirely appropriate until two months later, when the IRS canceled the Sonasoft contract. Based on what we now know, that appears to be the moment when the record of Lerner’s dealings with other federal entities (like the White House and DOJ) was lost.

How Did an IRS Official Know with Certainty that the Obama Campaign Would Continue One of Its Attacks?
...How did Sarah Hall Ingram, not a political officer but an official at the Internal Revenue Service in a politically sensitive position, know with certainty that Obama would continue hammering on this theme? Was she in contact with anyone at the White House or someone who played any role in the Obama campaign?

Ingram certainly was in contact with the Obama White House. She made 165 visits there during the IRS targeting period. The official story is that Ingram visited the White House to discuss “health policy” with Doug Shulman, then commissioner of the IRS, and White House health policy assistant Jeanne Lambrew. Ingram was head of the IRS tax-exempt office at the time. She moved on from there to coordinate IRS prosecution of Obamacare, and has since retired....
When the Nerds Go Marching In
How a dream team of engineers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google built the software that drove Barack Obama's reelection

...And of course, the team's only real goal was to elect the President. "We have to elect the President. We don't need to sell our software to Oracle," Reed told his team. But the secondary impact of their success or failure would be to prove that campaigns could effectively hire and deploy top-level programming talent. If they failed, it would be evidence that this stuff might be best left to outside political technology consultants, by whom the arena had long been handled. If Reed's team succeeded, engineers might become as enshrined in the mechanics of campaigns as social-media teams already are...
The Profit Police
...In the entire history of economic thought, nobody has ever been able to demonstrate that there is an objectively “right” price for anything separate and apart from the subjective valuation that happens in the marketplace. Progressives like speeches about diversity, but they loathe the actual diversity of views and desires, especially the idea that prices should be sorted out according to the billions of subjective valuations in the marketplace through a process that nobody is in charge of. (In Dante’s Hell, the engraving reads: “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.” In Ezra Klein’s Hell, the engraving reads: “Nobody In Charge.”) Implicit in this belief is that most people — consumers and workers alike — are too stupid or too weak for us to allow them to act on their own subjective valuations, that we are compelled by . . . justice, efficiency, expert opinion, whatever . . . to substitute our own judgment for theirs. And then all you need is two government studies and a rent-a-philosopher writing in the New York Times to proclaim that there is some real-world basis for your own preferences as compared to those of the rabble on whose behalf you have just deputized yourself to organize the world. The language of “social justice” is largely a sort of moral minstrel show designed to distract from the real argument, which is: “You’re too stupid to be entrusted with your own life.” Something close to the entirety of the progressive agenda (apart from sexual license), from wage rules to health care to “investments” in modish fantasy projects to industrial policy, assumes that that metaphysically correct price is out there, simply waiting for the right people with the right ideas in service of the right policy to discover them, or at least to approximate them....

Sunday, June 22, 2014

IRS CANCELLED Contract with Email-Storage Firm Weeks After Lerner’s Computer Crash
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cancelled its longtime relationship with an email-storage contractor just weeks after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed.

The IRS signed a contract with Sonasoft, an email-archiving company based in San Jose, California, each year from 2005 to 2010. The company, which partners with Microsoft and counts The New York Times among its clients, claims in its company slogans that it provides “Email Archiving Done Right” and “Point-Click Recovery.” Sonasoft in 2009 tweeted, “If the IRS uses Sonasoft products to backup their servers why wouldn’t you choose them to protect your servers?”

Sonasoft was providing “automatic data processing” services for the IRS throughout the January 2009 to April 2011 period in which Lerner sent her missing emails.

But Sonasoft’s six-year business relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt end at the close of fiscal year 2011, as congressional investigators began looking into the IRS conservative targeting scandal and IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right.

Sonasoft’s fiscal year 2011 contract with the IRS ended on August 31, 2011. Eight days later, the IRS officially closed out its relationship with Sonasoft in accordance with the federal government’s contract close-out guidelines, which require agencies to fully audit their contracts and to get back any money that wasn’t used by the contractor. Curiously, the IRS de-allocated 36 cents when it closed out its contract with Sonasoft on September 8, 2011.

Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly crashed in June 2011, just ten days after House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was engaging in targeting of nonprofit groups. Two months later, Sonasoft’s contract ended and the IRS gave its email-archiving contractor the boot....

Kim Strassel and the WSJ on the Lost IRS Emails
...A WSJ editorial this morning points out the remarkable timing of the IRS’s begrudging disclosure last Friday that evidence central to the case has been destroyed: more than a year after the investigation began and only when a deadline was impending in which the IRS commissioner would have to certify personally that the agency had produced to Congress all relevant communications. Were responsible agency officials determined to treat this as a high-priority investigation, to be carried on in good faith and with all deliberate speed? (There was no doubt about the seriousness of the scandal, as President Obama himself admitted—or seemed to be admitting—at the time.) Or did they instead stall and deflect until the very last moment? So un-forthcoming was the agency that, according to today’s Journal editorial, IRS staffers met with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) Monday and did not tell him that the external emails of six other IRS employees had gone missing too—he found that out only later in the week when he read a press release from the House side. ...

Lawmakers: IRS lost more emails in tea party probe
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has lost more emails connected to the tea party investigation, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

The IRS said last Friday it had lost an untold number of emails when Lois Lerner’s computer crashed in 2011. Lerner used to head the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status.

On Tuesday, two key lawmakers said the IRS has also lost emails from six additional IRS workers whose computers crashed. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller....

IRS ‘Lost’ Emails From Official That Met With Top Obama Assistant
...The IRS recently claimed that it lost emails from Nikole Flax, who served as chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller. Flax was one of seven IRS employees including ex-official Lois Lerner whose emails to and from White House officials and other Obama administration agencies were purportedly deleted and could not be handed over to congressional investigators.

Flax held personal meetings with a top assistant to President Obama and also colluded with Lerner to prosecute conservative activists.

Flax made 31 visits to the White House between July 12, 2010 and May 8, 2013, according to White House visitor logs. Flax’s visits started in the early days of the IRS targeting program and ended just two days before the IRS scandal broke on May 10, 2013.

Flax met twice in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, on Oct. 5, 2012 and Jan. 15, 2013.

Who is Jeanne Lambrew?

As The Daily Caller reported, Lambrew exchanged confidential taxpayer information on conservative groups with IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram in 2012 as the White House tried to figure out how to deal with a lawsuit filed by a religious organization fighting Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. Lambrew also hosted 155 of Ingram’s 165 White House visits....
Free Universities And No Student Loan Debt Is Hurting Denmark's Economy
...But many, in both industry and politics, feel it's become a free lunch that's giving indigestion to Scandinavia's already weakest economy.

Too many pursue "fulfilment" and too few the science and engineering degrees needed in well-paid growth sectors critical for the nation's future, they say.

Typical is 23-year-old Ali Badreldin, who is enrolled at the Royal Danish Academy of Music to become a saxophone player. "Music was always part of my life growing up so it was a natural choice," he said.

His courses are free and he gets a monthly stipend of 5,839 DKK (782 euros, $1,074) in a system where class sizes are rarely limited.

The result has Denmark spending more proportionally on education than any other country in the OECD club of 34 advanced nations.

Yet biotech firms like Novozymes say they cannot find enough engineers.

Engineering opportunities have soared in recent years in Denmark, but its youth have shunned the sector, with only one-third the OECD average contemplating an engineering career amid top-heavy enrolment in arts and humanities programmes....

...They point to "Lazy Robert", or Robert Nielsen, an erstwhile student of social sciences, philosophy and Chinese, now 45, who shot to notoriety after proudly stating on TV that he prefers living off social benefits than taking a job he didn't find "meaningful"....
MOTHER ACCUSED OF FATALLY POISONING SON WITH SODIUM
...A young mother who documented her 5-year-old son's persistent illness on social media was arrested Tuesday, accused of fatally poisoning him with sodium.

...Investigators say Lacey Spears was desperate for attention and used her son as a tool to make it happen by publicly documenting his condition. ...

...Lacey documented her son's various health problems using a public blog. And five months ago, investigators became curious and looked into her son's death, and that's when they started gathering mountains of evidence. Finally, a grand jury granted the indictment. ...
AFTER CLIMATE CHANGE SPEECH, OBAMA JETS TO PALM SPRINGS FOR GOLF
President Barack Obama arrived in Palm Springs, California on Saturday via Air Force One to spend Father's Day playing golf. Hours earlier, he had lectured graduating students at University of California, Irvine, about the need to "do something" about climate change, mocking those who questioned that policy goal.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages reducing unnecessary air travel to minimize carbon dioxide emissions. Golf courses are also frequent targets of environmentalists--especially in southern California, where a severe drought has placed a spotlight on golf courses' use of scarce water resources....
Lois Lerner's Hard Drive "Crashed" Ten Days After House Ways & Means Chairman David Camp Made His First Inquiry About Targeting Conservatives
...As to Ms. Lerner's behavior, consider that House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp first sent a letter asking if the IRS was engaged in targeting in June, 2011. Ms. Lerner denied it. She engineered a plant in an audience at a tax conference in May 2013 to drop the bombshell news about targeting (maybe hoping nobody would notice?). She has subsequently asserted a Fifth Amendment right to silence in front of the only people actually investigating the affair, Congress. Now we learn that her hard drive supposedly defied modernity and suffered total annihilation about 10 days after the Camp letter arrived....
"We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for thirty or forty or fifty years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."
--Rudy Giuliani

Sunday, June 15, 2014

David Brat Is Right
...It is, it seems, decidedly easier idiotically to repeat that “government is the only thing we all belong to,” or that “government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together” than to acknowledge that, whether one is advocating a small government that takes care of the basics or a Leviathan that seeks to meddle in the smallest recesses of the human heart, one is invoking Thomas Hobbes. George Washington almost certainly never said that “government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force,” nor did he describe the state as “a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” But these maxims, attributed to him, gained wide currency because, imprimatur or none, they contain a valuable truth. Brat’s words are the heir to this recognition. In his supposedly “unusual” essay, he asks whether “we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice”; suggests that “history teaches us” to worry about the scope of the state; and, channeling a sentiment that would be extraordinarily familiar to the Founding Fathers and in accord with the philosophies and historical examples that inspired them, mocks the arrogant notion that we now “live in particularly lucky and fortunate times where the State can be trusted to do minimal justice.” He observed, too, that however secure the principle that Americans may defend themselves against violence if attacked, they will nonetheless eventually have to abide by a judgment from the state. When Brat argues that “when push comes to shove, the State will win in a battle of wills,” he is confirming that violence is only legitimate when the state says that it is. That’s a monopoly.

There is nothing incoherent or sinister about this. On the contrary: That a potential member of Congress is so elegantly aware of the remarkable strength of the body that he is seeking to join is little short of refreshing. Also bracing was that Brat’s contention was cast in bipartisan — or, rather, nonpartisan — terms. First, he asked whether his audience was happy to trust the extraordinary power of the government to the temporary custody of the Right or Left. Then he suggested that anybody who “answered ‘no’ to either question” could well find themselves with “a major problem in the future.” In doing so, he joined a long line of forward-looking Americans who have, in Edmund Burke’s felicitous phrase, tended not to “judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance,” but have been disposed instead to “anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle.” The colonists, Burke espied, “augur misgovernment at a distance; and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.” So, too, the architects of the nation. It was evident in the late 18th century that despotism was a perennial prospect, and, as Brat hints, the horrors of the 20th century should have served only to amplify that trepidation. Where, pray, is the problem here?...

...If David Brat’s wholly inoffensive observations are enough to give a person the vapors, he might well look to reconsider the foundations of his philosophy. In certain cases — rape, murder, defense of the realm — the case for government force is an easy one to make. In others — the hosting of cowboy poetry festivals, the banning of smoking, the hyper-regulation of small businesses — it is downright farcical. Were I convinced that the state should be using its power to determine the optimum price of milk, I would probably recoil at the word “violence,” too. This, though, has no bearing on whether its use is pertinent. David Brat was correct: Governments of all sorts rely upon force and maintain a monopoly on fire, and thereby invite all of us to turn our skeptical eyes toward them. Let’s try not to crucify a man for looking on them without favor and telling all who would listen the acrid truth about what he has seen.
Operation Choke Point a harbinger of big-government activism to come?
...Justice Department targetsinclude industries as diverse as ammunition sales, coin dealers, payday loans, “racist materials,” etc. And, again, these are all legal businesses that haven’t been charged with breaking any laws — the Justice Department just doesn’t like them.

So what we have under “Operation Choke Point” is the government deciding it wants to put the squeeze on certain lines of (legal) business, for no other reason than that the Department of Justice doesn’t favor them. It seems almost like some sort of conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights. …

Personally, I don’t think that regulators should be able to abuse their discretion — and this certainly looks abusive to me — in order to pressure banks to shut down the accounts of legal businesses. (As Sen. David Vitter, R-La., noted in March, the Justice Department has no statutory authority to do this). And while abortion clinics and environmental groups are probably safe under the Obama administration, if this sort of thing stands, they will be vulnerable to the same tactics if a different administration adopts this same thuggish approach toward the businesses that it dislikes. And why wouldn’t it, if the Justice Department gets away with this?

Congress, and the courts, and the press, need to bring the Justice Department to heel. And, in fact, I think that the officials involved should be named, shamed, and disciplined. Because what’s going on here doesn’t look much like justice at all...
The joy of tax: why payment should be a pleasure
I’m talking “tax”.

It is time to rehabilitate the word; indeed the notion. In doing so, we must learn to acknowledge- nay embrace- its innate goodness, decency and beauty. Of paying it, sharing in its bounty. Indeed, its infinite erotic potential.

The days of tax-shaming must come to an end.

...Time and time again the people step up to support bold progressive change - the Gonski education reforms, the NBN, a National Disability Insurance Scheme. At the same time, they reject the idea that they should pay more tax to do so. Economists like to borrow from psychologists who call this “cognitive dissonance”....

Liberal Austin homeowners surprised to find they have to pay all the taxes they voted for
...“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”...
A Gentlemen’s Guide To Rape Culture
...If you are a man, you are part of rape culture. I know … that sounds rough. You’re not a rapist, necessarily. But you do perpetuate the attitudes and behaviors commonly referred to as rape culture....

...Here’s a bullet-point list of examples of rape culture.

· Inflating false rape report statistics

· Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history

· Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive...

Good grades, good home gets college student profiled as rapist, claims lawsuit
..."[John Doe] fits the profile of other rapists on campus in that he had a high GPA in high school, was his class valedictorian, was on [a sports] team, and was from a good family," the suit quotes Occidental Sociology Prof. Danielle Dirks, who co-founded the school's Sexual Assault Coalition, telling the woman, who was initially reluctant to accuse the man of rape.

Earlier this year, the White House issued a report on sexual assaults on college campuses and called on schools to become more vigilant about the issue. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) estimates that a college with 10,000 students could experience as many as 350 rapes per year, while the White House Council on Women and Girls — co-authors of the White House report — estimates nearly 1-in-5 women will be sexually assaulted during her time in college.

But the fact that campus rape is a legitimate social problem does not mean John Doe is guilty, according to Shibley. He said Occidental misapplied its own sexual misconduct policy, which was implemented last August, a month before the university settled with at least 10 of 37 current and former students who alleged that the school repeatedly mishandled sexual assault accusations.

The women, all of whom were represented by high-profile women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, were among those who alleged in a federal civil rights complaint that Occidental deliberately discouraged victims from reporting sexual assaults, misled students about their rights, retaliated against whistle-blowers and doled out minor punishments to assailants who in some cases allegedly struck again.

Shibley, meanwhile, said an external adjudicator hired by the school to investigate the September 2013 incident concluded that the female student did consent to sex, but that that consent was invalid since she was intoxicated.

Furthermore, text messages between the two, including one in which the woman asked whether John Doe had a condom, should be considered as a “smoking gun” in the case, Shibley said.

“We’re responsible for the decisions we make while we’re drunk, just like someone who drinks and decides to get behind the wheel of a car,” he said. “She asked if he had a condom; she also told one of her friends that she was going to have sex as well. It seems pretty clear she knew what was going on.”...
After Looting $429 Million & More Gold Bullion From Mosul Central Bank, ISIS Is Now "The Richest Terror Force In the World"

4 Things You Need to Know About the Collapse of Iraq

Veterans watch as Iraq teeters on the brink

Iraqi Kurds seize Kirkuk as army flees

As militants advance in Iraq, U.S. Embassy in Baghdad readies evacuation
Obama acts to protect workers from ObamaCare.
...The word that got our attention, though, is dump. It appears in the headline, too: "I.R.S. Bars Employers From Dumping Workers Into Health Exchanges." If the New York Times were our only source of news, we'd be very confused right now. (Well, OK, we'd be very confused almost always.) For months the Times has been touting the quality of ObamaCare policies, scoffing at those who liked their previous plans and were victimized by President Obama's fraudulent promise that they could keep them.

Now all of a sudden the exchanges are a garbage dump? Or is it that the exchanges are a pristine wilderness into which workers are the garbage being dumped?

The Times quotes Obama at a February press conference: "I don't think that an employer-based system is going to be, or should be, replaced anytime soon," he said when a reporter asked "whether over the long term you see a future where health insurance is less tied to the workplace."

You can see why the president would take that position. If employers start dropping medical benefits, the number of people directly victimized by the you-can-keep-your-plan fraud would multiply, and with it Obama and the Democrats' political problems. Thus the administration is in the ironic position of writing regulations to make sure its "comprehensive reform" isn't too comprehensive....

VA Spending Per Patient Exploded Amid Deadly Delays
...The VA's budget has been exploding, even as the number of veterans steadily declines. From 2000 to 2013, outlays nearly tripled, while the population of veterans declined by 4.3 million.

Medical care spending — which consumes about 40% of the VA's budget — has climbed 193% over those years, while the number of patients served by the VA each year went up just 68%, according to data from the VA.

From 2008 to 2012 alone, per-patient spending at the VA climbed 27%. To put that in perspective, per capita health spending nationwide rose just 13% during those years....

Exclusive: Texas VA Run Like a ‘Crime Syndicate,’ Whistleblower Says
...Emails and VA memos obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast provide what is among the most comprehensive accounts yet of how high-level VA hospital employees conspired to game the system. It shows not only how they manipulated hospital wait lists but why—to cover up the weeks and months veterans spent waiting for needed medical care. If those lag times had been revealed, it would have threatened the executives’ bonus pay.

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

“I see it in the executives’ eyes,” the whistleblower added. “They are worried.”...

Don’t Nationalize the VA’s Failures
...“Don’t sweat it,” The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber wrote rather bluntly in January, for Obamacare’s “going to get us to a single-payer system before long.” Leading progressive lights Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman certainly hope so — the former having praised the VA as one of “the best health-care systems in the world,” the latter having not only endorsed the principle of a government takeover of the health sector but having advocated the nationalization of hospitals, too. The VA, Krugman claimed in 2011, is “an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it.” As a result, he contended, “it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense.”

On paper, this all sounds rather nice, I suppose. But, having lived for 26 years under such a system, I cannot say that I share Krugman’s enthusiasm. Explaining the nature of the new National Health Service in the late 1940s, the British socialist Aneurin Bevan told reporters that “if a bedpan dropped in a hospital corridor, the reverberations should echo in Whitehall.” (“Whitehall” is the part of London in which the national government is located.) Bevan got his way — and how. In England nowadays, when bad things happen to patients, we do not blame hospitals, doctors, and drug companies but politicians and their appointees. Those who follow Parliament are thus treated to the absurd spectacle of the prime minister being asked to comment on individual medical cases in far-flung corners of the nation. This he seems to have accepted as his role. Never does he say in response, “Why am I being asked about this?” Never does he ask whether it might be better if the state got out of the hospital business. Instead, in each and every instance, he takes responsibility and promises to look into it.

Does he do so? Rarely. Because mistakes in delivering health care are catastrophic for those seeking reelection or trying to push an agenda, politicians in Britain spend the vast majority of their time worrying about perceived rather than actual improvement. Government, by definition, has no competition, which means that those who staff it can lie and spin and cover up mistakes not just with impunity but with the full force of the state at their back. Thus do results become less important than statistics, reforms less important than spending, and patients less important than careers....

...All of which is to say that this is not only a question of what government does to health care but of what health care does to government. As Patrick Brennan noted yesterday, the sorts of problems that we are seeing at the VA — “gaming statistics, secret waiting lists, long wait times for serious procedures” — “seem to be endemic to single-payer health systems and especially fully socialized ones (as in ones where the government employs the doctors and runs the hospitals, too, like the VA, Britain’s, and Spain’s).” In short: Governments can’t run health-care systems efficiently, which irritates people, which leads to governments lying about health care. It’s a mess...

VA Spending Per Patient Exploded Amid Deadly Delays
...The VA's budget has been exploding, even as the number of veterans steadily declines. From 2000 to 2013, outlays nearly tripled, while the population of veterans declined by 4.3 million.

Medical care spending — which consumes about 40% of the VA's budget — has climbed 193% over those years, while the number of patients served by the VA each year went up just 68%, according to data from the VA.

From 2008 to 2012 alone, per-patient spending at the VA climbed 27%. To put that in perspective, per capita health spending nationwide rose just 13% during those years....