Sunday, April 13, 2014

CA woman accused of rape hoax in plot against couple who outbid her for dream home
...Rowe said a miscommunication with real estate agents allowed the other couple to outbid her, and she says she was “devastated.” She offered them $100,000 above the asking price, but they declined. And that’s when the pranks began.

Rowe listed the home for sale online, put a stop on the couple’s mail, and sent religious missionaries to their door at first, but prosecutors said her actions soon became criminal.

Rowe is accused of posing as the wife, advertising a “Carmel Valley Freak Show,” and inviting strange men over for sex in detailed rape fantasies that included the woman’s photo and address.

“I love to be surprised and have a man just show up at my door and force his way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no,” prosecutors say Rowe told one man who responded to the ad....
BREAKING: Emails Show Lois Lerner Fed True the Vote Tax Information to Democrat Elijah Cummings
New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings' staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information....

..."These documents, indicating involvement of IRS officials at the center of the targeting scandal responding to your requests, raise serious questions about your actions and motivations for trying to bring this investigation to a premature end. If the Committee, as you publicly suggested in June 2013,'wrap[ped] this case up and moved on' at that time, the Committee may have never seen documents raising questions about your possible coordination with the IRS in communications that excluded the Committee Majority," the letter sent by Issa and the Chairmen further states. "As the Committee continues to investigate the IRS's wrongdoing and to gather all relevant testimonial and documentary evidence, the American people deserve to know the full truth. They deserve to know why the Ranking Member and Minority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform surreptitiously contacted the IRS about an individual organization without informing the Majority Staff and even failed to disclose the contact after it became an issue during a subcommittee proceeding...We ask that you explain the full extent of you and your staff's communications with the IRS and why you chose to keep communications with the IRS from Majority Members and staff even after it became a subject of controversy."..

IRS under fire: Vote for Obama stickers, campaign cheerleading commonplace
...In another case, a worker at the tax agency’s customer help line urged taxpayers “to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,” the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement.

OSC said it is seeking “significant disciplinary action” against that employee.

Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer.

“They’re going to take women back 40 years,” the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”

That employee went on to tell the taxpayer she knew she wasn’t supposed to be voicing her political opinions, and asked the taxpayer not to say anything....

Email: Lois Lerner Was Interested in Job at Organizing for America
...Perhaps the most significant difference between the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party applicants and “progressive” groups is reflected in the IRS BOLO lists. The Tea Party entry was located on the tab labeled, “Emerging Issues,” meaning that the IRS was actively screening for similar cases. The “progressive” entry, however, was located on a tab labeled “TAG historical,” meaning that the IRS interest in those cases was dormant. Cindy Thomas, the manager of the IRS Cincinnati office, explained this difference during a transcribed interview with Committee staff....

True The Vote Totally Wasn't Politically Targeted, No Sirree Bob. PS, Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings' Staff Requested, and Received, True the Vote's 990 Forms from the IRS
...E-mails unearthed in the course of Issa’s investigation into the IRS’s inappropriate targeting of right-leaning groups show that in August 2012, a member of Cummings’s staff contacted the IRS asking for any publicly available information on True the Vote. The matter was discussed by IRS officials that included Lois Lerner, the former exempt-organizations chief who retired in the wake of the targeting scandal. One of Lerner’s deputies, Holly Paz, subsequently sent the organization’s 990 forms to Cummings and his staff. The correspondence does not indicate, however, whether the action the IRS took with relation to True the Vote was prompted by the request from Cummings’s office...
Rand Paul Thinks We Invaded Iraq Because Of Dick Cheney's Connection To Halliburton
In the wake of a war of words where former Vice President Dick Cheney expressed a concern there's an "increasing strain of isolationism" among the Republicans considering entering the 2016 presidential race, Mother Jones' David Corn unearthed vintage footage of one of the likely GOP White House hopefuls, Sen. Rand Paul, accusing Cheney of supporting the Iraq War to make money....
Obamacare website goes down just hours before deadline to enroll for coverage

More Puzzling Obamacare Numbers
...In fact, we know that at least one midpoint is quite far from the truth, because there is no way to reconcile the 3.9 million people it says bought exchange policies with the Barack Obama administration’s official data showing that 7.3 million had selected exchange plans by the end of March. Even if we factor in the three days the survey missed -- which saw a titanic surge in enrollments -- and even if we assume that only 80 percent of the people who selected a plan have actually paid for it, 3.9 million is too small. Well before data collection ended, the administration had already announced that plan signups had hit 6 million. Even with attrition of 20 percent, that should still have yielded 4.8 million marketplace policies in the RAND study. And indeed, 4.8 million is within its margin of error, though at the very high end....

Can The ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?
...So to get to 7.1 million, these 36 states had to boost their numbers 80% in March.

What's more, seven of these federal-exchange states have revealed their sign-up numbers through the end of March: Alabama, Delaware, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Assuming their numbers are correct, these seven states account for more than 590,000 of the 7.1 million, according to ACASignups.net, a private site that has been closely tracking ObamaCare sign-up numbers and is supportive of the law.

This leaves just 29 states that must have added almost 2 million ObamaCare enrollees in March — an eye-popping 90% increase in just the last month of the six-month open enrollment period....

But states that relied on HealthCare.gov and that have reported total sign-up numbers through March 31 haven't seen gains anywhere near 90%.

Alabama's, for example, was 40%, Delaware's 22%. In West Virginia, the gain was 40%. The highest were South Carolina at 74% and New Mexico at 76%.

In addition, by mid-March, Georgia was up just 27%, Ohio 23%, Arizona 39% and Mississippi 25%. Arkansas' sign-ups had climbed only 22% by March 26.
Uncle Sam Revives Feudal Practice to Collect From Children of Debtors
...A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice's tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government—a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family—it's not sure who—in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary's money, rather than her surviving siblings', is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents—the government has confiscated their check....

Shakedown: Treasury now seizing tax refunds from adult children to pay parents’ decades-old Social Security debts
...How can they demand restitution for a mistaken payment made in the late 1970s, let alone from someone who didn’t even receive it? Because: The farm bill that passed in 2011 lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on debts owed to the feds. Treasury has collected more than $400 million since then on very old obligations, many of them below the radar of public scrutiny because the amounts are often small enough, i.e. a few hundred dollars, that the targets find it’s cheaper to pay up than to fight. It’s a shakedown, based on the flawed assumption that a child not only must have benefited from the overpayment to his parent but that he/she received the entirety of the benefit, with little proof offered that the debt even exists. (One man who was forced to pay demanded a receipt from SSA affirming that his balance was now zero. The SSA clerk told him he’d put in the request but that the man shouldn’t expect to receive anything.)...
Carolla tears apart The Huffington Post, left-wing Hollywood and racist-baiters
...“Me asking somebody…to engage in a behavior that I know would lead to a path to success is not racist… Look, listen, there’s a club in this town… The cool guy comedy club is super left-wing, throws around a lot of terms like ‘the pipeline from schools to prisons’ and ‘voter suppression’ and things like that,” Carolla continued. “The little things that you and I wouldn’t think of as a big issue, such as getting valid ID in the state that you live in, or focusing on schoolwork and education and homework and things like that. These are the things that they don’t think that certain cultures are up to. And so they use that and they sit up on top of Mount Pious, and they look down, and they throw around these terms, and then they all go to their parties that don’t involve any of these nationalities, and they smoke weed and they talk about what a racist I am.” reply to this

Additionally, Carolla attacked what he saw as the narcissistic attitude that leads people to call others racists, sexists or homophobes.

“You have to understand, every time somebody says, ‘you’re racist’, ‘you’re sexist’, ‘you’re homophobic’, really what they’re saying is, ‘I’m not’, ‘I’m better.’ It’s not really about me, it’s about them,” Carolla said. “It’s much more to do with them than does with me… It’s mainly a narcism. ‘You are fat. Thus, I am skinny.’ ‘You are racist. Thus, I’m evolved.’ ‘You’re homophobic. Thus, I am not.’ You see what I’m saying? All the finger pointing is really about self-congratulation.”...

Illiberal Liberalism
...The liberal disdain for ordinary Americans has been around for a long time. Beneath the populist rhetoric and concern for the middle class that lace the campaign speeches of most liberal politicians, there lurks a palpable disgust, and often contempt, for the denizens of “flyover country,” that land of God, guns, religion, and traditional beliefs....

...Wells’s 1901 Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought laid out the argument for a quasi-aristocratic elite of technocrats free of traditional values such as “monogamy, faith in God & respectability,” all of which Wells’s book “was designed to undermine and destroy,” as he frankly admitted. Applying Darwinism to social, political, and economic life, Wells envisioned, as Siegel explains, “scientist-poets and engineers” who would “seize the reins in the Darwinian struggle,” so that instead of “descending into savagery, we would follow their lead toward new and higher ground.” In Wells’s work we see the melding of attacks on traditional authority and middle-class morality, with the scientistic faith in technocratic elites that still characterizes modern liberalism....

Monday, April 07, 2014

Leland Yee’s interesting history of cash for votes
...Some of the donations didn’t even seem to be tied directly to a specific bill or issue. Yee also received some strange election contributions, including a $50,000 check from Philip Morris on the day of one election, even though he had proudly proclaimed that he wasn’t taking any money from tobacco companies. Again, none of this jumps right out as a blatant violation regarding individual donations under California or federal law, but this is looking more and more like something that walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. I’ve been dealing with state level politics for a long time, and I can tell you that there are thousands of state senators around the nation who would give their eye teeth to attract the kind of support that results in a major backer dropping fifty grand on them. In most places it just doesn’t happen, so we need to ask ourselves just what Philip Morris thought they were getting for their money when it was going to a lowly state senator....
Shock peer-reviewed paper provides ‘rationale’ for ‘information manipulation’ & ‘exaggeration’ in global warming debate to ‘enhance global welfare’
...“It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex anteperspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous.”...

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Obama to Bankers: I’m Standing ‘Between You and the Pitchforks’

Torch-Carrying Environmentalists Protest at Oil Exec’s Home

Anarchists Picket Digg Founder's House And Demand $3 Billion For Anti-Capitalist Housing
...The demonstrators picked Rose as a target in part because of some sexist comments he had made in 2008 on a Diggnation podcast:....

INCOME INEQUALITY PROTESTORS TARGET GOOGLE EXEC'S HOME
Flying Out of NYC, Gun Owners? Not So Fast. The Locals Want To Bust You and Steal Your Firearms.
...If you have been arrested for possession of a firearm or other weapon at JFK or LaGuardia airports in Queens County, NY, you probably share several traits with almost all of my airport gun arrest clients:

1) You are a law-abiding citizen who is careful to follow the law.

2) You recognize the responsibilities of gun ownership and are careful to handle, store, and transport your handgun in the safest way possible.

3) When you flew to New York, you carefully checked with both your airline and the TSA as to whether it was legal to transport your firearm in your luggage. You also learned and followed the strict requirements such as unloading and segregating ammunition, using a TSA approved lockbox, and submitting a TSA Declaration form...
Why It’ll Be a While Before We Can Replace Car Mirrors With Cameras
...MPG requirements save fuel, which is a limited resource. Side mirrors save thousands of lives per year. Neither of these are frivolous regulations.

As far as the last question, I am a citizen. Thus it is my right to dictate, as a collective, what is best for us as a whole. That's kinda the whole idea of government beyond anarchy/despotism....you must have missed that in government class...
Report: EPA tested deadly pollutants on humans to push Obama admin’s agenda
The Environmental Protection Agency has been conducting dangerous experiments on humans over the past few years in order to justify more onerous clean air regulations.

The agency conducted tests on people with health issues and the elderly, exposing them to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants, without disclosing the risks of cancer and death, according to a newly released government report.

These experiments exposed people, including those with asthma and heart problems, to dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants, including diesel fumes, reads a EPA inspector general report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The EPA also exposed people with health issues to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the agency says is safe for humans.

The EPA conducted five experiments in 2010 and 2011 to look at the health effects of particulate matter, or PM, and diesel exhaust on humans. The IG’s report found that the EPA did get consent forms from 81 people in five studies. But the IG also found that “exposure risks were not always consistently represented.”

“Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms,” the IG’s report noted. “An EPA manager considered these long-term risks minimal for short-term study exposures” but “human subjects were not informed of this risk in the consent form.”...

...The EPA has said for many years now that PM is a deadly air pollutant that can cause death even after short-term exposure, but it did not disclose the mortality risks in some of its human tests, despite exposing people to high levels of PM.

One manager overseeing EPA human testing told the IG’s office that “the exposure risk for healthy individuals is minimal” and that a person breathing 420 micrograms per cubic meter for two hours “would inhale the same concentration as they would breathing 35 [micrograms per cubic meter]” which is the EPA’s 24-hour regulatory standard for outdoor PM2.5 levels.

The manager also said “that PM risk is focused on susceptible populations and that the risk is small for those with no overt disease.”

This alarmed Republicans who said that either the EPA was misrepresenting the science around PM2.5 to advance its own regulatory agenda or it was exposing people to deadly pollutants for little scientific gain...
Crackdown ordered on climate-change sceptics
Ministers who question the majority view among scientists about climate change should “shut up” and instead repeat the Government line on the issue, according to MPs.

The BBC should also give less airtime to climate sceptics and its editors should seek special clearance to interview them, according to the Commons Science and Technology Committee. Andrew Miller, the committee’s Labour chairman, said that appearances on radio and television by climate sceptics such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, should be accompanied by "health warnings"....
Less Than One-Quarter of Obamacare Enrollees Were Previously Uninsured; Three Quarters Were People Thrown Off Their Existing Insurance
...[O]f the people who have paid their first month’s premium on the Obamacare exchanges, and are thereby enrolled in coverage, 76 percent were previously insured, and 24 percent were previously uninsured.

...What’s important to remember is that this is not how Obamacare was supposed to work. The Congressional Budget Office, in its original estimates, predicted that the vast majority of the people eligible for subsidies on the exchanges would be previously uninsured individuals....

...Recall that between 5 million and 6 million Americans lost their health plans because of Obamacare last fall. If the administration now succeeds in signing up 5 million to 6 million previously insured Americans, it will have achieved . . . nothing. Breaking even is no great accomplishment. And let’s not forget: Many of those new Obamacare sign-ups are self-sufficient people who were previously paying their own way and now receive government subsidies for insurance. Creating government dependency is not progress — it’s a step backward.

The stated goal of Obamacare was not to move millions of privately insured Americans into taxpayer-subsidized health coverage. The goal was to cover the uninsured. That was the justification for all the chaos and disruption Americans have experienced — and that is the standard by which the administration should be judged...
Corrosive Conformity
...This is not a matter of law but one of culture, and not a question of means but of ends. Mozilla, to say nothing of its partners and customers, is free under the law to hire and fire executives for almost any reason it sees fit (with exceptions; it surely would have faced civil-rights litigation if it had fired him for advocating gay marriage), and OKCupid, which boycotted Mozilla in protest of Mr. Eich’s views, is perfectly within its rights to do so, as were the protesting employees.

Or are they? The courts have held that bakers and photographers cannot withhold their services from gay nuptials, and California law forbids both discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment on religious or political grounds. But, no, that way madness lies, and we are positive that the American legal imagination will come up with a rationale under which an evangelical’s declining to do business with a homosexual is illegal but the reverse is perfectly legal, if not mandatory....

...Unless, that is, you’re the anti-gay-marriage candidate that all the pro-gay-marriage people voted for in 2008, in which case you get a pass, apparently on the theory that everybody assumed you were being willfully dishonest for political reasons. (That assumption provides a relatively rare point of agreement between homosexual activists and the editors of this magazine.) There simply is to be no disagreement, no dissent, and no tolerance for other points of view.

Vindictive fanaticism is not the mark of a healthy civil society — but it is not entirely a question of that. Civil-rights laws are being deployed to coerce members of religious minorities into falling in line with the demands of those who hold political power. Arrangements that allow anonymous donations to political groups are under constant attack, so that nonconforming donors can be subjected to the treatment handed down to Mr. Eich. In other countries, there are speech codes policing what may be said and written about the subject, and there are those among us who wish to emulate them...

Evolve: Obama gay marriage quotes
...“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” - April 17, 2008, while running for president, defining marriage at the Saddleback Presidential Forum...
Party of the rich: In Congress, it's the Democrats
...But in Congress, the wealthiest among us are more likely to be represented by a Democrat than a Republican. Of the 10 richest House districts, only two have Republican congressmen. Democrats claim the top six, sprinkled along the East and West coasts. Most are in overwhelmingly Democratic states like New York and California.

The richest: New York's 12th Congressional District, which includes Manhattan's Upper East Side, as well as parts of Queens and Brooklyn. Democrat Carolyn Maloney is in her 11th term representing the district.

Per capita income in Maloney's district is $75,479. That's more than $75,000 a year for every man, woman and child. The next highest income district, which runs along the southern California coast, comes in at $61,273. Democrat Henry Waxman is in his 20th term representing the Los Angeles-area district.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district comes in at No. 8....
Massive Voter Fraud Discovered in North Carolina’s 2012 Election
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has found thousands of instances of voter fraud in the state, thanks to a 28-state crosscheck of voter rolls. Initial findings suggest widespread election fraud.

765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.

35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.

155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C....
Men to blame for childless women? I don't think so - it's society that deliberately disenfranchises fathers, says Peter Lloyd
esterday, journalist Melissa Kite became the latest woman to publicly trash men in a sexist, undeserving rant - this time, by saying those exercising a human right not to become fathers were 'selfish'.

Just days after champagne socialist Diane Abbott claimed that modern masculinity is Viagra-chomping, whiskey-swigging homophobia - even for the millions of men who are gay - Kite jumped on the bandwagon with her own sweeping statements.

In a finger-pointing, foot-stamping article for MailOnline she said men 'do not always play fair in matters of fertility', adding that they 'increasingly behave with terrible selfishness when it comes to giving up their bachelor lifestyles'....

...In her article, she makes several references to former boyfriends who made the responsible decision not to become fathers half-heartedly - then scolds them for being 'cowardly'. Here's a woman who assumes that a man's sperm - his lineage, his DNA, his family - is somehow hers for the taking....
White Privilege Conference: Being white is like being an alcoholic
...“Teaching is a political act, and you can’t choose to be neutral,” said Radersma. “You are either a pawn used to perpetuate a system of oppression or you are fighting against it. And if you think you are neutral, you are a pawn.”

All teachers who do not actively confront the system are promoting white supremacy, said Radersma.

She also said that white people fighting oppression is akin to alcoholic trying to resist the temptation to drink. The dark sickness of racism is at the heart of all the actions of white people.

“Being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic,” she said. “I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor. I have to everyday wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply embedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose everyday to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way.”...
Yes, We Can Wait
...But it was the line photos that we found arresting. And it's clear McGuinness was advancing a White House line. Press secretary Jay Carney opened his daily briefing yesterday with the following gasconade: "As you can see by the lines around the country this weekend, we are seeing a surge in enrollment."

The first thing we thought of when we saw the pictures was the photos we've recently seen on Twitter of Venezuelans waiting in bread lines. Waiting in line to purchase necessities is a characteristic not of a prosperous free society but of command economies under repressive regimes. Closer to home, one doubts even the Transportation Security Administration would be so tone-deaf as to advertise long airport lines as an indication it's doing a great job....

..."This is like trying to find a parking spot at Wal-Mart on Dec. 23." Note that Wal-Mart's marketing emphasizes its "everyday low prices." The chain doesn't boast, à la the White House: "Our prices are so low, people wait in interminable lines to pay them!"...

Compassion: Anti-Obamacare cancer patient smeared by Reid now receiving death wishes from liberals
...Die, because your experience is inconvenient to my “pissed off” ideology....
Univision Staffer Rejects RNC Press Release ‘Because I am a Democrat’
This is outrageous. In my old job with the Texas GOP I met with Univision executives and anchors a few times. Univision claims that it wants to be a fair broker to both political parties, but it is increasingly revealing that it’s completely in the tank for the Democrats — even more than the English-language mainstream media.

This email screen shot speaks for itself, and also says quite a lot. It’s a reply from someone who works in Univision. That person received a press release from the RNC’s Communications/Research department. And rejected it out of hand “because I am a Democrat and do not need to read your viewpoints.”...
Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For example, the Ministry of Plenty’s forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at 145 million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared.
-- George Orwell, 1984

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why Can't the Left Govern?
...One organization specialist calls this phenomenon "social deadlock." ObamaCare is social deadlock. But the American left keeps doing it. This isn't the 1930s, and smart people on the left might come to grips with the fact that the one-grand-scheme-fits-all compulsion is out of sync with the individualization that technology lets people design into their lives today.

Rather than resolve the complexities of public policy in the world we inhabit, the left's default is to simply acquire power, then cram down what they want to do with one-party votes or by fiat, figuring they can muddle through the wreckage later. Thus the ObamaCare mandates. Thus candidate de Blasio's determination, cheered on by the city's left-wing establishment, to jam all its kids through an antique public-school system. The ObamaCare mandates are a mess, and the war on charter schools is an embarrassment. ...
Obamacare: Taxpayers in the Hole for $1.5 Trillion
...Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of the people most responsible for forcing Obamacare through Congress in 2010, has another theory. When challenged on the latest delay in the rollout, Reid responded that it was necessary because “people are not educated about how to use the Internet.” ...

...All of that doesn’t begin to address the supposedly “fierce urgency of now” that demanded a top-down, command-economy government program to deal with the estimated 40 million Americans without insurance who should have flooded the system looking for coverage.

If this system works as well as the Obama administration insists, where are all of the uninsured? Why haven’t we seen massive numbers of enrollments from the beginning if that was such a crisis as to require the kind of intervention Democrats imposed, at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years? ...

Updated Estimates of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act
...In the current interim projections, CBO and JCT estimate that the ACA’s coverage provisions will result in a net cost to the federal government of $41 billion in 2014 and $1,487 billion over the 2015–2024 period. (All of the dollar amounts discussed here are for federal fiscal years, which run from October 1 through September 30.) Compared with last year’s projections, which spanned the 2014–2023 period, the new estimate represents a downward revision of $9 billion in the net costs of those provisions over that 10-year period. (That revision is discussed in more detail in the last section.)

The estimated net costs in 2014 stem almost entirely from spending for subsidies that will be provided through exchanges and from an increase in spending for Medicaid. For the 2015–2024 period, the projected net costs consist of the following:

Gross costs of $2,004 billion for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), subsidies and related spending for insurance obtained through exchanges, and tax credits for small employers; and

Receipts of $517 billion from penalties on certain uninsured people and certain employers, an excise tax on high-premium insurance plans, and other budgetary effects—mostly increases in tax revenues....
Hypocrisy Hypocrisy
The Democrats, being still very much the party of Lyndon Baines Johnson, have never enjoyed a great reputation for integrity, but the past few days have been especially hard on them: California Democratic state senator and gun-rights foe Leland Yee was indicted as an illegal arms trafficker operating in partnership with a murder-for-hire operation headed by a Hong Kong gangster known as “Shrimp Boy”; the Democratic mayor of Charlotte, Patrick Cannon, was indicted on public-corruption charges related to local development and transit projects and to his allegedly accepting bribes in connection with a planned feminine-hygiene empire; in New York, a Democratic assemblyman’s office was raided on suspicion of misuses of travel funds; the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, was caught channeling thousands of dollars in campaign money to his granddaughter, while omitting her surname, which is his surname, from the record...

...When a conservative suffers from a moral failing, it is taken as an indictment of conservatism itself, even though conservatism in the Anglo–Protestant tradition is founded upon the expectation that moral failing is universal. In that sense, every Scott DesJarlais tells conservatives what we already know: that man is a fallen creature, and that, contra the Obamacare regime, there are no exemptions to be handed out from that condition, no waivers from human nature. The progressive view, on the other hand, is that our politics and our institutions could be channels of moral action and reliably ethical arbiters of such ill-defined standards as “fairness” and “social justice,” if only we put the right people in power.
Ezekiel's Prophecy
...In the next two to three years, Emanuel predicts, "a few big, blue-chip companies will announce their intention to stop providing health insurance. Instead, they will raise salaries substantially or offer large, defined contributions to their workers. Then the floodgates will open." Small businesses will be even more eager to drop coverage.

The main reason Emanuel expects this result is the so-called Cadillac tax, which takes effect in 2018 and has nothing to do with the bailout of General Motors. Rather, it is a levy on what the Times calls "especially generous health plans."...

...The trouble with Emanuel's vision, though, is that if it comes true, it will undermine the ObamaCare goal of insuring more Americans. That isn't just a prediction but an arithmetic truism. No previously uninsured person will end up insured as a result of employers' dumping plans. Some but not all will buy insurance in the individual marketplace....
Couple gets pre-filled voter registration card
LA MESA, Calif. - A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "x" in the box next to Democratic Party.

The couple – who did not want their identity revealed – received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

They have lived in La Mesa for years and they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.

“I'm an old guy and I never would have noticed it, except I have an accountant that notices every dot and dash on a piece of paper as a wife,” said the man who received the mailer.

Covered California began mailing out voter signup cards to nearly 4 million enrollees last week after being threatened with a lawsuit by voting rights groups. But that does not explain the pre-filled out voter registration card....
Gawker’s Adam Weinstein Wants to Put You in Jail for Being a Climate Change ‘Denier’
... Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.

Let’s make a clear distinction here: I’m not talking about the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right, and climate change is a socialist United Nations conspiracy foisted by a Muslim U.S. president on an unwitting public to erode its civil liberties.

You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth’s atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150′s gassy exhaust. Few of us believers in climate change can do much more—or less—than he can.

Nor am I talking about simple skeptics, particularly the scientists who must constantly hypo-test our existing assumptions about the world in order to check their accuracy. That is part and parcel of the important public policy discussion about what we do next.

But there is scientific skepticism… and there is a malicious, profiteering quietist agenda posturing as skepticism. There is uncertainty about whether man-made climate change can be stopped or reversed… and there is the body of purulent pundits, paid sponsors, and corporate grifters who exploit the smallest uncertainty at the edges of a settled science.

I’m talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I’m talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have.

Those malcontents must be punished and stopped...

If temperatures don’t rise, the hype must
Strange, given the IPCC only last year conceded that much of the predicted disaster wasn’t actually happening.

In fact, according to one of the most important climate-related measures of all, we are doing brilliantly...

UN Backtracks: Will Global Warming Really Trigger Mass Extinctions?
...The draft report includes a surprising admission by the IPCC -- that it doubts its own computer simulations for species extinctions. "There is very little confidence that models currently predict extinction risk accurately," the report notes. Very low extinction rates despite considerable climate variability during past hundreds of thousands of years have led to concern that "forecasts for very high extinction rates due entirely to climate change may be overestimated."

In the last assessment report, Climate Change 2007, the IPCC predicted that 20 to 30 percent of all animal and plant species faced a high risk for extinction should average global temperatures rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit). The current draft report says that scientific uncertainties have "become more apparent" since 2007.

It notes that key environmental processes and life form characteristics were given scant consideration in the models -- the ability of plants and animals to adapt to new climatic conditions, for example. Consequently, the new assessment report will not include any concrete figures regarding the percentage of species that could become extinct as a result of global warming....
The Media’s Democratic Donor Delusions
His 2012 Wall Street Journal op-ed making the case for natural gas was co-authored with Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire who is quickly becoming one of the most powerful men in the Democratic party. Steyer is known mainly for his opposition to the Keystone pipeline, and for his recent pledge to raise and spend $100 million on behalf of Democrats in this year’s elections. According to Reid Wilson, liberal donors such as Steyer “aren’t going to realize a profit if their chosen candidates win.” This is not true.

Steyer pledged to remove himself from the operations of his hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, in the waning days of 2012, when he was being considered as a possible secretary of energy in the second Obama administration. But he remains an “outside limited partner” with the firm, and the “bulk” of his billion-dollar fortune is parked there. As of 2012, when Steyer was supporting Democrats, donating millions to Podesta’s Center for American Progress, and otherwise championing natural gas over other forms of energy, Farallon held more than $7 million in shares of gas-technology company Fuel Systems Solutions. He was making plenty of money from the Obama administration’s championing of natural gas.

As of the end of 2013, Farallon also held close to $40 million in Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline.
Canadians wasted over $1 billion just waiting for health care
Patients in Canada’s single-payer health care system spent $1.1 billion of their time waiting for health care in 2013, according to a study from a free-market Canadian think tank.

The Fraser Institute’s health care experts determined that the cost of waiting for care averaged $1,202 per person of the 928,120 Canadians who had to wait for treatment last year. The median wait time to see a health care provider in Canada is 9.6 weeks, up from 9.3 weeks in 2012. The queue for health care services in the single-payer nation has been lengthening since 2009.

With that amount of time, it’s not surprising that many of Canada’s better-off citizens have historically frequented private American health care systems for surgical procedures and and services as commonplace as MRIs, which are notoriously difficult to access up north, as opposed to waiting for months to move up in the Canadian queue....
Sacred and Profane
...Mainstream American society finds it easiest to be tolerant when the outsider chooses to minimize the differences that separate him from the majority. The country club opens its doors to Jews. The university welcomes African-Americans. Heterosexuals extend the privilege of marriage to the gay community. Whenever these liberal feats are accomplished, we congratulate ourselves. But it is not exactly a major moral accomplishment for Waspy golfers to accept Jews who have decided that they, too, wish to play golf. It is a much harder form of tolerance to accept an outsider group that chooses to maximize its differences from the broader culture. And the lesson of Clive Doyle’s memoir—and the battle of Mount Carmel—is that Americans aren’t very good at respecting the freedom of others to be so obnoxiously different. Many Mormons, incidentally, would say the same thing. When the Mormons settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, local public opinion turned against them. Joseph Smith was charged with perjury and adultery, then arrested for inciting a riot. While he was in custody awaiting trial, in 1844, an armed mob stormed the prison and shot him dead...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

PA Democrats Took Bribes to Oppose Voter ID: Where Is Holder?
Pennsylvania Democrats were caught on surveillance tape reportedly accepting cash bribes in return for opposing voter ID in the Pennsylvania legislature. Gifts of Tiffany’s jewelry were also given to Democrat legislators from Philadelphia, reportedly in exchange for “NO” votes on a Pennsylvania voter ID bill that passed in 2012.

Despite this evidence, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has not charged any officials. Kane is a Democrat.

Kane’s excuse for her inaction? Racism: some of the legislators caught on tape accepting bribes were black Democrats from Philadelphia....
US tech giants knew of NSA data collection, agency's top lawyer insists
The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data.

Rajesh De, the NSA general counsel, said all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called “upstream” collection of communications moving across the internet.

Asked during a Wednesday hearing of the US government’s institutional privacy watchdog if collection under the law, known as Section 702 or the Fisa Amendments Act, occurred with the “full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained,” De replied: “Yes.”

When the Guardian and the Washington Post broke the Prism story in June, thanks to documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, nearly all the companies listed as participating in the program – Yahoo, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL – claimed they did not know about a surveillance practice described as giving NSA vast access to their customers’ data. Some, like Apple, said they had “never heard” the term Prism.

De explained: “Prism was an internal government term that as the result of leaks became the public term,” De said. “Collection under this program was a compulsory legal process, that any recipient company would receive.”...
Occam’s Razor and Climate Change
...As Professor Phil Jones of the CRU once admitted in an interview with the BBC, the instrumental record contains periods of warming which are statistically indistinguishable from the 1990s warming – periods of warming which cannot have been driven by anthropogenic CO2, because they occurred before humans had made a significant changes to global CO2 levels.

Between 1860 and 1880, the world warmed for 21 years, at a similar rate to the 24 year period of warming which occurred between 1975 and 1998. There was simply not enough anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere to have driven the 1860s warming, so it must have been driven by natural variation....

Scientists: Government agencies use the peer review process to squash dissent
...“After 1970, politicians substantially expanded academic sectors,” write 30 scientists, including Nobel laureates Dudley Herschbach of Harvard University and Sir Richard Roberts of New England Biolabs.

“Peer review’s uses allowed the rise of priorities, impact etc, and is now virtually unavoidable. Applicants’ proposals must convince their peers that they serve national policies and are the best possible uses of resources,” the scientists continued in their letter to the editor in the UK Guardian newspaper. “Success rates are about 25%, and strict rules govern resubmissions. Rejected proposals are usually lost. Industry too has lost its taste for the unpredictable.”

Complaints that the scientific establishment is preventing dissenting voices from getting funding or published has been a major controversy among climate science. Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has argued that “global warming alarmism” has been damaged the integrity of science.

“Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly,” Lindzen wrote. “It has also been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions.”...
Union representatives join federal government safety inspectors on site visits to non-union businesses
Union representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are now accompanying federal government safety inspectors on site visits to review labor complaints at nonunion private businesses, The Daily Caller has learned.

SEIU and other labor unions can accompany the government inspectors on site visits due to a quiet and contested Obama administration rule clarification issued last year in response to a request from a union representative.

SEIU agents recently accompanied an inspector from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the Department of Labor, on three visits to nonunion work sites under contract with the Houston-based janitorial company Professional Janitorial Services (PJS).

The SEIU representatives gained entry alongside an OSHA inspector to a private office building cleaned by PJS in West Houston on October 29, 2013.

SEIU representatives also accompanied an OSHA inspector on visits to office buildings cleaned by PJS in Houston on October 29, 2013, and in Southwest Houston on November 7, 2013, but the union agents were denied access by the building owners each time....
Top CBS, ABC, CNN execs all have relatives working as advisors for White House
...The point here is simply to show that our government leadership and our media leadership are so chummy that, not infrequently, they’ve literally lived in the same house. It’s an especially vivid illustration of a wider problem....

The Washington Post Responds To Me, and I Reply to the Post
...Let me offer an alternative explanation of why the Washington Post published their Keystone/Koch smear: 1) The Washington Post in general, and Mufson and Eilperin in particular, are agents of the Left, the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. 2) The Keystone Pipeline is a problem for the Democratic Party because 60% of voters want the pipeline built, while the party’s left-wing base insists that it not be approved. 3) The Keystone Pipeline is popular because it would broadly benefit the American people by creating large numbers of jobs, making gasoline more plentiful and bringing down the cost of energy. 4) Therefore, the Democratic Party tries to distract from the real issues surrounding the pipeline by claiming, falsely, that its proponents are merely tools of the billionaire Koch brothers–who, in fact, have nothing to do with Keystone one way or the other. 5) The Post published its article to assist the Democratic Party with its anti-Keystone talking points.

Which frames a very interesting contrast. The Keystone Pipeline is by no means the only energy-related controversy these days. “Green” energy is also highly controversial. “Green” energy is controversial, in part, because, unlike the Keystone Pipeline, it harms the consumer: solar and wind energy are inefficient, and therefore raise energy costs to consumers. “Green” energy is also controversial because it harms taxpayers: because they are inefficient, solar and wind energy can survive only through taxpayer-funded subsidies. Further, the federal government has invested in numerous “green” energy projects that have gone bankrupt, sticking taxpayers with the tab. Solyndra is only one of a number of such debacles.

“Green” energy is also controversial because it has been used to enrich government cronies. Let’s take, for instance, the billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer has made much of his fortune by using his government connections to secure support for uneconomic “green” energy projects that have profited him, to the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. See, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. As is explained here, Tom Steyer is a bitter opponent of the Keystone Pipeline. His financial interests, in “green” energy and perhaps also in pre-pipeline oil sources like BP, stand to benefit if Keystone is killed.

Haven’t heard much about Tom Steyer, you say? Maybe that’s because he isn’t heavily involved in politics. Heh–just kidding. Steyer, as you probably know, is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and its candidates. This year, he has pledged to contribute $100 million to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, as long as they toe the line on environmental issues–which includes, presumably, taxpayer support for “green” energy and opposition to Keystone....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Obama’s Lawless ATF Breaks Into Private Business & Seizes All Customer Records (Video)
Despite a judge’s restraining order… Obama’s lawless ATF still BREAKS INTO A PRIVATE BUSINESS TO SEIZES ALL CUSTOMER RECORDS.

The owner of a California store that sells gun parts to build rifles from scratch refused to turn over his customer list to federal officials.

So Obama’s ATF broke in and took all of the customer records anyway....
‘We’re Going to Get Creamed’: Lerner Emails Paint Picture of Planning 501(c)(4) Scrutiny
...Lerner expressed concern that the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections ruling would hurt Democratic senators seeking re-election in 2012. In response to an article sent to her by a colleague about Senate Democrats’ complaint to the FEC that political-oriented nonprofits were violating election law, Lerner writes: “Perhaps the [Federal Election Commission] will save the day.”...

...Lerner also said that she expected these political nonprofit groups to file a court case because they were “itching for a constitutional challenge.” In an email exchange about a Tea Party applicant, Lerner and her colleagues seemed to hope a lawsuit would lead the IRS to release information about this particular organization, despite rules protecting the secrecy of unapproved applications.

The emails paint a picture of IRS officials being aware of the potential political consequences of their actions and the increasing attention on the issue. On several occasions, Lerner received emails from colleagues that focused on the political involvement of tax-exempt conservative groups.

In March 2012, IRS Deputy Division Counsel Janine Cook sent an article to Lerner that discussed the potential congressional investigations and the IRS’s treatment of tax-exempt applicants. Lerner responded by writing: “we’re going to get creamed.”

The emails also show that Lerner was trying to figure out benefit issues in January 2013, including an estimate of the amount in benefits she would receive if she retired in October 2013. Lerner retired in September of that year...
Why SEC Employees Are Freakishly Good Stock Traders
...The academics, Emory University professor Shivaram Rajgopal and Georgia State University accounting Ph.D. candidate Roger M. White found that SEC employees tend to sell a company's stock before the SEC takes enforcement action against the company.

The result, they wrote, were abnormal returns of about 4 percent for the market in general, and about 8.5 percent for the U.S. stock market. That's significant. While an SEC employees' stock purchases are normal, their stock "sales appear to systematically dodge the revelation of bad news in the future," according to the paper's findings....
U.S. Gun Usage & Death Statistics
It may come as a surprise to many, but guns don’t cause anywhere near as many deaths as other unnatural causes do, even though the news and other media would have you believe otherwise. The facts speak louder than words, so get your data straight before spreading misinformation. Check out these top U.S. gun and death statistics compiled in this infographic by North American Hunting Club....
What Happened to Iraq's WMD / How politics corrupts intelligence
...The intelligence services of everyone else were not proclaiming Iraq to be in possession of WMD. Rather, the intelligence services of France, Russia, Germany, Great Britain and Israel were noting that Iraq had failed to properly account for the totality of its past proscribed weapons programs, and in doing so left open the possibility that Iraq might retain an undetermined amount of WMD. There is a huge difference in substance and nuance between such assessments and the hyped-up assertions by the Bush administration concerning active programs dedicated to the reconstitution of WMD, as well as the existence of massive stockpiles of forbidden weaponry.

The actions and rhetoric of the Bush administration were aided by the tendency by most involved to accept at face value any negative information pertaining to Hussein and his regime, regardless of the source's reliability. This trend was especially evident in Congress, responsible for oversight on matters pertaining to foreign policy, intelligence and national security.

One might be inclined to excuse lesser members of the legislative branch for such actions, given their lack of access to sensitive intelligence, but not so senior figures who sit on oversight committees, such as California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who occupied a seat on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Today, Feinstein all-too conveniently "regrets" her vote in favor of war on Iraq, but defends her yes vote in 2002 by noting that "the intelligence was very conclusive: Saddam possessed biological and chemical weapons." This is a far different from the statement Feinstein made to me in the summer of 2002, when she acknowledged that the Bush administration had not provided any convincing intelligence to back up its claims about Iraqi WMD.

In contrast to Feinstein's actions, Sen. Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat who also sat on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, noted in September 2002 that the Bush administration's decisions regarding Iraq had been made in the absence of a National Intelligence Estimate from the CIA. The CIA hastily rushed to produce such a document, but the resulting report appeared as much to be an example of intelligence being fixed around policy, as opposed to policy being derived from intelligence. Graham, his eyes opened by the seemingly baseless rush toward conflict in Iraq, voted no on the war. Feinstein and others, their eyes wide shut, voted yes. ...
70% Of U.S. Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals
Buried deep in a section of President Obama's budget, released this week, is an eye-opening fact: This year, 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals, an all-time high.

In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others. These government transfers now account for 15% of GDP, another all-time high. In 1991, direct payments accounted for less than half the budget and 10% of GDP.

What's more, the cost of these direct payments is exploding. Even after adjusting for inflation, they've shot up 29% under Obama....
Police Departments Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements with Surveillance-Tech Manufacturer, Conceal Info from Courts and Press
...A non-disclosure agreement that police departments around the country have been signing for years with the maker of a cell-phone spy tool explicitly prohibits the law enforcement agencies from telling anyone, including other government bodies, about their use of the secretive equipment, according to one of the agreements obtained by an Arizona journalist.

The NDA includes an exception for “judicially mandated disclosures,” but no mechanisms for judges to learn that the equipment was used. In at least one case in Florida, a police department revealed that it had decided not to seek a warrant to use the technology explicitly to avoid telling a judge about the equipment. It subsequently kept the information hidden from the defendant as well....
WTF: CIA Took Secret, "Unprecedented Action" Against Senate Intelligence Committee
...The [Senate Intelligence] committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation....

The specifics of the inspector general’s investigation are unclear. But several officials interviewed in recent days — all of whom insisted on anonymity, citing a continuing inquiry — said it began after the C.I.A. took what Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, on Tuesday called an “unprecedented action” against the committee.

The action, which Mr. Udall did not describe, took place after C.I.A. officials came to suspect that congressional staff members had gained unauthorized access to agency documents during the course of the Intelligence Committee’s years-long investigation into the detention and interrogation program....

Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims
A leading US senator has said that President Obama knew of an “unprecedented action” taken by the CIA against the Senate intelligence committee, which has apparently prompted an inspector general’s inquiry at Langley....

...McClatchy and the New York Times reported Wednesday that the CIA had secretly monitored computers used by committee staffers preparing the inquiry report, which is said to be scathing not only about the brutality and ineffectiveness of the agency’s interrogation techniques but deception by the CIA to Congress and policymakers about it. The CIA sharply disputes the committee’s findings. ...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

ObamaCare's Secret Mandate Exemption
HHS quietly repeals the individual purchase rule for two more years

....But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you "believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy" or "you consider other available policies unaffordable."

This lax standard—no formula or hard test beyond a person's belief—at least ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that "you experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance," which only requires "documentation if possible." And yet another waiver is available to those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one...

Editorial: Politics drives serial Obamacare delays
The serial delays of Obamacare are coming so rapidly and for such obviously political reasons that the White House is barely even trying to mask its real mission of protecting vulnerable Democrats in the mid-term elections.

In announcing the latest postponement this week — this one allowing individuals to keep their existing health insurance policies through 2016 — the Obama administration carefully credited Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado, Ron Barber of Arizona and 10 other vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.

All face tough reelection fights in the fall in races in which Obamacare is a key issue.

While it may be politically expedient, rewriting a law passed by Congress simply to avoid ballot box consequences is an outrageous abuse of executive power....
After Big Bet, Hedge Fund Pulls the Levers of Power
Staking $1 Billion That Herbalife Will Fail, Then Lobbying to Bring It Down

...Regulators frequently get entreaties from financiers urging action for their own financial gain, like the hedge fund executives who in 2010 tried to secretly push Obama administration officials to investigate for-profit colleges, again citing fraudulent industry practices, after betting that their stocks would decline.

But Mr. Ackman’s efforts illustrate how Washington is increasingly becoming a battleground of Wall Street’s financial titans, whose interest in influencing public policy is driven primarily by a desire for profit — part of an expanding practice in the nation’s capital, with corporations, law firms and lobbying practices establishing political intelligence units to gather news they can trade on.

So far, Mr. Ackman has persuaded four members of Congress, a New York State senator, a City Council member in Boston, the majority leader of the Nevada Senate and other elected officials in California to join the cause. ...
The Demise Of The American Dream (In 2 Charts)
The painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative - in the form of actual disposable income - to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work....

...And that trend appears to be accelerating as more and more men drop out of the workforce...
The IRS’s behavior taxes credulity
...The most intrusive and potentially most punitive federal agency has been politicized; the IRS has become an appendage of Barack Obama’s party. Furthermore, congruent with exhortations from some congressional Democrats, it is intensifying its efforts to suffocate groups critical of progressives, by delaying what once was the swift, routine granting of tax-exempt status.

So, the IRS, far from repenting of its abusive behavior, is trying to codify the abuses. It hopes to nullify with new rules the existing legal right of 501(c)(4) groups, many of which are conservative, to participate in politics. The proposed rules have drawn more than 140,000 comments, most of them complaints, some from liberals wary of IRS attempts to broadly define “candidate-related political activity” and to narrow the permissible amount of this.

Lerner is, so far, the face of this use of government to punish political adversaries. She knows what her IRS unit did and how it intersects with the law, and for a second time she has exercised her constitutional right to remain silent rather than risk self-incrimination. The public has a right to make reasonable inferences from her behavior.

And from Obama’s. After calling the IRS behavior “outrageous,” he now says there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of anything to be outraged about. He knows this even though the supposed investigation of the IRS behavior has not been completed, or perhaps even begun. The person he chose to investigate his administration is an administration employee and a generous donor to his campaigns. ...
Report: UN officials hid overblown global warming estimates
...The IPCC’s fourth climate assessment in 2007 estimated that the Earth would warm 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century — this estimate was in a range of warming from 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. But as the 2000s wore on and little warming occurred, climate scientists began to lower their climate sensitivity estimates from 3 to 2 degrees Celsius in a century and only 1.5 degrees of warming in the next 70 years.

But this revelation was only hinted at in the IPCC’s 2013 climate assessment. Instead of lowering their central climate sensitivity measure down from 3 degrees Celsius, the IPCC simply did not give a central estimate and just reduced its lower-bound warming estimate from 2 to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now the IPCC’s warming range for the next hundred years is 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius....
A Reprieve, but for Whom?
...A January 1994 memo between two Clinton White House aides was included in the 4,000 pages of Clinton-era documents released Friday by the National Archives.

In it, one aide voiced concern that they wouldn't be able to keep the promise that Americans could pick their doctor and health plan under the health care overhaul proposed at that time.

The memo said: "We have a line on p. 10 that says 'You'll pick the health plan and doctor of your choice.' This sounds great and I know that it's just what people want to hear. But can we get away with it? Isn't the whole thrust of our health plan to steer people toward cheaper, HMO-style providers? It's one thing to say we'll preserve your option to pick the doctor of your choice (recognizing that this will cost more), it's quite another to appear to promise the nation that everyone will get to pick the doctor of his or her choice. And that's exactly what this line does. I am very worried about getting skewered or over-promising here on something we know full well we won't deliver." ...