Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chicago’s Vanishing Middle Class
...Chicago provides a striking case in point. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into initiatives benefiting the city’s elite, such as high-tech industry support, a $100 million “river walk” along the Chicago River, and “tax-increment financing” subsidies for major developments like a proposed basketball arena. And Emanuel has at least talked about boosting the fortunes of the poor by getting a handle on the city’s crime problem and improving education. Meanwhile, schools and mental-health clinics have closed in Chicago, and libraries have had their hours reduced, but Emanuel has so far done little talking or acting about the fate of Chicago’s middle class, which has declined remarkably over the last four decades, according to new research by University of Chicago graduate student Daniel Hertz. As the gray areas in Hertz’s map show, Chicago was mostly middle class in 1970. By 2012, Chicago’s middle class had radically shrunk, and the city was divided between upscale areas (green) and poor ones (red). Hertz has previously documented Chicago’s growing public-safety inequality gap and examined how Chicago’s upscale areas are experiencing gentrification in the public schools.

The plight of the middle class in cities like Chicago can’t be blamed entirely on liberal policies. The global economy has clearly benefited the talented, the educated, and the already wealthy, often at the expense of those in formerly middle-class occupations, like manufacturing. And it’s unlikely that the forces unleashed by globalization will diminish. One might expect, then, that big-city Democratic leaders like Emanuel or de Blasio would make a strong appeal to middle-class constituents.

They haven’t, because for liberal mayors, middle-class decline is convenient and politically advantageous. Much of America’s moneyed elite has already shifted its allegiance to the Left, especially in cities. Wealthy, educated urbanites hold generally liberal social values and can afford the higher taxes “blue” cities like Chicago impose—especially when those taxes help pay for the upscale amenities they desire. Even when the mayoral administration is less friendly, the urban elite tends to get its needs met. At the same time, the urban poor have remained loyal to the Democrats, no matter how little tangible improvement liberal policies make in their lives. And the various unions, community organizers, and activist groups that advocate for the poor profit handsomely from the moneys directed toward liberal antipoverty programs.

This is the Democratic Party’s new top-bottom coalition, one in which the traditional middle class—white ethnics, blue-collar manufacturing and trade workers, small business owners, and others—has no part. These “left-outs” are the urban equivalents of Reagan Democrats....
The disturbing messages in police recruiting videos
...(There’s also the separate but related question of why Hobbs — a town of 35,000 people — needs a SWAT team in the first place. As the Watchdog reports, the SWAT team has its own page on the Hobbs department Web site, complete with a video of SWAT cops shooting and destroying things, set to heavy metal music. The statement in the video that “The rules of engagement of SWAT are simple: Defeat the enemy . . . any way you can” is also troubling. The mission of a SWAT team ought to be to resolve volatile situations without force and violence whenever possible.)

Note, too, what’s missing from the recruiting video: Public service. Cops walking beats. Community policing. Helping people.

Now ask yourself: What sort of person would be attracted to a career in law enforcement based on the images and activities depicted in that video? And is that the sort of person you’d want wearing a badge and carrying a gun in your neighborhood?...
Meet The Google Engineer And Occupy Wall Street Organizer Who Wants Silicon Valley To Run The Country
..."I hate the middle class," Tunney told Business Insider. At the time, she had gone through being homeless, health issues without insurance, and had lost her job in both recessions since 2000. The system had failed her again and again, but she didn't want Occupy to simply be about raising taxes on the rich. She wanted a revolution.

Tunney was actually disappointed by the relative calmness of the protests. "I'd rather have them throw a Molotov cocktail through the windows at Goldman Sachs," she says.

"I'd rather have them throw a Molotov cocktail through the windows at Goldman Sachs," she says. But she didn't do those things herself — she says that she didn't want to get arrested. ...

...There were occasions when the site would go down during a big morning media frenzy and Tunney wouldn't be around to fix it because she was asleep. Others mention Tunney putting up her propaganda posts at 2:30 in the morning instead of during hours when followers were more likely to share. One day she even slept in and missed a radio interview with NPR....

Despite the conflict Tunney faced during the early days of the Occupy movement and the cushy software engineering job she landed at Google in 2012, she's still actively pushing for "regime change" in the United States.

Back in September, she went to Twitter to ask if Occupiers would be interested in raising $1 million to train a "nonviolent militia" for the movement.

Since then, it appears her focus has shifted away from Occupy and towards a vision that could best be described as techno-utopian: basically, she wants the tech industry to run everything in the country.

...As for the Chinese factory workers whose cheap labor enables so much of that excess value creation, Tunney says, "I tend to look at ends rather than means."...
Kate Humble: We don't value food because it's not expensive enough
"I'm over here!" shouts Kate Humble, and she of Springwatch and Lambing Live gambols towards me, closing the gate on a field of anxious goats and their Disney-cute babies....

...She leads me to a kitchen, which doubles as the HQ for Humble by Nature courses on animal husbandry and rural skills, from foraging to building an outdoor pizza oven. Her assistant Rebecca wonders if I'd be OK with some old coffee heated up in the microwave. I'm wondering how to explain that although I'm against food waste, there are limits. "No! That sounds disgusting," says Humble, even though she's a green tea drinker. "Make some new!" It's an earthy introduction....

The four acres she has up the road where she lives with her husband, TV director Ludo Graham, wouldn't accommodate these sheepy dreams, so they began asking around and found the working farm that we're now on. There were once 16,000 such council farms around Britain, small parcels of land rented out to farming families or individuals who didn't have their own land, but councils have spent the last decade selling them off for development. Humble estimates there are just 4,000 left.

The opportunity to "save" a farm fed into another strong belief. "Do we want everything to be imported, to deny our farming heritage, to get rid of every opportunity for young farmers?" she asks. "It's nigh on impossible to get into farming now, if you even wanted to." She once tried to buy a farm in the Karoo, South Africa, for £70,000 but was dissuaded by Ludo, who pointed out they knew nothing about farming. This time, however, she battled until she "won" it from the council and then almost fell into despair because she thought she'd never find a tenant farmer. Then she lucked out with local farmers Tim and Sarah Stephens, who breed Welsh mountain sheep and Hereford cattle and are now happily settled.

But it's the price of food, the farmer's end product, that really irks her. "Everyone's going to hate me and call me a middle-class bitch but I'm past caring because I'm so incensed. Food waste is endemic but we don't value food because it's not expensive enough. Four pints of milk for a quid, are you kidding me? ...
ObamaCare's Missing 3.2 Million
...But according to Rand's estimate, only 3.9 million have insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges--3.2 million fewer than the 7.1 million "signups" President Obama last week claimed, drawing credulous cheers from the likes of Hiltzik. True, some of the gap is explained by the survey's timing: "Our data were collected through March 28," Rand explains, but most participants "responded earlier in the month, and some may have made new insurance choices since participating in our survey."

ObamaCare open enrollment ended March 31, so no doubt there is something to that. The Rand authors accept the administration's claims of a March "surge" in enrollment. But 3.2 million in a matter of a few weeks would be quite a surge. The disparity between Rand's figure and the administration's gives reason to suspect that the latter is inflated. And Rand estimates only 1.4 million of the previously uninsured got coverage through the marketplace....

Dozens of Widows Dropped from Health Care Due to Obamacare in Alabama
..."More than two dozen widows who were married to retired Madison county employees, lost their health insurance coverage earlier this year. And now one commissioner says it's time to give it back to them. The change was sparked by the new federal health care law, but whether or not coverage can actually be restored really isn't clear," said the anchor....

Healthcare cuts canceled after Dem complaints
The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.

The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.

Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers. Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.

The healthcare law included $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years, in part to pay for ObamaCare....
A Criminal Organization Masquerading As… Oh, You Know the Rest
...Issa said records obtained last week from the IRS show communications from the office of ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., about True the Vote, a Texas-based, non-profit conservative group that aims to prevent voter fraud.The communications at one point involved Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official whom Issa’s panel is poised to hold in contempt of Congress on Thursday for refusing to provide testimony about her involvement in targeting conservative groups.

“The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” a statement from the Oversight panel reads.According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” from True the Vote....

...The same Honorable Gentleman is trying to cover for Ms. Lerner — you know, the Lois Lerner who was apparently angling for a job with Obama’s very own private army, Organizing for Action...

...Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.

In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was “commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obama screensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their office.

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....

...The most troubling new evidence are documents showing that Ms. Lerner actively corresponded with liberal campaign-finance groups Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, which had asked the IRS to investigate if conservative groups including Crossroads GPS were violating their tax-exempt status. After personally meeting with the two liberal outfits, Ms. Lerner contacted the director of the Exempt Organizations Examinations Unit in Dallas to ask why Crossroads had not been audited...

IRS at the Crossroads
...The most troubling new evidence are documents showing that Ms. Lerner actively corresponded with liberal campaign-finance groups Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, which had asked the IRS to investigate if conservative groups including Crossroads GPS were violating their tax-exempt status. After personally meeting with the two liberal outfits, Ms. Lerner contacted the director of the Exempt Organizations Examinations Unit in Dallas to ask why Crossroads had not been audited.

"You should know that we are working on a denial of the application," Ms. Lerner wrote in an email. "Please make sure all moves regarding the org are coordinated up here before we do anything." The Cincinnati agent assigned to the case at the time, Joseph Herr, noted on his timesheet, "[b]ased on conference, begin reviewing case information, tax law and draft/template advocacy denial letter, all to think about how best to compose the denial letter."

Mr. Herr had not made any indications in 2012 of an intent to deny the application, nor was any denial recommendation contained in the November 2011 analysis of the group by Exempt Organizations lawyer Hillary Goehausen. Crossroads GPS, which was cofounded by Journal contributor Karl Rove, says it applied for tax-exempt status in 2010 but still hasn't received formal IRS approval.

Ways and Means also discloses that in January 2013 Ms. Lerner asked her staff to examine five conservative groups that the website ProPublica had called "controversial dark money groups," including Americans for Responsible Leadership, Freedom Path, Rightchange.com, America is Not Stupid, and A Better America. Four of those five groups ultimately got the IRS deluxe scrutiny treatment and three were audited....

A New, More Sinister IRS Scandal
...Larry Noble, a law professor now with the Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center, was cited in the emails as someone agitating to jail conservatives who “falsely” report on IRS forms that they are not engaged in political speech. Lerner talked about setting up meetings with Justice Department election lawyers who wanted to talk about making Noble’s dreams a reality — this after Senator Sheldon Whitehouse raised the idea of criminal charges for conservatives who are not sufficiently quiet, charges that they falsely completed an IRS tax exemption form.

Their theory is a favorite among speech regulators in the Soros-funded left and academia. It goes like this: “Too much speech is bad (unless unions do it.) Groups who talk about things leftists find uncomfortable are necessarily political and thus should never have 501(c) tax exempt status. Criminally charge any group that said on their IRS tax exempt form that they were not political if they say things the left finds uncomfortable. Get Eric Holder’s Justice Department on the case.”...

...Robert Bauer had the motive to direct IRS policy against Tea Party groups. He is a longtime opponent of First Amendment freedoms and an advocate of government-speech regulation. He also can’t stand the work the Tea Party is conducting to monitor and eradicate voter fraud, work the Republican Party and national campaigns have utterly failed to perform.

During the 2008 election, while representing the Obama campaign, Bauer sent a threatening letter to the Justice Department demanding criminal investigations of people who had the audacity to speak about voter fraud. Bauer even singled out Sarah Palin in the letter. Anyone who “developed or disseminated” information about voter fraud, to Bauer, deserved the heavy boot of a criminal investigation. Read the letter; it reveals a nasty, thuggish, and lawless attitude toward political opposition....

IRS Employees Don't Just Target Political Enemies, They Also Support Friends, Says Federal Watchdog
...OSC received allegations that employees working in the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in Dallas, Texas, violated the Hatch Act by wearing pro-Obama political stickers, buttons, and clothing to work and displaying pro-Obama screensavers on their IRS computers. It could not be determined whether these materials were displayed prior to the November 2012 election or only afterwards. However, since the information OSC received alleged that these items were commonplace throughout the office, OSC issued cautionary guidance to all IRS employees in the Dallas Taxpayer Assistance Center that they cannot wear or display any items advocating for or against a political party, partisan political group, or partisan candidate in the workplace.

Other IRS employees face discipline for advising taxpayers to vote for President Obama during the course of their duties....

The IRS Scandal's Smoking Gun?
...In a rash of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest law group, is an April 2013 email written by David Fish, acting manager of IRS Exempt Organizations Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance and sent to, among others, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. It was part of a thread discussing a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the potential for the abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax status by organizations intervening inappropriately or improperly in candidate elections.

Responding to a message “What can I say?” from Lerner, Fish responds, “Tell Ruth she needs to get on the stick and that the next election cycle is around the corner. This is obviously a wonderful idea (that’s why we suggested it). I think you told Greg all you can tell him, unless you want to tell him that we’re taking guidance plan suggestions.”...

...The particular mention by Fish of the idea that “the next election cycle is around the corner” seems to any reasonable person to confirm or at least suggest higher-ups at the IRS including Lerner knew exactly what they were doing, had used their positions for partisan political purposes, and were continuing to do so even though the word about what they were doing had leaked out.

“The David Fish email proves the IRS originated and fed to Senate Democrats the idea of threatening conservatives with criminal prosecution for engaging in political speech – specifically with an eye towards the 2014 cycle. It’s the strongest proof yet that there should indeed be criminal prosecutions, not of conservatives but of the IRS bureaucrats who conspired to suppress them," said Phil Kerpen, the president of American Commitment and one who has followed this issue closely since it first become public knowledge....

...There is also this message from Lerner, also made public as a result of the Judicial Watch FOIA. In it she writes, "As I mentioned yesterday – there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report that are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t fell so comfortable doing the stuff. ... So don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”

Lois Lerner: Living Embodiment of Why We Should Stay the Hell Away From the IRS
...That's why Judicial Watch's data dump of internal IRS documents suggesting that embattled former tax official Lois Lerner contacted counterparts at the Department of Justice about finding something prosecutable in the activities of conservative tax-exempt organizations is not surprising. Pick a spot in our society and dig deep enough, and eventually you'll find a crime. That's handy, if it suits your needs....

...Ultimately, as the scandal unfolded and ensnared much more than the "low level workers" originally blamed for the mess, no prosecutions materialized. But it's easy to see how focused interest by tax officials and federal prosecutors could have found arguable mismatches between organizations' conduct and some interpretation of a tax code that, notoriously, has no consistent meaning across the IRS. (Legal scholars debate whether the IRS should be required to adopt one interpretation of the rules and stick with it. That would be nice.)...

The IRS Scandal Comes Into Focus
...As the illuminating timeline accompanying the Camp letter shows, Ms. Lerner's focus on shutting down Crossroads GPS came only after Obama adviser David Axelrod listed Crossroads among "front groups for foreign-controlled companies"; only after Senate Democrats Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer and others demanded the IRS investigate Crossroads; only after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website to "expose donors" of Crossroads; and only after Obama's campaign lawyer, Bob Bauer, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about Crossroads.

The information in Mr. Camp's letter shows that Ms. Lerner sprang to action following a January 2013 meeting with Democracy 21, a campaign-finance outfit petitioning for a crackdown on Crossroads and the liberal big-dollar Priorities USA. (She never touched Priorities, run by former Obama aides.) The Camp outline suggests cause and effect, and that's new....

...The general prohibition on releasing taxpayer information has meant that—up until Ways and Means voted Wednesday to release this info—it was impossible to know what precise actions Ms. Lerner had taken against whom. We now know that she took it upon herself to track down the status of Crossroads, to give grief to an IRS unit for not having audited it, to apparently direct another unit to deny it tax-exempt status, and to try to influence the appeals process.

We know, too, that Ms. Lerner did some of this in contravention of IRS policy, for instance involving herself in an audit decision that was supposed to be left to a special review committee. We have the story of a powerful bureaucrat targeting an organization and circumventing IRS safeguards against political or personal bias. That ought to mortify all members of Congress. That Democrats seem not to care gets to another point....

...In 2012, both the IRS and Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings were targeting the group True the Vote. We now have email showing contact between a Cummings staffer and the IRS over that organization. How much more contact was there? It's one thing to write a public letter calling on a regulator to act. It's another to haul the regulator in front of your committee, or have your staff correspond with or pressure said regulator, with regard to ongoing actions. That's a no-no....
How Paulson Gave Hedge Funds Advance Word of Fannie Mae Rescue
...Paulson had been pushing a plan in Congress to open lines of credit to the two struggling firms and to grant authority for the Treasury Department to buy equity in them. Yet he had told reporters on July 13 that the firms must remain shareholder owned and had testified at a Senate hearing two days later that giving the government new power to intervene made actual intervention improbable.

“If you have a bazooka, and people know you have it, you’re not likely to take it out,” he said.

On the morning of July 21, before the Eton Park meeting, Paulson had spoken to New York Times reporters and editors, according to his Treasury Department schedule. A Times article the next day said the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were inspecting Fannie and Freddie’s books and cited Paulson as saying he expected their examination would give a signal of confidence to the markets....

...Around the conference room table were a dozen or so hedge- fund managers and other Wall Street executives -- at least five of them alumni of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), of which Paulson was chief executive officer and chairman from 1999 to 2006. In addition to Eton Park founder Eric Mindich, they included such boldface names as Lone Pine Capital LLC founder Stephen Mandel, Dinakar Singh of TPG-Axon Capital Management LP and Daniel Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC.

After a perfunctory discussion of the market turmoil, the fund manager says, the discussion turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paulson said he had erred by not punishing Bear Stearns shareholders more severely. The secretary, then 62, went on to describe a possible scenario for placing Fannie and Freddie into “conservatorship” -- a government seizure designed to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets.

Stock Wipeout

Paulson explained that under this scenario, the common stock of the two government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, would be effectively wiped out. So too would the various classes of preferred stock, he said.

The fund manager says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information -- to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.

There’s no evidence that they did so after the meeting; tracking firm-specific short stock sales isn’t possible using public documents....
Telling ‘Noble Cause Lies’ About Climate Change Will Backfire
...The latest IPCC reports demonstrate that many are following a strategy taught in law school: “if the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If the facts are not on your side, pound the table.” In their February 24, 2014 paper “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements” published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Chinese professors Fuhai Hong and Zhao Xiaojian explain:

The IPCC has tended to over-generalize its research results and accentuate the negative side of climate change. Following its lead, the mainstream media has gone even further.…Analyzing a sample of print, broadcast and online media coverage over a three-month period between 2005 and 2006, Ereaut and Segnit (2006) concluded that climate change was most commonly constructed through an “alarmist” repertoire as “awesome, terrible” and “immense,” characterized by “an inflated or extreme lexicon.”

On the surface, this strategy appears to work. Hong and Xiaojian conclude that, when the climate change threat is not very severe, as the NIPCC demonstrates is the case today, exaggerating the dangers tends to increase public concern and so their countries’ participation in international climate change agreements. Gore clearly supports this approach, admitting in 2006,

I believe it is appropriate to have an “over-representation” of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience....

...Leading the pack is Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate action. She told the London-based Telegraph newspaper in September 2013 that, even if the science backing the climate scare is wrong, the EU’s climate policies are still correct as they would, according to her, lead to more efficient use of resources. Hedegaard asks, “Would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?”

Former U.S. Congressman and long-standing president of United Nations Foundation Timothy Wirth spelled out this strategy in 1998 when he said,

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.

Christine Stewart, the Liberal environment minister who negotiated in Kyoto on Canada’s behalf, went even further, asserting,

No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits…climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world....
Common Core lessons blasted for sneaking politics into elementary classrooms
...Teaching materials aligned with the controversial national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as “(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,” “The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation” and “the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.” The sentences, which appear in worksheets published by New Jersey-based Pearson Education, are presented not only for their substance, but also to teach children how to streamline bulky writing....
Is Obama Cooking the Census Books for Obamacare?
For several months now, whenever the topic of enrollment in the Affordable Care Act came up, I’ve been saying that it was too soon to tell its ultimate effects. We don’t know how many people have paid for their new insurance policies, or how many of those who bought policies were previously uninsured. For that, I said, we will have to wait for Census Bureau data, which offer the best assessment of the insurance status of the whole population. Other surveys are available, but the samples are smaller, so they’re not as good; the census is the gold standard. Unfortunately, as I invariably noted, these data won’t be available until 2015.

I stand corrected: These data won’t be available at all. Ever.

No, I’m not kidding. I wish I was. The New York Times reports that the Barack Obama administration has changed the survey so that we cannot directly compare the numbers on the uninsured over time....

...The White House is always looking for evidence to show the benefits of the health law, which is an issue in many of this year’s midterm elections. The Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Council of Economic Advisers requested several of the new questions, and the White House Office of Management and Budget approved the new questionnaire....

...I find it completely and totally impossible to believe that this problem didn’t occur to anyone at Census, or in the White House. It would be like arguing that the George W. Bush administration might have inadvertently overlooked the possibility that when the U.S. invaded Iraq, there would be shooting. This is the biggest policy debate of the last 10 years, and these data are at the heart of that debate. It is implausible that everyone involved somehow failed to notice that they were making it much harder to know the effect of this law on the population it was supposed to serve. Especially because the administration seems to have had a ready excuse as soon as people reacted to the news....

Megan McArdle goes off on suspicious Census Bureau/Obamacare methodology switch
...Why? Because as the New York Times reported, the Census Bureau has decided to throw out its 30-year formula (and therefore its baseline) on measuring America’s uninsured population, and replace it with a new methodology. The revised math, according to Census officials, will result in much sunnier-looking results. Independent of the statistical merits of this change, the timing, quite literally, could not be worse. ..

...Part of her evolved rationale was that the first batch of results under the new statistical regime would be from 2013, not 2014, so there would be one year of “pre-Obamacare” data to use as a fresh baseline. One whole year! As opposed to, you know, three decades of consistently measured trends. Beyond that, 2013 wasn’t just any ordinary year; it was fraught with Obamacare-related upheaval, including millions of cancellation letters landing in people’s mailboxes. Not to mention that various components of Obamacare were implemented as early as 2011. So last year hardly offers a clean, pre-Obamacare data point off of which judge its policy effects. Cut the spin. Abandoning a trend line developed over three decades at the precise moment that analysts are trying to quantify the impact of the biggest healthcare overhaul in decades can fairly be described as anti-data. It’s anti-science. It might well cross the line into fraudulence. Even the Times’ headline grasped the cause-and-effect nature of implementing this major alteration right now: “Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects.” McArdle concludes her vent session by predicting Democrats’ inevitable political chicanery come September:

If the administration is really serious about transparency and data-driven policy, as I’ve been told for a year now, then it will immediately rectify this appalling mistake and put the old questions back into circulation double-quick. But we’re more likely going to hear the most transparent and data-driven administration in history citing these data — without an asterisk — to tout the amazing impact of its policies....

RAND study: By our estimate, 3.9 million people signed up for ObamaCare, not 7.1 million like the White House says ...A caveat right off the bat: RAND’s estimate only runs through March 28 whereas the actual deadline for signing up was March 31st. Given the crush of traffic on Healthcare.gov in late March, many more people could have signed up over those last three days than were captured by these numbers. On the other hand, the White House was claiming six million sign-ups as of March 27. There’s no way to reconcile that with RAND’s data....

Jay Carney: No timetable for releasing information about Obamacare sign-ups
White House spokesman Jay Carney said he doesn't know when the administration plans to release more information about the 7.5 million Americans who signed up for Obamacare on the federal exchanges by the March 31 deadline.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “are working to crunch the numbers and assess the data and collect it in a way that provides as much information as possible,” he said Monday during his daily briefing with reporters.

“I don't have a timetable for when that would happen,” he added....
Oversight member on Lois Lerner coordination with DOJ: ‘Now I see why IRS is scared to give up emails’
...“I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folks could talk to about [Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon] Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who ‘lied’ on their 1024s — saying they werent planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures,” Lerner wrote in a May 8, 2013 email to a colleague, just days before the IRS scandal broke.

“DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS …,” Lerner wrote.

ISTOOK: IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader
...Emails released under a federal court order showed the Obama administration’s Justice Department and the IRS‘ Lois Lerner discussed working together to find a tea party case they could prosecute for supposed false claims about political activity.

“One prosecution would make an impact,” Ms. Lerner wrote in one of her emails...
Crushed by the bureaucrats: The brilliant cardiologist who turned whistleblower to save lives talks of his brutal 13-year persecution and why he believes NHS managers are destroying a great service
Today, for the first time in 13 years, whistleblowing consultant cardiologist Dr Raj Mattu can look to the future with a glimmer of hope.

After more than a decade of ‘torture’ - during which he says NHS bosses ‘tried to silence me, destroy my reputation and erase me from the face of the Earth’ - his good name was this week dramatically restored.

Bullied and then sacked by his NHS bosses after exposing the avoidable deaths of patients at his Coventry hospital, the 54-year-old heart specialist was vindicated on Thursday after a David-and-Goliath battle thought to have cost taxpayers £10million....

...In a landmark judgment, the tribunal ruled that Dr Mattu had been targeted specifically by hospital managers because he’d blown the whistle on dangerous practices....

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....