Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How “Winning at Any Cost” Isn’t Really Winning at All

Freedom Works ^ | July 1, 2014 | Logan Albright
It’s no secret that the establishment in Washington, D.C. is terrified of the liberty movement now now sweeping the Republican Party. Bilious quotes from figures such as Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and others in the Party leadership reflect the undisguised animosity towards those who want to put actual conservatives in office. What most people don’t realize, however, is the extraordinary lengths these people are willing to go to ensure a preservation of the status quo. In Mississippi, 41-year incumbent Senator Thad Cochran stooped to race-baiting and running as a de facto Democrat in order to defeat his grassroots-supported challenger, Chris McDaniel, in the Republican Primary. But even apart from this kind of tactical desperation, there has been an overwhelming financial push from outside spending groups to crush the liberty movement out of existence. It hasn’t work. In fact, it has failed rather spectacularly, but the sheer amounts of cash now pouring into the campaigns of multi-decade incumbents is astonishing. According to Politico, establishment groups have already spent $23 million in the 2014 cycle - the kind of money usually reserved for presidential elections. Keep in mind, this is not money being used to defeat Democrats and secure a Republican majority in the Senate, as one might expect. Instead, it is being used to defeat other Republicans. Ironically, this is the same charge the establishment has repeatedly leveled at the tea party. The major difference, though, is that liberty candidates are driven by grassroots support and voter enthusiasm, whereas establishment candidates rely on the Chamber of Commerce, the NRSC, and other special interest lobbies to fund their campaigns. The ostensibly pro-business Chamber alone has spent $7 million this year to defend candidates with a history of voting for cronyist policies and corporate bailouts. The NRSC is nominally supposed to represent Republicans, but they are directing all their resources towards defeating Republicans rather than going after Democrats as they should. All this doesn’t count what campaigns themselves are actually spending, an amount that totals tens of millions of dollars. Sen. Mitch McConnell alone spent $11 million dollars to fend off his conservative challenger, Matt Bevin, in the Kentucky Senate race. When it takes this kind of money just to maintain a multi-decade incumbency, it’s clear that the establishment is not winning the war of ideas. To the extent they are winning, they are maintaining their power through sheer brute force. Instead of trying to promote the ideas of limited government, lower taxes, less spending, and all the other things the Republican Party claims to stand for, establishment candidates are blowing all their cash trying to stop candidates whose values and convictions actually appeal to conservative voters .At this point, the battle lines are clearly drawn. The establishment no longer maintains any pretense of representing the people. They only represent themselves, and that is why, in the long run, they will lose. The base of enthusiastic conservative activism is growing all across the country, and it’s not going away. Money is fleeting, but principles never die. Lobbyists can spend all the money they like, but ultimately elections are decided by ideas, and that’s something you can’t buy.

Remember when liberals bristled at Bush’s Executive Orders?

Flopping Aces ^ | 06-30-14 | DrJohn
mcnaughtonempoweredThere was a time not so long ago when liberals bristled at what they felt was the over-reach of the Executive branch. NY Times, Jan. 29, 2007 Congress, the Constitution and War: The Limits on Presidential Power
But Mr. Cheney told only half the story. Congress has war powers, too, and with 70 percent of Americans now opposed to President Bush’s handling of the war, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, it is becoming more assertive about them. Congress is poised to pass a resolution denouncing the troop increase. Down the line, Congress may well consider mandatory caps on the number of troops in Iraq, or setting a date for withdrawal. If it does, we may be headed toward a constitutional clash, with the administration trying to read powers into the Constitution — as it has with its “enemy combatant” doctrine and presidential “signing statements” — that the Founders did not put there. The Constitution’s drafters were intent on balancing power so no one branch could drift toward despotism. The system of checks and balances that runs through the document divides the war power between the president and Congress.
Check and balances, you say?
NY Times, July 23, 2007 Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War
Given how intent the president is on expanding his authority, it is startling to recall how the Constitution’s framers viewed presidential power. They were revolutionaries who detested kings, and their great concern when they established the United States was that they not accidentally create a kingdom. To guard against it, they sharply limited presidential authority, which Edmund Randolph, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the first attorney general, called “the foetus of monarchy.”
Detested kings, you say? That was different. Now, “the foetus of monarchy” is entirely acceptable now that Obama is President.
Mr. Obama got fed up, finally, last fall, according to Mr. Savage’s article, and the result was the “We Can’t Wait” project, which has led to dozens of executive actions on a range of issues, including jobs for veterans and fuel economy standards. Unlike the Bush/Cheney team, Mr. Obama did not take office with the explicit goal of creating new powers for the presidency. That was not part of his agenda. Moreover, his executive actions often are more modest in their effect than the White House’s public relations team might admit. Government by executive order is not sustainable in the long-term. Nor is it desirable, whether you agree or disagree with those orders. But in this particular case, there may be no alternative.
There's no alternative when Congress refuses to give Obama everything he wants?
The Times was cheerleading for even more government by Obama Executive Orders: (Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

Government Still Slogging Through 2.6 Million 'Inconsistencies' On Obamacare Applications!

The Verge ^ | July 1, 2014 | Adrian Jeffries
Time to check in on the Healthcare.gov quagmire, where health department officials are facing 2.6 million "inconsistencies" — places where information submitted on an application failed to match government records — that were supposed to be resolved months ago. Income and citizenship status are causing the most problems, followed by employer-sponsored minimum coverage, Social Security number, non-employer sponsored minimum coverage, incarceration status, and Native American status. All these factors affect an applicant's eligibility for insurance and subsidies. The department expected some applicants would have problems with their applications, either due to errors or deliberate lies, and it budgeted 90 days to reconcile the data. That wasn't enough time, as it turned out. Technical issues delayed the verification process, according to a report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General. Some marketplaces also failed to notify applicants that there were problems with their applications. By February 2014, only 11 percent of inconsistencies had been fixed.
(Excerpt) Read more at theverge.com ...

Inspector General reports finds problems with O-Care eligibility!

The Hill ^ | July 1, 2014 | Ferdous Al-Faruque
Two new reports from the Health and Human Services Department's Inspector General say the new federal healthcare insurance market is having trouble verifying whether people are eligible for the health insurance they are receiving, or the federal subsidies that help them pay their premiums. One of the two Health and Human Services inspector general reports found 2.9 million inconsistencies in the federal marketplace. It said the federal marketplace was unable to resolve 2.6 million of them because the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) system for determining eligibility was “not fully operational.” The reports looked at the exchanges between October and December of 2013. Republicans have been hammering the administration over the issue, arguing many people ineligible for subsidies are nonetheless receiving them. They argued the latest reports suggest tax dollars are being wasted on people receiving federal subsidies who should not be getting them. “When ObamaCare was passed its chief architects told us they would have to pass the bill to find out what was in it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senate Finance Committee ranking member. “Today's report confirms what we knew was not included: safeguards to protect hard-earned taxpayer dollars from an incompetent bureaucracy.” Democrats and CMS pushed back, saying the reports do not take into account improvements that have already been made. “It’s not news that healthcare.gov had tech and data issues at the outset, but we’ve come a long way since then," CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said. "CMS is working expeditiously to resolve inconsistencies to make sure individuals and families get the tax credits and coverage they deserve and that no one receives a benefit they shouldn't. We are actively reaching out to consumers to provide additional information that supports their application for coverage and verifying their information every day." Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, offered similar comments. “It is no surprise to anyone that the first few months of the marketplace rollout were rocky," he said. "Since then, we have signed up eight million Americans." The two reports found the marketplace systems were not effective in verifying inconsistencies in people’s Social Security numbers, citizenship statuses and incomes, which would all factor in to what coverage and subsidies they would be eligible to receive. Several state exchanges saw similar issues, according to the reports. The report said the CMS needs to issue a public plan on how and when it will fix the inconsistencies. The agency also recommends the CMS conduct more oversight of state marketplaces.

Happy birthday, IRS?

Washington Examiner ^ | July 1 2014 | Sheila Weinberg
On July 9, the Internal Revenue Service will turn 61, a few years short of the average retirement age. Many Americans, when they get ready to retire, reflect on their career. I’d like to think the IRS, were it personified, might take a long look at its professional life leading up to its birthday. The IRS's primary function is to take in American tax dollars, and use them to fund vital American programs, services, and operations. Because the dollars coming in do not equal the dollars going out, the U.S. national debt increases every day. Every April, Americans report their financial gains and losses to the IRS. Americans are legally required to provide comprehensive, factual data to their government. After all, those moneys fund services, including government agencies, schools, law enforcement, and state parks, to name just a few. These programs and countless others depend on accurate bookkeeping. As an accountant, I know that responsible Americans generally spend no more than they take in, but the federal government is not bound by that convention. That’s a double standard, and it’s wrong. Our government should be held to the same standards to which it holds its citizens. Also, these deficits must be reported truthfully and in a timely manner to the hard-working citizens like you and me. It’s imperative that governments accurately represent their deficits to their countrymen and enable government officials to make decisions based upon accurate data. Another double standard is that the IRS does not allow corporations with revenues of more than $5 million to use cash-basis accounting. Under this type of accounting, corporations need only report the activity in their checkbook. Under current law, the IRS requires a corporation of this size to report all of the revenue it earns and all of the costs it incurs during the year. The federal government's revenue is $2.7 trillion. Even though this is 540,000 times greater than the corporate revenue limit of $5 million, the government uses the checkbook-accounting method. This allows our elected officials essentially to hide the true cost of our government. As a result, our budget deficits are massively understated. Our elected representatives and government officials claim our national debt is $17 trillion. This amount is correct only if you believe our veterans and federal employees are not going to receive their retirement benefits, and that the federal government does not owe our seniors the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have been promised. If these retirement promises are included in our national debt calculation, the actual total is more than $80 trillion. This represents more than $225,000 for each man, woman, and child in our country. Before our national financial problems can be solved, our true financial condition associated with them must be accurately reported. We trust the IRS to report and acquire the correct data. Our expectations must be the same for our federal, state, and local governments. With the facts, you can be knowledgeable participants in solving our governments' financial problems. The mission of the organization I lead, Truth in Accounting, is to educate and empower citizens with understandable, reliable and transparent government financial information. Here at Truth in Accounting, we believe you should be told the truth about our federal debt and deficits. I encourage you to learn more about the truth about our national debt and see the numbers for yourself. By becoming more informed citizens, we can take a step towards understanding the financial data that currently is and is not reported by our government. And having done so, we can then take the further steps that are essential to restoring our nation's financial health.

Obama's Disappointing Year at the Supreme Court

Reason ^ | July 1, 2014 | Damon Root
The U.S. Supreme Court went out with a bang on Monday, ending its 2013-2014 term with Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., in which the Court held that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violated federal law by placing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion when it required two "closely held" private corporations to cover certain forms of birth control in their employee health plans. It was a painful legal defeat for the Obama administration—and it was not the only such defeat in recent days. In fact, in the past month alone, the White House has suffered a series of embarrassing losses at the Supreme Court, where it failed to prevail on issues ranging from the scope of the Fourth Amendment to the limits of executive power. To make matters worse, the president lost all but one of those cases by a vote of 9-0. Here's a quick recap of Obama's dismal finish this year at the Supreme Court. Bond v. United States Obama's troubles began on June 2 with the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in Bond v. United States. At issue was the criminal prosecution of a woman named Carol Ann Bond, who was sentenced to six years in federal prison under the Chemical Weapons Implementation Act for smearing two toxic substances on the mailbox, door knob, and car door of a woman who had been carrying on an affair with Bond's husband. The victim suffered only a minor burn to her hand.
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...

Why Does Cycling Attract So Many Snobs?

The Telegraph ^ | 30 Jun 2014 | Jamie Fewery
A new breed of cyclist is infecting our roads and destroying the inclusive nature of bike riding. Jamie Fewery introduces 'sportive snobbery' It was inevitable that with the rapid growth in cycling, factions would emerge. Sub groups of cyclists who define themselves by how seriously they take the sport, their kit, their observance of cycling’s heritage; gangs and coteries who jostle to adopt the lifestyle to a greatest degree. Reach a critical mass of humans who enjoy a shared interest and lines will inevitably be drawn. The peloton rarely sticks together. For the most part, this is fine. As with any pastime there will be those who are content with occasional participation and those who immediately look to emulate the pros. But there’s a downside as well: snobbery. The idea that some are not only better than others, but that those at the lower end of the commitment and ability scale shouldn’t really be there at all. I’ve noticed it a few times in discussions about the professional side of cycling, where commentators have a disdain for the popularisation of their sport since Bradley Wiggins won the Tour in 2012. It's as they hold Wiggins personally accountable for allowing the ‘great unwashed’ in on the secret. Or in forums and articles, where self-defined guardians of recreational cycling denigrate those who have the gall to wear a yellow jersey, as if doing so aligns the amateur with Eddy Merckx. And then there's the articles about whether people should or shouldn't wear Lycra (I do, in case you’re wondering). But cycling snobbery at its worst is on the road.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...

The Only Time


Can't Wait?




Rich Democrats


Dead Broke




You've Lost Mail


Free Crap


The Keys


Not well off?


He might have...


True Feelings


Catastropic Computer Failure!




No Matter...


The Commish


Smart Man


Obama to go it alone on immigration, pleasing few!

President Barack Obama's abrupt shift from seeking immigration legislation to pursuing a go-it-alone executive strategy raises expectations among immigration advocates that Obama may have trouble satisfying while setting up a clash with House Republicans who've already threatened to sue him. Limited in his powers to ease deportations and under pressure to crack down on a tide of Central American children entering the U.S. without their parents, Obama has only so many options to tackle an immigration conundrum complicated by a midterm election that could cost him Democratic control of the Senate. Obama on Monday blamed Republican resistance for the demise of sweeping immigration legislation and vowed to bypass Congress to patch up the system. "If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours," Obama said. But seeking to slow deportations while simultaneously stemming the flow of young people across the U.S. Southern border presents Obama with a knotty set of policy choices.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...