Thursday, October 23, 2014

Latest Billion Dollar IRS Scandal

Latest Billion Dollar IRS Scandal:

Western Journalism- Latest Billion Dollar IRS Scandal Could Make The Lois Lerner Debacle Look Like Small Potatoes In Comparison.

Jane J. Kim, a ten year veteran as an attorney of the IRS, has recently blown a whistle on the IRS, demanding a Congressional audit  of the IRS concerning an alleged giveaway of billions of dollars to large corporations.

The agency is already in trouble over targeting conservative and Tea Party groups.

Kim writes in her letter that senior IRS officials have “intentionally undermined the authority of the IRS Whistleblower Office.” Not only that, but the agency has avoided taking action “in cases involving billions in corporate taxes due.” Laws are not applied to large corporations, she writes, but are applied with “draconian strictness to small business, the self-employed, and wage-earning individuals.”
more here

Obama’s response to Ebola, unfortunately, has been far more political than responsible

Obama’s response to Ebola, unfortunately, has been far more political than responsible: ARLINGTON, Virginia—As the Ebola epidemic deepens in West Africa and new isolated cases surface in the United States, critics increasingly are questioning the Obama Administration’s halting response to the crisis.
Complaining that the public was being misinformed about the crisis and then blaming the unfolding tragedy on spending cuts was bad enough.

‘Armed citizenry’ is the best deterrent to terrorists, and Canada proves it, Judge Napolitano says

‘Armed citizenry’ is the best deterrent to terrorists, and Canada proves it, Judge Napolitano says:

Even the strongest hero needs the means to be heroic.

That was the lesson from Wednesday’s attack on the Canadian parliament by a recent convert to Islam, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said.

andrewnapolitano1023On “Fox and Friends” Thursday, Napolitano noted that the man who stopped 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in his quest to kill Canadian lawmakers would not have been allowed to carry a gun under Canadian law if he were not a retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“Thank God he was there,” Napolitano said. “But if he had not been there, or if he had not had that gun” the killer would have gotten much further, and likely greater carnage would have resulted.

Napolitano said the incident proved that for all the talk of the Islamic State — or organized terror assaults like the 9/11 attacks – the possibility of individual attacks of terror (or “workplace violence,” as the Obama administration prefers) means individual innocent people need to be able to protect themselves.

Attacks like the one in Ottawa are ” one guy getting out of a car and starting to shoot. What is the best deterrent to that? An armed citizenry. People able to protect themselves. We have a Second Amendment in this country. They do not have the equivalent of that in Canada,” Napolitano said.

“Gun control laws in Canada are as draconian as they have been in Washington, D.C., or Chicago,” Napolitano said. “The government thinks the people should not be able to arm themselves. In my view, that’s the lesson.”

Does that sound familiar?

“Oftentimes, a hero comes from among us,” Napolitano said. “But the hero has to have the means by which to behave as a hero.”

Check out the “Fox and Friends” segment here.

Watch the latest video

More Govt Corruption - USAID Shows Commitment to Democracy by Covering Up Failures

USAID Shows Commitment to Democracy by Covering Up Failures:

It’s long been clear that the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “pro-democracy” spending in many countries in the wider Middle East has been a boondoggle and a flop. Now it turns out that the agency’s acting Inspector General tried to cover that failure up. The Washington Post has an in-depth investigation into twelve different audits conducted by the USAID Inspector General’s office into the performance of USAID. The investigation found that in those twelve audits alone, over 400 “negative references” to program failures or inefficiencies were removed between initial drafts and the final reports.

Here’s an example of one case, about a 2012 audit of a program designed to reduce the fraud and waste associated with U.S. aid to Pakistan:

One key section of the audit was titled “Program Is Not Being Efficiently or Effectively Implemented.” The section detailed how the USAID mission office in Pakistan increased spending on the project, even though there were few or no reports documenting whether the program was working.

Those findings and that section were removed from the draft report, along with other negative findings, and placed in a confidential management letter. A finding that the auditors were not provided with detailed records of the spending was also placed in the management letter. It was sent to the USAID mission director in Pakistan on Sept. 30, 2012 — the day the final audit was publicly released by the inspector general’s office.
Another massive failure uncovered by the Post relates to “bail” that was paid to free sixteen Americans who were arrested by the Egyptian government for doing NGO work in the country without proper authorization. A draft report on the money used to bring them home expressed concerns both about the way the payments were made and with the precedent set by paying the bail. Those sections were removed from the final report as well.

The U.S. is not nearly as good at encouraging democracy in developing countries as the democracy promotion consultants would like you to think. Using U.S. money to try to change the politics of other countries raises a lot of questions, and USAID doesn’t have good answers for most of them.

Illegal Aliens Continue Voting

Illegal Aliens Continue Voting:

Illegal aliens are continuing to be found registered to vote. This time it is illegal aliens who benefited from the Obama Regime Administrative Amnesty.  Hundreds of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have registered to vote in North Carolina.  Of course, this is undoubtedly manifest throughout the United States.

Breitbart October 22, 2014 by Caroline May
Ineligible DACA Beneficiaries Discovered On NC Voting Rolls
With the North Carolina U.S. Senate race in a dead heta, state election officials say they have discovered 145 names on the voting rolls who are ineligible to vote because they are illegal immigrants who have been granted President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.
According to a Winston-Salem Journal report, the State Board of Elections discovered the potential illegal voters Tuesday night when the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles ran a search for DACA licenses.
Instead of sending State Troopers to arrest the illegal voters, the illegal voters are being sent requests for proof of citizenship.

The 145 DACA recipients whose names appear on the SBOE’s voting rolls will be sent letters requesting documentation that they are citizens, the report noted.
The real problem is that though DACA recipients remain illegal aliens, they have been authorized to receive driver’s licenses in violation of Title 8 United States Code, Section 1324, Bringing In and Harboring Illegal Aliens.

DACA beneficiaries in North Carolina are able to obtain drivers licenses, but they are not able to vote.
But it is even worse:

According to the report, earlier this month the SBOE officials did a sample cross-check of 1,600 of the 10,000 “legally present” names against a Department of Homeland Security database and found that 94 percent were U.S. citizens and eligible to vote. However, that still meant that six percent were ineligible, meaning if the ratio held for the whole 10,000, 600 people would be ineligible.
Mike Charbonneau, a DMV spokesman, told the Journal that it is now cross checking all the names.
While the officials work to cross check names, early voting is set to start in the state Thursday.
Also missing is U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Victims Unit, which has not arrested any of these aliens who registered to vote illegally and made a false claim to U.S. citizenship when they registered to vote.

It is clear that vote fraud by DACA and other illegal aliens is part of the plan of Cultural Marxists to elect a new people.

Netanyahu decries world’s ‘flaccid response’ to Abbas

Netanyahu decries world’s ‘flaccid response’ to Abbas: As Palestinian leader ‘glorifies murderers, embraces terrorists,’ leaders won’t offer ‘one word of criticism,’ PM charges

This is called slow suicide. INSANE

URGENT: Muslim Nurses Are Refusing to Do Something That is Putting Thousands At Risk: A decision made recently will allow Muslim nurses to avoid washing their hands prior to dealing with patients. The UK’s Department of Health called the new guidelines an attempt to “balance infection control measures with cultural beliefs.” Going forward, Muslim nurses have the option to don “disposable plastic over-sleeves” in lieu of the traditional scrubbing

Obama Administration caught lying about release of criminal illegal aliens

Obama Administration caught lying about release of criminal illegal aliens:

Here’s a dog-bites-man story if I ever heard one: the Obama Administration once again caught lying through its teeth to the American people.  In other news, the sun rose this morning.

In this case, it’s about illegal immigrants, a subject upon which it is extremely difficult to find a single instance of the Administration telling the truth.  Citizenship is being stolen from you, my fellow Americans, and the thieves’ contempt for you is so complete that they don’t feel obliged to give straight answers to any questions… not even when the truth is printed on documents that are bound to come to light eventually, not even when their actions put our lives at risk.

What USA Today is reporting about the release of violent alien criminals from detention centers should be the biggest story in the land, something every White House official, amnesty shill, and Democrat candidate should be grilled about until they have to cough their answers through lungs full of warm sweat.  Of course, even when this story looked marginally less hideous than it turned out to be, it wasn’t as big of a story as it should have been.  The media doesn’t like to dwell on stories that make people think about illegal immigration in a bad way.  They want you to think nothing but fresh-faced “dreamers” who can’t wait to earn college degrees and pay big bucks in American taxes are coming over the border, and only a xenophobe would quibble about immigration laws – which are, like the Pirate Code from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” more like a set of guidelines than actual “laws.”  Since we don’t have a functioning border security apparatus (which must, by definition, include the enforcement of immigration laws against intruders who make it across the border) we don’t have any way to tell the “dreamers” apart from the less appealing illegals.  That’s what a working immigration system does.

The system we actually have is a decrepit pile of largely ignored laws, over-ridden by crass politics – Democrats really want that new imported voter base, some Republican interests really want that cheap labor – and the sort of blind ideology that treats border security as an obsession of racist cranks.  (It’s not surprising that people who think very little of American citizenship don’t see any reason to get worked up when it’s stolen.)  We also have a government so confused and foolish that it can’t handle jobs the Ruling Class actually cares about, never mind laws they despise, duties that take money away from projects they prefer and cost them political capital with voting blocs they’re trying to woo.  Behold the fusion of arrogance, disdain, and ineptitude, as the Administration’s eagerness to punish the American people for “budget cuts” led it to release murderers and rapists:

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released “low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records,” a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen acknowledged the discrepancy. She said “discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency’s control.”
“Circumstances outside of the agency’s control?”  That’s classic Ineptocracy-speak.  Some of the thugs they released must have been looking at each other in bewilderment as they were pushed out onto the street.  Something tells me their general level of respect for U.S. law has not been enhanced by this experience.

Lawmakers expressed concern. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it is “deeply troubling that ICE would knowingly release thousands of undocumented immigrant detainees – many with prior criminal records – into our streets, while publicly downplaying the danger they posed.”

Immigration authorities detain an average of about 34,000 people a day. Although the agency regularly releases immigrants who have been charged with serious crimes, it typically does so because their legal status has changed or because they cannot be deported — not as a way to save money. That distinction, combined with the fact that last year’s release happened abruptly and with no advance notice, fed the partisan firestorm that followed.

ICE pays an average of $122 a day for each immigrant it keeps in detention.

The detainees were awaiting deportation or hearings in immigration court. The release did not stop those proceedings; instead, most were released with electronic monitors or other forms of supervision.
“Deeply troubling?”  I guess that’s one way to put it, Senator.  USA Today is right about the “partisan firestorm,” but the American people need to ask themselves some very hard questions about why something like this would be a partisan issue.  Democrats don’t care if violent criminals are released “abruptly and with no advance notice,” with nothing but “electronic monitors or other forms of supervision” standing between them and their next victims while they kill time waiting for deportation hearings?  Are you cool with that, Democrat voters?  Are you interested in knowing how those deportation hearings are going, whether the released detainees have committed any further offenses since they were sent on their merry way, and what the “other forms of supervision” beyond electronic monitors might be?

ICE and the White House didn’t just lie to the American people about this.  They lied to Congress, too:

In hearings last year, Republican lawmakers pressed then-ICE Director John Morton for specifics on the criminal records of the people the agency had freed. At one, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked Morton directly, “No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?”

Morton answered, “They were not.”

He told lawmakers that, to his knowledge, none had faced child pornography charges.

White House spokesman Jay Carney similarly described them as “low-risk, non-criminal detainees.”
They still aren’t coming clean voluntarily.  We’re only hearing this story now because USA Today used the Freedom of Information Act to pry a spreadsheet of the detainees and their offenses from the white-knuckled grip of the Administration.  Among the charming entries was “one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child.”  The agency still refuses to actually identify these people, mind you, which tells you a lot about how closely they’re being “monitored.”  We have to think about their privacy, you understand.  Kind of the opposite of the way they thought about U.S. immigration law before they strolled across the border.

USA Today mentions that 144 more detainees were released due to “special issues,” which usually means the government doesn’t think it can complete deportation proceedings within six months, and that’s the longest the Supreme Court has ruled people can be held for violating immigration law.  Therefore, all that is necessary to administratively disable immigration law, without passing any legislation, is to gum up the works until deportation procedures take more than six months.  Too bad there’s no ruling that said the IRS can’t hassle conservative groups for more than six months without giving them a firm answer on tax exemptions, eh?

Of course, everyone involved insists they weren’t deliberately lying about the release of potentially dangerous individuals to cover their butts.  No, no, this is all just sheer incompetence by our mega-government, not mendacity:

The former head of ICE’s detention operation, Gary Mead, said that if officials provided incorrect information to the public, they did not do so deliberately. Rather, he said, the release happened so quickly that ICE managers in Washington did not know precisely who had been released until after the episode had been reported by the news media.

“We had been asking for some time whether we would have enough money to sustain the level of detention we had, and we didn’t get an answer,” Mead said. “When we did get an answer, it was that we had to start releasing people today.”
Really?  Then where did the spreadsheet USA Today obtained come from?  Have we got a list of the officials responsible for this, and the disciplinary actions taken against them?  They’ve all been fired for gross negligence, right?

Here’s my idea for “comprehensive immigration reform”: a system where the default response is not, “We give up, enforcing the law is too hard, off you go!”  Every element of the existing system leading to that state of affairs needs to be overhauled or scrapped.  No set of conditions should ever lead to dangerous folly like this.

The same utterly incompetent Administration has been quietly ordering bids for contractors who can handle “a ‘surge’ scenario of 9 million ID cards in one year ‘to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements,’” according to Breitbart News.  In other words, they’re getting ready for Obama to hand out amnesty to millions of illegal aliens by executive order.  No doubt that will all be handled with the same careful attention to detail as the release of detainees was.  I’m equally confident we’ll be kept fully up to speed by The Most Transparent Administration in History on any problems that crop up, once the midterm elections are past, and Democrats get busy doing all the things they didn’t want voters to know about when it was still possible to vote against them.

Original enclosures:

Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal is tip of iceberg, says police chief ( UK )

What will it take for us to finally confront the insanity of multiculturalism and political correctness and relative morality?

Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal is tip of iceberg, says police chief ( UK ): Child exploitation is a hidden crime, and offences at home are the biggest concern, says Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey. There will be more Rotherham-style child sexual exploitation scandals unearthed in the coming months as the “stone is lifted” on the scale of abuse perpetrated on the young, one of Britain’s top police officers has warned. In an interview with the Guardian, Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk police, who is the leading officer concerned with child abuse within the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that sex crimes involving children had for “too long been a hidden crime”. He...

Endless Govt Corruption - NOLA Affordable Housing Director Sentenced To Prison For Massive Kickback Scheme

NOLA Affordable Housing Director Sentenced To Prison For Massive Kickback Scheme: 'Their income is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet she steals. It's pure, unadulterated greed'

Gingrich: Obama 'delusional' on Canada attack

Gingrich: Obama 'delusional' on Canada attack:

(TWITCHY) Yesterday, a Canadian soldier was killed and another injured in a “hit and run” terrorist attack.

Today at a war memorial near the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Canada, a gunman shot and killed a soldier before being killed by Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms. The search continues for possibly more accomplices.

Obama Administration Lied About Crimes Committed by Released Illegal Immigrants

Obama Administration Lied About Crimes Committed by Released Illegal Immigrants:

The Obama Administration lied last year when they informed Congress and the public that the 2,200 people that the Administration released from incarceration to save money had only minor criminal records.

USA TODAY, gaining the data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through the Freedom of information Act, reports that some of the illegal immigrants had been charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and homicide.

GOP members were furious when the data was released. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had told Congress that the inmates who were released were “low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records.” Records reveal that ICE was readying itself for budget cuts in February 2013 when it released the immigrants, only two-thirds of whom had no criminal records.

After the new information was released, ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen protested, "Discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency's control."

Sen. John McCain, R-AZ., weighed in that it was "deeply troubling that ICE would knowingly release thousands of undocumented immigrant detainees – many with prior criminal records – into our streets, while publicly downplaying the danger they posed."

Normally, ICE releases immigrants with serious criminal records only if their legal status has changed or if they cannot be deported. Every illegal immigrant held in jail costs ICE an average of $122 a day. Last year, GOP members asked ICE Director John Morton for specifics about the immigrants the agency had released. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-VA, asked Morton, "No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?" Morton responded, "They were not." He added that none of the released immigrants had been charged with child pornography charges. White House spokesman Jay Carney echoed that the prisoners who were released were "low-risk, non-criminal detainees."

Yet an ICE spreadsheet reveals one immigrant from Texas had been charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, and others had charges including armed assaults or assaulting police officers. One immigrant had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two more had charges of aggravated assault using a weapon, amd another had been charged with sexual assault.

ICE will not confirm whether the charges resulted in convictions.

Morton had informed Congress that of the over 2,200 immigrants ICE released, 629 had criminal records, all of them misdemeanors "or other criminals whose prior conviction did not pose a violent threat to public safety."

Of course, Morton did not mention the 144 other released immigrants who were filed under "special issues." They were largely released because ICE had six months to jail them legally if the agency could not deport them.

Homeland Security’s inspector general went to great lengths to ensure the Administration would escape culpability, writing in August that ICE was so hurried from the budget cuts that neither the White House or then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano knew what was going on. The report went further than that, insisting that ICE officials acted "appropriately."

Gary Mead, who headed ICE's detention operation, claimed that if the wrong data had been fed to Congress or the public, it was just a mistake. He added, "We had been asking for some time whether we would have enough money to sustain the level of detention we had, and we didn't get an answer. When we did get an answer, it was that we had to start releasing people today."

The Fed Chair Shouldn't Sound Like a Liberal Politician

The Fed Chair Shouldn't Sound Like a Liberal Politician:

Read my latest column, criticizing Fed chair Janet Yellen’s speech on income inequality.

Speaking in Boston last week, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen announced that “the extent of and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern” her. “I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity.”

Well. I think it is appropriate to ask whether the Fed chair should be expressing concern over whether income inequality is un-American. And to answer: No. The Fed chair shouldn’t sound like a left-leaning politician opining about hot-button political issues.
What do Dr. Yellen and Pope Benedict have in common? Click here to find out.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WEATHER CHANNEL Co-Founder: 'Climate change' proved to be 'nothing but a lie'...

WEATHER CHANNEL Co-Founder: 'Climate change' proved to be 'nothing but a lie'...:

WEATHER CHANNEL Co-Founder: 'Climate change' proved to be 'nothing but a lie'...

(First column, 8th story, link)

Obamacare and Affordability—Not as Connected as You Think

Obamacare and Affordability—Not as Connected as You Think:

Tom Haynes is a board member at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The two most important courts in the nation are about to resolve a dispute with potential major consequences for the future of American health care. The judges' interpretation of a few short passages in the thousand-plus page Affordable Care Act — the "Obamacare" law — will determine whether federal agencies are bound by the laws that Congress writes and whether unelected bureaucrats can hand out subsidies to millions of ineligible consumers.

One of those courts is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where 13 judges will reconsider a July ruling by a three-judge panel of the same court that Obamacare subsidies are not available to residents of states that chose not to set up their own insurance exchanges. The other is the U.S. Supreme Court, which may soon decide whether to review another circuit's ruling that held exactly the opposite. To add to the drama, a federal district court in Oklahoma recently ruled in favor of the state's challenge to the subsidies, and another court heard a similar challenge brought by Indiana.

One of the Obama administration's central arguments in defending the nationwide subsidies will be that the ACA had a single overriding purpose — to increase the affordability of health insurance. For that reason, it claims the ACA should not be interpreted to deny subsidies to people in nonparticipating states, even if that's what the plain language of the act says — and, in fact, what most of the judges who have looked at that language agree that it appears to say.

However, neither the ACA nor the administration's implementation of it supports the notion that "affordability" trumps other aspects of the law, even when the administration could have chosen to promote affordability instead, as the four examples below indicate.

First, the ACA's requirement of community rating, which made carriers overcharge young and healthy Americans and undercharge older and less healthy consumers, led to reduced affordability for the supposed poster children for Obamacare — the young, healthy uninsured. Based on my professional underwriting experience prior to the ACA, under-30 healthy consumers could obtain good individual coverage for $100 per month or less in most states. The ACA's community rating requirement has more than doubled that amount. Subsidies have not offset that price increase, except for young people hovering around the minimum wage. The administration claimed to have broad power to delay nearly every other aspect of the ACA, but it did nothing to delay this.

Second, the administration's postponement of the employer mandate gutted one of the central affordability planks of the ACA, namely incentives for employers without coverage to adopt it and assist their workers with health-care costs.

Read MoreWatch out, incumbents—the mood is turning

Third, President Obama's promise of "If you like your plan you can keep it" raised costs for an even broader cross-section of consumers (though by amounts yet to be fully noticed). Regulators and everyone in the industry knew the president couldn't possibly make good on that promise. Because carriers were being forced to market new ACA-compliant plans, they were not interested in undercutting those new plans with the lower-cost, non-ACA-compliant ones that people preferred. To make matters worse, the administration threw carriers that did want to continue those plans into the political briar patch, labeling those plans as "lousy coverage."

Fourth, the administration's own backtracking undercut the ACA's risk-pool model. As the political fallout from people losing their "lousy" plans grew, the administration allowed states to grandfather in these lower-cost plans and exempt them from most ACA provisions, including the supposedly sacrosanct community rating rules — perhaps forever. Since then, carriers have stated publicly that these grandfathered plans have diverted people away from the exchange pool, thus driving costs higher than projected. So, everyone buying insurance through the exchanges will have to pay more because of the president's careless rhetoric. This is yet another strike against affordability as the guiding principle of the ACA's implementation.

Finally, in 2013 the administration declared that employers could no longer contribute to cover their employees' insurance costs, either pre-tax or after-tax. As a result, employers that previously made individual market coverage more affordable had to stop, and those that would have done so could not. This may be the least understandable blow to affordability as Obamacare's guiding principle. This decision reversed a decades-long practice of small employers contributing to the cost of insurance purchased by their employees — a practice which the IRS had already ruled would be not be taxed. Nothing in the ACA even remotely suggested that this longstanding practice would become a problem.

So here's hoping when the judges of the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court listen to representatives of the administration wax poetic about affordability as the central overarching goal of the ACA, they'll look at the millions of Americans for whom health insurance today is, for no good reason, less affordable and less available.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Tom Haynes
Publication Type: 
The two most important courts in the nation are about to resolve a dispute with potential major consequences for the future of American health care. 

Let’s Get Back to Robbing Peter: The Welfare State and Demographic Decline

Let’s Get Back to Robbing Peter: The Welfare State and Demographic Decline:

The German economist Wilhelm Röpke, commenting on the expansion of European welfare states in 1958, wrote, “To let someone else foot the bill is, in fact, the general characteristic of the welfare state and, on closer inspection, its very essence.” While he did not argue that, therefore, such state assistance should in all cases be stopped, he put the question in sober terms: “[T]he welfare state is an evil the same as each and ev

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SCHLICHTER: Detonate The Narrative: Suppress The Votes Of The Stupid And The Fraudulent

A bit brutal but point taken.

SCHLICHTER: Detonate The Narrative: Suppress The Votes Of The Stupid And The Fraudulent:

The Obamacare Mandate: Employer Chicanery And Cost-Shifting Begins; Taxpayers Will Take The Hit

The Obamacare Mandate: Employer Chicanery And Cost-Shifting Begins; Taxpayers Will Take The Hit: The Medicaid option is drawing particular interest from companies with low-wage workers, brokers say. If an employee qualifies for Medicaid, which is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, the employer pays no penalty for that coverage.....

Federal Prosecutors Break Rules, Wreck Lives, and Get Promoted

Federal Prosecutors Break Rules, Wreck Lives, and Get Promoted:

A group of Washington overlords—federal prosecutors—sometimes
break rules and wreck people's lives. President Obama may soon
appoint one of them to be America's next Attorney General.

The prosecutorial bullying is detailed in a new book by Sidney
Powell, Licensed to Lie. She reports that the Department
of Justice's (DOJ) narcissistic and dishonest prosecutors destroy
people by doing things like deliberately withholding evidence.

Remember the Arthur Andersen accounting firm? It was killed off
by ambitious prosecutors who claimed the company helped Enron
commit accounting fraud and then shredded the evidence.

But instead of charging people who allegedly ordered evidence
destroyed, the DOJ indicted the entire company. That destroyed the
accounting firm. Publicly traded companies cannot do business with
companies under criminal investigation, so Andersen lost most of
its clients.

The prosecutor's purpose, says Powell, was to chill resistance
from other companies that might dare fight the Feds. The message:
cooperate, or we will destroy you! These pressure tactics were
appropriate, said one prosecutor, because shredding documents
"attacks the justice system itself by impeding investigators and
regulators from getting at the truth."

But who actually hid the truth? The prosecutors, writes
Powell. In fact, Andersen had saved most of its
documents and gave them to the government. The prosecutors simply
lied to the court about it.

Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Arthur Andersen's
conviction. But by then, 80,000 employees had lost their
jobs—80,000 people who'd done nothing wrong.

You'd think that this would teach federal prosecutors to obey
the law. Paul Kamenar of the Washington Legal Foundation said,
"this decision will send a strong message to the Justice Department
to stop this kind of abusive prosecutorial misconduct."

So were the prosecutors fired or jailed? No. Many were promoted.
Washington's overlords protect their own.

Next, some of the same prosecutors accused four Merrill Lynch
executives of falsifying Enron's books. The government lawyers told
the media that Enron "conspired with Wall Street bankers to carry
out a sham transaction." The Merrill Lynch executives charged with
fraud got three- to four-year jail sentences.

But Powell writes that the government "failed to allege anything
that actually constituted a crime by the Merrill Lynch executives.
Instead it cobbled together parts of different statutes to make up
some kind of new crime that didn't even make sense."

Sure enough, an appeals court tossed most of the verdict, and
the Merrill executives were released. But that was after they had
spent a year in jail.

Did the prosecutors hang their heads in shame? No. Far from it.
Some of them then went after Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska.
Stevens, the prosecutors claimed, took $250,000 in gifts from rich
donors and never reported that.

But later it was revealed that the prosecutors withheld evidence
that showed Stevens had not taken anything like $250,000. A judge
threw out that conviction, too. But by then, Sen. Stevens had lost
his Senate seat. His replacement, a Democrat, became the deciding
vote for Obamacare.

So was the lead prosecutor, Matthew Friedrich, finally punished?
Again, no. He took a higher-paying job at a private law firm.
Leslie Caldwell, who helped destroy Arthur Anderson, got promoted
to assistant attorney general at the Justice Department. Andrew
Weissmann, who helped prosecute the Andersen and the Merrill Lynch
employees, was made deputy director of the FBI.

Finally, prosecutor Kathryn Ruemmler, who helped manipulate the
system to unfairly jail four Merrill Lynch employees, was promoted
to deputy attorney general, then promoted again to White House
counsel. Now Bloomberg reports that she's President Obama's first
choice to replace Eric Holder!

If you find these charges as hard to believe as I did, you can
read Powell's supporting documents at We invited
prosecutors Ruemmler, Friedrich, Caldwell and Weissmann to reply to
the charges laid out in Powell's book and on my TV show, but they
didn't respond.

Federal prosecutors always have a big advantage over anyone they
attack. The U.S. government has endless time and money. Only
multi-millionaires can afford to fight back. Most people accused,
even those who are innocent, just settle with the prosecutors and
get punished. Prosecutors abuse this awesome power and get promoted
for it.

“It’s the Ideology, Stupid.”

“It’s the Ideology, Stupid.”:

Seeking to unseat President George H.W. Bush during the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton campaign strategist James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid,” to remind Clinton campaign workers that they should focus on the economy as the key to defeating Bush, whose popularity in March 1991 peaked at more than 90 percent.

Well, given Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent quip that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict motivated ISIS recruits, perhaps it’s about time to revise that slogan to “It’s the Ideology, Stupid.” Now, I don’t mean to actually call John Kerry stupid. Just as someone needs to be valedictorian of the summer school class, Kerry might just as well be considered the valedictorian of the Obama administration. If his competition is Chuck Hagel or Joe Biden or possibly even President Obama himself, Kerry might as well be a shining star.

But the notion Kerry embraces that terrorism is motivated by grievance rather than ideology is politically correct nonsense. One of the biggest academic proponents of this argument has been University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape. In recent years, he has doubled down on the argument that grievance rather than ideology (let alone religious ideology) motivates terror. The problem is that, as Martin Kramer has exposed, Pape shamelessly massaged and cherry picked his statistics to support a thesis which flies in the face of evidence. No wonder that Pape apparently worked with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group which apologizes for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and has been an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism finance trial, in order to inflate his book sales. But, then again, let’s not condemn Pape for hiding such things: His career has been built on obfuscating motives.

The simple fact is that reality flies in the face of Kerry’s assertion and Pape’s theories. First off, let’s not forget that even the United States intelligence community recognized the threat posed by Islamist radicalism in the years before the partition of Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel, nor does the radicalism of those attacking women and minorities in the suburbs of Paris, or targeting homosexuals on the streets of London, have anything to do with Israel.

Secondly, the most oft-cited grievances—poverty and lack of education—have no statistical link to terror. Suicide bombers tend not to be those with the least opportunities; rather, they tend to be those from educated, middle-class backgrounds. In the Gaza Strip, Pakistan, Turkey, and elsewhere, recruitment occurs in the schools. Nor do we see a rash of terrorists and murders arising from the ten poorest countries on earth. With tongue in cheek, if the United States were to base its counterterrorism policy solely on statistics, then its counterterrorism policy would seek to increase poverty and decrease education. At least we can be grateful, however, that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hasn’t simply classified ISIS as perpetrators of “workplace violence.”

Thankfully, Katie Gorka through the Council on Global Security has now published a new white paper entitled, “The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counter-Terrorism Policy,” in which she provides both historical context to the cost of focusing on grievance as the motivator of terrorism and demonstrates how ignoring Islamist ideology costs lives. The whole report is worth reading. Obama and Kerry may be too set in their ways and more inclined to make excuses that question progressive doctrines, but let us hope that those who seek to take their place after the next election will read Gorka’s work. The cost of not doing so and continuing to tilt at politically correct windmills will be paid in lives.

The War Will Never End Until You’re Down And Out, No Concession Is Enough For The Insatiable Left

The War Will Never End Until You’re Down And Out, No Concession Is Enough For The Insatiable Left:

What would progressives do if they won? Go back to their homes, raise families, work hard—all the normal activities of activity duty soldiers returning from war? It’s an instructive question to ask the progressive. Were you born to reshape society, in order to gorge yourself at the Sunday buffet without your brother-in-law (in reality, your sister-in-law) giving you disapproving looks? And suppose that that magically happens. Suppose weight isn’t an issue at all, or rather that fatness is lauded.

What then? When the ring is cast into the fires of Mount Doom, do you go back to the Shire to live out your days in peace and productive work, or do you invent another ring, and another Mount Doom?

There is no return to the Shire for progressives. The Shire never existed. Imagine that progressives aren’t from the Shire. Instead, imagine that they’re from Mordor. Perpetual war is what they’re made for. Truth is, they’ve already won.

Touting the existence of the ring of power is an abstraction. It’s designed to convince other thedes that all they want is just One More Thing—to cast the ring in the fire. And then they’ll be happy. They’ll all go home. You can relax. They’ll finally stop calling you a bigot. Politics is a gritty business, and there’s little validation to be gained if you trumpet your love for change and conflict for their own sake. It’s supposed to be for something, and then normal people will mildly support or turn a blind eye. Shire folks just want to get on with their lives. Shire folk don’t want any trouble.

The left cannot abide the existence of a Shire. It has to be transformed into metal, into steel, not industrially. What they want is for Bilbo to have gay sex and to teach about white privilege in Hobbiton schools. And so on and so forth.

But when this generation of SJWers loses its steam, as the hippies of the 60s did, this time, it won’t be to a borrowed middle class existence. SJWers are saddled with debt, so they’ll be condemned to restless wandering, competing for a pool of diminishing middle class job titles.

Why did the sixties end? Well, they never really did—radicalist forms morphed, women entered the labor force en masse (note: entryism), and so the veneer shifted after the end of the draft, which took the wind out of the sails of the youth. They transitioned from bizarre New Age rituals to the drudgery of office work, be it in the corporate world or in academia. But the values never left them, evidenced by the Zeitgeist lurching forward to liberalism-as-a-whole-new-creature in the 1990s, which laid the groundwork for orgs like FCKH8 to even exist. The one interesting difference here is that boomers could afford to waste their youth and fully expect to be integrated to a comfortable, middle class existence.

This is not the case today.

Today, people who frit about their youth will be relegated to useless jobs. The ones who work very hard will be able to achieve the dream of a salary in the 20-25k range for most of their twenties, if not longer—for the privilege of slaving away at Gawker, while being abused by Biddle & Co. But at least they’ll have status in their community. As material conditions hollow out middle class job titles, social tech will morph alongside to make living at home into one’s late twenties and early thirties socially acceptable.

Some will leap and make it into the upper classes, but inertia will be punished by suction effects—down, down they go to the lower classes, perhaps not in demeanor and character. In lifestyle. And being subsumed into the lower class mindset is easier if you can’t escape the lumpenproles. Still, they’ll restlessly wander because no matter how much they love diversity, they hate the diverse neighborhoods not subject to the effects of gentrification. Gentrification is the attempt by low-income but middle/Brahmin status-ers to lead a middle class lifestyle by invading impoverished and diverse neighborhoods for the purpose of plundering them of their low property values. And gentrification will continue to ramp up because the suburbs are simply too expensive for student loaners.

For the rest, staying in the nest too long leads to pathologies, a perfect breeding environment for leftism—this itself is another essay. What becomes of millions of youth filled with envy at their lot in life? Supposing Charles Murray’s Coming Apart scenario continues to play out, Occupy will be back, demotism will be back, since these movements will be sustained by nest dwellers with too much time on their hands and the need to find themselves through dedication to a cause greater than themselves, to almighty liberalism well into their thirties.

The point of leftist politics is perpetual warfare. It’s about restructuring all of society to rip the way of life away from one group and present it as burnt sacrifice to the other. So when will society have finally progressed enough? Not when X policy comes into play. Not when Y person comes into power, and not even when there’s equal representation. Too many times we’ve seen folks like Ruth Bader Ginsburg not just wanting equal representation on the Supreme Court, but full supremacy. Her quotes have been cycled about in the last 24 hours, for those on the news cycle. In reality, she’s held this exact position for years.

“So now the perception is, yes, women are here to stay. And when I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]? And I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that,” Ginsburg said in 2012 at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference.

Supremacy is cloaked in the doctrine of restitution.

When will there be enough restitution? When is enough, enough? That’s missing the point. Restitution will be thrown out the window when the next rung on the ladder is climbed. But it’s sufficient for now. It does the work it’s supposed to.

Besides, patriarchy seems so sticky and internalized that the only way we’ll ever be able to guarantee true equality is with sex-selective abortions. Root out the males; it’s the moral thing to do. Show your feminist credentials.

“That’s absurd, that’s just a slippery slope,” said a milquetoast liberal whose memory doesn’t extend beyond a single year’s worth of New York Times articles, as he jerked off a dolphin.

Cue the conservatives (and even libertarians) who trumpet the delusion that the arguments just have to be phrased in the right way, and then, only then, will their normative force be respected. People will conform to Reason, for I am a fedora, I tip my hat, and I conform to Reason when I am shown the error of my ways.

And besides, leftist authoritarian tactics are ungodly, even though they work, so it’s apparent we should love our enemies and decline from using deceitful tactics.

Wrong. Thede preservation is godly. Reframe in just war rhetoric with a healthy dose of the doctrine of double effect and other consequentialist reasoning glued onto deontological foundations.

If your theology departs from Gnon, get new theology.

But the arguments don’t matter to the other side—the arguments matter insofar as they constitute weaponry for your own side and frame control to siphon off the vulnerables who stray from the leftist pack. Whether there’s a strong normative foundation for a position clearly doesn’t matter, since the left frenetically adopts and discards positions as if the day of Gnon were imminent. They then bury inconvenient, open-faced hands in mountains of new media cycles. Gnon rewards ruthlessness, good faith is cast aside in the rubble pile of history, especially when the other side repeatedly operates—and even states—that they’ll discard ‘principle’ on a whim to further their ends. Projecting sincerity is death. Chameleons are of the left.

Burying history works if the Press is captured. And if isn’t, everyone will remember that abortion clinic bombing from 1984. Capture the Press and work around the Press at the same time. Delegitimize the Press for partisanship, and when HR requirements drop, infiltrate.

At the end of the day, it’s just as much a battle of intellect as it is of aesthetics and of thede dynamics. And perhaps the intellect is reducible down to An Aesthetic Which Captures The Attention Of Elites. There’s something to be said about mass movements operating by the select, by frame control, by inescapable aesthetics. Demotism is not an option, but bare assent by the masses is required.

The question, at the end of the day, is: Whose thede triumphs? For progs, no concession is ever enough, it’s always Never Enough. Once the struggle for material subsistence is over—and it is over in North America—the never-ending struggle for values takes over.

Back to material existence. Ignore government intrusions and largesse. It is possible to live in incredible comfort and little to no material threat if you put the barest amount of effort in to live within means. Think about this seriously: the wealth distribution now is such that with just a few years of hard work, you can live well as a single person in the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Maybe not in New York City, but so what? But it’s never enough for the voracious, because at the end of the day, they don’t actually know what they want. They’d complain if you hung them with new rope. So hang them with old rope.

They only think they know what they want. Traditional structures fill the void, but traditional structures don’t work if people possess the autonomy to subvert it. And autonomy comes through capital. God is dead, but only very few benefit from more autonomy–only a few have the frame to define their own values. Nietzschean superhumanery is more about flourishing through self-defined values, and less about physical strength.

Too much material wealth has the unfortunate side effect of degeneration and destruction of tradition. Capitalism means that everyone is now, in effect, a lottery winner. And this breeds depression, weakness, apathy. Too much autonomy in the wrong hands is a disaster for tradition, and so a disaster for average folk. Capital gives them the ability to give the finger to social structures, even though in the long run, they’re far better off under those structures. They defect for short term gain, and of course, one by one as they fall, another notch is added to the societal entropy ledger.

Unless, of course, this is but a trick of the mind, and capitalism’s way of eating the unworthy.

The disaffected then look for an enemy, or more accurately, are sought out by political entrepreneurs and weaponized against the already-losing-thede. America is already a communist country, and the communists are intent on driving a stake in an already dead body.

This means that the idea of a single, hateful social conservative somewhere in San Francisco will keep them awake at night, and they’ll never sleep until they know that Justice Has Been Served In Timbuktu.

Once North America is taken, and as it is being taken, NGOs carry the torch of liberalism, burning opposition at the stake.

For progs, and the war is never over until your thede is down and out. Use any means necessary.

The only morality is civilization.

The post The War Will Never End Until You’re Down And Out, No Concession Is Enough For The Insatiable Left appeared first on Social Matter.

The Real Racists

The Real Racists: Posted By: Laura

The Democrats are desperate. Just this weekend a confidential memo from one of Obama's pollsters (leaked to The New York Times) declared that there could be "crushing Democratic losses across the country” if African American voters do not come out in large force for the midterm elections. So what do Democrats do? They immediately begin resorting the most vile and despicable race-baiting tactics in an attempt to invoke scaring memories of racial animus to drive black voters to the polls.

new flier from Georgia Democrats warns voters that, "You must vote in November... to prevent another Ferguson." And in North Carolina, a pro-Hagan flier had a picture of a white crowd lynching black man with the words “Kay Hagan Doesn’t WIN! Obama’s IMPEACHMENT Will Begin! Vote in 2014.” 
Republicans cannot allow such tactics to stand. They must demand that Democrats denounce such tactics in every interview they do (similar to the way Republicans had to denounce the gaffes of Todd Akin in 2012). 
Republicans also need to remind the black voters of how Democrats plan to repay them for their support. If allowed to stay in power, Democrats plan to use their collective might to deluge black jobseekers under a tidal wave of low-wage foreign labor, which would prove (in the words of US Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow) “deleterious” to the black community, which already has an unemployment rate that is double that of white Americans. Democrats do not have the interests of black Americans at heart-- if you need proof, just look at Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Atlanta, or Chicago. Democrats (who have had control over these city for the past fifty years) are responsible for turning what were once vibrant cities into "urban chambers of horror" for black Americans. Democrats have lured black Americans into a welfare system designed to keep them in poverty forever—today more than 46 million Americans are on food stamps--a marked increase from the 31.9 million people who were on food stamps immediately following the recession when  Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009.

It is time for Republican candidates to go on the offensive. When Democrats invoke such deplorable tactics, Republicans cannot continue to run their safe, vanilla, Establishment-approved campaigns. Republicans must position themselves as the champion of the American worker (of all backgrounds and ethnicities). And must likewise expose the Democrats what they truly are-- the enemy of the working class.

CDC Is Awash in Social-Justice Ideology

CDC Is Awash in Social-Justice Ideology: So lame.

From Heather Mac Donald, at City Journal, "Infected by Politics":

The public-health establishment has unanimously opposed a travel and visa moratorium from Ebola-plagued West African countries to protect the U.S. population. To evaluate whether this opposition rests on purely scientific grounds, it helps to understand the political character of the public-health field. For the last several decades, the profession has been awash in social-justice ideology. Many of its members view racism, sexism, and economic inequality, rather than individual behavior, as the primary drivers of differential health outcomes in the U.S. According to mainstream public-health thinking, publicizing the behavioral choices behind bad health—promiscuous sex, drug use, overeating, or lack of exercise—blames the victim.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program, for example, focuses on “unfair health differences closely linked with social, economic or environmental disadvantages that adversely affect groups of people.” CDC’s Healthy People 2020 project recognizes that “health inequities are tied to economics, exclusion, and discrimination that prevent groups from accessing resources to live healthy lives,” according to Harvard public-health professor Nancy Krieger. Krieger is herself a magnet for federal funding, which she uses to spread the message about America’s unjust treatment of women, minorities, and the poor. To study the genetic components of health is tantamount to “scientific racism,” in Krieger’s view, since doing so overlooks the “impact of discrimination” on health. And of course the idea of any genetic racial differences is anathema to Krieger and her left-wing colleagues.

Local public-health programs are just as committed to “social justice.” The National Association of County and City Health Officials promoted a seven-part PBS documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick?, to trigger community dialogues about health equity. NACCHO’s Health Equity and Social Justice initiatives seek to “advance the capacity of local health departments to tackle the root causes of health inequities.”

During the height of the AIDS epidemic, the public-health profession abjured any focus on abstinence as a means of stopping the spread of the disease. This silence was contrary to decades of public-health response to venereal disease, which stressed individual responsibility, as well as contact tracing, to prevent further infections.

The American Journal of Public Health recently published a study coauthored by Columbia University professor and longtime police critic Jeffrey Fagan arguing that young black men who have been stopped and questioned by the New York Police Department suffer from stress and anxiety. The more times an individual gets stopped, Fagan claims, the more stress he may feel. The study did not consider whether individuals who have been stopped numerous times by the police may be anxious because they are gang members operating in a world where retaliatory shootings are common. Nor did it compare the stress of stop subjects with the stress once experienced by law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods before the NYPD brought violent crime down 80 percent.

The public-health profession has a clear political orientation, so it’s quite possible that its opposition to a visa and travel moratorium is influenced as much by belief in America’s responsibility for the postcolonial oppression of Africa, and suspicion of American border enforcement, as it is by a commitment to public-health principles of containment and control...
Remember, if the Ebola doesn't kill you, leftism will.

Sill more at that top link.

Legalizing drugs could benefit the economy and save lives

Legalizing drugs could benefit the economy and save lives: Drug prohibition does not eliminate drug use nor does it eliminate the market for drugs.

Sorry William Dudley, Regulation Itself Is the Culture Killer

Sorry William Dudley, Regulation Itself Is the Culture Killer:

Expert Commentary
The Federal Reserve's talking heads have been hard at work over the last week. They have tackled issues ranging from early childhood education, to the Fed's "duty to advance the maximum well-being of all citizens," to regulatory compliance by financial firms. The Fed's musings on topics far outside of its mandate seem odd for an institution that has a lot more thinking to do about-just to throw out a crazy suggestion-monetary policy. But the Fed's regulatory mandate is also large, so its reflections on compliance are worth a closer look.

New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo both gave speeches on the subject on Monday. They rejected the idea that "a few bad apples" are to blame for the industry's troubles, and concluded the problem runs much deeper. Mr. Dudley believes that the "pattern of bad behavior" in the financial industry and the industry's resulting poor public image "originate from the culture of the firms [which] is largely shaped by the firms' leadership."

In reality, the problems originate not from inside the firms, but from the regulatory structure within which firms operate. Bank regulators write the intricate rules with which firms must comply. Regulatory agencies engage in hands-on management of banks' compliance through on-site supervision, threats of enforcement action, and granting or withholding privileges (such as approval of dividend payouts or mergers).

Regulators also influence compliance by directing firm decision-making in key areas from capital, to customer relationships, to compensation, to crisis management. As my colleague Stephen Miller points out, regulations help to dictate the type of assets that banks hold. And, as a supervisory order directing a bank to stop serving payday lenders (published this week in connection with a congressional inquiry) illustrates, bank regulators also weigh in on whether particular customer relationships are appropriate. In the last crisis, regulators influenced strategic decision-making by large financial institutions, in part through the use of government funds and guarantees.

Even the example of bank malfeasance that Mr. Dudley uses in his speech-the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)-reminds us of just how central a role regulators play in influencing banks' compliance culture. Mr. Dudley longs for a world in which an employee who suggests manipulating LIBOR is met with a resounding "no way" and a referral to compliance. Yet, when a banker told one of the New York Fed's employees in late 2007 that "LIBOR's being set too low anyway," her recorded response was not moral outrage, but an unfazed "Yeah."

Mr. Tarullo acknowledges that outside influences, like regulators, can play a role in setting the unwritten rules by which financial firms operate. Lacking criminal prosecutorial power and the power to throw people in prison, Mr. Tarullo recommends that regulators make liberal use of enforcement actions and mandated firings to shape the industry's compliance norms.

Mr. Dudley's speech embodies an even subtler way to influence firms. He signals that the Fed is watching whether the tone that emanates from the top of financial firms is sufficiently compliance-oriented. Would the Fed give a firm that raised questions about the wisdom or quality of Fed regulation a passing grade for compliance culture? Does "respect for law"-something Mr. Dudley calls a "core element of any firm's mission and culture"-mean that firms must pretend that the regulations with which they are dutifully complying are well-intentioned and well-designed? Mr. Dudley also suggests that employees receive an "ethics and compliance score." This score would be available to future employers, perhaps as part of "a central registry" of hired and fired employees. Would questioning the technical workability of regulatory obligations or pointing to potential deleterious consequences of compliance result in a lower score?

Regulators should be wary of firms and employees that intentionally disregard regulatory mandates. We should all be wary of regulatory attempts to grade firms and their employees on their attitudes toward compliance. There is no surer way to keep firms and their employees from challenging their regulators. Regulators are not always right, and regulated entities must be free to point out their errors without fearing retribution. Professor Julie Hill has shown that the appeals process for challenging bank supervisory determinations is dysfunctional and rarely used. Attitude monitoring by bank regulators will only further dampen regulated entities' appetite for challenging regulators.

Mr. Dudley is correct that "a good culture cannot simply be mandated by regulation or imposed by supervision." A bad culture, however, can be cultivated by regulators that micromanage firms and offer banks cover when they make mistakes. Allowing market pressures to work-even to the point of firm failure-would be a more effective way than giving tough speeches, threatening enforcement action, and monitoring attitudes toward compliance to encourage firms to reassess their own corporate cultures.

Depriving property rights is patently offensive      

Depriving property rights is patently offensive      :

If untold millions of Americans over two centuries had benefited from a highly successful generator of innovation, would you think it wise to dismantle critical pieces of that engine of creativity and wealth creation?

Yet, that’s what some otherwise conservative people aim to do.

But for conservatives to be true to themselves and to conservative principles, they should carefully think about what we ought to conserve.

“Conventional wisdom” around patent issues has reached the realm of myth. Advocates of sweeping patent legislation claim there’s a litigation explosion in patent cases, that “patent trolls” are driving up litigation rates, and this litigation costs the economy billions of dollars.  They claim we need patent “tort reform.”

That’s not the real picture, nor is it in keeping with the Founders’ (wildly successful) vision in setting up patent rights as a property right in the first place.

First, there isn’t any patent litigation explosion. The historical average of around 1.65 cases per patent remains fairly steady over time.  There are more patents, and thus the raw number of cases has risen.

Also, the overreaching, patent-weakening, anti-inventor America Invents Act enacted in 2011 made it harder to join parties into single cases, so each one must be litigated separately. That accounts for the 2012 bump in patent cases.

George Mason Law Professor Adam Mossoff, economist Zorina Khan of Bowdoin College, and others have noted that litigation around patents always jumps with disruptive innovation, whether it be the sewing machine, the telegraph, the telephone, the light bulb or the computer. Khan finds that any uptrend in recent years is really a return to the pace of litigating patents seen in antebellum and post-Civil War times, as advancements that improve quality of life are discovered.

Second, the supposed culprit of the claimed rise in patent litigation, the “patent troll,” isn’t driving up patent litigation. Despite what researchers at Boston University, who claim patent litigation by trolls drains $29 billion a year from the economy, and at the University of California, who claim patent trolls were behind 58 percent of all patent lawsuits in 2012, may say, the Government Accountability Office called such analyses “nonrandom, nongeneralizable.” That is, these antipatent authors use suspect data and questionable methods of analysis to reach unreliable, invalid conclusions. Garbage in, garbage out.

Based on more valid data, the GAO found that “patent trolls” file only one in five patent cases. Operating companies are behind three in five to three-fourths of patent litigation. Most patent cases end in an out-of-court settlement.

And just what is a “patent troll?” The disparaging term in today’s debate applies to the “nonpracticing entity,” the research university, the private R&D lab, the independent inventor at work in the garage, the “patent assertion entity” — practically anyone who owns a patent but doesn’t manufacture his own products. That would include most of the most prolific inventors in American history, such as Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Cyrus McCormick and Elias Howe.

The term includes a firm that bought or licensed a patent from an inventor or a university’s tech transfer office.  As with a house, one person may have created and then sold or rented the property.  The brokers of patents, as those of real estate, facilitate a market that benefits everyone, including the buyer who didn’t build the structure.

Khan notes, “The ‘great inventors’ of the nineteenth century, who were responsible for major disruptive technological innovations, were especially likely to be, or to benefit from, ‘nonpracticing entities.’”

A critical element of property rights is being able to enforce your property rights through legal channels. Communicating to patent infringers that they are abridging your rights is protected commercial speech. They may refuse or disagree, so litigation may follow. But justice demands that the patent owner have recourse to the courts, if necessary, to defend his or her intellectual property rights.

Sweeping patent legislation would wantonly disadvantage patent owners, weaken and devalue patents, and set up a soup-to-nuts regime where the risks and costs of litigating to protect one’s patent rights become prohibitive. The most risk would fall on small inventors, their investors and small businesses, while the unfair advantage and ability to continue commercial infringement accrue to infringers.

Only the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act in the Energy & Commerce Committee seeks to address the abusive aspects of “demand letters” fairly. This bill takes a more focused, balanced approach that would safeguard small retail businesses while not stacking the deck against independent inventors.

A 2008 Phyllis Schlafly Report titled “What Americans Owe to Inventors” said, “The Founding Fathers also understood that securing to individual inventors the right to own and market their original ideas is just as much a part of economic freedom as any other personal labor.”  This Eagle Forum report lists a who’s who of American inventors to whom we owe a great debt for America’s standard of living.

The American patent system, including sometimes vigorous litigation and which has spurred unfathomable innovation, benefits the inventor and his or her family. It also benefits many others.

It benefits the people hired for the jobs stemming from the invention and provides their families economic well-being. Society benefits from those families having paychecks because financial pressures often delay family formation and often lie at the heart of family breakup.

Other beneficiaries:  the people who use the invention, the truckers and warehousers and brokers and shippers who transport the products derived from the invention, the merchants in whose stores the workers with those new jobs and consumers of the new product shop, the government that collects the taxes paid on the new wealth the invention creates, new innovation that the invention stimulates, people around the world as the invention diffuses into other markets.

Now would be a good time for conservatives to consider the fundamental element of a patent owner being able to exercise intellectual property rights by defending them legally.

Now is a great time to determine whether or not you truly believe in property rights. Do you believe in the market efficiencies that developed early on in the American system of patents? Do you believe in the role of civil justice against property thieves? Do you share the Founders’ vision?

James Edwards advises Eagle Forum on patent policy.  The views expressed here are his own.

Original enclosures:

Embarrassing economists

Embarrassing economists:

So as to give some perspective, I’m going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.

Suppose the prices of ladies jewelry rose by 100 percent. What would you predict would happen to sales? What about a 25 or 50 percent price increase? I’m going to guess that the average person would predict that sales would fall.

Would you make the same prediction about auto sales if cars’ prices rose by 100 percent or 25 or 50 percent? Suppose that you’re the CEO of General Motors and your sales manager tells you the company could increase auto sales by advertising a 100 percent or 50 percent price increase. I’m guessing that you’d fire the sales manager for both lunacy and incompetency.

Let’s try one more. What would you predict would happen to housing sales if prices rose by 50 percent? I’m guessing you’d predict a decline in sales. You say, “OK, Williams, you’re really trying our patience with these obvious questions. What’s your point?”

It turns out that there’s a law in economics known as the first fundamental law of demand, to which there are no known real-world exceptions. The law states that the higher the price of something the less people will take of it and vice versa. Another way of stating this very simple law is: There exists a price whereby people can be induced to take more of something, and there exists a price whereby people will take less of something.

Some people suggest that if the price of something is raised, buyers will take more or the same amount. That’s silly because there’d be no limit to the price that sellers would charge. For example, if a grocer knew he would sell more — or the same amount of — milk at $8 a gallon than at $4 a gallon, why in the world would he sell it at $4? Then the question becomes: Why would he sell it at $8 if people would buy the same amount at a higher price?

There are economists, most notably Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who suggest that the law of demand applies to everything except labor prices (wages) of low-skilled workers. Krugman says that paying fast-food workers $15 an hour wouldn’t cause big companies such as McDonald’s to cut jobs. In other words, Krugman argues that raising the minimum wage doesn’t change employer behavior.

Before we address Krugman’s fallacious argument, think about this: One of Galileo’s laws says the influence of gravity on a falling body in a vacuum is to cause it to accelerate at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. That applies to a falling rock, steel ball or feather. What would you think of the reasoning capacity of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who’d argue that because human beings are not rocks, steel balls or feathers, Galileo’s law of falling bodies doesn’t apply to them?

Krugman says that most minimum-wage workers are employed in what he calls non-tradable industries — industries that can’t move to China. He says that there are few mechanization opportunities where minimum-wage workers are employed — for example, fast-food restaurants, hotels, etc. That being the case, he contends, seeing as there aren’t good substitutes for minimum-wage workers, they won’t suffer unemployment from increases in the minimum wage. In other words, the law of demand doesn’t apply to them.

Let’s look at some of the history of some of Krugman’s non-tradable industries. During the 1940s and ’50s, there were very few self-serve gasoline stations. There were also theater ushers to show patrons to their seats. In 1900, 41 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in agriculture. Now most gas stations are self-serve. Theater ushers disappeared. And only 2 percent of today’s labor force works in agricultural jobs. There are many other examples of buyers of labor services seeking and ultimately finding substitutes when labor prices rise. It’s economic malpractice for economists to suggest that they don’t.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Mark Steyn Again Gives Literal Blue Print to Republicans Who May Want To You Know, Win An Election

Mark Steyn Again Gives Literal Blue Print to Republicans Who May Want To You Know, Win An Election: To paraphrase the great Margaret Thatcher who told Ronald Reagan that now is not the time to go "wobbly", the great Mark Steyn, PBUH, says don't fold to the left and it's hostile takeover of culture, drag the [conservative] culture to you.

And who can do that? Yes, my current favourite American politician Ted Cruz. I've said before, I think he has the stuff.


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U.S. Must Block Renewed Efforts to Assert U.N. Authority Over the Internet at the International Telecommunications Union Conference

U.S. Must Block Renewed Efforts to Assert U.N. Authority Over the Internet at the International Telecommunications Union Conference:

Two years ago, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) convened the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to review the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) that “serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services.” Under consideration were more than 400 proposals, some of which were designed to enhance government ability to block content and tax and regulate the Internet. The proposals would inhibit the innovation and expansion of the Internet that has contributed to economic growth in the U.S. and around the world. After contentious negotiations, the U.S. and dozens of other countries announced that they could not support the proposed treaty. In the end, only 89 countries, including most authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, signed the new ITRs and will be bound by the treaty’s terms.

This week, the ITU is meeting in Busan, South Korea, for its 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference where authoritarian governments are again expected to try to assert United Nations authority over the Internet via the ITU. In a statement, Russian Federation Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, Nikolay Nikiforov, made clear his government’s position (unofficially translated):

We must not forget that ICT [information and communication technologies] is used for criminal purposes, including on cross-border basis. This requires mobilization of the international community to prevent the use of ICT in a manner contrary to the UN Charter, the Charter, the Convention and the regulations of the ITU. For successful, reliable and safe use of ICT, international norms and rules governing relations in this area are required.

Russian Federation believes that such rules should be developed under the auspices of UN institutions. They should be based on adherence to the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of States and their equal rights in the management of the Internet, the sovereign right of States to control the Internet in the national information space and to be based on international law and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms….

We are grateful to the United States for what they gave to the world, the Internet, but now it is everywhere, in all countries. And we need to find the form and mechanisms of management, suiting everyone and especially suiting our citizens. We are well aware that without competition the new technologies are not developed. But personal data must be protected, namely the state must act as guarantors of the rights of its citizens to privacy and protection of their personal data.

Therefore, it is the state that should determine the fate of the Internet.
This should be of great concern to the U.S. and the Internet community. The U.S. has contracted with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to manage core functions of the Internet since ICANN was established in 1998. During that time, the Internet has grown and prospered in large part because the U.S. government has very rarely interfered.

In March 2014, partially motivated by a desire to blunt state arguments for U.N. governance of the Internet in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, the U.S. government announced that it did not intend to renew its contract with ICANN, which expires in September 2015, and mandated that the organization consult with “global stakeholders” to agree on an alternative to the “current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).”

When making the initial announcement, the U.S. stated it would not withdraw from the process until an acceptable alternative mechanism is developed that must:

  1. “Support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model”;
  2. “Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS”;
  3. “Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] services”; and
  4. “Maintain the openness of the Internet.”
Additionally, the U.S. stated that it “will not accept a proposal that replaces the [U.S.] role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.” In other words, the U.S. prefers governance of the Internet to be private-sector-led or, at least, with government not having a privileged position. This is directly at odds with the goal of Russia and other authoritarian governments.

ICANN is currently consulting with various Internet constituencies, both government and private, in a “multi-stakeholder” process to negotiate its proposal, which is expected to be finalized next summer. This proposal will be assessed by the U.S. If acceptable, the U.S. will allow the contract to expire, which would end its oversight role over ICANN. If it is not acceptable, the U.S. has the option to extend the current contract and request that ICANN revise its proposal.

But if that plan is to see fruition, first the U.S. must blunt countervailing pressures in the ITU Plenipotentiary over the next three weeks and other intergovernmental meetings over the next year. Reportedly, the U.S. is determined to convince the other ITU member states that the ITU is not the correct forum for Internet governance. Every user of the Internet who values a free and dynamic Internet should support their efforts.

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