Politics, with its ambition for boundless expansion into the lives of individuals and societies, is a human activity that overwhelmingly attracts narcissists of all types from the most intelligent to the completely idiotic. The difference between these two opposites resides in their mentality and modus operandi. While the intelligent politician strives to build support for his ideas through rational persuasion, the idiot relies on the coercive apparatus of the state to enforce his or her policies that in the greatest number of cases are unrealistic and even destructive. In reality, the idiot is a person with an exclusive and thus extremely narrow-minded ideology that prevents him or her from seeing reality. Thus, when reality threatens ideology, such a person is predisposed to destroy reality, because it poses a mortal danger to his or her ideology. In this manner, the idiot condemns himself or herself to live in a vacuum of lies that, in turn, keeps him or her from acting rationally. [Read more...]
by Mary Katharine Ham • Hot Air
Imagine that. A bunch of cameras installed to increase
safety revenue by catching everyone speeding caught a whole bunch more people than they should have in New York. It’s almost as if it wasn’t about safety first:
Nassau County of New York is forgiving thousands of speeding tickets issued this summer from malfunctioning speed cameras, totaling about $2.4 million in fines.
The Long Island county executive, Edward Mangano, said cameras from Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions near six schools were unreliable and issued tickets even when school was not in session. Traffic speeds are reduced dramatically during school hours. [Read more...]
by Peter Roff • US News & World Report
America is about as likely to become reliant on green energy to meet its baseload power requirements as a unicorn is to stroll down the middle of Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue during rush hour followed by a pink elephant.
It’s just not happening – but that’s hasn’t deterred the modern day snake oil salesmen and their allies inside the Obama administration from continuing to make a push for wind and solar power as an eventual replacement for energy generated from traditional sources like coal, oil and natural gas. Renewable technology has improved, no doubt, but it’s a long way away from being ready to make a substantial contribution to the heating of our homes and the powering of our businesses unless the generous tax subsidies that create the illusion of cost competitiveness continue.
There’s nothing wrong per se with the pursuit of renewable energy; it’s just that what it actually costs is being masked by taxpayer subsidies, federal loan guarantees and renewable fuels mandates at the state level that force power companies to put wind and solar into the energy mix, sometimes at two to three times what traditional power costs. Ultimately, one way or another, the taxpayers and energy consumers are footing the bill even if they don’t know it. [Read more...]
by Peter Ferrara • Forbes
One of the biggest drags on economic growth under President Obama has been Obamacare, enacted on a strictly partisan basis in 2010. That drag has come primarily from the sweeping overregulation of Obamacare.
The biggest culprit has been the employer mandate, which requires all employers of 50 or more full time workers to buy them health insurance with the terms and benefits as specified by the federal government. That is effectively a tax on employment of well over $10,000 a year per worker for family coverage.
Even for employers that already provide health insurance, the employer mandate will likely be a big tax increase on employment. That is because the mandated health insurance will most likely cost more than what the employer is already providing. That results first because the government responds to political pressure to require generous benefits most people will think the employer is paying for, to be include in the mandated health insurance. That drives up the cost of the mandatory health insurance. [Read more...]
by David Rutz • Free Beacon
It was a quote striking for its flippant tone even in January, as President Obama compared the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to a wannabe junior varsity basketball team.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told The New Yorker. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
ISIL, now in control of large portions of Iraq and Syria, has the full attention of the U.S. now. [Read more...]
by Chuck Vinch • Army Times
The Defense Department broke the law when it transferred five Taliban detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in exchange for former prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday.
In a seven-page opinion, the GAO said a provision of the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act bars defense officials from using taxpayer funds to transfer any prisoner from Guantanamo unless the secretary of defense gives Congress at least 30 days’ advance notice. [Read more...]
by Megan McArdle • Bloomberg
Last Monday, Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily reported that insurers say Affordable Care Act enrollment is shrinking, and it is expected to shrink further. Some of those who signed up for insurance on the exchanges never paid; others paid, then stopped paying. Insurers are undoubtedly picking up some new customers who lost jobs or had another “qualifying life event” since open enrollment closed. But on net, they expect enrollment to shrink from their March numbers by a substantial amount — as much as 30 percent at Aetna Inc., for example. [Read more...]
President Barack Obama says it’s “not fair” and “not right” for U.S. companies to set up overseas to avoid taxes. Except when it benefits him politically.
The president calls these companies “corporate deserters.” He says they are “still using all the services and all the benefits of effectively being a U.S. corporation,” but have “just decided” to go through the “paper exercise” of corporate inversion, in which U.S. companies with foreign subsidiaries can reduce their tax bill by becoming foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries.
“I think it’s something that would really bother the average American,” he said recently, “the idea that somebody renounces their citizenship but continues to entirely benefit from operating in the United States of America just to avoid paying a whole bunch of taxes.”
Many companies are planning to flee the country because the United States of America has the highest corporate tax rate — 35 percent — in the developed world. It simply makes sense for them to do so. They are obligated to shareholders to be as competitive and profitable as possible. [Read more...]
by CJ Ciaramella • Free Beacon
A government watchdog group announced Monday that it is suing a dozen federal agencies for improperly delaying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for White House review.
Cause of Action is suing 10 cabinet agencies, as well as the Internal Revenue Service and White House Office of Management and Budget, for failing to release documents regarding how the White House reviews agency FOIA requests.
Cause of Action uncovered an April 2009 White House memo that instructed federal agencies to consult with White House Office of General Counsel on “all document requests that may involve documents with White House equities.”
Seeking more information, the watchdog group filed FOIA requests with numerous federal agencies for their policies on White House equities. The agencies named in the lawsuit delayed responding to the watchdog by eight months—and some as long as 14 months—according to the lawsuit.
Cause of Action alleges that the White House review amounts to an improper effort to block and delay FOIA requests. [Read more...]
Great leadership isn’t necessarily about intelligence, expertise or background. It’s more about wisdom and judgment. Based on this, Americans should be very concerned about Secretary of State John Kerry.
As the world melts into chaos and threats to the U.S. homeland multiply, America’s top foreign policy official seems bizarrely, even dangerously, fixated on … global warming.
In remarks at the East-West Center in Honolulu on Wednesday, Kerry repeated his claim that climate change is “the biggest challenge … we face right now.” To which we respond: Can he be serious? [Read more...]
by Patrick Howley • Daily Caller
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to come up with new answers after IRS employees contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lois Lerner’s hard drive.
Sullivan ruled that “the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014″ on four issues: the IRS’ attempted recovery of Lerner’s lost emails after her computer allegedly crashed, bar codes that could have been on the hard drive, IRS policies on hard drive destruction, and information about an outside vendor who worked on IRS hard drives.
Recent documents from nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS, which Sullivan is presiding over, showed that IRS technology officials contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lerner’s hard drive. [Read more...]
US administration officials stop missile transfer, order all future transfers to be scrutinized in sign of further cooling ties.
by Ari Yashar • Arutz Sheva
A new report reveals that US President Barack Obama’s administration stopped a shipment of missiles to Israel late last month and tightened weapons shipment procedures to Israel, as tensions between the two nations grow amid Operation Protective Edge.
The report in the Wall Street Journal, released Wednesday night, cites US officials in Obama’s administration, who say they discovered Israel had requested a large number of Hellfire missiles directly through military-to-military channels. An initial batch of the missiles was about to be shipped, according to sources in Israel and the US Congress. [Read more...]
On Sunday, Massoud Barzani, President of Iraqi Kurdistan, called on the international community to provide arms directly to the Kurdish Regional Government to enable it to combat the barbarically brutal Islamic State. Iraq’s Kurds are pro-American. They govern their territory effectively and peaceably, and they are among the most tolerant people in the Muslim Middle East—qualities demonstrated anew, as they provide refuge to the hundreds of thousands who have fled the advances of the Islamic State and who include members of Iraq’s ancient Christian and Yazidi communities, as well as Shi’ite, and even Sunni, Arabs. Arming the Kurds would seem to have been an obvious step long ago, but President Obama insisted on routing U.S. arms through Baghdad and did not change U.S. policy, until after Barzani’s public appeal. [Read more...]
by Jillian Kay Melchior • National Review Online
As news breaks about the Department of Health and Human Services’ missing HealthCare.gov e-mails, it’s pertinent to note how difficult it has been to obtain records in general about Obamacare, as I’ve learned personally over the past many months.
In Nevada, National Review had to sue the state health exchange before we were able to obtain records about how many Obamacare navigators had criminal backgrounds, despite the fact that they were handling consumers’ private information. (As it turned out, at least eight did.) [Read more...]
by Phil Kerpen • American Commitment
Since 1998 it has been prohibited by federal law for states and localities to tax Internet access. This policy, known as the Internet Tax Freedom Act, has been extended three times with broad bipartisan support. But it is set to expire again on November 1, and some Senate Democrats appear willing, this time, to allow it to actually expire if they can’t use it to leverage an unrelated tax issue. It’s a dangerous game that could cost taxpayers billions of dollars and worsen the digital divide by pricing some lower income Americans off of the Internet entirely.
The House, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, passed a bill last month to make the ban on Internet access taxes permanent. [Read more...]