Archive for Government

Your Government at Work

I haven’t paid much attention to the Bundy ranch standoff beyond acknowledging Mark Steyn’s alarm that the Bureau of Land Management has a sniper team (when Fort Hood does not), and that “public” land has never seemed more privately guarded.

But is this Nevada or Crimea?

On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that “illegal structures” on Bundy’s ranch — water tanks, water lines and corrals — had to be removed to “restore” the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.

However, the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to “seize and impound” Bundy’s cattle.

“Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks … desert environment, shoot cattle,” Houston said.

Bundy’s friends say the BLM wranglers told them the bulls were shot because they were dangerous and could gore their horses. One bull was shot five times.

But Houston said the pen holding the bull wasn’t even bent. “It’s not like the bull was smashing this pen and trying tackle people or anything,” he said. “The pen is sitting here. It hasn’t moved. No damage whatsoever. Where was the danger with that bull?”

Plus he said BLM vehicles appear to have crushed a tortoise burrow near the damaged water tank. “How’s that conservation?” he asked.

Fox News toured the damage — allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management — which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences.

“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week,” said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. “So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they’re a better steward?”

Some have likened this heavy-handed action to Ruby Ridge or even Waco. I think it’s Obama’s Abu Ghraib.

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In for a Penny, in for a Pound

If you’re going to lie like a rug, you might as well lie like a bearskin rug:

The Republican chairman of a House panel that oversees the U.S. Census Bureau slammed the Obama administration on Tuesday over reports that extensive changes to the agency’s annual survey will make it virtually impossible to track how Obamacare has affected Americans.

“The census should not be political,” Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold told Newsmax in a statement. The two-term congressman is chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements.

“These reports do nothing but give more weight to Americans’ level of general distrust in the Obama administration, especially after the president’s failed promise that ‘if you like your health insurance, you can keep it,’ ” Farenthold said.

“We are expecting much lower numbers just because of the questions and how they are asked,” Brett J. O’Hara, chief of the Census Bureau’s health statistics operation, told the Times.

[B]ureau officials told the newspaper that the questions are so different that it will be very difficult to compare the results with data from previous years.

As such, the new findings will make it hard for officials to determine what changes in recipients’ health-coverage status might have resulted from Obamacare.

Which. Is. The. Point.

Seven million? 7.1? 7.5? 9.3? ObamaCare will cost less yet premiums will go up? It’s only numbers. NUMBers.

Exactly, Apollonia. “Monday Tuesday Thursday Wednesday Friday Sunday Saturday.” What difference, at this point, does it make?

The Census Bureau operated as an independent entity within the U.S. Commerce Department, answering to the Commerce Secretary, though its director is appointed by the president. The current director is John Thompson.

But that changed in 2009, when President Barack Obama moved the bureau under the Office of Management in Budget, which falls under the purview of the White House. Thompson now answers to Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

I’ll bet he does.

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We Get Results

Aggie told you about the federal government confiscating tax returns of people whose parents—their parents!—may have owed money.

Not no more:

The Social Security Administration announced Monday it is suspending a controversial program that goes after adult children of deceased taxpayers who the government claims were recipients of overpayments more than a decade ago.

Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said she has directed an immediate halt to the three-year-old program while the agency does a review. The controversial program seized tax refunds in an effort to recoup the funds.

The move to halt the program came after many of the recipients and members of Congress complained to the federal agency.

It may sound bad, but consider some of the deadbeats they’ve gone after:

There are several scenarios in which people may have received overpayments as children. For example, when a parent of a minor child dies, the child may be eligible for survivor’s benefits, which are typically sent to the surviving parent or guardian.

If there was an overpayment made on behalf of the child, that child could be held liable years later, as an adult.

Also, if a child is disabled, he or she may receive overpayments.

Orphans and crippled kids: those bastards are always trying to get away with stuff. But, typically, our government crumples at the first sign of resistance:

“We want to assure the public that we do not seek restitution through tax refund offset in cases when the debt in question was established prior to the debtor turning 18 years of age,” Social Security spokesman Mark Hinkle said in an email. “Also, we do not use tax refund offset to collect the debt of a person’s relative — we only use it to collect the overpaid benefits the person received for himself or herself.”

Hinkle said the debt collection could be waived if the person is without fault and repayment would “deprive the person of income needed for ordinary living expenses or would be unfair for another reason.”

I thought paying taxes was patriotic? What a climb-down. When did we become France?

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Obama’s IRS Lies And The MSM

In fact, the IRS did not hassle “progressive” groups

IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed, according to a bombshell new staff report prepared by the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa.

IRS agents testified before Oversight that ACORN groups were scrutinized because the agency thought they were old organizations applying as new ones. Emerge America was scrutinized for potential “improper private benefit.” No evidence exists that the IRS requested additional information from any Occupy Wall Street group.

“Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

“[T]he Administration and congressional Democrats have seized upon the notion that the IRS’s targeting was not just limited to conservative applicants,” the report states. “These Democratic claims are flat-out wrong and have no basis in any thorough examination of the facts. Yet, the Administration’s chief defenders continue to make these assertions in a concerted effort to deflect and distract from the truth about the IRS’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.”

“[T]here is simply no evidence that any liberal or progressive group received enhanced scrutiny because its application reflected the organization’s political views,” the report stated.

Big surprise.

- Aggie

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What Do You Call 7.1 Million Lawsuits v Sebelius?

A good start:

Security consultant David Kennedy, who has testified before Congress about the flaws in Healthcare.gov that have made people’s information unsafe, revealed Monday he was able to gain access to the personal records of 70,000 Obamacare enrollees in four minutes.

“It looks like it’s continuing to get worse,” Kennedy said of the website’s security fiasco.

What’s more, it appears he used methods that are available to anyone:

We didn’t actually hack the website. This is basically from what we could find open on the Internet . . . If hackers actually target their efforts on Healthcare.gov, it’s disastrous what type of information they could actually find on the website.

Kennedy added that the very fact that the website is still so bad it crashed Monday suggests security issues must also be a problem.

What would we do without experts?

I’ve employed some of my technical skills to look into the health records of some of our readers (don’t ask how). Let’s just say I’m relieved our relationship is at some remove.

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If You Like Your Brewski, You Can Keep Your Brewskie

Doing to beer what they did to health insurance:

Beer brewers are objecting to a proposed federal rule that would make it harder for breweries to sell leftover grains as animal feed instead of throwing them away.

The Food and Drug Administration rule change would mean brewers would have to meet the same standards as livestock and pet-food manufacturers, imposing new sanitary handling procedures, record keeping and other food safety processes on brewers.

Beer makers complain that the new rules, if adopted, would force them to dump millions of tons of “spent grains,” which are left over after barley, wheat and other grains are steeped in hot water.

Bear Republic brewmaster Rich Norgrove says the rules would be costly and force brewers to dump the grains, instead of the more sustainable practice of feeding them to livestock.

The Northern California brewery sells its spent grain to local ranches, which use it as an affordable food source for about 300 head of cattle, according to The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

“Now the government wants to get involved,” Cheryl LaFranchi, a Knight’s Valley rancher, said. “What are they going to do with it? Put it in a landfill?”

The most blood-curdling words you’ll ever here: “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

Chris Thorne of the Beer Institute said he believes once the FDA has all of the information, it will see the benefits of the current system of recycling the old grain.

“This regulation is onerous and expensive, but really it’s just unnecessary. There has never been a single reported negative incidence with spent grain,” Thorne said in a statement.

Santa Rosa rancher Jim Cunningham gets about 10 tons of used grain from the Lagunitas Brewery every day at about $100 per ton.

With drought and other factors pushing commercial feed prices more than three times higher than the brewery grain, he says the new rules would affect his bottom line.

“It might put us out of business if we couldn’t get cheaper feed,” Cunningham said.

Change the title of this post to read: “If You Like Your Rib-Eye…”

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Oh, That’s “Social Justice”!

I asked the other day what the hell the term meant, and concluded: “’social justice’ would seem to mean a vicious cycle of liberal nonsense”, in which a do-gooding government would stick its nose into the marketplace of labor and management for the benefit of the former and the detriment of the latter (that’s the justice part), only to see its heavy-handed, anti-capitalist efforts lead to layoffs and economic sclerosis.

I kinda talk that way sometimes.

But God bless Prager University (and Professor Jonah Goldberg) for taking a crack at the question too.

The video won’t play for me, but here are selections from the transcript:

Try this at your next party. Ask your guests to define the term Social Justice.

Since everyone on that side of the spectrum talks incessantly about social justice, they should be able to provide a good definition, right?

But ask ten liberals to tell you what they mean by social justice and you’ll get ten different answers.

That’s because Social Justice means anything its champions want it to mean.

“The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families — to bring economic justice to the workplace, and social justice to our nation.”

In short, “social justice” is code for good things no one needs to argue for — and no one dare be against.

This very much troubled the great economist Friedrich Hayek.

This is what he wrote in 1976, two years after winning the Nobel Prize in Economics.

“I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term ‘social justice’.”

Pro or con, good or bad, it still has no concrete meaning (which is Goldberg’s point).

So what the hell does it mean?

Hayek understood that beneath the political opportunism and intellectual laziness of the term “social justice” was a pernicious philosophical claim, namely that freedom must be sacrificed in order to redistribute income.

Ultimately, “social justice” is about the state amassing ever increasing power in order to, do “good things.” What are good things?

Well whatever the champions of social justice decide this week.

But first, last and always it is the cause of economic redistribution.

Well, “Professor” Goldberg, that’s what you say, you reactionary killjoy. Maybe it means flowers and butterflies to other people.

You don’t have to take my word for it.

That is precisely how a UN report on Social Justice defines the term:

“Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.

Social justice is not possible without strong and coherent redistributive policies conceived and implemented by public agencies.”

I repeat: “Strong and coherent redistributive policies conceived and implemented by public agencies.”

And it gets worse.

The UN report goes on to insist that: “Present-day believers in an absolute truth identified with virtue and justice are neither willing nor desirable companions for the defenders of social justice.”

Translation: if you believe truth and justice are concepts independent of the agenda of the forces of progress as defined by the left, you are an enemy of social justice.

Yet again, if you scratch a liberal, you find a fascist underneath. (And probably need a tetanus shot.)

The self-declared champions of social justice believe the state must remedy and can remedy all perceived wrongs.

Anyone who disagrees is an enemy of what is good and right.

And the state must therefore coerce them to do what is socially just.

And that, as Hayek prophesized, is no longer a free society.

It is, rather, ObAmerica.

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MostlyCloudy.gov

A website based on deceit and fraud, designed by the government, intended to sell you on a thoroughly discredited theory…do these guys never learn?

The Obama administration is launching a new online effort to warn the public about the dangers of climate change.

The White House is unveiling a new website Wednesday, climate.data.gov, that will let citizens, businesses and local governments take the latest scientific data and see how their communities will be affected by rising seas, heat waves and drought.

The website is part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s efforts to boost public support for his initiative to fight climate change.

It worked so well for health care!

Imagine if old pharaoh had had the internet at his disposal to let the citizens of ancient Egypt see how the plague of frogs would effect the kingdom from Memphis to Thebes. “The Romans just want to help the single-cubits. We want all folks to receive their fair share of manna.”

Because you rely on me, I clicked over to climate.data.gov (an Orwellian URL if there ever was one).

I sh*t you not:

Untitled

However stupid these people are, we folks are even stupider. Would ancient Egyptians have fallen for “If you like your first-born, you can keep your first-born”?

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Why Would You Want to Keep Your Doctor?

When Big Government Liberals meet real world problems, they do what any sane person would do.

Blame you and me:

In Health Care, Choice Is Overrated

Ezekiel J. Emanuel

Despite the fact that so many Americans are already in selective networks, they are nervous that the Affordable Care Act, which I helped design as an adviser to the Obama administration, will further restrict their choice of doctors or make them pay higher out-of-network charges.

Boy, is that ever a Fox Butterfield construction. It’s because (not despite) Americans have managed to find a competent doctor in their plan that they fear ObamaCare, “which [he] helped design as an adviser to the Obama administration, will further restrict their choice of doctors or make them pay higher out-of-network charges.” It already has, in thousands of cases.

But the man who brought you ObamaCare has it all figured out. You know how to make it up to people? Better doctors for all:

But selective networks themselves are not a problem. The problem is that not all networks are of consistently high quality.

Millions of people enroll in top-flight managed care plans like Kaiser Permanente, limiting themselves to the physicians employed by these companies. Rarely do you hear Kaiser beneficiaries complain about the tyranny of their restrictive network. Why should they, when they have first-rate providers?

As more people enter the A.C.A.’s new insurance exchanges, they will get to choose between a bronze plan with a narrow network and lower premiums and a platinum plan with a broader network and higher premiums. Inevitably, some insurance plans will offer narrow networks with poor-quality providers.

However, there are four ways that we could reassure Americans that they are getting high-quality care despite choosing a narrow network.

I’ll spare you the meddling superficialities. It’s a NY Times piece if you like the sound of a mosquito whining in your ear.

The law isn’t at fault, oh no, sh*tty doctors are at fault. And you… you people, who insist that nothing can ever change. And he’s just the guy to fix what he broke. If you… you people would just get over yourselves.

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Dennis Prager on Big Government

He’s not a fan, as you might have guessed:

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Minimum Wage To Rise; Poor, Homeless Hardest Hit

Don’t worry, it’s actually quite amusing.

It’s happening in Seattle! Hahahahaha!!!!

A proposal to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour would force many nonprofit organizations to either shut their doors or limit their services to the disabled and needy, according to a preliminary study conducted by the Seattle Human Services Coalition (SHSC).

The authors of the study concluded that, “Since nonprofits generally do not have the option of covering an increase in wages by ‘raising their prices or decreasing profits,’ resources would either have to be added to the agency or be shifted within the agency in order to raise wages.”

They noted that the extreme wage hikes would adversely impact Seattle’s most downtrodden residents.

“Without additional resources added, often the only option would be to decrease or cut services, meaning the impacts would be felt first by the most vulnerable members of the Seattle communities: the people who need these services,” read the study.

The study found that shelter beds for the homeless, meal service for the formerly homeless and housing for the disabled could in some cases be eliminated. Head Start availability would be decreased, eliminating at least one classroom serving 20 children. Food banks would be closed one or more days per week, with some possibly closing entirely.

If those homeless and disabled would only get a job, they’d be rolling in clover! Fifteen bucks an hour? Who needs pre-school if you can learn to bag fries?

I’m sorry. I don’t really want the poor to go hungry or the homeless to shiver in the cold rain of the Pacific Northwest. That’s what Seattle liberals want. But I can at least laugh at their inept do-goodery.

And I do. Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

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Lois, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do

Now, where were we?

House Republicans announced Tuesday that they are recalling Lois G. Lerner, the former IRS employee at the center of the tea party targeting scandal, to testify to Congress next week, saying she has critical information.

Ms. Lerner asserted her right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination at a hearing last year, but at the time she also proclaimed her innocence. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, said she effectively waived her Fifth Amendment rights with that claim and made her open to being compelled to testify.

“Ms. Lerner’s testimony remains critical to the committee’s investigation,” Mr. Issa said in a letter to her attorney, William W. Taylor III. “Documents and testimony obtained by the committee show that she played a significant role in scrutinizing applications for tax exempt status from conservative organizations.”

In a dramatic hearing in May, just weeks after the targeting was revealed, Ms. Lerner appeared before the oversight committee and refused to testify.

Republicans initially seemed prepared to excuse her, but Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and a former prosecutor, raised an objection saying her statement of innocence amounted to waiving her right to remain silent.

Technically, Gowdy had a point. If you assert your 5th Amendment right to remain silent, you remain silent. You don’t get to apply it selectively. Politically, however, it would appear as bullying if mean old Republicans compelled this damsel in distress to answer their questions.

But aren’t we past that now? It’s now clear not only what happened, but why. The Tea Party (more a movement than a party) rose up to swing the 2010 elections to Republicans; that was not going to happen in 2012 if Obama and his shock troops had anything to do with it. And they did. And it didn’t.

Obama feigned outrage, once, when the story broke, but he got over it. Now it’s a “phony” scandal. What’s he going to do, investigate himself? His myriad agencies and departments are too busy mobilizing against any dissent or opposition to look into malfeasance from the Oval Office. Heck, we just learned the that Treasury Secretary himself placed a scathing call to S&P for lowering the nation’s credit-rating directly AFTER meeting with Obama. He learned that one from his hermano de una otra madre, Hugo Chavez (may he burn in hell).

Eric Holder has already announced his intention to enforce only those laws that meet his fancy; he recently encouraged state AGs to follow suit. Along with the IRS and FEC disenfranchisement of conservative Americans, the FCC floated the idea of “monitoring” media newsrooms. Even signature pieces of legislation (constitutional legislation, bitches) are applied only according to taste.

This is statism out of control. Obama is more than just the evil twin of Chavez. No wonder he made a bee-line to his true idol—or as close as he could get:


Do please tell Fidel that I send my best—and that I bowed.

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