Sometimes A Change Is Needed

CNS News is reporting tonight that President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey.  Both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommended the firing.

The article reports:

In a letter to Comey on Tuesday, Trump said he received letters from the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommending that Comey be fired, and the president has accepted their recommendation.

“I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately,” Trump said.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” the president said.

“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors,” he added.

The search begins immediately for Comey’s replacement.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that “this was a difficult decision for all concerned.”

“I appreciate Director Comey’s service to our nation in a variety of roles,” Graham said in a statement.

“Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well. I encourage the President to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation’s interests,” Graham added.

Although I believe James Comey attempted to be even-handed while at the FBI, there were a few times when he dropped the ball.

A website called grabien lists ten scandals that occurred during James Comey’s tenure at the FBI:

1. Before he bombed the Boston Marathon, the FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev but let him go. Russia sent the Obama Administration a second warning, but the FBI opted against investigating him again.

2. Shortly after the NSA scandal exploded in 2013, the FBI was exposed conducting its own data mining on innocent Americans; the agency, Bloomberg reported, retains that material for decades (even if no wrongdoing is found).

3. The FBI had possession of emails sent by Nidal Hasan saying he wanted to kill his fellow soldiers to protect the Taliban — but didn’t intervene, leading many critics to argue the tragedy that resulted in the death of 31 Americans at Fort Hood could have been prevented. 

4. During the Obama Administration, the FBI claimed that two private jets were being used primarily for counterterrorism, when in fact they were mostly being used for Eric Holder and Robert Mueller’s business and personal travel. 

5. When the FBI demanded Apple create a “backdoor” that would allow law enforcement agencies to unlock the cell phones of various suspects, the company refused, sparking a battle between the feds and America‘s biggest tech company. What makes this incident indicative of Comey’s questionable management of the agency is that a) The FBI jumped the gun, as they were indeed ultimately able to crack the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone, and b) Almost every other major national security figure sided with Apple (from former CIA Director General Petraeus to former CIA Director James Woolsey to former director of the NSA, General Michael Hayden), warning that such a “crack” would inevitably wind up in the wrong hands.

6. In 2015, the FBI conducted a controversial raid on a Texas political meeting, finger printing, photographing, and seizing phones from attendees (some in the group believe in restoring Texas as an independent constitutional republic).

7. During its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified material, the FBI made an unusual deal in which Clinton aides were both given immunity and allowed to destroy their laptops. 

8. The father of the radical Islamist who detonated a backpack bomb in New York City in 2016 alerted the FBI to his son’s radicalization. The FBI, however, cleared Ahmad Khan Rahami after a brief interview. 

9. The FBI also investigated the terrorist who killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Despite a more than 10-month investigation of Omar Mateen — during which Mateen admitting lying to agents — the FBI opted against pressing further and closed its case. 

10. CBS recently reported that when two terrorists sought to kill Americans attending the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas, the FBI not only had an understanding an attack was coming, but actually had an undercover agent traveling with the Islamists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. The FBI has refused to comment on why the agent on the scene did not intervene during the attack. 

There are just too many concerns about some of Director Comey’s actions during his tenure at the FBI. It is time for him to leave so that the agency can regain the confidence of the American people.

 

The Spin Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Yesterday The Chicago Tribune posted an article that seems to correct some of the charges made against President Trump about the cost of his travels to Florida. President Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago six times since he took office. I would like to note that he is not paying rent while he is there–he owns the place. As for arguments that the Secret Service is paying rent, I don’t know, but I do know the Secret Service paid rent to Joe Biden when they stayed on his property, so that is not anything new.

At any rate, the article reports:

With President Donald Trump making his seventh presidential trip this weekend to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, government watchdogs and Democrats are once again seeing dollar signs: namely, $3 million.

There are a few problems with the way this figure was reached. It was based on a trip President Obama made in 2013 to Palm Beach:

…Another problem with extrapolating from the October 2016 GAO report is that it included a leg from Washington to Chicago, where Obama gave an economic speech before heading to Palm Beach for a long weekend of golf.

Obama was only in Chicago for a few hours, but costs pile up because each destination triggers the need for the Secret Service to prepare and protect the site and the Defense Department to move the equipment involved.

Another significant cost-driver, GAO noted, is the per-hour cost of military aircraft, such as the president’s plane, Air Force One. So it’s not just a matter of slicing off a few hundred thousand dollars to come up with the $3 million estimate.

“If you take out Chicago, that just means the equipment is going to have to come from other bases,” Lepore said. Sometimes that means more money, sometimes less.

Judicial Watch arrives at its $1 million figure by estimating flight time and typical Secret Service costs, leaving out airlifting equipment such as the presidential limousines. Those costs also aren’t fully included in Judicial Watch’s $96 million total for Obama.

I would like to note that President Trump has been doing business while in Mar-a-Lago. Certainly it is an impressive place to meet with foreign leaders. I also wonder if it has less of a change of electronic surveillance than meetings in the White House. Considering all that we have learned about the surveillance of the Trump team, that might be a valid consideration.

Voter Fraud Is A Problem

One of the easiest ways to commit voter fraud is through the use of absentee ballots–numbers of people can be registered at one address and their ballots mailed in–whether they actually live there or not. In Florida absentee ballots were stolen, voted, and returned without having ever reached the people they were supposed to go to.

On Thursday, Breitbart posted a story about a problem with absentee ballots in California.

The article reported:

California resident Jerry Mosna found 83 unused 2016 voter ballots at his home over the weekend — each ballot had a different name but were all addressed to his neighbor’s two-bedroom apartment — causing concern and serious suspicion of voter fraud.

The office of the Registrar stated that they believe this is an isolated incident caused by a system error that issued duplicate ballots. They are working to correct the problem and have stated that the U.S. Postal Service has returned all improperly addressed ballots to the Registrar’s office.

When True the Vote investigated voter fraud in Texas (story here), one of the things they did was check for duplicate addresses. In one case, they found forty people registered at an eight-bed halfway house.

In 2011, I reported some of the results of their investigation:

“Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Sean Caddle, who formerly worked for the Service Employees International Union. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. The other registrations included one of a woman who registered six times in the same day; registrations of non-citizens; so many applications from one Houston Voters collector in one day that it was deemed to be beyond human capability; and 1,597 registrations that named the same person multiple times, often with different signatures.”

There were 22,000 plus invalid registrations. That’s enough to change an election result. It’s time to make sure our election process is secure.

 

 

The Struggle To Get Your Message Out

The twisting and turning of the Obama Administration to avoid using the word terrorism is rather obvious. At times it borders on comedy. After the Orlando attack, the Department of Justice stated that we may never know the motive of the shooter (the fact that he called 911 and claimed to be doing the shooting for ISIS was somehow seen as irrelevant). According to Stephen Coughlin in his book Catastrophic Failure, “In October 2011, elements of the American Muslim Brotherhood wrote the White House demanding an embargo or discontinuation of information and materials relating to Islamic-based terrorism—even insisting on firings, “re-training,” and “purges” of officers, analysts, special agents, and decision-makers who created or made such materials available.” The White House complied. That purging of the truth when training the people who are supposed to protect us is a serious problem. The media has followed the lead of the White House. This move has not protected us, but it has caused an interesting change of strategy on the part of the terrorist leaders.

Yesterday the following was posted at National Review:

Lone wolf jihadists should target white Americans so no one mistakes their terror attacks for hate crimes unrelated to the cause of radical Islam, Al Qaeda writes in the latest edition of its online magazine.
In an article first reported by The Foreign Desk, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) called for more self-directed Muslim terrorists to kill in America. But the article, titled “Inspire guide: Orlando operation,” tells terrorists to “avoid targeting places and crowds where minorities are generally found” because if gays or Latinos appear to be the targets, “the federal government will be the one taking full responsibility.
The headline of the article at National Review is, “Al Qaeda: Kill White People So the Left Doesn’t Screw Up the Narrative.”

The article states:
By attacking a gay club, Omar Mateen likely thought he’d chose the perfect target for illustrating his jihadist motivations. After all, ISIS and multiple other jihadist organizations are known for executing gays in particularly vile ways. But when the Left’s narrative collides with ISIS’s, the Left’s narrative wins — so a Muslim Democrat’s attack became an expression of Christian Republican hate. It was the most extraordinary perversion of truth that I’ve ever seen.

We will never defeat someone trying to destroy us if we refuse to name them.

As Predicted

There were many parents and grandparents who opposed President Obama’s bathroom bill. Their opposition had nothing to do with discrimination against transgenders or wanting to make transgendered people feel uncomfortable–it had to do with those who would use the law as a cover for unacceptable activities that would not have been possible without the law. The story I am about to post is from a few weeks ago, but it is an illustration of the consequences of President Obama’s bathroom (locker room) bill.

There are two sources for this story. One is the U.K. Daily Mail and the other is the DC Gazette. They both tell the same story.

The DC Gazette reports:

When Obama ordered his sweeping transgender bathroom demands to be enforced across the country, parents everywhere felt a sick feeling in their stomachs. It wasn’t so much a concern over transgender students, but more about young hormone-driven teenage boys now being allowed to use the restroom with their daughters.

Well, our fears have come true in a Fort Myers school and all conservatives can say is ” I told you so.”

Several male students at South Fort Myers High School are under investigation for what the school is calling “inappropriate activity” in a girls’ bathroom.

According to reports, 20+ members of the school’s football team entered the schools ladies locker room and had sex with a 15 year old female student. The boys also allegedly recorded the incident on a cell phone. It’s not yet known if the young girl participated willingly or not, but police are viewing the footage to decide if criminal charges need to be filed. 

The U.K. Daily Mail reports:

A 15-year-old high school girl has allegedly been caught on camera having sex with multiple boys in a girls’ bathroom on campus.

At least one student has been disciplined for ‘inappropriate activity’ after police reports suggested 25 boys were seen going in and out of the bathroom at South Fort Myers High School in Fort Myers, Florida.

The girl reportedly told the school’s principal she ‘had sex with a number of the boys’, while fellow students claimed the group ‘locked themselves’ in and filmed the acts on camera.

Footage of the incident was sent round school on Snapchat, according to Fox4now.   

Isn’t there a grown-up somewhere in the Obama Administration that remembers the raging hormones of their teenage years? This was a disaster waiting to happen, and unless President Obama’s directive that bathrooms and locker rooms be open to whoever feels like whatever, there will be more stories like this. Is there anyone in Washington who cares enough for the next generation to speak up to protect it?

Reining In An Out Of Control Government

Civil asset forfeiture has become a problem in America in recent years. I have written about a number of cases of forfeiture in recent years. Two of these stories are here and hereHot Air posted an article today citing what Florida has decided to do about this government abuse of power.

The article at Hot Air reports:

Some great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state’s asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a “civil”, not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they’ve pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs.

The civil asset forfeiture law was put into effect to allow municipalities to sell off the assets of criminals and use the money for municipal purposes. In order to trace drug money, a law was passed that any cash deposit of $10,000 or more had to be documented by the bank involved. This law was abused and used against small businesses that generally made cash deposits of less than $10,000. They were accused of making the small deposits to avoid the law, and their bank accounts were seized. A number of small businesses were forced out of business by these actions. Aside from the fact that that this is simply government overreach, it is also a violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Montana and New Mexico have already passed laws to curb the abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws. We need this trend to continue.

Religious Discrimination Is Still Illegal In America

World Net Daily posted an article yesterday about a recent court case in Jacksonville, Florida. The case involved The Church of Our Savior in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The church had been renting space to meet, meeting in homes, etc. and finally bought a piece of land to build a permanent place to meet.

The article reports:

Members bought land for a permanent meeting site, but city officials refused permission, citing the character of the neighborhood.

A court eventually ruled that the city, under federal law, must allow the church to use the land it bought. And now the Alliance Defending Freedom has announced an agreement in which the city must pay “$290,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses the church incurred to defend its constitutionally and legally protected freedoms.”

The interesting part of this article is that fact that the city officials claimed to be protecting the ‘character’ of the neighborhood.

The article reports:

The church’s property is adjacent to an amusement park that offers water attractions, miniature golf and laser tag, and the plan was for a 7,400-square foot, one-story building for an estimated 200 worshipers.

The city’s Planning and Development Department had recommended permission be granted for the church to build.

But several neighbors objected, and one member of the planning commission “expressed his belief that the church was not consistent with the character of the neighborhood,” leading to a 5-0 vote to reject the plan.

I see nothing wrong with putting a church next to an amusement park–I think it is a great idea–encourage people to bring a change of clothes to church and visit the park afterwords. This could actually be a really good thing for the amusement park and for the neighborhood.

One thing I would like to note that the article mentioned:

“A city’s zoning restrictions cannot be used to single out churches for discrimination, so we are pleased at the outcome of this case,” said Daniel P. Dalton of the Michigan law firm Dalton & Tomich, an ADF affiliate.

He cited the court’s ruling that the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act meant the city couldn’t interfere with the church’s plans to build a facility.

Our laws protect Christians against the kind of discrimination that this city attempted. All of us need to be aware of our rights under the law.

In the past, anti-religious groups have used lawsuits to drain the finances of religious groups. Since the religious groups could not afford the legal costs, they often lost the rights the law gives them. In this case, because the city was forced to pay court costs, other groups may reconsider before attempting to infringe on the rights of Christians.

There Seems To Be A Total Lack Of Common Sense In Government Policy

Yesterday Mary Katharine Ham posted an article at Hot Air about how government regulations are impacting the Ocheesee Creamery in Florida.

The story reports:

Sometimes government’s dishonesty, incompetence, wastefulness, and misguided nannyism combine to make a perfectly ridiculous story. Today’s comes to us from Florida, where the Ocheesee Creamery is being forced to dump gallons upon gallons of good, natural skim milk because the state is requiring the business to label its good, natural skim milk “imitation” because they haven’t added anything to it.

Paul and Mary Lou Wesselhoeft have been fighting this in federal court with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, which had formerly allowed them to sell their skim milk while calling it skim milk. No one seemed confused by this except the state government, which changed its requirements.

This is not the first time a state government or the federal government has regulated something in a way that defied common sense.

The article cites a 2012 Colorado case:

Communities lose jobs, entrepreneurs lose dreams, and consumers lose great products for the silliest of reasons. The story of the Wesselhoefts reminded me of the closing of Il Mondo Vecchio in Colorado in 2012— an “Old-World-style salumeria” similarly dedicated to natural processes. The FDA was having none of that, requiring that these sausage-makers, adored by Denver foodies, add nitrates, nitrites and preservatives to their meats.

I’m all in favor of keeping America’s food supply safe. I also like the idea of labeling products correctly. However, this is ridiculous.

 

The Media Is Going To Do This To All Republican Candidates–We Need To Learn How To Deal With It

By now we have all heard about the New York Times Story of Marco Rubio and his luxury speedboat. I found a picture of the boat at Yahoo:

Marco Rubio’s ‘Luxury’ Boat Can Fit In Hillary Clinton’s Pool

The New York Times called it an $80,000 speedboat. I am not a boat person, but somehow I find that rather hard to believe. If he paid $80,000 for this boat, we should not elect him for President simply because he is fiscally irresponsible. Somehow I doubt that is the case.

On the other hand, the media never seemed particularly interested in Secretary of State John Kerry‘s boat when he was running for office or when he was a Senator from Massachusetts. Below is a picture of the boat parked in Nantucket (not exactly the low-rent district):

JohnKerry3Just for the record, there is another twist on the John Kerry’s boat story. In July of 2010, the Huffington Post reported:

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is docking his family’s new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to the cash-strapped Bay State.

If the “Isabel” were kept at the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee’s summer vacation home on Nantucket, or in Boston Harbor near his city residence, he would be liable for $437,500 in one-time sales tax. He would also have to pay $70,000 in annual excise taxes.

Leave Marco Rubio alone–at least he is not avoiding taxes on a $7 million dollar yacht.

All voters need to understand that the media is not unbiased. They are going to try to destroy any candidate who looks like he (or she) might be a challenge to Hillary Clinton. We need to learn how to read between the lines and how to fight back. It would be nice if the media took the time and had the inclination to tell both sides of all stories about everyone’s campaign for President, but that is simply not the case. The solution is that voters have to know how to get past the media and do their own research.

It Will Be Interesting To See If This Goes Anywhere

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a lawsuit filed in Florida charging the Clinton Foundation with racketeering. The lawsuit was filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch.

The article reports:

The racketeering, influenced and corrupt organizations, or RICO, case alleges the former first couple and their family philanthropy traded political favors for donations or generous speaking fees for Bill Clinton while his wife was the nation’s chief diplomat.

“Negotiations by email about influencing U.S. foreign policy or U.S. Government actions to benefit donors to … The Clinton Foundation or sponsors of speaking engagements would not be captured on a U.S. Government email account because her emails would not be with a U.S. Government official,” Klayman said in court documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“Hillary Clinton deleted 32,000 email messages from her email server that included her communications arranging, negotiating, and agreeing upon speaking engagements by Bill Clinton in return for large speaking fees and donations to The Clinton Foundation,” the documents, dated May 20, said.

There has been so much questionable behavior regarding finances surrounding the Clintons, it is amazing that there have not been more legal steps taken to hold them accountable. I am reminded that the life expectancy of many people involved with the Clintons in Arkansas seemed to be very short. It would be very interesting to see Hillary Clinton’s emails involved in negotiating speaking fees and consulting fees.

 

Using The Government To Punish Those Who Don’t Agree With You

One of the side effects of having a petulant person in the White House is that anytime someone contradicts the wishes of the White House there is retribution of some sort. This has now extended to the matter of Climate Change.

On Thursday, The Weather Channel posted an article entitled, “FEMA Won’t Help States That Don’t Plan For Climate Change.” Thank about that for a moment. The federal government should be willing to help all states in case of emergency. Climate Change is not settled science, and no natural catastrophe has ever been linked to climate change. In fact, as climate change believers howl about increased damage from hurricanes, the amount of hurricanes since 2005 have gone down significantly. Also, the true numbers (rightwinggranny.com) show that the earth has not warmed for more than a decade.

The article at The Weather Channel reports:

States publish reports every five years or so detailing their vulnerability to natural disasters, such as floods, storms and wildfires, and how they plan to protect themselves and recover after them. Such plans are needed in order to qualify for a share of nearly $1 billion in Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants provided every year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But those plans rarely consider climate change impacts in detail — an omission that could see states become ineligible for the grants after new guidelines take effect early next year. Under FEMA’s updated guidelines, published last week, state disaster plans will only be approved if they adequately describe how the likelihood and intensity of natural hazards could be affected by growing levels of greenhouse gas pollution.

“The risk assessment must provide a summary of the probability of future hazard events,” the new guidelines state. “Probability must include considerations of changing future conditions, including the effects of long-term changes in weather patterns and climate.”

This is more of the government attempting to control the debate. Why does the government support global warming? If the earth is warming at a catastrophic rate, the government will have to take action (thus gaining more control over its citizens). It is interesting that study grants are more like to be given to groups that support global warming than groups that do not.

From a comment left at wattsupwiththat:

Sir Harry Flashman says;

If you can tell me where to line up for my AGW money I’d really appreciate cause I could use a few extra bucks right now.

Well you could try applying for a grant from The Rockefeller Brothers Fund:

From 2003 to present;

Bill McKibben’s;
Step it Up ($200,000)
1Sky.org ($2,100,000)
350.org ($875,000)

Total RBF grants to Mckibben = $3,175,000

Al Gore’s – Alliance for Climate Protection = $250,000
David Suzuki Foundation = $185,000

The Sierra Club = $1,665,000
Friends of the Earth = $777,500
Friends of the Earth International = $290,000
The Pacific Institute (President; Peter Gleick) = $670,000
Greenpeace Fund = $550,000
Center for Climate Strategies = $5,171,600
The Union of Concerned Scientists = $75,000
Media Matters for America = $375,000
Environmental Defense Fund = $550,000
Natural Resources Defense Council = $1,660,000
National Wildlife Federation = $1,025,000

Sceptic ‘think tanks’;
The Heartland Institute
The Cato Institute
The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)

= $0.00

That pretty much tells the story.

I Hope Alan Dershowitz Is Successful In Clearing His Name

Alan Dershowitz has been accused of having sex with one of the women involved in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Attorney Dershowitz was on the Bill Bennett show this morning and mentioned the accusation. He stated that he had made one trip to the Caribbean Island in question–with his wife and children and that nothing unseemly involving him took place.

Lately we have seen a lot of people charged with various sexual escapades–some going back many years–and there seems to be a pattern here. The accusers speak out, ruin the reputation of the person accused, there is no chance for the person accused to prove his innocence, and the professional career of the accused person is ruined. I have no idea how many of these charges are true, but it seems to me that the Duke la crosse case and the Virginia Tech case at least illustrate that there should be room for doubt.

An article posted at Yahoo News on Friday states:

In a statement provided by her lawyers, Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards, Roberts said, “I am looking forward to vindicating my rights as an innocent victim and pursuing all available recourse. It appears that I am now being unjustly victimized again. … I’m not going to be bullied back into silence.”

Dershowitz is angry at Cassell and Edwards too, saying that they did not contact him before filing the motion and that if they had, he could have provided evidence that he had not met Roberts.

“I won’t rest until these lawyers admit they made it up,” said Dershowitz, who also vowed to have them disbarred. “It’s amazing to me that lawyers, including a former federal judge, could file something like this.” Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah, served as a federal district judge for five years. Edwards is a Florida attorney who represents crime victims.

If these charges are false, as they seem to be, the attorneys involved may regret going after Alan Dershowitz. Alan Dershowitz is a liberal, but he is a principled liberal. He has spoken out against various Democrat politicians when he felt that they were wrong. I am sure that he has made many political enemies by refusing to support the liberal agenda blindly. It would be interesting to know which of those enemies is behind these charges.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

CBN News posted an article today about the release of Republican Sen. Tom Coburn‘s annual “Wastebook” report, which lists 100 examples of wasteful government spending totaling $25 billion.

The article reports:

Examples of wasteful federal spending include the following:

$10,000 to watch grass grow at a Florida reserve

$19 million in paid vacations for government workers, about a third of whom were placed on “administrative leave” for disciplinary reasons, including criminal offenses

$350 million to build a launch pad tower that was mothballed immediately because the rockets it was designed to test had been scrapped years ago

The report also found the State Department used part of its $3 million counterterrorism communications budget to debate terrorists on Twitter.

Why are we debating terrorists on Twitter? Why not use their smart phones to located them and deal with them in a way that prevents terrorism (use your imagination)?

This is another reason we need a new Congress that will put a stop to this foolishness.

How Much For A Coat Of Paint?

City government is complicated, and there are very few people who actually understand what is going on most of the time. One of the people who do understand is Raynor James, who recently posted an article at the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers’ Association website about the recent discussions about the city Housing Authority. Here is the article:

Forget the expensive screw driver…

Should A New Coat of Paint Cost $27.3 Million Dollars?

 

By Raynor James


Eddie Fitzgerald’s recent Sun Journal articles about the New Bern Housing Authority’s dust up with Evergreen of Florida, Transformation Venture Capital, and the Communities Group has me “seeing red.”  Why?
Well, the developer (Evergreen) claims that the Housing Authority breached a contract with it and its limited partners (Transformation Venture Capital, and the Communities Group) relative to Craven Terrace’s future.  However, Mr. Fitzgerald reports that there is opposition from the residents of Craven Terrace to Evergreen’s plans.  He also reports that there is dissension among Housing Authority Board members as to what should be done about Craven Terrace, uncertainty about the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant (going forward with Evergreen’s plans might wipe out that opportunity), and doubts expressed by staff.

It looks as if nobody (except the developer and its limited partners) likes the contract.  What does the contract say?  From the articles, it appears that the developer can plan anything they like for Craven Terrace, and the Housing Authority is required to pay for the plan and its implementation whether they, their staff, or the residents like it or not.  If that’s what the contract says, who signed it, and why?  By whom was the authority to sign authorized?  Did the Housing Authority’s law firm, Ward and Smith, advise the signing of such a unilateral contract?

In his articles, Mr. Fitzgerald indicates that the Housing Authority can lose more than a million dollars if the Housing Authority doesn’t go forward with the contract.  How on earth can that be possible when all that has been done is to come up with some very contentious plans that nobody likes nor seems to want to implement? Why didn’t Ward and Smith review the contract before the Housing Authority signed it and tell them they would paint themselves into a very tight corner if they did sign it?

What a royal screw up.  It looks like the taxpayers are having their money wasted.  Again.  And it looks like that, instead of getting less dense housing that’s integrated into the community in such a way as to not be a magnet for gangs and drug dealers, the residents are on track to receive a new coat of paint and a condescending pat on the head from their “betters.”  Everyone involved deserves better than this.

Do you think the Housing Authority needs to hire a new law firm to help them get out from under the thumb of Evergreen and company?  This mess needs to be cleaned up before good money is thrown after bad. And, fellow taxpayers, it’s OUR money

 

It’s Generally Inconvenient When The Chickens Come Home To Roost

Guy Benson posted an article at Townhall.com today about what is happening to health insurance premiums in Florida due to ObamaCare.

The article reminds us of some of the promises made when ObamaCare was passed:

“We will lower your premiums by $2,500 per family, per year.”

“…save a typical family an average of $2,500 on their healthcare costs…”

“Everybody will have lower rates.”

Well, it just hasn’t worked out that way. There will be an average health insurance rate increase of 13.2 percent for Floridians who buy healthcare insurance on the individual market next year.

Those who supported ObamaCare also told us that ObamaCare would bend the ‘cost curve’ of overall health spending downward. That hasn’t happened either. The projected ten-year cost of ObamaCare has nearly doubled from its original estimated cost. It has followed the path of other government programs over the years–cost more, solve fewer problems.

To add to the mess, the Washington Examiner posted a story yesterday about a government healthcare program started in California as part of the economic stimulus package.

The Washington Examiner reported:

“We need to bundle payments so you aren’t paid for every single treatment you offer a patient with a chronic condition like diabetes, but instead paid well for how you treat the overall disease,” Obama told the crowd of physicians.

Obama was articulating what would become one of the key payment reforms in his health care law — a proposal aimed at giving incentives to providers to control costs by rewarding them for providing less expensive care.

But a study published in the journal Health Affairs looked at an ambitious three-year pilot program of bundled payments in California that was funded by a $2.9 million grant from Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package — and found that the program was such a massive failure, it could hardly get off the ground.

“In spite of a high level of enthusiasm and effort, the pilot did not succeed in its goal to implement bundled payment for orthopedic procedures across multiple payers and hospital-physician partners,” the study reads. “An evaluation of the pilot documented a number of barriers, such as administrative burden, state regulatory uncertainty, and disagreements about bundle definition and assumption of risk. Ultimately, few contracts were signed, which resulted in insufficient volume to test hypotheses about the impact of bundled payment on quality and costs.”

Can we please get the government out of our healthcare and let the people who actually know something about it run it?

 

Government Overreach Is Getting So Bad That The ACLU Is On The Same Side As Many Conservatives

Wired Magazine posted an article on Tuesday which illustrates how the government is interfering with the rights of American citizens. Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a request with the Sarasota, Florida, police department for information detailing its use of a surveillance tool known as stingray. Federal authorities then seized the documents before the police department could release them.

The article reports:

The ACLU had an appointment last Tuesday to review documents pertaining to a case investigated by a Sarasota police detective. But marshals swooped in at the last minute to grab the records, claiming they belong to the U.S. Marshals Service and barring the police from releasing them.

ACLU staff attorney Nathan Freed Wessler called the move “truly extraordinary and beyond the worst transparency violations” the group has seen regarding documents detailing police use of the technology.

“This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information,” Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”

Stingrays, also known as IMSI catchers, simulate a cellphone tower and trick nearby mobile devices into connecting with them, thereby revealing their location. A stingray can see and record a device’s unique ID number and traffic data, as well as information that points to its location. By moving a stingray around, authorities can triangulate a device’s location with greater precision than is possible using data obtained from a carrier’s fixed tower location.

The issue here is the fact that a police detective obtained permission to use a stingray by filing a ‘tap and trace’ request rather than a probable-cause warrant.

The article further reports:

The government has long asserted it doesn’t need a probable-cause warrant to use stingrays because the device doesn’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages, but instead operates like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information. The ACLU and others argue that the devices are more invasive than a trap-and-trace.

Recently, the Tallahassee police department revealed it had used stingrays at least 200 times since 2010 without telling any judge because the device’s manufacturer made the police department sign a non-disclosure agreement that police claim prevented them from disclosing use of the device to the courts.

The ACLU has filed numerous records requests with police departments around the country in an effort to uncover how often the devices are used and how often courts are told about them.

I definitely agree with the ACLU on this. I have no problem with the use of stingrays when probable-cause warrants are obtained, but without those warrants, the use of stingrays is simply another intrusion into the civil rights of Americans by the government. As Americans, all of us need to be aware of when our rights are being threatened, and we need to learn to fight back.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Fighting To Keep Our Elections Honest

Two organizations that are working to keep American elections honest are Judicial Watch and True the Vote. Judicial Watch reached an agreement in January with the State of Ohio that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted agreed to take concrete steps to prevent voter registration fraud in the state. Judicial Watch has issued warnings to top election officials in Iowa, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., to comply with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) or face a Judicial Watch lawsuit within 90 days.

Judicial Watch lists three complaints about the way the Obama Administration is handling elections:

  • Refusing to force states to clean their voter rolls of deceased and moved voters;
  • Fighting state efforts to require voters to show a photo ID at the polls;
  • Failing to enforce our federal laws against illegal immigration and effectively ending the deportation of illegal aliens, thereby swelling the population of potential illegal voters.

True the Vote posts some disturbing statistics on its website:

It’s time to ensure that every person’s vote counts. Please take the time to explore both of these websites to see what you can do to make sure your vote counts.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Protecting Your Vote By Ending Voter Fraud

When we vote, we have the right to expect that our vote will count. We have the right to expect that the election we are voting in will be fair–one vote for person and no one allowed to vote who is not an American citizen. Unfortunately, some of our laws are not written so that this right is protected.

The following video appeared on YouTube. It is an investigative story done by a Florida television station on the subject of voter fraud:

We need to hold the government accountable for insuring the integrity of our elections.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Price Of Governing As A Leftist In A Center-Right Country

Despite what you may hear in the media, politically America is a center-right country. Generally speaking, as Americans we lean toward the middle. The middle has moved slightly to the left, but it is still more conservative than liberal. When America elects a President who moves farther left than the country, interesting things happen. The latest event in this saga was the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Commentary Magazine posted an article about the election on Friday. The article stated:

It’s a district Ms. Sink carried in her unsuccessful race for governor against Rick Scott, a district that Barack Obama carried in his two elections, and a district that demographically now favors Democrats. In addition, Ms. Sink raised more money and ran a better campaign than Jolly. Even Bill Clinton lent his efforts to her campaign. And yet she lost.

…The American people, having lived with the Obama presidency for more than five years, have come to the conclusion–later, I think, than they should have–that he is incompetent, weak, and untrustworthy. And that judgment is directed not just at Mr. Obama; it is implicating his entire party.

Barack Obama produced a health-care proposal that was a liberal dream for a half-century. It is a bitter irony for him, and a predictable result for many of us, that having achieved it, it may well set back the cause of liberalism for years to come.

Bill Clinton has the same problem at one point in his presidency. Democrat candidates did not want to campaign with him. Now candidates prefer campaigning with former President Clinton to campaigning with current President Obama.

I am not ready to declare that the Republicans will sweep the 2014 mid-terms, but I do believe that unless they shoot themselves in the foot, the Republicans will do well in 2014. Meanwhile, ObamaCare has illustrated the fact that although some liberal ideas may sound good on paper, that does not mean that they are good ideas that will workd well.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tax Policies Have Consequences

Today’s New York Post posted an article about the impact of Mayor de Blasio’s proposed tax policies.

The article reports:

Taking a page out of Barack Obama’s playbook, de Blasio casts his push for a tax hike on those earning over $500,000 as a moral imperative.

“I believe it’s time to ask the wealthy to do a little more,” he said last year. He paints taxes as a matter of giving back, as though the money was taken from others.

The article also reports New Yorkers’ response to this idea:

One friend says 10 wealthy people have told him they are leaving and another says disgusted New Yorkers bought $1 billion in residential property in Florida since the November election. The Sunshine State confers an automatic tax cut of about 12 percent because it has no city or state income tax, nor does it have an inheritance tax.

Below is the Laffer Curve. It represents the fact that there is a point where you raise taxes to the point that revenue decreases. There are many reasons for this–people find ways to shield their money from taxes, people relocate to places with lower taxes, and people make a decision to earn less so that they will be taxes less. At any rate, there is a tipping point. It remains to be seen if New York City has reached it.

English: The standard Laffer Curve

English: The standard Laffer Curve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Uneven Treatment, Uneven Coverage

As a former New Englander, I remember when Rhode Island representative Patrick J. Kennedy was driven home in Washington, D. C. after a small automobile accident. His spokespeople reported that he was taking sleeping pills and had suffered side effects. There were other drug-related incidents, and Representative Kennedy eventually entered a short rehabilitation program for OxyContin use. He was re-elected until 2010, when he decided not to run for office.

Fast forward to 2013.

On January 27, 2014, the Christian Science Monitor reported:

US Rep. Trey Radel (R) of Florida, a once-rising star in the tea party movement, resigned from Congress on Monday, following a November conviction of cocaine possession.

Congressman Radel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of narcotics possession in November, after he was caught Oct. 29 trying to buy 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover federal agent in Washington’s Dupont Circle area. During his trial, he reportedly told Judge Robert Tignor that he had “hit a bottom” and realized that he needs help. Radel was sentenced to a one-year probation and a $250 fine.

The story was widely reported.

Today, this story was reported in the Huffington Post:

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) will resign his seat Tuesday, a source familiar with the situation told The Huffington Post. The congressman will hold a press conference at 11:30 to make the announcement.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that Andrews was leaving to take a job at a Philadelphia law firm.

Andrews is the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation over whether he improperly spent campaign cash to pay for personal trips to Scotland and Los Angeles, and over allegations that he used a graduation party for his daughter to raise funds. His legal bills have risen as a result of the investigation.

A resignation would likely end the ethics investigation against him.

The story also appears at ABC News, but Representative Andrews political party is not mentioned in that version of the story.

Above are some examples of why we need alternative media.

Enhanced by Zemanta

An Unusual Storm

The Associated Press posted a story about the cold weather and snow that has hit the southeastern part of America. This is a picture of our neighborhood in eastern North Carolina. The weather is unusual and has temporarily crippled the local area.

Photo: So - This is North Carolina - Today!

The article reported how people were impacted by the storm and how they coped:

Overnight, the South saw fatal crashes and hundreds of fender-benders. Jackknifed 18-wheelers littered Interstate 65 in central Alabama. Ice shut down bridges on Florida’s panhandle and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, one of the world’s longest spans, in Louisiana. Some commuters pleaded for help via cellphones while still holed up in their cars, while others trudged miles home, abandoning their vehicles outright.

Linda Moore spent 12 hours stuck in her car on Interstate 65 south of Birmingham before a firefighter used a ladder to help her cross the median wall and a shuttle bus took her to a hotel where about 20 other stranded motorists spent the night in a conference room.

“I boohooed a lot,” she said. “It was traumatic. I’m just glad I didn’t have to stay on that Interstate all night, but there are still people out there.”

No one knew exactly how many people were stranded, but some employers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield in Alabama had hundreds of people sleeping in offices overnight. Workers watched movies on their laptops, and office cafeterias gave away food.

The good news is that it will be above freezing in most places tomorrow and in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s by Saturday.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Happens A Lot

Some conservatives call it the “Al Gore Effect.” Almost every time global warming groups plan a big meeting in Washington, they get snowed out (you’d think they would get smart and move their meetings to Florida). Well, it happened again.

Western Journalism reported yesterday that this week the White House hosted the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The group headed to Washington, D.C. to discuss a plan of action against the perceived threat of global warming just as a massive winter storm struck the nation’s capital.

The article reports:

One of the participants, Gov. Pat Quinn of Obama’s beloved Illinois, made the trip Tuesday after Chicago experienced its coldest night in nearly 20 years. Everyone on the task force got a taste of reality as D.C. was largely shut down due to inclement weather.

Though government offices were closed, the global warming summit continued as planned. This delicious irony was apparently lost on these cult-like adherents to a flawed climatological hypothesis.

There is a school of meteorology that has been warming of global cooling due to the slow down in the number of solar flares (rightwinggranny.com). These scientists believe that the sun has a very large impact on the earth’s climate.

Meanwhile, global warming meetings keep encountering unexpected snow storms.

Enhanced by Zemanta

These Are The People Who Will Be In Charge Of ObamaCare

Every time someone threatens to cut government spending, big government types begin screaming that spending is already cut to the bone. Well, if that is true, why don’t we just cut government waste and fraud?

Today The Blaze posted a story about some recent tax refunds mailed out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to an inspector general’s report released Thursday.

The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai.

Again, 343 payments to one address.

There are certain red flags that result in American taxpayers being audited–a change in giving habits, a drastic change in income, and various other things will set off a flag and result in an audit. Doesn’t the IRS software have the capacity to set off a flag if 343 people have the same address? I realize a large apartment building could easily house 343 people, but wouldn’t they have individual addresses? Shouldn’t that many people at the same address raise a question with someone?

Florida is a prime target for identity theft for the purpose of  tax fraud. The article reports:

Among individual homes, one address in Orlando received 580 tax refunds totaling $870,000 last year, the report said. Another Orlando address received 291 refunds totaling $466,000.

The article reports that the IRS has developed a computer program to deal with the problem of identity theft and false tax returns. Let’s hope it is more secure than the ObamaCare website. Meanwhile, let’s see if we can end enough fraud to help with the budget deficit.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Was Posted On Facebook By One Of My Daughters

One of my daughters posted the following on Facebook. It made me very proud:

I am the spouse of an active duty Marine…who will one day be a veteran. I move my children, my household goods, my pets, two cars, a motorcycle and my life every two to four years, whether I want to or not. I leave behind friends that have become my family and family that I never expected would be far from home.
I have no retirement plan. I can never stay in a job long enough to become vested in a 401K or any other plan. I receive no pay from the military for my sacrifices, instead I support a husband so he can stay focused on his job—defending our freedom.
I am forceful, independent, and fiercely loyal. I come on like a rabid dog when I move to a new place, hoping to find that one person who can help me replace those I left behind. I never really replace those I leave behind, I only add, or subtract as life changes, and friendship changes.
I have chosen this life. Do not pity me. Do not cry for me. Do not think that I cannot handle it. I knew what I was getting into on that day I said “I Do.” I knew the pay scale. I knew it would be hard to find a job every few years. I knew I would leave one job making great money to only find the same job making a lot less somewhere else. I clip coupons. I use Groupon. I shop at the end of seasons for the following seasons. I have to say “no” sometimes, even when I don’t want to. I have to sometimes go without so that my children or spouse can have just that much more. But I am happy, happy that the sacrifices my husband makes allows me to make sacrifices for him and our children.
Would I do it again? Yes. Would I have my children do it again? Yes. I have the most temperamental, frustrating, well rounded, worldly children you will ever meet.
Do have compassion for my children. Do have compassion when I am having a bad day. Do have compassion when I have not seen my spouse in months. Yes, I am used to him deploying, going on trips, being gone for a week, a month, a year, but that does not mean that I miss him or love him any less.
Most of all, one day, when he becomes a veteran, remember he started out as a child of 18, fresh in the military, and has now, a veteran, made way for another child to take his place, to lead, to fight for our country, and to have a family that makes sacrifices for us all.
The circle is never ending. Whether you fought way back when, are fighting now, or have yet begun to fight, there are sacrifices that have been made, are being made, and will be made.

Enhanced by Zemanta