Sunday, June 30, 2013

One way to keep cool....

I Can Swimming!

Oy, the heat. 93 today, it says. I think I need to be the opposite of snow bird and move to Alaska in summer.

A storm blew through last night and cooled things off. This morning at 5:30 it was lovely. Now, not so much. We're hibernating in the basement.

I don't know what to have for dinner tonight though I'm pushing for left over taco salad so I don't have to cook. : )

I still haven't found what I'm going to read next. Not sure for what I'm in the mood. As always, lots of options.

I hear Steve snoozing on the couch. That sounds like a good idea.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 30, 2013

GOP Congressman Goes Off on Obama for 1 Minute on House Floor: ‘What Would Tyranny Look Like in America? Look Around’

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) took to the House floor on Friday and delivered his second memorable — and scathing — 1-minute critique of President Barack Obama this month. See his first one, here.

The rhetorical theme of his most recent remarks was: What would tyranny look like in the United States of America?

“Mr. Speaker, the president decided to raise energy prices on all Americans, which adversely affects the poor the most and he didn’t ask Congress,” Bridenstine began.

“The president decided to unilaterally reduce our strategic nuclear deterrent when more countries than ever have nuclear weapons, no treaty that would require consent of the Senate,” he said. “The president has decided which health insurance plans the people are allowed to have. The president didn’t ask congress or the people for that matter. The list goes on.”

He added: “In America, we are either moving more towards liberty or more towards tyranny.”

Bridenstine then took aim at the Obama administration as a whole, criticizing each branch of the federal government.

“Well I think, we should ask ourselves what tyranny would look like in the United States of America,” he continued. “An executive branch that picks and chooses which laws it wants to enforce. A judicial branch that would allow to do so on grounds of the executive branch did not defend the laws in the court. The legislative branch would have very limited power because they turned it all over the president and the people would feel like they had no representation.”

He concluded by circling back to answer his own question. “The president told us he was going to fundamentally transform America, and I think that is exactly what he is doing. I yield back.”

Bridenstine later uploaded the video of his remarks to YouTube. The video is titled, “What would tyranny look like in America? Look around.”

The Simulacrum of Self-Government

We might as well put the Constitution out of its misery.

By Mark Steyn

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — just another day in a constitutional republic of limited government by citizen representatives:

First thing in the morning, Gregory Roseman, Deputy Director of Acquisitions (whatever that means), became the second IRS official to take the Fifth Amendment, after he was questioned about awarding the largest contract in IRS history, totaling some half a billion dollars, to his close friend Braulio Castillo, who qualified under a federal “set aside” program favoring disadvantaged groups — in this case, disabled veterans. For the purposes of federal contracting, Mr. Castillo is a “disabled veteran” because he twisted his ankle during a football game at the U.S. Military Academy prep school 27 years ago. How he overcame this crippling disability to win a half-billion-dollar IRS contract is the heartwarming stuff of an inspiring Lifetime TV movie.

Later in the day, Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota and alleged author of the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the immigration bill, went on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show and, in a remarkable interview, revealed to the world that he had absolutely no idea what was in the legislation he “wrote.” Rachel Jeantel, the endearingly disastrous star witness at the George Zimmerman trial, excused her inability to comprehend the letter she’d supposedly written to Trayvon Martin’s parents on the grounds that “I don’t read cursive.” Senator Hoeven doesn’t read legislative. For example, Section 5(b)(1):
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a strategy, to be known as the ‘Southern Border Fencing Strategy’ . . .
On the other hand, Section 5(b)(5):
Notwithstanding paragraph (1), nothing in this subsection shall require the Secretary to install fencing . . .
Asked to reconcile these two paragraphs, Senator Hoeven explained that, “when I read through that with my lawyer,” the guy said relax, don’t worry about it. (I paraphrase, but barely.) So Senator Hoeven and 67 other senators went ahead the following day and approved the usual bazillion-page we-have-to-pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it omnibus bill, cooked up in the backrooms, released late on a Friday afternoon and passed in nothing flat after Harry Reid decreed there’s no need for further debate — not that anything recognizable to any genuine legislature as “debate” ever occurs in “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
Say what you like about George III, but the Tea Act was about tea. The so-called comprehensive immigration reform is so comprehensive it includes special deals for Nevada casinos and the recategorization of the Alaskan fish-processing industry as a “cultural exchange” program, because the more leaping salmon we have the harder it is for Mexicans to get across the Bering Strait. While we’re bringing millions of Undocumented-Americans “out of the shadows,” why don’t we try bringing Washington’s decadent and diseased law-making out of the shadows?

Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any more momentous, the Supreme Court weighed in on same-sex marriage. When less advanced societies wish to introduce gay marriage, the people’s elected representatives assemble in parliament and pass a law. That’s how they did it in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, etc. But one shudders to contemplate what would result were the legislative class to attempt “comprehensive marriage reform,” complete with tax breaks for Maine lobstermen’s au pairs and the hiring of 20,000 new IRS agents to verify business expenses for page boys from disparate-impact groups. So instead it fell to five out of nine judges, which means it fell to Anthony Kennedy, because he’s the guy who swings both ways. Thus, Supreme Intergalactic Emperor Anthony gets to decide the issue for 300 million people.

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben so famously says in every remake, with great power comes great responsibility. Having assumed the power to redefine a societal institution that predates the United States by thousands of years, Emperor Tony the All-Wise had the responsibility at least to work up the semblance of a legal argument. Instead, he struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that those responsible for it were motivated by an “improper animus” against a “politically unpopular group” they wished to “disparage,” “demean,” and “humiliate” as “unworthy.” What stump-toothed knuckle-dragging inbred swamp-dwellers from which hellish Bible Belt redoubt would do such a thing? Well, fortunately, we have their names on the record: The DOMA legislators who were driven by their need to “harm” gay people include notorious homophobe Democrats Chuck Schumer, Pat Leahy, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the virulent anti-gay hater who signed it into law, Bill Clinton.

It’s good to have President Clinton’s animus against gays finally exposed by Anthony Kennedy. There’s a famous photograph of him taken round the time he signed DOMA, at a big fundraiser wearing that black-tie-and-wing-collar combo that always made him look like the maĆ®tre d’ at a 19th-century bordello. He’s receiving greetings from celebrity couple Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, who’d come out as gay the week before and, in the first flush of romance, can’t keep their hands off each other even with President Happy Pants trying to get a piece of the action. For a man motivated only by a hateful need to harm gays, he’s doing a grand job of covering it up, looking like the guy who decided to splash out for the two-girl special on the last night of the sales convention. Nevertheless, reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Clinton professed himself delighted to have been struck down as a homophobe.

In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that “to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions.” Indeed. With this judgment, America’s constitutional court demeans and humiliates only its own. Of all the local variations through which same-sex marriage has been legalized in the last decade, mostly legislative (France, Iceland) but occasionally judicial (Canada, South Africa), the United States is unique in its inability to jump on the Western world’s bandwagon du jour without first declaring its current vice president, president pro tem of the Senate, majority leader, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, and prospective first First Gentleman raging gay-bashers. As the Paula Deens of orientation, maybe they should all be canceled. 

There is something deeply weird, not to say grubby and dishonest, about this. In its imputation of motive to those who disagree with it, this opinion is more disreputable than Roe v. Wade — and with potentially unbounded application. To return to the immigration bill, and all its assurances that those amnestied will “go to the end of the line” and have to wait longer for full-blown green cards and longer still for citizenship, do you seriously think any of that hooey will survive its first encounter with a federal judge? In much of the Southwest, you’d have jurisdictions with a majority of Hispanic residents living under an elderly, disproportionately white voting roll. You can cut-and-paste Kennedy’s guff about “improper animus” toward “a group of people” straight into the first immigration appeal, and a thousand more. And that’s supposing the administrative agencies pay any attention to the “safeguards” in the first place.

As I say, just another day in the life of the republic: a corrupt bureaucracy dispensing federal gravy to favored clients; a pseudo-legislature passing bills unread by the people’s representatives and uncomprehended by the men who claim to have written them; and a co-regency of jurists torturing an 18th-century document in order to justify what other countries are at least honest enough to recognize as an unprecedented novelty. Whether or not, per Scalia, we should “condemn” the United States Constitution, it might be time to put the poor wee thing out of its misery.

Newest foot soldiers for ObamaCare: Librarians

Growing up, I had an aunt who became a librarian because she dreamed of one day helping liberals push a ruinous boondoggle on a broke America.

Aunt Gladys, if you’re up there and can read this somehow, your dream came true.

The nation’s librarians will be recruited to help people get signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law…
Libraries equipped with public computers and Internet access already serve as a bridge across the digital divide, so it made sense to get them involved, said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services…
Libraries also have public spaces where meetings can be held. And they already provide health information to 28 million people a year via public access computers, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal grant-making agency, which will coordinate the new effort with CMS. The two federal agencies also worked together during the rollout of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, experience that should help with this effort, Bataille said.
Libraries will be particularly important in conservative states that are not making much effort to promote the health law’s opportunities.
Don’t think of it as conscription, think of it as … repurposing. The more ubiquitous the Internet and e-readers get, the less use people have for libraries and thus the further away from their core function libraries will drift. In theory they’re still about book-lending but credit the feds for recognizing their growing role as places lower-income people can get online for free. Per Gallup’s latest, fully 43 percent of the uninsured have no idea that they’re now stautorily required by Hopenchange to seek coverage. If you’re trying to reach the poor to let them know that they qualify for health insurance subsidies — or, rather, that they don’t qualify — then this is a no-brainer. Coming soon, presumably: Deputizing the postal service, another institution that’s being laid to waste by technology, to start selling policies door to door. Ever heard the expression that the federal government is now really just “an insurance company with an army”? Well, the insurance part of that equation needs an army too.

As for the other big uninsured constituency, how many young adults do you suppose are hanging out at the local public library these days, ripe to be sold by the local librarian on why healthy twentysomethings should crap away what little earnings they have on unnecessary health insurance in an economy as tepid as this one? But maybe I’m underestimating the strategy here: The less disposable cash young Americans are left with after complying with the mandate, the less they can afford to pay for smartphones, laptops, and their own private Internet access. If they’re desperate to get online, there’s always the local library, you know.

Exit question: If government workers of any and every stripe are really just a free-floating labor force for the feds, ready to be enlisted for whatever policy priority the ruling administration has in mind, how come librarians and mailmen haven’t been coopted to coordinate jobs programs for the unemployed?

NFL… we’ll pass on pimping Obamacare, thanks

Kathleen Sebelius isn’t having a stellar week in terms of getting groups on board to promote Obamacare. Yes, she had something of a win with librarians earlier, but her more recent efforts seem to be falling on deaf ears. One place where she’s pushing to find public opinion movers is in major league sports, looking for these highly visible organizations to begin “promoting the health law’s opportunities” as she did with the librarians. The most highly rated of these groups – the National Football League – has apparently read the writing on the wall and decided to take a pass.

The National Football League is used to big, bruising battles. But on Friday, it announced that it was likely staying out of one of the roughest fights in Washington: the war over Obamacare.
Earlier this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disclosed that the Obama administration was in talks with the sports organization to help promote the law, which enters a new phase as advocates prepare to begin enrolling millions of Americans in health insurance this fall.
… NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had not made any commitment to the administration.
“We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [the health-care law’s] implementation,” he said in an e-mail.
The “letter” in question refers to a note sent out by the Senate GOP on the subject of HHS asking the sports leagues to pitch in and help.

“It is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) wrote in a letter to six major sports organizations, including the NFL and Major League Baseball.
In the end, the question put forth in that letter is the real issue here, far more so than the national debate over Obamacare. Why on Earth would the NFL be interested in dipping a toe in this mess – either for or against – in the first place? What good would it do them, or anyone else? The league gets involved in a lot of different charitable efforts, the majority of which I agree with and find to be a totally valid use of the NFL’s time, money and popular appeal. These range from charities seeking to cure various diseases and support the families of those battling them to youth activities promoting sports, exercise and health. And it’s nice to see them giving something back to the community.

But regardless how you feel about the law itself, this remains a largely political question. It involves issues of the power of the federal government versus the states and the individual far more than how many people have what kind of health insurance. The NFL is one of the few iconic, giant institutions in the nation which serve all of us, (unless you’re a Jets fan, of course) and turning it into a political stalking horse just pulls blocks out of its foundation. This was a good move on the part of the NFL, and I would say that even if they were refusing to support a political position I believed in strongly. We can get all the information we need from the usual sources, and I don’t need the NFL promoting responsible gun ownership, no matter how much I would accept their premise. I’d rather they get back to explaining what the heck is going on with Tebow.

But don’t worry, Ms. Sebelius. You can still use federal money to train students to indoctrinate their parents on it.

Homeland Security watchdog accused of whitewashing report

The man in charge of policing waste, fraud and abuse at the federal government’s third-largest department has been accused of suppressing a politically sensitive report, violating anti-nepotism laws and misusing agency resources, according to a letter from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

Charles Edwards, deputy inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security and de facto head of the office, was ordered by Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson to provide sixteen separate document sets related to the allegations by July 19.

“This is supposed to be the most transparent administration in history, but we’re seeing a real pattern of this White House and their secretaries applying pressure to inspectors general to whitewash reports,” Johnson said in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The letter claims Edwards intentionally changed and withheld information from both the public and internal reports on the solicitation of prostitutes by U.S. Secret Service personnel in Cartagena, Colombia last year.
Johnson believes the suppression may have been done at the direction of political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security, raising doubts about the office’s independence from the agency it’s tasked with investigating.

Numerous other allegations came from over a dozen current or former employees and vary widely. Whistle-blowers claim that Edwards illegally employed his wife as an auditor within his office, obtaining improper benefits for her in the process.

In one instance, Edwards reportedly pressured subordinates to approve his wife’s seven-month teleworking stint in India and provided a government-issued Blackberry cellphone for her personal use while abroad.
He also stands accused of misusing federal funds by traveling regularly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida under the guise of conducting routine inspections of a local inspector general’s office. In reality, whistle-blowers allege that Edwards was attending Ph. D classes at Nova Southeastern University, billing airline tickets, car rentals and hotel fees to the federal government.

There have also been allegations that Edwards used government-issued vehicles to run personal errands and retaliated against employees who questioned his activities by placing them on administrative leave.
The government accountability group Cause of Action informed TheDC News Foundation that they have been investigating the inspector general for over a year.

“Cause of Action has been made aware, through DHS insiders, that Edwards potentially destroyed complaints filed by his own employees,” said Dan Epstein, Cause of Action’s executive director. “If this allegation proves to be true, Edwards could be facing time in prison.”

The Department of Homeland Security has been without a Senate-confirmed inspector general since February 2011. Charles Edwards assumed leadership of the office as acting inspector general at that time, but was forced by the Federal Vacancies Act to return to his position as Deputy inspector general in January of this year.

The Obama administration nominated Roslyn Mazer to be inspector general in July 2011, but she withdrew her nomination in June 2012 following a contentious confirmation hearing. The administration has yet to name a replacement nominee.

“This administration has a history of not filling inspector general positions,” Johnson said, pointing to vacancies at the Departments of State, Interior, Labor and Defense. “Those departments represent more than 50 percent of federal discretionary spending, and they’re all without a full-time inspector general.”
Johnson emphasized that his committee was committed to discovering the truth behind the explosive allegations. “The fact that the chairwoman [Sen. McCaskill] joined in our request for information shows how seriously we’re taking this,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to his prompt response to our request for information,” the senator concluded.

Senators Ask if NSA Collected Gun Data

Potential to construct gun database, senators say

Senators are questioning whether the National Security Agency collected bulk data on more than just Americans’ phone records, such as firearm and book purchases.

A bipartisan group of 26 senators, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to detail the scope and limits of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities in a letter released Friday.

“We are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,” the senators wrote in the letter.

The NSA’s surveillance program has come under intense scrutiny following a leak revealing the agency harvested the phone metadata of millions of American citizens.

The senators noted that the federal government’s authority under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is broad and rife with potential for abuse. Among the senators’ concerns was whether the NSA’s bulk data harvesting program could be used to construct a gun registry or violate other privacy laws.

“It can be used to collect information on credit card purchases, pharmacy records, library records, firearm sales records, financial information, and a range of other sensitive subjects,” the senators wrote. “And the bulk collection authority could potentially be used to supersede bans on maintaining gun owner databases, or laws protecting the privacy of medical records, financial records, and records of book and movie purchases.”

The senators asked Clapper in the letter whether the NSA used PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of other types of records, and whether there are any instances of the agency violating a court order in the process of such collections.

Civil libertarians say such surveillance is a violation of privacy. However, the government has defended the program, saying it helped thwart several terrorist attacks and is minimally invasive.

Second Amendment groups and Republican members of Congress have long warned against the creation of a national gun registry. Fears of such a registry bogged down several attempts to forge a bipartisan gun-control bill in the Senate earlier this year.

“In this country, the government can’t just monitor your constitutionally protected activities—like gun ownership—just because it wants to,” said Brian Phillips, a spokesman for Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), who signed onto the letter.  “The justification that, ‘if you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have to worry about it,’ turns us into a police state very quickly. That’s why Congress is right to seek broad oversight of the NSA’s data collection programs.” 

The Attempted Extortion of Paula Deen

The real story behind the Paula Deen scandal can be summed up in a single word: greed. The American judicial system and the media are being used as formidable weapons in a brazen attempt to extort money from Ms. Deen, in my opinion.

This isn't a story about racism. It's all about the money.

The mainstream media have reported with glee only some of the gory details as Paula Deen's financial empire continue to crumble. The Food Channel, Wal-Mart, Target, and the publisher of her bestselling cookbook all have abruptly terminated their relationship with Ms. Deen. The firestorm erupted after it was widely reported that Ms. Deen gave a deposition in a civil lawsuit in which she admitted using the N-word.

Rarely if ever mentioned by the national press is the context in which the word was used, or the reason the deposition became public knowledge.

No one is interested in defending the use of that particular word, including this writer.

But for the record, the specific instance in which Ms. Deen admitted to using that specific word was in the privacy of her own home, used to describe a robber who had pointed a gun at her head. The mainstream media also doesn't seem to care that Ms. Deen could easily have lied about that specific incident, yet chose to tell the truth under oath.

Apparently there's a zero tolerance policy when certain people use the forbidden N-word.  

Never mind that the epithet was uttered in privacy, after Ms. Deen had suffered considerable duress of being robbed at gunpoint.

That the usage became public knowledge only when Jackson's attorney began conducting a smear campaign intended to inflict irreparable harm on Ms. Deen's businesses also seems to be irrelevant information to the drive-by media.

The motive for the lawsuit has been made abundantly clear. Plaintiff Lisa T. Jackson wanted $1.25 million dollars that didn't belong to her, so she decided to sue Paula Deen and her brother.

Attorney Wesley Woolf left no doubt about the real motive of the plaintiff in January, when he sent a letter to Deen's attorneys demanding a $1.25 million dollar settlement. Woolf threatened to conduct the negative publicity campaign currently underway, making clear the consequences if their extortion demand was refused when he wrote (emphasis added):

...[the] economic losses they [Ms. Deen and Mr. Hiers] will experience if we are caused to bring this matter to a public forum. ... Exposure of the racist and sexist culture of her corporate and personal life is going to permanently and irreparably damage the value of her brand.

In her deposition, Ms. Jackson was forced to admit that she never heard Paula Deen utter a racial epithet, never knew her to discriminate against an employee based on gender, and never knew Paula Deen to sexually harass anyone.

Both plaintiff and defendant are white, making racial discrimination against Jackson an impossible charge to prove.

That would seem to make the accusations put forth in the lawsuit against Ms. Deen frivolous.

It has not been widely reported outside the local press that Jackson sent Deen and her brother a letter praising and thanking them both, only a few short months before filing suit. In an effusive letter she wrote:

When I came to work for this company, as a person, I felt hopeless. I needed something, some opportunity that could provide me hope as an individual, as a woman, to make it on my own. At 15, homeless, without parents and with a young child, my life was headed in a direction no one could ever assume positive. As you know, I did what I had to do to survive, but it clearly was not the freedom or happiness I ever hoped for... When I started working for Bubba, he gave me an opportunity that allowed me, over time, a freedom I have never experienced. He allowed me, for once in my life to take care of myself and for once, have faith in myself as a person and as a woman to know that I could do it on my own; y'all were my Aunt Peggy... I have been given opportunities that I never thought possible, all because of you and Bubba.

The person who wrote that letter now wants $1.25 million dollars? For what?

Let's forget for a moment that Quentin Tarantino and Chris Rock have both made a lot of money using that same word with recklessness and impunity, all under the guise of artistic license

Obviously, the word isn't strictly verboten.

But the really interesting question is this: who profits from Ms. Deen's admitted use of the word, nearly thirty years ago?

There is a reason she was included in the lawsuit. She has the deepest pockets for Ms. Jackson to pick, using the legal system and the media to do her dirty work.

Obviously, this isn't a case about seeking justice.

It's about character assassination and Lisa T. Jackson's shameless grab for $1.25 million dollars.

Another Jackson -- Jesse Jackson -- recently jumped on the Paula Deen bandwagon when he announced in the Huffington Post that Paula Deen could be "redeemed."

How much do you think that will cost her?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Must... Resist... Urge... To Maim ...

Must... Resist... Urge... To Maim

It was so nice and cool when I walked the boys at 5:30 this morning. Yesterday and today ... so freaking hot. I say again, I hate summer. I hate heat.

I had a lovely lunch with Mom at Red Robin. I'm able to have the Cobb Salad -- which I love anyway -- just without the bleu cheese -- which I don't like anyway. It was a good time.

Earlier this morning, I stopped by the two garage sales on my street, practically next door. I bought a couple stuffed animals for a couple bucks. The lady, who knows us and knew that the teddy bear and polar bear were going for our dogs, covered her eyes and said "I'm not going to think about where they're going!" And I was thinking, look, there's destructive kids too, you know.

Steve had a gun coaching class situation today and was gone until about 4:30. He came home hot and tired. Better him than me, I say.

Tonight, we'll have taco salad and watch a whole lot of nuthin' on TV. I just finished my book by Erin Hart. I liked it overall but there was unevenness. I've got a couple more 14-day books from the library so I'll see if I'm in the mood for them.

Gotta go start dinner.  Have a lovely evening.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 29, 2013

A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots

by Jeff Foxworthy:

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded
by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

What a country!

Friday, June 28, 2013


Puppy Nom

Finally Friday. Just glad it's a done work week.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster 

Current Events - June 28, 2013

Nearly One in Five Members of Congress Gets Paid Twice

They draw government pensions from previous work in addition to their congressional salary. The practice is called “double-dipping.”

To solve the debt crisis, Americans—who are already suffering in these tough economic times—will have to make even more sacrifices, Rep. Mike Coffman told his House colleagues last year. So, leaning on his military service, the 58-year-old Colorado Republican argued that members of Congress should take the first step and abolish their congressional pensions. “If there’s one thing I learned in both the United States Army and the Marine Corps about leadership, it was leading by example,” Coffman lectured them, pointing to his chest at a committee hearing. “Never ask anyone to do anything that you yourself would not be willing to do.”

What Coffman left unsaid that day in a speech about his bill’s “symbolic” importance was that he was collecting a $55,547 state-government pension in addition to his congressional paycheck. Having spent two decades as an elected official in Colorado, he has received retirement benefits since 2009, the year he arrived in Congress.
“We did not want to double-dip on the taxpayers in a time of fiscal challenge.”—Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., who declines his pension
Coffman is not alone. About 90 members from both chambers collected a government pension atop their taxpayer-financed $174,000 salary in 2012, National Journal found in an examination of recent financial records. Including a dozen newly elected freshmen who reported government pensions last year, the number now stands above 100. That’s nearly one-fifth of Congress. One lawmaker, freshman Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, received $253,323 from her government pension last year—a sum that, combined with her congressional salary, will make her better paid than President Obama this year.

Congressional pensioners span the ideological spectrum, from tea-party conservatives who rail against government waste to unabashed liberals. They are among the richest members (Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., with a net worth of at least $42.8 million in 2011) and the poorest (Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who reported between $15,000 and $50,000 in the bank and at least $600,000 in mortgage and loan debts). Overall, Democrats draw government pensions more often than Republicans—by a ratio of 2-to-1. Some lawmakers draw on multiple public retirement packages, including the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, who collected $65,000 from three different pensions in 2012.

All told, current members of Congress pocketed more than $3.6 million in public retirement benefits in 2012, the investigation found. The actual figure is almost certainly even higher because disclosure is uneven. Some lawmakers reported retirement earnings in ranges; others listed pensions but no amounts at all. This analysis, which included historical data from the Center for Responsive Politics, also does not include most military retirements, because lawmakers are not required to report them (although those who voluntarily did so were included). Members who served last year but are gone now were not included; freshmen who reported collecting pensions as candidates in 2012, such as Beatty, were included.

The practice of piling a pension atop a paycheck is legal, if unsavory to many. Taxpayer groups and some conservatives have condemned the practice as “double-dipping”; they say elected officials shouldn’t simultaneously draw a public pension while cashing a government paycheck, because taxpayers ultimately foot at least part of the bill for both. “You’re paying them twice,” says Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.Fixed pensions are a fading memory for most American workers, who are still smarting from losses to their 401(k)s during the credit crisis—even if those accounts have since recovered. The fact that federal lawmakers can draw large retirement payments atop generous taxpayer-funded salaries only helps fuel the widespread sense that the ruling class in Washington puts its own interests first.


Many states and municipalities forbid the practice of retiring and then taking a full-time job within the same governmental system. But those rules don’t apply to members of Congress when they are drawing a federal paycheck and, typically, a state or local pension. “It’s a hard nut to crack as far as addressing it, because it’s different jurisdictions,” Ellis says. And federal lawmakers who have served before on the state level can garner gold-plated retirement benefits, because state legislators often write their own generous rules to allow earlier retirement or fatter pensions.

Take Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, 57, who has been collecting her Louisiana pension since late 1997, the year she joined the Senate. She was only 41. (Louisiana voters had passed a constitutional amendment to ban pensions for new state legislators in 1996, the year before. But Landrieu, who had spent eight years as a legislator, could withdraw hers because she was grandfathered in.) The average Louisiana state worker hired in recent years, by contrast, can’t retire with a full pension until age 60. Landrieu lists her annual pension payout as between $15,000 and $50,000. “They’re two different levels of government, and it’s completely permissible,” says Landrieu, who served two terms as state treasurer after her time as a state legislator. “I have every intention of maintaining it and continuing.”
Like Landrieu, most lawmakers collecting public pensions say they deserve the payout because they put in the time and contributed to their retirement from their own paychecks. “I’m just saying I worked hard 33 years,” says Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., a former detective who helped hunt down the Green River serial killer and retired as King County sheriff. He earned a $109,101 pension in 2012—fourth highest in Congress. “Anyone who looks at a 33-year career and watches someone retire and says they don’t deserve that retirement, I would vigorously disagree with that.”

Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, accepted a $55,000 pension last year. “I spent over 30 years working in state government and receive a pension just as all other qualified state retirees do,” he said in a statement. Clyburn, the state’s former human-affairs commissioner, has collected roughly $1 million in pension benefits since joining Congress in 1993.

Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, says such packages can erode public trust in an institution where it’s already in short supply. “Retirement packages remain a concern for taxpayers because they naturally invite comparison to their own situations,” he says. And there aren’t many Americans earning a six-figure paycheck and a five- or six-figure pension.

Or, in Beatty’s case, a quarter-million-dollar pension. Beatty spent more than eight years in the Ohio Statehouse, including a stint as Democratic leader, before landing a job in 2008 as the senior vice president of outreach and engagement at Ohio State University. It was a plum post that came with a $320,000 salary, plus benefits, that vastly inflated her pension. At the time, Ohio used the three highest years of salary to calculate pension payouts; Beatty was in the university job for three years and 20 days. Beatty’s spokesman, Greg Beswick, says she began collecting the money last year, when she was a candidate.

Among Republicans, the biggest retirement package belongs to Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, who has cashed more than $300,000 in combined pay and pensions in each of the last five years. Poe is only 64. He was a Texas prosecutor and a judge, so he has received two pensions since his arrival in Congress in 2005. They were worth $139,382 in 2011. (An “accounting error” that provided him only 11 months of payments from one pension dropped the total to $126,743 last year, according to Poe spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes.) “Under the law of the State of Texas he has earned a pension for his public service to both the county and the state,” Hynes said in an e-mail. In his first eight years in Congress, Poe earned more than $1 million in retirement pay.

Some double-dippers occupy congressional leadership posts. Besides Cornyn and his three pensions, Sen. Roy Blunt, the Republican Conference vice chairman, collected $36,721 in retirement benefits last year from his previous service in Missouri. Records show that Blunt, 63, has collected a pension since 2005. In the House leadership, besides Clyburn, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat, received $20,481 from a pension last year. He has been collecting since 1999 from his dozen years in the Maryland Legislature.

Although the House Ethics Committee’s guidelines say “you must disclose” pension payments as earned income, congressional disclosure is inconsistent. Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., list their pensions but not how much—or even if—they withdrew. (Brown’s office did not return calls for clarification.) Others leave their pensions off their forms entirely for years at a time. In a series of amended filings last year, for instance, Cornyn reported that he’d been receiving one of his three pensions as far back as 2006. During his failed Senate campaign, former Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., had to update a decade of disclosures to reflect a state pension he’d previously hidden from public view. He called it an “unintentional oversight.”


Those collecting pensions range from some of the poorest in Congress to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., whom the Center for Responsive Politics ranked as the third-wealthiest senator in 2011. (His net worth was between $79.6 million and $120.8 million.)

That didn’t prevent Blumenthal from cashing his annual $47,000 state pension, even as Connecticut’s depleted pension fund has struggled. A 2012 study by the Pew Center on the States said the state had barely half the money it needed to pay its long-term retirement obligations, the third-worst ratio in the nation.

Blumenthal bristles when asked about whether his personal wealth and congressional salary allow him to forgo the pension. “The benefits I’m receiving from the state were earned over more than two decades of public service, and they’re two separate entities, two separate governments, and … they’re being paid according to law,” he says. “I’m not going to comment as to any aspect of my financial disclosure. I would just say, I seek to give back through public service and other ways such as the charitable contributions that my wife and I make.”

Feinstein is the second-wealthiest lawmaker to draw a pension, according to CRP’s rankings, which estimate the California Democrat’s net worth at between $42.8 million and $98.7 million. Her pension, worth $54,925 in 2012, is from her time as mayor of San Francisco. She has collected about $850,000 in retirement benefits since she joined the Senate two decades ago. Feinstein declined to comment for this story.

Feinstein is hardly the longest-tenured congressional pensioner. That honor falls to 90-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall, the oldest member of the House, who spent a decade in the Texas Legislature before taking a seat in Congress in 1981. The Republican (who was a Democrat until 2004) has been collecting a Texas state pension ever since. In those 32 years he earned some $1.3 million in retirement benefits. (Many years in the 1980s he didn’t list specific amounts; this analysis presumes his pension remained flat during those years.) His 2012 pension was $65,748. “I didn’t write the law,” Hall said in a statement. “I complied with the law, and I contributed as was allowed under the law during my official service in Texas.”

Not every member of Congress who is eligible for a pension chooses to collect. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., a retired Army colonel who won his seat in 2010, says he writes a check every month for his full military pension, minus taxes owed, to the U.S. Treasury. It was a decision he came to jointly with his wife. “The salary that we get as a congressman is very generous,” Gibson says. “We did not want to double-dip on the taxpayers in a time of fiscal challenge.”

The Gibsons aren’t rich by congressional standards. They hold no stocks, bonds, or mutual funds—only a single bank account with between $100,000 and $250,000. It earned less than $1,000 in interest last year. Still, he declined to judge his better-off colleagues who are collecting twice. “It’s a personal decision people have to make,” he says.

Rep. William Keating of Massachusetts, who pulled $110,743 from his pension in 2012—second-largest of any Democrat—donates all of it, after taxes, to a nonprofit that assists child-abuse victims. “The work done by the caring professionals there is priceless,” Keating, a former legislator and district attorney, said in a statement.


Many states offer especially sweet pension packages for their elected officials.

Take the curious case of Rep. Trey Gowdy. The conservative Republican served for a decade as a district attorney in South Carolina, where the retirement system requires 24 years of service to qualify for a pension. But a controversial perk allows solicitors and judges to purchase extra years of service without actually working them. The practice, called “airtime,” lets employees draw bigger pensions if they fork over a lump sum on the front end.

It appears Gowdy exercised this option. (His office refused multiple requests to clarify his activity.) His financial records report a loan in 2009 of between $250,000 and $500,000 for “purchase of SC solicitors and judges retirement.” So, in 2011, the year after he rode the tea-party wave into Congress promising to slash government spending, he reported $88,432 in pension income—one of the 10 largest in Congress. He was 46.

Last year, Gowdy reported a far smaller pension. His spokesman, Nicholas Spencer, says Gowdy listed the package in a different section of the report “because pensions are not reportable as outside earned income,” citing advice from “Ethics counsel.” The House Ethics panel’s published guidelines, however, say pensions should be reported as income.

In Maine, special rules allow former governors to collect a pension no matter how many total years of state service they’ve accrued. That’s how Angus King, who served two terms as governor and now is the state’s independent U.S. senator, collected a $30,488 pension last year. “It’s under the law, and it has no relationship to whatever I do after,” King says. As for the idea of forgoing it because of his $174,000 Senate salary, he says, “I don’t quite see the argument.”

In Pennsylvania, former state legislators can start collecting their pensions a decade earlier than most other state workers. That’s how Republican Rep. Charlie Dent started collecting his $16,000 pension in 2010, the year he turned 50. And how Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Democrat, garnered her legislative pension beginning in 2005, the year she was sworn into Congress. She was 56 at the time. Schwartz is currently running for governor and would decline her $18,340 pension if elected, her spokesman Greg Vadala says.

In 2001, Pennsylvania state legislators boosted their own pensions by 50 percent. The same state law lifted teacher and rank-and-file state worker pensions by only half that. Both Dent and Schwartz were among those who voted against the Pennsylvania pension bump. But Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach, 58, voted for it, and now he’s a beneficiary. He has collected a legislative pension since 2003. It was worth $15,400 last year and became the subject of attack ads by his Democratic opponent. He e-mailed a statement: “Again, this is information that has been shared with my constituents countless times and has been fully disclosed every year.” Gerlach noted that he paid into the system for 12 years.

“It’s really unconscionable—the fact that they’re collecting a pension while drawing a salary for service at the federal level,” says Leo Knepper, executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, a conservative group that fashions itself as a state version of the Club for Growth. “Our pension system is $48 billion underfunded. Honestly, I don’t know how they can look voters in the eye.”

Knepper reserved his biggest rage for Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., who served in the Statehouse for 24 years, and brought home $90,867 in retirement benefits last year. A member of the conservative Republican Study Committee, Pitts has received $1.4 million from his pension since he joined Congress in 1997. His office says his pension tops $90,000 annually because he combined his service in the military and as a teacher. Knepper says he’s galled that Pitts “really represents himself as a conservative” to voters while “absolutely double-dipping.”

Not all tea-party activists are in agreement. Sal Russo, chief strategist for the Tea Party Express, one of the nation’s most active groups, doesn’t begrudge federal lawmakers who make use of the current pension system. “An employee is going to take advantage of any benefits they’re provided—it’s just human nature,” Russo says. Instead, conservatives should focus on enacting broader change, he says. “The person who gets the benefit didn’t create the system.”


Reforming that system, Coffman says, is the point of his legislation to eliminate congressional pensions. “The part that I oppose is having a defined-benefit retirement plan for members of Congress—and have argued against a defined-benefit program when I was at the state level,” he tells National Journal.

But isn’t he taking part in a defined-benefit program?

“I am,” he replies. “I am.”

Coffman’s $55,547 retirement benefit is a pittance in the scheme of the state’s pension-fund finances, but, as he argued when he presented his pension-axing bill in committee, symbolism matters. Colorado’s pension fund has been under duress in recent years. State workers there must now contribute more, work longer, and receive less after retirement under a 2010 law, says Katie Kaufmanis, a spokeswoman for Colorado’s retirement system.

A former state treasurer who had a seat on Colorado’s pension board, Coffman had previously taken on the most extreme cases of “double-dipping” at the state level, in which state or school employees would retire, collect a pension, and then be rehired by the exact same employer. “The state’s pension fund is bleeding red, and the little things like this are aggravating it,” Coffman told the Colorado Springs Business Journal in 2004. “Maybe we should suspend pensions [when people go] back to work,” he added.

Coffman’s situation isn’t exactly the same: He’s collecting state benefits and a federal paycheck, not double-dipping with the same employer. (“I’m a military retiree too,” Coffman notes. He resigned his state treasurer post in 2005 to rejoin the Marines and serve in Iraq.) Still, he stumbles in defending his decision to draw both a paycheck and a state pension. “I fought for reform when I was in state, and I’m fighting to reform the system now,” he says. “At states, they ought to end the defined-benefit portion programs.… I’m certainly a beneficiary of it, but at the state level that’s unsustainable, too, and that’s going to have to change.”

Other Republicans, too, have introduced legislation to limit congressional pensions while collecting a public retirement benefit. Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Fla., the former Hernando County sheriff, earned $72,339 from his pension last year; he introduced legislation in 2011 and 2013 to let House members opt out of their congressional pension (it’s currently mandatory) and titled it the Congress Is Not a Career Act. Nugent presented his measure to the same committee on the same day as Coffman made his proposal.

Nugent says he introduced the bill so he could decline a congressional retirement because “as you point out, I already have a pension.” He further saves taxpayers money by declining federal health insurance coverage, he says. But he objects to the suggestion that he could or should bypass taking his local-government pension while in Congress. “Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I?” he asks. “After 38 years in law enforcement, I worked hard, stuck it out, and I retired, which is kind of what I signed up for.”

Nugent explains that while cops deserve a pension, members of Congress may not. So what about all his colleagues pulling in pensions for state legislative service? “I don’t begrudge anyone. That’s a personal choice on their part,” Nugent says, adding, “That’s between them and their constituents.”

Conservative solutions for America’s finances, in turns out, don’t always correlate with conservative solutions to lawmakers’ personal finances. Cornyn, the triple-pension-collecting senator from Texas, has regularly railed against government waste. Rep. Bill Posey, a Florida Republican, touts on his official website his votes to reform and cut congressional pensions. He makes no mention of his $14,495 state pension. And Rep. Tom McClintock, a California Republican and a tea-party-style conservative long before the term existed, has railed against a bloated public sector—and the looming pension crisis in his home state—for years. Yet when he arrived in Congress in 2009, he began collecting two taxpayer-supported state pensions, worth $9,579 in 2012. Why didn’t he pass on them? “You’d have to take up that question with Mrs. McClintock,” he says.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the spokesman for Rep. Allyson Schwartz. It is Greg Vadala.

IG: U.S. Park Police Lost Track of Thousands of Guns

According to a new report from the Department of the Interior Inspector General, the United States Park Police have lost track of thousands of handguns, shotguns, machine guns and rifles.

An anonymous complaint led the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate the management and supervision of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) firearms program. Simultaneous, unannounced inspections of unassigned weapons at USPP facilities revealed that USPP could not account for Government-issued military-style rifles. It also showed that its weapons inventory was incomplete. Incomplete weapons inventories undermine USPP accountability for all of its weapons, and allow for the possibility that weapons that cannot be located and may not be in safe keeping.

During our site visits and subsequent interviews with key USPP firearms program personnel, OIG identified systemic internal control weaknesses. Our review revealed that USPP had no proper accounting for hundreds of weapons. We discovered hundreds of handguns, rifles, and shotguns not accounted for on the official USPP inventory. As recently as April 2013, two automatic rifles were discovered during a firearms search for which USPP had no prior knowledge.

We also found that individuals appointed to oversee the program, including senior command officers, gave only minimal supervision to officers and other program staff who had access to unassigned weapons. This report, following our earlier reviews in 2008 and 2009, underscores a theme of inaction and indifference by USPP leadership and a lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management. We provided 10 recommendations to improve firearms management and accountability throughout USPP.
"The accompanying report provides ample evidence that USPP's firearms management requires immediate attention to address the multitude of problems we found, which ranged from fundamental errors in record keeping to glaring nonfeasance by senior command officers," Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall wrote in a summary.

The report, issued late Thursday evening, details that the Park Service not only lost guns, but has no real idea of how many it is actually responsible for.

"We initially set out to determine if USPP could account for all military-style weapons in its inventory, whether USPP had intentionally concealed missing weapons, and whether officers used USPP weapons for their personal use. Our effort to definitively address the allegations were hindered by a failure of the USPP property and firearms custodians to provide a baseline inventory and accounting of firearms. We found credible evidence of conditions that would allow for theft and misuse of firearms, and the ability to conceal the fact if weapons were missing," Kendall wrote.

Handguns that were obtained from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, weren't placed into the inventory record.

"The custodian took no steps to record the handguns transferred from ATF on any inventory system," the report states. "The only documentation pertaining to these firearms that the custodian could provide was the transfer paperwork from ATF During our documentation review, we discovered that a handgun serial number had been incorrectly listed on that paperwork."

On top of these weapons not being stored properly and recorded in official inventory, many weapons were being stored in the homes of police.

"This report further underscores the decade-long theme of inaction and indifference of USPP leadership and management at all levels. Basic tenets of property management and supervisory oversight are missing in their simplest forms. Commanders, up to and including the Chief of Police, have a lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management. Historical evidence indicates that this indifference is a product of years of inattention to administrative detail and management principles," Kendall wrote.

California schools are turning into government indoctrination centers

So, in a desperate attempt "the Obama administration created a marketing campaign for Obamacare that made it cool and hip" by "reaching out to the NFL, the NBA and Hollywood for help, and counting down the days to Oct. 1, when enrollment in the exchanges officially begins."  Further, "The administration is in a good position to secure splashy endorsements, as Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns had a deep bench of celebrity surrogates."

Well, ok, nothing personal but those who will be influenced by endorsements from sports figures and entertainment types are probably already in agreement with the President Barack Hussein Obama (D) agenda; these plugs will merely further validate and rationalize previously held beliefs.   And for those who disagree, especially some of the owners and major stockholders, well, in true Chicago Way fashion the Obama administration has ways of making them agree. 

But what is truly disturbing--actually repellent and frightening--is the government's plan to abuse the concept of public education by turning public schools into indoctrination factories, forcing children to spout the joys of Obamacare.  Or else!
 In California, the educrats of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the country with over 640,000 students, will be force feeding students to sell Obamacare to their families, funded by a nearly million dollar state grant (though the state is broke) from Covered California
according to this article in Human Events

The district listed as a primary outcome for its project, "Teens trained to be messengers to family members."
Covered California spokeswoman Sarah Soto-Taylor said staff have not questioned this goal.
"We have confidence that the model LA Unified brought to the table will be successful in reaching our target population, which includes family members of students," she said.
LAUSD will also use tax-paid staff to promote ObamaCare through phone calls to students' homes, in-class presentations, and meetings with employees eligible for ObamaCare's taxpayer-covered healthcare, the grant award says. 
Unpaid Propagandizers

The district listed adult education students, part-time, and contract employees as its target population. Teens will be trained to be messengers not to those groups, but to their own families, to get more people enrolled in taxpayer-subsidized healthcare.

If the project is successful, Los Angeles families can expect more use of students to push government-preferred messaging.

"Teens are part of a 'pilot' program to test whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver outreach and limited education to family and friends in and around their homes," said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a LAUSD spokesman, in an email. "Teens will be educating adults that they already know (e.g., family or friends) and not other adults."

'Paid in the Rear'

Grant recipients like LAUSD will be held accountable by the state for fulfilling their promised activities for outreach, said Larry Hicks, another LAUSD spokesman.

"At a minimum, grantees will be required to submit to Covered California monthly, quarterly, and annual reports on their activities and progress towards agreed upon outcomes. If project benchmarks are not met, grantees may be required to submit additional ad hoc reports upon Covered California's request. Grantees will also be required to report any proposed adjustments to their approved outreach and education plan using the information management system... Additionally, field monitors will be assigned to grantees to verify their progress," Hughes said.

Disturbing comparisons with using children and government education facilities to deliver "government-preferred messaging"  in the past and in other societies today instantly spring to mind.  And so do the questions.

If the parents disagree with Obamacare and their children's message will the children then be compelled to report them to the "field monitors...assigned to grantees to verify their progress"? 

What if a parent hangs up on an intrusive government caller or worse not so politely, or even politely, argues with the "outreach" drone?"  Can parents protest the "use of students to push government-preferred messaging"?  If so, will the parentsr be compelled to attend parent-school meetings and labelled unfit and abusive?

And what will happen to the students if they mock their assignment of "educating adults they already know", or educate their trainers on the perils of Obamacare, or refuse "to be trained as messengers" or even just don't do their  "homework" as students are wont to do?  What if kids fail at "educating adults they already know"?  All of these outcomes happen every day in homes and schools across America over minor issues.  Will the students be shamed and punished by teachers and/or the school administration for their failure to do the assignment?   Will the other kids make fun of them?
Perhaps even in California some teachers or administrators will have doubts about violating the basic education principles of a free society which prohibit political advocacy of only one viewpoint.  If they voice their concerns about this misuse of the schools or if they too express concerns about Obamacare will they be fired and sent to special in service workshops or re education camps, joining protesting parents and students?  What will happen to their children, their families?

Unfortunately, these questions and others similar to them are not far fetched or speculative.  Oh sure, the practices against dissenters will probably not outwardly mimic those of North Korea, Nazi Germany or Communist Russia--certainly no parent or student will be executed.  But...
Woe to those who publicly deviate from politically correct or government approved thought. Using vulnerable students "to push government-preferred messaging" though is a new low. And alas, this is probably not even the lowest of the desperate, all encompassing government mandates regarding Obamacare, the environment or any other "government-preferred" thought or action.
More is sure to come.

Another White House Play Date with Muslim Jihad

Forget Paula Deen. There are far more dangerous bigots and poisonous haters spoiling the American landscape. They cook up violent rhetoric and murderous plots against our troops, our citizens and our allies 24/7. And they have direct access to the White House. 

Earlier this week, the indefatigable Investigative Project on Terrorism blew the whistle on the Obama administration's latest flirtation with Muslim jihad. Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah bragged on his website that he had met with Team Obama on June 13. IPT reported that bin Bayyah was invited by National Security Council official Gayle Smith "to learn from you and we need to be looking for new mechanisms to communicate with you and the Association of Muslim Scholars." 

Someone associated with bin Bayyah deleted his website reference to the meeting, but the Internet is forever. The White House has now 'fessed up to the confab. According to Fox News, a senior official spun the troubling event as a discussion about "poverty, global health efforts and bin Bayyah's own efforts to speak out against al-Qaida."

Bin Bayyah's moderate Muslim costume shouldn't fool anyone. This sharia thug, who has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to boost his progressive-friendly cred, lobbied the United Nations to outlaw all mockery and criticism of Allah. He raised money to benefit the terror group Hamas. He is a top lieutenant of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who exhorts followers to kill every last Jew; sanctioned suicide bombings and the killing of our soldiers; expressed support for executing apostates and stoning gays; and declared that the "U.S. is an enemy of Islam that has already declared war on Islam under the disguise of war on terrorism and provides Israel with unlimited support."

As jihad watchdogs have reported, the administration has rolled out the red carpet for dozens of Muslim Brotherhood officers, flacks and sympathizers. IPT noted last year: "White House visitor logs show that top U.S. policy-makers are soliciting and receiving advice from people who, at best, view the war on terrorism as an unchecked war on Muslims. These persons' perspectives and preferred policies handcuff law enforcement and weaken our resolve when it comes to confronting terrorism."

No kidding. Another Qaradawi cheerleader, Hisham al-Talib, was welcomed last spring at the White House by Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Four days later, White House officials welcomed a foreign delegation of the radical sharia-enforcing Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt. As I reported previously, al-Talib is an Iraqi-born Muslim identified by the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood operative and a major contributor to the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights, the group of jihadi-sympathizing lawyers who helped spring suspected Benghazi terror plotter Abu Sufian bin Qumu from Gitmo.

Al-Talib is also a founding member of the SAAR Foundation and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). FBI and Customs officials believe SAAR/SAFA laundered money for a plethora of violent Muslim terrorist groups, from Hamas and Hezbollah to al-Qaida and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 
Investigative journalist Patrick Poole reported recently that the Obama DOJ dropped planned prosecutions of IIIT leaders including al-Talib, despite being "targeted and repeatedly named in the 2003 U.S. Customs Service search warrant application by Customs Agent David Kane targeting the SAAR Foundation/SAFA Group terror finance network."

IIIT was also a demonstrated unindicted co-conspirator in the feds' Holy Land Foundation terror financing case and supported convicted terror aides Sami al-Arian and Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi. Al-Amoudi was the first president of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, where Boston bomber jihad brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, used to worship.

We need a zero tolerance policy for jihadist infiltrators and coddlers in Washington. Let's make the most transparent administration ever live up to the hype. I suggest the White House be required to raise the black flag of Islamic jihad at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every time President Obama welcomes these treacherous visitors. 

Even better: Let's take a page from Kanye West and project the names of all the Ikhwan-linked goons who are allowed to darken the White House doorstep onto the side of the Old Executive Office Building for all to see -- along with their most infamous hate videos and fatwas against Jews, infidels, gays, women and U.S. soldiers. No more play dates with Muslim jihad behind closed doors. Light 'em up.

Hillary Gets 'Liberty Medal' After Lying About Benghazi

What do you receive for getting four Americans killed in Benghazi, including our ambassador? Just ask Hillary Clinton.

On September 10--exactly a day short of one year after she and Obama allowed their own officials to die in real time--Clinton will be awarded the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal.

"The Liberty Medal recognizes individuals who have furthered the ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality, often against great odds," said National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. "Hillary Clinton has devoted her life to expanding opportunities for 'We the People' not just in this country but around the globe."
As the 67th Secretary of State, Clinton broke national and global barriers. She was the first First Lady to serve in a presidential Cabinet...As Secretary of State, Clinton advocated for "smart power" in foreign policy, elevating diplomacy and development and repositioning them for the 21st century--with new tools, technologies, and partners, including the private sector and civil society around the world.

Here's "smart power" in action. During a Senate hearing, after the 2012 election, Senators asked the Secretary of State whether she had read cables coming from Benghazi requesting security; Clinton drew a blank. She replied, "With specific security requests, they didn't come to me; I had no knowledge of them."

If anyone is still wondering how a woman who lied to Congress and left four Americans dead can be honored with a liberty award look no further than the Chairman of the National Constitution Center, Jeb Bush.

Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy...These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year's Liberty Medal.

Tell me, Governor Bush, what does Ambassador Stevens get for making the ultimate sacrifice? How about Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty? Will the families of the dead be present for Hillary's award? I am sure they will have a few words about Hillary's skill, courage, and dedication in supporting those who serve our country and put their lives on the line.

Since when does letting Americans die and then lying about it deserve a medal?

In the cesspool where corrupt politicians like Hillary and Jeb hang out, the more you mess up, the more you get rewarded! Recently, sex addict Bill Clinton received the Father of the Year award and a President who proved he gets off on drone strikes managed to pick up a Nobel Peace Prize before anyone realized he was a hawk.

So just ignore Hillary's terrible record as Secretary of State and ignore the ambassador and staff she failed to protect. Remember, that "Hillary Clinton has devoted her life to expanding opportunities for 'We the People' not just in this country but around the globe."

Cosmo gets ObamaCare makeover: Feminist magazine to promote new healthcare law

Readers of the magazine Cosmopolitan are in for a shock this fall when their sex advice columns, trendy fashion spreads, and magical makeover solutions will be crowded out by feature stories promoting ObamaCare.

The Obama administration has recruited the magazine to promote its controversial bill to its 18 million readers via feature stories beginning this fall, as the bill takes effect.

The magazine will continue its coverage of the Affordable Care Act into 2014.

With a readership heavily targeting women between 17 and 38 years of age, Cosmo is an ideal publication for the administration to popularize ObamaCare’s “free” birth control, as well as other aspects of the law dealing with reproduction.

Cosmo’s editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles, explains the introduction of public policy and fiscal impacts of health care decisions to its pages saying, “This stuff is really important. It’s life-changing for a lot of people.”
The content change is not restricted to its glossy pages. Cosmo’s social media outlets will be peppered with the information about the bill as well.

Another hot topic that Coles anticipates covering is the introduction of insurance exchanges and subsidies, which will be made available in October. Financial publications such as Forbes are reporting these exchanges will increase insurance premiums for American consumers. 

ObamaCare has also been criticized for its Individual mandate, which penalizes those who are not compliant, and for forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions. Many companies across America have already filed lawsuits with the Health and Human Services abortifacient contraception coverage mandate.

The Obama administration has stated it is also trying to get professional athletes to promote ObamaCare, reportedly contacting both the NFL and the NBA.

Several hundred Planned Parenthood clinics are promoting the bill, which is forecast to swell the abortion provider's revenues, as well.

US to Spend $771M on Planes Afghans Can’t Use

SIGAR recommends suspending activity on contracts

The U.S. government is about to spend more than $771 million on military aircraft that the Afghan people “lack the capacity to operate,” according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

The Department of Defense says that it is moving forward with the purchase despite SIGAR’S warning that the planes will go to waste.

SIGAR only discovered the DOD’s plans while performing an audit of its Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW).

“SIGAR is recommending that DOD suspend all activity under the contracts awarded for the 48 new aircraft until capacity issues are properly addressed,” it said in a press release Friday morning.

SIGAR additionally discovered that “DOD awarded $553 million to Rosoboronexport, a Russian government agency, after receiving SIGAR’s recommendations that moving forward was imprudent,” according to the release.

Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Washington Free Beacon that it does “not concur with the SIGAR report recommendation” and that a delay in shipment is not in the United States’ security interests.

SIGAR’s audit of SMW found that the planes are not useful because the Afghans have hired illiterate and untrained pilots to fly them.

The Afghan forces have experienced “difficulty finding recruits who are literate and do not have associations with criminal/insurgent activity,” according to the audit.

“Only seven pilots are qualified to fly with night vision goggles, which is necessary for most counter-terrorism missions,” SIGAR reported.

The SMW program also has poor U.S. government oversight, leading to waste and problems in sustaining what the DOD believes is a critical project in post-war Afghanistan.

“NATO and DOD do not have a plan with milestones and dates for achieving full strength for the SMW to justify the fleet size,” SIGAR reported, noting that most maintenance projects are still performed by the United States.

“DOD performs 50 percent of maintenance and repair and 70 percent of critical maintenance and logistics management for SMW and does not have a plan for transferring these functions to the Afghans,” SIGAR said.

The United States still intends to spend $109 million per year despite the flaws, “for oversight, maintenance, training, and logistics support for the next several years,” according to SIGAR.

These deeply entrenched problems have contributed to the program’s slow growth.

“SMW had less than one-quarter of the 806 personnel needed to reach full strength and during the length of the audit made no tangible growth,” SIGAR found.

In addition, the “Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior do not have an agreement on the SMW command and control structure, impacting growth and capacity,” according to SIGAR.

SIGAR predicts that once the United States fully exits Afghanistan in the coming year the Afghans will not be prepared to maintain or operate the planes.

Gregory said delaying the shipment of planes until SIGAR’s performance criteria are met “would not be in our national interest.”

“Delaying contract award pending agreement between the ministries on transition of SMW administrative control would unacceptably delay our efforts to develop the SMW into a capable force,” Gregory said.
“The contract for the PC-12 [planes] was signed on Oct. 13, 2012, and the contract for the Mi-17 [planes] was finalized on June 16, 2013,” he said.

The SMW is still a relatively new creation, meaning that improvement efforts are already underway, the official said.

“The SMW was formally established less than a year ago and sustainment efforts, including training, are presently underway,” Gregory said. “Delivery of the aircraft in question will take place over the next eighteen months. This will include training on how to operate and maintain the aircraft and associated equipment.”
“DOD has been implementing or has agreed with implementing the other recommendations in the report, which will help avoid the adverse outcome that it warns against,” he added.