Archive for July, 2010

Slobbering Barney Frank pitches hissy fit over $1 senior discount

Posted in Congress, Culture, UGH! on July 28, 2010 by DaMook

Slobbering Barney Frank (D-MA) has long been accustomed to being treated with deference and fealty. He is, after all, a long time member of congress who has lording privileges over the rest of the unwashed masses. We should all feel lucky just to be in the penumbra of his greatness. This article (from the NY Post) exemplifies the hideous attitude of Slobbering Barney’s entitlement mentality.

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank caused a scene when he demanded a $1 senior discount on his ferry fare to Fire Island’s popular gay haunt, The Pines, last Friday. Frank was turned down by ticket clerks at the dock in Sayville because he didn’t have the required Suffolk County Senior Citizens ID. A witness reports, “Frank made such a drama over the senior rate that I contemplated offering him the dollar to cool down the situation.” Frank made news last year when he was spotted looking uncomfortable around a bevy of topless, well-built men at the Pines Annual Ascension Beach Party. Frank’s spokesperson confirmed to Page Six that his partner, James Ready, asked the ticket office for a regular ticket for himself and a senior ticket for Frank, “but was turned down because Frank didn’t have a resident ID.”

“Rules? What rules? I’m a congressman, damn it!” SHEESH. Too bad the rest of America can’t sue the voters of Massachusetts for foisting this douchebag on us every two years.

Partying with DOJ and taxpayer cash

Posted in BIG Government, Culture, Government Folly, UGH! on July 28, 2010 by DaMook

The Department of Justice (DOJ), flush with taxpayer cash, has been busy spreading the wealth on juvenile crime “prevention” programs. Some of these “programs” have raised a few eyebrows (story here from the Daily Caller).

Children and teenagers who participate in crime-prevention programs funded by the Department of Justice are learning interesting things. According to a report released Monday by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn’s office, millions of dollars in grant money doled out by the DOJ has gone toward teaching young people across the country the ins and outs of golf, appreciating fine art, and the proper use of binoculars.

Also, that Santa is a fascist. Yes, it’s true. A company granted $30,000 by the DOJ for film programs meant to deter something — violence? — once showed an audience of youngsters “Santa, the Fascist Years,” a film which “uncovers and explores Santa‘s flirtation with politics and greed.”

But that’s not all. DOJ dollars have also paid for “a carnival, skateboarding, dancing, fashion shows, and even a doughnut eating contest,” all in the name of crime prevention.

This has led Coburn’s office to break out some rather aggressive questions: Why? WHY? and HUH?

And, I would add, WTF? The primary mission of the DOJ is to enforce federal laws. Who the hell is in charge over there – Bozo the Clown and Ronald McDonald? UGH.

But lest skeptics charge Coburn with of possessing an anti-fun bias, the Government Accountability Office also concluded that such programs have been chronically mismanaged by the DOJ.

“The GAO‘s findings that DOJ could not demonstrate the cost or effectiveness of recreational activities funded by the Department‘s grants echoes other recent evaluations of these same programs by a number of different investigations and reviews, all concluding results are not being demonstrated, oversight is lacking, and funds may be being misused,” Coburn’s report reads.

Well, that’s a surprise. A government agency mismanaging and misusing taxpayer money? I’m shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you.

Coburn’s report recommends that Congress and the Attorney General’s office begin tracking activities, identifying goals, and developing a metric by which to measure those goals; that the Congressional Oversight and Judiciary Committees insure fair bidding practices; and that Congress and the DOJ collectively revisit the responsibility of local government for solving local problems.

“Local communities, for example, should take a greater role in financing recreational activities and DOJ should focus on those efforts communities are less prepared to address such as terrorism and drug cartel activities,” recommends the report.

I have a much better idea. Fire Bozo and Ronald, then get the DOJ to focus on its real mission and leave the fun and games to some other wasteful agency. Too bad our entire government is nothing but a f**king clown show…

Senator “skipper” to pay up

Posted in Congress, Culture, UGH! on July 28, 2010 by DaMook

After being “swiftboated” by the Boston Herald (more here) for trying to avoid Massachusetts taxes on his new yacht, senator John “Skipper” Kerry (D-MA) spent the next four days being hounded by the local media. The story went viral on the Web and even the national media picked it up. All this was apparently too much for the beleaguered senator who now says that he will pay up – so now everybody can shut up about it. (story here from FoxNews)

Sen. John Kerry has told the Massachusetts Department of Revenue he will pay all the taxes due on his new $7 million yacht despite basing the vessel in tax-free Rhode Island .In a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press, the Democrat said, “The payment is being made promptly.”

In his statement, Kerry says, “Whether owed or not, we intend to pay the equivalent taxes as if the boat’s home-port were currently in Massachusetts.”

When asked about the yacht yesterday at a local event Kerry said ” We have always paid our taxes. There is not an issue.  Period.”

“Whether owed or not?” Jeez, what a guy! You’re going to pay up because, well, you’re just tired of all the questions and insinuations about you being a hypocritical tax cheat. Good. Happy sailing, skipper…

IRS to bloat with obamacare

Posted in BIG Government, Government Folly, The Regime on July 26, 2010 by DaMook

The IRS, which employs over 100,000 workers, will have to hire legions of new employees to oversee the new tax provisions of obamacare. (story here from the Wall Street Journal)

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, who operates inside the IRS, highlighted the agency’s new mission in her annual report to Congress last week. Look out below. She notes that the IRS is already “greatly taxed”—pun intended?—”by the additional role it is playing in delivering social benefits and programs to the American public,” like tax credits for first-time homebuyers or purchasing electric cars. Yet with ObamaCare, the agency is now responsible for “the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history.” And without “sufficient funding” it won’t be able to discharge these new duties.

That wouldn’t be tragic, given that those new duties include audits to determine who has the insurance “as required by law” and collecting penalties from Americans who don’t. Companies that don’t sponsor health plans will also be punished. This crackdown will “involve nearly every division and function of the IRS,” Ms. Olson reports.

During the debate on the government takeover of the health cares system, the regime and the majority in congress pooh-poohed the argument that the IRS would have to expand to oversee obamacare. Now we see that this is indeed the case.

Ms. Olson also exposed a damaging provision that she estimates will hit some 30 million sole proprietorships and subchapter S corporations, two million farms and one million charities and other tax-exempt organizations. Prior to ObamaCare, businesses only had to tell the IRS the value of services they purchase. But starting in 2013 they will also have to report the value of goods they buy from a single vendor that total more than $600 annually—including office supplies and the like.

Democrats snuck in this obligation to narrow the mythical “tax gap” of unreported business income, but Ms. Olson says that the tracking costs for small businesses will be “disproportionate as compared with any resulting improvement in tax compliance.” Job creation, here we come . . . at least for the accountants who will attempt to comply with a vast new 1099 reporting burden.

The current tax code is so huge and complex it almost defies compliance. Yet our “geniuses” in government have just added more bureaucracy and complexity. Want job security? Become an accountant…

England plans to de-centralize control of health care system

Posted in BIG Government, Culture, Government Folly, The Regime on July 26, 2010 by DaMook

In a surprise move, the new coalition government in the UK announced a plan to decentralize control of their massively inefficient and uncaring health care system. (story here from the NY Times) While the US careens toward government-controlled health care, the UK, whose system Donald Berwick professes to love, is moving away from government control.

Even as the new coalition government said it would make enormous cuts in the public sector, it initially promised to leave health care alone. But in one of its most surprising moves so far, it has done the opposite, proposing what would be the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948.

Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished.

The tales of woe coming from Britain’s broken health care system illustrate that the government has failed spectacularly in providing even basic health services to its citizens. A recent article (from the Daily Mail) details how hospital staff have to be reminded to feed patients – millions of patients suffer malnutrition during hospital stays. One would think that this would be part of health care 101 – feed the patients. Not so in the NHS, apparently.

For a system that has grown into a monstrous, Jabba the Hut, slug-like bureaucratic morass, this is a significant development. Even though it is not privatization (doctors are still government employees), it opens the door for private entities to enter the system down the road.

Dr. Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the general practitioner committee at the British Medical Association, said general practitioners had long felt there were “far too many bureaucratic hurdles to leap” in the system, impeding communication. “In many places, the communication between G.P.’s and consultants in hospitals has become fragmented and distant,” he said.

The plan would also require all National Health Service hospitals to become “foundation trusts,” enterprises that are independent of health service control and accountable to an independent regulator (some hospitals currently operate in this fashion). This would result in a further loss of jobs, health care unions say, and also open the door to further privatization of the service.

It’s interesting how our government is trying to emulate Europe’s failed systems while the Europeans are backing away from them…

Obamacare mandate – Then: “It’s NOT a tax!” and Now: “It’s a tax!”

Posted in BIG Government, The Regime on July 25, 2010 by DaMook

During the debate over obamacare, our dear comrade leader claimed that the “individual mandate,” where everyone would be forced to purchase health insurance if not provided by their employer, was not a tax. According to this opinion piece, that was then and this is now:

Under ObamaCare, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential” health care coverage starting in 2014.

But while Congress was working on the health care legislation, Mr. Obama refused to accept the argument that a mandate to buy insurance, enforced by financial penalties, was equivalent to a tax. “I absolutely reject that notion,” he said emphatically.

Why? Because Mr. Obama was loathe to admit he’d massively violated his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on anyone but the rich, presumably.

In keeping with that approach, even though Congress anticipated a constitutional challenge to the bill and listed in the legislation 10 detailed arguments seeking to show a delegated power to extend the individual mandate, at no point did the drafters cite the taxing power as a source of authority for what they were doing.

Yet The New York Times reported July 16 that, “The Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s ‘power to lay and collect taxes.’ Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.”

Oh, so before this massive boot-to-the-face was passed, the mandate was not a tax. Now, when it is being challenged in court, they cite the government’s taxing authority as a defence. In other words, they want it both ways to seize power over the health care system. How conveeeenient. Here’s the money quote:

One of two things is true, here.

Either the mandate is a tax, as the Obama Justice Department now asserts in court, and President Barack Obama lied to the American people — loudly, firmly, repeatedly, as he worked to get this massive federal power grab enacted — or else Barack Obama was telling the truth last year, the penalty is not a tax, and the Justice Department (directly answerable to the president) is lying in court today when it asserts no one can challenge the mandate because it falls under the wide-ranging “taxing authority” … that it’s a tax.

Someone’s lying: either Barack Obama or Barack Obama

Indeed…

Morgan Freeman on Black History Month

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture on July 25, 2010 by DaMook

Since race has become a supercharged issue of late, I thought it would be appropriate to link to this video of Morgan Freeman discussing Black History Month. Though it is over a year old, it is especially poignant now. I love how he makes “journalist” Mike Wallace squirm.

Stop talking about it…