Category: Monetary Policy


GOP Lawmaker Proposes Lifetime Lobbying Ban

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) introduced legislation on Tuesday to prevent members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after they leave office.

  Blum, a freshman lawmaker, argued his bill would help limit lobbyists’ influence on the legislative process so members of Congress won’t feel pressured to cater to their wishes for their own self-interest.

” This bill would finally close the revolving door between Congress and special interest groups, restoring integrity to our political system and ensuring that politicians focus on representing their constituents instead of catering to lobbying groups who offer a lucrative post-electoral career,” Blum said in a statement.

” This lifetime ban on lobbying is another step in that effort to make Congress more accountable to the people by reducing the incentive for our elected officials to use their position for their own personal gain,” Blum added.”

 

The Hill has more on this great first step in the fight for responsible government 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remy: Best Song Ever! (Tax Code Edition)

 

 

 

Published on Apr 15, 2015

Remy channels One Direction to help us understand the tax code.

Written and performed by Remy. Music tracks and background vocals by Ben Karlstrom. Produced and edited by Meredith Bragg.

Approximately 2 minutes.

Visit http://reason.com/reasontv/2015/04/15… for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube channel to get automatic notifications when new material goes live. You can follow Reason on Twitter at @reason and follow Remy on Twitter at @goremy.

LYRICS:
Make them pay four months of earnings (oh, that’s a good one)
Have them look for lost receipts (ooh, I like it!)
They’ll have about as much fun
as their last colonoscopy
People everywhere will get ripped off…
the paper version of the Apple Watch

And we’ll dance all night, it’s the best code ever
Some folks pay a lot, others they pay never
And you’ll get tax breaks if you’re really clever
It’ll take so long, it’s the best code ever
They’ll be like “oh, oh no”
We’ll be like “yeah, yeah, yeah.”
We’ll be like “awww.”

You may have heard that all your info
on our systems can be hacked with ease
But rest assured if they don’t get them
they’ll be in the care of folks like these
Yes historians will all agree
among the greatest works in history

And we’ll dance all night, it’s the best code ever
Some folks pay a lot, others they pay never
and if you don’t comply you’ll go to jail, however
Why would you not file? It’s the best code ever
They’ll be like “Oh, oh no”
We’ll be like “yeah, yeah, yeah” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look At How Many Pages Are In The Federal Tax Code

 

 

 

” As they rush to file their taxes by April 15, Americans are rightfully frustrated with the complexity of the 74,608-page-long federal tax code.

  The federal tax code is 187 times longer than it was a century ago, according to Wolters Kluwer, CCH, which has analyzed the federal tax code since 1913.

  Amazingly, in the first 26 years of the federal income tax, the tax code only grew from 400 to 504 pages. Even through President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the tax code was well under 1,000 pages. Changes during World War II made the length of the tax code balloon to 8,200 pages.

  Most of the growth in the tax code came in the past 30 years, growing from 26,300 pages in 1984 to nearly three times that length today.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students Willing To Give Up U.S. Citizenship For In-State Tuition

 

 

 

Such are the perverse incentives in Obamaworld’s land of academia …

It’s Not Red State vs Blue State. It’s City vs Country

 

 

 

” As a resident of the upstate portion of New York (not the Big Apple) I have written frequently about the depressing, negative effects which liberal tax and spend policies combined with strangling regulatory burdens have had on the state, as well as the economic death spiral which has followed. Many of the complaints I hear from residents of the more rural, upstate region center on the unbalanced power held by New York City and the complete disconnect between the government and the more conservative, rural communities to the north and west. But even as a person studying and experiencing these effects first hand, I don’t think I ever grasped the full impact of this disparity in the way it’s spelled out by William Tucker of the American Media Institute.

  Binghamton, New York — once a powerhouse of industry — is now approaching Detroit in many economic measures, according to the U.S. Census. In Binghamton, more than 31 percent of city residents are at or below the federal poverty level compared to 38 percent in Detroit. Average household income in Binghamton at $30,179 in 2012 barely outpaces Detroit’s $26,955. By some metrics, Binghamton is behind Detroit. Some 45 percent of Binghamton residents own their dwellings while more than 52 percent of Detroit residents are homeowners. Both “Rust Belt” cities have lost more than 2 percent of their populations.

  Binghamton is not alone. Upstate New York — that vast 50,000-square mile region north of New York City — seems to be in an economic death spiral.

  The fate of the area is a small scene in a larger story playing out across rural America. As the balance of population shifts from farms to cities, urban elites are increasingly favoring laws and regulations that benefit urban voters over those who live in small towns or out in the country. The implications are more than just economic: it’s a trend that fuels the intense populism and angry politics that has shattered the post-World War II consensus and divided the nation.

  That comparison between the city of Binghamton and the wreckage of Detroit is a true eye opener, but it’s not the only such story in the non-city portions of the state. IBM was once the powerhouse of employment in the greater Binghamton area, employing more than 16,000 people as recently as the late 1980s. Today the entire complex has been sold to local developers and the computer giant employs a few hundred people (many of whom are contractors) renting out a tiny portion of the old complex. Kodak employed 62,000 people in Rochester during the same period as IBM’s heyday. Today there are roughly 4,000 workers. Xerox and Bausch & Lomb were also huge employers there but are now largely (or entirely) gone.

  These stories are repeated over and over again in cities and towns across the upstate region, so it’s more than coincidence. Tucker ties it all together. “

 

Read the rest of Jazz Shaw’s piece at Hot Air

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Border Agents Bracing For New Immigrant Surge

 

 

Families of Central American immigrants turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico on September 8, 2014 in Mission, Texas. Although the numbers of such immigrant families and unaccompanied minors have decreased from a springtime high, thousands continue to cross in the border illegally into the United States. The Rio Grande Valley sector is the busiest area for illegal border crossings, especially for Central Americans, into the U.S.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Photo: John Moore, Getty Images

John Moore, Getty Images

 

 

” On a recent evening near the banks of the Rio Grande, a group of five Guatemalan immigrants, among them two girls, ages 8 and 10 without a parent or guardian by their side, turned themselves over to U.S. Border Patrol agents. 

  It is a familiar scene to law enforcement agencies in South Texas that witnessed nearly 50,000 unaccompanied children and families, mostly from Central America, illegally streaming across the border here last year.

  While far fewer immigrants have been detained in recent months than during the same period a year ago, thousands are still crossing the Rio Grande illegally, and border agents are bracing for thousands more in the months ahead.

  Already, 15,647 minors and 13,911 families have been detained since the beginning of the fiscal year in October, along the whole Southwest border, most of them in Rio Grande Valley. With the historically busy April, May and summer months ahead, it is conceivable that apprehensions this year will surpass all but the unprecedented surge of 2014.”

 

Houston Chronicle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa Forfeiture: A ‘System Of Legal Thievery’?

 

 

 

 

 

The plan: Hitch a ride with a family friend to California, visit relatives and check out community colleges there.

  Sanchez-Ratliff, then 20, did something that in hindsight wasn’t the best idea, but isn’t illegal. He took with him his entire life savings, including about $14,000 provided by his grandmother and an additional $5,000 he had saved from working.”

 

 

 

” The much-anticipated trip took an unexpected turn about eight hours in, as flashing lights appeared in the rear-view mirror. A Pottawattamie County sheriff’s deputy stopped the vehicle for traveling 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.

  An hour later, the deputy seized Sanchez-Ratliff’s cash. Despite a clean criminal record and a search that turned up no sign of drugs or other illegal activity, the deputy concluded the money must somehow be linked to a crime.

  Sanchez-Ratliff is hardly alone.”

 

 

The Register continues …

 

 

” A Des Moines Register investigation into the use of state and federal civil forfeiture laws in Iowa reveals that thousands of people have surrendered their cash or property since 2009. The system is stacked against property owners while raising millions of dollars annually for law enforcement agencies across the state, something critics contend encourages policing for profit over promoting public safety.

  The bulk of forfeitures reviewed by the Register resulted from traffic stops, often for minor violations and involving vehicles with out-of-state plates. But cash or property also was seized after police were called or sent to homes or businesses. In a few cases, police seized cash carried by johns caught up in prostitution stings.

  Among the Register’s findings:

• Law enforcement agencies in all but seven of Iowa’s 99 counties have used the state’s civil forfeiture law since 2009. They have seized cash or other property 5,265 times. At least 542 more cases have used federal forfeiture laws.

• Many of those property owners — including Sanchez-Ratliff — are sent on their way after surrendering their cash or other property. A sampling of about 600 forfeiture cases from the Iowa counties that seized the most property over the past six years revealed dozens of instances with no record of an arrest or criminal charges.

• Iowa police departments and other law enforcement agencies have seized nearly $43 million over the past six years — money divided among agencies involved in each forfeiture case. Under law, the money is supposed to be used to “enhance” their crime-fighting capabilities.

• Most of the money is used to buy equipment, train officers and fund multiagency task forces. But it also has been spent on tropical fish, scented candles, mulch and other items that appear to have little or no direct link to law enforcement activities.

  Local law enforcement agencies generally keep 90 percent of forfeited cash, split among the agencies that seized the property. The rest goes to the state, for use by the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the state’s public safety departments.”

 

 

    The Des Moines Register offers a serious investigation into the blatantly unconstitutional process of stripping law abiding citizens of their money and possessions without due process , otherwise known as “civil” asset forfeiture . Read the whole thing and remember this is not an issue limited to Iowa , your state is doing it too .

Civil asset forfeiture reform now . Every “war” results in a loss of freedoms but none so much as the “war on drugs” .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young People Inspired By Libertarianism, Conservative Free-Market Ideals Push For Change In Brazil

 

 

 

 

    Above is a video of the demonstration for those that understand Portuguese and much more may be found here and here .

 

 

” Microphone in hand and standing atop the sound truck, the raspy-voiced protest leader jabbed his finger into the air shouting for the ouster of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, igniting wild cheers from the crowd below him.

” What Lula and Dilma have done shouldn’t just result in their being banned from politics. It should result in them being in jail!” Kim Kataguiri yelled, denouncing Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.” 

 

 

 

 

” The March 15 demonstration was the largest Sao Paulo had seen in more than three decades, since 1984 protests demanding democratic elections after a long dictatorship.

  But more surprising than the crowd of more than 200,000, according to the Datafolha polling and statistics agency, was the fact it was being led by Kataguiri, a skinny, 19-year-old college dropout, and other young Brazilian activists inspired by libertarianism and conservative free-market ideals.

  The grandson of Japanese immigrants, Kataguiri is a social media star whose quirky videos skewer Rousseff and the ruling party’s social welfare policies. His ascent as a protest figure has been rapid. Two years ago, when protests erupted across Brazil over corruption and poor public services, Kataguiri was a high schooler who avoided the unrest.”

 

Deseret News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karma Is A B*tch: Check Out What Happened To The Jerk Who BULLIED A Chik-Fil-A Employee

 

 

” When Chik-Fil-A  chief operating officer Dan T. Cathy made a series of comments opposing same-sex marriage, it caused a media firestorm.  Gay rights activists called for protests and boycotts of the chain, and even went as far as vandalizing some fast food stores. One man in particular took it upon himself to express his discontent in the most mature way possible, verbally attacking a sweet female employee who had nothing to do with the controversy.

  37-year-old Adam Smith recorded himself being hateful and obnoxious to the employee and posted it to his YouTube channel. 

  Apparently he thought that he was going to get away with harassing the employee without a problem, he thought wrong. He was immediately fired for his intolerance and disgusting behavior.

  He said at the time he was earning $200,000 annually and had over $1 million in stock options.

“ It was taken when I lost my employment,” he said.

  After losing his job, Smith, his wife Amy and their four children also lost their home. They were forced to sell and give away their possessions and move into an RV. A few months later, Smith found a new CFO job in Portland, Oregon. 

  Smith thought he was home free until his new boss caught wind that he was the hateful man from the Chik-Fil-A drive-thru video. He was immediately fired from that job as well. Smith said in subsequent job interviews, he was very honest about the video and while prospective employers seemed empathetic and understanding in the end the companies would rescind the offers saying they didn’t want the distraction.”

Read more

Report: Radio Shack To Sell Customers’ Personal Information In Bankruptcy Sale

 

 

 

 

 

” When you go shopping, you probably think stores will keep your personal information safe and secure.

  But now, a report says Radio Shack is ready to auction off customer information as part of its bankruptcy sale.

  As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, the report says Radio Shack is ready to sell information they have on some 117 million customers, including names, addresses, phone numbers and other details on purchases.

  This despite the Radio Shack privacy policy, which says “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.” “

 

Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Price Of Ground Beef Hits Record In February: $4.238 Per Pound

 

 

 

” The average price of a pound of ground beef climbed to another record high in February, hitting $4.238 per pound, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  A year ago, in February 2014, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.555 per pound. Since then, the average price has increased 19.2 percent in one year.

  Five years ago, in February 2010, the average price of a pound of ground beef was $2.277, according to the BLS. The price has since climbed by $1.961 per pound, or an increase of 86.1 percent.”

Change you can believe in , which is the only change left after a trip to the grocery store … read on

More Than 100,000 Feds Owe Back Taxes

 

 

 

 

 

” Federal employees owed more in delinquent taxes last year than any year in the past decade, costing the Internal Revenue Service $1.4 billion in 2014.

  The 113,805 civilian government employees who declined to pay all of their taxes last year would be ineligible to work for federal agencies under a House bill introduced last week that would hold officials accountable for evading taxes.

  Four in 100 federal employees owed the IRS last year, according to the tax agency’s annual delinquency report released Tuesday.

  Among cabinet-level agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs had the highest rate of tax delinquency, with 15,476 of its employees evading all or part of their taxes in 2014.

  VA staff collectively owed nearly $162 million in back taxes, the report said.”

 

Thanks to Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

 

 

   Update: According to Yahoo News the total tax deficiency of federal employees is over $3.5 billion and not the $1.4 billion we previously reported :

 

” Federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in unpaid taxes last year, a $200 million increase over the previous year, the IRS said Tuesday.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report: DHS Showed Favoritism To Democrat-Linked Immigrants

 

 

 

 

” Many on the right and the left would concede that America’s immigration system is broken, but few acknowledge that it is also hopelessly corrupt. There should be little doubt about the immorality at the heart of the immigration and naturalization process following an inspector general report released on Tuesday that alleges at least one ranking Department of Homeland Security official showed “an appearance of favoritism” and granted “special access” to those seeking green cards and visas for immigrants associated with Democrat-linked wealthy investors.

“ The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department meddled in three high-profile immigration cases, giving special treatment to applications from wealthy and well-connected immigrants after calls from major Democrats despite the objections of career employees, the department’s inspector general concluded in a report Tuesday,” The Washington Times reported on Tuesday.

  Alejandro Mayorkas, who was elevated from head of the department’s legal immigration agency to be deputy secretary while the investigation was ongoing, also angered many of his colleagues by getting involved in the cases, and “created an appearance of favoritism and special access” for the wealthy immigrants, the inspector general concluded.

  Inspector General John Roth said the cases involved major Democrats: former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen. Harry Reid, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  In each case, pressure from those individuals helped earn favorable treatment, Mr. Roth said.”

 

 

 

 

   Read more at Hot Air and see read details of the special treatment afforded Tony Rodham and Terry McAuliffe here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Makes Most )f Close Ties To White House

 

 

 

 

” As the federal government was wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google Inc., company executives had a flurry of meetings with top officials at the White House and Federal Trade Commission, the agency running the probe.

  Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials to discuss settlement talks, according to visitor logs and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met withPete Rouse, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in the White House.

  The documents don’t show exactly what was discussed in late 2012. Soon afterward, the FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to make voluntary changes to its business practices. (See the FTC document on Google).

  Google’s access to high-ranking Obama administration officials during a critical phase of the antitrust probe is one sign of the Internet giant’s reach in Washington. Since Mr. Obama took office, employees of the Mountain View, Calif., company have visited the White House for meetings with senior officials about 230 times, or an average of roughly once a week, according to the visitor logs reviewed by the Journal.”

 

    No wonder Google seeks to change it’s search parameters to be the arbiter of what constitutes “Truthy” websites , read more of the unprecedented White house access afforded the search engine goliath here .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—-

The World’s Next Credit Crunch Could Make 2008 Look Like A Hiccup

 

 

 

 

” We are certainly living in strange times. An unprecedented monetary experiment is coming to a staggered end and no one knows the potential repercussions – a plague of frogs cannot be entirely ruled out.

  For the time being, the markets remain sanguine, expecting, for example, a gentle increase in the Bank of England’s main interest rate to just 1.5pc by the end of the decade. And, who knows, maybe the markets are right.

  But maybe it’s too quiet. Last week, Ray Dalio, the founder of the $165bn (£110bn) hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, wrote a widely-circulated note warning his clients that the US Federal Reserve risked setting off a 1937-style crash when it starts raising interest rates again.

  Then, as now, the central bank had spent years printing money in order to help the American economy recover from the 1929 crash. But the side effect was a stock market bubble, which promptly burst when the Fed prematurely increased rates. Mr Dalio is worried about a repeat performance: “We don’t know – nor does the Fed – exactly how much tightening will knock over the apple cart.”

  It’s true that the policy and regulatory response to the last crisis often sows the seeds for the next. It is not hard to map out a sequence of events in which that proves to be the case again. If it were, a US stock market crash might be the least of our problems.”

 

Read more at the Telegraph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Am A Climate Change Skeptic

 

 

 

 

 

 

” I am skeptical humans are the main cause of climate change and that it will be catastrophic in the near future. There is no scientific proof of this hypothesis, yet we are told “the debate is over” and “the science is settled.”

  My skepticism begins with the believers’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis increased atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unlivable temperatures.”

 

 

 

 

” In fact, the Earth has been warming very gradually for 300 years, since the Little Ice Age ended, long before heavy use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Little Ice Age, during the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland, when it was warmer there than today. And during Roman times, it was warmer, long before fossil fuels revolutionized civilization.

  The idea it would be catastrophic if carbon dioxide were to increase and average global temperature were to rise a few degrees is preposterous.”

 

 

Lest readers doubt the writer’s credentials , the editors thoughtfully provide a brief biography of Dr Moore:

 

 

[Editor’s Note: Patrick Moore, Ph.D., has been a leader in international environmentalism for more than 40 years. He cofounded Greenpeace and currently serves as chair of Allow Golden Rice. Moore received the 2014 Speaks Truth to Power Award at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change, July 8, in Las Vegas. Watch his presentation about this piece at the video player to the left.] (see above)

 

 

Read more on Dr Moore’s epiphany in his own words at the Heartland Institute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why South By Southwest Is A Huge, Exploitative Scam

 

 

 

” The city of Austin is often the only part of Texas that makes sense to solid-blue progressives. It’s a connection that is embodied by the South by Southwest festival currently underway, the annual event to which lovers of music and human inventiveness like to flock.

  It is thus with regret and a sense of intra-tribal disloyalty that I come not to praise the festival but to — well, probably not bury it, because SXSW is a cultural juggernaut and I am not. But I come to call on my fellow lovers of music and human inventiveness, and most especially my fellow liberals, to stop with all the praise. Because the for-profit, privately held entity that is South by Southwest annually turns a handsome profit from nearly immeasurable amounts of unpaid labor.

  In this, SXSW — which started as an itty-bitty thing before becoming a corporate behemoth —is hardly alone. The American cultural scene and labor market writ large are chock-a-block with people profiting from unpaid labor. It’s just that, traditionally, progressives are supposed to oppose that sort of thing. Not pay anywhere from $650 to $1,745 to attend.

  South by Southwest happily touts the financial benefits it brings to Austin (“in 2013, SXSW was responsible for injecting more than $218.2 million into the Austin economy”), but is rather more shy about revealing its own profit margin (“as a privately held company we do not make our financial statements public”).

  However, between ticket sales, merch ($75 “interactive sunglasses,” anyone?), and colossal corporate sponsorships, it seems safe to assume that the margin isn’t slim — and all that bank is made on the backs of thousands of artists and volunteers who are in every meaningful sense unpaid. Volunteers get festival passes; artists get to choose between a tiny honorarium, or festival passes. Neither goes very far at the grocery store.”

 

The Week has more liberal whining about the profitability of SXSW 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diplomatic Disaster: Obama Humiliated By Allies’ Rush To Join China’s New Bank

 

 

 

 

 

” The battle of wills between Beijing and Washington over a China-sponsored development bank for Asia is turning into a rout, and the Obama administration has found itself isolated and embarrassed as its top allies lined up this week to join the proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

  In what one analyst dubbed a “diplomatic disaster” for the U.S., Britain became the first major European ally to sign on as a founding member of the Shanghai-based investment bank, joined quickly by France, Germany and Italy, which dismissed public and private warnings from the U.S. about the bank’s potential impact on global lending standards and the competition it could provide to existing institutions such as the U.S.-dominated World Bank.

  Luxembourg, a major global financial center, revealed this week that it would sign up. China is also wooing Australia and South Korea, two of America’s closest Asian allies, to join before the March 31 deadline. A South Korean wire service reported Wednesday that Seoul was “seriously considering” the offer.

   With 32 countries on board and more expected in the coming days, Chinese state media have begun to gloat about the failure of the Obama administration to rally even its closest allies and trading partners to shun the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They noted that U.S. officials have long lectured China, now the world’s second-largest economy, to take a more active “stakeholder” role in global economic affairs, but then tried to undermine the investment bank almost from the time Chinese President Xi Jinping floated the idea of an Asian development fund during a trip to Indonesia in October 2013.”

    We challenge anyone to inform us of even one single thing that the present administration has accomplished that has benefitted the United States . Continue reading about the latest failure of Obama/Clinton “smart diplomacy” here .

Some Police Revenue Streams Are More Outrageous Than Others

 

 

 

 

 

” There has been a lot of news out of Ferguson lately.

  You had the release of the Justice Department report that, while clearing officer Wilson and debunking “Hands up don’t shoot,” hit the police department for racial practices which led to protests, resignations, the shooting of two police officers and, last  weekend, the arrest of Jeffrey Williams, the shooter.

  But in all the news coverage, protests, and resulting spin, there is one aspect of this story that, for several reasons, is worthy of a lot more attention before it’s forgotten:  the outrageous use of policing as a city revenue stream.

 

   From the report:

  The City’s emphasis on revenue generation has a profound effect on FPD’s approach to law enforcement.  Patrol assignment an schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation.

 

  This practice sets up a perverse reward system if you are a cop, the report explained:

  Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity” meaning the number of citations issued.

 

  And the courts aren’t helping either:

  The municipal court does not act as a neutral arbiter of the law or a check on unlawful police conduct.  Instead the court primarily uses its judicial authority as the means to compel the payment of fines and fees that advance the City’s financial interests.

 

  This is not a new issue to some. Rand Paul,for example, has talked about it for a while, most recently at Bowe state university in Maryland: “

 

Read more from DaTechGuy at Watchdog.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentagon Cannot Account For $500M In US Military Aid To Yemen

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. has lost track of weapons and ammunition worth millions donated to the Yemeni government, an American defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post. The situation in Yemen, which has been in a state of turmoil over the last few years, deteriorated rapidly in January, when the government led by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was toppled by Shia Houthi rebels.

  The lost equipment, which includes small arms, ammunition, night-vision goggles, patrol boats and vehicles, is reportedly worth $500 million. This is a sizeable chunk of the military aid provided by the U.S. to the strife-torn nation since 2007, when Ali Abdullah Saleh was the president.

We have to assume it’s completely compromised and gone,” an unnamed U.S. legislative aide told the Post. While acknowledging that the Pentagon had lost track of the arms and equipment, a defense official reportedly said that there is no evidence that the items have been looted.”

 

 

International Business Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incredible New 3D Printing Technique Looks Like Sci-Fi

 

 

 

 

 

” A new innovation by Carbon3D, unveiled Monday at the TED2015 conference, could finally move 3D printing out of the hobby shop and onto every factory floor.

  Imagine you’re in an emergency room with a blood vessel blockage. To save your life, a surgeon will first insert a tube, and carefully guide it through the clog. Then she might insert a stent, a piece metal or fabric mesh, to keep the vessel open. But that piece of hardware isn’t made to fit your body. Carbon3D can make one that does.

” The idea that you could produce a biodegradable stent that takes in your own anatomy and the tributaries of your blood vessels while you’re on the catheter table in an emergency room — that’s an amazing new future that is now in reach,” said Joseph DeSimone, CEO and co-founder of Carbon3D and a chemistry professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

  It all started in Japan with a tiny house that took 4.5 hours to build. It was made of plastic and measured 2.5 inches across and 2 inches high and had “partitions, furniture, and stairs.” It was one of the first 3D printed items to ever exist. That was 1981.”

 

 

 

   Popular Mechanics brings the news of revolution in the micro-printing area of additive manufacturing while from the more macro side of the technology comes news of cheap 3D printed homes for the third world

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Back in July, the WASPProject unveiled to us their plans to 3D print homes in 3rd world countries using nothing but a 3D printer and clay made from native soil. The idea is a tremendous one, one which could be extraordinarily groundbreaking when it comes to creating shelter for poverty stricken nations.”

 

 

waspextruder2

 

 

” Clay is abundant, and these 3D printers are quite affordable compared to other machines on the market. Providing a single 3D printer to small communities where there is little to no structurally sound housing, could provide for a solution to one of the world’s biggest problems.  The fabrication of multiple homes in a short amount of time, is exactly what WASP is hoping to accomplish.”

 

 

Read all about the WASPProject here and here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outsourcing In America

 

 

 

 

 

” The work that the 400 SCE IT employees do isn’t disappearing, instead it and their jobs are being taken over by foreign guestworkers here on H-1B visas. Those guestworkers are employed by the two leading India-based outsourcing firms, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.

  The SCE workers are wondering: “Why should I lose my job when the work still needs to be done? Why is the government doing this to me and my family?”

  Adding to the injustice of losing their jobs, the SCE workers are being forced to do something that is so common in the industry it is a term of art: “knowledge transfer,” an ugly euphemism that means being forced to train your own foreign replacement. The SCE workers are, “demoralized; in disbelief; beyond furious; down in the dumps; feeling anguish; depressed; feeling dehumanized; feeling humiliated; worrying about the future; worrying about paying the bills.”

  The SCE workers rightly place the culpability squarely on SCE executives, the president, and Congress. One worker simply said, “Shame on Edison for doing this and shame on our politicians for enabling it.”

  H-1B visas are temporary work permits issued by the U.S. government that are good for up to six years. The intent is for these visas to be used only when an American worker cannot be found. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor states, “The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that the hiring of a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed.”

  In practice, the H-1B visa has been used for years to undercut American workers with lower-wage, and often lesser-skilled, workers brought in from overseas. How does this happen? Congress sets the wage floors for H-1Bs, and it has set it far below market wages.”

 

The Hill has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Bill Would Ban Congress From Using Taxpayer Funds For First-Class Travel

 

 

 

 

” Legislation introduced by a freshman congresswoman would ban lawmakers from using taxpayer funds for first-class flights and personal car leases.

  Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., announced the Congressional Travel Perks Elimination Act in a recent statement.

“ Nine months ago, I pledged I would work to end wasteful Congressional perks. Today, I’m following through on that promise,” Graham said. “It’s a common sense idea that Republicans and Democrats can both agree on: members of Congress shouldn’t be able to charge taxpayers for first-class airfare or long-term personal car leases.”

  According to her statement, the legislation would also ban the use of taxpayer funds for personal car leases, some of which are “as high as $825 a month.” “

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s The World’s Biggest House For Sale – And It’s Top Secret

 

Castle for sale near Siena

 

 

” It says something about London’s affluenza that for the price of a five-bedroom penthouse in Connaught Place, Hyde Park, you could buy a whopping Italian estate with a 12th-century medieval castle and a sprinkling of Tuscan farmhouses in the grounds, where the number of bedrooms adds up to 115, with 100 bathrooms on the side. The first costs £20m and the second €28m (£19.8m).

  This castle just east of Siena, wrapped in 630 hectares planted with 1,500 olive trees producing award-winning olive oil, is thought to be the largest property in the world currently on the market. But the Italian market is as keen on discretion as the Mafia is on anonymity, so even the name of this prize piece of history is being kept firmly under the estate agent’s pillow.

  The setting in Tuscany, the medieval courtyard with tower and chapel, the Italianate gardens with palms and box hedges, the interiors with marble floors and elaborate painted ceilings, make it so romantic that it is sometimes hired for weddings. It goes without saying that there is plenty of room for guests to sleep, as well as pools for them to swim in.

“ It is exceptionally beautiful. There are many castles in Tuscany but very few are medieval,” says the agent John Jonk of Sotheby’s International (0039 05507 51888; sothebysrealtycom). “The approach to it is wonderful and you go into another world. There are thousands of wild boar and roe deer, magical woods, vineyards, olive groves and grain fields. On the estate it is always silent. The castle was built at a time just before Giotto, when the Renaissance lay around the corner and Siena was at war with Florence.”

 

Telegraph 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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