Rubio seeks gun rights votes by repealing DC gun laws
I have mixed feelings about this one. Yes, DC should have reasonable gun laws. That should go without saying. This legislation would undoubtedly improve them. However, there are benefits to dragging DC kicking and screaming into gun rights by a succession of court orders, too; the city government is such an easy target that it's almost better to just get the courts to keep striking down laws and making favorable precedents until we get to something acceptable. (and THEN Congress can improve on the results...)
Also, Rubio's motives on this one are pretty transparent. He wants to shore up his gun rights support before announcing a run for president, since Cruz just announced and Cruz is in position to sweep the field from a gun rights perspective. While making the effort is nice, Rubio's legislation isn't going to do much to help him compete with Cruz on that front, especially when an Obama veto is basically inevitable.
Actually, it's worse than "wobbling"; it's an accusation, verified by three of the people present and denied by Walker, that he's saying one thing in his public speeches and another thing to the private audience at expensive fund raising events. It is exactly the kind of pathetic, cowardly two-faced betrayal that politicians are famous for.
If Scott Walker supports amnesty, let him say so. If he thinks he needs to express something more complicated than a yes or a no, let him do that (but understand that a lot of people are going to take anything that isn't a "no" to mean "yes"). However, whatever your position on immigration -- and, frankly, anything else, but immigration is the hot-button issue for politicians telling the people one thing and voting for another right now -- do not lie to us.
You get no trust, no second chances, no oh-I-changed-my-mind on this issue, Scott. You tell us what you really think and then, if elected, you act on that. There is no trust left. None.
GOP budget demonstrates how inept the GOP leadership is
When I'm done throwing up, I'll laugh. Balancing the budget in 9 years is as good as never balancing the budget at all, which is exactly what this budget will do. The budget must be balanced each and every year. Spending today with the promise of spending cuts tomorrow never works.
Not that the Democrats are going to cooperate, but with majorities in both the House and the Senate and the Democrats having helpfully set a precedent for disregarding the filibuster rule already, a balanced budget for the next two years should be an easy win for the GOP. Except that the GOP is led by idiots, cowards, and squishes.
Come on. This is not a serious candidate. After watching his performance pretending to run for president in earlier elections, I concluded that his goal was to steal media attention and donations from the serious candidates while distorting the positions of the party in a way that would harm the party as a whole in the general election.
We can't keep him from running, but we don't have to take him seriously, and we should not.
In the old days, people blamed such things on the anger of the gods, and I can see why. The earth shakes for hundreds of miles around with no visible cause. You can't deny that it happened, everyone felt it. Everyone was doing something, even if just sleeping, when it hit; each one of them has a possible explanation for why their behavior angered the gods. How could they possibly figure out what was really going on? And why would they do that, when the effort spent on such explanations would inevitably prove useless?
It's much easier to blame the earthquake on the local earth god. Or thunder god. Or just God, a remarkable improvement in efficiency that eliminated the cognitive effort of trying to appease a different god with different rites for every possible phenomenon and replaced it with a single god to appease for everything by being nice rather than mean. In terms of freeing up cognitive resources for useful tasks, monotheism was brilliant.
Of course, that God eventually fell out of fashion because he demanded people behave in useful, productive, and unnatural ways that took effort and discouraged hedonism. Some people decided to replace God with the State, and others decided to replace God with Gaia. The latter are now busy blaming the earthquakes on fracking and devising rituals and taboos to appease their new earth god.
History may not be repeating itself exactly, but it's certainly rapping.
They want to get the "doc fix" they pass every year in place permanently under Obama, so they can blame him for it, and take the issue off the table in future budgets.
The problem is, their supporters want them to cut the fucking spending, not increase it. Only 34 Republicans voted against it.
I've been in the third-party wilderness before on matters of principle. When Obama first ran for office, I thought opposing him was important enough to try to work within one of the major parties for a while. Now, that major party holds 2/3rds of government and is, if anything, worse now than when a divided House and Senate managed to vote for sequestration, which at least managed to reduce spending a little bit.
What is it going to take to change things?
I'm hopeful that Cruz will help, but he's just one guy.
Germanwings airplane crash had one pilot locked out of cockpit
They aren't releasing the audio from the black box, but they are willing to describe it, and what they describe sounds like a terrorist attack. They also aren't releasing the names of the pilots, and of course officially denying any connection to terrorism, which they always do... especially when it really is terrorism. It all adds up to an obvious conclusion. And there have been a number of other planes going mysteriously missing lately, too.
The sad truth is the authorities will deny the terrorism whenever they possibly can. But it does not change the truth.
Yes, someone will need to collect taxes as long as there is a government that needs taxes in order to operate. That doesn't mean that the current IRS and its huge bureaucracy, abusive rules, excessive powers, absurd fine print, and vast industry of hangers-on and enablers who write the software to enable ordinary people to possibly, hopefully, pay their taxes under penalty of perjury without filling out any of the 50 or so pages of forms incorrectly.
And it certainly doesn't mean that the current agency, which demands all of the above from us while penalizing those whose politics do not comport with Washington DC groupthink, should be the agency to do that collection.
And it absolutely does not mean that we should put up with being harassed and delayed and oppressed for our political views while the government that is supposed to serve the people weaponizes the tax collection system in an effort to coerce the people.
Obviously, abolishing the IRS would need to involve also replacing it with something to collect taxes. It doesn't mean that the replacement must be the same as the current IRS. It doesn't mean that the system has to be the same. Because taxes and a tax collection system are considered necessary does not mean that we must settle for the current system.
There are alternatives to a tax code that squeezes the working man while putting loopholes in place at the top and the bottom. The flat tax, the fair tax, a national sales tax, all with appropriate constitutional amendments to ensure they are not abused. We have many options for reform that do not depend on the IRS.
Yes, abolishing the IRS is a drastic action to take. But the events of the last presidency have demonstrated that it is also a necessary action.
More oversight is the solution? More oversight? The IRS investigation has dragged on for years while the IRS lied and stonewalled and refused to turn over documents. Multiple Congresses have convened committees to explore the corruption and abuse of power -- and been able to get nowhere. The IRS executives who broke the law retire with full benefits and enjoy their pensions and bonuses while pleading the 5th amendment before Congress and the President refuses to prosecute the contempt citations Congress has issued.
If the current IRS scandal has demonstrated anything, it is that Congressional oversight of the IRS is completely, utterly ineffective.
The truth is that a flat tax is fundamentally superior to the current progressive tax system for a number of reasons. Functionally, right now, the poor get actual benefits paid to them from the tax system through the Earned Income Tax Credit along with various other credits and deductions, and of course leaving out the actual benefit programs for food, housing, unemployment, and so on. These people are incentivized to vote for higher taxes on everyone else, taxes they do not have to pay.
On the other end of the spectrum, some corporations with political connections and those who inherited their wealth also pay little or nothing in taxes, through the use of clever accounting, special tax loopholes inserted by politicians they helped elect, and the simply fact that taxes are based on income rather than consumption -- and they are wealthy enough to have effectively no personal income because they are wealthy enough that they do not have to work. These people have little incentive to reduce the taxes they aren't paying personally anyway.
The people in the middle, however, those who are working to secure an income for themselves and their families, those who are not yet rich but working hard to become rich; these people pay through the nose to a tax system that penalizes them more the harder they work.
By switching to a flat tax, the incentives across the political spectrum will be corrected. The IRS can be largely eliminated, along with its horrible bureaucracy and repressive rules and political bias. The incessant political desire to trade favors in the tax system for campaign donations will be reduced. The tax preparation industry can be eliminated. People can do their taxes on a postcard -- add up your income for the year, calculate 10% (or whatever the number is) of that, and send it in.
A poor man may send in $1000 from his income of $10,000. Does that seem too much? Surely he will receive more than that in government benefits even without the various tax credits he used to receive, and he can always vote to lower his taxes along with everyone else's taxes.
A hard-working individual may send in $10,000 from his income of $100,000. Does he need the money less than the poor man? Perhaps, but he is already paying 10 times more and receiving fewer government benefits.
A high-earning figure like a celebrity or CEO may bring in $1,000,000, but they will pay $100,000 rather than claiming their latest film didn't make any money because it was all hidden in shell corporations that lost money on paper, and they won't be able to avoid the taxes by employing their family and friends in a tax-exempt charity that just happens to pay for its executives to travel, play golf, and get good PR.
That's what fair looks like. Everyone pays the same rate.
There's a reason they call the current income tax system "progressive".
I am convinced that the ATF backed off on the ammo ban for one reason and one reason only: the premature publication of the rules change, which would have been easily challenged in court. They published the rule by accident, or without realizing they needed to follow procedures; and then they rushed to get a comment period for the change and hoped no one would notice that the publication predated the comment period. When Katie Pavlich noticed, they had to back down and arrange a proper comment period. But they will be back.
... and the above is the BATFE director establishing that he is going to have an open comment period and follow it and actually pay attention to the comments and consider them as input... before he reaches the same decision he reached before.
The thing is... the rational, common-sense way to do this that takes into account the 90,000 comments from all spectrums... is to not do it. But that option is clearly not acceptable to the gun control fetishists in the Obama Administration,
Clinton Foundation may have raised $170 million from foreign sources
It's fine for the ex-president Clinton to raise money from foreign sources to feed into his foundation, but it's somewhat more problematic for the husband of the current Secretary of State and potential future president to do it. Illegal? Arguable; I don't know the details of the ethics rules but giving large gifts to government officials is generally frowned upon. Politically, of course, it feeds the narrative of Clinton corruption.
Obama's deficits after 6 years in office more than total debt of all prior presidents
Sadly, I must also point out that the budget is a joint effort between the House and the Senate. In 2010, Republicans took the House, and in 2014, Republicans took the Senate. The party, as a whole, is therefore complicit in the unprecedent debt and deficit levels during Obama's presidency. The deficit and the debt are bipartisan issues and it seems neither party is willing to address them.