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.
Remember when Net Neutrality was supposed to prevent ISPs from making content deals with Netflix?
The idea was that such deals were somehow anti-competititve, rather than two parties coming to a mutually-acceptable agreement -- Netflix paying to deliver its bytes faster and the ISP being paid to upgrade its systems along a particular path or provide caching. End result: customers get better Netflix streaming, and everyone is happy. But for some reason, some people seemed to think that would be a bad thing and wanted the government to regulate the internet to prevent it.
Well, now the FCC has released it's rules for the internet, and the Netflix-type deals will be allowed... maybe... possibly... if the regulating agency gets enough boodle in the process to approve your deal.
So, to sum up: in return for giving the FCC the power to do all manner of political intimidation and speech suppression in the only medium which the ordinary person can speak to a broad audience, we didn't even get the Net Neutrality that people thought they wanted. Instead, we got what we always get when politicians get involved: legalized bribery.
Hillary turns over 300 Benghazi emails, but there are gaps...
Of course no such "stand-down" order is in the emails Clinton provided. The point of having a private email server is that you don't have to turn over the email in which you ordered that your subordinates be abandoned to die. Assuming she even emailed such an order; it would be more cautious to use instant messaging or a telephone call, or even a verbal order in person.
There's a reason movies always have the questioning subordinate asking for his orders in writing, after all.
The truth is, we don't know who issued the stand-down order, but we're pretty sure one got issued. It could be Obama issued the order. And we're also interested in how the idea that the whole thing was about a youtube video got started.
So, we have definitely caught Mrs. Clinton evading the standard record-keeping processes and, when caught, lying about her practice of emailing people at their government addresses to try to mitigate the problem...
In other words, the Obama administration leaked a description of a carefully selected subset of the emails to the press in order to create the right impression prior to any actual release to the public. Note well, the New York Times did not see the emails. Not even some of the emails. Someone read them a description of the emails, from which they drew the intended points: "no coverup! but Hillary did not cc her emails properly!" which conveniently exonerates the Obama administration while damaging Hillary's coronation expected campaign.
But she writes emails about her daughter's wedding and yoga poses? Please.
It's not that she isn't a verbose correspondent, it's that an email from her that says "Please print" a forwarded article is safe to release, and almost nothing else is.
Ted Cruz is expected to announce that he is running for President on 3/23/15. This shouldn't surprise anyone who has been paying attention. As a candidate, Cruz has both positives and negatives, but due to his relatively short time on the national scene, he also has a lot of unknowns to fill in before he can be taken seriously as a candidate for President.
Let's get the negatives out of the way first. Like Barack Obama, Cruz will be running for President before his first term in the Senate is complete. He will be doing so with limited legislative accomplishments (due more to his minority party membership and Obama's veto than anything that reflects upon him personally). Unlike Obama, however, he has significant experiences before running for Senate to draw upon, including a distinguished legal career and arguing the famous 2nd Amendment Heller case before the Supreme Court.
In his short time in the Senate, however, Cruz appears to have managed to piss off the Republican Establishment by being a pain in their collective asses. In some ways this is a plus; I certainly like candidates who annoy the establishment. But it does mean that he may have burned bridges with potential allies and crippled his ability to fundraise. We will have to see how this one plays out.
The final negative is that Cruz is sort of occupying a political void right now. He's staked out a number of firmly conservative positions on various issues, but he's also left a lot of ground open where he hasn't said much or taken any sort of position at all. I didn't even realize notice this until I started writing this post, and found myself with a few bits of red meat and almost nothing else. Maybe he's openly trying to emulate Obama's blank slate nature, or maybe he's just not brought up a lot of the minor issues because they didn't seem relevant. Either way, more information is going to be needed as the campaign speeds up.
One thing that I would be interested in, and have never seen effectively answered: why does Bloomberg, as a person, care about gun control? He lives in something fairly close to gun control utopia, he has gazillions of dollars to pay armed security guards to protect him from the disarmed serfs who surround him, he doesn't appear to be angling for political office for himself any longer, I don't know of anyone he's lost that would make it a personal crusade. I can't see how he gets money or power from funding gun control politics. So why does he care?
The only thing I can think of is that gun control is a front to cover for what he really wants to pay politicians for. But that seems too much like a conspiracy theory.
In the end, it doesn't matter. He wants what he wants. We will stop him.
Second Amendment challenge to 1986 Hughes Amendment gun ban filed
I am concerned that this was filed too soon, before enough positive precedent was established, but otherwise I'm supportive. We have to fight this battle eventually.
Note that this challenge does not address the NFA rules for these items, it only addresses the ban on manufacturing new firearms. Any newly manufactured firearms would need to go through the same purchase process as the existing stock of such items requires.