Sunday, October 12, 2014

Georgia's 4th Congressional District - November 2014

Useless Idiot

- By: Larry Walker II -

President Barack Obama has endorsed Congressman Hank Johnson for re-election in the Fourth Congressional District of Georgia.

“Congressman Johnson has done an outstanding job,” said President Obama. “Together, we are fighting to restore middle class security and expand opportunity for all Americans. I’ve worked with Congressman Johnson as we’ve extended the security of health care to millions and pulled our economy back from the brink of collapse while protecting consumers and passing historic Wall Street reform. I am proud to stand with Hank and support his re-election.”

Congressman Johnson is famous for his on the record comment in March of 2010, where he reasoned that if 8,000 Marines were stationed on the Island of Guam, he feared the island could tip over and capsize due to overpopulation (see clip below).

And let's not forget his 30 minute rant, Giants Need Midgets, in December of 2012 (see clip below). Despite these and many more idiotic comments, Johnson has not only been endorsed by Barack Obama, but he's been re-elected 4 times, and runs virtually unopposed this year.

Unfortunately, there is no Republican candidate opposing Johnson in next month's election. One has to wonder why. It seems that no one in the district is willing or able to oppose this moron. However there is one, and only one, alternative. Raymond L. Davis stands as the sole Certified Non-Partisan Write-In Candidate opposing Johnson this year. He may be our last hope.

Raymond L. Davis has lived in the Atlanta area for 33 years. The 50 year old is a licensed and ordained Minister at the Greater Traveler's Rest Baptist Church, "House of Hope" in Decatur. He's also the Founder, President/CEO of Genesis Network International, Inc., a 501c(3) non-profit organization that he has run for more than twenty years. Davis sits on many boards and is well known as an international and national advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

If you're sick and tired of President Obama's policies, and his useless idiots like Hank Johnson, then don't just skip over the District 4 U.S. Congressional section on this year's ballot. It's time to give someone else a shot. It's time to send a clear message. This year, remember to write in Raymond L. Davis for United States House of Representatives, District 4.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Georgia’s Proposed Constitutional Amendments – November 2014

Photo by: Larry Walker II
Savannah City Hall

A Yes-No Proposition

- By: Larry Walker II -

There are two Proposed Constitutional Amendments on Georgia’s ballot this November 4th. They are as follows:

A. To prohibit an increase in the state income tax rate in effect January 1, 2015 (Senate Resolution 415). "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?"

B. Adding reckless driving penalties or fees to the brain and spinal injury trust fund (House Resolution 1183). "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional reckless driving penalties or fees to be added to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative services for Georgia citizens who have survived neurotrauma with head or spinal cord injuries?"

Yes on Proposal A

Well, Proposal A is pretty much a no-brainer. Do you want to increase the State’s income tax rate, and thus reduce its, and thereby your, competitiveness? I think not. A Yes vote on Proposal A prevents the General Assembly from calling a special session to raise taxes before the next official session begins on January 1, 2015. Therefore, I’m voting Yes on Proposal A.

No on Proposal B

I will be voting No on Proposal B, although the reasons are a bit more complicated. Increasing fines on those convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or reckless driving, in order to allocate such additional funds to a Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund sounds like a noble idea, however, I believe this concept is best suited for a public Charity. We don’t really need the current Commission to provide such grants. A public charity will do just fine. Ironically, the Commission already accepts public donations. Who knew?

In exploring this proposal intelligently, two important questions arise. First, what is the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund? And second, why does it need more money?

The Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund was created through a constitutional amendment passed by Georgia voters in November 1998. Who knows what we were thinking back then? It is funded solely through a surcharge on DUI (and reckless driving) fines, to assist Georgians with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injuries, by awarding grants to help alleviate a portion of the often insurmountable costs of procuring necessary equipment and services to help rebuild lives after a traumatic injury.

Why does the Commission need more money? The Trust Fund has never been lower than it is today, with collections having fallen from a peak of $2,069,640 in FY-2008, to just $1,579,626 in FY-2013. The commission only awarded 242 grants in FY-2013, with a total value of $1,343,136. This amounted to an average of just $5,550 per grantee. The reason Trust Fund collections have dwindled is because the number of DUI convictions is down. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out (Fewer DUI’s = Less Revenue).

Wait a minute! Wasn’t the Trust Fund created to penalize, and thus discourage the number of DUI’s? If so, then it’s working. However, if its real purpose was to establish a government-backed slush fund, then perhaps fines should be increased, and rather dramatically, since any increase would have to be proportional to the declining number of DUI convictions. What this would mean is if the number of DUI’s dropped to 10 on an annual basis, then this lucky 10 would have to pay fines of around $206,964 apiece, in order to reboot the Trust Fund. Did you get that? If not, here are a few more reasons to vote No on Proposal B.

In its FY-2013 Annual Report, the Brain & Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission stated that the estimated lifetime costs of care for a person with a traumatic brain and spinal injury could reach upwards of $4,000,000. Yet, according to the same report, the maximum lifetime cap on awards through the Commission is just $15,000 per applicant, hardly a drop in the bucket.

Further, because the Trust Fund is a payer of last resort, an applicant must have exhausted all other fund sources, such as Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, Private Insurance, Disability Insurance, VA, Victims Compensation Fund, etc…, in order to be eligible. In other words, only a handful of applicants will ever even qualify for this penury.

And then there’s this. Eligibility depends on the cause of injury, which must be one of the following: accidental fall, accidentally struck by or against an object/person, assault, self-inflicted injury, sports/recreation injury, and last but not least – a transportation/motor vehicle accident. So let me get this straight, we are collecting fees from those convicted of DUI and reckless driving (traffic) violations, and giving it to persons injured in non-traffic related accidents. What’s wrong with this picture?

Finally, according to its FY-2013 Annual Report, there were a total of 73,770 statewide traumatic brain and spinal injuries in 2013, yet the Commission was only able to grant awards to 242 persons, averaging $5,550 each. This leads me to conclude that the Trust Fund isn’t of much use to anyone at this point in time.

If you all want to punish those convicted of DUI and reckless driving, by all means, do it. But if you want to use this as an excuse for maintaining a government slush fund, then forget about it. I’m voting No on Proposal B, and if I could, I would vote to completely disband the Brain & Spinal Injury Trust Fund and its Commission. Its mission, although a noble one, can more effectively be carried out by, and should be transferred over to, a public charity. You got that?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Worthless Deeds of ISIS

Destroyed in Korah’s Rebellion ::

Indeed, those who disbelieved and averted [people] from the path of Allah and opposed the Messenger after guidance had become clear to them - never will they harm Allah at all, and He will render worthless their deeds. Quran 47:33 (Sahih International)

Muhammad died in 632 A.D. as a result of poison he ingested after his attack upon and conquest of the Jewish settlement of Khaibar. He led his army and attacked the settlement while the Jews were on their way to work, beheaded most of its leaders, and enslaved many of its women and children.  Muhammad even took the most beautiful woman for himself and married her (Safiyah).

Immediately following the conquest of Khaibar, a Jewish woman prepared dinner for Muhammad and some of his men. Unknown to the Muslims, she had poisoned the lamb (some say goat) that was served. Muhammad tasted of the poisoned lamb, realized it was poisoned and spat it out; nevertheless he died as a result three years later. During his illness he used to say, "I did not cease to find the effect of the (poisoned) morsel I took at Khaibar, and I suffered several times (from its effect) but now I feel the hour has come of the cutting of my jugular vein." Ibn Sa'd pages 251, 252

When asked by Muhammad why she did it, the Jewish woman said something to the effect, "You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncle and my husband. If you were a liar we would be rid of you, but if you were a prophet then the poison would not harm you."

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here's a news flash -- the poison worked -- it indeed killed him. Thus, in my opinion, Muhammad was not a prophet of God, most high, but rather a false prophet, not to mention a murderous thug, who received the recompense of his reward nearly 1,400 years ago. "Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him; for what his hands have done shall be done unto him." Isaiah 3:11

Yet to this day, Muhammad is revered by many, namely by those who refuse to accept God's true Messenger, His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus. They are free to believe as they choose. Free that is until they begin, under the threat of murder, to force their poison off on the rest of us.

Although Christians have lived in northern Iraq and Syria for nearly two-thousand years, and at least six hundred years before Islam, today they face extinction across the region, according to Catholic Online. A month ago, Christians were warned to either leave the city of Mosul and other areas under Islamic State control, or they would have to pay a tax or be put to death. Estimates hold that 200,000 Christians live in the region, however only a fraction of these have been accounted for. Where are all the missing Christians? Have they already been put to the sword?

Today, bloodthirsty, demon-possessed followers of a false prophet, under the banner of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are filling trenches with the corpses of thousands upon thousands of innocent victims murdered in mass executions; beheading Muslim and Christian men, women and children; hanging and torturing the poor and downtrodden; raping women and young girls; and to top it off posing with their victims, making videos, and even tweeting crude jokes about their carnage. They glorify and revel in their killing and believe with all sincerity that they are doing the work of Allah.

Fate of ISIS

As for the fate of ISIS, what can be said of false prophets and their followers other than what has been said long ago? We defer to the Books, Numbers and Jude.

Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.” Numbers 16:28-30

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. ~ Numbers 16:31-33

And from the Book of Jude:

Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Woe unto ISIS! May your deeds be rendered worthless! May the judgment of God convict you of all the ungodly acts you have committed in your ungodliness, and of all the defiant words you ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. Woe unto ISIS! May you meet the fate of Korah! May the earth open up and swallow your ungodly leaders, their households and all their possessions. May fire fall from heaven and consume your false Imams. May the plague eliminate your remaining unholy congregation! Woe unto ISIS!

References:

The Death Of Muhammad

Qur'an 47

Book of Numbers, Chapter 16 - Korah's Rebellion

Book of Jude 1

Image: Cloud-Fire via - My Treasure Box

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Immigration Hype

A Never-Ending Scheme

:: By: Larry Walker, II ::

According to the New York Times, “Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico, according to a draft of the proposal.”

And, “If approved, the plan would direct the government to screen thousands of children and youths in Honduras to see if they can enter the United States as refugees or on emergency humanitarian grounds. It would be the first American refugee effort in a nation reachable by land to the United States, the White House said, putting the violence in Honduras on the level of humanitarian emergencies in Haiti and Vietnam, where such programs have been conducted in the past amid war and major crises...”

What’s so wrong with this plan? It sounds a lot better than the utter chaos we have today. The pilot program proposed for Honduras would allegedly cost up to $47 million over two years, under the assumption that 5,000 refugees would apply, and about 1,750 would be accepted. What’s so bad about that?

The only flaw I can find is that because 16,500 unaccompanied children have arrived from Honduras, just since October 1st (over the last 9 months), actually up to 44,000 could apply for refugee status over a 24-month period ((16,500 / 9) * 24). That means this pilot program could actually wind up costing upwards of $413.6 million (($47 million / 5,000) * 44,000). Oops!

Furthermore, since the population of Honduras (under the age of 15) is around 2.8 million, assuming they all want to exit, the program could last for upwards of 127 years, with a total cost of around $26.3 billion ($413.6 million * 63.5 two-year periods). With an acceptance rate of 35%, we could wind up with around 981,584 Honduran refugees over the next 127 years. But that’s not the end of this proposal.

Since the program would then be adopted in Guatemala and El Salvador, which have populations (under the age of 15) of 6.0 million, and 2.0 million, respectively, again assuming all want to join us, the program could last for upwards of 270 years (concurrently), with a total cost of around $101.0 billion, assuming similar costs in all three countries.

All in all, we could wind up taking in 3.8 million refugees, at a cost of around $101 billion, over the next 270 years. But keep in mind; this only includes the cost of processing and transporting them to the United States. It does not include the cost of feeding, educating, housing, etc… And then where does it end? How many other countries could declare worse crises?

Does this still sound like a great plan? Not so much.

The Hype

The hype involves all the stupid comments I’ve been reading from so-called Conservatives, across the web, such as the following:

“Obama is not stupid; he is a very smart man that has the backing of his money people. He wants to overpower the voting system to get as many people into the USA so that the Democrats can stay in office for years to come. Therefore they can have full control of everything in this country.”

“One thing it means is that an immigrant will be automatically registered as a demoRAT with full voting privileges. You and I have to actually fill out a form, the immigrants, being illiterate (no-speaky Inglés), get a pass.”

Really? Do you all really think these kids are thinking about which political party devised the plan to let them in? As far as I can tell, all they see right now is America the Beautiful. But anyway, why are Conservatives worrying about some election ten or twenty years from now, instead of focusing on this year and 2016? Do I need to spell out why the above is nothing but hype? Alright then, because of the following:

  1. Children cannot vote.

  2. Even Permanent (aka. Legal) U.S. Residents are not citizens and thus cannot vote.

  3. One must be over the age of 18, and have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for 5 years before he or she can apply for citizenship.

  4. Once citizenship is applied for, and one passes the test and pays the $700 fee, then, and only then, is he or she eligible to vote.

  5. Assuming citizenship is attained, how such a person chooses to vote is a matter of personal preference, influenced by individual life experiences.

Perhaps it’s time Conservatives forget about some fantasy election decades away, and focus on things that really matter, like the potentially ridiculous overall cost of this never-ending scheme.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Pen, a Phone and GDP Contracts by 2.9%

:: By: Larry Walker, Jr. ::

Back on January 14, 2014, POTUS 44 announced, “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Well, great!

Then on June 25, 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), in its third and final release, announced that real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter (that is, from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014). In the fourth quarter of 2013, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

Well, so much for going it alone. Please stop with the help already, it’s not working. Did anyone seriously believe this guy was some kind of economic prodigy, capable of single-handedly leading the U.S. economy to the Promised Land? Oh, please! My first impression was “What a moron.” Isn’t this the same guy who hired a 35-year-old fiction writer as his Deputy National Security Advisor? And, isn’t this the same guy that (ad infinitum)… believe me, it's not worth it.

After the first release estimate, Zerohedge.com reported, and I’m paraphrasing, “...if it wasn't for the (government-mandated) spending surge resulting from Obamacare, which resulted in the biggest jump in Healthcare Services spending in U.S. history, GDP growth would be negative.” Well, it so happens that, according to the BEA's third and final estimate, GDP growth actually was negative.

It seems that if all the cash sucked out of discretionary consumer spending during the first quarter, by way of artificially high (government-subsidized) health insurance premiums, and neatly tucked away into insurance company reserve funds (savings accounts), had instead been unleashed into the economy, GDP surely would have been positive.

Where I come from, a contraction in GDP of 2.9% should indicate that someone or something’s about to get the ax. Let’s just pray it’s this ridiculous pen and phone strategy. And, while we’re at it, how about losing that idiot fiction writer. Whose bright idea was that anyway?

Revised and updated on June 25, 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Benghazi Mastermind

Adventures with Inspector Lestrade

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

US officials announced Tuesday that a joint Special Forces and FBI operation successfully nabbed Libyan national Ahmed Abu Khattala, the man suspected as the ringleader for the 2012 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.” The piece I read was titled, “9/11 Benghazi Attack 'Mastermind' Who Hid in Plain Sight for Years Captured By US Forces.” That's all well and good, however, I believe a conviction in this case is about as likely as one against John McFarlane in the case of the Norwood Builder.

Back on October 18, 2012, a month after the attack, a New York Times (NYT) article stated that, witnesses and authorities had named Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Times went on to say that as Khattala sat on the patio of a luxury hotel, in Benghazi, a month after the attack, sipping a strawberry frappe, he accused the United States of “playing with the emotions of the American people” and “using the consulate attack just to gather votes for their elections.”

I somehow find Khattala’s reasoning more plausible than what the mainstream media carelessly tossed into the public trough. It’s good to know, at least according to the NYT, that there were witnesses to the attack, but it’s too bad none have come forward publicly with any credible evidence. I guess we’re supposed to just take the NYT’s word that, (1) there actually were witnesses, and (2) that verifiable, although nameless and faceless, authorities actually believed Mr. Khattala was one of the ringleaders.

The NYT article continued, “Although Mr. Abu Khattala’s exact role remains unclear, witnesses have said they saw him directing other fighters that night. Libyan officials have singled him out, and officials in Washington say they are examining his role.” Sounds like the NYT had this case sealed from the get go. But what was Mr. Khattala’s account?

“But Mr. Abu Khattala insisted that he had not been part of the aggression at the American compound. He said he had arrived just as the gunfire was beginning to crackle and had sought to break up a traffic jam around the demonstration. After fleeing for a time, he said, he entered the compound at the end of the battle because he was asked to help try to rescue four Libyan guards working for the Americans who were trapped inside. Although the attackers had set fire to the main building, Mr. Abu Khattala said he had not noticed anything burning.” Sorry, but where’s the evidence that Khattala actually planned the attack? Maybe Fox News has something.

Also in October 2012, Fox News’ Greg Palkot spoke to Khattala in an off camera interview. Here are the facts gleaned from his account.

  1. Khattala was easy to contact and did not appear to be in hiding.

  2. He admitted to being at the scene of the consulate attack, but claimed that he did not plan it.

  3. He said he went to the consulate to look after militia members who had been guarding the complex and were possibly injured.

  4. He maintained that he was no longer a member of Ansar al-Sharia, although he was previously a key member of the militia group.

  5. He said he was directing traffic outside of the consulate on the night of the attack.

So far, I haven’t seen or heard anything that could be considered prima facie evidence against Mr. Khattala with regard to planning, coordinating, or for that matter even participating in the attack. But perhaps the New York Post can expound.

According to a New York Post article written earlier this year, ‘when The New Yorker magazine came to interview Khattala at his home in Leithi, a neighborhood in Benghazi, in April, he looked and behaved more like a suburban homeowner than a terror mastermind.’

‘Abu Khattala was relaxed and greeted passing neighbors, before sitting down in a green leatherette chair to tell the magazine he had no fear of US forces coming after him.’ “I am living a normal life here. I am not afraid of anything, because I trust in God,” he told the magazine. “This is fate. If God determines you will be here today and gone tomorrow, there is no escape.”

‘Abu Khattala proclaimed his innocence in connection with the September 2012 attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. He admitted to being at the scene, but said he did nothing more than help direct traffic outside. He challenged US prosecutors to make a case against him.’

“There is no case against me,” Abu Khattala said. “But I am not the one who needs to prove my innocence. The Americans must prove their accusation.”

What a providential thing that the very mastermind of the attack was found hiding in plain sight, that he welcomed interviews with the news media and from US officials, and didn’t even put up a fight while being kidnapped by US forces. Well then, that is final. Case closed. Let’s just hang him quickly and put this matter to rest, right?

The Norwood Builder

Not so fast. This case reminds me of one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories, The Norwood Builder, in which Inspector Lestrade thought he had solved a murder after the discovery of a bloody thumbprint in the middle of the wall down a dark hallway. “Step right this way, if you please, gentlemen, and I think I can convince you once for all that it was John McFarlane who did this crime,” he said.

“This is where young McFarlane must have come out to get his hat after the crime was done. Now look at this.” With dramatic suddenness he struck a match, and by its light exposed a stain of blood upon the whitewashed wall. As he held the match nearer I saw that it was more than a stain. It was the well-marked print of a thumb.

Lestrade continued, “You are aware that no two thumb-marks are alike?”

“I have heard something of the kind,” said Holmes.

“That is final,” said Lestrade.

“That is final,” said Holmes... Then, making desperate efforts to restrain a convulsive attack of laughter, he finally said, “Dear me! Dear me! Well, now, who would have thought it? And how deceptive appearances may be, to be sure! Such a nice young man to look at! It is a lesson to us not to trust our own judgment - is it not, Lestrade?”

Knowing full well that the thumbprint was not there on the day prior, because he had thoroughly examined the crime scene, Holmes continued, “What a providential thing that this young man should press his right thumb against the wall in taking his hat from the peg! Such a very natural action, too, if you come to think of it. By the way Lestrade, who made this remarkable discovery?”

Well, as you can probably imagine, John McFarlane had nothing to do with the murder. In fact, in this case, it turned out that the victim was still alive, and had himself planted the thumbprint in the middle of the night. But even more significant, the housekeeper, who discovered the thumbprint, was an accomplice to the crime.

Framing a Mastermind

As for Ahmed Abu Khattala having anything at all to do with the 9/11/2012 Terrorist Attack at Benghazi, who might I ask made this remarkable discovery? Was it not the mainstream media that first discovered this man, interviewed him, and then held him out as a possible suspect? And is not the same mainstream media now holding him out as the “mastermind” behind the attack? Does the mainstream media have any proof of Khattala’s guilt, beyond the questions put to him, and the answers he provided? Because, if that's all there is, the evidence appears to lead nowhere.

Is Mr. Khattala the mastermind because he was at the scene on the night of the attack, or because he’s the only one who was there that the news media could find at the time? From the videos most of us have been allowed to view, it appears there were lots of people rummaging around the Consulate that night. In fact, at one point a group of individuals found the US Ambassador within the burning building, dragged him out and carried him to the hospital.

Is Mr. Khattala the mastermind because he opined that he didn't think America should be meddling in Libyan affairs? If that's the reason, then virtually all of Libya, not to mention most of the world, is rife with suspects.

Aside from a dearth of evidence, what criminal mastermind ever gets his hands dirty at the scene of the crime, and then lounges around in plain sight, granting interviews to the news media straightway after pulling off the crime of the century? To know, I guess we'll have to wait for this fella to receive his “fair” trial, which I remind you, will be conducted by the same justice system that found O.J. Simpson innocent, and just freed five top-level Taliban commanders after being held for 10 years without so much as a trial.

The most damning statement for or against Khattala being the “mastermind” comes from his interview with CNN’s Arwa Damon in May 2013, when he responded, “I didn't know where the place was. When I heard, we went to examine the situation. When we withdrew and there was shooting with medium guns, and there were RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) in the air and people panicked, we tried to control traffic.” From this we learned that Mr. Khattala didn’t know where the consulate was located. And, why would he know? Who told him where the consulate was located? I would contend that the person behind the attack, or if you will the mastermind, would be someone with precise knowledge of not only where the consulate was, but of Ambassador Stevens presence on that awful night.

I have no idea whether Mr. Khattala is completely innocent, or whether he is indeed the Mastermind behind the Benghazi attack, however, based upon the heretofore presented flimsy reed of circumstantial evidence, handed down by none other than the mainstream news media, my guess would be the former. Yet upon this one point I offer my opinion. If this guy turns out to be completely innocent, I hope to God that everyone responsible for framing him is sued for everything they have, charged as accomplices to the crime, and does time in a federal penitentiary.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mass Shootings Hoopla

Iraqi Citizens Executed by ISIL Terrorists (06/2014)

There's No Place Else Like This

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Reminiscent of Secretary of State Kerry's now infamous speech in Mexico, in which he erroneously declared that temperatures in Europe and in Vietnam were at “unprecedented” levels, and had broken "every record that's ever been seen", last week, referring to the latest school shooting in Oregon, Potus 44 proclaimed, "We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this."

Really? Are we the only developed country on Earth where school and mass shootings occur? Well, I guess that depends on ones definition of the word "developed", as well as upon which Earth one happens to reside (i.e. apparently there is more than one). Granted the term "developed" would exclude the entire Middle-East, where mass killings are interwoven with religious dogma and thus a way of life, whenever I hear code words like "every", or "only", they generally precede a gross exaggeration, mass deception or an outright lie.

Ironically, in this case, at nearly the very moment Potus attempted to twist our emotions, over what seemed like a rash of public-school kids losing their minds (at the hand of the US Department of Education), the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) resumed its deadly drone attacks in Pakistan, perhaps encouraging the next mass killer. US drone strikes hit houses in Dande Darpa Khel village in Pakistan’s North Waziristan on Wednesday and early Thursday, leaving at least 16 people dead. But I guess that's okay, because after all we're at war with Pakistan, right? And, war always involves covertly firing missiles into the personal residences of one’s enemy, regardless of whether school-aged children are present.

Coincidentally, earlier this month, a Wall Street Journal report said that during secret negotiations over the release of Bowe Bergdahl, the Taliban warned Washington that its drone attacks had come close to killing him on several occasions. Thus, the CIA halted attacks for around 6 months, resuming immediately after his release. Well what do you know; maybe the poor fella's life really was in danger. Now here's the Catch-22.

US drone strikes have killed hundreds of civilians in several Muslim countries including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. And, according to Ben Emmerson, a UN human rights investigator, the death toll of civilians in US drone strikes in Afghanistan and Yemen continues to rise. So although I feel Potus 44's concern over 12-year-olds flipping out in government-run schools, rather than his preoccupation with upending US laws, currently protecting more people than they harm, perhaps he should focus on his own murderous policies.

Granted that none of the above are considered "developed" countries, as implied by Potus 44, and thus really don't matter all that much, it's pretty far from okay when the very dude responsible for mass killings around the globe tries to convince the rest of us that we are the problem.

Potus 44 continued, “The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people.” Well, you got that right. “And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else." Wait! We kill each other? Hmmm, well that's kind of a tough sale. And we do so at rates exponentially higher than any place else? Where’s the backup?

Following is a non-exhaustive list of school and mass shootings in developed and semi-developed countries beyond the borders of Potus 44's America. It excludes places like Syria, where the death toll in its three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000 (averaging 146 a day), and Iraq, where 603 civilians were killed just last month, and hundreds more continue to be slaughtered daily.

March 13, 1996 - Dunblane, Scotland - 16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others wounded in attack.

March 1997 - Sanaa, Yemen - Eight people (six students and two others) at two schools killed by Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri.

April 28, 1999 - Taber, Alberta, Canada - One student killed, one wounded at W. R. Myers High School in first fatal high school shooting in Canada in 20 years. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, had dropped out of school after he was severely ostracized by his classmates.

Dec. 7, 1999 - Veghel, Netherlands - One teacher and three students wounded by a 17-year-old student.

March 2000 - Branneburg, Germany - One teacher killed by a 15-year-old student, who then shot himself. The shooter has been in a coma ever since.

Jan. 18, 2001 - Jan, Sweden - One student killed by two boys, ages 17 and 19.

Feb. 19, 2002 - Freising, Germany - Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired; he then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.

April 26, 2002 - Erfurt, Germany - 13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.

April 29, 2002 - Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina - One teacher killed, one wounded by Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, who then killed himself.

Sept. 28, 2004 - Carmen de Patagones, Argentina - Three students killed and 6 wounded by a 15-year-old Argentinian student in a town 620 miles south of Buenos Aires.

Sept. 13, 2006 - Montreal, Canada - Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon at Dawson College. Anastasia De Sousa, 18, died and more than a dozen students and faculty were wounded before Gill killed himself.

Nov. 7, 2007 - Tuusula, Finland - An 18-year-old student in southern Finland shot and killed five boys, two girls, and the female principal at Jokela High School. At least 10 others were injured. The gunman shot himself and died from his wounds in the hospital.

March 11, 2009 - Winnenden, Germany - Fifteen people were shot and killed at Albertville Technical High School in southwestern Germany by a 17-year-old boy who attended the same school.

April 30, 2009 - Azerbaijan, Baku - A Georgian citizen of Azerbaijani descent killed 12 students and staff at Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. Several others were wounded.

April 7, 2011 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - A 23-year-old former student returned to his public elementary school in Rio de Janeiro and began firing, killing 12 children and seriously wounding more than a dozen others, before shooting himself in the head. While Brazil has seen gang-related violence in urban areas, this was the worst school shooting the country has ever seen.

July 22, 2011 - Tyrifjorden, Buskerud, Norway - A gunman disguised as a policeman opened fire at a camp for young political activists on the island of Utoya. The gunman kills 68 campers, including personal friends of Prime Minister Stoltenberg. Police arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian who had been linked to an anti-Islamic group.

March 19, 2012 - Toulouse, France - Mohammed Merah, a French man of Algerian descent, shot and killed a rabbi, two of his children, and another child at a Jewish school. Police believe he had earlier shot and killed three paratroopers. Merah said he was a member of Al Qaeda and that he was seeking revenge for the killing of Palestinian children.

September 21, 2013 - Nairobi, Kenya - Shabab militants, who are based in Somalia, attacked an upscale mall, killing nearly 70 people and wounding about 175. The siege lasted for three days, with persistent fighting between government troops and militants. The attack was meticulously planned, and the militants proved to be challenging for the government to dislodge from the Westgate mall.

There's no place else like this?

Reference: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wait! Who Surrendered?

White House Claims ‘Ending War in Iraq’ As Major Accomplishment

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

Borrowing from the Lonely Conservative, this week terrorists have taken over the cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq. They had already taken control of Fallujah and the entire region is spiraling out of control. But, that didn’t stop White House spokesman Josh Earnest from proclaiming that ending the Iraq war is one of the administration’s major accomplishments.

The only problem with this unsound proclamation is that a war isn’t over until someone surrenders. Where’s the peace treaty? Have Al-Qaeda and its affiliates surrendered? Has the Taliban laid down arms? Well, then who in the hell surrendered? Oh, I see. It seems we did.

Hmmm, let’s think of it this way. If a band of terrorists parachuted onto the White House grounds, summarily executed Potus, then declared that the war was over and returned to their milk and honey farms, I suppose we could just accept this and go back to our busy lives, and perhaps some of us would want to, but I suspect most of us would be ready for war. For us, this would be more like the beginning, or a new beginning, rather than the end. But perhaps I stand alone.

Apparently we’ve forgotten about Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who continued fighting World War II a full 29 years after Japan surrendered. He continued to fight because he didn’t know the war was over. Despite numerous attempts to inform him and a few remaining cells of soldiers, by dropping leaflets with orders to surrender from General Yamashita, followed by more leaflets with newspapers from Japan, photographs, and letters from the soldier’s families, and despite sending delegates from Japan begging over loudspeakers to give themselves up, Onoda refused to believe the war was over. Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 and signed the instrument of surrender aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, officially ending the war. Hiroo Onoda didn’t surrender until March 10, 1975.

His orders from his commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, were simple:

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that’s the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.

It’s too bad we can’t just solve problems by declaring them fixed, and hoping and wishing the rest of the world conforms. No, it doesn’t work like that. Were it that simple, we could declare our Southern border secure, our immigration problem solved, and it would be so.

If the war in Iraq is over, I hope to God the enemy knows. Please tell me we at least dropped a C-130 full of leaflets indicating such before we left. If the war on terror is over, please tell me it was Al-Qaeda and its affiliates who surrendered. And as for those top level Taliban Commanders we just released from Guantanamo Bay, somebody please, please tell me they signed a peace treaty before we dropped them in Qatar.

“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” ~ Exodus 33:3 (NIV)

Reference: A Japanese Soldier Who Continued Fighting WWII 29 Years after the Japanese Surrendered, Because He Didn’t Know

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sources of Income Tax Identity Theft

Compiled by: Larry Walker II ::

In a February 2014 House Oversight Hearing, J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, stated that, "IRS employees are entrusted with the sensitive personal and financial information of taxpayers. Using this information to perpetrate a criminal scheme for personal gain negatively impacts our Nation’s voluntary tax system and it can generate widespread distrust of the IRS. TIGTA aggressively investigates IRS employees involved in identity theft-related tax refund fraud and refers these investigations to the Department of Justice for prosecution. Many of these employees face significant prison sentences as well as the loss of their jobs if convicted."

I can think of several other situations negatively impacting our Nation’s voluntary tax system and generating widespread distrust of the IRS. Former IRS Official Lois Lerner's use of executive privilege in targeting Barack Obama's political opponents comes to mind, but I digress. What's on my mind today are sources of identity theft.

I personally know several people who have been victims of income tax related identity theft. At least two have had to wait more than a year to receive legitimate refunds from the IRS. In one case over $8,000 was delayed over a two-year period. When it comes to the process of having income tax withheld at the source, perhaps it's better to underpay. Whenever I hear about a case of tax related identity theft, the question I always ask myself is how the thieves were able to obtain the victim's personal information. The answers I found are shocking.

The major sources of income tax identity theft appear to be healthcare providers, including doctor's offices, nursing homes and even veterans hospitals, but even more disturbing, from within the IRS itself.

IRS Employee Orchestrated Identity Theft Refund Scheme Using Taxpayer Records (January 13, 2014)

On December 10, 2013, in the Northern District of Georgia, IRS Tax Examining Technician Missy Sledge was indicted for aggravated identity theft and mail fraud.

According to court documents, as part of her official IRS duties, Sledge had access to taxpayers’ personal identifiers, including names, Social Security Numbers (SSN), dates of birth, and addresses, and information about tax professionals. Sledge used this access in furtherance of an identity theft scheme which included the filing of fraudulent tax returns and the subsequent theft of refunds. With information from IRS computer systems, Sledge provided taxpayers’ personal information to her coconspirators.

It was part of the scheme that others would file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS using the stolen identities of various taxpayers. Sledge used her IRS computer to review the fraudulent returns submitted to determine if she could release fraudulent tax refunds from those returns. When identified, Sledge would release the fraudulent refund for payment. Sledge further assisted those involved in the scheme in impersonating either the taxpayers or their authorized representatives so the taxpayers’ addresses of record could be changed to a fictitious address accessible to Sledge or others involved in the scheme. Sledge then caused the IRS to mail refunds in the taxpayers’ names to the fictitious address to be intercepted or stolen.

On May 21, 2013, an individual was arrested in Texas and was found to be in possession of an IRS refund check in the amount of $595,901.97, along with three pages of internal IRS documents containing tax information for one of the identity theft victims. A review of IRS systems revealed Sledge made accesses to this taxpayer’s account, as well as to the taxpayer’s accountant’s information, on seven dates between February 2013 and May 2013. The victim was due a large refund because she had overpaid her estimated taxes. One of the perpetrators used the accountant’s information and Government-issued representative number to impersonate the tax practitioner in telephone communication with the IRS on March 5, 2013, to change the address on record from a North Carolina address to an address in Atlanta, Georgia. Sledge then released the $595,901.97 refund to the fictitious address.

On May 23, 2013, an e-mail was sent from Sledge’s IRS e-mail account containing the personal information for two other taxpayers, a married couple. The e-mail included the taxpayers’ names, SSNs, dates of birth, address, and tax preparer’s information. A subsequent telephonic address change was made, changing the address of record from the taxpayers’ Massachusetts address to a Georgia address, and a refund in the amount of $961,779.33 was paid on or about May 31, 2013. Review of the IRS systems identified accesses to the taxpayers’ accounts by Sledge on May 23, 2013 and again in June 2013.

Multiple communications were identified to and from Sledge’s IRS e-mail account on dates between May 2013 and September 2013, relaying taxpayer information and/or internal IRS documents for up to as many as 56 taxpayers to Sledge’s coconspirators. Text messages containing taxpayer information and discussing the theft of Government funds were also identified. In one message she sent to an individual she was trying to recruit as a coconspirator, Sledge told the recipient she had a business proposition for him and indicated she had a plan to change the addresses so checks would come to him. Sledge offered to split the scheme proceeds three or four ways, depending on the number of people involved. Sledge said she would give him all the information needed to get the address changed without any problems or questions and said, “All of this money is just sitting here for the taking.”

TIGTA special agents arrested Sledge in Chamblee, Georgia on November 26, 2013. She entered a not guilty plea at her arraignment, held on December 19, 2013.

Source: U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (January 13, 2014)

Other Sources of Income Tax Identity Fraud

GA: “The returns were filed using the names and personal information of patients from two healthcare facilities in Georgia...”

GA: “According to court documents and evidence introduced at trial, Banks, who is a former certified nursing assistant, obtained the names and Social Security numbers of nursing home patients from her employer and conspired with Mosely...”

GA: “In her plea agreement, Blount admitted that beginning in 2010, she obtained stolen identities of nursing home patients and used that information to file fraudulent income tax returns...”

FL: “Also found in both rooms were medical records that had been stolen from a veterans hospital...”

FL: “Latonya Ware stole patients' names and social security numbers from a medical office where she worked, and gave the information to Tilus and her cousin, Andrew Ware. Rowe electronically filed fraudulent tax returns utilizing the victims’ names and social security numbers...”

GA: “The defendants obtained their victims’ information from publicly available websites that publicize the names, social security numbers, and other personally identifying information of unsuspecting individuals...”

GA: “Thomas orchestrated a scheme to file over 1,200 false tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers of various victims, many of whom were incarcerated in jails or prisons throughout the country...”

FL: “Lyon worked as a service representative for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF). As an employee of TIAA-CREF, Lyon had access to the names, addresses, social security numbers, and dates of birth of TIAA-CREF's clients. In anticipation of a share of the proceeds, Lyon provided Martin with personal identifying information belonging to individual clients of TIAA-CREF for the purpose of filing fraudulent tax returns claiming tax refunds in those clients' names...”

Source: IRS: Examples of Identity Theft Schemes - Fiscal Year 2014

From now on, I'm going to question anyone who asks for my personal information, and those that don't really have a need won't be getting it. For example, Why does my doctor need to know my Social Security number? As long as I'm paying cash, she doesn't. I pity all the poor souls who recently published all of their personal information on the insecure Obamacare website. We'll see how that works out.

As far as trusting the IRS, that bridge is already pretty much burned to the ground. One of the greatest opportunities the federal government will ever have in positively impacting our Nation’s voluntary tax system and restoring trust in the IRS is to prosecute Lois Lerner, and if found guilty, lock her up and throw away the key.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Alan Grayson: Lies, Tax Fraud and Deceit

Lies, Tax Fraud and Deceit (Originally Published 11/03/2009)

My theory is that Alan Grayson is a liar, a fraud, and a tax-cheat. Who is this guy? How did he really obtain his wealth? It’s certainly worth further investigation in light of the following.

Summary:

  1. Roll Call lists Alan Grayson’s largest asset is a claim against Derivium Capital, the now bankrupt Ponzi scheme, in the amount of $34 million.

  2. Central Florida Politics lists Alan Grayson as the Derivium Capital scams most frequent customer.

  3. Roll Call lists Grayson’s net worth at $31.12 million. Grayson’s only other asset is said to be a trust fund worth $5 to $25 million.

  4. Roll Call states that Grayson founded IDT Corp. in 1990. However, Wikipedia.org states that IDT was founded by Howard Jonas in 1990. An article from January 9, 1992, in the New York Times, entitled, “Hot-Wiring Overseas Telephone Calls”, backs up the fact that the company was founded by Howard Jonas, not Alan Grayson.

  5. Per taxprophet.com, the IRS has targeted Derivium Capital’s loan transactions as taxable events.

Questionable Issues:

  1. If Alan Grayson was not the founder of IDT Corp., then how did he obtain $29 million worth of stock between the years 2000 and 2005?

  2. Since Alan Grayson was not the founder of IDT Corp., then why did he lie on his Congressional disclosure?

  3. What was the cost basis of the stock which Alan Grayson sold to Derivium Capital for $26 million?

  4. Did the IRS investigate Alan Grayson, and if so, how much was determined that Grayson owed in back taxes?

  5. Did Alan Grayson voluntarily amend his tax returns to report the sale of stock to Derivium Capital?

  6. What did Alan Grayson know about Derivium Capital at the time of the transaction?

  7. Did Alan Grayson knowingly profit from an illegal Ponzi scheme?

Excerpts:

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) $31.12 million

The Florida lawmaker’s largest asset stems from an apparent financial mistake. Grayson lists a claim valued at $25 million to $50 million against Derivium Capital. The now-bankrupt firm managed a Ponzi scheme in which investors, including Grayson, could turn over stock to Derivium in exchange for cash loans and redeem the value later if the stock prices increased. A South Carolina court ruled earlier this year that Derivium shareholders were collectively owed about $270 million in lost profits and that Grayson’s share would be about $34 million. In addition to that claim, Grayson, an attorney who founded the telecommunications company IDT Corp. in 1990, lists a trust valued at $5 million to $25 million. The same trust was previously Grayson’s largest asset, with a value of $25 million to $50 million when he filed a candidate disclosure form in November 2008.

Scam’s Most Frequent Customer

Between 2000 and 2005, Grayson was the most frequent participant in Derivium’s “90-percent stock-loan” program, transferring about $29 million in stocks to Derivium and promptly receiving 90 percent of it – about $26 million – back in cash as “stock loans,” according to his court filings. In that sense, he lost only about $3 million out of pocket. But Derivium had promised to pay Grayson profits on his stocks, if they appreciated enough over the three-year loan period to cover the amount of his “stock loans” plus interest. And Grayson picked some lucrative stocks. His $34 million in damages is based on the profits he should have received on stocks that rose in value – had Derivium not run out of cash and filed for bankruptcy.

Derivium Loan Update: IRS Targets Derivium Loan Transactions

Introduction: IRS has targeted taxpayers who have engaged in loan transactions through Derivium Capital by sending them Preliminary Notices, in late January, 2007, stating that the Derivium loan transaction may be a "tax avoidance" device. In essence, IRS claims the Derivium loan transaction is really a taxable sale of securities at the time taxpayers received the proceeds, rather than a bona fide loan. IRS has an audit project underway in Sacramento, California, involving Derivium-type loans.

How It Works: In general, Derivium arranged loans for 90% of the value of a stock for an initial 3-year period at a compounded interest rate of approximately 10%. The loan is non-recourse, which means that at the end of the loan term, if the borrower cannot repay both principal and interest, the lender forecloses on the stock in full payment for the loan. The borrower has the option of rolling over the loan at maturity for an additional fee.

Note: Derivium has filed for bankruptcy and its client list has become public, thereby providing IRS with a road map of taxpayers who engaged in the loan transactions. Derivium is no longer in business.

Tax Consequences: IRS challenges the transaction and maintains a sale occurred in the initial year of the transaction on the following grounds:

  1. The taxpayer was obligated to transfer the stock to Derivium, but repayment was optional because the purported loan was non-recourse to the taxpayer.

  2. Taxpayers eliminated the risk of loss.

  3. Principal payments are prohibited during the entire term of the transaction.

  4. Legal title to the stock was transferred to Derivium.

  5. The stock was treated as belonging to Derivium.

  6. Derivium sold the stock to fund the transaction.

When the loan matures and if the borrower does not repay it, the lender forecloses on the security (the stock) and the borrower has a taxable event at that time. The stock is treated as sold for the full amount of principal and interest outstanding. Thus, the borrower has a gain equal to the difference between the sales price (the full amount outstanding on the loan) and the borrower's basis in the security. The gain will usually meet long-term capital gain requirements under federal law and be taxed at 15%.

Sources:

http://centralfloridapolitics.com/2009/07/10/rep-alan-grayson-loses-millions-in-ponzi-scheme/

http://www.taxprophet.com/archives/Derivium_loan_2007_update.shtml

http://www.rollcall.com/features/Guide-to-Congress_2009/guide/38181-1.html?page=4#alangrayson

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/09/business/hot-wiring-overseas-telephone-calls.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDT_Corp.

http://innovation.cqpolitics.com/cq-rollcall/richest_members_of_congress_2008

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pozole Day

Last Sunday:

Honey, what is this?

“Pozole.”

Yeah, but what is it?

“Since maize was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions.”

Oh!

“The conjunction of maize (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed the gods made humans out of masa (cornmeal dough).”

Huh?

“According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human.”

Say what?

“After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with maize. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion.”

What the...?

“After the Conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it “tasted very similar”, according to a Spanish priest.”

Similar? Okay, what kind of meat is in this?

“Chicken.”

Oh, okay.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozole

Saturday, November 9, 2013

U.S. Labor Force Declines by 720K

October Unemployment Manipulation

- By: Larry Walker II -

The big story out of the October household survey was the decline by 720,000 in the headline labor force, which largely reflected the loss of longer-term unemployed into the broader U-6 unemployment measure.

In fact, since January 2009, the U.S. Labor Force has only grown by 607,000. Yet, over the same period, 11,034,000 persons have been removed from the labor force (see chart above). Once removed, such are neither counted as employed nor unemployed, each amounting to the equivalent of zero-fifths of a person in terms of modern governmental accounting.

In Manipulation 101: The Real Unemployment Rate, we learned that as the size of the labor force erodes, the unemployment rate artificially declines. So let’s recall how the unemployment rate is calculated. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed persons by the size of the labor force:

[ (A) Total Unemployed / (B) Labor Force = (C) Unemployment Rate ]

Thus, the official unemployment rate of 7.3%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on its November 8, 2013, Employment Situation Report, was calculated as follows:

However, when the 720,000 longer-term unemployed which were removed from the labor force in October are added back, the real unemployment rate actually rose to 7.7% (shown above). And, if we were to add back all long-term unemployed workers, removed from the labor force since February 2009, the real unemployment rate would be 13.4% (also shown above).

As I reported earlier this year, in Black Unemployment Rate Closer to 37.9%, there is an alternative to the federal government’s phony reporting. Shadow Government Statistics publishes a more accurate measure of unemployment based on pre-1994 BLS methodology. The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994.

In other words, the SGS Alternate Rate adds millions of long-term discouraged workers back to the BLS estimate, which only includes short-term discouraged workers. In case you didn’t catch that, this means the BLS has eliminated long-term discouraged workers (i.e. those who have been without a job for so long that they haven't bothered to look for work in more than 12 months) from official unemployment statistics since 1994, thus distorting the true employment situation.

Accordingly, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics boasts of an official U-3 unemployment rate of 7.3%, and an official U-6 rate of 13.8%, the real unemployment rate, based on pre-1994 BLS methodology, has actually increased from 18.3% in January 2009 to 23.5% as of October 2013 (shown above).

Of course the Chief of the White House will simply continue to repeat something like, ‘Now that we’ve fixed (i.e. effed up) the nation’s health care system, it’s time to finish fixing (i.e. effing up) the economy.’

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” ~ Psalm 13:1 (ESV)

Related: #unemployment #manipulation

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Health Insurance for Under $50 per Month?

“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” ~ Better Business Bureau

- By: Larry Walker, Jr. -

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are 7.2 million uninsured Americans ages 18 to 34 years, living in single-person households in 34 states. And, of that total, 2.9 million are eligible to buy health insurance on either federal or state partnership insurance marketplaces. And among those 2.9 million, 1.3 million, or 46%, could pay less than $50 a month for a “Bronze Plan”.

Hmmm. That sounds, well, too good to be true. Let’s see, 1.3 million times $50 equals $65 million per month, or $780 million per year. Sounds like a good deal… for insurers that is, since the balance of the monthly premium, perhaps another $50 or more, will be subsidized by taxpayers, and the risk of actually paying out any benefits, after high deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance levels are met, is next to nothing. What’s a Bronze Plan anyway, a worthless policy that covers nothing?

Generally speaking, the Bronze Plan is intended to have the lowest premium of the 4 new categories of plans (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) but charge the highest out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services. For people without employer sponsored insurance, the Bronze plan is the minimum health insurance plan which satisfies the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance mandate.

What HHS doesn’t tell you is that Bronze Plans are designed so that policy owners wind up paying 40% or more of covered healthcare expenses in the form of out-of-pocket fees, and that’s over and above the cost of the plan’s monthly premium. Although out-of-pocket expenses for individuals are expected to be capped at $6,350, keep in mind that this amount is reset each calendar year.

Out-of-pocket expenses include fees like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Different plans will approach the 40% or more that policy owner’s will pay in various ways, so it is important to research the financial details of a specific plan before deciding which one to purchase. For example, a person who has frequent medical expenses may want a Bronze Plan with a lower deductible, because they will be required to pay at least that much of their annual health care expenses – in full.

Look over the following examples of Bronze Plans, and then we’ll define the terms and discuss Example #2 in more detail.

Deductible - A deductible is the amount you pay for health care services before your health insurance begins to pay.

Coinsurance - Coinsurance is your share of the costs of a health care service. It’s usually figured as a percentage of the total charge for the service. You pay coinsurance after reaching your annual deductible.

Co-pay - A co-payment, or doctor’s visit fee, is a fixed amount you pay for a health care service, usually when you receive the service. The amount can vary by the type of service. You may also have a co-payment when you get a prescription filled.

Example #2: Okay, so let’s say the New York Bronze Plan (shown above) costs a young person $50 per month. What will he or she receive in return for this premium?

Well, since the annual deductible is $3,000, that means the insurance company won’t pay out a solitary dime, until after the insured pays the first $3,000 in annual health care costs. Then, once this $3,000 annual deductible has been met, the policy only covers 50% of the cost of doctor’s visits (co-pay), and 50% of the cost of all other medical services (co-insurance). It’s not until the insured reaches the annual out-of-pocket limit of $6,350 that the policy kicks in and pays all remaining expenses in full.

I hate to break it to you, but this alleged, under $50 per month, health insurance policy will actually wind up costing the poor sucker who buys it around $3,600 per year ($3,000 deductible + $600 premiums), or $300 per month, before it pays out a single dime in benefits. It will cost even more for plans with higher deductibles, and may wind up costing as much as $6,950 per year ($6,350 annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses + $600 annual premiums), or $580 per month, if ever actually utilized for a substantial amount of qualifying health care expenses.

Then there’s the question of which expenses such a plan actually covers, if any, once its benefits do kick in. Who in the hell knows the answer to that? Since the government's official website is lacking in detail, even when it's working, apparently you have to buy it first, in order to find out. Yeah, just call the toll-free number and blindly sign up. I guess it’s better than nothing, although not by much in my opinion. On this earth you get what you pay for, but the cost of nothing is generally free.

The bottom line: Don’t expect much from a health insurance plan costing less than $50 per month. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

References:

How do deductibles, coinsurance and copays work?

Insurance for the young could be less than $50 a month

Bronze Plan – Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Related:

The Social Security Bust Fund - Opt Me Out

#Obamacare

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Third Conception: Growing the Debt

From an Extreme Radical Independent Centrist

- By: Larry Walker II -

In his 1943 study entitled, The New Philosophy of Public Debt, U.S. economist, founder and 1st president of Brookings Institution (1927-1952), Harold G. Moulton expounded on the two conflicting debt philosophies of that era. First was the traditional view, that “a continuously unbalanced budget and rapidly rising public debt imperil the financial stability of the nation.” And, second, the new conception of the day, that “a huge public debt is a national asset rather than a liability and continuous deficit spending is essential to economic prosperity of the nation.”

At the conclusion of Moulton’s study, it was determined that under the latter theory, continuous deficit spending would lead to constant money printing, and thus runaway inflation, culminating in depression. And, the only way such inflation could be curbed would be through the use of totalitarian methods of control.

“We should have to control wage rates and farm incomes; we should have to regulate corporate earnings; we should have to control investment; we should have to ration commodities; we should have to control rents; we should have to license foreign trade; we should have to supervise, and possibly close, the security and commodity markets. Given regimentation of virtually every phase of economic life, the process of inflation might be held in leash.”

However, even advocates of continuous deficit spending rejected such totalitarian control policies, as did the entire nation. Thus following World War II the new philosophy was cast aside, and the United States’ Debt-to-GDP ratio, which had increased from a modest 45.4% in 1941, to a peak of 122.0% in 1946 at the close of the Second World War, was eventually reduced to just 31.8% by 1981 (see chart above).

Jumping forward to today, we find the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio once again above 100%, currently resting at around 106.5%, as we are lectured by Potus 44 on a completely new conception of public debt. At an Oct. 8, 2013 press conference, Potus 44 broke away from the two prevailing philosophies, debated in Washington D.C. for more than 70 years.

He proffered that there really is no such thing as a debt ceiling, and that even if there were, raising it would not increase the national debt. He declared, “Raising the debt ceiling is a lousy name, which is why members of Congress in both parties don't like to vote on it, because it makes you vulnerable in political campaigns.” He continued, “Raising the debt ceiling does not increase our debt. It does not grow our deficits. It does not allow for a single dime of increased spending. All it does is allow the Treasury Department to pay for what Congress has already spent.”

Under what we shall term the Third Conception, what federal law calls the debt ceiling is likely just a misnomer, for raising this alleged ceiling won’t increase the nation’s debt, nor increase budget deficits, nor allow for even a single dime of increased spending. In other words, according to Potus 44, scholars of bygone days, including those who once favored unlimited government borrowing and spending, were misguided. Come to find out, there really is no national debt, and even if you choose to call it such, it carries no negative consequences, no matter how high it should climb.

So what are we to make of this? Could it be that the totalitarian control policies required to keep inflation in check are already secretly in place? Or have we drifted so far from reality that we no longer believe what we see with our own eyes? In Budgeting 201: An Immediate Debt Crisis, we saw how the tiny nation of Cyprus buckled as recession hit its economy while its debt-to-GDP ratio stood at around 93%, and we know that this led to the confiscation of funds from private citizen’s bank accounts. Yet our leaders turned a blind eye, as our own debt-to-GDP ratio edged above 100%.

Now, what we hear from Potus 44 is that “all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do. Yes, and what perchance is that, to grow the size of government, and along with it the National Debt?

To rephrase this, what Potus is saying is that since the final popular vote totals were 65,899,660 for Obama-Biden (51.1%) and 60,932,152 (47.2%) for Romney-Ryan, nearly half of us, or 47.2%, need to stop focusing on what we believe in, and in many cases would give our very lives for, and instead focus on whatever he, the person whom the other 51.1% of America voted for, says, no matter how preposterous, and no matter how much damage it may inflict on the nation as a whole. But who’s to say the other 51.1% actually co-signed on the concept of unlimited increases to the national debt? After all, when campaigning, didn’t Potus 44 himself promise to place the debt in check?

If it be not a debt ceiling, then what shall we call it – a debt sky, or maybe a debt horizon? Perhaps we should begin referring to it as simply “not the debt ceiling”. The truth is, no matter what we choose to call it, as soon as Congress voted to temporarily suspend the thing, the national debt catapulted above the $17 trillion milestone.

Thus, the Third Conception fails the reality test. Sorry, but we don’t compromise on principles merely to satisfy the insane whims of any and every brain-dead person around us. Try that in your own life, if you wish. In fact, Potus 44, himself, once voted against raising the debt ceiling while serving in the U.S. Senate.

As a side-note, Hell will freeze over before I ever purchase a commercial health insurance policy through the federal government. Are you kidding me? You thought people would flock to a federal government owned and operated website to purchase commercial health insurance policies from private insurance companies? Uh, what’s wrong with this picture? Do we really need the middleman? Good luck with that scam.

You see, there’s truth, and then there’s politics. One is real, the other make-believe. Does anyone out there know the difference between danger and fear? Danger is real; fear is imagined. So here’s how one can know the difference. Over the last 26 years, the United States has spent a total of $8.9 trillion on interest payments to service its national debt; $2.0 trillion of that since 2009 alone (see chart above).

Yet, according to the U.S. Treasury, the gross national debt was only $10.0 trillion at the close of fiscal year 2008, and it stands at $17.1 trillion today (see chart below). Herein is our dilemma: Unless interest rates hover near zero-percent forever and ever, this adjustable-rate, interest-only, debt bomb will one day explode, and the annual interest payments thereon will eventually consume every dime of tax revenue. Is this real, or imagined? I guess it doesn’t matter to some, as long as it’s not their money.

If the next generation doesn’t care about the size of the national debt, today, then it will reap the rewards of negligence. Those who care now won’t be around forever to warn of the perils of unlimited government debt, so if that’s how you want it, have it your way. But, don’t say you were never warned about the 70% to 90% income tax rates you’ll eventually enjoy, and don’t forget to send my generation every dime we’re due in Social Security and Medicare entitlements while you figure it all out. Have a great future! I’ll leave you with the following words of wisdom.

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

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