Obamacare to expand IRS role: Checking if Americans have health insurance


obamacare_1

(USA TODAY) Internal Revenue Service agents already try to catch tax cheats and moonshiners. Under the proposed health care legislation, they would get another assignment: checking to see whether Americans have health insurance.

The legislation would require most Americans to have health insurance and to prove it on their federal tax returns. Those who don’t would pay a penalty to the IRS.

That’s one of several key duties the IRS would assume under the bills that have been approved by the House of Representatives and Senate and will be merged by negotiators from both chambers.

The agency also would distribute as much as $140 billion a year in new government subsidies to help small employers and as many as 19 million lower-income people buy coverage.

In addition, the IRS would collect hundreds of billions of dollars in new fees on employers, drug companies and device makers, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Some critics of the health bill question whether the IRS, which has struggled in recent years with budget problems, staffing shortages and outdated computer systems, will be up to the job of enforcing the mandate and efficiently handling the subsidies.

“It’s hard to see how the IRS could take on the huge responsibility it would be given under pending health care legislation without some real glitches, or worse,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. He voted against the bill, as did every other Republican senator.

The CBO estimated the IRS would need $5 billion to $10 billion in the first decade to cover the costs of its expanded role. The IRS’ annual budget is currently $11.5 billion.

Read moreObamacare to expand IRS role: Checking if Americans have health insurance

The Degrading Effects of Terrorism Fears in America

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.”
– Adolf Hitler

Problem, Reaction, Solution:

Former homeland security chief Michael Chertoff puts his mouth where his money is and argues for whole-body imaging (Washington Post):

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

“Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,” said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners.


I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but David Brooks actually had an excellent column in yesterday’s New York Times that makes several insightful and important points.  Brooks documents how “childish, contemptuous and hysterical” the national reaction has been to this latest terrorist episode, egged on — as usual — by the always-hysterical American media.  The citizenry has been trained to expect that our Powerful Daddies and Mommies in government will — in that most cringe-inducing, child-like formulation — Keep Us Safe.  Whenever the Government fails to do so, the reaction — just as we saw this week — is an ugly combination of petulant, adolescent rage and increasingly unhinged cries that More Be Done to ensure that nothing bad in the world ever happens.  Demands that genuinely inept government officials be held accountable are necessary and wise, but demands that political leaders ensure that we can live in womb-like Absolute Safety are delusional and destructive.  Yet this is what the citizenry screams out every time something threatening happens:  please, take more of our privacy away; monitor more of our communications; ban more of us from flying; engage in rituals to create the illusion of Strength; imprison more people without charges; take more and more control and power so you can Keep Us Safe.

This is what inevitably happens to a citizenry that is fed a steady diet of fear and terror for years.  It regresses into pure childhood.  The 5-year-old laying awake in bed, frightened by monsters in the closet, who then crawls into his parents’ bed to feel Protected and Safe, is the same as a citizenry planted in front of the television, petrified by endless imagery of scary Muslim monsters, who then collectively crawl to Government and demand that they take more power and control in order to keep them Protected and Safe.  A citizenry drowning in fear and fixated on Safety to the exclusion of other competing values can only be degraded and depraved.  John Adams, in his 1776 Thoughts on Government, put it this way:

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

As Adams noted, political leaders possess an inherent interest in maximizing fear levels, as that is what maximizes their power.  For a variety of reasons, nobody aids this process more than our establishment media, motivated by their own interests in ratcheting up fear and Terrorism melodrama as high as possible.  The result is a citizenry far more terrorized by our own institutions than foreign Terrorists could ever dream of achieving on their own.  For that reason, a risk that is completely dwarfed by numerous others — the risk of death from Islamic Terrorism — dominates our discourse, paralyzes us with fear, leads us to destroy our economic security and eradicate countless lives in more and more foreign wars, and causes us to beg and plead and demand that our political leaders invade more of our privacy, seize more of our freedom, and radically alter the system of government we were supposed to have.  The one thing we don’t do is ask whether we ourselves are doing anything to fuel this problem and whether we should stop doing it.  As Adams said:  fear “renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable.”

What makes all of this most ironic is that the American Founding was predicated on exactly the opposite mindset.  The Constitution is grounded in the premise that there are other values and priorities more important than mere Safety.  Even though they knew that doing so would help murderers and other dangerous and vile criminals evade capture, the Framers banned the Government from searching homes without probable cause, prohibited compelled self-incrimination, double jeopardy and convictions based on hearsay, and outlawed cruel and unusual punishment.  That’s because certain values — privacy, due process, limiting the potential for abuse of government power — were more important than mere survival and safety.  A central calculation of the Constitution was that we insist upon privacy, liberty and restraints on government power even when doing so means we live with less safety and a heightened risk of danger and death.  And, of course, the Revolutionary War against the then-greatest empire on earth was waged by people who risked their lives and their fortunes in pursuit of liberty, precisely because there are other values that outweigh mere survival and safety.

These are the calculations that are now virtually impossible to find in our political discourse.  It is fear, and only fear, that predominates.  No other competing values are recognized.  We have Chris Matthews running around shrieking that he’s scared of kung-fu-wielding Terrorists.  Michael Chertoff is demanding that we stop listening to “privacy ideologues” — i.e., that there should be no limits on Government’s power to invade and monitor and scrutinize.  Republican leaders have spent the decade preaching that only Government-provided Safety, not the Constitution, matters.  All in response to this week’s single failed terrorist attack, there are — as always — hysterical calls that we start more wars, initiate racial profiling, imprison innocent people indefinitely, and torture even more indiscriminately.  These are the by-products of the weakness and panic and paralyzing fear that Americans have been fed in the name of Terrorism, continuously for a full decade now.

Read moreThe Degrading Effects of Terrorism Fears in America

Police State: Chicago Cop Tasered Unconscious Diabetic 11 Times

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Police officers from two Chicago suburbs are being sued after one of them allegedly Tasered a man having a diabetic seizure because the diabetic involuntarily hit the officer while being taken to an ambulance.

Prospero Lassi, a 40-year-old employee of Southwest Airlines, filed the lawsuit (PDF) with a federal court in Chicago last week, following an April 9, 2009, incident in which Lassi was taken to hospital following a violent diabetic seizure — and being Tasered 11 times while unconscious.

That day, Lassi’s roommate found the man on the floor of his apartment having a seizure and foaming at the mouth, according to the statement filed with the court. The roommate called 911 for help, and police officers from the Brookfield and LaGrange Park police departments arrived to help with the situation.

Read morePolice State: Chicago Cop Tasered Unconscious Diabetic 11 Times

Commit Web 2.0 Suicide And Delete Your Public Records

Are you tired of living in public, sick of all the privacy theater the social networks are putting on, and just want to end it all online? Now you can wipe the slate clean with the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. (Warning: This will really delete your online presence and is irrevocable). Just put in your credentials for Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or LinkedIn and it will delete all your friends and messages, and change your username, password, and photo so that you cannot log back in.

The site is actually run by Moddr, a New Media Lab in Rotterdam, which execute the underlying scripts which erase your accounts. The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is a digital Dr. Kevorkian. On Facebook, for instance, it removes all your friends one by one, removes your groups and joins you to its own “Social Network Suiciders,” and lets you leave some last words. So far 321 people have used the site to commit Facebook suicide. On Twitter, it deletes all of your Tweets, and removes all the people you follow and your followers. It doesn’t actually delete these accounts, it just puts them to rest.

The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine runs a python script which launches a browser session and automates the process of disconnecting from these social networks (here is a video showing how this works with Twitter). You can even watch the virtual suicide in progress via a Flash app which shows it as a remote desktop session. You can watch your online life pass away one message at a time. Taking over somebody else’s account via an automated script, even with permission, may very well be against the terms of service of these social networks.

From the FAQs:

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can I stop the process?
No!

If I start killing my 2.0-self, can YOU stop the process?
No!

What shall I do after I’ve killed myself with the web2.0 suicide machine?
Try calling some friends, take a walk in a park or buy a bottle of wine and start enjoying your real life again. Some Social Suiciders reported that their lives has improved by an approximate average of 25%. Don’t worry, if you feel empty right after you committed suicide. This is a normal reaction which will slowly fade away within the first 24-72 hours.

The light-hearted video below explains the benefits of committing Web 2.0 Suicide and disconnecting from “so many people you don’t really care about.” Unplugging from your social life online will leave you more time for your real life, which you’ve probably been neglecting. With the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, you can “sign out forever.” Not that we are recommending you do this in any way. But you may enjoy the video.

by Erick Schonfeld
December 31, 2009

Source: TechCrunch

Rising US Military Suicides: The pace is faster than combat deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan.

More U.S. military personnel have taken their own lives so far in 2009 than have been killed in either the Afghanistan or Iraq wars this year, according to a Congressional Quarterly compilation of the latest statistics from the armed services.

As of Tuesday, at least 334 members of the military services have committed suicide in 2009, compared with 297 killed in Afghanistan and 144 who died in Iraq, the figures show.

Lawmakers in recent years have been increasingly concerned about the growing problem of military suicides, especially in the Army. They have been holding hearings, passing bills and approving billions of dollars more than requested to improve mental health care for military personnel and veterans.

But even those who have been most intensely focused on the issue said they found the new numbers alarming. So far in 2009, the Army has had 211 of the 334 suicides, while the Navy had 47, the Air Force had 34 and the Marine Corps (active duty only) had 42.

“These numbers are just staggering and, tragically, are an indication that we are simply not doing the job of providing adequate mental health care for both our active-duty service people and our veterans, said Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Read moreRising US Military Suicides: The pace is faster than combat deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Food Crisis of 2010: USDA vs Reality

Loooong article!

See also:
The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: The Terror And The Crash of 2010


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Soybean field

If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration.

The 2010 Food Crisis Means Financial Armageddon

Over the last two years, the world has faced a series of unprecedented financial crises: the collapse of the housing market, the freezing of the credit markets, the failure of Wall Street brokerage firms (Bear Stearns/Lehman Brothers), the failure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the failure of AIG, Iceland’s economic collapse, the bankruptcy of the major auto manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), etc… In the face of all these challenges, the demise of the dollar, derivative markets, and the modern international system of credit has been repeatedly forecasted and feared. However, all these doomsday scenarios have so far been proved false, and, despite tremendous chaos and losses, the global financial system has held together.

The 2010 Food Crisis is different. It is THE CRISIS. The one that makes all doomsday scenarios come true. The government bailouts and central bank interventions, which have held the financial world together during the last two years, will be powerless to prevent the 2010 Food Crisis from bringing the global financial system to its knees.

Financial crisis will kick into high gear

So far the crisis has been driven by the slow and steady increase in defaults on mortgages and other loans. This is about to change. What will drive the financial crisis in 2010 will be panic about food supplies and the dollar’s plunging value. Things will start moving fast.

Dynamics Behind 2010 Food Crisis

Early in 2009, the supply and demand in agricultural markets went badly out of balance. The world experienced a catastrophic fall in food production as a result of the financial crisis (low commodity prices and lack of credit) and adverse weather on a global scale. Meanwhile, China and other Asian exporters, in an effort to preserve their economic growth, were unleashing domestic consumption long constrained by inflation fears, and demand for raw materials, especially food staples, exploded as Chinese consumers worked their way towards American-style overconsumption, prodded on by a flood of cheap credit and easy loans from the government.

Normally food prices should have already shot higher months ago, leading to lower food consumption and bringing the global food supply/demand situation back into balance. This never happened because the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), instead of adjusting production estimates down to reflect decreased production, adjusted estimates upwards to match increasing demand from china. In this way, the USDA has brought supply and demand back into balance (on paper) and temporarily delayed a rise in food prices by ensuring a catastrophe in 2010.

Read moreThe Food Crisis of 2010: USDA vs Reality

Vatican declares unique copyright on Papal figure

Hilarious!

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Pope Benedict XVI


Vatican City, Dec 19, 2009 / 12:23 pm (CNA).- The Vatican made a declaration on the protection of the figure of the Pope on Saturday morning. The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.

The statement cited a “great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father” in recent years as contributing to a desire to use the Pontiff’s name for all manner of educational and cultural institutions, civic groups and foundations.

Due to this demand, the Vatican has felt it necessary to declare that “it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church.”

The declaration alludes to attempts to use ecclesiastical or pontifical symbols and logos to “attribute credibility and authority to initiatives” as another reason to establish their “copyright” on the Holy Father’s name, picture and coat of arms.

“Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff… and/or the use of the title ‘Pontifical,’ must receive previous and express authorization from the Holy See,” concluded the message released to the press.

Source: Catholic News Agency

The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: The Terror And The Crash of 2010

Listen AMERICA! Listen WORLD! Listen!!!

Stop listening to elite puppets like Obama, Bernanke and Geithner or you are doomed!!!


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All US-bound passengers to face full body search


Security chiefs last night threw a ring of steel around every airport serving America – amid growing fears of a new al-Qaeda onslaught.

And experts warn all US-bound passengers could face full body searches in a bid to thwart future bomb outrages.

Body-searches have already been introduced at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport following a plea from American officials.

Judith Sluiter, a spokeswoman for the Dutch National Co-ordinator for Counter-terrorism, said: “The extra measures apply on all flights to the US for an indefinite period.”

Schiphol is one of Europe’s busiest airports with a heavy load of transit passengers from Africa and Asia to North America.

It strictly enforces EU security rules that only allow small amounts of liquid in hand-luggage if it is in a clear plastic container.

Scanners Bosses at Schiphol have spent the past year testing full-body scanners that allow security staff to see the outline of a passenger’s body beneath their clothes.

Read moreAll US-bound passengers to face full body search