Friday, June 28, 2013

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

We are all rightly shocked and offended at the invasion of our privacy by our government through the data collection efforts of the National Security Agency. Done in secret, your on-line activity and cell phone information, including location, have been surreptitiously gathered by the National Security Agency. Here is another agency that you should know about: the Federal Data Services Hub. Haven't heard of them? Not many people have. The FDSH is an integral part of Obamacare, and is a new agency established under the socialized healthcare program. The ostensible purpose of the FDSH is to coordinate information flow between insurance exchanges to determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the socialized healthcare mandate, and qualifications for federal subsidies. What sort of personal information is collected? Social security numbers, family size, household income, citizenship and immigration status, and arrest records, to name a few. And this information doesn't just stay under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services to manage Obamacare. Health and Human Services has said that it will "share" this information with the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and even the Peace Corps (?). What we are witnessing is the largest consolidation of personal data in history by the federal government on its citizens. Of course, the Obama administration has said not to worry, that we can trust then government and the collected data will not be stored. A February regulatory filing by the Obama administration says differently. The filing describes a new system of records that will store names, Social Security numbers, taxpayers status, gender, ethnicity, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and more personal information. The data collection on individual citizens is unprecedented and we should be aware of the increasing encroachment on our personal lives by an overreaching federal government.

Is it my imagination, or do Buffalo wings taste like chicken?

Of course, our government needs copious amounts of your income to pay for all the federal largesse that it re-distributes throughout the economy. One program, the "Lifeline" free cell phones, or "Obamaphones" is designed to give those that are at the poverty level a cell phone to use as a contact for job interviews and for emergency contact. To qualify for an Obamaphone, most recipients must show the Electronic Benefits Transfer card and ID to prove they are on welfare; or they must bring tax statements to a cell phone provider. In 2012, this program cost taxpayers $2.19 billion. The leading seller of these types of phones is TracFone, owned by Mexican multibillionaire Carlos Slim Helu, who is the second richest man in the world according to Forbes magazine. TracFone received $440 million under the program in 2012 for the phones it provided. I'm sure that you can begin to see the problem. The Lifeline program actually began in 1984 and was used to put land lines in homes. In 2008, cell phones were added to the program and quickly the number of participants in the program- and the associated cost to taxpayers- exploded. Unfortunately, so did the fraud, as numerous providers have been caught providing more than one phone to individuals. Those individuals quickly pawn those phones for cash and return for another. And you and I pay for it. Check your cell phone bill and notice a Federal Universal Service Charge. That is what subsidizes this program. The FCC found over 1 million duplicate subscribers- people that had received more than the one allotted cell phone. If the federal government cannot effectively run a program to hand out cell phones, do you believe they are going to effectively run healthcare?

A friend of mine just got divorced, and he and his ex-wife split the house. He got the outside.

President Obama has decided to tackle our most pressing problem. No, not a violation of your privacy by an over-intrusive federal government. No, not out of control government spending that threatens our currency and ultimately our way of life. No, Obama is going to tackle global warming. Even though climatologists cannot explain why the Earth's surface air temperature has been flat for the past 15 years. Irrespective of that inconvenient truth, Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to create new carbon standards for new an existing U.S. power plants. And this is going to painful and costly to every person and business in the United States. White House Climate Advisor and Harvard professor Daniel Shrag said what was needed from this administration was a "war on coal" to change the environment. Here is the reality: U.S. emission of greenhouse gases are about 18% of total global emissions, and they are steadily declining. The International Panel on Climate Change estimates that at present levels, the U.S. will contribute about .5 degree (that's ONE-HALF) to overall climate change by the year 2100. If we reduce our emissions of green house gases by half, the effect on temperature would be approximately .25 degrees. And that one quarter degree change would come about with massive economic dislocations. It would raise the average Americans electric bill and it would be a job killer. All for miniscule change. When it comes to the sham of global warming, I have always told you to follow the money. And this is just another scheme to siphon off more of your income in the name of  spurious science.

Marriage is when a man and a woman decide to become one. The trouble starts when they try to decide which one.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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