News wrap up, I found two pieces of hopeful news!  The rest is just news stories I found worth my time.  I’m planning two big blog posts later about the Oregon stand off, and the importation of foreign labor by Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

[Domestic] People see IRS penalty as more affordable than healthcare.  NY Times interviews several citizens who are forced to weigh the cost-benefit of going with coverage vs signing up for Obamacare though the exchanges.  The people interviewed see the tax penalty as a cheaper alternative to buying actual insurance.  Most of these people are freelancers that work independently and take their health into their own hands.  Daily exercise, eating right, and taking responsibility for their own health.  Yet they are forced to pay a penalty for making such a choice.  One man expects to pay a $1,800 dollar penalty, but sees it at a better option than paying $2,900 for insurance, plus co-pay’s, and other out of pocket expenses.   I can’t wrap my head around this one still.  This year in Korea I’ve paid under $150 in medical expenses, went to the doctor once, dentist once, and pharmacist maybe 3 times.  Healthcare and insurance is one of the most difficult things for me to consider when thinking of life in the US.

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A recent CNBC report showed that many people enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges are paying up to 10% of their income with many paying significantly more.  “One in 10 Obamacare customers who earn between two and five times the federal poverty level will have coverage costs that exceed 21 percent of their incomes.”  Add in income tax at 25%, State tax at 5%, property tax, sales tax; and these 1 in 10 people probably only have access to 50% of their income after Uncle Sam shakes them down.

[Tech] A bright spot, Space X landed their rocket!  I was getting depressed after seeing the last two blow up upon landing.  I’m really happy they finally got it right, hopefully this opens the door to cheaper space travel.

[Crazy Pollution] Canadians are selling Rocky Mountain air to smog infested China and getting rich.  We have bottled water, now it’s bottled air…

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[Crazy Colleges] A Colorado student, Pryor, received a 6 month suspension for a reply on an anonymous messaging service Yik Yak.  Pryor responded to someone else who posted the hashtag “#blackwomenmatter” by saying, “They matter, they’re just not hot.” It was a 21 month suspension before news media brought it more attention.

[International] In the quest for more never ending regulation, France has decided to regulated how thin fashion models can be.  Pat yourselves on the back everyone.

[International] Saudi Arab, the recent member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, executed 47 people last week.   One of note was an Iranian Cleric.  The Saudi embassy in Iran was later set alight by firebombs as relationships between the countries deteriorated to the point that Saudi’s have recalled ambassadors and severed diplomatic ties with Iran.

[International] While Germany’s new migrant population enjoys the safety offered by Merkel, the same couldn’t be said about female party-goers celebrating on New Year’s Eve.  A large number of women were sexually assaulted at a train station in Cologne with over 80 police reports filed including at least one rape.  Some reports suggested various groups coordinated to block exits and trap women.  Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers says witnesses described the assaults as coming from a group of up to 1,000 men whose appearance indicated they were of “Arab or North African origin.” Anti-migrant Facebook posts are currently being removed at the request of the German government.

[International] Chinese poachers are destroying reefs and fishing off the Philippines in water that is not internationally recognized as Chinese waters. China has recently made claim to several small artificial islands they have built off the coast of Vietnam and the Philippines.  This expands China’s territorial waters by a significant percent.  Vietnam and The Philippines lack any real response and nobody except the US is willing to challenge China over the territory.  China has also sanctioned some US Defense companies over sales of arms to Taiwan.  Relationships between the two countries seems to be turning sour.  Private aircraft have been asked to leave the area by Chinese Navy.

[Gossip] The “Afluenza” teen that killed 4 in a drunk driving accident and escaped with only 2 year probation was recently apprehended in Mexico with his mother.  A manhunt was on for the boy after video emerged showing him consuming alcohol, a violation of his probation, and he disappeared from the country, and has since been found.  It would be nice to see the criminal justice system function correctly for once…

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[Strange] NY passed new legislation that will enable the state to fine businesses up to $250,000.  From the article, “Restaurant owners can’t require ties for male diners or dresses for women. Gyms can’t tell clients which locker room to use. And in most cases, an employer can’t put ‘John’ on a worker’s ID if she prefers ‘Jane.'”

[Stupid] In a recent survey 30% of Republicans said we should bomb a fictional city, while 55% of Democrats said we should accept refugees from the same fictional city.  Reminds me of a quote.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

– Thomas Jefferson

[Legal] The case of 12-year old Tamir Rice who was fatally shot by a police officer immediately after police arrived on scene, came to a close with a grand jury decision not to indict the officer.  I understand police use of force is sometimes necessary and I give the police more slack than most, but this case was the most alarming and I was hoping it would go to trial.  The police didn’t make verbal communication, didn’t give any commands, and gave no time for compliance.  They drove up and shot the kid at point blank in the middle of a park during the afternoon.  We should expect police to be more restrained than the average person, after all, police are trained to handle these situations and have experience handling them.  However, they’ve become so scared that deadly force is the easiest and safest option, so they will choose to use it every time unless they are made to face consequences.

[Domestic] The House of Representatives passed House Resolution 569 which condemns “violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.”  This feel good resolution doesn’t actually do anything; they just condemn violence; hypocritically, they seem to have no qualms funding and wielding said violence overseas.

[Hillary] She claimed ISIS was using Trump in their videos for recruitment.  After searching around for a week nobody in the media could find these video’s and was starting to call her on her lie.  But just days ago one surfaced, the clip is an old Anwar-Al-Alaki video from over 5 years ago that someone has crudely edited out a section and replaced it with part of a Trump speech.  This seems clearly manufactured to me.  Now the mainstream media is praising Hillary for correct predicting that terrorists would use Trump to recruit.  The amount of deception at play here by the media is overwhelming.  Hillary said ISIS was using Trump, she didn’t make any predictions in her original quote.  Minor detail, Anwar was an American citizen who was a propagandist for North African/Yemen extremists, not ISIS, and he was killed in 2011 by drone.  This poorly edited video was most likely hastily thrown together to save Hillary’s ass, as Anwar is one of the more famous “terrorists” to the American people.

[Domestic] As Ron Paul warned, the TSA body scanners that are making Michael Chertoff rich, can not be opted-out of anymore.  Since the TSA is under the executive branch no act of congress was required to make this change.  The TSA simply made a new rule and now everybody gets the naked body scanner.  One more crack in the wall of liberty…  A cursory look at Obama’s plan on gun control seem to be empowering the ATF and FBI, make that two cracks in the wall of liberty.  These 3 letter agencies will be the death of freedom as they gobbled up as much as they can and regulate everything under the sun.  There exists no limit to keep their sprawling reach in check.  Ron Paul gave a speech back in 1997 on how these 3 letter agencies continue to acquire weapons and policing powers that they were never granted by the constitution.

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In optimistic news, California voters are 365,000 signatures away from getting a 2016 ballot measure that would force their representatives to wear the logo’s of their donors.  NASCAR style jackets for the congress critters, what a great thought.  http://www.californiaisnotforsale.com/mission/

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O’Malley wakes up to the obvious fact that the DNC primary is rigged.  Like I’ve said before Hillary has already been selected.  O’Malley makes note of the DNC only having 3 debates; one competing with prime time football, one on the weekend before Christmas, the format is designed to minimize coverage and prevent anyone but Hillary getting time on the air.

Puerto Rico is massively in debt and will begin defaulting on some payments this month.

2015 year of the most regulation.  Government thinks it is the solution to all our problems.  Yet they can’t keep lead out of a cities drinking water.  People look to the government and expect them to solve everything without first looking toward themselves.  For example, Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of accepting Syrian refuges, but also overwhelmingly against housing them in their own homes.

[Guns] After Obama was denied by Congress to “close the no-fly list loophole, that isn’t actually a loop hole”  Obama has instead decided he will write an executive order related to gun control and possibly background checks.  We don’t yet know what his proposal will be, but if it is anything like the congressional bill that aimed to restrict citizens liberty without due process, we should be vigilant.  He has stated he has his team from the Justice Department looking into what he can do constitutionally.  Perhaps he will reveal it before the state of the union speech on January 12th.  Small prediction, we’ll get a mass shooting before the 12th to make this an easier sell.

Update: Obama released his plan and the wording is vague and worrisome. States must share information with the Feds, Health and Human Services will change their rules to allow a violation of doctor-patient privacy and force private doctors to share information with the Feds, Social Security Administration is mandated to share information on mental status of their beneficiaries and inform the Fed’s if someone should be denied access to a gun (we can only guess what their criteria will be).  So far this all sounds like egregious violations of privacy, and will enable anyone of these organizations to suspend your 2nd amendment rights without due process.  This is “pre-crime”, go to the shrink because you’re depressed, maybe they can take your guns away because you might kill yourself or someone else.  We don’t have enough information yet, but the removal of privacy controls should be worrying enough.

Also, the ATF will hire 230 more people to sort through the paperwork thus their FY2017 budget has been increased, $4 million dollars for a ballistics investigation office, $500 million dollars for mental health care.  You’ll need a license to a sell gun according to the new ATF rules, this is assumed to mean if you want to engage in a private sale of your own personal firearm you need to obtain a license to sell it.  Government asking for more of our money and demanding more paperwork.

I often blame government, but the blame lies primarily with ourselves.  We vote for these people because we think we have no other options, but that isn’t true.  Our minds have been polluted to the point that 56% of people are in favor of warrant-less surveillance.   People will cheer these executive orders on gun control, even though a law was never passed, nothing was debated on the floor of Congress.  We are told on the news we should always be afraid and it’s destroying our minds.  People are looking for something to latch on to in order for them to feel safe and proactive, yet gun crime has been in a 25 year decline.  The fear-mongering applies to terrorism as well, from the Associated Press, “Two years ago, just three-in-ten people said they were somewhat concerned their family might be victims in a terror attack. Following last year’s attacks this figure spiked to six-in-ten.”

[Refugee’s in US] Refugees brought into US states without consent of states or notification of such action.  If what Christie is saying here is correct, it is complete insanity.  The government places refuges with NGO’s like churches and never notifies the state.  This forces the state to go to NGO’s in an attempt to track down and locate these refugees.

[Spies] The NSA has been caught by Israel spying on their prime minister.  The US breaks yet another promise, to stop spying on allies.  Many congressmen communicate with Israel and they are not too happy about being spied on.

[Police State] “On Tuesday, Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves and his heroic team of militarized storm troopers descended on the home of a single mom and her five kids. Upon removing the mother and her five children from the house, police entered into a 20-hour-long standoff — with the empty house.” They used infrared imaging and wrongly determined that a suspect wanted on misdemeanor charges was hiding in the attic.  The police proceeded to use a truck mounted battering ram to disassemble the house after 20 hours had passed.  The FBI has said they’ll (meaning we) will pay for the damage.

[Congress] Long (16 minute) speech from a young freshman Congressman who actually knows some history.  Both the right and left have been grabbing and hoarding power whenever they occupy the executive office.  He correctly identifies that Congress has become weaker and weaker and refuses to take action and own up to it’s responsibilities because that risks making a commitment, and if you commit to the wrong side of a debate that means you aren’t getting reelected.  So it has become the norm to sit back and cruise though congress without taking a strong stand on much of anything.  Hopefully this young blood will stay true.

[Congress] Trey Gowdy calls out the bullshit that is the no-fly list.  How your liberty is restricted without due process.

A favorite 3 minute set from George Carlin.

 

 

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