(NaturalNews) There has been a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the issue regarding the current “immigration reform bill” that the Senate has taken up, but one thing you likely haven’t heard about at all is the scope and breadth of power the massive 850-page-plus measure contains. Simply put, if it becomes law, it will give the Department of Homeland Security near-dictatorial powers.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, has entered a letter into the congressional record from law enforcement personnel around the country who are warning S.744, officially titled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” would grant sweeping, discretionary powers to “political appointees” – bureaucrats – while stripping law enforcement of authority.
‘Virtually unlimited discretion’
The letter, from the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council of the American Federal of Government Employees Affiliated with AFL-CIO, states:
Congress can and must take decisive steps to limit the discretion of political appointees and empower ICE and CBP to perform their respective missions and enforce the laws enacted by Congress. Rather than limiting the power of those political appointees within DHS, S. 744 provides them with nearly unlimited discretion, which will serve only to further cripple the law enforcement missions of these agencies.
The members warn that the bill conveys to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano “virtually unlimited discretion to waiver” prohibitions on getting legal status, such as previous deportations or criminal activity:
This same section (Section 2101 of S. 744) gives the Secretary of Homeland Security virtually unlimited discretion to waive any manner of crimes that would otherwise make an individual ineligible for legal status – for such expansive reasons as family unity, humanitarian purposes, or what the Secretary believes is in the public interest.
Read it all at Natural News.
The last time we checked in on 3-D printing, it was being used to make print-at-home handguns. Now the hot technology is being adapted for a more benign purpose: making pizza.
NASA has awarded a $125,000 grant to a Texas company to build a food synthesizer that can mix food and print it out in layers using a 3-D printer. One of the easiest foods to print this way is pizza, because it can be created and cooked in layers.
The potential for this technology is far-reaching. NASA is interested because it could be a way to feed astronauts who spend decades in space. But the company behind the technology, Systems & Materials Research Corp., has more ambitious ideas. If this works, an engineer at the company told Quartz, every kitchen might have a 3-D printer creating meals from a base of powders.
Here’s how it works: The printer takes its ingredients from attached canisters of powdered food and oils. It combines those ingredients in a mixing chamber and uses the 3-D printer to shape the food.
With a pizza, the dough is mixed from powders and printed as the first layer. It gets cooked as it is printed, according to Quartz. Then a layer of tomato sauce is mixed and added. And so on.
We’re not talking gourmet food here. But as the world’s population grows and food becomes scarcer, perhaps a plan to mix powders into something edible isn’t so crazy.
“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” the engineer behind the technology told Quartz. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday defended his objection to initiating House-Senate budget negotiations unless Democrats take a debt limit increase off the table, saying he doesn’t trust his party to hold the line.
“The senior senator from Arizona urged this body to trust the Republicans. Let me be clear, I don’t trust the Republicans,” Cruz said. “And I don’t trust the Democrats.”
On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) scolded Republicans for blocking negotiations. He was backed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
“Unfortunately,” Cruz said, “one of the reasons we got into this mess is because a lot of Republicans were complicit in this spending spree and that’s why so many Americans are disgusted with both sides of this house. … And every Republican who stands against holding the line here is really saying, let’s give the Democrats a blank check to borrow any money they want with no reforms, no leadership to fix the problem.”
Who is Judy Faulkner? Chances are, you don’t know her — but her politically connected, taxpayer-subsidized electronic medical records company may very well know you. Top Obama donor and billionaire Faulkner is founder and CEO of Epic Systems, which will soon store almost half of all Americans’ health information.
If the crony odor and the potential for abuse that this “epic” arrangement poses don’t chill your bones, you ain’t paying attention.
As I first noted last year before the IRS witch hunts and DOJ journalist snooping scandals broke out, Obama’s federal electronic medical records (EMR) mandate is government malpractice at work. The stimulus law provided a whopping $19 billion in “incentives” (read: subsidies) to force hospitals and medical professionals into converting from paper to electronic record-keeping systems. Penalties kick in next year for any provider who fails to comply with the one-size-fits-all edict.
Obamacare bureaucrats claimed the government’s EMR mandate would save money and modernize health care. As of December 2012, $4 billion had already gone out to 82,535 professionals and 1,474 hospitals; a total of $6 billion will be doled out by 2016. What have taxpayers and health care consumers received in return from this boondoggle? After hyping the alleged benefits for nearly a decade, the RAND Corporation finally admitted in January that its cost-savings predictions of $81 billion a year — used repeatedly to support the Obama EMR mandate — were, um, grossly overstated.
Among many factors, the researchers blamed “lack of interoperability” of records systems for the failure to bring down costs. And that is a funny thing, because it brings us right back to Faulkner and her well-connected company. You see, Epic Systems — the dominant EMR giant in America — is notorious for its lack of interoperability. Faulkner’s closed-end system represents antiquated, hard drive-dependent software firms that refuse to share data with doctors and hospitals using alternative platforms. Health IT analyst John Moore of Chilmark Research, echoing many industry observers, wrote in April that Epic “will ultimately hinder health care organizations’ ability to rapidly innovate.”
The IRS knew one year ago they “inappropriately” targeted conservatives but hid that information until after the election
Even though 132 membersof Congress sent former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman letters about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Shulman reiterated Wednesday that he did not have the full story until the inspector general’s report came out.
“In the two years that this targeting was taking place, did any member of Congress contact you? Write you? About this particular subject? Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan asked during a House Oversight hearing. “Did you get letters from Congress?”
“Yes,” Shulman replied.
Read it all HERE.
Government Execs up for Millions in Bonuses; Samsung and LG Dump Millions into Faulty Tech
Meet the Government’s Cash Cows: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (YahooFinance)
In last three months, Fannie Mae’s share price has gone up more than 400%. According to James Fenker, a long-time investor, “This year, Fannie and Freddie Mac are likely to post combined net income of over $100 billion — more than both Exxon (XOM) and Apple (AAPL).” And shares of the twin government cash cows? Well, should both government-owned agencies return to pre-2008 highs, preferred shares would probably rise another five-fold and junior-preferred, eight-fold. It is not a bad payday, if you can get it. Unfortunately, you can’t. All profits derived by the company are paid directly into the Fed. In light of the government bailing out both troubled lending entities, it seems fitting that taxpayers get a little of the money back, even if it goes to directly to debt-ridden Uncle Sam.
What Sequester Pain? Government Execs up for Millions in Bonuses (Business Journal)
Unless the law is changed quickly (not a specialty of the government), members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) will remain eligible to receive millions of dollars in bonuses during the federal government’s sequester when many of their lower-ranking colleagues face furloughs. While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ordered a freeze on most bonuses for federal workers during sequestration, current law provides an exemption for members of the SES, who are among the most highly-paid government employees. Legislation by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) would close the exemption loophole to ensure both non-SES federal employees and SES employees are treated equally and do not receive bonuses during sequestration. From 2008-2011, this group of senior government executives received more around $340 million in bonuses, on top of salaries ranging from $119,000-$179,000. The three senators expressed outrage at the practice and are trying to gather support among other lawmakers to enact a change swiftly. Taxpayers likely would agree with the trio, so let’s watch if other lawmakers become backers.
What better example of Obama’s profound hypocrisy than how he had sought to provide apprehended terrorists detained at Guantanamo with constitutional rights, even as he now summarily executes American citizens abroad.
Did a scumbag like Anwar al-Awlaki need killing? Obviously, the answer is a resounding yes. Despite any American citizenship, terrorists like al-Awlaki clearly meet the definitions of treason. Yet, to identify anything remotely connected with Islam—even so reprehensible a character as al-Awlaki—as being treasonous would openly equate Muslims with sedition and betrayal. That, of course, would utterly contradict Obama’s Herculean efforts to portray Islam as the happy clappy Religion of Peace. [spit]
So, it’s better to just quietly go about killing Americans with overseas drone strikes while adamantly refusing to name the real enemy. But don’t think for one minute that devoutly anti-American scum being detained at Gitmo shouldn’t be given every last constitutional protection and benefit of the doubt.
There is an old Confucian maxim:
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”
If there is one thing that Obama obstinately denies Americans, it is the rightful naming of Islam as the undying enemy of liberty and freedom. This continues to go on, even though he has sought to mantle our nation’s dire enemies with constitutional protections like habeas corpus. Yet, when it comes to something so disturbing as our government’s summary execution of American citizens abroad the sole response is, “Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.”
The IRS scandal means House Republicans can defund Obamacare for good.
The IRS scandal provides Republicans and conservatives with the opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare now. The House Republican majority should refuse to fund the expansion of the IRS necessary to manage Obamacare. Without that funding, and hiring thousands of additional agents, the IRS cannot even begin to manage Obamacare.
President Obama may throw a fit. He may refuse to sign funding bills to keep the federal government open. No matter. Let him close his government down if he wants. Nobody wants the IRS playing political games with their health care and health records, like it did with the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and Equal Protection of Tea Party and conservative organizations. Contribute to the Republican Party? Attend a Tea Party protest? Good luck getting your Obamacare health insurance tax credit application approved. Good luck finding a doctor the government will pay to do that operation your kid needs.
Obama can flail away all he wants. The public will now back the Republicans in this fight, just as it did in the sequester battle. But won’t the public feel that the Republicans would be irresponsible to just refuse to fund Obamacare, leaving the health system in chaos?
That is why the Republicans need to back up their IRS Obamacare chokehold with legislation proposing free market, Patient Power health care reforms to replace Obamacare. (A comprehensive, free-market health reform plan to replace Obamacare has already been proposed by John Goodman and myself in our NCPA paper, “Health Care for All Without the Affordable Care Act.”)
Going for the Jugular of Obamacare
President Obama sold Obamacare to the 40% of the nation that supports it on the grounds that it would provide universal health insurance. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores the legislation as still leaving 30 million uninsured 10 years after full implementation.
It will be much worse than even that, however. In fact, for the reasons I explain below, it is quite possible there will be more people uninsured after Obamacare goes into effect than before. That is the exposed jugular of Obamacare. Those who’ve been supporting it have done so because they believe in universal health care. If Obamacare is going to make the problem worse rather than better, for all of its costs, then public support for replacing it with a better plan will explode. As I will also explain, the free market, Patient Power plan that Republicans should now advance would assure universal health care for all, with no individual mandate, and no employer mandate, at a cost savings of at least $2 trillion over the next 10 years, as compared to current law.