Archive for December 9th, 2012
Posted: 28 Nov 2012 10:53 AM PST
“FRAGILE.” It must be Italian.
Fact – when you tax something, you get less of it:
In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs.
This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election.
The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government.
It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes.
This isn’t just happening in the once Great Britain.
The last 12 months may have been disappointing overall for conservatives. However, film-wise, it was actually a pretty good year.
Many mainstream films took obvious conservative stances and conservative documentaries like “Occupy Unmasked” and “Hating Breitbart” were aplenty, informing and entertaining their audiences. I thought I would take a moment to share my favorite conservative films of 2012. Afterward, feel free to share yours in the comments. Note: this list does not include documentary films.
1. “The Dark Knight Rises” – This is an obvious pick. It was blatantly conservative and realistic in its worldview. Plus, it gave us a perfect ending to Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. We saw a successful businessman forced to answer for his own fortune as people rail against freedom and capitalism. Bane (Tom Hardy) soon comes to lead the Occupy-style thugs to the utopia we witness in action in the film’s third act. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) comes to fight this tyranny and give people the very freedom they so easily give away. From Joseph Gordon Levitt’s star-making role as one very good cop to the action to the script, ‘Rises’ was pretty darn close to being a masterpiece.
2. “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” – The second part of Ayn Rand’s epic vision was leaps and bounds better than the first film. Director John Putch gave the film a wider vision, and the script was closer to Rand’s ideas. Jason Beghe and Esai Morales, along with the rest of the cast, breathed life into their monumental characters. For a film so designed to sell a philosophy, it was a great time at the movies.
3. “The Expendables 2” – I know. I know. This wasn’t a conservative movie! But it was, dear friends. Not only did famous Republicans line the cast, but “Expendables” embraced every one liner, patriotic attitude and old-school idea of machismo from the Reagan era of movie entertainment. It was also a vast improvement on the first as its tone became much clearer. A great time at the movies. Laughs, thrills and one liners like, “rest in pieces.” What more could a conservative film lover ask for?
4. “Red Dawn” – Sure, the first was way better as far as character and basic intelligence went, but “Red Dawn” managed to surprise me, and I was a skeptic from the get go. “Dawn” shined best when it came to the action scenes, which were some of the best of the year. It also, thankfully, did not shy away from the patriotism inherent in the story. That’s probably why liberals hate it so much and are proving with their criticisms that they are inept at not just analysis, but sometimes basic common sense.
5. Lockout: This was my guilty pleasure of the year. But, I would also argue it was one of the more important films for conservative entertainment. “Lockout” wasn’t just a throwback to ’80s action (always a plus), but it did what liberal movies do all the time … it just turned the tables. Instead of one liners about Sarah Palin and welfare, we got one liners about Democrats and raising taxes. Guy Pearce’s heroic Snow was the Libertarian screen hero of the year. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it.
So there it is dear readers. Sound off with your favorite conservative films of 2012 below.
An official government report released Friday admits that the Pigford “Black Farmers” Settlement was designed with no mechanism for objectively determining fraud but hid that shocking conclusion under pages of bureaucratic doublespeak.
“Burying the lede” is a journalistic term used to describe the act of hiding essential information by putting non-essentials in front of it. On December 7, 2012, the United States Government Accountability Office released report number GAO-13-69R, also known as “Civil Rights: Additional Actions in Pigford II Claims Process Could Reduce Risk of Improper Determinations.”
Just based on the title, you can already tell the report is needlessly wordy. This helps bury what should be the bigger story—that the Pigford settlement isn’t the mere victim of a few fraudsters but was, in fact, set up to make fraud not just rampant but also totally undetectable.
Breitbart News has been reporting for years now that the Pigford settlement allowed people to collect $50,000 just for claiming that they “attempted to farm” and that no other proof was needed. As a result, many claim that billions of dollars in fraudulent “attempted to farm” claims were paid out by the federal government. The new GAO report actually confirms what the late Andrew Breitbart pointed out time and again: the Pigford settlement is a massive swindle on the U.S. taxpayer, and it was designed that way from the start.
The GAO report’s conclusion seems like it bears good news; there are systems in place that would detect fraud. It says on Page 3:
Identifying and denying fraudulent or otherwise invalid claims among tens of thousands of claims submitted is a daunting task. The parties charged with carrying out the terms of the Pigford II settlement have designed and operated a system of internal control that, in general, provides reasonable assurance of identifying and denying fraudulent or otherwise invalid claims.
This “reasonable assurance” of denying fraud, however, is illusory. A tidbit buried in the middle of a wordy paragraph on the same page undermines this defense: “These design weaknesses, hence, cannot be modified by the implementing parties.”
Design weaknesses? Keep reading and you’ll find that it’s a “design weakness” that destroys the previous insistence on effective oversight.
For example, by the terms of the settlement agreement, most claims must be evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants and, as a result, the adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information.
Let’s go slowly through that paragraph. There are three main points it makes:
- “By terms of the settlement agreement” shows the fraud is baked right in. This is a feature, not a bug.
- “most claims must be evaluated based solely on the information submitted by the claimants” means that a majority of claims are judged based only on statements by the person who stands to collect a $50,000 check.
- “adjudicator of these claims has no way of independently verifying that information” means that there’s no way for the person judging the claim to check for fraud.
In other words, the lawyers and politicians who designed Pigford gave people judging a claim’s validity no objective way to determine whether it is actually fraudulent or not; they have to accept the claimant’s statement as truth. In a government payout program whose architects anticipated some level of fraudulent or duplicate claims, no one included oversight against such a contingency.
Katie Pavlich Dec 07, 2012 03:19 PM EST
It’s official. Taxpayers are no longer simply helping the poor, they’re subsidizing the lives of welfare recipients at a better rate than their own. The Senate Budget Committee has released a report showing households living below the poverty line and receiving welfare payments are raking in the equivalent of $168 per day in benefits which come in the form of food stamps, housing, childcare, healthcare and more. The median household income in 2011 was $50,054, totaling $137.13 per day. The worst part? Welfare payments are equivalent to making $30 per hour for 40 hours a week. The median wage for non-welfare recipients is $25 per hour but because they pay taxes, unlike welfare recipients, the wage is bumped down to $21 per hour. From the report:
For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. The total amount spent on these federal programs, when taken together with approximately $280 billion in state contributions, amounted to roughly $1 trillion. Nearly 95 percent of these costs come from four categories of spending: medical assistance, cash assistance, food assistance, and social / housing assistance. Under the President’s FY13 budget proposal, means-tested spending would increase an additional 30 percent over the next four years.
By all means Mr. President, let’s raise taxes on people already paying the majority of the taxes because clearly they aren’t “paying their fair share” to subsize the lives of others already.
UPDATE: The report does not say that every household receiving welfare benefits totals $168 but specifically refers to those receiving benefits and living below the poverty line. Also, it should be pointed out the $168 includes all costs incurred by the federal government to deliver benefits, including administrative costs.
Whether broadcast or online, all around the mainstream media today, there’s a bacchanalia in progress over today’s jobs numbers.
146,000 new jobs!
America was right to reelect Obama!
And yet, all it would take is a media with a shred of intellectual honesty and curiosity to report the truth about today’s numbers. A deep dive combined with a little historical context is something you would expect our media to participate in. But because that kind of reporting would betray Obama’s economic record as a failed one, it’s never-ever done, and never will be.
Thankfully, though, we have New Media, and all around the inter-web-nets today, the truth about this month’s report card on Obama’s job creation record is being reported.
But first, a little background…