Rep. Trey Gowdy is Amaze-balls

Rep. Trey Gowdy is relentless in his pursuit of the truth.  That was evident last night during this exchange with the IRS Commisioner:

This is why Rep. Gowdy has been put in charge of the investigation into what happened in Benghazi.  Here’s a bonus video of Gowdy hammering the press about their lack of interest in Benghazi.

 

 

 

 

VA GOP Strategist Whored Himself Out

So, fresh on the heels of yesterday’s revelation about Governor Terry McAuliffe’s relationship with Virginia GOP Strategist Boyd Marcus, we find out that Mr. Marcus had tried to sell himself to Cuccinelli after Bill Bolling withdrew from the race.  But, as we all know, Boyd Marcus ultimately decided to throw his support to the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, for what we now know was $140,000 and a potential appointment to a position that pays 3 figures.  Essentially, Marcus sold himself to the highest bidder, regardless of party affiliation. (Emphasis mine)

The new governor appointed Marcus to the ABC Board, a coveted job that pays over $100,000 a year. But the consultant has yet to be confirmed by the GOP-led House of Delegates. Republicans have argued that the posting amounts to a political payoff. Marcus also approached the GOP candidate’s campaign, according to an email to Cuccinelli consultant Chris LaCivita, asking for a $75,000 to $100,000 salary.

Marcus had worked earlier in the cycle for then-lieutenant governor Bill Bolling, whom Cuccinelli beat out for the Republican nomination in a convention. Virginia Public Access Project records show that Bolling paid Marcus $108,129 for consulting and list access.

Via Washington Post.

Bill Clinton’s Protege’s Involved in Potential Scandal

So, it looks like VA GOP turncoat Boyd Marcus was given $140,000 by newly minted Governor McAuliffe’s campaign AFTER he endorsed McAuliffe — and was subsequently put on the ABC board by McAuliffe. But that’s not the scandal. However, McDonnell’s wife stringing Jonnie William’s along is sooooo teh scandaloso!

“Longtime GOP operative Boyd Marcus surprised many political observers last year when he endorsed Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor after, some Republican insiders claim, GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli rejected Marcus’ attempts to peddle his consulting services.

Marcus ended up on the payroll of McAuliffe’s campaign to the tune of $140,000, then landed after the election in one of the cushiest of political seats: a spot on the Alcoholic Beverage Control board, at an annual salary of $130,000. That appointment by McAuliffe requires General Assembly confirmation — and may yet get scuttled by GOP lawmakers who find Marcus’ partisan transformation a little too greasy even by recent Richmond standards.

If indeed McDonnell’s actions are proved to be criminal and McAuliffe’s acceptable, Virginia needs to either rewrite its ethics laws from scratch or have none. We might as well revert to the late 19th century, when elected service was openly about patronage.”

Via Suffolk News Herald

Scalia expects NSA program to end up in court – Yahoo News

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday that the courts ultimately will have to determine the legality of surveillance programs by the National Security Agency.

And he’s not sure that’s a good thing in an era of complex security threats against the United States.

Scalia told the Northern Virginia Technology Council that questions about how much information the NSA can collect about Americans’ telephone calls and under what circumstances the agency can monitor conversations are best answered by the elected branches of government.

But he said that the Supreme Court took that power for itself in 1960s-era expansions of privacy rights, including prohibitions on wiretapping without a judge’s approval.

“The consequence of that is that whether the NSA can do the stuff it’s been doing … which used to be a question for the people … will now be resolved by the branch of government that knows the least about the issues in question, the branch that knows the least about the extent of the threat against which the wiretapping is directed,” he said.

via Scalia expects NSA program to end up in court – Yahoo News.

IRS Still Harassing Tea Party Patriots

By: Cliff

The initial firestorm surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups may have subsided, but tea party leaders say the situation has only become worse and may lead to more lawsuits against the embattled agency.New documents show the depth of information the IRS is seeking from Tea Party Patriots, a leading conservative group that first applied for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status in late 2010 and one of many organizations singled out for extra scrutiny by the Obama administration.

An IRS letter sent to the group last week and obtained by The Washington Times contains a laundry list of requests related to virtually all the group’s activities, including its involvement in the 2012 election cycle and its get-out-the-vote efforts, fundraising activities, all radio and TV advertising, and other information.

The IRS also is asking for detailed financial records, including “the amounts and percentages of your total expenses that were for fundraising activities in the tax year 2011, 2012 and 2013.”

Read the whole article here: IRS continues to hound Tea Party Patriots, demands more data for tax-exempt status – Washington Times.

Hampton Roads Tea Party works with the Tea Party Patriots whenever possible. HRTP was also targeted by the IRS. We have since received our 501(c)(4), but because of our experience, we are in the process of joining the American Center of Law and Justice lawsuit.

If You Aren’t On This List, ‘Yer Doin’ It Wrong’

Are you a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian or a gun owner? Are you opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order? Do you believe in conspiracy theories, do you believe that we are living in the “end times” or do you ever visit alternative news websites (such as this one)? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a “potential terrorist” according to official U.S. government documents.

Via the DC Clothesline blog, here are the 72 types of Americans that are now considered potential terrorists:

1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”

2. Those that advocate for states’ rights

3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”

4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”

5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”

6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation areseparate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”

7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”

8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”

9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of theenvironment and/or animals”

10. “Anti-Gay”

11. “Anti-Immigrant”

12. “Anti-Muslim”

13. “The Patriot Movement”

14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”

15. Members of the Family Research Council

16. Members of the American Family Association

17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”

18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol

19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition

21. Members of the Christian Action Network

22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”

23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”

24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21

25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps

26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”

27. The militia movement

28. The sovereign citizen movement

29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”

30. Anyone that “complains about bias”

31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”

32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”

33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”

34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”

35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”

36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”

37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”

38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”

39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”

40. “Militia or unorganized militia”

41. “General right-wing extremist”

42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.

43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”

44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”

45. Those that are “anti-global”

46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”

47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”

48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”

49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”

50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”

51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”

52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”

53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”

54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”

55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”

56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”

57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”

58. “Rightwing extremists”

59. “Returning veterans”

60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”

61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”

62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”

63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”

64. “Anti-abortion activists”

65. Those that are against illegal immigration

66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner

67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations

68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”

69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr

70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)

71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies

72. Evangelical Christians

FISA Court says NSA Lied To Them

can-you-hear-me-NSA

The Obama administration has given up more of its surveillance secrets, acknowledging that it was ordered to stop scooping up thousands of Internet communications from Americans with no connection to terrorism — a practice it says was an unintended consequence when it gathered bundles of Internet traffic connected to terror suspects.

One of the documents that intelligence officials released Wednesday came because a court ordered the National Security Agency to do so. But it’s also part of the administration’s response to the leaks by analyst-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden, who revealed that the NSA’s spying programs went further and gathered millions more U.S. communications than most Americans realized.

The story in the Washington Post takes the typical cover-for-the-liberal-administration tack, but buried deep on page three is this jewel:

Under court order, the NSA resolved the problem by creating new ways to detect when emails by people within the U.S. were being intercepted and separated those batches of communications. It also developed new ways to limit how that data could be accessed or used. The agency also agreed to only keep these bundled communications for possible later analysis for a two-year period, instead of the usual five-year retention period.

That means the U.S. material is still gathered and kept, but is treated with stricter protocols.

The agency also, under court order, destroyed all the bundled data gathered between 2008, when the FISA court first authorized the collection under Section 702 of the Patriot Act, and 2011, when the new procedures were put in place.

The court signed off on the new procedures.

So yes. The NSA is STILL collecting our data.

“Privacy Rules? What Rules?” says NSA

The VA Pilot has an article about the privacy breaches in the NSA’s PRSIM program:

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by law and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

But buried further in the article is this kicker:

There is no reliable way to calculate from the number of recorded compliance issues how many Americans have had their communications improperly collected, stored or distributed by the NSA.

Just a reminder, the 4th Amendment says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Read the whole article. If this doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will.

Suffolk City Busted Breaking Laws AGAIN

But the diesel-fueled incinerators can release pollutants into the air and require operating permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. That requirement has the city facing legal sanctions – the state recently discovered the city has been running its incinerators without permits for six years.

The city recently purchased two replacement incinerators – for $31,940 apiece – which also have no permits.

(Source: Suffolk waits to hear verdict on roadkill incinerators.)

So, because our Public Works Director Eric Nielsen, a man who has worked for the city since the 1990’s, “didn’t think the machines were regulated because of their size,” the city did not have the proper permits for the last six years! Wow. So just how much is this going to cost the city?

Upon receiving Suffolk’s application, Brandt will determine what type of permit is needed and whether to take enforcement action. Sanctions could include a civil charge, a consent order – which sets a timeline and steps the city must take to comply with environmental regulations – or both. Fines can reach up to $32,500 per day per violation.

“A civil charge like that could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, which could be very difficult to settle, so it’s normally not that high,” Brandt said.

Lucky us, they will give us a break on the fines, but still no word as to how high the fines may be. According to the article, Suffolk has twice as many incinerators as VA Beach to deal with 2/3rds of the animal carcasses that VA Beach handles. But we don’t have permits to run any of the 4 machines we currently run. So what would a permit have cost us?

Operators are responsible for applying for permits, which generally are free for incinerators.

You’re kidding right? So now we are facing the possibility of huge fines because the Public Works Director chose to go with his own thoughts on the matter instead of looking up the regulations. But don’t worry folks. It’s a good time to be in Suffolk.

Obamacare’s cost to our schools: $180,000 the first year.

For a school system that is already strapped for cash, Obamacare is a budget-buster.

When the mandate does go into effect, the district can either not offer coverage and pay $2,000 per employee annually, or provide coverage but pay a penalty for any qualified employee who uses the exchange the act requires states to establish, where individuals and businesses can select affordable plans.

This comes from the Suffolk News Herald. Ms. Wendy Forsman has been in charge of making sure the Suffolk Public School system is in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. You remember, the bill we had “to pass, so we could find out what was in it.”

The cheapest option would be for the school system to drop coverage & pay each employee 2 grand a year to find their own coverage. Problem is, 2 grand doesn’t even begin to cover the cost of health insurance, especially not for a family. Losing that benefit will surely drive most of the teachers in our school system away, and make it very hard to attract new, quality teachers. That is precisely why the school system has chosen the other option, despite it’s high cost, and potential for fees:

Suffolk Public Schools appears to be going with the “play” option, requiring it to offer insurance covering at least 60 percent of average medical costs to employees working at least 30 hours per week for at least 90 days, Forsman said.

Also, the cost of coverage for employees making less than four times the federal poverty line cannot exceed 9.5 percent of their household income, and that poses the greatest risk for the district penalty-wise, Forsman said.

“We have no way of determining household income, so we have to look at individual income and assume that’s all they have,” she said.

If the assumption is wrong, the penalty kicks in.

“If we offer insurance and the employee goes to the exchange and are eligible for the exchange, we have to pay $3,000 as a penalty,” Forsman said.

On top of that, there is the problem of part-time employees (AKA Substitute Teachers). If any part-timer creeps over 30 hours a week, the school system could be in trouble for not providing them with benefits. The solution: a whole lot of subs are going to find their hours cut.

The requirement to extend coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours a week, known as “fair access,” also could be problematic when it comes to substitute teachers, whose hours can creep above the threshold.

The district has taken steps to ensure employees working 30 or more hours a week and exceeding the income threshold are getting coverage, Forsman said.

Software handling substitute placements can also be set to ensure employees don’t exceed 29 hours, she said.

“We feel like we are in a good position to not pay that penalty,” she said.

But the kicker is, even with all these steps, the school system will have to pay $180,000 in fees to the Federal Government, on top of the costs of implementing all the changes, and ensuring the penalties don’t kick in:

Despite its efforts to avoid penalties, the district will still have to pay Transitional Reinsurance and Insurance fees to the Department of Health and Human Services, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research fees to the IRS, with an estimated annual cost of $172,500 and $5,476, respectively.

And that doesn’t even account for the cost of staff time to implement all these changes and keep track of everything to avoid penalties.

It will also have to devote extra staff time generating several employee notices about the new options, Forsman added.