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YOUR GOVERNMENT: Health Care

Friday, July 25, 2014

In this installment of the YOUR GOVERNMENT series, Virtual President Bill Whittle explains why a two-cent aspirin pill costs $20, and how we can replace the waste and inefficiencies of our present system with one that empowers patients to use their own money, just as if it were… their own money.

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Disarming the Warriors

Friday, July 25, 2014
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We are de-fanging our military. What’s more, is that we are taking away their basic human rights to defend themselves, their Second Amendment rights to bear arms in their own self-defense, while asking them to volunteer to defend us. Moreover, we are choosing time and time again to deny them the mental health and veterans’ benefits, while giving more money to entitlements for other communities. Meanwhile, shootings on bases have occurred now multiple times, and 22 people in our armed services commit suicide daily. This is unacceptable–hear why in this Afterburner with Bill Whittle.

A Pennsylvania doctor saved his own life and possibly the lives of several others Thursday when he shot a gunman who was on a rampage in his office at Mercy Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania.

Employees aren’t supposed to have firearms or other weapons at the hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman, but thankfully this doctor wasn’t complying. The Daily Mail reports:

‘Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that ‘without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.’

‘When the caseworker was shot, (Silverman) crouched down behind the desk to avoid him being shot,’ Whelan said.

‘He was able to reach for his weapon, and realizing it was a life or death situation, was able to engage the defendant in the exchange of gunfire.’

The lesson here? Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. Gun-free zones are simply a target rich environment for those with evil intent.

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Virtual President on Taxes

Friday, July 25, 2014
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In this segment, Virtual President Bill Whittle examines who pays what under the current system, and what we can do to make our tax code more efficient, more fair, more moral and generate more revenue.

While President Obama decries gun violence and presses for more laws to restrict ownership, his Justice Department has prosecuted 25 percent fewer cases referred by the main law enforcement agency charged with reducing firearms violence across the country, a computer analysis of U.S. prosecution data shows.

Federal prosecutors brought a total of 5,082 gun violation cases in 2013 recommended by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, compared with 6,791 during the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2008, according to data obtained from the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys.

The 2013 totals represent a 42 percent decline from the record number of 8,752 prosecutions of ATF cases brought by the Justice Department in 2004 under Mr. Bush, according to the data.

Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, regarded as one of the premier researchers on federal prosecution performances and trends, analyzed the data at the request of The Washington Times.

U.S. attorneys have been slowing gun prosecutions even further, with 2,598 brought in the first seven months of this fiscal year. The pace of activity puts the Justice Department on track to prosecute the fewest ATF cases since 2000, well before the drug gang wars in Mexico sharply increased violence on both sides of the border.

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“We have this irony. The Obama administration, which is asking for more in the way of gun regulations — in terms of increased background checks for private sales and at gun shows — is actually prosecuting less of the gun laws already on the books,” said Robert Cottrol, a gun control historian at George Washington University. “For a lot of people, there’s more ideological cache harassing Bubba at the gun show than getting a handle on gun crime.”

The data contrast with Mr. Obama’s proclamations after the deadly shooting sprees at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that he would take every step possible to stem firearms violence.

“We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this,” the president declared in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

Though the ATF has been the primary agency to combat illegal gun trafficking, the data directly from the 94 federal judicial district offices across the country show that the number of prosecutions of cases from ATF has gone down since Mr. Obama made his promise in January 2013. ATF-related prosecutions fell from 5,935 in 2012 to 5,082 in 2013, and are on track to finish around 4,500 this year, the data show.

The number of cases developed by the ATF also is plummeting. The agency became the focus of widespread criticism in 2011 when it admitted that agents knowingly allowed hundreds of semi-automatic weapons to slip across the border and into the hands of drug gangs in Mexico in a bungled investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious.

Cases recommended for prosecution by the ATF have declined from a high of 17,877 in 2004 under Mr. Bush to 12,066 last year, according to the data compiled by Syracuse University and reviewed by The Times.

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Last week the Congressional Budget Office released its long-term budget outlook, claiming that federal debt is 74 percent of the U.S. economy (as measured by Gross Domestic Product, or GDP). Actually, federal debt is about 105 percent of GDP. That “tipping point” could be a problem because many economists believe that once government debt approaches 100 percent of GDP, economic growth tends to stagnate, um, much like the U.S. economy has under President Obama.

The CBO claims that debt won’t hit 100 percent of GDP for 25 more years, in 2039. But just look at the numbers. The World Bank puts the U.S. economy in 2013 at $16.8 trillion, and the U.S. Treasury says total federal debt stands at $17.6 trillion—that’s nearly 105 percent of the economy.

So what’s the CBO missing, a good calculator? The answer is what the government has borrowed from itself.

The government breaks down its debt into publicly held debt and intergovernmental holdings. Publicly held debt is the debt owed to individuals, companies, the Federal Reserve Bank and other governments. Intergovernmental holdings, by contrast, refers to government assets that are borrowed and then spent by the government, such as the money in the Social Security Trust Fund.

Workers and their employers pay a combined 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax, which the government uses to pay current Social Security beneficiaries. If

Social Security receives more money than it pays out—which was the case until a few years ago—the surplus goes into the Social Security Trust Fund. That surplus currently stands at about $7 trillion. However, the federal government has borrowed all of that money and spent it, leaving a string of non-negotiable IOUs in its wake.

Defenders of the current system, almost all of them liberals, tell us not to worry; the government owes that money to itself. Not exactly.

If you take a dollar out of your left pocket and put it in your right pocket, leaving an IOU in its place, you are no worse off because you can put that dollar back if the left pocket needs it. But if you spend that dollar out of your right pocket, you will have to find another dollar somewhere if the left pocket needs its dollar back. You no longer just owe that dollar to yourself because you don’t have it anymore.

If the federal government needs to pay back the IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund, as it has been doing lately, the government must come up with the money from somewhere—by taxing, borrowing or printing it. Thus, the only difference between publicly held federal debt and intergovernmental holdings is a middleman—e.g., a government trust fund.

By excluding intergovernmental loans from its standard debt statements, the CBO is ignoring more than a quarter of total federal debt, allowing lawmakers to hide behind a debt burden that is much worse than it seems.

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This was over before it started. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was outmatched from beginning to end by House Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy at Wednesday’s hearing.

At question was whether former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails have indeed been destroyed – as previously claimed by Koskinen himself.

As Koskinen choked on Gowdy’s exhaust, the South Carolina lawyer put the pedal to the medal  – slamming the commissioner for whining about “low IRS morale.”

It was like the IRS chief was on a ten-speed bike, while Gowdy was lapping him in a Dodge Viper. Nobody makes a lying bureaucrat squirm like Gowdy.

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A dramatic spike in the number of Americans with permits to carry concealed weapons coincides with an equally stark drop in violent crime, according to a new study, which Second Amendment advocates say makes the case that more guns can mean safer streets.

The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, up from 4.5 million in 2007. The 146 percent increase has come even as both murder and violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.

“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals,” said the center’s president, John R. Lott, a Fox News contributor. “Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims and others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.”

“When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals.”- John R. Lott, Crime Prevention Research Center

Increasing gun ownership, litigation and new state laws have all contributed to the rise in concealed carry permits. In March, Illinois became the 50th state to begin issuing concealed weapons permits. But the cost and other requirements for obtaining the permits varies greatly, from South Dakota, where a permit requires $10, a background check and no training, to Illinois, where the cost of obtaining a permit comes to more than $600 when the fee and cost of training programs are taken into account.

Six states don’t require a permit for legal gun owners to conceal their weapons, and Lott notes those states have some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation.

The real measure of the deterrent effect of concealed carry permits, according to Lott, is not laws on the books, but the percentage of a given state’s population that holds the permits. In 10 states, more than 8 percent of adults hold concealed carry permits, and all are among the states with the lowest crime rates. Lott claims his group’s analysis shows that each one percentage point increase in the adult population holding permits brings a 1.4 percent drop in the murder rate.

“We found that the size of the drop [in crime] is directly related to the percentage of the population with permits,” Lott said.

Between 2007 and the preliminary estimates for 2013, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.4 per 100,000.

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Last week Al Sharpton embraced convicted vote fraudster Melowese Richardson at a “voting rights” rally in Cincinnati.  The United States Department of Justice under Eric Holder has done nothing to Melowese Richardson 410 days after she admitted on camera that she committed multiple federal felonies by voting six times for President Obama’s reelection.

Federal law makes it a felony to vote more than once for President.  In fact, 42 U.S.C. Section 1973i(e) subjects Richardson to twenty-five years in federal prison for her six votes for Obama.

The lack of DOJ action against an unrepentant federal vote fraudster combined with Richardson’s lionization by Sharpton and the organization that sponsored the rally demonstrates how the Justice Department is facilitating a culture of brazen criminality on the eve of the 2014 midterm elections.  The failure to indict Richardson is the latest example of Holder’s department excusing lawlessness in federal elections and abandoning law abiding Americans.

Melowese Richardson was charged with state voter fraud crimes in Ohio.  She was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison on July 7, 2013. Unfortunately, instead of serving five years, Richardson was set free after only eight months.

A state court judge dismissed her May 2013 conviction and five-year prison sentence and allowed her to plead no contest to four counts of illegal voting, the same charges for which she was convicted.

Richardson was represented by the George Soros-funded Ohio Justice and Policy Center, which claimed she suffered from bi-polar disorder.  No claim was made that she was insane when she committed her election crimes.  Nor was any effort made to establish her insanity.

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