More Proof: 2016 Elections Corrupt—Hackers Break Into Voting Machines in 90 Minutes!

We already know that absentee ballots by the dozen were shipped to a single apartment in San Pedro.  We know that in Indiana thousands of illegal and fraudulent voter registrations were created by one organization.  In Virginia they found lots of illegal registrations and voting.  Then you have the votes of illegal aliens—in California you can register online without any real vetting!  Now the next step.

“Tech minds at the annual DEF CON in Las Vegas were given physical voting machines and remote access, with the instructions of gaining access to the software.

According to a Register report, within minutes, hackers exposed glaring physical and software vulnerabilities across multiple U.S. voting machine companies’ products.

Some devices were found to have physical ports that could be used to attach devices containing malicious software. Others had insecure Wi-Fi connections, or were running outdated software with security vulnerabilities like Windows XP.”

To make this happen in real life, all the hacker would have to do is be a “poll volunteer” so they can change the machines—or close them down, create errors and make the election look dishonest.  Imagine what the Russians and Chinese could do with months to work and more sophisticated applications!  Grow up—elections in the United States have been compromised.  Yet the media calls these facts Fake News and refuse to admit the truth.

vote count election

Hackers break into voting machines in 90 minutes at competition

By John Bowden, The Hill, 07/29/17

Hackers at a competition in Las Vegas were able to successfully breach the software of U.S. voting machines in just 90 minutes on Friday, illuminating glaring security deficiencies in America’s election infrastructure.

Tech minds at the annual DEF CON in Las Vegas were given physical voting machines and remote access, with the instructions of gaining access to the software.

According to a Register report, within minutes, hackers exposed glaring physical and software vulnerabilities across multiple U.S. voting machine companies’ products.

Some devices were found to have physical ports that could be used to attach devices containing malicious software. Others had insecure Wi-Fi connections, or were running outdated software with security vulnerabilities like Windows XP.

The Register reported that the challenge was designed by Jake Braun, the Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Global Advisors and Managing Director of Cambridge Global Capital.

“Without question, our voting systems are weak and susceptible. Thanks to the contributions of the hacker community today, we’ve uncovered even more about exactly how,” Braun said.

“The scary thing is we also know that our foreign adversaries — including Russia, North Korea, Iran — possess the capabilities to hack them too, in the process undermining principles of democracy and threatening our national security.”

The machines were bought on Ebay and were manufactured by major U.S. voting machine companies such as Diebold Nixorf, Sequoia Voting Systems and Winvote.

In January, President Trump signed an executive order establishing a commission to investigate possible voter fraud in the 2016 election.

The commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, is expected to “study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections” as well as “fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting,” the order says. Trump himself has made baseless claims about millions of illegal voters during the 2016 election.

“You can never really find, you know, there are going to be — no matter what numbers we come up with there are going to be lots of people that did things that we’re not going to find out about,” Trump said in January. “But we will find out because we need a better system where that can’t happen.”

Crazy/Violent Prone Professors END White Working Class Support of Higher Education

If you were a working class, middle class citizen or just a person with moral and ethical values, would you send your child to a school where free speech is not allowed? Or that shaming of students for their political views is approved by the Administration and riots to close classes and special events is OK with police?  Should you white child be sent to a school to learn they are racists and need to keep their mouths shut—or leave campus?  Do you want your child to go to a school where blacks and gays are segregated—because they want to be?

“Now comes a new poll with skepticism about higher education — this time based on a survey of white working-class voters of all political affiliations. The findings indicate attitudes in this group that run directly counter to the views of college educators — that higher education is essential to individual economic advancement. The key findings:

  • A majority (57 percent) said a college degree “would result in more debt and little likelihood of landing a good-paying job.”
  • A large majority (83 percent) said a college degree was “no longer any guarantee of success in America.”

Then you have the reality of the lack of value of a college degree in the 21st Century for most jobs.  Computer literacy is important, music appreciation is not—if you want to financial succeed in life.  We need to rethink the elitism of colleges and return education to educate students for the future.

Sather Gate, UC Berkeley

Losing the White Working Class, Too

Survey of voting bloc that favored Trump finds skepticism about value of higher education.

By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 7/31/17

Many professors and college leaders were stunned and concerned by recent data showing that more than half of Republicans say that colleges have a negative impact on the U.S., with wealthier, older and more educated Republicans being least positive.

Now comes a new poll with skepticism about higher education — this time based on a survey of white working-class voters of all political affiliations. The findings indicate attitudes in this group that run directly counter to the views of college educators — that higher education is essential to individual economic advancement. The key findings:

  • A majority (57 percent) said a college degree “would result in more debt and little likelihood of landing a good-paying job.”
  • A large majority (83 percent) said a college degree was “no longer any guarantee of success in America.”

The results come from a poll on a range of political issues commissioned by House Majority PAC, a political action committee that is working to regain a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The group is seeking to identify which issues resonate with white working-class voters, which for the purposes of the study included those over the age of 24 without a college degree.

A summary of the findings by the pollster Brodnitz/Normington and published by Politico said in part, “In short, when these voters hear people tell them that the answer to their concerns is college, their reaction is to essentially say — don’t force your version of the American dream on me.”

The survey is being discussed at a time when many Democratic groups are continuing to debate which messages will allow the party to connect with voters who backed Donald Trump and many congressional Republicans in the last election.

A key part of the message of Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign and of many other Democrats was that their party would help people afford college. Clinton backed a plan to make public higher education free to most families through a state-federal partnership. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who challenged Clinton from the left during the Democratic primary, also pushed free public higher education. And he has been talking up the issue as a key to efforts to rebuild a Democratic majority.

While the college message did not resonate with the people surveyed, the message of job training did. The poll found that white working-class voters, including those who identify as Republicans, favor more of an emphasis on job training to help Americans compete in the global economy than they favor making it harder for foreign companies to sell goods in the U.S.

The pollsters’ summary says, “A message that says we need to understand that not everyone wants to go to college is also effective. This means we need to make sure that those who do not attend college get the skills and training they need to get jobs.”

The summary is almost sure to frustrate many people at community colleges, who note that their institutions are in fact colleges and provide job training every day — with many campuses focused on job training in settings that don’t look like stereotypical colleges and that in many cases offer certificates, not just degrees.

Study after study has found that a college credential is essential for economic advancement, and these studies include associate-degree programs that focus on job-related training.

Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a group that helped develop and push free public higher education plans, tweeted out a series of replies to the new polling data. And one of the issues he stressed was that people need to remember that “college” isn’t just one image or one type of institution.

He noted that 40 percent of American students are at community colleges, but that “in the American lexicon ‘college’ still invokes the leafy four-year campus.” And he added, “It only gets worse as some media complain about colleges as bastions of ‘political correctness,’ untrue/dumb as that may be.”

Huelsman said he understood some of the skepticism found in the poll. “For working-class whites, there’s justified cynicism that taking on any, much less $30K, debt should be the pathway to a stable job,” he wrote ($30,000 would be slightly more than the typical debt level of someone who takes out loans to finish a four-year degree).

But Huelsman said that the solution to these challenges cannot be for Democrats to stop campaigning for free public higher education. “We need a better way to talk about this,” he said, and it needs to focus on the working class, including training, and not be “a middle-class giveaway.” He added, “I’m simultaneously scared that we’ll overcorrect and say postsecondary isn’t important (spoiler: it’s really important!)”

Further, Huelsman objected to too much focus on the white working class, noting the many nonwhite members of the working class.

He pointed to another new poll, this one by Demos, that may confirm the House Majority PAC’s findings about relatively modest white working-class interest in college tuition as a big issue, but that found much more interest among black working-class voters.

Among white working-class voters who voted for Barack Obama and then voted for Trump, only 21 percent saw debt-free public college as a major issue. That was behind six other possible issues, with building up infrastructure in ways that would create jobs attracting the most support, from 43 percent of these voters.

Among black working-class voters, however, 39 percent identified debt-free public college as a top issue, and that was the second rated of the seven possibilities. (Raising the minimum wage won top billing.)

As one of Huelsman’s tweets said, “The white working class [does not equal] the working class.”

Treasury Department Ending Ineffective Obama Retirement Program

The Feds have been running a “retirement” program” that LOSES $70 million a year.  Thanks to Trump, it is being closed down.  This was another effort by Obama to harm the middle class, by taking its money and running a pensions system that failed.  Seriously, when did Obama have a successful program or policy—unless you understand that failure was the goal?

“”The myRA program was created to help low to middle income earners start saving for retirement,” said Jovita Carranza, U.S. Treasurer. “Unfortunately, there has been very little demand for the program, and the cost to taxpayers cannot be justified by the assets in the program.”

A review of the program by the Trump administration found that 20,000 accounts have a median balance of only $500. An additional 10,000 accounts had no money in them at all.

Program costs doubled that of Americans’ contributions into myRA. The program has cost taxpayers $70 million since 2014, and participants have contributed $34 million to their accounts. Going forward, the program would cost an additional $10 million in taxpayer funding each year.

Obama is making Millard Fillmore and Jimmie Carter look like great Presidents.

price cost expensive money

Treasury Department Ending Ineffective Obama Retirement Program

myRA cost taxpayers $70 million for program used by few Americans

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon.  7/28/17
The Treasury Department is ending an ineffective Obama program that promised to help millions of Americans save for retirement, the government announced Friday.

Treasury announced the myRA program would be phased out, after costing taxpayers $70 million though few Americans used the program.

Former president Barack Obama used his 2014 State of the Union address to launch the myRA program, with a promise to “help millions” to save for retirement. Two years later, only 20,000 had signed up.

“The myRA program was created to help low to middle income earners start saving for retirement,” said Jovita Carranza, U.S. Treasurer. “Unfortunately, there has been very little demand for the program, and the cost to taxpayers cannot be justified by the assets in the program.”

A review of the program by the Trump administration found that 20,000 accounts have a median balance of only $500. An additional 10,000 accounts had no money in them at all.

Program costs doubled that of Americans’ contributions into myRA. The program has cost taxpayers $70 million since 2014, and participants have contributed $34 million to their accounts. Going forward, the program would cost an additional $10 million in taxpayer funding each year.

Carranza said there are “ample private sector solutions” for Americans to utilize, rather than the cost ineffective myRA program. “We will be phasing out the myRA program over the coming months,” she said. “We will be communicating frequently with participants to help facilitate a smooth transition to other investment opportunities.”

The department said that participants in the program will be notified and can transfer their savings into another individual retirement account.

“We are committed to promoting retirement savings, and, as Treasurer, I plan to devote a substantial amount of my time to ensuring more Americans have the tools and knowhow to save for retirement,” Carranza said.

 

Unelected Agency Tells Elected Officials NOT to Talk With Taxpayers

California has gotten closer to becoming a totalitarian State.  The State Constitution has the Board of Equalization as the agency for tax appeals and tax issues.  The members are elected to this office.  Now the Democrats in the Legislature and the Progressive confused Guv Brown, passed legislation to create an unelected body to be the exclusive agency to take and decide tax issues for businesses and individuals.  No longer is the Board needed.  In fact, maybe the Legislature will create a “policy” body and they will no longer be needed.

At last week’s Board of Equalization meeting in Irvine, a representative of the new tax agency asked board members not to vote on tax appeals. He based his request on a dubious legal interpretation of a new law, AB 102, which stripped BOE of much of its power.

Runner and his fellow board members believe the new law limits board member communications with taxpayers as of July 1 of this year when the law took effect.”

Sacramento is looking like Venezuela—not like a Free State—but you already knew that.  Maybe Trump will issues sanctions against California—a State that refuses to protect its citizens, violates Federal laws—why not violate the rights of tax payers?

Taxes

Runner Blasts New Tax Agency for Shameful Actions

Board of Equalization Member George Runner,  7/31/17

SACRAMENTO – George Runner today vented his frustration with Governor Jerry Brown’s administration and its newly-created Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

“California’s new tax agency is creating needless hurdles for taxpayers seeking justice,” said Runner. “Whether caused by clumsiness or conspiracy, these actions are shameful and unacceptable.”

At last week’s Board of Equalization meeting in Irvine, a representative of the new tax agency asked board members not to vote on tax appeals. He based his request on a dubious legal interpretation of a new law, AB 102, which stripped BOE of much of its power.

Runner and his fellow board members believe the new law limits board member communications with taxpayers as of July 1 of this year when the law took effect.

However, an administration lawyer opined last week that the new law should be broadly interpreted, forcing board members to disclose communications prior to when it took effect.

The resulting confusion delayed the board from hearing tax appeals for hours.

“The administration seems to be doing everything it can to create hurdles,” said Runner. “I hope it’s not a preview of what’s to come for taxpayers.”

“Despite the confusion, the board fulfilled its duty to vote on tax appeals,” continued Runner. “If the board hadn’t done so, taxpayers who had waited months or years for justice would have been forced to wait even longer.”

Ironically, the new law in question is titled The Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017. Supporters claimed it would speed up tax appeals and promised a seamless transition, but to date the law has only created problems and headaches for taxpayers.

The two-day board meeting concluded Friday. The next meeting is scheduled for August 29 to 31 in Sacramento.

 

Confused Guv Brown’s Email Problem Could Sully His Legacy

When a government official hides documents, emails or text messages, it is not because of privacy—it is usually because of corruption.  Think Hillary Clinton, think the DNC emails which proved the Democrat primary in 2016 was corrupted by the DNC.  Now we have the confused Guv Brown hiding his emails and text messages—and the mainstream media says nothing about it.

“But an email controversy that’s dogged him for almost two years remains and it may sully the grand record of accomplishment Brown wants to take with him into retirement.

More than a year after the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that text messages and emails sent by public officials on their personal devices are public records if they deal with public business, Brown has still not moved to end his problem.

No one but him and the recipients knows whether that’s because there’s something untoward in 63 of his or his office’s communications with the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) at the time of the 2013 agreement that saddled consumers with 70 percent of the costs for shutting down the ruined San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, about $3.3 billion.”

Two years and this is not on the front page of the Times, Union-Tribune, Chronicle or Bee of any variety.  The media is protecting the corruption of the Brown Administration.  Shame on them—and shame on us for allowing this.

Jerry Brown state of the state

Brown’s Email Problem Could Sully His Legacy

By Tom Elias, Santa Monica Mirror,  7/29/17   

As Gov. Jerry Brown travels the nation and world posing grandly as the Anti-Trump and the ultimate champion of the battle against climate change, he’s plainly very conscious of the legacy he will leave behind when he’s termed out for good after next year.

But an email controversy that’s dogged him for almost two years remains and it may sully the grand record of accomplishment Brown wants to take with him into retirement.

More than a year after the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that text messages and emails sent by public officials on their personal devices are public records if they deal with public business, Brown has still not moved to end his problem.

No one but him and the recipients knows whether that’s because there’s something untoward in 63 of his or his office’s communications with the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) at the time of the 2013 agreement that saddled consumers with 70 percent of the costs for shutting down the ruined San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, about $3.3 billion.

When she was state attorney general, current U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris announced investigations both into that agreement and into whether Brown would have to turn over his emails. Harris is long gone from her former office, Brown having heartily endorsed her Senate bid. Her successor, Xavier Becerra, draws headlines for opposing President Trump at every turn, but refuses to say anything about those two investigations, which he has apparently allowed to fizzle.

The inaction of both Harris and Becerra raises the question of conflict of interest for them. Said Becerra’s press office in an email, “We are the governor’s lawyer… (in this matter).” So the question of whether Brown should be forced to release his emails is being decided by his own lawyer, which may be why the announced investigation has stalled.

But consumer advocates led by former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre persist in their efforts to learn whether there’s a smoking gun in those emails. It’s already well documented that executives of San Onofre operator Southern California Edison Co. met with former PUC President Michael Peevey (himself a former Edison president) and hashed out the agreement the PUC eventually passed.

Now Aguirre has been boosted by a friend of the court brief from the city of San Bruno, site of the 2010 explosion of a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight persons and destroyed dozens of homes. Well aware that documents show a close relationship between PG&E and officials of the PUC including Peevey, San Bruno officials wonder why no one at PG&E was punished even though the company was convicted of criminal negligence in the pipeline blast.

So the city cites the PUC’s long history of trying to “stonewall the production of documents.” It clearly hopes that if an appeals court orders production of the Brown emails, it will also lead to opening of yet more secret communications about PG&E and the San Bruno detonation.

Meanwhile, current PUC President and former Brown advisor Michael Picker ignored a request to answer questions about both cases. Aguirre’s brief in his appeal for release of the Brown emails cites conflicting Picker testimony about how he decided to vote for the San Onofre settlement.

“I base my decisions on the evidentiary record of the proceeding,” Picker told a state Assembly committee in 2014. Yet, the PUC later said in refusing to divulge the emails that they reflect “discussions between…Picker and his advisors, the disclosure of which would reveal (his) thought process regarding the…matter.” Picker, of course, did not tell the Assembly committee about those discussions, which may have included communications with Brown.

In short, Picker changed his story, and the Brown emails may show why.

Says Maria Severson, Aguirre’s law partner, “The PUC claims the public interest in withholding the records outweighs the public interest in disclosure,” an argument often made by government officials during cover-ups.

But Brown must realize that the emails will eventually emerge, even if it’s years after he leaves office. So if there’s no evidence of wrongdoing in them, why not quit stonewalling and just open them up right now?

Will California’s Housing Shortage Epidemic Infect the Rest of the West?

My neighbor of almost 30 years moved to Colorado in June.  Some folks that attended the same church as my wife, are moving to Idaho.  The trend is clear—those that can leave the State do so.  But what are the effects on the States where the former Californians move?  In Texas one of the biggest bumper stickers that is sold says, “Don’t Californiacate Texas”.  In many ways Californian policy is raising the cost of housing in other States.

“Today, every significant city in the Western United States is experiencing a minor league version of the California housing crisis. Shortages are especially severe in Seattle, Portland, and Eugene, Oregon, and cities across the Mountain West are seeing big run-ups in home prices and rents; even in Boise, prices are increasing at a nearly 10 percent annual clip.

California’s housing crises and those of its neighbors share some of the same causes: lack of water sources to support development, shortages of skilled construction workers, and the rising price of increasingly scarce land near job centers. But our Western neighbors face an additional challenge: the influx of Californians unable to find housing in their own state.”

California is a disaster area—not just for the 38 million people living here—but for the entire West Coast and part of the Rocky Mountain States.  Our progressive/Socialists in Sacramento are not only killing off California—it is killing the whole of the West Coast.  Glad to see Joe Mathews write about this.

urban-housing-sprawl-366c0

Will California’s Housing Shortage Epidemic Infect the Rest of the West?

A Visit to Utah Shows How the Crisis Has Spread, and Suggests Some Cures

By Joe Mathews, Zocalo Public Square, 7/31/17

Sorry, Utah.

And apologies to the rest of the West. California’s epidemic shortage of housing hasn’t just sickened our own state—by driving up prices, forcing residents into rentals and onto the street, and putting a $140 billion annual drag on the Golden State’s economy. The disease is spreading to our neighbors, too.

Today, every significant city in the Western United States is experiencing a minor league version of the California housing crisis. Shortages are especially severe in Seattle, Portland, and Eugene, Oregon, and cities across the Mountain West are seeing big run-ups in home prices and rents; even in Boise, prices are increasing at a nearly 10 percent annual clip.

California’s housing crises and those of its neighbors share some of the same causes: lack of water sources to support development, shortages of skilled construction workers, and the rising price of increasingly scarce land near job centers. But our Western neighbors face an additional challenge: the influx of Californians unable to find housing in their own state.

I witnessed the spread of the California housing epidemic firsthand during a recent trip to Utah. There, the housing shortage, while less severe than in California, is considered historic. The Wasatch Front, which includes Salt Lake City and 80 percent of the state’s population, has seen record increases in single-family home prices and rents that far exceed the fast-growing region’s rising wages. The median home price in Utah is more than $264,000 (nearly $300,000 in the Salt Lake City area), which seems cheap by California standards but is more than 25 percent higher than the national average of $209,000.

For the first time since the 1970s, Utah, growing via births and incoming jobseekers, is adding more households than housing units. As a result, rates of homeownership are falling, homelessness is on the rise, and the Salt Lake City council has declared an affordable housing emergency. There are few homes for sale, even for those who can afford them; in the past five years, housing inventory has dropped 69 percent. The president of Salt Lake’s Board of Realtors has called this “the strongest seller’s market ever.”

Facing these challenges, Utah has a consolation: its housing shortage is not at the scale of California’s yet. But that is cold comfort. Leading Utahans are examining the California situation as an example of how to avoid a deeper crisis.

“California’s housing market can shed some light on our own,” said a recent housing assessment by Envision Utah, a non-profit planning and civic engagement organization. “Faced with rapid growth, many California communities, and even the state, imposed ever-more-stringent regulations designed to curb development, believing that if they slowed development it would put the brakes on growth.”

The trouble, said Envision Utah, was that, “California’s constraints didn’t slow growth, so demand for housing stayed high. Instead, those regulations simply diminished the supply, and we know what happens next.”

While Utahans know California’s problems, we Californians haven’t returned the favor. So late this spring, I went to Utah to see what lessons the Beehive State could offer Californians about housing. California has 13 times as many people as Utah, but the comparison is not completely outlandish. The states have two of America’s most diversified economies, and despite vast open lands, we’re among the most urbanized states in the country. Both states skew young (Utah is the youngest in the nation), our median household incomes are well above the national average, and we have similarly well-educated populations.

Most intriguingly, Utah and California are distinguished by their lack of housing. California is ranked 49th in the country in the number of housing units per person. Utah is 50th. But Utah, for its housing struggles, hasn’t had a shortage as deep or long-lasting as ours, or prices that exceed the national average by two-and-a-half times. Why?

One part of the answer might sound obvious: Utah doesn’t need as many housing units because it has the country’s largest families and households, a product of the prevalence of the Church of Latter Day Saints. That suggests one solution to the housing crisis—California could embrace Mormonism as its state religion—that I considered omitting from this column because it’s wildly impractical. But it’s no more farfetched than the 50-plus bills in our state legislature that offer minor or counter-productive changes to California’s housing markets.

California is ranked 49th in the country in the number of housing units per person. Utah is 50th. But Utah, for its housing struggles, hasn’t had a shortage as deep or long-lasting as ours, or prices that exceed the national average by two-and-a-half times.

Putting religion aside, the most serious difference between Utah and California housing involves local government. Utah is a place where state government defers to local government, and local communities retain control over their destiny. California is not.

It’s hard to exaggerate how little control California communities have over their fate. For 40 years, California government has been the site of a war between a state government that has centralized power at the expense of locals, with the help of voters. While housing is financed with money from all over the world, it is approved and built locally, so when we limit the power of local governments, one power we limit is the power to approve housing.

Today, California local communities are badly constrained from both the left and the right. Liberals enact and defend state environmental regulations that make it slow and costly to build housing. Conservatives enforce state limits on local taxes, especially Proposition 13, that create incentives that discourage the building of housing.

This state of affairs fuels NIMBYism. With their local representatives having relatively little power, local communities cling to the power they do have: saying no to change in their communities. California’s direct democracy allows communities to use local ballot initiatives to limit growth restrictions, no matter the statewide need for more housing.

Utah, a strait-laced place, has almost none of California’s local whips and chains—there are few local anti-growth restrictions, no state environmental law like California’s project-blocking CEQA, no Prop 13, and little NIMBYism. It takes years, even decades, for brave developers to navigate California’s anti-housing regime and build something. In Utah, housing comes together in a matter of months.

“We don’t have the problem you have with widespread anti-growth sentiment,” says Utah economist Robert Spendlove, a member of the state legislature.

That culture makes Utah likely to resolve its housing problems before they do more damage to its people and economy. There’s momentum to lift limits on housing density and streamline permitting processes to make them even quicker. Utah developers and builders are already adapting to the shortage by increasing production of more moderately priced homes and apartments.

In California, the response is very different. Gov. Jerry Brown and leading legislators want to impose even more rules on local governments, with the goal of forcing the construction of more housing. That might sound good in theory, but local governments are already weary of state mandates. Might new housing ones only worsen the state-local war and encourage more defiance and more NIMBYism?

Of course, it would be incredibly difficult to end California’s state-local war, restore more power to local government, and eliminate tax and regulatory limits that discourage housing. But how easy is it to live under a miserable housing shortage that ends up exporting our people—and our housing challenges—to states like Utah?

Failing to address our housing crisis is bad for California. And it isn’t very neighborly.

ObamaCare Fines Nailed The Working Class In 2017 And Other Unpopular Truths

The goal of the Obama Administration was to make the rich, richer.  The goal was to make the poor, poor, and to add the middle class to the ranks of the poor.  His regulations killed jobs, he was a climate denier causing more job losses and making the cost of productive go up.  He changed education institutions into indoctrination factories—and decided that Americans needed to pay massive prices for mediocre health care.

“While ObamaCare has been a big help to the near-poor and those with major medical needs, it gives a bad deal to nearly everyone else. Even among working-class households earning 150% to 250% of the poverty level, supposedly among the law’s biggest beneficiaries, just 1 in 3 people who lack insurance from other sources are getting silver coverage that will protect them from financial disaster. Most of the other two-thirds are uninsured, either because they or a spouse work full time and don’t qualify for exchange subsidies, or else they’ve spurned subsidized bronze plans that carry $6,000-$7,000 deductibles — despite the threat of an individual-mandate penalty.

Literally, people can not afford health care—after paying the high premiums they have no money left to pay the deductibles, to get to the health care.  They have cards, not coverage.  This was the Obama goal, kill off every segment of American life and transform it to a totalitarian State.  For, that he almost met his goal.

Shelton-Obamacare-Nov.-22-2013-300x228

ObamaCare Fines Nailed The Working Class In 2017 And Other Unpopular Truths

JED GRAHAM,,  7/29/17,  Investors Business Daily

data from the 2017 tax season are in, and they’re shocking. Not only does it look like the working class bore the brunt of ObamaCare individual mandate penalties this year, but people with relatively modest incomes apparently paid a lot more than the Congressional Budget Office anticipated.

The data underscore a reality that Democrats would prefer not to talk about: While ObamaCare has been a big help to the near-poor and those with major medical needs, it gives a bad deal to nearly everyone else. Even among working-class households earning 150% to 250% of the poverty level, supposedly among the law’s biggest beneficiaries, just 1 in 3 people who lack insurance from other sources are getting silver coverage that will protect them from financial disaster. Most of the other two-thirds are uninsured, either because they or a spouse work full time and don’t qualify for exchange subsidies, or else they’ve spurned subsidized bronze plans that carry $6,000-$7,000 deductibles — despite the threat of an individual-mandate penalty.

The much-despised individual mandate was the central target of Republicans’ chaotic, desperate effort this week to kill or wound the ACA in any way possible. Yet simply getting rid of the individual mandate, without addressing the ACA’s underlying problems, would be a destructive act that would only increase premiums, which is the opposite of what Republicans say they want.

Sabotage

While the GOP came up one vote short of repealing the individual mandate early Friday morning, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service thinks that the new data from the 2017 tax season suggest that President Trump’s effort to undermine the mandate might be working. The total number of forms with payments dropped 27% from a year ago. While other factors may have played a role, exchange enrollment was essentially flat, and the taxpayer advocate highlighted the drop in its discussion of Trump’s executive order that led the tax-collection agency to accept tax filings even when filers failed to attest whether or not they had health insurance coverage.

Some insurers filing their 2018 rate plans cited lax enforcement of the individual mandate as among their reasons for out-sized premium hikes. On Wednesday, Anthem (ANTM) said it would have to seek an increase in premiums of 20% — on top of the 20% hike already requested — if the government doesn’t commit to funding ACA cost-sharing subsidies that limit out-of-pocket spending for low-income enrollees.

The dispute over the individual mandate has been at the heart of the toxic, deleterious environment that has made it politically impossible to fix the ACA’s serious problems, and that dispute threatens to further destabilize insurance markets in the months ahead, despite the collapse of repeal efforts.

An Avoidable Fight

Yet here’s another unpopular truth that could help avert the misery which might be wrought by Trump’s stated plan to “let ObamaCare implode“: The individual insurance market can work much better than it does now without an individual mandate and without sacrificing the protections built into the ACA.

Few policy wonks on either side of the political spectrum have questioned the conventional wisdom that an individual mandate is essential to a functional individual market if rules prevent insurers from charging higher premiums to those with greater health needs. Those on the left warn of a possible death spiral if the mandate is killed, offering up the collapse of Washington state’s insurance market as a cautionary tale and the relative success of the RomneyCare mandate in Massachusetts as proof of concept.

While the ObamaCare mandate does help to some extent in countering adverse selection — young and healthy people opting out while the less healthy get covered — it is much weaker and more poorly targeted than the RomneyCare mandate. An alternative set of policies can provide far better results, and there is a little-known bipartisan plan called the Health Care Security and Freedom Act that shows precisely how to transform and improve upon the ACA, while increasing the ranks of the insured and without relying on the individual mandate.

$708 ObamaCare Fine

The 2017 tax data offer new evidence that there’s much to be gained by moving away from the individual mandate and much to lose by sticking with it. Tax returns that had been processed as of April 27 included 4 million that paid ObamaCare fines (officially known as individual shared responsibility payments), with an average payment of $708.

What is striking about the data is that the average payment is barely higher than the minimum payment of $695. Since people were required to pay the greater of $695 or 2.5% of taxable income above the filing threshold ($10,350 in 2017), one takeaway is that most of the $2.8 billion in fines paid through April appear to have come from people with modest to moderate incomes. As a frame of reference, CBO’s 2014 analysis implied that the average mandate payment for this tax season would be roughly $1,075 and that the total amount paid by people earning up to three times the poverty level would barely exceed $1 billion.

IBD’S TAKE: IBD’s Medical-Managed Care industry group has been a stock-market laggard over the past week as the debate over ObamaCare mandates has proceeded. Visit IBD Stock Checkup to see which leading ObamaCare insurer is rated No. 1 based on earnings, sales, margins and stock performance.

Precise conclusions can’t be made based on the available data, but two of the unknowns would have somewhat offsetting effects: Some tax forms included mandated payments for more than one individual (i.e. a spouse or child), meaning the minimum payment would be much higher than $695, while some people paying a fine may have had coverage for part of the year.

Based on mandate collections that streamed in after April in prior years, the full-year total is likely to rise to roughly 5 million tax forms with mandated payments totaling closer to $4 billion.

ObamaCare Vs. RomneyCare

It’s a fairly easy job to explain why policy mavens have placed far too much faith in the ObamaCare mandate. In fact, ObamaCare’s mandate is weakest for the group that policymakers most want to sign up: young and healthy adults with moderate incomes, somewhere around 250% of the poverty level. Young adults with much lower incomes are much easier to attract because their subsidies are so much more generous. Those with much higher incomes are more likely to get insurance because a hospital bill would drain their bank account, rather than push them into bankruptcy.

Take 30-year-olds earning $32,500 a year, about 275% of the poverty level. Their choice is paying a $695 penalty or paying about $2,150 for a bronze plan (nearly double what a 60-year-old at the same income level would pay for the same plan), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation health subsidy calculator. Essentially, such young adults can tuck away nearly $1,500 a year by paying a fine — unless they ring up medical bills of more than $6,000.

In this case, bronze-plan premiums cost more than three times the mandate penalty. By comparison, RomneyCare plans cost only twice as much as the mandate penalty for young adults, greatly limiting the potential reward for going uncovered. On top of that, RomneyCare plans for this income group carried $0 deductibles, so people were much more likely to derive some benefit from the plans, further limiting the incentive for rolling the dice.

For many people with somewhat more modest incomes, ObamaCare’s mandate costs nearly as much as a bronze plan, so it does provide a powerful push to get coverage. Yet that coverage still isn’t cheap and it may not provide help paying medical bills until long after their finances are in distress. It’s worth remembering that President Obama never sold the individual mandate as a requirement to buy plans with deductibles of $6,000 or more.

In 2016, 12.7 million tax filers claimed one of numerous exemptions from the individual mandate that further limit its forcefulness. In addition, payment is limited to the size of one’s tax refund. Just over 3 out of 4 taxpayers last year still claimed a refund after paying a penalty, meaning nearly 1 in 4 didn’t. (It’s not clear the extent to which this limits the average payment.) Amid all of the doubts about the political staying power of the mandate, a further weakness is that people who make their mind up in December over whether to buy insurance for the coming year won’t actually have to pay a fine until 16 months later.

Powerful Incentive$

The logic of coming up with an alternative is compelling, given the structural problems with ObamaCare’s mandate, the further problem of lax enforcement and the destructive political battle that’s raging over it. The alternative offered by the Health Care Security and Freedom Act is based, in part, on a very simple and powerful idea: If you give people enough flexibility to buy a plan that works for their finances with some cash left over (to put in a Health Savings Account), then you don’t need a mandate to get people to sign up. When free cash is available, word will get around.

This approach isn’t just the key to ending the fight over the individual mandate, it also could unlock a beautiful compromise over the cost-sharing reductions that the White House has threatened to withhold.

The compromise would, in effect, turn the cost-sharing subsidies into working-class tax cuts, giving people the choice of applying them to very comprehensive coverage or using them to pay premiums, with leftover funds going into HSAs. While the concept may at first be concerning to ACA supporters who want everyone to have comprehensive coverage, the Health Care Security and Freedom Act is extremely carefully crafted to minimize such concerns.

The reality is that neither ObamaCare nor GOP plans are designed to deliver a robust nongroup market for insurance that serves everyone well, whether they are young or old, healthy or sick, working class or middle class. Yet the dynamism of our economy will be better served if entrepreneurs and idealists who are willing to step out on a limb don’t have to fear that their health insurance support will come crashing down. Demographic changes make it increasingly important for people to have the flexibility to step back from full-time work to help care for an aging parent or a sick child. Amid minimum-wage pressures and health care mandates, ultra-competitive markets and the advance of technology threaten to widen the cracks in our employer-centric insurance system that millions of workers, many with modest wages, are already falling into. And don’t forget that we’re entering the ninth year of an economic expansion. When the next recession hits, all of these pressures will multiply and millions more people will depend on insurance outside the employer system.

 

Metro’s bike sharing program expands to Port of LA adding 13 stations, 120 bikes

Money meant for transportation is going to the LA Ports for bikes.  Just think about it—all those large trucks and machinery while you are weaving your bike out of the way—you do not want to be crushed.  The bike friends truly love to waste money.  If I wanted a bike at the Port, I would take my bike—not have taxpayers finance my making it dangerous for large trucks to drive around the Port.

“Metro’s bike sharing system will expand to the Port of Los Angeles Monday, with 13 stations and 120 bicycles added to the agency’s growing network.

Metro already has 61 stations and around 700 bicycles in downtown L.A. and another 30 stations which were recently added to Pasadena.”

Driving in downtown L.A. is a disaster—total gridlock, lights not synchronized, buses and trucks clogging the streets—and bikes weaving in and out of traffic, making it a suicide mission for the bikers and a great opportunity for auto repair shops.

Los Angeles Port

Metro’s bike sharing program expands to Port of LA adding 13 stations, 120 bikes

Posted by Debbie L. Sklar, MyNewsLA, 7/31/17

Metro’s bike sharing system will expand to the Port of Los Angeles Monday, with 13 stations and 120 bicycles added to the agency’s growing network.

Metro already has 61 stations and around 700 bicycles in downtown L.A. and another 30 stations which were recently added to Pasadena.

Officials with Metro, the Port of Los Angeles and Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc. will officially launch the system with a celebration, news conference, ribbon cutting and bike ride at San Pedro’s Downtown Harbor beginning at 9 a.m.

L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino, Metro CEO Phillip Washington, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn and other officials are scheduled to take part in the event.

CalPERS Killing Off Local Chambers of Commerce—Cities Forced to Cut/end Support

There has always been a question as to why a city should help finance a Chamber of Commerce.  The answer is that the Chamber “promotes” tourism and business”—and must sign off on some legal documents.  So what.  Change the law giving the Chamber the responsibility of signing off on documents—and let the organization finance itself—instead of taking ,money from private citizens through mandatory taxes.

But the cuts should be because of policy, not because cities are forced to cut road repair, libraries, public safety and Chambers due to the double digit mandatory pension contributions to CalPERS.  Cut should be because of policy—not to stave off bankruptcy caused by a Sacramento agency.

“As a result, chamber officials are having to reevaluate funding across the board, with some cancelling events and others looking at possible sales tax increases.

On July 1, the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce was forced to take a 28-percent cut in contributions from the city, and is now left with $40,000 in the updated 2-year city contract. Initially, this was going to be a 45 percent reduction, but the city council decided against that when it was put to a vote.”

calpers

South Valley chambers face municipal belt-tightening
Written by Bridget Butler-Sullivan, Business Journal,  7/31/17

The chambers of commerce for the cities of Lemoore, Exeter, and Hanford are taking a hit in response to city budget cuts.

As a result, chamber officials are having to reevaluate funding across the board, with some cancelling events and others looking at possible sales tax increases.

On July 1, the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce was forced to take a 28-percent cut in contributions from the city, and is now left with $40,000 in the updated 2-year city contract. Initially, this was going to be a 45 percent reduction, but the city council decided against that when it was put to a vote.

Funding from the City of Lemoore makes up about 20 percent of the chamber’s budget, so any reduction results in some pain.

“We are working very hard to supplement the cut,” said Interim CEO Amy Ward. “Luckily, I have a really great team, and they’re very creative.”

To do this, the chamber has decided to postpone Oktoberfest, a new event that was set to launch this fall. “We’d like to pick [Oktoberfest] up in the future, but we really need to focus on existing events right now,” Ward said.

The chamber will not be increasing membership fees at this time. However, it is looking to increase membership. The chamber is also fervently seeking vendors for its upcoming Salute for AG event, according to Board Chairman William Perry.

Despite the fiscal issues the budget cut created, the relationship between the chamber and city is still positive. “We understand the city has to make financial changes. Times are difficult for a lot of people, and we don’t want to point fingers at anyone. At the end of the day, we want to focus on business and community,” Ward said.

The Exeter Chamber of Commerce had its contribution from the City of Exeter cut altogether as of July 1st. Last year, its contribution was reduced to only a quarter of what it was a year prior.

In anticipation of the budget cut, Exeter’s Chamber slightly increased membership fees. The chamber was also forced to reduce its staff from three to two.

According to Executive Director Sandy Blakenship, while that was helpful financially at the time, the chamber will now need to outsource in different ways.

“We’re looking at events and trying to think of ways to make them more profitable. We’re hoping for more membership and volunteer work as well,” Blankenship said.

Blakenship expects Exeter’s Fall Festival will generate a great deal of revenue for the chamber, as it is the biggest fundraiser of the year. She and other members are hoping for a few more vendors, and plan to highly advertise the event as a way to ensure high attendance.

According to Blakenship, the city is also exploring the idea of a sales-tax increase, but that will not be seriously considered until November 2018 during the general election. In the meantime, the chamber understands that there is not much the city can do.

“The city council would like to fund us, but it’s not feasible. When it comes down to it, this is simply dollars and cents. There is no animosity between the council and the chamber,” Blankenship said.

Hanford is also seeing a decrease in city funding. However, unlike what happened in Lemoore and Exeter, this decline was established in the summer of 2016. The contract reached then states that the city’s contribution will be reduced by $10,000 every fiscal year until it reaches $40,000. In total, this will take about five years to complete.

The city council arrived at this decision after speaking with neighboring towns whose cities contribute significantly less than Hanford. According to City Manager Darrel Pyle, $40,000 is much closer to the average city contribution of Valley towns. “I don’t think the odds are great that [the budget] will be changed. It will be reviewed, but the decision is likely to stick.”

Interim Chamber Board President Cathy Willis declined to comment on the matter.

The Hanford Chamber is facing other issues outside of budgetary means. According to The Hanford Sentinel newspaper, there are only four members on the board of directors as of now, eight away from the minimum threshold of 12 to 18.

Hanford’s Chamber is also in search of an executive director, as the former director, Mike Bertaina recently retired. Bertaina worked on a very minimal salary for the chamber, according to the Sentinel.

Despite the cuts, the chambers seemed determined to adapt and continue their missions.

“The goal is to continue on,” Ward said.

 

The Executive Orders That End Obamacare – Once and For All

Who needs Congress?  Obama never did.  He issued Executive orders, made regulations and changed rules via Executive Action.  President Trump can do the same.  He can issue a couple of Executive orders and end a court case.  Conservatives filed a lawsuit years ago saying that the subsidies are unconstitutional and the Obama Administration has been fighting that lawsuit. Why not have Attorney General Sessions admit to the Court the Plaintiffs are right and the government will not fight the suit—and will abide by the lawsuit—end the subsidies?  By doing that most of the insurance companies will end their involvement in ObamaCare—and it will collapse.

Then Trump needs to send a message to Congress—since they want to continue ObamaCare, they should live under the same laws they demand the public to live with.  He should ends the subsidies to the Congress and their staff.  Watch how quickly Congress acts to fix the problem.  They claim they will lose lots of staff due to the high cost of health care.  Good.

Then the members of Congress will feel the pain of businesses and families trying to obey Congressional health care demands on the public.   In the end, ObamaCare will collapse—taking down with it families and businesses and the health of this nation.  Congress needs to act before that happens.

Obamacare cartoon

The Executive Orders That End Obamacare – Once and For All

Wayne Allyn Root, Townhall, 7/30/17  |

Republican Senator John McCain just singlehandedly killed the repeal of Obamacare. Now it’s time for President Trump to act. It’s time for President Trump to expose McCain and the rest of Congress for the frauds and hypocrites they are. It’s time for two Executive Orders that have the power to change everything.

This is how President Trump makes “The House of Cards” collapse. This is how President Trump ends Obamacare once and for all.

Executive Order #1: President Trump should issue an immediate Executive Order forcing every member of Congress to use the same healthcare plan as the rest of us. Let Senator McCain come off his high horse and live under the rules of Obamacare. Make every member of Congress live by same rules as the rest of us.

I wonder if John McCain would have voted against the Obamacare repeal, if he had to live under the rules of Obamacare? I wonder how quick and successful his brain cancer surgery would have been, if he had to use the Obamacare plan. Or the VA system.

Would he have waited 6 months in line, like rest of us? Maybe a year. Of course, he’d probably be dead by then. That’s how the VA solved their money shortage a few years back. They put vets on waiting lists until they died. Problem solved. Why not make Senators wait on those same waiting lists?

Or would McCain have had a gigantic deductible (just like the rest of us)? Would he have had a $30,000 bill after surgery that insurance would not cover (just like the rest of us)?

Would McCain have even been allowed to have a surgery, or would a “Death Panel” advise no surgery for a 80 year old with advanced brain cancer? Let’s find out.

President Trump should immediately use Executive Order to put every member of Congress in the exact same boat as rest of us. Let them pay for their own healthcare- just like the rest of us. Let’s see each member of Congress pay $2000 per month for health insurance that covers virtually nothing. That was what I was forced to pay after Obamacare passed. That’s what my insurance covered- nothing.

I don’t even have health insurance anymore. I was forced to switch to a Christian Health Sharing plan. Because $2000 per month was completely unaffordable. I’m betting Democrats would call me “rich.” And I could not pay the bill anymore, because of Obamacare. So, I left traditional insurance as of January 1st.

My predicament means no middle-class family in America that buys their own insurance can afford the bill. It’s no wonder an upscale couple jumped to their death in Manhattan on Friday. The 53-yr old husband was a chiropractor. They left behind two children. Their suicide note said they were in a financial death spiral. Thanks to Obamacare, so is every middle-class couple in America.

It’s time for Congress to feel our pain.

Executive Order #2. My gut instinct is usually on the money. I feel it in my bones. The Senators who voted against the repeal are corrupted, bribed, on the take. Senators and Congressmen are making an unimaginable fortune off of Obamacare. That’s why they are against the repeal. They don’t want to end the gravy train.

They want the system complex and expensive. They want government involved. They want taxpayer money wasted by the billions. That’s how they milk the system. They all own stocks of medical companies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies. I’m betting many actually own companies with government contracts that benefit from Obamacare. They put them in the names of their spouses, children, parents, siblings, childhood buddies. They own them in offshore accounts. The conflicts of interest are the size of Texas.

Obamacare is the best thing to ever happen to Senator Schumer, Senator McCain, Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, Nevada Senator Heller. They’re all bums. They’re all thieves. They are all getting rich at our expense.

Wanna bet?

President Trump should issue an immediate Executive Order demanding disclosure of all financial interests and ownership in healthcare related companies or stock by every member of Congress- including all family members and offshore accounts. Failure to disclose will result in a long prison term.

Then we’ll find out why they voted against repeal. They are all on the gravy train.

Issue these two Presidential Executive Orders and the “House of Cards” will collapse. The scam will be revealed.

We’ve been robbed.

P.S. Throw in a third plank. Term Limits. Limit each member of Congress to two terms. One term in office and one term in prison.