Saturday, June 20, 2015

PENSION ROULETTE



A 2016 ballot initiative could save California from its unfunded public employee pensions. - Peter Hannaford/American Spectator 6/16/15

Many states, counties, and cities are in a budget vise caused by funds they are required to set aside to pay pensions for retired public employees. California may be in the worst shape.

Ever since Jerry Brown—in his first incarnation as Governor (1975-79) —approved collective bargaining by public employee unions they have used the union dues the state deducts from public employee paychecks to fund legislators’ election campaigns.

Over the last 40 years the legislature has been dominated by Democrats in all but a few years. It is not much of a stretch to say it is more-or-less owned by the public employee unions, on the one hand, and the environmental lobby, on the other.

In most cases, public employee pensions are “defined benefit” plans. That is, once the benefit is calculated, the government entity promises to pay that amount monthly for the life of the retired employee. With these plans it is government administrators who decide where to invest the money. The retiree receives the promised pension amount whether the state’s finances are in the black or the red or whether the invested pension funds make money or lose it.


The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) handles pension investments for state employees and most of the state’s municipalities. To illustrate how efficient the “defined benefit” system is, and how profitable its investment strategy, California’s unfunded pension liabilities now exceed $1 trillion.

Now and then the state does have a budget surplus. Recently, the state finance office reported that this year’s tax collections are running ahead of projections. The Democratic legislators immediately began talking about all the good works on which they would like to spend this money. At present in Sacramento there are a dozen proposals to increase both taxes and spending. Never mind the unfunded pension liabilities.

Now come two men, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, who are convinced there is a better way. Chuck Reed, former mayor of San Jose, the state’s fourth largest city, led the overhaul of that city’s own pension system. He has teamed up with Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Councilman, who was active in a city pension reform movement there.

They are leading a group that will circulate petitions for a 2016 ballot initiative that would give governments the right to replace the current system with a “defined contribution” program. Most businesses and industries moved to this system in recent years. It would be similar to 401(k) plans in which the employee sets his/her payroll deduction amount. The public body, like a private employer, may increase this by making a lump sum contribution, say, annually. Once established, the public contribution could be increased only by popular vote.

As in private pension programs, the employee would own his/her fund and would have investment choices to be made, within a determined range. The new system would go into effect beginning in 2019 with new hires. Current retirees and workers already under the old plan would not be affected.

Opposition to this reform will come from CalPERS, which sees its power threatened. It is easily the largest public pension program in the nation. For the same reason, the chiefs of public employee unions will fight it because under the present system their workforce continues to grow, which means more dues in their treasuries with which to buy support in the state legislature.

Inescapable, however, is the fact that growing pension liabilities are strangling many cities, which are forced to cut services in order to meet payments to retirees. It is estimated that, as a group, they will pay $5.1 billion in pension contributions in this fiscal year.

The current system plays roulette with the taxpayers’ money. This initiative could be the way for them to leave the gaming table.
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Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. He is a member of the board of the Committee on the Present Danger. His latest book is ◼ “Presidential Retreats.”

The prog media is calling this SOB a "right winger"













Rand Paul's flat tax plan boosts GDP 10% over the first 10 years

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Denmark's center-right opposition wins election after gains by anti-immigration party









Dems joining Republicans to repeal Obamacare

House grants Obama fast-track powers in re-do of last week's failed vote









Obamacare's track record just got worse



In late 2013, when healthcare.gov was a useless, glitchy mess for members of the public, government officials had another, less-noticed problem on their hands.

Everyone knew — many from experience and many from the news coverage — that the website the government had built to connect Americans with subsidized insurance policies did not work very well on the front end for months after its launch. The dirty secret, though, was that the back-end of the site had not even been built — the part that was supposed to make sure subsidies were set properly and insurers received payments on behalf of each customer.

...Only now it is becoming clear how inadequate the agency's preparations had been. On Monday, with little fanfare, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services released a damning report on waste in this part of the Obamacare program. The watchdog office found that between January-April 2014, $2.8 billion went out the door without anyone checking amounts, whether the money was going to the right insurer to pay for the correct person or whether the beneficiary was eligible.

As bad as that sounds, it's actually much worse when you consider how large a share that represents of the program's overall spending during the same period.

She has known Mr. Lauren for a while: She presented him with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal last June for his $13 million donation to help restore the Betsy Ross flag



An average Ralph Lauren Women’s Collection pantsuit, which this was — not, in other words, a style from the more accessible line, Lauren Ralph Lauren — is a few thousand dollars (a pinstriped wool jacket alone, for example, is $2,450 at the online store). That is out of reach for most voters.

Officials: CIA did not know in advance that al-Qaeda leader was target of deadly strike



The officials said that Nasir ­al-Wuhayshi, who also served as ­al-Qaeda’s overall second-in-command, was killed in a “signature strike,” in which the CIA is permitted to fire based on patterns of suspected militant activity even if the agency does not know the identities of those who could be killed.

The disclosure indicates that the CIA continues to employ a controversial targeting method that the administration had previously signaled it intended to phase out, particularly in Yemen, which U.S. officials have said is subjected to more stringent rules on the use of lethal force than in Pakistan.

9 Killed In Church Shooting. Suspect arrested.
ANOTHER KILLER ON PSYCH DRUGS?















DRUDGE:
MAYOR: 'Most unspeakable and hearbreaking tragedy'...
Police confirm bomb threat at scene...
Extremely dangerous shooter sought... MORE...
WHITE MAN KILLS 9 AT BLACK CHURCH...
GUNMAN CAPTURED...
Assassin Sat In Prayer Meeting For Hour Before Opening Fire...
'WHERE ARE YOU SAFE?'
Killer spares one: 'Tell world what happened'...
'You Rape Our Women And You're Taking Over Our Country, You Have To Go'...
5-Year-Old Plays Dead -- And Survives...
Black activists fear riots...
President Never Considered Canceling Hollywood Fundraisers...



SHOOTER IDENTIFIED: DYLANN STORM ROOF...
21, had arrest record...



Gun was birthday present...



"Now will voters get it?"



Every month another story emerges from California that makes out-of-staters think, “Now will those Democrat voters get it?” Then the state sends another batch of leftists to Sacramento to pass more job-killing, life-denying restrictions on their everyday activities. But the current crisis isn’t merely bad economic theory or social justice activism; a state filled with rivers, lakes and bordering an ocean is running out of water.

I ask again: Now will they get it?

Emailgate Disqualifies Hillary Clinton For U.S. President



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

No Cybersecurity: Gov’t Outsourced OPM Database Management to IT Workers With TOTAL ACCESS…
in CHINA

Attackers had valid user credentials and run of network, bypassing security.


































_______________

OPM provides human resources, leadership, and support to Federal agencies and helps the Federal workforce achieve their aspirations as they serve the American people. " We're responsible for keeping the government running smoothly — a responsibility that has daily consequences for every citizen.

OPM oversees all policy created to support Federal human resources departments — from classification and qualifications systems to hiring authorities and from performance management to pay, leave, and benefits. Along with making those policies, we are responsible for ensuring they are properly implemented and continue to be correctly carried out.

“I cannot stand by and watch the gross incompetence.”

We’ve already seen it all over the federal government – the VA, ATF, Health and Human Services, U.S. Secret Service, the NSA, the IRS, the U.S. Postal Service, NOAA, DHS, and now the Office of Personnel Management . . .



...The agency that allowed hackers linked to China to steal private information about nearly every federal employee — and detailed personal histories of millions with security clearances — failed for years to take basic steps to secure its computer networks, officials acknowledged to Congress on Tuesday. Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spoke in unison to describe their outrage over what they called gross negligence by the Office of Personnel Management....

CA says #Uber drivers are employees, not contractors.





Clinton Foundation head Donna Shalala privately expressed concerns about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s mental state in the mid-1990s



Was Prop 30 really "temporary?"

When Proposition 30 passed in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown told voters that the increased sales taxes and income taxes would be temporary.

"Congressional inquiries are deserving of respect and a certain level of tact, which was glaringly absent in the agency’s initial response."

Most Americans don’t know anything about this summer’s Obamacare Supreme Court case



The court will decide whether it is illegal for the government to provide subsidies in the 34 states that have not set up their own exchanges are are using HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance marketplace, instead.

“Right now, the public is not really aware of this, and they’re not thinking this has much to do with their lives,” Mollyann Brodie, who heads Kaiser’s polling operation, told the Washington Post. She said these numbers have not shifted much over time either, not gaining traction as the court’s decision grew closer.

But when poll respondents are given information by Kaiser about what will happen if the court rules against the Obama administration, Brodie said, “their gut instinct is that it doesn’t make sense that residents in some states would get something different from residents in other states.”

California moves to ban grass for new homes.



Tom Del Beccaro:
State moves to ban grass for new homes. No solutions. No effort to increase our water supplies. Just fining and banning. Meanwhile our population is thought to face an increase of one third.

We cannot keep these people in charge,



The community of Mountain House is days away from having no water at all after the state cut off its only water source.
Anthony Gordon saves drinking water just in case, even though he never thought it would come to this....

A number of water districts plan to sue the state on the grounds the State Water Resources Control Board has no legal authority to cut off some of California’s oldest and most protected water rights.

The decision has Mountain House in uncharted territory, and the clock is ticking before the water runs out. Pattison is confident he’ll be able to buy some water to avoid catastrophe, but says that’s a short-term fix. He’s planning to diversify the water supply for long-term stability.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Scott Walker leads GOP field in new national poll

Study of one million teens shows legalizing pot does not lead to increased use

Horrific new video shows ISIS chopping limbs off prisoner tied to cross

Cruz Twitter Rally smashes through to 1.1 billion impressions











Sen. Ted Cruz and his supporters are taking over the world of social media, the latest example being a "Twitter Rally" for the GOP presidential candidate that sent tweets to 1.1 billion followers.

Campaign spokesman Rick Tyler told Secrets, "Sen. Cruz and the entire Cruz for president campaign team couldn't be more excited about the success of the Twitter event. You simply can't create this kind of activity without a genuine and dedicated grassroots following who like the senator want to make D.C. listen."

The campaign has been artful in using social media, even turning to the new video service Periscope to broadcast Cruz speeches.

Top Democrat: Obama has 'abandoned' effort to get Dems on trade deal...



Carly Fiorina Rocks The View



Donald Trump Is In: "This is an election that will be based on competence. People are tired of being ripped off."





















Obamacare set to affect more small businesses in 2016



Jeb's biggest problem is 'Jeb,' not 'Bush'







When Dems claim to know how to make your "business thrive," walk away.



Obama’s administration intentionally helped give rise to ISIS. It even trained them.



Thanks to newly-declassified documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State released to government watchdog Judicial Watch, here’s what we know, quite simply:

1.) The Obama administration indeed knew almost immediately who committed the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi — it was associates of al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood....

2.) The administration knew weapons were being shipped from Benghazi to rebel troops — including ISIS — in Syria.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also provide the first official documentation that the Obama administration was well aware that weapons were being shipped from Benghazi to rebel troops — including members from ISIS, the Al-Nusra Front and other Islamist terror groups — in Syria.

3.) And — wait for it — Obama’s administration intentionally helped give rise to ISIS. It even trained them.

...While suspicions of the above have been rampant for some time, they were merely that — suspicions — until now. But is anyone paying attention now? Obama and his wannabe successor, Hillary Clinton, hope not. Luckily for them, these suspicions have been rebuked — Americans lied to — for so long, that many have moved on to shinier new objects.

Sidney Blumenthal has given the House Select Committee on Benghazi “nearly 60 new emails regarding Libya and Benghazi

45 times Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes







Monday, June 15, 2015

White House threatens veto of ObamaCare medical device tax repeal



Ben Carson leads new national poll

A new national poll shows that no candidate has emerged as the front-runner among the Republican presidential candidates, but retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson holds a narrow lead at the head of the pack.

Clinton's campaign wants to control reporters - that's NOT okay

















Sabo: "Hillary Back Begging," "Obama Back Begging"



The conservative artist provocateur who calls himself Sabo and is known for his campaign poster-style send-ups of Democratic candidates and fundraisers decided to take his act on the road Monday afternoon.

With both President Barack Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton scheduled to attend multiple fundraising events in Los Angeles this week, Sabo rented a LED traffic warning-style billboard Monday afternoon and programmed it with electronic messages such as, “Expect Delays June 18-19," "Democrats Begging 4 Money." Other messages included (misspelled), "Blame Tobie [sic] Maguire," "Blame Chuck Lorre,” "Hillary Back Begging," among other jibes.

The artist and his crew towed the flashing sign up the 405 freeway, through Brentwood and over to the Pacific Palisades, where at least two fundraisers will be held later this week.

The high speed rail plan voters approved called for $10 billion in state bonds plus Federal and private funding. Most of the money has never materialized but officials are getting ready to build anyway.



Via Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: ...harsh talk about the state’s high-speed rail program has been greeted with ridicule by Gov. Jerry Brown, who dismisses critics as “declinists.” Rail authority board Chairman Dan Richard often depicts skeptics as people who don’t understand basic facts – even insiders like former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, who launched the push for a California bullet train.

On Tuesday, however, Richard was more cordial, observing that it was “human nature” for affected communities to worry and promising to work with local leaders to address their concerns.

This tone couldn’t be more welcome. But if Richard and the CHSRA are sincere about addressing local concerns, it’s time they also sincerely address big-picture concerns, which hinge on legally binding promises made to state voters in 2008 to win passage of Proposition 1A. The measure provided $9.95 billion in bond seed money for the project....

Jeb!































Today is #cabudget deadline day

Clapper Acknowledges Omissions on #Iran Threat



Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why the idea that economic and social pressure can keep Hezbollah in check is deeply flawed



U.S. administration officials are still defending the nuclear deal by assuring us that Iran will only use the $50 billion “signing bonus” they expect to receive on the country’s internal needs. No Iranian official has ever promised that, not even to the Iranian people who have been struggling with economic hardships. Yet the U.S. administration has presumed that Iran’s infrastructure is more significant to the regime than hegemony over Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.

...Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s big hopes are unlikely to pan out, for two big reasons. One, no one has forced or will force Iran—deal or no deal—to stop its military operations in the region, so why would they? They can spend the $50 billion both internally and on their regional militias and maintain some kind of “Resistance Economy” until sanctions are lifted and investments get going. Two, Syria is too significant for Iran to just let go, as Iranian officials have declared publicly many times. Without Syria, Iran will lose its link to Hezbollah and thereby its leverage over Lebanon and its borders with Israel. If this leverage is lost, Iran will be forced to let go of its ambitions to become a main regional player and to forget about exporting the Islamic Revolution, the hope on which the regime was founded.

The Strange Case of Rachel Dolezal



The Strange Case of Rachel Dolezal = Powerline
What to make of Rachel Dolezal, the “trans-racial” woman in Washington state who not only posed as a black person, but made a career out of it? The facts relating to Ms. Dolezal are summed up well by Ben Shapiro:

Rachel Dolezal is president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP. For years, she has passed herself off as black. Now her parents have told the press that she is their “birth daughter and we’re both of European descent…we’re puzzled and it’s very sad.” Her ethnic heritage: German, Swedish, Czech.
A new victimhood is founded: "Pigment Challenged." - Discussion at Lucianne










Ted Cruz Op-Eds:



It's #FlagDay! Fly your flags!

















Rand 44% Hillary 41%



Spain to its expelled Jews: 'We made a “tragic and historic” error. Come back.'

The giant Buddhas of Bamiyan are back



Sunday Funnies: