Obama Heckles Heckler, President’s Speech Transcribed, McCain And His Dem Friends, FBI Agents In Boston Arrests Die, Obamacare’s Skimpy Coverage: Afternoon News Links 5-23-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Obama To Gitmo Speech Heckler: ‘Part Of Free Speech Is…You Listening’

President Barack Obama had a hard time getting through parts of his foreign policy speech at the National Defense University Thursday, thanks to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of left-leaning, female anti-militarism group Code Pink. Read more…

Obama Speech Reveals Possible Foreign Policy Redirect—Transcript Provided

President Barack Obama delivered his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term Thursday, claiming that he will restrict the use of unmanned drones and making other statements that—if true—represent a dramatic shift in the Administration’s foreign policy approach. Read the full transcript…

McCain Sides With Dems On Budget Debate

Senator John McCain criticized fellow Republicans this week, saying that GOP objections to moving forward with a budget — even one that increases the debt ceiling — could encumber future Republican initiatives. Read more…

Two FBI Agents In Boston Bomber Arrest Die In Fall From Helicopter Training Exercise

The FBI released a statement this week confirming the deaths of two FBI agents who specialized in elite counterterror operations and were involved in the arrest of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Read more…

To Avoid Obamacare Costs, Employers Preparing ‘Skinny’ Insurance Plans

In order to avoid having to pay penalties under Obamacare’s mandatory-coverage rule, many employers are readying a new, lower tier of “skinny” healthcare policies that will cover preventive care, but won’t pay for hospital stays. Read more…

To Avoid Obamacare Costs, Employers Preparing ‘Skinny’ Insurance Plans

In order to avoid having to pay penalties under Obamacare’s mandatory-coverage rule, many employers are readying a new, lower tier of “skinny” healthcare policies that will cover preventive care, but won’t pay for hospital stays.

Under Obamacare, employers who don’t provide employees minimum coverage can face a $2,000 per-worker penalty. But the new cut-rate policies, which won’t cover surgery, prenatal care or diagnostic work such as X-rays, qualify employers as participants in mandatory minimum coverage.

The new tier of low-benefit plans will still subject employers to government penalties, but most are expected to be less than $100 per worker.

Two FBI Agents In Boston Bomber Arrest Die In Fall From Helicopter Training Exercise

The FBI released a statement this week confirming the deaths of two FBI agents who specialized in elite counterterror operations and were involved in the arrest of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The FBI announced the two men — Special Agent Christopher Lorek and Special Agent Stephen Shaw — were killed Monday when they were participating in an offshore training exercise in which officers disembark from a hovering helicopter and land on a seaborne vessel by means of a guide rope.

The only other details the FBI provided about the two agents’ deaths are that the helicopter had undisclosed difficulties and that the men fell a “significant distance.”

A law enforcement officer said weather may have played a role in the accident, which occurred about 12 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Obama To Gitmo Speech Heckler: ‘Part Of Free Speech Is…You Listening’

President Barack Obama had a hard time getting through parts of his foreign policy speech at the National Defense University Thursday, thanks to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of left-leaning, female anti-militarism group Code Pink.

Benjamin repeatedly interrupted the President’s remarks, pleading with him to expedite the closing of Guantanamo Bay, where Afghan and Iraqi prisoners have been indefinitely detained for 11 years.

“You are the commander in chief. You can close Guantanamo today,” Benjamin shouted early in the speech.

The President acknowledged Benjamin’s interjections at one point, but after additional cut-ins, he finally told her:

Now, ma’am, let me, let me, let me finish. Let me, let me finish, ma’am. Now, this is part of free speech, is, you being able to speak, but also – you listening. And me being able to speak. [Applause breaks out.] Eh? Thank you.

 

After further interruptions, security dragged Benjamin out of the room. But she got in one last remark for the President, admonishing Obama to “abide by the rule of law – you’re a Constitutional lawyer.”

Top-Down Targeting, Not IRS Rogues, Responsible For Scandal

An Investigative reporter in Cincinnati, the epicenter (so far as we know) of the Internal Revenue Service discrimination conspiracy against conservatives, has all but demolished President Barack Obama’s claim that the two-year hit job was the work of self-willed, autonomously acting “rogue” employees far down the chain of command.

Common sense would naturally tell anyone the same thing; and the known facts in this case do nothing but corroborate the suspicions of both liberals and conservatives convinced that the President was involved in the sandal, which obviously benefitted his re-election campaign, from the beginning.

Cincinnati’s FOX 19 investigative reporter Ben Swann checked into the administrative hierarchy within the IRS to determine where the supposedly “rogue,” low-level IRS grunts, whom the Obama Administration blames for targeting more than 300 Tea Party nonprofit groups, fit in.

Of the six IRS plebes (five IRS “agents” and one “supervisor”) Swann identified by name, none answers to the same manager. Instead, each answers to a separate manager, who in turn is managed by a “territory manager.”

But the process of applying for tax exemption — the very process the IRS used to green-light pro-Obama nonprofits while making sure the wheels fell off their conservative competitors — ultimately ends with one person. That person — Cindy Thomas, Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division — is the one manager all the low-level agents, as well as their managers and those managers’ managers, have in common.

Swann explains the process:

When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days, it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved.

Keep in mind, at least 300 groups were targeted out of Cincinnati alone. Those applications spent anywhere from 18 months to nearly three years in the system, and some still don’t have their nonprofit status. Three hundred groups multiplied by at least 18 months for each group means thousands of red flags would have been generated in the system.

Swann goes on to point to the events that have befallen the rest of the IRS chain of command since the scandal went public, noting that former Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and the Commissioner of Tax Exempt Entities, Joseph Grant, have both retired. Above them is Lois Lerner, head of Exempt Organizations, who took the stand Wednesday to tell Congress she’s pleading the Fifth on any questions about the fiasco. And the Director of the IRS’ Exempt Organizations division, Holly Paz, has been subpoenaed and will soon have the same opportunity.

None of the administrators in the preceding paragraph is based in Cincinnati; they are all based in Washington, D.C.

Writing in The Washington Post Wednesday, Ed Rogers related the story of how far up the chain of command the scandal went before being shielded from Obama’s delicate eyes:

My personal favorite of all the new revelations from the Obama IRS scandal is that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the impending IRS inspector general report, but of course the White House chief of staff did not tell the president.

I sat in a White House chief of staff’s office every day for more than two years. The only reason the legal counsel would tell the chief of staff about an impending report or disclosure would be so the chief of staff could tell the president… There are many valid reasons why the chief of staff would tell the president, but I can’t think of a reason why he and the legal counsel would both agree that this news nugget would go no further. It’s very odd.

It’s not just odd; it’s criminal. And everyone knows who the chief perpetrator is.

Obamacare Was Planted As Talking Point For Liberal Graduation Speakers

Earlier this week, we told you about the disproportionate ratio of liberals to conservatives on the annual college graduation commencement speech circuit. Many found a way to sneak in an admonishment for pet liberal issues of one kind or another.

But long before the liberal ambassadors dispersed to stand behind podiums at Harvard (Oprah Winfrey), Princeton (Ben Bernanke), Kenyon College (Michael Bloomberg), Duke (Melinda Gates), Penn (Joe Biden) and, of course, Ohio State (Barack Obama), the President called senior Administration officials together to game plan one especially dear liberal talking point in time for the spring graduation season: Obamacare.

Hand it to Bloomberg Businessweek for walking the talk: The news outlet reported the brainstorming session, including the bit about the campus propagandizing, as the launching point for a Obamacare sales-job strategy the President deployed shortly after winning election to a second term.

Knowing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was already unpopular, off schedule and poorly understood in its proposed implementation, Obama told his second-term cronies it was critical that the healthcare law succeed, because it would long be remembered as “one of his major legacies.”

To counter the criticism, the White House has told all Cabinet members and senior officials to use commencement speeches to drive home for graduating college students and their parents the benefits they gain from a provision of the law that allows young adults to stay on their family’s insurance plans until they turn 26.

Despite having already spent $8 million on selling Obamacare through the machinations of PR firm Weber Shandwick, the President indeed got plenty of dutiful help from the mortarboard orators — and he led from the front, pitching the supposed benefits of the regressive, market-corrupting plan at both Ohio State and, last week, at traditionally black Morehouse College.

More Liberals Slam Obama For Draconian Journalist Surveillance

More liberal talking heads are sassing their greatest benefactor: President Barack Obama. Here’s NBC’s Chuck Todd railing against Barack on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ show Wednesday – or scroll down to read Todd accuse the Obama Administration of treating journalism as a crime:

TODD: So they want to criminalize journalism. And that’s what it’s coming down, I mean, if you end up essentially criminalizing journalism or when it comes to reporting on the federal government, particularly on national security, and the only place they can; they think they technically can do that is on the issues of national security. What it’s going to do is, the impact that we’ve heard, we heard the AP counsel say this over the weekend. It is going to make whistleblowers, and people that might leak, regular sources. You know, I’ve had different conversations with people over the last week who are sitting there not quite comfortable having certain conversations on the phone. I mean, it just completely…and maybe that’s the intent. I can’t think of any other intent of why they’re going about this in such a broad, harassing sort of way.

Big Sis Deploys DHS ‘Officers’ To Watch Tea Party At Nationwide Protests Tuesday

As Tea Party supporters gathered outside IRS offices Tuesday in planned demonstrations against the agency’s discriminatory thwarting of their attempts at organizing nonprofit groups, armed officers with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stood watching.

They’re easy to spot at this St. Louis rally:

 

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sent out the goon squad to “monitor” Tea Party protests in Missouri, Florida, Indiana and Illinois.

As expected, all the protests went off peacefully nationwide, which is more than can be said for some other high-profile demonstrations that were spared any DHS presence.

Congress Isn’t Done Questioning IRS Exemptions Official Because ‘She Waived’ Right To Invoke 5th Amendment

The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sat down Lois Lerner, who’s in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations Unit, for questioning early Wednesday, despite forewarning from her attorney that she would invoke the 5th Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination by not answering any questions.

Later in the afternoon, committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he planned to haul her back before the same committee for more questioning. Why? Because Lerner gave a statement to the committee before pleading the 5th — a move Issa believes waived her right to refuse testimony.

“When I asked her her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement,” Issa told POLITICO. “She chose not to do so — so she waived.”

What did Lerner say in her opening remarks?

I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee.

Issa said Lerner shouldn’t have attempted to squeeze a declaration of innocence into her testimony if she intended to remain silent on any questions the committee had.

“The precedents are clear that this is not something you can turn on and turn off,” he said. “She made testimony after she was sworn in, asserted her innocence in a number of areas, even answered questions asserting that a document was true … So she gave partial testimony and then tried to revoke that.”

The IRS scandal became public after Lerner admitted on May 10 that the agency had discriminated against conservative nonprofits that had applied for tax-exempt status.

M.O. Fleeing Barack’s Mess, Bernanke Leaves The Faucet On, Brains Like Fewer Calories, FEMA Leans On ‘Waffle House Index’ To Triage Disaster, DOJ Went After Conservative Reporter’s Parents: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 5-7-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • First lady Michelle Obama is evidently tiring of the scandal swirling around her husband — so she appears to be planning to get out of the White House, and stay out, all summer long on an extended vacation at Martha’s Vineyard.

 

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is set to tell Congress today that the U.S. economy is too weak to handle a bump in interest rates or a slowdown in the money-printing, dollar-debasing scheme known as quantitative easing.

 

  • A study reveals that reducing calories prevents the loss of brain cells and cognitive decline through aging, and can help avoid degenerative mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

 

  • Craig Fugate, the corpulent director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, apparently likes the Waffle House well enough to take policy cues from the 24-hour restaurant chain. In triaging the scale of the disaster left in the wake of a tornado, he’s come up with something called the “Waffle House Index.”

 

  • The U.S. Justice Department is already stammering excuses for the illegal manner in which it gained access to the communications of conservative-leaning news reporters. But targeting their parents? That’s what allegedly happened to FOX News reporter James Rosen, whose parents’ phone records appear to be part of a broad DOJ investigative dragnet.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Tea Party Up, IRS Down In Public Opinion

That the Internal Revenue Service has sunk even lower in the eyes of the general public over the past couple of weeks is no surprise to anyone who follows even mainstream news outlets.

No one likes the IRS, even for its designated function of dispassionately confiscating wealth and offering it up to the government for redistribution. But the idea that the agency is using its power to help the President’s friends and hurt his enemies gives a sharp new bitterness to what’s always been, for most people, a dull hatred.

A joint poll released Tuesday by ABC News and The Washington Post estimates that a majority of Americans blame the IRS hit job not on incompetence or administrative mistakes, but on deliberate targeting ordered by someone or coordinated by a group. Forty-five percent further believe that the Administration of President Barack Obama knows more about who’s to blame for all the discrimination than it’s telling.

What’s more surprising is the corresponding bump in the proportion of Americans who, according to a separate poll released Monday, approve of the Tea Party and its small-government message in the wake of the IRS scandal that gummed up the works (as Obama loves to say) for the conservative groups as they sought tax-exempt status.

Don’t expect the Tea Party to win any vapid mainstream popularity contests anytime soon. But the poll, conducted by CNN, saw public approval for the Tea Party climb from 28 percent only two months ago to 37 percent now — a number almost identical to the conservative movement’s all-time high in 2010.

The number of those who approve is still smaller than the proportion of Americans — 45 percent — who said they still have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party. But with the majority of Americans still getting their news from left-leaning and omissive mainstream media, it’s remarkable that the number’s not much higher — especially considering that both these polls were done by left-leaning and omissive mainstream media outlets.

But if lawsuits, such as the one filed this week against the IRS by a California Tea Party group, bring to light new evidence about who authorized the scandal and who was involved in covering everything up, the Tea Party movement could be welcoming — and educating — many more defectors from the partisan, business-as-usual political PR wars, as more and more regular Americans wake from their complicit indifference to the hidden crimes of the Obama Administration’s first four years.

Florida Governor Yanks Funding For Police ‘Snitch’ Program To Report ‘Suspicious’ Neighbors

Early this month, the sheriff of Palm Beach County, Fla., announced a new, Orwellian “violence prevention” program designed to pit neighbors against each other by having people anonymously call the cops on anyone who doesn’t like the government or takes a picture of a bridge.

Why? Because people who voice their disapproval of the way their leaders are representing them might be terrorists, the kind of people who’d shoot up a school or set off a bomb at a public event or important landmark.

The local program was to receive $1 million in State funds, apportioned by the Legislature, to train deputies, mental health professionals and case workers to respond whenever someone called the 24-hour citizen hotline, so that they could then visit alleged terrorists, at their homes, unannounced, with the goal of diverting their latent violent behavior before they commit an atrocious act.

A bonus: The sheriff’s office would have dirt on people reported to the hotline, stacking the deck against supposed “terrorists” by exposing them to unwarranted scrutiny and making otherwise-innocuous citizens look like festering threats, if ever they should come before the law for any reason.

At the time, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said this:

We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him. What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, “Hey, is everything OK?”

Neighbors helping neighbors, eh? East Germans lent each other a similar helping hand during the Cold War, when the Stasi state security ministry recruited regular people to rat out their neighbors and coworkers for harboring anti-government sentiment.

But folks in Palm Beach eager to turn on their fellow man may have to go back to calling 911 or the police dispatch line, thanks to Republican Governor Rick Scott’s recent veto of the $1 million in State money originally earmarked to subsidize the $3.2 million tattling scheme.

Of course there’s a twist: Scott didn’t veto the Legislature’s earmark on principle; in fact, he called the prevention program “a very well-intended project.” His reason, rather, was that Florida’s taxpayers as a whole were being asked to support a program that “benefits” only the residents of Palm Beach County.

With nearly a third of his funding gone, Bradshaw has said his department is reconsidering deploying the program at all. That’s welcome news to residents who were outraged about the plan — not only on Constitutional grounds, but for its outright stupidity.

“Kill this thing before it grows like a cancer,” an unnamed Tea Party supporter told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The idea may not be dead nationwide, though. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is enabling local enforcement agencies to do, by proxy, what Congress, to the disappointment of George W. Bush, forbade it from doing upon its creation in 2001: acting as an info dump for Stasi-style tipsters. Through nearly $500 million in local “urban area security” grants last year, DHS has primed local agencies, including the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, to mine citizens’ paranoia for information about who’s got it in for their government.

Rand Demands Independent IRS Investigation

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told a New Hampshire audience Monday that Congress shouldn’t let those responsible for perpetrating the IRS Tea Party-targeting scandal get away with a wrist-slapping from the Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Rather, said Paul, the politically-motivated stymieing of conservative nonprofits under the guise of IRS enforcement demands an investigation fully independent of any ties to the Administration of President Barack Obama.

“Any person who would use the power or abuse the power of government to go after their political opponents, I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat or an independent, to take that brute force, that bullying force of government and to use it against your opponents, there is something distinctly and profoundly un-American about that,” he said. “I don’t see any way the president can gain back trust, and for goodness sake, somebody’s got to get fired or go to prison.”

More Liberal Defectors From Obamacare: This Time, It’s Unions

Organized labor leaders are the latest in a growing group of liberal special interests to take a pass on President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The president of a labor union representing the construction trade called on the repeal of Obamacare in its entirety last month. Now, bosses with the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) are fretting over how to integrate increased Obamacare insurance costs into its members’ health care plans.

UFCW president Joe Hansen recently wrote a guest column for The Hill, essentially accusing Obama of lying when, in 2009, he promised unions their employees would be able to keep their existing insurance under Obamacare.

“[T]he president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers,” said Hansen. “You can’t have the same quality healthcare that you had before, despite what the president said.”

‘Terror’ Map Shows U.S. A Good Place To Do Business; Mideast, Not So Much

Living under oppression creep in the United States, it is common — and right — to view today’s America as a severely compromised, quasi-socialist version of the land envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.

But a little present-day perspective can be informative, too. And while there’s a lot of work to do if the Nation is to ever live up to the ideals that gave it birth, the United States is still far ahead of most countries when it comes to providing the basic, raw materials that lay the groundwork for the pursuit of happiness.

Risk management firm Aon, which sells insurance to companies that seek to establish an international footprint, released its global “Terrorism and Political Violence” assessment map for 2013 last week, revealing that countries in North and South America, generally, are among the Earth’s most politically stable, most terror-free and most friendly to new business.

2013-Terrorism-Map-14-05-2013

The assessment reviews the relative political stability of each Nation on Earth, looking at factors like internal sabotage, the threat of terror, labor unrest (such as strikes and riots), insurrection and revolt, war and civil war in predicting the risk factor for businesses that require peace and some measure of domestic happiness just to open up shop.

By those measures, the United States and Canada, along with 12 other countries in the Americas, all are regarded as low-risk business zones. Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina are considered to be “medium”-risk countries. Six more — Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Paraguay — were rated as “high” risks for upheaval in its various forms. But no country in North or South America was rated as a severe business risk.

Contrast that with nearly all of Central Africa and the Mideast, where severity is the norm, or even Western Europe, where France and Spain find themselves in the same category as Mexico, Kazakhstan, China and Bosnia.

The report names terrorism — which it ominously describes as a “foreseeable risk” — as the lone man-made factor threatening American businesses’ physical capital and human resources, whereas all of the “severe”-risk countries are threatened not only by terrorism but by violent internal strife, as well as the threat (or the existing condition) of outright war.

Of the developed nations, only Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Iceland are considered to harbor “negligible” man-made risk.

Is White House Visit From Union Leader The Missing Link That Implicates Obama In IRS Conspiracy?

One day before the Internal Revenue Service began its now-infamous hit job on Tea Party nonprofits, the leader of the labor union representing the agency’s employees — a vocally anti-Tea Party group — met with President Barack Obama at the White House.

What Obama discussed with Colleen Kelley, president of the 150,000-member National Treasury Employees’ Union (NTEU), isn’t known. But they met on March 31, 2010. And on April 1, the very next day, the IRS got busy going after the Tea Party.

According to the Inspector General for Tax Administration, whose independent report on the scandal was released last week:

April 1-2, 2010: the new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.

The NTEU has a public history of hating the Tea Party. Its political action committee endorsed Obama in both his Presidential campaigns, and it spent a lot of money to ensure Tea Party opponents got elected in other races. Meanwhile, the union’s members, while on the job as ostensibly dispassionate tax collectors and government enforcers, used their positions to bully the Tea Party while giving their liberal political enemies the “all clear” on their way to tax-exempt status and timely election-season campaigning.

An anonymous staffer in the Cincinnati IRS office from which much of the Tea Party stonewalling emanated told The Washington Post that the agency’s worker bees didn’t act to take down the Tea Party on their own. Rather, said the source, everything they did was directed from on high:

“We’re not political,’’ said one determinations staffer in khakis as he left work late Tuesday afternoon. “We people on the local level are doing what we are supposed to do. . . . That’s why there are so many people here who are flustered. Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

For now — and, if Congress doesn’t act, probably forever — Obama’s connection to the scandal is obscured for a lack of evidence. The Inspector General’s report is cursory, and it didn’t proceed from an evidence-based investigation. Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t going to take it upon himself to appoint a special counsel to investigate the scandal; and even if he does, it will be a dog and pony show, a farce perpetrated by an appointee “as loyal to Obama as John Mitchell was to Richard Nixon.”

But Congress can introduce a piece of Independent Counsel legislation to replace the law that expired in 1999, following the investigation by Ken Starr into the activities of the Bill Clinton Administration. If that happens, Obama — and Holder — will be subject to a level of scrutiny that, until now, they’ve only known how to perpetrate against others. And the Nation would learn whether Obama is, at best, an inept leader who remained disconnected from what his allies and appointees were doing — or, at worst, a criminal who hid behind the power of the Presidency to win at all costs.

Youth Demo Rejecting Obamacare As Too Expensive

A new poll by the American Action Forum reveals that, if President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — ends up failing, the President will have simple market forces to thank.

That’s because young people, who typically incur lower healthcare costs as a demographic  far less exposed to health risks than the elderly, are showing signs they won’t opt into any form of mandatory health coverage if the premiums they have to pay climb very far — as many insurance forecasters predict they will.

If premiums rise 30 percent, for example, only 55 percent of young people polled said they would choose to purchase health insurance. That’s a lot fewer than the 83 percent who said they’d still buy insurance if the cost under Obamacare rises “only” 10 percent.

And if premiums do rise, the regressive subsidy that the young demographic’s artificially inflated Obamacare premiums were supposed to inject into the States’ new insurance “exchange” programs will disappear. That, in turn, would drive up premiums for the diminished number of people who do buy insurance — a phenomenon that would hit the elderly especially hard.

As for the younger people who choose not to deflate other people’s premiums at the expense of their own insurance costs? According to the poll, they’ll just drop out and pay the mandatory penalty.

Researchers Baffled By Standstill In Global Warming

Researchers writing in the journal Nature Geoscience are perplexed that the theory of global warming isn’t holding sway over what the Earth has actually been doing for the past 14 years.

Revising one’s views about such an inconvenient truth isn’t easy, so the international group of scientists who published the report is being cautious in how the news is presented.

“It has been argued that this observation might require a downward revision of equilibrium climate sensitivity,” the researchers admit. “The most extreme projections are looking less likely than before.”

The trend of increasing global temperatures as a result of the warming of Earth’s atmosphere halted in 1998 and has remained relatively stable since then.

Now That’s How You Do Wealth Redistribution: France’s Wealthy Taxed Above 100 Percent Of Income

French business publication Les Echos reported last week that the French government sent more than 8,000 wealthy households a tax bill last year that, incredibly, topped 100 percent of their income.

Those who earned more than 1.3 million euros were subject to hand all of their money — and then some — to the government, thanks to a special levy imposed by the Socialist government as a way of undoing a rebate plan the outgoing administration had, mercifully, devised to cap the tax rate at 50 percent of income.

A French administrative court has told President Francois Hollande that any taxation on individuals that exceeds 66.66 of their income is confiscatory. Before that ruling, Hollande had been preparing a proposal that would have allowed individual earnings of more than 1 million euros to be taxed at 75 percent. That would have a fulfilled a key campaign promise that, remarkably, helped get Hollande elected.

Most Want Congress To Unleash The Hounds, North Korea Pops Off, Iran On America’s Tail, Obama Hearts John McRINO, Twitter Is Hell: Monday Morning News Roundup 5-20-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents in a new poll believe Congress is making the right moves investigating the Administration of President Barack Obama. The poll also finds 54 percent of Americans approve of the attention Congress is giving to the Administration’s Internal Revenue Service scandal.
  • North Korea fired two short-range missiles Monday. That makes six launches in three days. The Hermit Kingdom also condemned South Korea for criticizing what it said were its legitimate military drills.
  • Iran has deployed a new (for Iran) warship to tail Western forces engaged in a joint minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf. The Iranians have gotten within a mile of the Westerners.
  • Saudis who don’t want to forfeit their souls should follow the advice of the head of Saudi Arabia’s religious police and stay off Twitter. Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh told the BBC that anyone who uses the service “has lost this world and the afterlife.”

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

 Staff writer Sam Rolley contributed to this report.

City Sues Good Samaritans Who Feed Strangers’ Parking Meters

A group of six self-described “Robin Hooders,” who estimate they’ve saved about 4,000 New Hampshire motorists from parking tickets by feeding their expired meters, now faces a lawsuit in the small city where they’ve been active since December.

The small band of residents, local members of a larger New Hampshire libertarian movement called the Free State Project, play a cat-and-mouse game with meter maids in Keene, N.H., looking for parked cars in front of meters that have expired. Staying about 20 feet ahead of the city’s small squad of ticket-writing meter maids, they re-up expired meters and leave behind calling cards that show an image of Robin Hood on one side and a quote — “We saved you from the king’s tariff! — Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Please consider paying it forward.” — on the other.

In the suit, the city’s three meter maids complain the Robin Hooders have “regularly, repeatedly, and intentionally taunted, interfered with, harassed, and intimidated” them by “following, surrounding, touching or nearly touching, and otherwise taunting and harassing.” The suit asks the court to order the group to keep a 50-foot distance from the meter maids — at least one of whom has complained of getting heart palpitations from the stress — at all times.

The group’s members have told various media outlets the city is having to stretch the truth in order to make claims like that, noting that none of them has been charged with harassment.

“The Robin Hooders have always been courteous in my experience,” defendant Ian Freeman told NBC News. “The city is upset because they are losing revenue and are coming up with anything they can to try to stop it.”

“I don’t follow them home or try to find them off duty,” defendant James Cleaveland, who knows the meter maids by name, told Reuters. “They always use the excuse ‘I’m just doing my job.’ I always say ‘I’m just doing my activity too.’

“It’s my philosophy. I could go talk to the city council at every meeting but to me, actions speak louder than words.”

Those actions are a lot more popular with residents in the “Live Free or Die” State than with the city. The group’s “Free Keene” Facebook page has nearly 5,000 friends, and drivers quoted in local and national reports favor what the Robin Hooders are doing — and the spirit in which they’re going about it.

Bailing people out of $5 parking tickets isn’t the toughest fight the Free State Project’s Keene chapter has waged. The group has also supported relaxing drug laws by publicly smoking marijuana in a downtown protest. In 2009, the group protested attacks on the 2nd Amendment by having a half-naked woman walk through the city armed with a holstered handgun.

Appeals Court Spurns Obama’s UnConstitutional Recess Appointments

Just as the Obama Administration’s public reputation is at its lowest ebb over unConstitutional surveillance and discriminatory targeting of political enemies by government agencies with unfettered power comes a decision in which an appeals court ruled the President himself violated the Constitution when he made appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) while the Senate was taking a break.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia handed down the 2-1 decision last Thursday, invalidating not only the President’s appointment of Craig Becker to the NLRB in March 2010 — when the Senate was in a two-week intrasession recess — but also some of the NLRB’s subsequent actions in which he participated.

The Senate had blocked Becker’s nomination to the same position only a month earlier. In all, Obama filled 15 vacancies by recess appointment during the March 2010 break.

Last week’s ruling is similar to one made against Obama in January of this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which invalidated the President’s appointments of Sharon Block, Terence Flynn and Richard Griffin to the NLRB at a time when the Senate was adjourned for Christmas break. The President has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The NLRB had argued Obama’s position that the definition of “recess,” as stated in in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution (the “Recess Appointments Clause”), would allow the President to unilaterally make appointments that normally require Senate ratification, so long as the Senate essentially wasn’t assembled — and, therefore, not available to conduct business.

But the court recognized the absurdity of that argument, noting:

And therein lies the implausibility of the [NLRB’s] unavailable-for-business definition. As explained above, the Board argues that a recess occurs any time members of the Senate do not have a duty to attend, the Senate chamber is empty, and the Senate is unavailable to receive communications from the president.

…The problem with this definition is that the Senate fulfills these criteria whenever its members leave for the weekend, go home for the evening, or even take a break for lunch. In each of these instances, the senators have no duty to attend, the Senate chamber is empty, and the body cannot receive messages from the president.

Defining recess in this way would eviscerate the divided-powers framework the two Appointments Clauses establish. If the Senate refused to confirm a president‘s nominees, then the president could circumvent the Senate‘s constitutional role simply by waiting until senators go home for the evening.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who’s been among the President’s most vocal critics over last week’s multiple scandals involving discrimination and abuse of power by the Executive Branch, told FOX News the two rulings illustrate the egregiousness of what he called an “unprecedented power grab” by the President.

Did Treasury Department Target Conservative-Owned GM Dealers In 2009 Auto Bailout?

Two Republican Congressmen are inquiring whether the U.S. Treasury Department went after auto dealerships owned by conservatives after the Federal government, in 2009, became majority owner of General Motors as part of a $50 billion Congressional bailout.

Mike Kelley (R-Pa.) and Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) released a letter they sent to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Thursday, asking that he release information pertaining to the methods used by the Automotive Task Force as it selected which GM dealerships would be shut down in an effort to streamline the bankrupt company’s operations.

Renacci himself was one of the car dealers to get the ax; a Pennsylvania dealership owned by Kelley’s father also didn’t survive.

“As member s of Congress who each went through the dealership closing process in our private capacities, we have concerns regarding the criteria used by both General Motors and Chrysler in the automakers’ dealership wind-down,” the letter to Secretary Lew states. “More importantly, we are interested in determining the role that your department played and the input it provided in drafting this methodology.”

The Congressmen are requesting “all emails, phone records, notes, memoranda, reports and other communications regarding the decision-making process,” as well as the identities of those involved in that process.

H/T: Breitbart