Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Not that Republicans are angels - or even above the fray - but it takes a special sort of arrogance... hubris... utter contempt for "We the People"... to engage in the sort of petty-ante chiseling and abuse of public office and authority that the highest officials of the Obama Administration engage in on seemingly a daily basis!
Kudos to Zeke J. Miller - Time Magazine
* * * * * *
Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snow-capped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park.
* AND TRIED TO GET "WE THE PEOPLE" TO PAY FOR IT!
The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Under a policy adopted in 1992, after controversy over VIPs using the cabin for vacations, the National Park Service banned purely recreational activities by federal employees at the property, restricting its use to “official purposes.”
* ONE MORE TIME...
Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members...
* WHAT KIND OF "OFFICIAL BUSINESS" ALLOWS ELEVEN FAMILY MEMBERS (IN ADDITION TO THE SPOUSE) TO TAG ALONG FOR FREE?
But in recent years, the park service has interpreted that same rule so broadly as to again allow senior officials to take cheap vacations in Grand Teton with friends and family.
* WHICH DOESN'T MITIGATE JUNKETING JOE'S MALFEASANCE!
While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter’s question about where he spent the night. Last week, after TIME uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden’s office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for “renting the Brinkerhoff” for his family’s vacation.
$1,200? ARE THESE CLOWNS KIDDING? FOR FOUR NIGHTS AT A LODGE THAT HOUSES AT LEAST 13...?!?! (BIDEN; WIFE; ELEVEN RELATIVES.)
Under park service rules, the lodge is maintained for use by federal employees for “training and official conferences” and for those on “temporary duty in the park.” In practice, the superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, who has discretion over whether to demand payment for the lodge, has interpreted those rules to allow extended family vacations if there is an element of official business involved.
* SOUNDS LIKE IT'S TIME FOR A NEW SUPERINTENDENT!
A Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman, Jackie Skaggs, said last week the Biden family visit met the internal criteria, since the Vice President received an official park briefing and tour while staying at the lodge.
* WHILE STAYING AT THE LODGE... WITH HIS WIFE AND ELEVEN RELATIVES...!!!
* SOUNDS LIKE JACKIE SHOULD GET THE AXE AS WELL!
Biden is not the only senior member of the Obama Administration who has taken advantage of the Brinkerhoff...
* DOESN'T TIME MEAN, "...TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THEIR POSITIONS IN ORDER TO UNETHICALLY (AND POSSIBLY ILLEGALLY) SHIFT THE TAB FOR THEIR GETAWAY LODGINGS TO THE TAXPAYER"?
...in recent years for family vacations or getaways with friends.
Records obtained by TIME through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least four cabinet-level officials, a deputy White House chief of staff and the director of the Park Service have made use of the lodge with friends and family since 2011.
* FOLKS... I CAN SEE THE DIRECTOR OF THE PARK SERVICE GETTING THIS PERK... BUT THE OTHERS? COM'ON!
Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson stayed three nights in 2011 with her husband, and five other people, including a person listed as a friend. She received a tour of a new air quality monitoring station, according to a park official.
* THIS IS RIDICULOUS. UNLESS THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP WAS TO TOUR THE MONITORING STATION - AND IT CLEARLY WASN'T GIVEN THE MAKE-UP OF THE "TOUR GROUP" - THEN THE TOUR WAS INCIDENTAL AT BEST... A SHAM AT WORST! (A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO EVADE THE RULES AND STICK TAXPAYERS WITH THE BILL FOR PURELY PERSONAL EXPENSES!)
Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled there in 2012 for eight nights with his wife, his daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, two other adults and his son, Illinois State Sen. Darin LaHood.
He attended the Department of Transportation grant award event, according to LaHood’s office.
* AND THAT GRANT EVENT TOOK PLACE OVER A PERIOD OF NINE DAYS, EIGHT NIGHTS...?!?! (I THINK NOT!)
Education Secretary Arne Duncan stayed there for six nights with his wife and children in 2013. He attended a nearby roundtable with tribal leaders and an event at a local school, according to the Department of Education.
* SO... HIS OFFICIAL BUSINESS TOOK HOW MANY HOURS ALL TOGETHER? (OUT OF SIX NIGHTS...?!?!)
Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, who oversaw the National Park Service, stayed there with his family for three nights in 2011. His office did not return a call about the purpose of his visit.
Former White House Special Advisor Phil Schiliro also used the lodge for one night in August of 2011 with his wife and one other person. The White House did not return emails about the purpose of his visit.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, his wife, his son and his son’s girlfriend stayed for five days in August of 2012. The park service said he had official business on two of the five days.” The director took personal time during the remaining days,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Under federal policy, family members may accompany government employees who travel on official business. “Family members’ travel costs and incidental expenses are not typically reimbursed by the federal government, although they may stay in the accommodations...
* MEANING A ROOM! MEANING THE SPOUSE DOESN'T HAVE TO STAY IN A SEPARATE ROOM! "ACCOMMODATIONS" DOESN'T MEAN TAKE OVER A FRIGGIN' LODGE SO THAT YOUR SPOUSE, KIDS, EXTENDED FAMILY, AND FRIENDS CAN ALL STAY...!!!
...reserved for the traveling employee, as long as any additional costs incurred as a result of the stay are covered by personal funds,” wrote National Park Service spokeswoman Slayton.
* AND WHAT REIMBURSEMENTS - IF ANY - WERE MADE AT THE TIME THESE VARIOUS INSTANCES TOOK PLACE? HMM...?!?!
The offices of several officials who stayed at Brinkerhoff, including the Vice President, Duncan and LaHood, said there was initial confusion over their need to pay for extended stays at the lodge with family members.
Under National Park Service policy, “a bill of collection will be prepared” for those who visit the Brinkerhoff on “project related travel that will be billed to another entity.”
* NOW GET THIS FOLKS...
The Freedom of Information Act request returned no documents showing that any bills had been issued.
The park service also produced no records of official stays at the Brinkerhoff between 2000 and 2010.
* FOLKS... THIS SHOULDN'T BE HAPPENING IN AMERICA! NOT IN BUSH'S AMERICA. NOT IN OBAMA'S AMERICA. NOT IN REPUBLICAN AMERICA. NOT IN DEMOCRAT AMERICA. THAT SAID... OBAMA AND BIDEN HAVE BEEN IN POWER SINCE JANUARY 2009.
A spokesperson for the Vice President, who declined to be named, said Biden’s office was still waiting for an invoice from the park two months after the stay, when TIME made inquiries.
* DOES ANYONE... ANYONE AT ALL... BELIEVE THIS?
“The office understood from the park service that personal use would cost the local per diem rate,” the spokesperson said, referring to the a schedule of overnight hotel costs maintained by the General Services Administration for a single hotel room. Biden’s office said the Vice President will now personally pay $1,200 for the four nights, a figure that includes an extra $10 per night for each additional member of his family.
* $10 PER NIGHT...
That cost, which assumes that a four-bedroom lodge is comparable to a single hotel room...
...is far below market rate for other nearby accommodations, especially during peak summer tourism season.
At the nearby Jackson Lake Lodge, a two-bedroom cabin that sleeps four without a view of the lake, averages $250 a night in August. Nearby homes outside the park can rent for more than $1,000 per night during the summer.
* FOLKS. THESE PEOPLE ARE SCUM. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education says the park service “never conveyed” to Duncan that he would have to pay for the non-official portion of his family’s nearly week-long stay.
* AND THE GUY WHO WAS SECRETARY OF E*D*U*C*A*T*I*O*N DIDN'T HIMSELF QUESTION THIS... er... "NON-CONVEYANCE?"
* FOLKS... PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY REQUIRES AT LEAST AN EXCUSE THAT'S PLAUSIBLE!
“Secretary Duncan requested an invoice for his family’s stay and will reimburse the park fully for the time he was on personal leave,” the official said.
* AFTER... GETTING... CAUGHT...!!!
* THESE... PEOPLE... HAVE... NO... SHAME...
A spokesperson for LaHood, who is now a policy adviser at a law firm, said he made a donation to the park at the time of around $250 after consulting with Salazar. LaHood has since asked the park if he is obligated to pay more.
* FIRST... LET'S SEE THE CANCELLED CHECK. (SERIOUSLY! WOULD YOU PUT IT PAST LAHOOD TO SIMPLY BE LYING ABOUT THIS SUPPOSED "DONATION?")
With the exception of a $150 check from Salazar, the park service has no record of any payment from other officials for their stays, though Skaggs said charges are sometimes directly billed to other government offices and that the park doesn’t maintain records of those transactions.
* "DIRECTLY BILLED TO OTHER GOVERNMENT OFFICES." HMM. HOW CONVENIENT. (FOR PERSONAL EXPENSES!)
There is evidence, however, that the park service is now trying to improve its management of the Brinkerhoff, at least on the public relations front. After being contacted by TIME, a computer with an IP address registered to the National Park Service made alterations to the Wikipedia page for the Brinkerhoff Lodge.
A phrase describing the property as a “vacation lodge” was changed to “historic lodge.”
(A phrase noting the Brinkerhoff’s history as a destination for “VIP housing” was deleted.)
So... just got back from the gym.
Sweaty... smelly... shoulders aching... a kink in my neck...
It SUCKS getting old!
Sticking to the post-vacation diet; so far, so good. (Ate a hard-boiled egg prior to the gym; a nutrition bar directly after.) Smaller meals more often - that's the ticket. (And by "meals" I'm talking a yogurt here, some cottage cheese there; only one "main meal" per day.)
Sound mind... sound body... (Or is is sound body, sound mind...?!?!)
In any case... I'm tryin'...!
Anyway... 'nough'bout me... ON TO NEWSBITES...!!!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
Well, folks... another Monday... another week!
No private contact from my buddy Russ as of yet. (And obviously no public response...)
As for my buddy "He Whose Name Dare Not Be Mentioned," once again... he's a busy man. A busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy man!
(NOPE! NOT BEING SARCASTIC! HE REALLY IS!)
Listen... I'm happy to have Michelle as a frequent commenter.
And, folks... any of you who think Michelle is just a sycophant... you couldn't be more wrong. While we agree far more often than not, at times we see things differently. Have no doubt that the next time I'm "unusually wrong," Michelle will call me on it - here... publicly.
Anyway... RUSS... back to YOU... com'on in, buddy... THE WATER'S FINE!
(Meaning... er... I don't LITERALLY bite; why not engage in a bit of interaction?!)
Anyway... on to today's newsbites...
As always... found within the Comments section of this "Newsbites" post!
Sunday, October 26, 2014
So... buddy... ONE-PERCENTER... (*WINK*) (If not one percent... then close, right; definitely within the top 2% - right?) You noted awhile back that you do read the blog. I appreciate that!
Am I getting through? Facts... reason... effective tools to sway you or do you find yourself impervious to them?
Hey... am I gonna see ya on Friday...?!?! (I hope so!)
Anyway... this was gonna be just another newsbite, but I figured... what the heck... why not give ol' Rich a poke.
Ya know I love ya, Big Guy! You... and... (*PAUSE*)... "HE WHOSE NAME DARE NOT BE MENTIONED!"
* * * * * *
* GUESS WHO SAID:
If Republicans win control of both the House and Senate, “the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.”
* GIVE UP?
President Barack Obama said at a $32,500-a-plate fundraiser...
...at the $16 million Greenwich, Connecticut, estate of a billionaire named (I’m not making this up)...
You can’t top that remark for hypocrisy or the setting for irony. It isn’t the middle class who write $32,500 checks.
The Obama administration “protected Wall Street, not families who were losing their homes, not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told the liberal webzine Salon.
* AND SHE SPOKE THE TRUTH!
Ms. Fauxcahontas isn’t right about much, but she is about that.
Administration policies have rewarded Wall Streeters whose reckless lending magnified the sub-prime mortgage crisis. “You’ve got Wall Street criminals walking free, sipping tea at the White House,” said left-wing academic Cornel West.
Supplying bupkes for most Americans, the $787 billion stimulus bill produced bonanzas for the politically connected. A disaster for consumers and taxpayers, ObamaCare fattened the bottom line of insurance companies.
Billionaire Tom Steyer? He figures to profit from Mr. Obama’s foot-dragging on the Keystone XL pipeline!
The top group of fundraisers for Mr. Obama raised $457,834 for his 2008 campaign – and were approved for federal grants and loans of $11.4 billion, according to the Government Accountability Institute.
Selling access to the federal treasury has been a great way for Democrats to raise campaign funds. Since 1989, according to an analysis by Gateway Pundit, big donors have provided $416 million more in direct contributions to Democrats than Republicans.
* FOLKS... RE-READ THAT - PLEASE! (HERE...)
Since 1989, according to an analysis by Gateway Pundit, big donors have provided $416 million more in direct contributions to Democrats than Republicans.
Seven of the 10 wealthiest counties voted to re-elect the president.
Democrats represent eight of the 10 wealthiest congressional districts.
There are more Democrats than Republicans among the 268 millionaires in Congress.
* HOW CAN PEOPLE STILL... NOT... GET... IT...?!?!
There were 9.63 million households last year with a net worth of $1 million or more, up from 6.7 million in 2008. The wealthiest 1% received 22.46% of the national income in 2012, up from 18.12% in 2009, calculated economist Emmanuel Saez.
* UNDER OBAMA THE RICH HAVE GOTTEN RICHER...
The income of the bottom 99% shrank 0.4%, Mr. Saez said.
Adjusted for inflation, median household income was 8% lower in 2013 than before the Great Recession began.
* AND WE ALL KNOW THE GOVERNMENT DELIBERATELY UNDERSTATES INFLATION BY REFUSING TO FACTOR IN FOOD AND FUEL! (MEANING IT'S WORSE - MUCH WORSE - THAN 8%!)
The middle class (those who earn between the 30th and 70th percentiles) accounted for 53% of the national income in 1970, just 45% in 2012, according to demographer Joel Kotkin, who says “the biggest issue facing the American economy, and our political system, is the gradual descent of the middle class into proletarian status.”
The average compensation of federal employees last year was 74% higher than for workers in the private sector.
* ONE... MORE... TIME...
The average compensation of federal employees last year was 74% higher than for workers in the private sector.
Few would begrudge government workers higher pay and benefits if they earn it. But from the Centers for Disease Control to the Veterans Administration, incompetence, neglect and corruption seem more the rule than the exception. Little wonder, when the chief consequences for malfeasance are a lengthy paid vacation or retirement with generous benefits. By shielding bureaucrats from accountability, Democrats have made “public servant” an oxymoron.
The middle class is shrinking because policies designed to benefit those who feed at the public trough clobber economic growth. The chief difference between the New Oligarchs and the robber barons of yesteryear is that the robber barons had an interest in a vibrant middle class, Mr. Kotkin says in his new book, “The New Class Conflict.” “Gentry liberals” don’t.
* EXACTLY RIGHT!
In the past, Democrats “recognized broad-based economic growth was a necessary precursor to upward mobility and social justice,” Mr. Kotkin wrote. Now they adopt policies that restrict growth.