Monday, May 2, 2016

May Days: Final Flight

First thing you want to do after being dropped off is check your luggage:

"Airline worker with $282,000 in backpack arrested" AP  March 29, 2016

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Delta Air Lines employee sneaked $282,000 in a backpack into Palm Beach International Airport with instructions to deliver it to a passenger in a restroom, federal officials said.

Jean Yves Selius, 29, of Boynton Beach was arrested Saturday after an airport security officer saw him using his security badge to enter the boarding area of the terminal from the tarmac, bypassing the security gates, according to an affidavit filed by Homeland Security agent Jon A. Longo. Selius was dressed in civilian clothes and not his Delta gate agent uniform.

The security officer asked Selius to open his backpack, which held several packets of cash wrapped in clear, vacuum-sealed bundles, Longo wrote. A Palm Beach County sheriff’s dog detected drug residue on the backpack, the affidavit says.

Longo wrote that he and another agent interviewed Selius, who told them he was being paid $900 to $1,000 by two men he knows only as ‘‘Ricky’’ and ‘‘John’’ to deliver the backpack to an unknown passenger in a bathroom, who would take the money to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.

Selius allegedly told the agents he had made four previous deliveries, receiving $3,900 from the pair and he realized the money didn’t ‘‘come from a good cause.’’ He said Ricky and John approached him about a year ago after learning he worked at the airport.

Selius is being held without bail on federal charges of illegal money transmitting pending a Thursday court hearing. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.

He told a judge Monday that his family would hire him an attorney, but none was listed on his court records Tuesday. The voicemail on a phone number listed to him was full.

Delta representatives had no immediate comment Tuesday."

My only comment is thank God it wasn't a terrorist with a bomb.

Time to get in line:


Fliers brace for big security lines at airports

Unless you are part of the elite cla$$; then you can bypass it all and be taken directly to the lounge before boarding.

"Class-action suit challenges US government’s watch list" Associated Press  April 05, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va — For Yaseen Kadura, a U.S. citizen of Libyan descent, placement on the no-fly list caused problems far beyond the airport.

He was handcuffed and interrogated for hours when he tried to cross borders by land. He struggled to pick a medical school, unsure where he could travel. And when he tried to use Western Union, the transfers never went through. Even after he was removed from no-fly list, many of the problems persisted.

On Tuesday, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Alexandria on behalf of Kadura and thousands of other Americans who have been placed on the terror watch list. The suit seeks unspecified monetary compensation.

Among the plaintiffs is a 4-year-old California boy, listed as Baby John Doe, who according to the lawsuit was placed on the list of known or suspected terrorists as a 7-month-old boy.

You know, I've been reading that ISIS™ has been recruiting the kids, but c'mon!

The FBI didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The no-fly list and the larger, broader terrorist watch list have been the subject of numerous lawsuits, which have been successful to varying degrees. The litigation has forced the government to make modest changes in its administration of the no-fly list — those who challenge their placement on the list are now informed of their status and given general information about the reason. Prior to that, the government wouldn’t confirm whether an individual is on the list.

The lawsuits have dragged on for years, the no-fly list itself remains intact and the terrorist watch list continues to expand. 

Did you see that? As Obummer comes to the end of his reign?

The web version of the piece expands on it; think of it as the TSA taking you off to the side.

The class-action suit provides several advantages, according to Gadeir Abbas, one of the lawyers who filed it. It allows those who were wrongly placed on the list to receive compensation. It eliminates procedural difficulties that would occur when a plaintiff would challenge the list and the government would subsequently allow that individual to fly to avoid a potentially adverse ruling from a sympathetic judge. And it allows the suit to focus on some of the side effects of the watch list that are sometimes overlooked. 

Why must the taxpayer pay for the tyranny of an indifferent, self-serving government?

Kadura seems to have been placed on the watch list after traveling in 2011 to Libya, where he was working and helping journalists who were flocking to the country to cover civil unrest there.

Shortly after returning, his travel troubles began. In September 2012, he was handcuffed with guns at pointed him and detained at a border crossing after a brief trip to Canada. He said at one point, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent pressured him to become an informant. 

They do that to everyone who comes and goes. Think Tsarnaevs. 

If you don't agree, then they can make stuff very difficult for you and you will never be allowed back.

‘‘He said, ‘We know you’re not a bad guy. We want you to work with us,’’’ Kadura said. He told the agent he wanted a lawyer. The agent said that ‘‘if you stick with your lawyer it’s going to be difficult for you.’’ 

What did I just say? 

I'm looking at this all for the first time, too, folks.

Kadura appealed his placement on the no-fly list, and last year the government responded that it ‘‘reevaluated Mr. Kadura’s redress inquiry and is now providing a new determination. ... At this time the U.S. government knows of no reason Mr. Kadura should be unable to fly.’’

Still, Kadura experienced problems. In January, he tried to fly domestically, but it took hours on the phone with government officials and questioning from airport agents before he was allowed to board.

And he still can’t use Western Union, according to the lawsuit.

Other plaintiffs have had citizenship applications placed on hold, been detained at the border and had their phones tapped, according to the lawsuit.

‘‘The government has engaged in a decade-long delusion that being placed on a watch list is not a big deal,’’ the attorney Abbas said. ‘‘The goal is for the watch-listing to affect every aspect of these people’s lives.’’

The lawsuit alleges that placement on the watch list is motivated by religious profiling rather than any real security threat. 

What happens when you realize the security threat is coming from the same people who are in charge of and proposing more security? What then?

Many of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are residents of Dearborn, Michigan, which has a large Arab population and has been subjected to aggressive watch-listing tactics by federal agents, said Lena Masri, a CAIR attorney.

More than 1 million people are on the list of ‘‘known or suspected terrorists’’ administered by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, though most are not U.S. citizens.

Goodness gracious! 

And here come the Syrian migrants they can't keep track of!!


Finally cleared us through.

Time to find a seat:


"Airline asked her to move because she’s a woman — now she’s suing" by Isabel Kershner New York Times  February 26, 2016

JERUSALEM — Renee Rabinowitz is a sharp-witted retired lawyer with a doctorate in educational psychology, who escaped the Nazis in Europe as a child. Now she is about to become a test case in the battle over religion and gender in Israel’s public spaces — and the skies above — as the plaintiff in a lawsuit accusing El Al, the national airline, of discrimination.

Rabinowitz was comfortably settled into her aisle seat in the business-class section on El Al Flight 028 from Newark, New Jersey, to Tel Aviv in December when, as she put it, “this rather distinguished-looking man in Hasidic or Haredi garb, I’d guess around 50 or so, shows up.”

The man was assigned the window seat in her row. But, like many ultra-Orthodox male passengers, he did not want to sit next to a woman, seeing even inadvertent contact with the opposite sex as verboten under the strictest interpretation of Jewish law.

That could be interpreted as a form of unhealthy sexual repression. 

I can think of someone who might know, too.

Soon, Rabinowitz said, a flight attendant offered her a “better” seat, up front, closer to first class.

Reluctantly, Rabinowitz, an impeccably groomed grandmother of 81 who walks wine a cane because of bad knees, agreed.... 

Case dismissed!


Now a growing phenomenon: religious Jewish men refusing to sit next to women on airplanes.

Aboard flights, clashes rise over assigned seats, religion
Airplane seat swapping turns rough-and-tumble

It does seem rather obnoxious; however, Jewish sexism is not accorded as much attention in my pre$$ as other kinds.

Senator wants seat-size rules for airlines

Time for me to fly.


So who is the pilot of this plane? 

"A 50-year-old American Airlines co-pilot had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit and was having trouble with his cockpit seat just before an aborted takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport over the weekend, according to police reports. John Maguire was taken off the Detroit-to-Philadelphia flight that was cancelled as a result of the incident. He initially denied drinking, but later acknowledged he last had a drink the evening before, one of the reports said. A Transportation Security Administration employee first reported Maguire appeared drunk when he went through security, smelling of liquor and walking unsteadily toward the gate. Officers were called and a short time later, Maguire was observed sitting sideways in the airplane, saying he was having trouble with his seat."

Wait! I'm not ready for takeoff!!


The seatbelt light has been turned off and the crew is now serving drinks and snacks:

Flight from Boston makes early landing due to disruptive passenger

“They made the right decision. No one was mad. ... We never felt unsafe, and that’s a big thing these days.”

They need to stop serving alcohol on these things.

"Airlines reap record profits, and passengers get peanuts" by Jad Mouawad New York Times  February 06, 2016

Helped by falling oil prices, airlines are reporting record profits, but for many passengers this sudden bonanza has meant little more than extra bags of free peanuts and pretzels.

The four biggest domestic carriers — American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — together earned about $22 billion in profits last year, a stunning turnaround after a decade of losses, bankruptcies and cutbacks. A big reason for this is the plunging price of jet fuel, which now costs only a third of what it did just two years ago.

But that windfall is only slowly finding its way down the aisles. Days after reporting record profits, for instance, two of the nation’s biggest airlines brought back free snacks in coach.

That's perfect. It's price-gouging, profiteering, call it what you want, and the airlines are literally throwing back crumbs.

United said it would begin serving complimentary stroopwafels, which it described as “Dutch-made toasted waffle treats,” and American said it would offer free meals in economy class on flights between Dallas and Hawaii, and free snacks on all domestic flights.

Airfares, however, have remained stubbornly high.

Analysts say there is little mystery why. A decade of consolidation has reduced the number of airlines competing in many markets, making it easier for dominant carriers to charge more for flights.

Yeah, Obama's government has just started blocking a few mergers here and there, much too late, and now the corporations are already end-running the efforts.

“This is like a perfect storm for the airlines right now, and it could keep going on for the next year,” Rick Seaney, co-founder of, said. “Giving free peanuts and chips is a way to address the issue that consumers think the airlines have been nickel-and-diming them.” 

And gue$$ who is caught in the whirlwind?

When the Great Recession hit, airline executives reduced the number of flights and successfully argued for the industry to consolidate.

So the ongoing Depression actually helped big business; banks are also bigger than before too big to fail(??).

In a twist baffling to many passengers, the airlines have kept some of the surcharges that were introduced a few years ago when oil prices were rising, according to George Hobica, founder of These fuel fees can still be found on many international flights — just under a different name.

Really? You expected them to roll back a revenue $tream? 

“They simply folded them into the fares,” Hobica said. “They call them carrier surcharges and fees. They just don’t call them fuel surcharges.”

Matthew A. Perosi, a consultant for the jewelry industry, said, “For the past several years, I’ve just had the genuine feeling that we’re all being overcharged.”

Did you $ee who is going to be pushing out the little guy?

Representatives from the major airlines insist that the extra charges are part of the cost of doing business and are not tied just to the cost of fuel. 

This as they set up alternate routes away from security to lounges for the people who can pay for $pecial treatment.

Gasoline prices and home heating bills have not fallen as fast as oil prices, but those declines have still been much more substantial than the drop in airfares.

Airlines maintain that consumers are benefiting from their improved financial performance, and that airfares are shrinking, albeit slightly.

After a while you can't hear them over the roar of the engines.

Carriers also point out that they are improving their services by buying new planes, installing larger overhead bins, upgrading their entertainment systems and refurbishing airport lounges — all improvements that customers can see. At the same time, rank-and-file employees are getting bonuses, and new labor agreements show gains that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

I'm always glad to get $crewed by labor.

If there is any crack in the airlines’ fare structure, it is, not surprisingly, in markets where upstart carriers have provided vigorous competition.

Low-cost carriers like Spirit, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air have passed the savings from lower jet fuel prices on to consumers by offering discounted tickets — including $80 round-trip fares on dozens of routes like Chicago to Atlanta, and Dallas to San Diego — prompting a response from the major airlines.

The Ubers of the jet airlines?

“The big airlines are sending a message: ‘If you do this to us, we will cause you pain,’” Hobica said. “I don’t think American is happy to fly from Dallas to San Francisco for $40 one-way, but it will do it to show it won’t be bullied around by some upstart.”

Good thing the engines are so loud; otherwise, the hypocritical irony would be heard loud and clear. 

As for the pain, hardly any room with the seats check that off the list.

But such bargains have not trickled down to Jonathan Aberman, a venture capitalist in Washington who flies often. He said he had seen “absolutely no change” in the cost of his airline tickets in recent years.

Indeed, Delta last month successfully pushed through a $6 fare increase — which was quickly matched by the other major carriers — although it was lower than its usual $10 increase.

“It’s very straightforward,” Aberman said. “We’ve allowed the industry to monopolize. As a result, they have enormous pricing power.”

You would have thought we learned something from the 1890s.


RelatedProposal to rein in airline fees

That was in the magazine pouch on the back of the seat in front of me. 

And to the left of me:

"Child marriage is an unseen problem in US, but it’s hardly rare" by David Crary Associated Press  February 19, 2016

NEW YORK — Child marriage wasn’t an issue of note for Virginia state Senator Jill Vogel until she heard the stories circulating in her district about a man in his early 50s marrying a girl in her mid-teens, warding off a police investigation of his relationship with her.

That's when I wanted to puke.

Now Vogel is lead sponsor of a bill advancing in Virginia’s Legislature that would sharply curtail child marriage.

‘‘Our marriage laws in Virginia are not protecting children,’’ she said.

A similar measure has been introduced in Maryland, and a pending bill in New York goes even further — it would make the state the first to ban marriage altogether for anyone under 18.

Worldwide, child marriage is a reality for millions of girls. Though the practice is most common in developing countries, critics who argue it exposes many girls to emotional and even physical harm say it poses a largely unseen threat in the United States as well.

‘‘We think we’re so sophisticated, so progressive and ahead of the times, and yet we still see this barbaric behavior,’’ said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, sponsor of the bill in New York.

Fraidy Reiss, who campaigns against coerced marriage as head of a nonprofit called Unchained at Last — who says she was forced into an abusive marriage by her Orthodox Jewish family when she was 19 — contends that cases of child marriage via parental consent often involve coercion, with a girl forced to marry against her will. She says states generally do not require any investigation of this possibility, and girls are often not asked if they are marrying voluntarily.

Inspired by Reiss’ efforts, Paulin, the New York legislator, introduced a bill in January that would eliminate all exceptions in New York’s statutes and prohibit the marriage of anyone under 18. Paulin, a Democrat, believes her bill can get bipartisan support and become law.

‘‘Just because we’re not talking about millions of girls here in the US doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect the thousands of girls who are affected,’’ she said.

Reiss has been in touch with lawmakers in New Jersey, hoping for similar legislation there.

‘‘Mostly the response is, ‘I can’t believe this is happening in my state. We have to stop it,’ ’’ Reiss said.

Meanwhile, the Tahirih Justice Center is working with legislators in Virginia to enact a law barring all under-18 marriages except for cases where 16- or 17-year-olds acquire the rights of an adult via an emancipation order freeing them from the control of their parents or guardians.

Vogel, the Virginia senator, said she chose to push for the legislation because of a case roiling the town of Middleburg in her North Virginia district.

According to Vogel, it had become common knowledge in the community that a man in his early 50s was having a relationship with a girl in her mid-teens. To ward off further scrutiny by authorities, the man obtained the consent of the girl’s mother and married the girl last year, Vogel said. She declined to identify those involved, for privacy reasons.

Under her bill, that type of marriage would no longer be an option — the girl would have to convince a judge that she should be legally emancipated and that the marriage was in her best interest.

The measure, which would end Virginia’s practice of allowing girls under 16 to get married if they are pregnant, cleared the Senate on Feb. 9 by a 33-7 vote. One opponent, Senator John Edwards, argued that parents should retain the right to decide if their children under the age of 18 should get married.

The measure has now moved the Virginia’s House of Delegates. The lead sponsor in that chamber, Jennifer McClellan, said her grandmother got married at age 14 in rural Mississippi.

‘‘People didn’t understand back then that children aren’t ready to have children,’’ McClellan said. ‘‘Now we understand all the negative consequences.’’

She’s heard no objections to the bill from prominent immigrants hailing from countries where child marriage is a centuries-old tradition. Some families in those countries feel that marrying off their daughters will protect them from sexual assault; some poor families take the step to reduce child-raising expenses or to obtain a payment known as a ‘‘bride price.’’

In the United States, some immigrant families have retained those traditions of child marriage. In some cases, parents disapprove of someone their daughter is dating, and pressure her to marry someone they view as more suitable.

However, child marriage in America extends far beyond immigrant communities; it’s been a longstanding practice in certain cases where a girl becomes pregnant and there’s a desire that the child have married parents.

In Virginia, where girls under 16 can get married in cases of pregnancy, some of the age differences are striking. In 2010, a girl under 15 married a man in his 30s; another girl under 15 married a man in his 50s in 2006, state records say.

The health department records give no further details — they do not identify the court officials who approved the marriages or give any indication whether there was an investigation into the circumstances of the girl’s pregnancy.

‘‘It’s haunting for us, looking at this data,’’ said Casey Carter Swegman, project manager of Tahirih’s Forced Marriage Initiative. ‘‘We want to reach out to those girls and at least find out if they’re OK, and who the judge was, and we’ve been told there’s no way to find out more.’’

Occasionally, details of child marriages emerge in news accounts.

In 2005, there was widespread coverage of a Nebraska couple — Crystal and Matthew Koso — who married when she was 14 and he was 22. Because Crystal had become pregnant before the marriage, Matthew served 15 months in prison and had to register as a sex offender.

In 2011, 16-year-old Courtney Stodden, an aspiring singer and actress, married 51-year-old Doug Hutchinson, an actor known for his film role as a prison guard in ‘‘The Green Mile.’’ The couple’s subsequent ups and downs have been chronicled in celebrity-oriented media; Hutchinson told interviewers he had been denounced as a pedophile and targeted with death threats.

For the most part, though, child marriage in the United States has escaped intensive scrutiny.

Tahirih’s goal is to get legislation passed in every state that would virtually eliminate child marriage.

Worldwide, according to UNICEF, there are more than 700 million women who were married before 18. Numerous studies have concluded that the practice is detrimental to girls’ health, education and economic opportunities, and increases their vulnerability to abuse and violence.

Among those in the U.S. working to curtail child marriage is a 26-year-old New Yorker, Naila Amin, who had her own harrowing experience with the practice.

Amin says her parents, who brought her to the U.S. as a 4-year-old, grew wary of her American-style social life when she entered her teens and the ensuing friction led to her being placed in foster care. When Amin ran away from foster care and returned to her family, they took to her to Pakistan as a 15-year-old and forced her to marry a 28-year-old cousin who beat and mistreated her.

‘‘For the next few months, I cooked, cleaned and
slept with my husband — my enemy,’’ Amin wrote in an account of her ordeal. 

Another movie. Starred Julia Roberts.

Thanks to the intervention of an uncle, and the fact that Amin was still technically a ward of the foster care system, she was able to get out of the marriage and return to the United States. She’s now attending Nassau Community College on Long Island, with hopes of becoming a social worker and opening a group home for girls trying to avoid or recover from forced marriages.

‘‘I was alone when I faced my marriage,’’ she says. ‘‘I want to be there for other girls.’’


So what else going on in Virginia?

To my right:

"Rise in marriages of equals helps fuel divisions by class" by Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui New York Times  February 27, 2016

The Don Drapers of the world used to marry their secretaries. Now they marry fellow executives, who could very well earn more than they do.

With more marriages of equals, reflecting deep changes in American families and society at large, the country is becoming more segregated by class.

“It’s this notion of this growing equality between husbands and wives having this paradoxical effect of growing inequality across households,” said Christine Schwartz, a sociologist who studies the topic at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

From Cinderella to Kate Middleton, fictional and real-life fairy tales have told of women marrying up, but in more recent cultural touchstones — like “The Intern,” with Anne Hathaway, and “Opening Belle,” the novel and soon-to-be Reese Witherspoon movie — the protagonists are highly successful women with husbands who don’t work. (Spoiler alert: Conflict ensues.)

You ever start tuning out someone who is talking to you?

These changes have been driven by women’s increasing education and labor force participation, new gender roles, and the rise of what social scientists call assortative mating.

Assortative mating is the idea that people marry people like themselves, with similar education and earnings potential and the values and lifestyle that come with them. It was common in the early 20th century, dipped in the middle of the century and has sharply risen in recent years — a pattern that roughly mirrors income inequality in the United States, according to research by Robert Mare, a sociologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. People are now more likely to marry people with similar educational attainment.

Was always thus. Royal and elite families arranged marriages then and now.

Even though the typical husband still makes more than his wife, the marital pay gap among opposite-sex couples has shrunk significantly in the decades since women started entering the workforce en masse. Today, wives overall make 78 percent of what their husbands make, according to an Upshot analysis of annual survey data from the Census Bureau. That’s up from 52 percent in 1970.

In opposite-sex marriages in which both spouses work some amount of time, 29 percent of wives earn more than their husbands do, up from 23 percent in the 1990s and 18 percent in the 1980s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The marital pay gap still exists in part because women earn less than men in the economy as a whole, making 79 cents for a man’s dollar.

It reflects the stickiness of gender roles at work and at home: Marriage significantly depresses women’s earnings, and the arrival of children has an even stronger effect. Men, meanwhile, tend to earn more after having children, and studies show that’s because employers see mothers as less committed to work and fathers as doubly committed to breadwinning.

Look at the agenda-pu$hers get men and women arguing about money.

The nature of marriage itself is changing. It used to be about the division of labor: Men sought homemakers, and women sought breadwinners. But as women’s roles changed, marriage became more about companionship, according to research by two University of Michigan economists, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. Now, people marry others they enjoy spending time with, and that tends to be people like themselves.

“Husbands and wives had different roles in different spheres, so that was the opposites-attract view of marriage,” Wolfers said. “Today you want people with shared passions, similar interests to you, similar career goals, similar goals for the kids.”

(Blog editor thinking this is such a load while attentively nodding head with a few uh-huhs)

Another reason people are finding mates like themselves is that they are marrying later, so they know more about their partners’ prospects and increasingly meet at work. People were least likely to marry those with similar educational backgrounds around the 1950s, according to Mare’s research, when people married very young. Americans are increasingly able to make their own romantic choices based on personal preferences, free from family or religious expectations, he found.

American society has also become more segregated geographically; people tend to live near others with similar educations and earnings. Researchers have linked the increase in so-called power couples, in which both partners have a college degree, to the fact that educated people are more likely now to live in big cities — so the people they date tend to be educated, too.

Always been that way!

Technology could also play a role: Dating apps and sites let people filter their potential partners before they even have a conversation.

The change is happening internationally, too....

That's when I filed for a divorce.


If you will excuse me, I need to use the lavatory:


"An American Airlines flight attendant set fire to an airplane bathroom and then played a hero by pretending to discover it and extinguish the flames, authorities said. Johnathan Tafoya-Montano has been arrested and charged with destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities and false statements in the incident, which occurred Feb. 1 en route from Dallas to Detroit, the FBI said Wednesday in a statement. Tafoya-Montano, who was working on board American Airlines flight 1418 from Dallas to Detroit, alerted crew members to a fire in the rear lavatory and then extinguished it, the FBI said in a statement. The captain notified air traffic controllers and the plane, which was approaching Detroit Metropolitan Airport, was granted emergency status to land, authorities said. Passengers and crew members were not injured."

She was just looking to take a smoke break and things got out of hand.

What do you mean out of order?


Back to my seat then:

US military begins recruiting women for combat jobs

First woman named to lead U.S. combatant command

Navy’s new standard: White caps for women

You can take that off now:

"The scenarios used in college training sessions are often adapted to a military setting given the large numbers of young people at the greatest risk for sexual assault, said Nate Galbreath, the senior executive adviser for the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. It's the latest example of the military taking cues from colleges and universities to try to stem sexual assault."

"The Pentagon misled Congress by providing inaccurate or vague information about sexual assault cases in an effort to blunt support for Senate legislation that would make a major change in how the military handles allegations of sexual misconduct, an Associated Press investigation found."

It's only the ‘‘latest deception.’’

"Since 2013, lawmakers have tried to pass a bill that would reform key parts of how the military justice system deals with sexual assault, but during key stages of the legislative debate, the Pentagon misled Congress by ‘‘cherry picking’’ information, later disproved, about a hundred cases, according to a report released by a watchdog group Monday."

Iraq, WMDs. 

Notice they didn't lie. Just misled. As if it were an error or mistake, not a planned thing with a damn the torpedo attitude behind all the lies.

Military launches a new investigation into Marine major’s sexual misconduct case

Don't tell me they got it wrong.

"Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to declare a former sailor innocent in the 1982 rape of a Newport News woman and murder of her husband, saying DNA evidence proved that he wasn’t the perpetrator. Herring said new forensic tests showed that Keith Allen Harward, who has spent 33 years in prison, could not have been the person who broke into the couple’s home and committed the brutal attacks. Harward, 59, was sentenced to life in prison after a jury in 1983 convicted him of beating Jesse Perron to death with a crowbar and raping the man’s wife as their three children slept in another room. Hair and semen samples failed to connect Harward to the crime, but two experts testified that bite marks on the woman’s body matched his dental records."

‘‘In this case, the Commonwealth got it wrong.’’ 

Just this once?

"Military officials investigating an apparent murder-suicide that happened Friday on a US air base in Texas. Friday’s shooting is the latest to occur at a military facility in Texas in the last several years."

Was all I ever saw of it, but "in January 2015, an Army veteran and former clerk at the veterans’ clinic at Fort Bliss in El Paso shot and killed a psychologist, then killed himself. A year earlier, three soldiers were killed and 16 wounded in an attack at Fort Hood near Killeen by Army Specialist Ivan A. Lopez, who also killed himself. And in the deadliest attack to occur at a US military installation, 13 people were killed and 31 were wounded in a mass shooting in 2009 at Fort Hood. Nidal Hasan, a former US Army major, was convicted and sentenced to death for that shooting."

At this stage, who knows how many are fictions or false flags?

"Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., filed an amendment to the House’s annual defense authorization bill to require women between the ages of 18 and 26 to register for the Selective Service, to start a discussion about the draft.

Some will call me sexist; however, I don't believe we should draft women into service. Aren't teen birth rates low enough already? 

He voted against his own amendment, but Hunter’s gamble backfired. ‘‘We should be willing to support universal conscription,’’ Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said. ‘‘There’s great merit in recognizing that each of us have an obligation to be willing to serve our country in a time of war.’’

So when is your daughter(s) enlisting?

If the Selective Service measure survives votes on the defense authorization bill expected on the House floor next month and the Senate’s consideration of the bill, it will change a policy that has been in place since 1981, when the Supreme Court ruled that because women could not hold combat jobs, they did not have to register for the draft. The policy change could also preempt ongoing court cases about whether excluding women from the draft is discriminatory. "

Is that why Arlington needs 25,000 new graves?

"Female World War II pilots barred from Arlington National Cemetery" by Michael S. Schmidt New York Times   February 27, 2016

SILVER SPRING, Md. —Elaine D. Harmon’s family has delayed laying her to rest because the Army, which oversees Arlington National Cemetery, says her wartime unit — known as the WASPs, shorthand for Women Airforce Service Pilots — was not technically part of the military.

Some members of Congress and veterans are outraged by the Army’s decision, saying it is a gross contradiction.

“Think of the irony that at the same time the Pentagon is opening up all missions to men and women in the military they are closing the door to the women who were pioneers,” said Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., referring to Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s decision last year to open combat roles to women.

Support has built for the legislation, which has more than 10 co-sponsors. On Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs sent the bill to the House floor....


“An airplane doesn’t care if you’re a boy or a girl. It’s how you fly, shoot the gun and drop bombs. And they proved that, and I’m just so grateful for them.” 

Bombs don't care who they hit, either. 

Also see: 

BFFs from WWII: Nurses turn 100 together

‘Rosie the Riveters’ make visit to Washington

"A solid plastic case designed to hold a set of night-vision goggles was ultimately responsible for causing the crash of an Air Force transport plane that killed 14 people in October, the Air Force announced in a statement last week."

See what happens when you let women fly?

We are now approaching our descent:


"United shareholders turn to former Contintental CEO to lead revolt" by Michael J. de la Merced and Jad Mouawad New York Times  March 09, 2016

NEW YORK — United Continental is facing an insurrection among its shareholders, led by the well-regarded former chief executive of Continental Airlines, Gordon M. Bethune.

Bethune is one of six director candidates put forward on Tuesday by two hedge funds, Altimeter Capital Management and PAR Capital Management, which together own about 7.1 percent of United’s shares.

The decision by the activist hedge funds to raise a public challenge to the airline’s board comes after United’s announcement on Monday to add four independent directors.

The contest comes at an awkward time for United, which appointed a new chief executive in September after the surprise dismissal of Jeff Smisek during a corruption investigation involving officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It also comes just days after the airline said that the new chief executive, Oscar Munoz, would return to work full time on March 14, after undergoing heart transplant surgery in January.

Bethune, who is serving on the boards of three companies — Honeywell, Prudential, and Sprint — plans to retire from two this year but will remain on the board of Sprint....



Better get your passport ready:

"President Barack Obama signed the so-called International Megan’s Law in February. It also requires that other countries are notified that registered sex offenders are traveling there."

Let me look at that again:

"Owe back taxes? Lose your passport" by Ben Steverman Bloomberg News  March 31, 2016

The roughly 8 million Americans who live abroad automatically get a couple additional months each year to file their taxes.

Filing to the Internal Revenue Service from overseas is more confusing, complicated, and expensive than it is for Americans at home. Unlike almost every other country in the world, the United States demands its citizens pay taxes on all foreign income. They must file even if they have lived and worked abroad for decades, and even if they’re already paying hefty taxes to the countries where they reside.

Now it’s getting worse. In an effort to fight tax evasion, the IRS recently began forcing expatriates to report not just their income, but additional information on savings and investments — rules that have made it harder to open bank and brokerage accounts overseas. The IRS and the State Department are also implementing a provision approved by Congress in December that could revoke the passports of Americans who owe too much, raising the prospect of being stranded abroad on account of poor arithmetic.

RelatedA top haven for tax cheats that may surprise you: the US

No, not really; the hypocrisy of this bankrupt, money-grabbing government is no longer surprising at all.

“A lot of people are very, very angry about the whole situation,” said David McKeegan, cofounder of Greenback Expat Tax Services, which specializes in US international tax preparation. For Americans abroad, he said, “It’s very easy to feel like you’re a criminal [for] doing normal things.”

Really leaves one feeling melancholy.

Lynn Milburn spends months worrying about her US taxes each year, even though she never owes anything in the end. The IRS often excludes the first $100,000 in foreign earnings, along with some housing expenses. It also lets Americans deduct some of the taxes they pay to local governments, which usually levy at higher rates than the United States does, especially in such places as Western Europe, where most expatriate Americans live. After that, however, it’s open season.

A typical US tax return for Americans living in the United Kingdom is 40 to 50 pages long, even though they often end up owing nothing, according to Robyn Limmer, head of tax at Frank Hitch, an accounting firm based in New York and London that specializes in cross-Atlantic tax issues.

And before you can say H&R Block, it bears noting that hiring a tax preparer who understands how to file from abroad isn’t cheap.

“Many people have to pay thousands of dollars just to show they owe no money to the IRS,” said Keith Redmond, 51, an American who has lived in Paris for 16 years.

Because the rules are so confusing, some say they often end up being taxed unfairly.

I've been told that started a revolution about 240 years ago.

The new passport-revocation rule, slipped into a transportation funding bill signed by President Obama, raises the stakes. It allows the United States to revoke the passport of any American whose tax debt exceeds $50,000.


It’s not hard to see how expatriate taxpayers could get to this level, especially if they’re late in realizing they needed to file in the first place. The fines for failing to report bank accounts are high; the IRS can impose a penalty of $10,000 for each violation of the rules.

“If the government enforces this in the most stringent way possible, this could be hugely horrible for people who live overseas,” McKeegan said.

And this is a government that loves and protects you. Imagine if we didn't have

Last month, members of Congress urged the State Department to “consider the unique circumstances of overseas Americans” before revoking anyone’s passport. An IRS spokesperson declined to comment on the passport rule or other specific taxpayer concerns. In October, the agency said its “offshore voluntary disclosure program,” a process for taxpayers to catch up on filing obligations, had collected more than $8 billion since 2009....


Better file quick:

Hackers Put Hold on Tax Refunds

"FBI probes possible hack of TurboTax" Washington Post  February 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating cases of fraudulent tax returns filed using TurboTax software.

Several states, including Minnesota, Utah, Alabama and Georgia, reported a spike in potentially fraudulent tax returns being filed by scam artists attempting to steal tax refunds. State authorities say it’s too early to know if personal information was pulled from TurboTax or another database, but some states say it’s clear the fraudsters had access to 2013 returns.

As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the FBI is working to determine if a data breach allowed scam artists to obtain the personal information used to file the returns. It is trying to figure out whether the information was pulled from TurboTax or another source, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the case.

Several states have introduced new security measures but say their systems have not been breached. As many as 19 states may have been affected.

State officials are sharing information to make it easier to spot bogus returns, said Gale Garriott, of the Federation of Tax Administrators. Additional security may delay tax refunds.

Since the hackers and the government are basically the same, they must just want to hold on to that money.

Last week, TurboTax stopped submitting state tax returns for about 24 hours as it investigated a rise in ‘‘suspicious filings’’ made using its software.

Intuit, parent of TurboTax, doubts any fraud resulted from a breach of TurboTax systems.


The company said federal tax returns were not affected.


Mass., Vt. resume refunds after TurboTax concerns

I'm sure you have questions out there in the heartland:

"Ohio taxpayers puzzled by state quiz" by Ann Sanner, Associated Press  February 14, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of Ohioans are getting asked some curious questions online and over the phone lately, such as: How old is your grandchild? What brand of car do you have? How long is your mortgage?

Many of these people have a question of their own: What is this — some kind of scam?

The answer: The quiz is legit, part of an effort by the state to thwart . . . scams. Specifically, the filing of phony tax returns.

Under the new program, some Ohioans who have filed their taxes get letters in the mail from the state Department of Taxation directing them to take a quiz to verify their identity. They are told to go online or dial a number.

They are asked four multiple-choice questions — all aimed at ensuring that the tax return submitted in their name is genuine and not an attempt by an identify thief to collect a refund check.

But the quiz prompted 40,000 calls to Ohio’s tax department one recent morning, with many filers worried about being duped by identity thieves. Some have even alerted lawmakers and police.

‘‘A lot of those calls are just saying, ‘Is this legitimate or is this some kind of a scam?’ ’’ Tax Commissioner Joe Testa said in an interview.

State officials said the new procedures follow a dramatic rise in tax fraud attempts in Ohio.

Testa acknowledged the questions can be a burden on taxpayers.

‘‘Of course that’s not a good time. We fully recognize that. What would you have us do?’’ he told a legislative panel Thursday. ‘‘If we don’t put greater barriers in the way, we’re going to lose hundreds of millions of dollars to thieves, and we’re committed to stopping it.’’

John Sims Jr. of South Euclid he took the quiz over the phone and said he felt some questions were none of the department’s business.

‘‘What does my car ownership have to do with my taxes besides nothing?’’ he said.

The retired health care worker said he understands the state’s efforts to deter fraud. But he questioned the approach.

‘‘Somebody can’t pick up a telephone and call the phone number on my tax return that’s filed electronically?’’ he said. ‘‘This guy didn’t even identify himself as a state tax department employee. I felt like it was an attempt by a third party to steal information.’’

The identity-verifying questions are derived from information taken from national databases and other sources.

If taxpayers get three out of the four questions correct, their returns are processed.

If not, they will need to take another quiz. If they fail again, they must produce a driver’s license, birth certificate, or other documentation to prove their identity.

Then I suppose the government gets to keep all the refunds from illegal immigrants, 'eh?

Indiana, Alabama, and Wisconsin also have identity-confirmation quizzes for taxpayers.

Testa said the majority of quiz-takers so far have passed, and agency spokesman Gary Gudmundson said the department has not heard of anyone refusing to take the test.

The state said it intercepted thousands of fraudulent returns seeking to steal more than $270 million in refunds last year, compared with $8 million to $10 million in recent years.

Robert Apke, a retired technician in Springdale, took the quiz online this week and initially failed.

He said the questions were unclear and the survey was ‘‘nothing close to what I’ve ever taken in my life.’’

Apke, 76, said he then called the department and waited on hold for an hour and half before taking another quiz and passing.

As a former employee in packaging development at Procter & Gamble, he acknowledged that the rollout of a new product sometimes doesn’t go smoothly.

His advice? ‘‘Throw out the whole system and start over from scratch because it ain’t working,’’ he said.

He's sick of the excuses?


"An Iowa widow was charged with a misdemeanor and had nearly $19,000 seized from her bank after depositing her late husband’s legally earned money in a way that evaded federal reporting requirements. Janet Malone, 68, of Dubuque, is facing civil and criminal proceedings under a law intended to help investigators track large sums of cash tied to criminal activity such as drug trafficking and terrorism. Shortly before his death in 2011, Ronald Malone told his wife, Janet, about a briefcase containing $180,000 cash from his job as a publishing executive, gambling winnings, and investment income. She deposited some of it in increments between $5,800 and $9,000. The IRS obtained a warrant to seize it based on suspicion that the transactions were meant to avoid reporting requirements. Her husband had been warned about the practice four years ago. Malone is expected to plead guilty next week to a misdemeanor charge that she willfully violated the law."

So much for becoming Speaker of the House.

It's all for your own good health:

"IRS customer service expected to worsen.... Service hit a new low during the last filing season, when just 40 percent of calls were answered and taxpayers seeking help in person waited in long lines outside customer service centers. ‘‘We don’t have enough people anywhere in this agency,’’ Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said."

All checking health forms, huh? 

They shouldn't even exist, and I'm tired of the taxman crying poverty.

"Just 59 days — and counting — until April 15; Health care, identity theft, tax breaks may complicate this year’s returns" by Lynn Asinof, Globe Correspondent  February 15, 2015

With just two months left until April 15, it’s time to dig out your W-2s and 1099s and attack your 2014 tax return.

Unlike last year, there are no major tax code changes that could lead to significant surprises. But there are some new wrinkles and potential problems that will need special attention.

One issue complicating this year’s returns is the increasing identity theft by criminals who use other people’s Social Security numbers to file bogus returns in order to get tax refunds.

The wide acceptance of electronic filing combined with security breaches at large companies such as JPMorgan Chase that exposed sensitive personal information appear to be fueling the trend. Just over a week ago, TurboTax, the tax software made by Intuit, Inc. of Mountainview, Calif., temporarily stopped processing state tax returns across the country following widespread reports of filing fraud.

Have no idea who it could be.

How can individual filers protect themselves against such fraud? The first step is being aware of warning signs. The IRS offers lots of guidance in its online taxpayer guide to identity theft.

Other issues this year include the Affordable Care Act, which requires people to have health insurance, penalizes those who don’t, and offers tax credits designed to help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford coverage.

They can't even protect and process what they have and now they are going to pile all your personal health information on top.

Most filers simply have to check a box on their return that says they had health insurance for themselves and their families during 2014. Those who didn’t will have to pay a penalty unless they qualify for a hardship exemption. Those who purchased insurance through health care exchanges and received advance premium tax credits, however, will have to reconcile their income with the initial projections they provided to the exchange.


People confused by the Affordable Care Act filing requirements and other parts of their returns may have a tough time getting answers. Citing understaffing caused by budget cuts, the IRS has warned that people seeking help by phone may experience long delays.

Your government "serving" you!

Michael Kaplan, a Boston attorney and tax preparer said the IRS website offers lots of information that might help. “But if you need to actually talk to a person to resolve an issue, you don’t have much choice,” he said, noting that patience may be required. 

I'm all out of that as well as money, sorry.

One piece of good news: Congress late last year passed one-year extensions on a handful of individual tax breaks, said Alison Flores, principal tax research analyst at the Tax Institute at H&R Block. Among the deductions and credits that got extended: the $4,000 deduction for qualifying higher education expenses for you, your spouse, or your children; the $250 deduction for teachers who buy school supplies, and tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements for homeowners who didn’t use up this $500 credit in past years.

Yeah, chump change as part of billions in giveaways to $pecial intere$ts. 

That's the "good news."

Those who got married or divorced, or had a baby in 2014, may be surprised to see the difference these life events make in their returns....

It's "more complicated" than you might think.


"IRS sent out $46m in tax refunds flagged as potentially fraudulent, watchdog says" by Lisa Rein Washington Post  December 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service erroneously released more than $46 million in tax refunds in 2013 that had been flagged as potentially fraudulent, the result of poor monitoring and a computer programming error, the agency’s watchdog found.

It was Merry Christmas for some!

The returns had been identified as questionable by two internal teams and should have been set aside for further review. But the IRS software system did the opposite, accidentally setting things in motion so that refunds were released to taxpayers, an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosed this week.

The only good software is that for bank ATMs.

The programming error overrode the agency’s two-week processing delay on potentially fraudulent tax return refunds, according to the report, removing the hold and allowing the suspicious refund to be disbursed before the IRS could compete its verification. IRS officials apparently failed to catch the glitch because they were not aggressively monitoring timelines for reviewing tax returns.

What were they doing, looking at porn?

The inspector general’s office began its audit after an IRS worker said the agency was not examining cases to ensure that erroneous refunds were not being issued.

The watchdog recommended that the IRS fix the computer glitch and start testing to make sure suspicious returns are verified in a timely way....

Oh, they are going to fix things. Great!


Better check those deductions twice:

"To shield their fortunes, the wealthiest put tax system to work; Top earners pay less than in past" by Noam Scheiber and Patricia Cohen New York Times  December 30, 2015

Happy New Year!

WASHINGTON — Hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon, and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates.

Moreover, each has exploited an esoteric tax loophole that saved them millions in taxes.

The trick? Route the money to Bermuda and back.

With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists, and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.

That is why the forms are so complicated.

In recent years, this apparatus has become one of the most powerful avenues of influence for wealthy Americans of all political stripes, including Loeb and Cohen, who give heavily to Republicans, and liberal billionaire George Soros, who has called for higher levies on the rich while at the same time using tax loopholes to bolster his own fortune.

It's called hypocrisy, but it's okay when it's a liberal billionaire who smashes countries with currency speculation.

All are among a small group providing much of the early cash for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Operating largely out of public view — in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions, and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service — the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.

The impact on their own fortunes has been stark. Two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to IRS data. By 2012, when President Obama was reelected, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.

Kind of destroys the mythical imagery surrounding both men, 'eh? 

I'm not the first one to say Obama served the wealthy elite his whole time in office, and probably won't be the last. It's in the numbers.

The ultra-wealthy “literally pay millions of dollars for these services,” said Jeffrey A. Winters, a political scientist at Northwestern University who studies economic elites, “and save in the tens or hundreds of millions in taxes.”

Some of the biggest current tax battles are being waged by some of the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. They include the families of hedge fund investors Robert Mercer, who gives to Republicans, and James Simons, who gives to Democrats, as well as options trader Jeffrey Yass, a libertarian-leaning donor to Republicans.

Yass’ firm is litigating what the IRS deemed to be tens of millions of dollars in underpaid taxes. Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund Simons founded and which Mercer helps run, is currently under review by the IRS over a loophole that saved their fund an estimated $6.8 billion in taxes over roughly a decade, according to a Senate investigation. Some of these same families have also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative groups that have attacked virtually any effort to raises taxes on the wealthy.

In the heat of the presidential race, the influence of wealthy donors is being tested. At stake are the Obama administration’s limited 2013 tax increase on high earners — the first in two decades — and an IRS initiative to ensure that, in effect, the higher rate sticks by cracking down on tax avoidance by the wealthy.

Unless you are from a foreign country; then they will help you hide the loot here.

“There’s this notion that the wealthy use their money to buy politicians; more accurately, it’s that they can buy policy, and specifically, tax policy,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who served as chief economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. “That’s why these egregious loopholes exist, and why it’s so hard to close them.”

It's called corporate governance.

Each of the top 400 earners took home, on average, about $336 million in 2012, the latest year for which data are available. If the bulk of that money had been paid out as salary or wages, as it is for the typical American, the tax obligations of those wealthy taxpayers could have more than doubled.

Instead, much of their income came from convoluted partnerships and high-end investment funds. Other earnings accrued in opaque family trusts and foreign shell corporations, beyond the reach of the tax authorities.

I wonder who could be behind them.

The well-paid technicians who devise these arrangements toil away at white-shoe law firms and elite investment banks, as well as a variety of obscure boutiques. But at the fulcrum of the strategizing over how to minimize taxes are so-called family offices, the customized wealth management departments of Americans with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in assets.

Family offices, many of which are dedicated to managing and protecting the wealth of a single family, oversee everything from investment strategy to philanthropy. But tax planning is a core function. While the specific techniques these advisers employ to minimize taxes can be mind-numbingly complex, they generally follow a few simple principles, like converting one type of income into another type that’s taxed at a lower rate.

It's the amounts we are talking about that does it to me.

Loeb, for example, has invested in a Bermuda-based reinsurer — an insurer to insurance companies — that turns around and invests the money in his hedge fund. That maneuver transforms his profits from short-term bets in the market, which the government taxes at roughly 40 percent, into long-term profits, known as capital gains, which are taxed at roughly half that rate.

Organizing one’s business as a partnership can be lucrative in its own right. Some of the partnerships from which the wealthy derive their income are allowed to sell shares to the public, making it easy to cash out a chunk of the business while retaining control. But unlike other publicly traded corporations, they pay no corporate income tax; the partners pay taxes as individuals. And the income taxes are often reduced by large deductions, such as for depreciation.


"GE’s effective federal tax rate between 2008 and 2013, when its profit was about $34 billion, was negative 9 percent." -- source 

That means they were GIVEN TAX LOOT!

No wonder you can't get the IRS on the phone. They ain't working for you!

The wealthy can avail themselves of a range of esoteric and customized tax deductions that go far beyond writing off a home office or dinner with a client. One aggressive strategy is to place income in a type of charitable trust, generating a deduction that offsets the income tax. The trust then purchases what’s known as a private placement life insurance policy, which invests the money on a tax-free basis, frequently in a number of hedge funds.

In other words, the money just sits there for them to play with.

The person’s heirs can inherit, also tax-free, whatever money is left after the trust pays out a percentage each year to charity, often a considerable sum.

“We do have two different tax systems, one for normal wage-earners and another for those who can afford sophisticated tax advice,” said Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of San Diego who studies the intersection of tax policy and inequality. “At the very top of the income distribution, the effective rate of tax goes down, contrary to the principles of a progressive income tax system.”

Ours must be a progre$$ive $y$tem.



"The typical US household saw its net worth actually decline 1.2 percent from 2010 to 2013....

Incomes for the highest-earning 1 percent of Americans soared 31 percent from 2009 through 2012....

And after 30 years of skyrocketing income inequality, the top 1 percent now control a bigger share of wealth than they have since FDR, [and] not only are the rich getting richer — they’re getting taxed less, too."

We really labored hard to find those.

Justice Dept.: No criminal charges for ex-IRS official

It's regarding Lois Lerner, and there will be no impeachment for the kind of thing that caused Nixon to resign.

Oh, I'm sorry, those were last year's returns!

Taxpayer advocate warns of ‘pay to play’ IRS system

Whole $y$tem $lanted toward wealth, you say?

Delays are expected on some tax refunds

Thanks to new efforts from the IRS and state tax authorities to catch tax fraud -- meaning U.S. government wants to hold onto all the loot it can for as long as it can. 

What a vile and evil government.

The IRS has improved but still provides bad customer service

‘‘The IRS is continuing to struggle to deliver for the American taxpayer,’’ said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. ‘‘I think that there’s no question but that the IRS needs more resources and they need more personnel to meet the demand for taxpayer services, to catch tax cheats and criminals, to effectively fight identity fraud, to enforce tax laws and to collect all the taxes that are owed.’’ Reardon, who represents IRS employees, called a telephone news conference last week to continue the union’s long fight for more funding."

I'm anti-union, sorry.

Can the IRS protect taxpayer data? Watchdog agency raises concerns

Here’s why we should abolish Tax Day

Because the amendment was never constitutionally ratified?

Irwin Schiff, 87; fervent opponent of federal income taxes

Yup, the trip is almost over:


‘‘Everything is getting better, but they are still unhappy about the same things,’’ said Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State and coauthor of an annual report on airline quality. He said he thinks passengers resent the growth in extra fees for things like checked baggage and changing or canceling a reservation, and that makes them quicker to complain when something goes wrong with their trip."

I'm tired of being talked down to and insulted by arrogant elites.

So you get enough leg room on the flight before it landed?

Time to stop hovering around this and move on.


"Solar plane on global trip soars from California to Arizona" Associated Press  May 02, 2016

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered airplane soared above the clouds Monday, resuming its journey around the world using only energy from the sun.

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg was at the helm of the plane, which began circumnavigating the globe last year. His copilot, Bertrand Piccard, also of Switzerland, made the three-day trip from Hawaii to the heart of Silicon Valley, where he landed last week.

The single-seat aircraft began its voyage in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China, and Japan.

The Solar Impulse 2’s wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.

After Phoenix, the plane will make two more stops in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.

The two legs to cross the Pacific were the riskiest part of the plane’s travels because of the dearth of emergency landing sites.

The crew was forced to stay in Oahu for nine months after the plane’s battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan.

The project, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million, was initiated in 2002 to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation.....

So it's not really something that is feasible, it's just agenda-pushing spectacle to reinforce the underlying narrative.


Have you seen the cockpit on that thing

Also see: Diver killed in Gloucester loved shipwreck exploration

No foul play is suspected for the professional aviator who also was deeply interested in golf and fly fishing.

Professional aviator? 

Working for who or what? 

When's the next flight out from Logan?

US taking steps to whittle long airport checkpoint lines

This JetBlue ad will make you rethink flying with babies

Military reports fewer sex assaults

What in the world would make you think they are telling the truth?