Taxation Without Representation – An Egregious Double Standard
Corporate and governmental bureaucracies combined with unbridled capitalism pursue the attack on America. Invoking the cronyism rampant in the unjust political arena, politicians and bureaucrats have sacrificed Americans loyal to the original intention of the Constitution to political power and ambition. Taxed without representation, the enemies of liberty and justice for all enlist the false propaganda of the liberal media to spew a smokescreen of lies and deceptions. The unjustly rich become richer, and the poor, enslaved by a welfare state instituted by the unchecked and unbalanced political power of the parasites feeding on their just labors, become poorer.
Politicians at every level, in every jurisdiction; corporate heads and governing boards have established a double standard displayed in the malignant cronyism, reeking of injustice, infecting our land. This is a swamp so contaminated that it must be drained to protect the public health.
Fred Lucas / September 29, 2017
President Donald Trump accepted the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced late Friday afternoon.
Price had been under fire for his use of private charter flights.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the president accepted,” Sanders said in a statement released just after 4:30 p.m.
“The president intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as acting secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2017. Mr. Wright currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for Health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.”
Earlier Friday, Trump had said of Price, “He’s a very fine man,” but had added, “I certainly don’t like the optics. I’m not happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy.”
He came under fire for many domestic private chartered flights, such as from Washington to nearby locations like Philadelphia and New Hampshire.
Some of Price’s controversial flights were used for travels to Africa to review progress on Ebola, and to participate in global health meetings in Europe.
In his resignation letter, Price wrote, “I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.”
Because of the controversy Price had said he would pay more than $51,887.31 back to the U.S. treasury, a portion of the total transportation cost, which would exceed $400,000 for the private charter domestic flights. However, Politico also reported that the administration approved another $500,000 in costs for traveling on military planes for health conferences in Africa, Asia and Europe.
During the period from Jan. 20 to Sept. 19, the Trump administration authorized 77 military flights, while the Obama administration allowed 94 flights during the same time in 2009, Fox News reported Friday. Trump also noted this before boarding Marine One in the White House South Lawn.
“We put in an order that no more planes – if you look at past administrations, for instance, if you look at the Obama administration and take a look at the amount of time they spent in the air, they spent a lot of time in the air. But I felt very badly because Secretary Price is a good man. But we are looking into it and we are looking into it very seriously.”
In his resignation letter, released by the White House, Price wrote:
It is an honor and privilege to serve you as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Under your leadership, the Department is working aggressively to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. This includes working to reform a broken health care system, empower patients, reduce regulatory burdens, ensure global health security, and tackle clinical priorities such as the opioids epidemic, serious mental illness and childhood obesity.
I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.
Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation as the Secretary of Health and Human Services effective 11:59 PM on Friday, September 29, 2017.
You may rest assured that I will continue to support your critical priorities going ahead because failure is not an option for the American people.
In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan called Price “a good man.”
“Price has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant. He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary. His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation.”
During the Obama administration, a 2013 Government Accountability Office report found a similar problem, in this case, by the Justice Department. Two luxury jets the FBI had said were needed for security against global terrorism were used instead by Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller. Holder’s predecessors in the George W. Bush administration, Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales, also used the jets. It came at a total cost of $11.4 million, the GAO found.
The HHS secretary isn’t required to use non-commercial flights as some national security officials are.
Fox reported that Holder, in 2014, also took at government-owned Gulfstream and flew to the Belmont Stakes thoroughbred race in New York with family members and two security offices. The trip reportedly cost the government $14,440. Holder reimbursed the government $955. The Washington Times reported that while serving as CIA director, Leon Panetta refunded the government $630 for flights on luxury jets that cost about $32,000 per trip.
Price’s international travels had involved significant work on health issues. On May 17 and 18, Price traveled to Liberia to meet with the country’s leaders and health officials regarding the Ebola outbreak the ravaged the country in 2014. He met Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other top officials where he talked about the partnership with Liberia and United States government.
“Ebola survivors who met with the secretary described the significant stigma associated with the virus and continuing discrimination they face. Secretary Price shook hands with survivors, an important public gesture,” as said in a description by the Department of Health and Human Services.
He next traveled to Berlin to attend the G20 Health Ministerial Meeting, held on May 19 and 20. He met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Topics at the meeting included preparations to combat influenza and viruses with pandemic potential, antimicrobial resistance work with World Health Organization, or WHO. His next stop was the 70th annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, the 194-member government body of the WHO, where he spoke on May 22. The next major travel came Aug. 20-26, where he visited China, Vietnam, and Japan.
On Aug. 23, Price delivered the keynote address at the 7th High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Jarrett Stepman / September 26, 2017
The National Football League is now plunged into politics as players throughout the sport kneel for the national anthem and President Donald Trump continues to rebuke them publicly.
Undoubtedly, the situation has left many fans and non-fans of the league conflicted or angry. This fiasco may, however, open the eyes of the public to a serious and generally unchecked issue: billionaire NFL owners sponging enormous amounts of money from taxpayers through crony capitalist schemes. The fact is that a business that raked in $14 billion in revenue in 2016 is heavily subsidized by local, state, and federal money based on dubious claims about stimulating the economy.
The problem is rampant.
One report on Watchdog.org said that over the past two decades, the NFL has raked in about $7 billion of taxpayer money to spend on stadium renovation and building. Another study from the Brookings Institution showed that federal taxpayers have subsidized the construction of 36 stadiums at a cost of over $3.2 billion since 2000.
Michael Sargent, an infrastructure expert at The Heritage Foundation, wrote about how sports teams use specially crafted tax breaks to get the public to finance their massive projects.
“Tax-exempt municipal bonds are typically reserved for public-use projects such as bridges, water systems, and other infrastructure, yet because of a loophole in the tax code, private-use stadiums can take advantage of this tax break, and have done so prolifically.”
In fact, only a handful of NFL and other major league teams use privately-financed venues to host their games.
It would seem after sinking enormous investments into sports franchises, cities would reap serious financial benefits in return. But this isn’t the case at all. Research from George Mason University has shown that not only do communities gain almost no economic benefits from subsidized sports teams, but some findings “indicate harmful effects of sports on per capita income, wage and salary disbursements, and wages per job.”
Recently released polls show national anthem protests are deeply unpopular with the American people, but polls also show that the taxpayer funding of sports is also widely disliked. When likely voters in Nevada were asked if they favored or opposed using $500 million in taxpayer dollars to fund a stadium for the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, they overwhelmingly said “no.” According to the KTNV-TV 13 Action News/Rasmussen Reports poll, 60 percent of Nevada voters opposed the funding, and only 28 percent supported it.
Given the massive discontent over national anthem kneeling and rampant politicization of the once unifying sport of football, perhaps now Americans will turn a more skeptical eye toward how their sports teams rely on public money and actually do something about it.
Colin Kaepernick started out taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality, but his activism has since expanded to encompass a wide range of leftist causes, including a group named after a convicted cop-killer.
The Colin Kaepernick Foundation donated in April $25,000 to Assata’s Daughters, a Chicago “direct action” resistance organization honoring Assata Shakur, who escaped prison and fled to Cuba after being found guilty in the 1973 murder of Officer Werner Foerster.
The grant includes $2,500 for CopWatch, a program that trains volunteers to follow and video police, and $15,000 for teen training, part of the group’s commitment to “develop and train young people, ages 4-19, in the Black queer feminist tradition and in the spirit of Assata.”
Apparently Mr. Kaepernick is also a fan: He retweeted a July 16 message wishing Shakur a happy birthday.
The contribution came as part of Mr. Kaepernick’s pledge last year to donate $1 million over 10 months to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”
So far he has given $900,000 in grants to 31 organizations, including apolitical services like Meals on Wheels as well as advocacy groups pushing a left-of-center agenda on issues like abortion, climate change, criminal-justice reform and immigration.
Contributions include $25,000 for 350.org, a climate-change group dedicated to fighting fossil fuels, and $25,000 for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-choice advocacy organization.
The foundation gave $50,000 in December for a “health clinic partnership” at the now-defunct Dakota Access pipeline protest, and $25,000 to United We Dream in order to “keep DACA in force,” referring to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback also has close ties to the Women’s March, including organizers Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.
The Kaepernick Foundation donated in June $25,000 to the Gathering for Justice NYC, headed by Ms. Perez, while Ms. Mallory and Ms. Sarsour appeared at the Aug. 24 pro-Kaepernick rally outside NFL headquarters.
Part of the Kaepernick Foundation’s $33,000 donation for the Lower East Side Girls Club was designated for travel and lodging for the Women’s March convention in October.
The Women’s March returned the favor with a shoutout Sunday on Facebook with a post saying, “#TaketheKnee [is] on the right side of history today — not just NFL players, but all of YOU. Show your support for the athletes siding with justice.”
The Women’s March has its own Shakur connection: The group came under fire in July for a tweet celebrating the birthday of Shakur. Shakur was placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list as a “domestic terrorist” who belonged to an “extremist group,” the Black Revolutionary Army.
The backlash included a tweet from Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who said, “Unbelievable that anyone would idolize a cop killer.”
Assata’s Daughters has been upfront about its admiration for Shakur, saying on its website that it “carries on the tradition of radical liberatory activism encompassed by Assata Shakur.”
“Basically our organization is a part of a much larger movement that is fighting for the abolition of prisons, police and anti-blackness itself,” said Assata’s Daughters adult coordinator in a video.
Shakur, who was wounded in the 1977 shootout on the New Jersey turnpike that left two dead, including the officer, has argued that her murder conviction and life sentence were part of a “political prosecution” at the hands of a “racist legal system.”
Formerly Joanne Chesimard, she has since become a martyr on the left, drawing support from high-profile activists, like Angela Davis.
In 2015, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called on the Obama administration to extradite her after normalizing relations with Cuba.
Assata’s Daughters described its role as “one of helping to escalate, deepen and sustain the Black Lives Matter movement.” “We believe it is our duty to fight for our freedom,” the group says on its website. “We come together in struggle as radical Black feminists and organizers, under the shared respect, love and study of Assata Shakur.”
During the 2016 NFL season, Mr. Kaepernick touched off a political uproar over his refusal to stand for the national anthem, citing high-profile shootings of black men by police and what he called “systematic oppression” of U.S. minorities.
Mr. Kaepernick later faced criticism for his defense of former Cuban strongman Fidel Castro and wearing a T-shirt showing a 1960 meeting between Castro with Malcolm X.