Federal Dumbassery Alert!

Congress Wants To Turn The US Postal Service… Into A Bank – Zero Hedge

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It’s news that seems ripped from the pages of The Onion. Or perhaps Atlas Shrugged.

But incredibly enough it’s actually true: earlier this week, Congress proposed a new law authorizing the US Postal Service to provide banking and financial services.

It’s called the “Providing Opportunities for Savings, Transactions, and Lending” Act, abbreviated as… wait for it… the POSTAL Act.

And it provides explicit authorization for them to provide banking services including checking and savings accounts, money transfers, and “other basic financial services as the Postal Service deems appropriate in the public interest.”

Bank of the Post Office. It’s incredible when you think about it.

The US Postal Service hasn’t turned a profit in a decade.

As a matter of fact, its total accumulated losses now exceed $51 billion, easily ranking it among the least successful companies in history.

And the only way USPS can continue to maintain its operations is with regular bailouts from the American taxpayer.

The statistics are just horrendous. Mail volume is down dramatically, which means that revenue continues to fall.

Yet the Postal Service’s expenses and pension costs keep growing, along with its debt.

Just like the US government, the US Postal Service has its own debt ceiling that’s set by Congress.

USPS reached this debt ceiling back in 2012 and has remained at that level for years.

The only way they survive is by moving liabilities off-balance sheet and regularly going back to Congress with hat in hand.

Wow, talk about a responsible financial partner – this sounds like EXACTLY the place we should want to deposit our hard-earned savings!

Seriously, why would these people even consider an idea so absurd as to let an organization with a history of failed operations take over people’s savings?

Simple. It’s a cheap source of capital.

The Postal Service desperately needs cash. So what better way to raise capital than to sucker unsuspecting Americans into opening up Postal bank accounts?

When you deposit money in a bank, you are effectively loaning the bank your money.

In exchange, they pay you a whopping 0.01% interest.

This is what almost all banks do – they borrow money from depositors and (hopefully) make credible investments and loans with other people’s money.

Except in this case, the Postal Service needs to ‘borrow’ depositors’ savings to cover losses from its other operations.

There’s a term for this. It’s called a Ponzi Scheme.

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*VIDEO* While You’re Worried About The Results Of The Iowa Caucuses, Ed Considers Life, The Universe And Everything

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SpaceX’s Dragon 2 Crew Capsule Is One Step Closer To Flight (Video)

Watch The SpaceX Dragon Crew Capsule Hover Like A Fiery Bee – C/Net

Commercial spaceflight company SpaceX sure knows how to give its equipment cool names. It has a Falcon 9 reusable rocket. It also has the Dragon 2 crew capsule, designed to ferry people into space and return them gently to Earth. The Dragon 2 sports eight SuperDraco engines (most likely a reference to the Latin for “dragon,” and not Draco Malfoy from “Harry Potter”).

All eight of those engines are on display in footage showing what SpaceX calls a “picture-perfect propulsive hover test” for the Dragon 2. The video was taken on November 24, but released Thursday on YouTube.

The SuperDraco thrusters are paired up around the edges of the capsule. You can see them firing distinctly in the video. SpaceX refers to these pairs as “jet packs,” in keeping with the company’s geeky-cool nomenclature.

The engines produce 33,000 pounds of thrust that allow the capsule to hover like a graceful insect in the air for a few brief moments. The experiment was aimed at “demonstrating vehicle control while hovering.” The project is part of SpaceX’s work with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a public-private partnership focused on developing equipment for human space flight.

SpaceX has lived through both triumph and heartbreak recently. It successfully returned its reusable Falcon 9 rocket to a landing pad after it launched and delivered 11 satellites into low-Earth orbit on December 21. Last week, the company took a third try at landing the Falcon 9 on a floating barge. For the third time, it failed to stick the landing and exploded.

The successful Dragon 2 hover test is another check mark in the triumph column for SpaceX. Getting humans and gear back and forth to space has always been challenging, but the video is a fascinating glimpse at a future spacecraft that should one day carry people far above our planet.
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*VIDEOS* 2016 Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trades Show – Las Vegas, NV

DAY 1

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DAY 2

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RANGE DAY

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Leftist Nightmare Update: U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses

U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses – Truth Revolt

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UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is reconsidering its participation in the Obamacare exchanges after reporting near billion losses.

According to figures published at Fortune, UnitedHealth will lose $100 million dollars more than it projected in its financial forecasts for the 2016 Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Previous estimates were in the $400 million range, now rising past $500 million.

What’s worse, last year, the company reported $720 million in losses thanks to Obamacare and that number is expected to soar past $745 million in the next year.

“By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017,” said UnitedHealth President Dave Wichmann.

Wichmann said his company is slowing marketing efforts, withdrawing certain products, and also increasing prices in hopes to offset some of the lost revenue. But as is noted in Fortune’s report, enrollment continues to rise despite these efforts,

Fortune also points out that UnitedHealth can boast $180 billion in total revenue currently, meaning the losses are just “a small fraction of UnitedHealth’s total business.” And currently, the company’s stock prices are up, perhaps indicating that investors aren’t too worried.

While this might not have as big an impact on a giant corporation, it is yet another example highlighting Obama’s “like your doctor, keep your doctor” lie as health care providers continue to pass on losses to their customers.

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TransCanada Sues President Asshat Over Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada Sues Obama Over Keystone XL – Washington Examiner

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The builder of the Keystone XL oil pipeline company is suing the Obama administration in federal court over its refusal to approve the project.

TransCanada, which proposed the pipeline project to connect Canada’s oil sands in Alberta with U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court in Houston, “asserting that the president’s decision to deny construction of Keystone XL exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution,” according to the company.

The administration squashed the project after a record seven years of review, saying the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions and worsen climate change.

“TransCanada’s legal actions challenge the foundation of the U.S. administration’s decision to deny a presidential border crossing permit for the project,” the company says. “In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project. Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”

The company says as a result of the U.S. permit denial, it is reviewing the total sunk cost in the project at $3.1 billion. It is also making a separate claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement to recoup $15 billion in “costs and damages that it has suffered as a result of the U.S. administration’s breach of its… obligations” under the agreement.

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*LIVE STREAMING* CNN Republican Presidential Primary Debate (12/15/15 – 8:30pm ET)



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Participants: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina

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DHS Whistleblower Claims Obama Regime Shut Down Terror Investigation That Could Have Prevented San Bernardino Attack

Whistleblower: Feds Shut Down Terror Investigation That Could Have Prevented San Bernardino Attack – Daily Caller

A former Department of Homeland Security agent says that an investigation he was conducting into a fundamentalist Islamic group operating in the U.S. may have helped stop San Bernardino jihadi Syed Farook had the government not shut down his probe.

During an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on Thursday, Philip Haney said that in 2012 as an agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, he opened an investigation into a Sunni Islamic group called, Tablighi Jamaat, a subset of the fundamentalist Deobandi movement.

But Haney said that just a year into the investigation it was shut down State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The reason the investigation was quashed? Because the federal government did not want to profile Islamic groups, Haney told Kelly.

In the process of shutting down Haney’s inquiry, the feds also deleted his files, which included information on an organization with ties to Farook’s mosque, San Bernardino’s Deobandi movement-affiliated Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamia.

And Farook’s wife and accomplice, Tashfeen Malik, went to school at Pakistan’s al-Huda, which also has ties to the Deobandi movement.

As the global intelligence group Stratfor has reported, Talighi Jamaat has been linked to a number of attempted terrorist attacks targeting the U.S.

Members of the sect were tied to the Oct. 2002 Portland Seven case and the Sept. 2002 Lackawanna Six case. Members were also involved in an Aug. 2006 plot to bomb airliners en route from London to the U.S. and attempted bombings in London and Glasgow, Scotland in July 2007. Stratfor also reported that Talighi Jamaat affiliates were involved in the the July 7, 2005 bombings. That attack left 52 dead and more than 700 injured.

Haney said that had his investigation been allowed to develop, Farook may have ended up on the federal government’s terror radar or on the government’s no-fly list. And if that had occurred, Farook would not have been able to connect with Malik. The jihadists reportedly met in 2013. She came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia last year on a fiancee visa and married soon after.

“Either Syed would have been put on the no-fly list because association with that mosque, and/or the K-1 visa that his wife was given may have been denied because of his association with a known organization,” Haney told Kelly.

Haney turned whistleblower in 2013 after meeting with DHS’ inspector general. In turn, DHS and the Justice Department investigated him, though found no wrongdoing, The Federalist reported.

In Sept. 2014, Haney had his security clearance revoked as well as his access to work databases.

According to Fox’s Trace Gallagher, the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the story but said that Haney’s story is missing many details.

Haney’s claim comes amid reports that investigators believe that Farook was in the same social circle as a Riverside, Cal. man who was arrested in 2012 in a plot to recruit for al-Qaeda. That recruiter, Soheil Kabir, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Farook had reportedly planned an attack in 2012 but got spooked after that recruiting ring was busted.

WATCH:
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Related video:
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Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Would Create 2.7M Jobs, Add $663B To Economy Annually

Opening Federal Lands To Drilling Worth $663 Billion Annually – Daily Caller

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Opening federal lands for natural gas, oil, and other drilling would create 2.7 million jobs and add $663 billion to the economy each year for the next 30 years, according to a new study by Louisiana State University and the Institute for Energy Research (IER).

“We’ve seen a steady decline in lease sales year over year in the Obama administration… if not for oil and gas production on private and state lands, there would be no economic recovery,” said Thomas J. Pyle, the President of IER, in a teleconference with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The permit time it takes to drill on federal lands is over 200 days, that compares with 14 in North Dakota and 4 in Texas. As a result, production on federal lands has lagged behind.”

An executive summary of the study given to The Daily Caller News Foundation estimates that opening federal lands and waters would also lead to $5.1 trillion in new wages and $3.9 trillion in new federal tax revenue over the next 37 years, which would massively stimulate the economy. Over a 30 year period, this would create and support 2.7 million new jobs. More than 75 percent of the jobs would be in high-wage, high-skill employment, and many would be “support” jobs outside the energy industry.

The study is an update and expansion of a 2013 study that estimated that opening drilling would only be worth $450 billion over the next 30 years.

To put these numbers in perspective, the US military budget in 2015 was $598.5 billion.

Despite the lack of open drilling on federal land, the United States became the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015. This drastic change stems largely from America’s increased production of oil and natural gas due to new hydraulic fracturing techniques.

America controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve – the Green River Formation in Colorado. Three-fourths of the formations is on federal land so it has remained largely untapped. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of oil shale, half of which may be economically recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined, and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than production in 2008.

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Obama’s HHS Gave Sweetheart Deal To Firm Linked To Medical Data Fraud

Feds Gave Sweetheart Deal To Firm Linked To Medical Data Fraud – Daily Caller

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell awarded a rarely used open-ended sole-source contract to a firm whose corporate owners were embroiled in a $400 million fraudulent medical data scheme that cheated doctors and consumers, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

The company Burwell selected is Optum Labs, which is part of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum subsidiary. Andrew Slavitt, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was formerly a top Optum executive at the time of the fraudulent database involved in the scheme. The database enabled insurers to pay dramatically lower reimbursements to doctors and patients for out-of-network care.

Optum and UnitedHealth Group settled the landmark fraud case with then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in 2009 and paid out a record $400 million. Optum Labs – which is one of nation’s largest medical data analytics companies – was not a party to the settlement.

Under the contract, Optum Labs will provide HHS with 160 million administrative claim records it accumulated over 20 years and 40 to 50 million electronic medical records it collected over the last seven years, according to Optum Lab spokesman Jeffrey Smith. Some of the records to be given to HHS are part of the database involved in the 2009 settlement, Smith says.

Cuomo – now New York’s Democratic governor – said at the time of the settlement that Optum and UnitedHealth Group had “ripped off patients” by rigging out-of-network reimbursements to providers and consumers. “Too many people have been hurt,” he said.

UnitedHealth Group’s insurance division, United Healthcare, is the nation’s biggest health insurance company and warned last month it may stop participating in Obamacare in 2017 due to unexpectedly large financial losses.

Slavitt left Optum to join CMS as deputy administrator and became acting administrator when Marilyn Tavenner stepped down after the troubled launch of Obamacare. Obama nominated Slavitt as the permanent administrator July 10, 2015, but a confirmation vote has yet to be taken in the Senate.

Slavitt was granted a rare “ethics waiver” by the Obama administration that permits him to rule on issues involving past employers. American Commitment, a conservative non-profit advocacy group, recently delivered to the Senate more than 20,000 letters it generated demanding rejection of Slavitt’s nomination.

It was clear from the beginning of the award process Burwell’s choice for the contract was Optum Labs. In a May 29 public notice, she declared the contract would be awarded without any competition, declaring, “this is a notice of intent, not a request for a quote. A solicitation will not be issued and quotes will not be requested.”

Optum Labs has hundreds of rivals. There are 971 health IT companies registered with the federal government under the same service code in which Optum Lab was awarded the account.

Burwell added in the May 29 notice that the sole-source contract also was a “blanket purchase agreement,” (BPA) which means the contract will provide continuous government orders without competing bidders. No dollar amount is specified for the contract.

Federal officials aren’t required by BPA procurement rules to issue any public notice or solicitation when the contract is up for renewal. The contract is for one year, with options to renew over the following four years. It started in September of this year.

“This seems like another example of the revolving door paying off for a contractor, and more proof that who you know might be more lucrative than what you know,” Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, tells TheDCNF.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, tells TheDCNF that “sole-source contracts by their nature raise questions about whether the taxpayers are getting the best deal.”

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance that oversees Obamacare, demands the administration justify its decision to offer Optum Labs a sole-source contract.

“The administration should be explicitly transparent about the reasons for any sole source contracts, and especially here where the firm getting the contract has been controversial,” Grassley tells TheDCNF.

“Companies would love to get that contract because it means that there won’t be any on follow-on competition and the agency will place their orders only with them,” says a 30-year senior procurement officer in an interview with TheDCNF.

The procurement officer who requested anonymity tells TheDCNF that “when they say ‘sole- source,’ that means they’re not going to look to other people. They’re not going to consider anyone else. They’re going to go straight to who they’re going to pick.” He requested anonymity because he is barred from speaking on the record due to his governmental post.

“A sole source BPA is an instrument that any company would be probably would be happy to have. Let’s not kid ourselves,” the procurement officer tells TheDCNF.

American Commitment president Phil Kerpen says “it’s rather remarkable that a division of Andy Slavitt’s UnitedHealth Group, Optum Labs, has now gotten an open-ended contract from HHS.”

Kerpen points to the ethics waiver that allows Slavitt to make decisions involving his former employers as an especially important factor in questioning the Optum Labs sole-source award.

“I think that certainly the perception of corruption is one reason why the unusual ethics waiver from the administration is so inappropriate. You now have a top executive of a company that does business every day, both as a regulated entity and as a vendor, with a top executive right there in the building,” Kerpen says.

CMS officials insist Slavitt is not involved in the Optum Lab contract. But an HHS spokeswoman refused to make public the memorandum of understanding between the department and Optum Labs.

The Optum Lab contract is with an obscure HHS operation called the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The House Appropriations Committee zeroed-out the agency in June. The bill is in the Senate awaiting action.

Republicans charge AHRQ duplicates many other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health for which congressional Republicans have increased funding.

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Ed’s List Of The College Football Bowl Games That Probably Won’t Suck (2015-2016)


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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
3:30 pm
BYU Cougars vs. Utah Utes

MONDAY, DECEMBER 28
Military Bowl
2:30 pm
Navy Midshipmen vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29
Russell Athletic Bowl
5:30 pm
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Baylor Bears

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
12:00 pm
Florida State Seminoles vs. Houston Cougars

Capital One Orange Bowl (Playoff Semifinal)
4:00 pm
Clemson Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Goodyear Cotton Bowl (Playoff Semifinal)
8:00 pm
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan State Spartans

FRIDAY, JANUARY 1
Outback Bowl
12:00 pm
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
1:00 pm
Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators

Fiesta Bowl
1:00 pm
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Rose Bowl
5:00 pm
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Stanford Cardinal

Allstate Sugar Bowl
8:30 pm
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Ole Miss Rebels

SATURDAY, JANUARY 2
Valero Alamo Bowl
6:45 pm
TCU Horned Frogs vs. Oregon Ducks

MONDAY, JANUARY 11
CFP National Championship
8:30 pm
Orange Bowl Winner vs. Cotton Bowl Winner

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NCAA Football: Top 20 Teams After Week 14


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Clemson Tigers – 13-0
Alabama Crimson Tide – 12-1
Michigan State Spartans – 12-1
Iowa Hawkeyes – 12-1
Houston Cougars – 12-1
Oklahoma Sooners – 11-1
Ohio State Buckeyes – 11-1
North Carolina Tar Heels – 11-2
Stanford Cardinal – 11-2
Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 10-2
Florida State Seminoles – 10-2
TCU Horned Frogs – 10-2
Northwestern Wildcats – 10-2
Oklahoma State Cowboys – 10-2
Temple Owls – 10-2
Florida Gators – 10-3
Navy Midshipmen – 9-2
Toledo Rockets – 9-2
Oregon Ducks – 9-3
Baylor Bears – 9-3

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*PODCAST* The Andrew Klavan Show

GOOD NEWS! IT’S WORLD WAR III


……………………………Click on image above for podcast

MORE:

GOING MEDIEVAL
JESUS CHRIST AND PANTIES
THIS PRESIDENT IS A DICK!
SEX! SEX! SEX! – AND CONSEQUENCES!


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*MOVIES* Your Daley Gator Top Five Films For Thanksgiving


A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING (1973)

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MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947)

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PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (1987)

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1995)

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SCENT OF A WOMAN (1992)

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