Via the Washington Free Beacon:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued over $2.4 billion in improper payments on food stamps in fiscal year 2014, according to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
In a report detailing the agency’s financial statements for the year, the OIG accounted for improper payments made from the most high-risk Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs.
The OIG said the government has been building up the food “safety net” for decades, adding programs so that now one in four Americans now receive federal food assistance.
“Over the past half-century—beginning with the National School Lunch Program in 1946—the nation has gradually built an array of nutrition assistance programs designed to help the most vulnerable populations meet their food needs,” the report said. “Taken together, the current programs form a nationwide safety net supporting low-income families and individuals in their efforts to escape food insecurity and hunger and achieve healthy, nutritious diets.”
“Currently, the programs administered by FNS touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year,” the OIG added.
The report said the programs are designed to increase “food security” and healthy eating in a way that “inspires public confidence,” though the USDA is still misspending billions on food assistance.
According to the report, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, issued $2.437 billion in improper payments this year.
The program, described as the “foundation of America’s nutrition assistance program system,” provides food stamps to an average of more than 47 million people each month.
In addition, 15.25 percent of payments through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) were improper, totaling $1.748 billion. Thirty million children participate in the program, including 21 million who receive free or reduced price lunch from the federal government.
The school breakfast program accounted for $923 million in improper payments, with a rate of 25.61 percent, the highest reported. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program issued $206 million improper payments, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which provides food and snacks to day cares, issued $10 million worth of improper payments.
In all, the OIG reported $5.325 billion in improper payments from these five programs, the vast majority of which were overpayments.
Improper payments are defined as those “made to an ineligible recipient, a payment for an ineligible good or service, or a payment for goods or services not received.”
The report also detailed that the USDA has asked for 333 full-time employees for the food stamp program in FY 2015, nearly double the number of employees SNAP had in 2013 when 170 employees worked for the program.
There are currently 1,359 full-time permanent employees at the FNS, though the USDA would like to employ more than 1,600 in the coming year.
But leaders here say that is the nature of a movement that has taken place, in part, on social media and that does not match an earlier-era protest structure where a single, outspoken leader might have led the way. “This is not your momma’s civil rights movement,” said Ashley Yates, a leader of Millennial Activists United. “This is a movement where you have several difference voices, different people. The person in charge is really — the people. But the message from everyone is the same: Stop killing us.”
At times, there has been a split between national civil rights leaders and the younger leaders on the ground here, who see their efforts as more immediate, less passive than an older generation’s. But some here said relations have improved in recent weeks.
Some of the national leaders met with President Obama on Nov. 5 for a gathering that included a conversation about Ferguson.
According to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has appeared frequently in St. Louis with the Brown family and delivered a speech at Mr. Brown’s funeral, Mr. Obama “was concerned about Ferguson staying on course in terms of pursuing what it was that he knew we were advocating. He said he hopes that we’re doing all we can to keep peace.”
Via the Daily Mail:
A jihadist serving life in prison on terror charges brought in the wake of 9/11 has claimed the Saudi Arabian royal family helped finance the plot.
Zacarias Moussaoui, 46, says an unnamed Saudi Prince paid for flying lessons for him and the 19 terrorists who hijacked planes in the September 11 attacks in the run-up to the atrocities.
The incredible claims were made in documents filed to a federal court in Oklahoma, in which Moussaoui says a prince ‘was assisting me in my Islamic terrorist activities… and was doing so knowingly for Osama bin Laden’.
Moscow is warning Paris of “serious” consequences if France does not deliver a Mistral-class assault ship by the end of this month.
Under a $1.5 billion deal signed in 2011, the first of two Mistral helicopter carriers was supposed to be handed over to Russia on November 14.
But France has delayed the handover because of Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unidentified high-ranking source in Moscow as saying: “We are preparing for different scenarios. We are waiting until the end of the month, then we will lodge serious claims.”
The source said experts were gauging the damage sustained by Russia.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told lawmakers this week that there was still no fixed date for the delivery.
Via the Examiner:
Police in Buffalo, N.Y. are demonstrating what gun rights activists across the map have been saying for years – and gun prohibition lobbyists have been denying – about how registration leads to confiscation as they will reportedly begin confiscating guns legally owned by people who have recently passed away, according to a report yesterday on Fox News.
The report has outraged members of at least one popular firearms forum, Defensive Carry.com, along with the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA). It is news that puts the lie to claims by anti-gunners that gun owners needn’t be concerned about gun registration. That potential is why many gun owners in Washington fought Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure that will expand the state’s pistol registry.
UPDATE: The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has weighed in, calling the effort “unconscionable.”
“This is the kind of behavior one might expect in a police state, but not the United States,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “From now on, no gun control zealot will be able to dismiss and ridicule the concerns of law-abiding firearms owners that there is no reason to fear gun registration, no matter what form it takes. This explains why gun owners are opposed to registration and other forms of record-keeping and permit laws.
The seemingly ghoulish plan in Buffalo will apparently send cops to the homes of grieving, law-abiding families – while criminals continue to commit crimes – to grab the guns of recently-departed firearms owners, the Fox story intimated. NYSRPA President Tom King told Fox News that the police have a little secret about these gun grabs: “They’re quick to say they’re going to take the guns. But they don’t tell you the law doesn’t apply to long guns, or that these families can sell [their loved one’s] pistol or apply to keep it.”
According to Fox News, “The state law says that if the permit holder dies, the estate has 15 days to dispose of the guns or turn them in to authorities, who can hold the weapons up to two years. LoHud.com reported that violation of the law by survivors is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine.”
Under I-594, which passed in Washington State last week, someone who comes into possession of a handgun due to the death of the owner has 60 days to “either have lawfully transferred the pistol or must have contacted the department of licensing to notify the department that he or she has possession of the pistol and intends to retain possession of the pistol, in compliance with all federal and state laws.” Thus the state pistol registry is expanded, but so far, Washington does not have a law like New York’s, which has been around for some years.
Evergreen State gun prohibitionists vowed on Nov. 5, the day after passing I-594, that it was just the proverbial “first step” and they had other things on their agenda. Such things as bans on so-called ‘assault weapons” and standard-capacity magazines, the erosion of state preemption and even a rollback on concealed pistol licensing to an arbitrary New York-style “may issue” rather than the state’s long-standing “shall issue” requirement have long been on the wish list.
It is no wonder that gun owners in Nevada are alarmed, and gearing up for a brutal fight following the delivery of more than 250,000 signatures on a petition calling for so-called “universal background checks” in the Silver State. That petition drive is supported by Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety lobbying group.
Gun confiscations in Buffalo weren’t the only alarming news this week from Fox. On Wednesday, the network reported about Jack McCauley, now retired from the Maryland State Police, who contended in a court affidavit that the administration of anti-gun Gov. Martin O’Malley purposely misled the public about the state’s Firearms Safety Act of 2013.
According to the Fox report, McCauley, who served in the police firearms licensing division, was under political pressure not to answer questions about the Act’s effectiveness as a crime-prevention tool. He accused O’Malley’s office and the mainstream press of “intentionally lying to people,” and now he’s apparently trying to clear the record.
Omalley’s would-be successor Anthony G. Brown was defeated Nov. 4 by Republican Larry Hogan. Maryland gun owners are hoping the law, which banned so-called “assault weapons” and placed new restrictions on handgun buyers in the state, gets reversed on Hogan’s watch. That will be up to the legislature. A lawsuit to overturn the law was short-lived, so now the only option is repeal.
Following their Evergreen State victory, gun prohibitionists are ambitious. They already have a beachhead in Nevada, and are looking at other states to spread their brand of gun control. If rights activists hope to be successful, they must be willing to do more than exhibit righteously indignant chest thumping on Internet forums. Washington taught them that.
Via the Washington Examiner:
Immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up more than 40 percent of new Medicaid recipients at a cost of $4.6 billion, according to an analysis of government data.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a low-immigration advocacy group, released a report early Thursday that found both legal and illegal immigrants and their minor children made up 42 percent of Medicaid growth from 2011 to last year.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
Three myths about fossil-fuel subsidies are worth debunking. The first is the claim, put forth by organizations such as the Environmental Law Institute, that the U.S. subsidizes fossil fuels more heavily than green energy. Not so.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in 2010 that fossil-fuel subsidies amounted to $4 billion a year. These include $240 million in credit for investment in Clean Coal Facilities; a tax deferral worth $980 million called excess of percentage over cost depletion; and an expense deduction on amortization of pollution-control equipment. Renewable sources received more than triple that figure, roughly $14 billion. That doesn’t include $2.5 billion for nuclear energy.
Actual spending skews even more toward green energy than it seems. Since wind turbines and other renewable sources produce much less energy than fossil fuels, the U.S. is paying more for less. Coal-powered electricity is subsidized at about 5% of one cent for every kilowatt-hour produced, while wind power gets about a nickel per kwh. For solar power, it costs the taxpayer 77 cents per kwh.
Via Today’s Zaman:
(h/t: Jawa Report)
Detained policemen standing trial on charges of wiretapping have claimed that they were prevented from putting suspects linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and other groups affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) under close surveillance.
The defense testimony of the policemen was heard at the 9th İzmir High Criminal Court, where 32 police officers are standing trial after they were detained in a number of provinces across Turkey on Aug. 19 on accusations of illegal wiretapping.
Of those 32, 11 were placed under arrest in İzmir. Among those arrested include former Batman Police Chief Hasan Ali Okan. Most of the officers detained were involved in a tender-rigging investigation in İzmir as well as in an investigation into an espionage ring allegedly involving members of the military.
Muhammed Suad Çelen, one of the policemen who delivered his defense statement, said all the wiretapping activities were conducted legally and with a court decision, adding that there was no way the policemen could have benefitted from the wiretapping.
Çelen said the police intelligence unit ordered them not to conduct surveillance regarding al-Qaeda after Syria-bound trucks carrying weapons were intercepted in the southern province of Adana in January. He claimed that one Turkish police officer and one soldier were killed in Niğde by al-Qaeda militants because the terrorists could not be wiretapped. “All of us are now a target for al-Qaeda,” Çelen said.
The detained officers were involved in an anti-corruption operation that went public on Dec. 17 as well as the Balyoz (Sledgehammer), Ergenekon, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and Tawhid-Salam investigations. Tawhid-Salam is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization.
Prosecutors say the operations against the policemen were launched after allegations of spying and illegal wiretapping, but they are widely believed to be an act of government revenge for the Dec. 17 corruption and bribery operation. They are seen as targeting the faith-based Hizmet movement. Erdoğan accuses the movement of being behind a plot to oust him, and the movement denies the accusation.
Çelen’s lawyer, Ali Aksoy, said the primary reason for the trial is his client’s investigation of ISIL. He added that the intelligence unit chief blocked him from conducting work to expose ISIL militants.
Another police chief who is a suspect in the trial, Mustafa Edip Çakmak, rejected all the accusations of illegal wiretapping.
Meanwhile, former Kilis Police Intelligence Unit Chief Kenan Gök was detained at his house on Wednesday night. Gök was taken to the Kilis Police Department for interrogation. He had worked as the intelligence unit chief at the Kilis Police Department between 2007 and 2013. He was removed from his post following the Dec. 17 corruption probe and was sent to the Diyarbakır police academy.
Two black males in Milwaukee walked up to the home of a white family, in a majority black neighborhood, and unleashed a hail of gunfire. A five year old white girl was murdered while sitting on her grandfather’s lap.
Milwaukee police say there is no question the shooters were deliberating trying to kill people inside the house. At least a dozen bullets were fired directly into the house. There may have been a third person driving a getaway car.
The house was located in a census tract that is 77% black and 14% white.
The Milwaukee Sentinel and Milwaukee channel 6 have actually been trying to downplay the murder. They are falsely reporting that it was “a stray bullet.” That directly contradicts all the evidence found by police.
If the races were reversed, this would be the biggest news story in the entire western world right now. Imagine for one second that two white males walked up to a black occupied home, in a mostly white neighborhood, and opened fire. Imagine a five year old black girl was murdered while sitting on her grandfather’s lap. There would weeks of national coverage. There would be documentaries. The story would be revisited by the national media over and over for the next ten years.