Did you know that Family Dollar is closing 370 stores? When I learned of this, I was quite stunned. I knew that retailers that serve the middle class were really struggling right now, but I had no idea that things had gotten so bad for low end stores like Family Dollar. In the post-2008 era, dollar stores had generally been one of the few bright spots in the retail industry. As millions of Americans fell out of the middle class, they were looking to stretch their family budgets as far as possible, and dollar stores helped them do that. It would be great if we could say that the reason why Family Dollar is doing so poorly is because average Americans have more money now and have resumed shopping at retailers that target the middle class, but that is not happening. Rather, as you will see later in this article, things just continue to get even worse for Americans at the low end of the income scale.
I was also surprised to learn that Coldwater Creek is closing all of their stores…
Women’s clothing retailer Coldwater Creek Inc. on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to find a buyer said it plans to close its stores by early summer.
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Mr. David Krone
Chief of Staff
To Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Listen, buddy, we need to talk about your boss. I know he pays your salary, and I know he exempted you from Obamacare; but this is getting out of hand. I’m not sure if Senator Reid is off his meds or if twilight is falling on the old man a little faster than anticipated, but you need to start thinking about life post-Harry.
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- He accused then-Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney of cheating on his taxes, but he never produced more substantial evidence than hearsay; and even the hearsay itself was denied by the reputed source, John Huntsman Sr., who has denied making the accusation.
- He detonated the so-called Senatorial “nuclear option,” thereby terminating decades of Senate filibuster tradition, not to mention making a liar out of himself.
- He called the victims of Obamacare’s fraudulent machinations liars and paid stooges of the “Koch Brothers,” even as Obamacare revealed itself to be the largest financial fraud in human history. When his mendacity was exposed, he actually claimed he hadn’t made the statements — even though the comments are still readily available for viewing even now.
There’s government electronic surveillance, and then there’s government online stalking. In its mission to ensure the government gets every last dollar it can from people, the Internal Revenue Service is now resorting to the latter.
In one of those public radio stories that sounds like superficial fluff until you listen to the words, public radio’s “Marketplace” ran a story this week discussing how the IRS appears to take advantage of the confluence of Big Data and old-fashioned snooping on social media to determine whether private residents’ tax filings jibe with what they tell the online world about their earning and spending habits.
Because of budget cuts, the IRS will have fewer auditing agents than at any time since the 1980s.
Enter robots. After all, the IRS may not have a whole lot of money or manpower, but it has a gold mine of data on you. A lot of it from… well… you.
…Those fancy vacation photos you posted on Instagram? The Facebook status update about your new car? The tweets about your wildly successful side business?
All fair game for the IRS.
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Less than two years after being fully and finally “decimated” by the Administration of President Barack Obama, Al-Qaida has somehow managed to foment new leadership and organize into what CNN described Wednesday as “what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering in years.”
That story featured a video Wednesday that depicts a large open-air gathering of more than 100 al-Qaida terrorists rallying and listening to a fiery anti-U.S. pep talk from the group’s worldwide second-in-command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi. A CNN terrorism analyst said the group met somewhere in Yemen.
Notably, there’s a brazenness to the tone of this gathering, as the story observes.
A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn’t know about it or couldn’t get a drone there in time to strike….
In the middle of the clip, the man known as al Qaeda’s crown prince, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, appears brazenly out in the open, greeting followers in Yemen. Al-Wuhayshi, the No. 2 leader of al Qaeda globally and the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has said he wants to attack the United States. But in the video, he looks unconcerned that he could be hit by an American drone.
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New emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit indicate that former Internal Revenues Service official Lois Lerner’s targeting of conservative groups was part of a broader assault on right-leaning groups by other Federal agencies.
The emails, obtained by Judicial Watch, reveal communication between Lerner and Justice Department officials regarding the possibility of prosecuting tax-exempt groups for making “false statements.” The email exchange took place just days before Lerner was forced to apologize for the IRS’s unfair targeting of conservatives.
In a May 8 email to Nikole C. Flax, former chief of staff to former-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller, Lerner wrote:
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS …”
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Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has spent much of this week defending against attacks from foreign policy hawks who argue that his views are too extreme for American politics. The Senator, calling for ambiguity in foreign policy, made the case that “the extremes of foreign policy have had their way, and it has not worked” in a Wednesday opinion piece.
According the Senator’s Washington Times op-ed, his critics are asking for concrete answers to questions of how government should respond to foreign policy hypotheticals.
Writing that opposing a policy of containment in Iran does not mean that the U.S. should announce that it would never embrace such a policy, Paul charges that his critics’ foreign policy absolutism is a danger to U.S. security.
“To be against a ‘we will never contain Iran’ resolution is not the same as being for containment of a nuclear Iran,” Paul writes. “Rather, it means that foreign policy is complicated and doesn’t fit neatly within a bumper sticker, headline or tweet.
“Those who reduce it to such do a disservice to their reporting and, potentially, to the security of our nation.”
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Welcome to yet another desperate effort by the Democrats to come up with something — anything — that will distract voters from Obamacare.
Forget the absurdity Nancy Pelosi is trying to peddle, that the Senators and Representatives who shoved this monstrosity down our throats should be proud to embrace it. Too many Democratic candidates running for re-election know how unpopular Obamacare is with their constituents. Embracing it would be the kiss of death.
So it’s no surprise that they will try anything to keep this incredibly unpopular piece of legislation from being the No. 1 issue in the November elections. What can they do to energize their base and get voters eager to support them again? How about going back to the well for an issue that worked very well the last time out: accusing the Republicans of conducting a “war on women”?
Yes, that’s the ticket. What better way to get the troops ready for battle than to trumpet a promise to end the gender wage gap? The President repeated a line from his State of the Union address in January, that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar that a man does. That should get the feminine blood boiling.
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On April 17, 1961, about 1,400 Cuban exiles, armed, trained and financed by the CIA and with the blessings of President John F. Kennedy, landed in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Their goal was to rally Cuban citizenry to rise up and overthrow Fidel Castro.
The mission was ill-conceived, the planning was bad, the execution was worse and the results were disastrous.
The landing force was immediately met with Cuban resistance. More than 100 of the invaders were killed, and another 1,200 were captured.
The official story is that the operation to use Cuban exiles was ordered by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Kennedy inherited it and went along after getting mixed signals on the operation’s chances, even though many of his military advisers told him it stood little chance of success without American air cover. Kennedy informed the exiles ahead of time there would be no American military assistance.
Documents that have come to light since — documents that Kennedy supposedly never saw — indicate the CIA knew the mission would fail without U.S. support, but the agency expected Kennedy to cave once the operation was underway.
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The Obama Administration is backing a new FDA proposal that seeks to create regulatory interference where, historically, there has been none whatsoever: in the relationship brewers with leftover grain and farmers who need some extra grain to feed to their cattle.
The proposed FDA rule would set the government between the brewers and the farmers, forcing the brewers – who often give away or sell the surplus grain for a modest sum – to demonstrate that they have verified the “safety” of the material in the same way that pet food manufacturers currently are regulated.
Never mind the fact that, in this instance, cattle are downstream from humans in this brewer-farmer supply chain. Under the FDA’s proposal, what was sourced and exploited first as fit for human consumption – the grain to be fermented into beer – would have to be vetted for safety after the breweries are done with the material and before the cows could come near it.
Chicago brewery owner Josh Deth told Fox News the new rule would either make it too costly for him to prepare the grain for the farmers, or cost him more than $100,000 a year to send to a landfill. “The whole brewing community was shocked about it,” he said.
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The president of the Nation’s largest federation of labor unions told participants in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session that “it don’t get no better” than Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), before suggesting that the liberal Democrat should run for President.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who campaigned for Warren during her 2012 race against t then-Senator Scott Brown (R), told Redditors: “I have met Elizabeth Warren on multiple occasions. Both before she was a Senator, while she was running for Senator and after she was elected. In my opinion she is the prototype of a person we would want to be president of the United States. She has a very well defined set of values and unlike many politicians, she actually sticks by those values and fights to implement them. In short, it don’t get no better.”
Warren has said in recent months that she has no plans to run for President in 2016. This week, most headlines about the union-friendly Senator have been related to her forthcoming memoir “A Fighting Chance”, which chronicles her personal and political life— including the pain caused by scrutiny of her alleged Native American heritage.
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While many GOP politicians remain mum on the Federal response to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized the government’s actions this week.
During a radio interview, Paul called out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and questioned why the government has so many armed personnel.
After a tense standoff between Federal agents and Bundy supporters, some of whom were armed, culminated in the government backing down and releasing the rancher’s livestock, Reid said Monday that the standoff is far from over.
“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told KRNV. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”
American citizens shouldn’t violate the law, Paul agreed— however, the government shouldn’t either.
“I think there’s an opposite thing to what Harry Reid said, and that’s the federal government shouldn’t violate the law, nor should we have 48 Federal agencies carrying weapons and having SWAT teams,” Paul said Tuesday in a radio interview with the Kentucky-based WHAS.
The lawmaker went on to say that the disputed land, which the Bundy family had leased from the county before a Federal takeover, should be returned to local control—a goal he believes can be best achieved in court.
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It’s not just Connecticut gun owners who are refusing to comply with unConstitutional laws requiring them to register their guns. New York residents are also refusing to comply.
In the days leading up to yesterday’s deadline to register so-called “assault weapons” as defined under the New York SAFE Act, reports were leaking that only 3,000 to 5,000 firearms had been registered. That’s far short of the approximately 1 million weapons affected by the law.
Failure to register is a misdemeanor under the law. But it appears that as many as 98 percent of New York gun owners have decided to risk charges rather than register their guns.
It’s important to note that few police departments have embraced the law. As New York Assemblyman Bill Nojay pointed out in January: “The rank and file troopers don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t know of a single sheriff upstate who is going to enforce it. If you don’t have the troopers and you don’t have the sheriffs, who have you got? You’ve got Andrew Cuomo pounding on the table in Albany.”
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The Census Bureau has been directed to change the wording of questions concerning Americans’ health coverage so that it will be impossible to compare the answers with those provided by takers of the bureau’s interim annual surveys in previous years.
First reported Tuesday in The New York Times, the change drew criticism not only from conservatives — who have smelled some kind of agenda-driven motive from the Administration of President Barack Obama ever since oversight of the Census Bureau was taken out from under the Commerce Department and placed under the control of former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — but also from mainstream media, including Times reporter Josh Barro:
Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle was “speechless” at the news:
What’s got them so upset? Here’s the first sentence of The Times’ story:
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While the police don’t like it and officers across the country repeatedly intimidate and even arrest those who do it, courts have ruled that citizens can indeed record police activities. Now Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston is asking the public to put away their recording devices for their own safety.
Pinkston told CBS DFW that it’s a safety issue. He made the recommendation after a woman from the police accountability organization Cop Block was spotted following a Dallas officer around recording his activities.
“It’s creating a major officer safety issue,” Pinkston said. “We don’t know who it is pulling behind us. We don’t know they’re there to videotape, they might be part of… if that guy has has just done a kidnapping they could be part of the kidnapping. You don’t know.”
Who knew kidnapping was rampant in Dallas? And who knew kidnappers recorded their kidnappings?
I suspect the real reason Pinkston and other cops are more concerned that videos like this will get out:
Many of those who regularly record police activities think so as well.
And if a police officer is unable to distinguish between a recording device and a weapon, perhaps that police officer needs to find another line of work.
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This article, written by Kathryn Watson, was originally published by Watchdog on April 14.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The police know exactly where my car has been — and when — during the past few months.
They could have the same information — or more — about you.
As a part of my series on the use of automatic license plate readers in Virginia, I wanted to find out what kind of information local police might have. By law, the only information I’m privileged to is my own.
Last week, I filed a public records request with the Alexandria Police Department. I’ve lived in the lovely city of Alexandria for just two years, and my driving record – aside from the occasional parking ticket — is virtually spotless.
What I found, however, left me riveted.
In all, police captured 16 photos of my car — mostly at night — and recorded my license plate eight times on five dates — from October 2013 to as recently as April 1.
In January, a license plate reader captured my plate twice while my car was parked in the lot of my apartment complex, according to latitude and longitude records.
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This month, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), lectured Secretary of State John Kerry on America’s need to get tough with the world. McCain said President Teddy Roosevelt bragged that he carried a big stick and spoke softly. McCain’s accusation is that the Administration of President Barack Obama doesn’t carry a big stick; it carries a twig.
The truth is Uncle Sam is too weak, too fat and too whimsical of mind to bother picking up much of anything up and waving it about. We have neither the military nor the political will nor the economic strength we once did. It’s as if America has fallen over a cliff, and President Barack Obama pushed us.
It was Obama that promised so much and then delivered far less. It was Obama when running for President that said he would fundamentally change the Nation. And he has changed the Nation for the worse. Whatever your politics, there is no denying that the United States has less influence today than it had before Roosevelt a century ago.
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If a recent survey commissioned by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund is any indication, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) will have to double his current polling numbers with Arizona Republicans if he hopes to hang on to his Senate seat in the 2016 election cycle.
Released Monday by Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, the poll shows only 29.3 percent of the likely voters in the GOP primary would vote for McCain, while an overwhelming 64.2 percent would vote for an unnamed “new person.”
From the summary:
Arizona Senator John McCain confronts a very challenging primary landscape should he decide to run for a sixth term in 2016. Although his job approval-disapproval rating among Republicans statewide is evenly split, and his image is slightly underwater (47.7% favorable, 51.4% unfavorable), it is the fact that Republican Primary voters in Arizona are over twice as likely to elect “a new person” (64.2%) than they are to re-elect McCain (29.3%) that spells trouble.
… This is not simply “trouble with the Tea Party” or “far-right angst.” Senator McCain struggles at various levels with Republicans across the ideological spectrum, as shown in the Appendix (Tea Party Republicans, Strong Republicans, Not-so-strong Republicans and Independents).
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