Monday, August 25, 2014

The $16.65 billion settlement by Bank of America over financial-crisis-era mortgage securities "highlights a pattern of the government extorting the banks," Dick Kovacevich said on CNBC this week. Kovacevich is the former Wells Fargo chairman and CEO. I've known him for years. He ran a great bank. He kept Wells Fargo clean during the credit meltdown. And, unusual for a big-bank CEO, he strongly supports free-market principles.
Kovacevich went on to say, "It's definitely politics. It has nothing to do with justice or restitution to the innocent victims. In fact, more of the money is going to the coffers of the states and various departments than the victims." He then concluded, "Why are we charging the stockholders instead of going after the people who did wrong? Corporations don't engage in criminal behavior. People do."
Kovacevich is right on target. These huge bank settlements are election-year ATMs for the Obama administration. It was $12 billion for JP Morgan, another $7 billion for Citigroup and on and on. It's a real shakedown.

In fact, no one even remotely knows how these penalty-payment numbers are calculated. And the federal government's disbursement of these funds is equally mysterious. As the Wall Street Journal editorial page has pointed out, a lot of money has gone to states run by Democratic governors. Yup.

And in the $7 billion Citibank settlement, there's a section explaining how $2.5 billion goes to "community reinvestment and neighborhood stabilization." What's that mean?

All this sounds suspiciously like the housing version of the ACORN electioneering operations. In other words, community organizers. In other words, left-wing groups who had absolutely nothing to do with the credit crisis.

But this shakedown isn't isolated to banks. In spirit, it extends to all businesses. It's the Team Obama way.

Obamacare Enrollees Facing Reduced Tax Refunds

Andrea Billups / Newsmax

Many people who received tax credits to pay for their Obamacare coverage won't get income tax refunds or will see much smaller refunds than expected, USA Today reports.

Worse still, noted George Brandes, vice president for healthcare programs at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service,  "more than a third of tax credit recipients will owe some money back, and [that] can lead to some pretty hefty repayment liabilities."

Those whose incomes exceed what they put down when they applied for the federal program may also be surprised that they do not qualify for as much of a tax credit as they originally thought, USA Today noted.

For that reason, the tax preparation firm H&R Block advises people who receive tax credits to contact and advise of any income changes to avoid sticker shock at tax time next spring.

While their premiums may increase, that may well be preferable for those who count on their tax refunds each year.

"As time goes on, the ability to make adjustments diminishes," Mark Ciaramitaro, H&R Block's vice president of healthcare services, told USA Today. "Clients count on that refund as their biggest financial transaction of the year. When that refund goes down, it really has reverberations."

Consumers are also warned that participation in the healthcare insurance program may make filling out tax forms more complicated, Politco noted. Those who chose not to participate and who do not have insurance may also be penalized as the IRS gears up with calculations for the first year of Obamacare.

In July, the administration offered up drafts of forms that individuals and businesses would need to fill out come tax time in April — paperwork tax executive Ciaramitaro described as "daunting."

"Overall, we expect the complexity level is just going to go up for a significant group of moderate- to low-income people, whether they got insurance through the marketplace or they didn’t."

Already, the government is struggling to get the new tax forms out to consumers by the expected deadline of Jan. 31, The Washington Times reported.

The 1095A form outlines their Obamacare coverage and tax credits, but already experts see it as a looming challenge.

"It really strains credulity to think 1095A is not going to be a big problem," Jackson Hewitt's Brandes told the Times.
Paperwork May Delay Tax Returns For Patients Covered Under Obamacare 
by  / Personal Liberty Digest

Paperwork May Delay Tax Returns For Patients Covered Under Obamacare
Obamacare customers will have to fill out additional paperwork next year in order to verify their eligibility for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. Tax preparers acquainting themselves for the changes say that, given Obamacare’s track record of delays and glitches, it’s difficult to imagine the added layer of bureaucracy won’t delay many of those patients’ tax returns.

The verification document, the federal 1095A form, is supposed to be in the hands of every eligible tax filer by Jan. 31, 2015. Anyone who purchased health insurance through a government-funded exchange must file the form. But according to The Washington Times, tax professionals already foresee delays, not only with the January deadline, but for everything that follows afterward.

“It really strains credulity to think 1095A is not going to be a big problem,” Jackson Hewitt vice president for health programs George Brandes told The Times.

One major concern is the deadline itself: Many people receive their federal W-2 form much earlier than Jan. 31. Many of those same people simply aren’t yet aware of just how pervasively Obamacare’s financial stipulations will reach into other aspects of their financial lives and, therefore, may prepare and file their taxes before the 1095A form ever hits their door.

One tax professional interviewed for the Times piece said it’s “absolutely critical” that patients covered under Obamacare have the 1095A form before filing their taxes, but even then, it’s not clear that many will know what the form is for.

The IRS has released drafts of the forms taxpayers will see next year, but stakeholders are still waiting on instructions that explain how to calculate subsidy amounts to see if they correctly match up with a person’s income.
So even if the forms do arrive on time and customers do know exactly what they’re for, they may still have a hard time figuring out the precise numbers they must share with the IRS (under penalty of perjury, no less).

In related Obamacare news last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its August business outlook survey, which revealed that businesses are dramatically altering their hiring patterns in order to avoid Obamacare’s coverage mandates for full-time employees.

tax graphic
“In special questions this month, firms were asked qualitative questions about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how, if at all, they are making changes to their employment and compensation, including benefits,” the survey summary stated.

“Over 18 percent of the firms indicated that the number of workers was lower because of the ACA; 3 percent indicated higher levels. The same percentage (18 percent) indicated that the proportion of part-time workers had increased.”
Islamic State demanded “Lady al-Qaeda” in exchange for US hostages
Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

“Lady Al Qaeda” continues to pop up in the most notorious places. Aafia Siddiqui was convicted of attempting to murder Americans in Afghanistan after she was found with plans for a “mass casualty attack” in the United States, along with a list of New York landmarks.

Muslim terrorist Aafia Siddiqui is an MIT-trained neuroscientist who married a top Al Qaeda operative who intended to blow up gas stations or poison water reservoirs in the United States.. She is a possible associate of Majid Khan and is believed to have links to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She allegedly arranged travel documents for another suspected terrorist.

Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist also known as “Lady al-Qaida,” is serving an 86-year prison sentence after being convicted of attempting to assault and murder American officers in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors say she grabbed an Army officer’s M-4 rifle and fired it at another officer and other members of a U.S. interview team at an Afghan police compound in July 2008. This savage should rot in prison for the rest of her life.

The fully veiled Siddiqui demanded a Jew-free jury at her New York trial. Obama’s civilian trials for enemy combatants make a mockery of our resolve and determination to defeat the savage enemies of freedom.

Jihadists across the globe have been demanding Siddiqui’s release. Pakistan had been negotiating for a trade for the notorious...

Hey Pakistan...if you don't condemn you condone
By: Diane Sori

Containment...Obama wants containment and NOTHING more. Guess what...containment will NOT work...will NOT work with the likes of ISIS.

As Iraq is awash in the blood of ISIS the Israel/Hamas conflict has Israel holding back from doing what needs to be our southern border continues to be breached while this president plays golf...yet another hot spot has started to heat up...again...but this time its ramifications could reach worldwide.

Pakistan and India...both nuclear armed...have fought three wars since gaining their independence from Britain in 1967, when as part of Britain's pullout from the Indian subcontinent, they divided it into somewhat secular India (mostly Hindu) and muslim controlled Pakistan. And now, again, gunfire has been exchanged near the border in the disputed Kashmir region, but the sad reality is that the muslims are at it again...might be a different place than the usual Middle East, but it's still muslims being muslims doing what they do best...killing...need I say more.

And while India and Pakistan agreed to a bilateral ceasefire in November 2003, Kashmir has continued to see ongoing and growing separatist...terrorist...violence since 1989. And although the cease-fire between the two countries had been somewhat successful up until breaches started happening this year, this current round of violence by Pakistan has displaced more than 3,000 people living in border hamlets...people who have thankfully been evacuated to safe areas under a 'just in case' pre-existing contingency plan.

And this newest development forced India to rightfully call off an already set foreign secretary level meeting between them and Pakistan which was scheduled to begin today. And having thrown a match on the smoldering just below the surface fire, ten or so days ago Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Pakistan "has lost the strength to fight a conventional war but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism against India.” And of course a counter statement was then issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry claiming that Modi’s words were NOTHING but "baseless rhetoric."

As expected...a tit-for-tat a new hot spot now heats up NOT too far from the current hell on Earth that is Iraq...and the media for the most part remains silent on this.

But the question Modi's words have an element of truth to Pakistan using terrorists based in Kashmir to attack border areas in India and to interfere in India's internal does seem a distinct possibility as militants always try to develop alliances with so-called 'nationalist groups.' Remember too, Pakistan is known as a breeding ground for terrorists to hone their nefarious killing skills, was also where Osama bin-Laden met his end, and is where the deserter and (I believe) traitor Bowe Berghdal was held. And if true, do these terrorists solely hold allegiance to Kashmir becoming an autonomous nation or do these terrorists hold allegiance to far more dangerous groups...groups like al-Qaeda perhaps...or worse...ISIS.

And just why would Pakistan invite Kashmir's separatist...terrorist...leaders to the peace talks...separatist leaders who have been engaged in ongoing meetings with current (corrupt) Pakistani officials...separatist leaders who met time and again with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and who have upped militant attacks against India.

Yeah why...

And while U.S. policymakers struggle with the question of what exactly to do about Pakistan...supposedly an ally yet anything but...Pakistan remains a foreign policy problem in that the Obama administration simply cannot get Pakistan to do what it wants or even get them to remotely cooperate with us. And now with the rise and 'success' of ISIS in Iraq...if you call an intended bloodbath and genocide a 'success'...ISIS could very well be playing a very dangerous but defining role of sorts in Pakistan, where more than 200 religious groups...many of them radical in nature...operate on both the national and regional level.

And many...if NOT most...of these groups have an islamic agenda that includes forcing Pakistani society to fall in line with their radical ideologies that include the enforcement of sharia law, and with an establishment of a Khilafah (caliphate) system...then tempering said agenda with their solely sectarian goal of reaching Pakistan’s strategic and ideological objectives through the use of militancy...and terrorism if need meet their end goal of the defeat and submission of its non-muslim neighbor...India.

And groups like those currently operating in Pakistan are indeed being influenced by the success of ISIS...some just in providing moral support, but others actually donating monies to pad ISIS' war chest. And what has caused Pakistan do this and why are they doing it...first and foremost is Pakistan's total apathy and lack of substantial actions on the issue of issue that has allowed foreign operatives to enter their country unchecked giving them the needed space to grow, to spread their ideologies, to establish a 'state within the state' in Pakistan's tribal areas, and to convert the masses to their cause who in turn they expect will help expand their influence.

And second, just look at the intended ISIS conquest map which shows NOT only Iraq and Pakistan as part of the islamic caliphate...with the base of operation being in what's to be known as the Khurasan province in what's currently Pakistan...but will reach into Spain, the Middle East, and into the predominately muslim countries of Central and South Asia.

Basically, this ISIS map shows the areas that are or once were under muslim control...areas ISIS intends to again be under islamic control...their version of islamic control that is. And knowing this, Pakistan hopes that by their cooperating with ISIS now...even if that contribution is just to help line their coffers...they hope that when ISIS does conquer Pakistan that it will be 'soft' so to in with as few Pakistani heads rolling as possible. And remember, all the Mujahideen from Pakistan to Iraq to Syria and beyond are united...meaning there are NO differences between any of them, and to them ISIS is but one of many strategies of war. And Pakistan, like the other islamic nations, stands with ISIS as there is NO difference in their core belief...that belief being with conquest and world domination in the name of islam.

So did India have it right when they cancelled today's talks with Pakistan...I believe they did for how could they ever trust those who align themselves with and do NOT condemn barbaric terrorists out to kill us all. They cannot and that is the point...and by the way ISIS is already here to some small they are coming though our unsecured southern border while Barack HUSSEIN Obama vacations and plays golf...yet again.