Money  Down  the  Drain

It is a challenge for most people to pay the bills, buy a house, put the kids through college, or generally make ends meet.  People expect to see a certain amount of money deducted from their paychecks for a pension plan, health insurance, or 401(k).  (You will probably never see that Social Security money again.)  But it really hurts to see huge sums of money taken out of a check to pay federal income tax, especially when you know that a lot of that money will be wasted on some of the nonsense shown below.

Additionally, some of your money will be given to people who are too lazy to work.  In 2002, the federal government spent $522 billion on low-income assistance programs.*  That's half a trillion dollars per year.  But the issues of poverty and perpetual dependency in America are discussed on another page.

Related subjects discussed on separate pages:

Wind and solar power
Farm subsidies
High-speed rail
Head Start
The Welfare State
Electric cars
Sports stadiums and arenas
Fluorescent light bulbs
The National Endowment for the Arts
Planned Parenthood
Unionized government workers
The United Nations
National Public Radio and PBS
Pork products in the stimulus bill
President Obama spends our money on himself
Cash for Clunkers
Green jobs
Wasteful Wartime Spending
The Big Dig in Boston
Wasteful Spending in Public Education
Pork Barrel Projects, one of the biggest of which is NASA.
The Endless and Ineffective War on Poverty

Seattle pays ex-pimp $150,000 to offer 'alternatives to policing'.  Seattle now has on its payroll a convicted pimp who once vowed to "go to war" with the city — a $150,000 "street czar" whose mission is to come up with "alternatives to policing," reports said.  Andre Taylor — who appeared in the documentary "American Pimp" about his life as "Gorgeous Dre" — is getting $12,500 per month for a year, along with an office in Seattle's Municipal Tower, according to the contract published by PubliCola.  It comes just a year after his organization, Not This Time, was paid $100,000 to sponsor a speaker series that was called "Conversations with the Streets."  Taylor led one of the first rallies in Seattle after the police-custody death of George Floyd, the Seattle Times said.

IRS Sent $1.6 Billion To Dead People:  GAO Report.  The Government Accountability Office issued a report in which they reviewed the federal government response to COVID-19, and found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had sent more than $1.6 billion to dead people.  In particular, GAO reviewed the distribution of funds, also knows as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a program that provides guaranteed loans through lenders to small businesses, and unemployment insurance.  Overall, federal obligations and expenditures government-wide of these COVID-19 relief funds totaled $1.5 trillion and $1.3 trillion, respectively, as of June 30, 2020.

Green Jobs?  What Green Jobs?  On the campaign trail in 2008, candidate Barack Obama promised he would create 5 million new green jobs.  Months later, the Obama-Biden Administration took office supported by a majority in the House and a nearly filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  The $800 billion stimulus package they passed focused on fulfilling the 5-million-job promise.  It was a tragi-comedic disaster.  Together, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Department of Labor's inspector general issued four reports on green jobs.  The Obama-Biden green-jobs programs failed so spectacularly the administration defunded all future reports.  Not only did Obama-Biden not create 5 million new green jobs, they could not document even half that many total (new and pre-existing).  Even this failure was after the BLS broadened the definition of a green job in an attempt to get bigger totals. [...] Though the jobs promise was broken, the spending promise was not.  The big, green chunk of the $800 billion stimulus package went to a list of projects of which no one would be proud and that were owned by a group of corporations not needing subsidies.

More about Green Jobs.

Some PPP Loans Were Used To Buy Rolexes, Rolls Royces, Report Finds.  As expected, a government loan program that quickly issued money during a crisis ended up getting defrauded.  The Paycheck Protection Program, which was supposed to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic was allegedly used by some to purchase expensive luxury items such as Rolex watches and new homes, Politico reported.  So far, the apparent fraud is just a small portion of the loans given out, but it still shows how easily government-run programs can be abused.  "The Justice Department has brought more than 40 cases involving false applications for more than $170 million from both the Paycheck Protection Program and another federal lending vehicle.  And the Small Business Administration's inspector general's office says it has 'initiated hundreds of cases involving potential fraud' in the two programs," the outlet reported.

Physicist Pleads:  Stop Building Stupid, Expensive Particle Colliders.  After CERN announced plans to build the world's largest particle collider yet, physicist Sabine Hossenfelder has a simple message:  we'd be better off without it.  Hossenfelder, a research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, wrote a Scientific American op-ed in which she argues that the tens of billions of dollars the collider would cost is far too high a price tag, given there's no guarantee that it would lead to any groundbreaking discoveries.  That money, Hossenfelder believes, would be better spent fighting climate change or — ahem — devastating new disease outbreaks.

The Editor says...
Here's another option for "what else could we do with that money": Leave it in the taxpayers' pockets.  Every government agency has a compulsive desire to expand and spend more money.  Stop!

The Racist Left Feels Entitled to Riot.  [Scroll down]  But here's the worst part of the Left's rigged systemic racism racket:  the Left has you paying to destroy yourself.  Your tax dollars subsidized the academics who expropriated "critical race theory" from Marxism; your tax dollars pay for the K-12 public schools where they start indoctrinating your children with this hateful ideology; your tax dollars subsidize universities where they put the finishing touches on this indoctrination; your tax dollars subsidize the government seminars on "implicit bias" training; your hard-earned money allows corporations and companies you patronize to do the same coerced exercises in self-loathing and racial division.  This is despite — or is it because of — the uncontestable and bitterly ironic fact that the purpose of the systemic racism lie is to divide Americans along racial lines.

Summary of Critical Race Theory Investigations.  The Treasury Department held a training session telling employees that "virtually all White people contribute to racism" and demanding that white staff members "struggle to own their racism" and accept their "unconscious bias, White privilege, and White fragility." The man who led the seminar, Howard Ross, has billed the federal government more than $5 million for diversity training over the past 15 years. [...] Last year, Sandia National Labs — which produces our nuclear arsenal — held a three-day reeducation camp for white males, teaching them how to deconstruct their "white male culture" and forcing them to write letters of apology to women and people of color.  Whistleblowers from inside the labs tell me that critical race theory is now endangering our national security.

Secret Antifa tent city found, and Portland is paying for it.  Where do Portland Antifans rest during the day between riots at night?  In a hidden tent city near downtown, paid for and serviced by the city, according to a local citizen journalist.  [Video clip]

Man Finds Secret ANTIFA Tent City In Portland, They Start Slingshotting Stones At Him.  A man came upon a tent city that houses hundreds of ANTIFA rioters in the Star Park Festival parking lot by the Hawthorne Bridge Junction.  The man films what he sees and taunts the Black Bloc members who seem to be just waking up.  Near the end of the video, a member with a slingshot with stones is used to try and get rid of the man filming.  When that doesn't work, they chased him away, which was not caught on video.  [Video clip]

'This Is Where They House the Rioters!' City of Portland Houses Some Antifa Rioters Destroying the City.  Portland is wittingly or unwittingly housing some of the very same destructive rioters who have been tearing apart the city since May 28.  Let me repeat.  The taxpayers are paying for their own demise and it's all under the auspices of the city.  One month before the riots started, ostensibly to allow grieving over the death of George Floyd — remember him? — the City of Portland opened three homeless tent cities, one of which is the "Harbor of Hope."  The camp is situated close to the Willamette River, just a simple, short walk over the Hawthorn Bridge to downtown Portland, where it spills out onto riot central.

Pentagon takes first step toward building supersonic Air Force One.  Air Force One is already one of the fastest passenger planes in the world — but the Pentagon wants to make it a lot faster.  The U.S. Air Force recently awarded a contract to the aviation firm Exosonic to begin developing a presidential aircraft that can travel at supersonic speeds.  The research award, reportedly worth $1 million, will fund work to "modify" Exosonic's existing plans for a supersonic commercial plane into a proposal for a presidential-grade aircraft.

The Editor says...
Air Force One is plenty fast already.  Air Force One always flies in the most direct route from one place to another, and only rarely stays aloft long enough to justify supersonic flight.  Air-to-ground communication allows the President to conduct his business while en route — probably with fewer distractions.

New CH-53K Helicopter for Marines Costs a King Stallion's Ransom.  The United States Marine Corps wants to deploy a new CH-53KKing Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, but do its "capabilities justify its premium price over, say, the CH-47," Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley has wondered.  Described by Popular Mechanics in 2017 as "phenomenally expensive," the CH-53K program is becoming more controversial as Marines continue to fight in non-amphibious environments like Afghanistan.  The Marines want to buy 200 CH-53Ks for $31 billion, or $138.5 million a copy, a price that already increased from $131.2 million merely in the year 2016-2017.  By comparison, the Marines' F-35B variant of the Joint Strike Fighter costs $122.8 million each.  Developed since 2006, the CH-53Ks were supposed to begin operational service in 2015, a date now delayed until sometime in 2023-2024.

USPS Threw Away Millions in Custom Stamp Program Out of Protest of Religious Stamps.  The United States Postal Service allegedly shut down its recent "custom stamp" initiative over the fact that multiple customers attempted to create stamps featuring Jesus Christ and other religious imagery, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.  The agency, which has been struggling with funding for years, turned to the custom stamp program in an effort to generate revenue.  The initiative allowed for Americans to create their own stamps for a price, which ultimately created millions of dollars for the notoriously inefficient bureaucracy.  However, the program was scrapped in June after too many stamp designs were requested that featured religious symbolism.

After Cutting NYPD Funding, De Blasio's Wife Gets $2 Million a Year in Taxpayer Paid 'Staff'.  Why does a mayor's wife need a staff at all, complete with a $70,000 a year videographer?  Good question.  But apparently, that's the current setup in New York City, which should surprise no one.  The Daily Mail has released some details on Chirlane McCray's setup and it's pretty astonishing.  Not only does she have 14 people on her "staff" — the taxpayers are on the hook for about $2,000,000 as a result.

Chirlane McCray staff enjoys $2M staff of 14 amid NYC budget crisis.  There's no money for regular trash pickups or to maintain city parks, but Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife enjoys a 14-member staff — including a $70,000 videographer who captured her baking cookies during the pandemic.  Some of the Chirlane McCray staffers, who cost city taxpayers nearly $2 million a year combined, work for the first lady's $1.25 billion mental health initiative ThriveNYC, which has come under fire for its lack of metrics.  "Whatever happened to ThriveNYC?" asked City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens).  "How much taxpayer money will the mayor's wife pilfer before leaving office?  How can she sleep at night hiring these hacks knowing so many other city workers are facing layoffs this fall?  This is a disgrace!" Ulrich fumed.

Washington State Will Provide $40 Million In Coronavirus Relief For Illegal Immigrants.  After months of pressure from activists, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has agreed to set aside $40 million in coronavirus relief for workers in the U.S. illegally.  As The Daily Wire previously reported, Seattle's city council sought $100 million in relief funds from the state for illegal immigrants who didn't qualify for the federal government's coronavirus stimulus.  The city passed a resolution in May that called for the creation of a "Washington Worker Relief Fund" that would provide "economic assistance to undocumented Washingtonians during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Chicago Spent $66 Million on Hospital That Treated 38 Coronavirus Patients.  Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot's (D.) decision to renovate a local convention center into a makeshift coronavirus hospital cost taxpayers nearly $66 million — though only 38 patients received treatment at the facility, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Friday [8/14/2020].  The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the agency Lightfoot tasked with overseeing the project, overlooked a bid from a construction company that offered to waive fees or donate them to coronavirus pandemic relief organizations.  Instead, officials gave the bid to Walsh Construction, a politically connected contractor, which billed the city $65.9 million to renovate the McCormick Place convention center.  The decision cost taxpayers more than $1.7 million per patient.  In contrast, the city spent $50 million total to equip three other centers in the Chicago area.

Why did it take more than 2 months to stop the largest fraud in Washington state history?  Revelations last week that this spring's $576 million unemployment fraud, the largest in state history, started much earlier than previously acknowledged have spurred a storm of new questions over the handling of the crime.  Data released Aug. 3 by the state Employment Security Department (ESD) shows that criminals were filing fake claims in the first week of March.  That's more than two months before ESD publicly disclosed the fraud and temporarily froze benefit payments, in mid-May, by which time a staggering 56% of the weekly claims ESD was paying were from criminals, many of them reportedly overseas.  But even before Monday's disclosures, some state lawmakers and others were questioning whether ESD had inadvertently abetted the scam by lowering fraud detection protocols to speed up legitimate claims by hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians left jobless by the pandemic.

Despite Funding Cuts, LAPD Stuck With $10M Electric BMW Pilot Program.  The "Defund The Police" movement has prompted the city to cut $150 million from the LAPD budget.  But what about those expensive electric BMWs that were exposed in several David Goldstein investigations?  David first reported on these LAPD BMWs back in 2017 — a $10 million pilot program that the department is still stuck with years later and for years to come despite calls to cut costs.  Last year we found an LAPD employee using one of the department's fleet of electric BMWs to commute to and from work.  Another one in 2017 using the car to get a manicure.  And we found hundreds of others vehicles rarely used.

Boxes of unopened coronavirus food for poor found dumped in Queens.  Piles of unopened boxes of emergency city coronavirus meals meant for the poor were found dumped on the side of a Queens underpass Monday [7/27/2020].  The outrageous sign of waste — after Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted up to 2 million New Yorkers would go hungry this summer amid the pandemic — was enough to make passers-by sick.  "Why wouldn't you go give it to people in the streets?" local resident Juan Heno said of the 34 brown cardboard boxes of food piled on top of each other along a concrete wall below the Queens Midtown Expressway, around 57-45 74th St., in Middle Village.  "The city has a lot of homeless right now," Heno noted to The [New York] Post.

Florida man fraudulently obtained $3.9 million in PPP loans and used some of it to buy [a] Lamborghini, feds say.  A Florida man has been arrested and is facing charges after federal prosecutors say he "fraudulently" obtained nearly $4 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and used some of the money to buy a Lamborghini sports car.  David Hines, 29, of Miami, was charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution and one count of engaging in transactions in unlawful proceeds, the Department of Justice announced in a press release on Monday [7/27/2020].

The Editor says...
You don't think this case is unique, do you?  This is just the guy who got caught.

IG report:  NASA's Orion is a program of lies.  In a report released today [7/16/2020], NASA's inspector general confirmed unequivocally what I have been saying for years, that the agency's project to build the Orion capsule has been built on lies, from the beginning.  First of all, the report slams NASA for purposely excluding from its public budget almost 60% of the total cost for the entire Orion project. [...] In other words, since 2006 NASA has been illegally mislabeling 59% of Orion's cost to hide this from the public.  Through 2030 it expects Orion to cost almost $30 billion, but it has been advertising the cost as only $12 billion.  It appears that to Congress NASA has been more honest, though they and Congress have worked together to try to keep this fact quiet.

California Gov. Newsom Helps Chinese Get $1 Billion in COVID Aid.  [...] I've learned my lesson this time:  Don't give Democratic governors the benefit of the doubt.  I thought I'd learned it the first time.  When New York's Andrew Cuomo looked like he was showing strong leadership in the opening week or two of the coronavirus crisis, I thought maybe we could put aside our petty differences and praise a politician from the other side.  In fact, I did just that.  And then it all ended in tears.  It wasn't the rambling, empurpled news conferences that made the much-criticized presidential media briefings look like relative models of restraint.  No, for me the moment I made a clean break was when I learned the much-hailed hand sanitizer production program Cuomo was fond of touting consisted of little more than inmates rebottling an outside product inside the Empire State's prisons in order to make the governor look good.

Claire McCaskill's Multimillionaire Husband Took PPP Loan.  The real estate investment firm founded by the multimillionaire husband of former Democratic senator Claire McCaskill took a Paycheck Protection Program loan worth up to $1 million, continuing its strategy of capitalizing on government programs to maximize profits.  Sugar Creek Realty, a St. Louis firm founded by Joseph Shepard, was one of thousands of companies to receive money from the small-business relief program, which was designed to help companies keep employees on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.  The firm took between $350,000 and $1 million on April 6 that allowed it to keep 75 people employed, according to figures released by the Small Business Administration.

Chinese Real Estate Company At Center Of FBI Investigation Raked In Millions From PPP Loans.  A Chinese real estate company at the center of an FBI bribery probe involving a Los Angeles city councilman raked in somewhere between $4 million [and] $10 million in coronavirus relief loans provided under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Daily Caller reported Thursday [7/9/2020].  Shenzhen New World Group, owned by Chinese billionaire Wei Huang, received the lump sum over two separate loans for hotels operating in Los Angeles.  The group's chairman is also however, accused by federal prosecutors of bribing Los Angeles City Council member Jose Huizar with $260,000 in poker chips and $600,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Millions In Coronavirus Relief Loans Went To Chinese Real Estate Company At Center Of FBI Bribery Probe.  The Trump administration loaned between $4 million and $10 million in coronavirus relief funds to a real estate company whose chairman allegedly bribed a Los Angeles city councilman with nearly $260,000 in poker chips, escort services and $600,000 in payments to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.  Jose Huizar, the city councilman, was arrested on June 23 on charges that he accepted $1.5 million in bribes to help the developers of various real estate projects in downtown L.A.  A federal criminal complaint filed against Huizar said that a Chinese billionaire — identified in court filings only as "Chairman E" — provided bribes to Huizar for help advancing a development project to build a 77-story skyscraper in Los Angeles.

Only after being caught:
Florida Democrats return PPP money amid scandal.  The Florida Democratic Party announced late Wednesday [7/8/2020] that it was returning at least $780,000 in small-business loans after its own lawmakers criticized the acceptance of the money as highly questionable if not illegal and unethical.  The party immediately applied for the loan after Congress first passed the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, even though there was discussion at the time that the money should go to neither lobbyists nor political causes.

Democratic candidates benefit from PPP loans they criticized.  Several Democratic Senate challengers in key races who criticized the distribution and transparency of government Paycheck Protection Program loans indirectly benefited from the funds.  Last month, Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, Mark Kelly in Arizona, and Sara Gideon in Maine all took swipes at the program, which was created as part of the emergency coronavirus relief CARES Act and intended to help small businesses through the pandemic-related economic downturn.  The program did not adequately distribute funds to the most in-need businesses or communities, they argued.  But the candidates appear to be fine with loans going to companies they are connected to, which were not widely known until the Small Business Administration disclosed all the companies that received loans on Monday [7/6/2020].

De Niro-backed Nobu restaurants took more than a dozen PPP loans.  The Nobu group of luxury sushi restaurants and hotels took 14 loans from the U.S. small business relief program for as much as $28 million, according to government filings.  The chain, founded by actor Robert De Niro, celebrity chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper, got funding for properties scattered across the country, from California to Texas and New York, according to data released Monday [7/6/2020].  Restaurants were among the biggest recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program, a key component of the government's response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  The news that big, well-funded chains like Shake Shack and Ruth's Hospitality Group had initially gotten loans set off a furor in April, prompting the administration to warn companies to make sure they qualified for the program.

Madeleine Albright's Consulting Firm Took Millions in Coronavirus Relief Funding, Records Show.  An influential Democratic consulting firm that employs former Chinese government officials received as much as $5 million in federal coronavirus relief funding, according to records released on Monday [7/6/2020].  The Albright Stonebridge Group, a Washington-based "commercial diplomacy firm" with strong staff links to Joe Biden, connects multinational businesses and nonprofits with political powerbrokers in the United States and abroad.  The company is chaired by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.  Records show that the firm raked in between $2 million and $5 million from the Paycheck Protection Program that was meant to provide relief to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Company Connected to Pelosi's Husband Scored Coronavirus Bailout.  A company connected to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) husband received a loan from the Trump administration's $669 billion Paycheck Protection Program, a Small Business Administration-led fund designed to provide financial relief to businesses in the wake of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

Questions remain about 'temporary morgue' as COVID-19 deaths decline.  The administration of Gov. Tim Walz made a decision in May to spend up to $6.9 million to buy a building in St.  Paul and convert it into a temporary morgue for a possible surge of COVID-19 victims.  The decision was largely based on a COVID-19 model by the University of Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Health that projects the possibility of 16,000 to 44,000 deaths over the first year of the pandemic.  Then came June.  Instead of deaths surging, they dropped from 696 in May to 402 in June for a total so far of 1,411 since March.  If one thing is certain about COVID-19, it's the uncertainty about what comes next.  But for now, the decision to spend millions on the temporary morgue will continue to be a target for the governor's Republican critics in the legislature.

Secret Service provided security for Hunter Biden on 400-plus trips during Obama years.  Hunter Biden has already made headlines with his pursuit of global business, raising questions about conflicts of interests by landing lucrative deals in Ukraine and China while his father Joe was vice president.  And now it's his proclivity for globetrotting travel that is garnering attention.  The son of the former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee in waiting used Secret Service protection on at least 411 international and domestic trips during the Obama years, according to records released this month under the Freedom of Information Act to the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch.  The records show Hunter Biden made at least 29 international trips between January 2009 and July 2014 and hundreds more criss-crossing the United States.

A group getting millions in state tax money is leading Madison's protests and calling for defunding of police departments.  Freedom Inc. isn't shy about pushing its radical rhetoric.  The Madison-based nonprofit has advocated for the release of all African Americans from jail and the defunding of police departments.  As for the current protests, the group's leaders say "all actions against racist state violence are justified."  "Stop murdering black people, and your glass will be safe," Monica Adams, co-executive director for Freedom Inc., said while leading the third day of police protests in the state's capital on Monday [6/1/2020].  "Thank all the youth freedom fighters who were in the streets fighting (Sunday) night and Saturday night," said Mahnker Dahnweih, community power-building coordinator for Freedom Inc.  "Every action is a contribution to liberation."  So where does a group like this get the money it needs to promote its agenda?  A lot of it comes from you.

California Tried to Bail Out Illegal Aliens - and It's a Disaster.  California's illegal alien population is its shadow economy and with many of the industries that employ them shut down, the Democrats who depend on ghost districts populated by illegals decided that something had to be urgently done to keep the illegal aliens from fleeing back across the border.  The Democrats figured that giving them checks would be cheaper than building a wall to keep them in.  But who knew that a $125 million stimulus program for illegal aliens would become such a disaster?  Illegal aliens were eligible to apply for up to $1,000 with $75 million coming from the California taxpayers bailing out illegals who don't pay taxes.  And another $50 million was supposed to be donated by wealthy lefties.  But while the taxpayers of the state were forced to put up their $75 million, the wealthy politically correct elites who have poured fortunes into electing Democrats didn't pay up.

Millions lost and no one has been fired?  ESD is political cronyism at its worst.  I've heard the same tragic story from hundreds of listeners.  They've lost their jobs because of a government shutdown of our society.  And then, when they needed government the most to financially survive, they for weeks, and even months, have been unable to get through to the state unemployment hotline.  Has a state agency ever been more tragically misnamed than Washington's "Employment Security Department" (ESD)?  It provides neither employment nor security.  The mismanagement of unemployment benefits is another [...] indictment of Jay Inslee's leadership "skills."  The sending out of unemployment checks to citizens in our state is further delayed by the unimaginable scam that hit ESD.  Nigerian fraudsters siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars to out-of-state banks using suspicious emails accounts.  All this after ESD says it spent $44 million on software that should have caught such fraud.

$21 Million Brooklyn Field Hospital Shutters After Seeing No Coronavirus Patients.  A $21 million field hospital in Brooklyn, New York, authorized by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic opened and closed without seeing any patients.  The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook was one of several makeshift hospital sites throughout the city intended to relieve the city's overcrowded hospitals brimming with coronavirus patients, the New York Post reported.

$21M Brooklyn field hospital never saw a patient amid coronavirus pandemic.  A roughly $21 million Brooklyn field hospital authorized by the de Blasio administration at the height of the coronavirus pandemic opened and closed without ever seeing one patient, according to city officials.  The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook was one of several sites across the five boroughs converted into a medical facility as a way to relieve the city's overburdened hospital system as the COVID-19 crisis mounted.  Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans on Mar. 31 — a day after the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in New York Harbor to aid in the coronavirus fight — for the $20.8 million Red Hook field hospital with an estimated capacity for 750 beds.  The field hospital was built by Texas-based construction company SLSCO.

Hospitals flush with cash got billions in coronavirus bailouts.  Hospitals hoarding massive piles of cash got billions of dollars in federal coronavirus bailouts while vulnerable health centers were forced to scrape by, a new report says.  The feds have given more than $5 billion in grants to 20 big hospital chains that already had more than $108 billion in cash, the New York Times reported Monday [5/25/2020].  The money was among $72 billion in grants the Department of Health and Human Services has distributed to hospitals and other providers since April under the CARES Act — the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that Congress passed in March to shore up struggling businesses amid the pandemic, according to the paper.

Pelosi's Leninist Stimulus Bill.  As soon as the Bolsheviks took over Russia in October 1917, Vladimir Lenin began churning out rubles.  In fact, he spent half the state's revenue on just the printing of new currency.  Within a year, the ruble was worth 100,000,000 times less than it had been before the communists took over.  Existing rubles, and any investment denominated in rubles, were worthless.  Lenin's inflationary program was not a response to the need for an increased money supply.  It was a deliberate strategy designed to eliminate money as a means of transactions and, with it, to crush capitalism.  From that point on, the state would directly control the means of production and distribution, and the people would, in theory, be dependent on the state for all goods and services.

'Hundreds of millions of dollars' lost in Washington to unemployment fraud amid coronavirus joblessness surge.  Washington state officials have acknowledged the loss of "hundreds of millions of dollars" to an international fraud scheme that hammered the state's unemployment insurance system and could mean even longer delays for thousands of jobless workers still waiting for legitimate benefits.  Suzi LeVine, commissioner of the state Employment Security Department (ESD), disclosed the staggering losses during a news conference Thursday afternoon.  LeVine declined to specify how much money was stolen during the scam, which is believed to be orchestrated from Nigeria.  But she conceded that the amount was "orders of magnitude above" the $1.6 million that the ESD reported losing to fraudsters in April.

Virginia governor spent 65 days on taxpayer-funded jaunts to his NC beach home since start of 2019.  On a Saturday night in the dead of August last year, Virginia taxpayers footed the bill as a state-operated plane roared from Richmond to one of North Carolina's desirable beach destinations.  The King Air 350 turboprop made the journey twice in six hours.  The VIP passengers?  Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela, the first lady of Virginia.  The listed purpose for a back-and-forth jaunt?  The Northams took a brief break Aug. 31, 2019 from their Outer Banks beach vacation home in Manteo, N.C., to attend a horse race at the Colonial Downs track back in their home state and ceremoniously hand out a trophy to the winner.  Then, they went back to the beach.

Ben Sasse:  Fire Officials Who Approved Pandemic Aid For 'Big Abortion' Provider Planned Parenthood.  Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) called for President Trump to fire the bureaucrats who illegally approved millions of dollars worth of small-business loans for Planned Parenthood clinics.  Sasse issued a strong statement on Wednesday slamming the well-known abortion provider for taking advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that it is ineligible to receive.  "Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business, tried to defraud taxpayers during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," Sasse said.  "The Paycheck Protection Program is supposed to be a lifeline for small businesses, not a slush fund for Big Abortion.  The administration needs to reclaim that money and fire the bureaucrats who signed off on this scam."

Trump Admin May Slap Criminal Charges on Planned Parenthood for Fraudulently Obtaining Coronavirus Funds.  After news broke that the Planned Parenthood abortion business fraudulently received $80 million in funds meant to help small businesses deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, the Trump administration has wasted no time in acting.  As reported, Planned Parenthood received $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program meant for small businesses.  That is despite the fact that the rules and regulations associated with the program specifically prohibited affiliates of larger organizations with more than 500 employees from applying.  That covers Planned Parenthood as Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) alone has had more than 600 employees.

Tom Cotton:  Defund States Giving Coronavirus Relief to Illegal Aliens.  Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has introduced legislation that will defund states and localities providing American taxpayer-funded coronavirus relief money to illegal aliens.  Cotton's legislation, titled the No Bailouts for Illegal Aliens Act, would prohibit sending additional federal funds to states and localities that issue stimulus checks to illegal aliens.

Illegal Aliens Jam Phone Lines as California Offers $500 Each in Coronavirus Relief.  The State of California is offering $500 each to illegal aliens as part of a $75 million coronavirus relief program — even as it asks federal taxpayers for help paying for its $54 billion deficit.  The program, which launched on Monday [5/18/2020], saw phone lines jammed as "undocumented immigrants," who are ineligible for the federal aid provided thus far, called a state hotline.

Judicial Watch sues to stop Newsom from giving 75 million tax dollars to illegals.  Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch is asking a California Court to appeals to issue a temporary restraining order to stop Governor Newsom from paying out $75 million tax dollars to people here illegally.  The Lower Court found that JW's lawsuit is likely to succeed on the merits since Newsom has no right to dole out the money, but illegal aliens need the money and that outweighs everything.  Today's [5/18/2020] filing asks the Court of Appeal to command the Superior Court to issue the restraining order against California Governor Gavin Newsom and his Director of the California Department of Social Services Kim Johnson, enjoining them from making what is now an imminent, May 18, 2020, illegal expenditure of $79.8 million of taxpayers' funds to illegal aliens pending the final determination of the taxpayer action brought by Judicial Watch in the lower court.

State Department sends $22 million in coronavirus aid to terrorist breeding ground Bangladesh.  The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government.  The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.  We are awarding the horseshoe this week to the State Department for sending $22 million to Bangladesh to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.  Over the course of the past 20 years, Bangladesh has received more than $1 billion in U.S. funds aimed at public health efforts. [...] According to a congressional probe released last year, migrants from terrorist nations are trying to enter the United States via the southern border at record-high rates, including a 300% increase in Bangladeshi nationals attempting to enter illegally across the border in Texas.  In 2019, a Bangladeshi citizen was arrested in Houston for running a smuggling operation to bring illegal aliens into the U.S.

Pelosi's $3 trillion coronavirus bill lets her play left-wing Santa Claus with your tax dollars.  It's a good seven months until Christmas, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already playing Santa Claus with taxpayer money.  The California Democrat is proposing a $3 trillion bill, titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, that is packed full of gifts to Democrats.  And incredibly, this is the pared-down version.  The New York Times reports that the original Democratic bill asked for $4 trillion.

House Bill Is a $3 Trillion Left-Wing Bonanza.  This is, in summary form, some of what the bill contains:
  •   Nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments, ostensibly to make up for anticipated budget shortfalls due to the virus.  $540 billion is earmarked for the states, divided according to a formula. [...]
  •   Another round of $1,200 payments to individual Americans.
  •   $175 billion to health care providers, to reimburse them for lost revenue because "nonessential" health care has largely, and unnecessarily, been made illegal in most states.
  •   $100 billion for "stimulus funding" for education.  This has no apparent relationship to the coronavirus.
  •   Forgiveness of federal and state student loans, up to $10,000 per person.  Again, no relationship to the disease.
  •   $75 billion in "assistance for homeowners."  I take it this is to make up for missed mortgage payments.  Also, $100 billion "to help low-income renters avoid evictions."  So taxpayers will be paying other people's rent as well as mortgages.
  •   State transit authorities would get $15 billion.  I am not sure why.  So more mass transit can help the next disease to spread faster?
  •   $75 billion for the U.S. Postal Service.  Just because.

D.C. Prep School Beloved by Dem Leaders Refuses to Return Gov't Loan.  A $50 million endowment, a massive capital campaign in the works, and a wealthy, well-connected board — none stopped a D.C. prep school from taking one of the largest coronavirus loans issued.  Sidwell Friends School, a Quaker-affiliated independent school known for enrolling top lawmakers' children — including the daughters of former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — accepted a $5.2 million loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Congress's bailout fund for small businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis.  The school, which brings in over $40 million in tuition annually, declined to give back the loan after Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin called on "private schools with significant endowments" to "return" PPP funds.  In a letter to the community, the board of trustees cited its "fiduciary responsibilities" as well as "our Quaker values" in its decision to keep the money — with the latter claim particularly raising eyebrows among critics.

The Editor says...
Here is some more about the Sidwell Friends School: [1] [2] [3]

Tucker:  Inside the Democrats' $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill.  When the smoke clears, only China will be able to bail us out from our mountain of debt.  [Video clip]

Democrats' new $3 trillion coronavirus bill includes $5 MILLION for lawmakers to buy new laptops and upgrade WiFi.  House offices will receive funding to buy new laptops for themselves and their staffers if the new $3 trillion coronavirus package passes as is, a draft of the legislation revealed Tuesday [5/12/2020].  In the seventh section of the massive package, there are only two stipulations for financial assistance for the legislative branch, including $5 million to increase technological advances and inventory for members of Congress and their staff.  That number will include money to upgrading 'imaging solution' to meet the demand for 'House imaged laptops.'

IRS stimulus checks labeled 'DECD' sent to deceased people anyway.  The Internal Revenue Service appears to have known it was sending coronavirus stimulus checks to decreased individuals because the label "DECD" is printed on the check.  "Stimulus checks to dead people:  Check says deceased right on it!" Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, tweeted on Monday with a photo of a check the IRS sent to a deceased person with the "DECD" label next to their name.  When asked about the checks, the IRS directed Just the News to a link to the agency's webpage containing frequently asked questions about stimulus checks that advises relatives of deceased people to return the stimulus payments made via direct deposit or check.

The Editor says...
How many of these deceased individuals will also receive a mail-in ballot?

'Western Pact' states seek $1 trillion more in federal aid.  California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday [5/11/2020] that he and his counterparts in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada were calling for the federal government to provide an extra $1 trillion in aid to their coronavirus-ravaged states.  "These budget shortfalls are so much bigger than any state," the governor said at his daily coronavirus briefing, Deadline reported, referring to the Western pact, an alliance to increase the states' buying power for medical supplies.  Much of the aid will go to help public safety officials like policemen, firefighters and EMT's, as well as to schools.

The Editor says...
In other words, the state governments are asking the federal government to print a trillion dollars and distribute it to the (Democrat-controlled) state governments to keep local government operations afloat.  What's the down-side?  Printing money causes inflation.

Coronavirus stimulus cash:  Foreign workers, relatives of dead asked to send $1,200 checks back.  The IRS issued updated guidance on Wednesday regarding how both nonresident aliens and family members, relatives or friends of dead individuals who received economic impact payments can send those checks back to the government.  On its website, the agency clarified that neither nonresident aliens nor dead Americans are eligible for the payments and instructed that, unless the payment was made to joint filers and one spouse is still alive, the entire check should be returned.  The return instructions differ based on whether the payment was made by paper check or direct deposit.

Pelosi continues push to get stimulus cash to illegal immigrants with guaranteed income plan.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that any guaranteed monthly income plan that Congress works on should apply to illegal immigrants with tax ID numbers.  The IRS issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to illegal immigrants and other non-citizens who lack Social Security numbers to allow them to file tax returns.  Individuals with ITINs are not eligible for direct stimulus payments in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed.  Earlier this week, Pelosi suggested including guaranteed minimum income for individuals in the next coronavirus stimulus package.  She didn't specify the set amount of guaranteed income being considered.

Judicial Watch Sues California to Stop Governor Newsom's Initiative to Provide $75 Million in Cash Benefits to Illegal Aliens.  Judicial Watch announced it filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles on behalf of two California taxpayers, Robin Crest and Howard Myers, asking the court to stop the state from expending $75 million of taxpayer funds to provide direct cash assistance to unlawfully present aliens.  The lawsuit alleges California Governor Gavin Newsom overstepped his authority and violated federal law when, without affirmative state legislative approval, he took executive action to create the "Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project" and provide cash benefits to illegal aliens who otherwise are ineligible for state or federal insurance or other benefits due to their unlawful presence in the United States.

Pelosi's Congress Should Shelter At Home For The Rest Of The Year.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is as determined as President Franklin D. Roosevelt to exploit this crisis for political gain, on the well-founded calculation that if Democrats ask Republicans to unleash a horde of locusts, they'll agree to half the locusts.  Maybe even three-quarters!  Despite failing so far to use the pandemic to get race and sex quotas for corporate boards, insane emissions requirements on airlines, more money for Democrat politicking funneled through unions, student loan bailouts, and bigger tax credits for solar panels, Democrats have already commandeered it to send pork to the Kennedy Center, bail out the U.S. Postal Service, get raises for Congress as 26 million Americans filed for unemployment, fund PBS stations, and upcharge for refugee resettlement.  And they're just getting started.  Pelosi has started talking about moving beyond blanketing the nation with deficit-funded checks into a "guaranteed income."

The Media Took Millions in Loans Meant for Small Businesses.  Even while the media is blaring stories about the abuse of the Payroll Protection Plan loans from the Small Business Administration, its own industry took millions in loans and wants billions more. [...] The Seattle Times maxed out its PPP loan with a $10 million payout.  The Seattle Times is not only Washington State's largest daily, but its parent company, the Seattle Times Company, owns two other papers, and had, as recently as 3 years ago, put out 7 papers.  It also owned multiple newspapers in Maine which it sold off for over $200 million.  It had two printing plants, one of which it sold.  The Rotary Offset Press, which it still owns, continues to print a variety of magazines and newspapers.  But while the Seattle Times is, like the New York Times, a multi-generational family property, the McClatchy Company owns 49.5% of voting stock and 70.6% of voting stock in the Seattle Times Company.  McClatchy has dozens of papers and had revenues of over $800 million in 2018.

South Carolina island gets $1M coronavirus relief loan, returns it after backlash.  A homeowners association for a luxury South Carolina island has decided to reject a $1 million loan approved through the government's Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program after facing backlash from the public, including a U.S. congressman from the state, according to a recent report.  First-term Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham slammed the homeowners association for ritzy Kiawah Island, which is part of the region he represents, on Thursday [4/30/2020], calling its initial decision to accept the coronavirus relief aid inappropriate, according to The Post and Courier.

More than 200 public companies were granted $854 million in small business relief and 12 have now returned the huge loans.  More than 200 deep-pocketed public companies secured at least $854.7 million in loans from the relief fund Congress created to help small businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, according to new analysis.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created to provide emergency loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees and without access to other forms of capital to help keep workers on the job and bills paid on time.  The initial $349 billion allotment ran dry less than two weeks after the program opened on April 3, sparking outrage as early reports showed that dozens of multi-million dollar loans were granted to big public companies while hundreds of thousands of small businesses seeking relatively tiny amounts were left empty-handed.

Why Illinois Is In Trouble — 109,881 Public Employees With $100,000+ Paychecks Cost Taxpayers $14B.  Illinois could soon be the first state in history to have its bonds rated as "junk." [...] In many ways, Illinois may have already crossed the Rubicon.  Our analysis at shows that an Illinois family of four now owes more in unfunded pension liabilities ($76,000) than they earn in household income ($63,585).  In a state of 13 million residents, every man, woman, and child owes $19,000 — on an estimated $251 billion pension liability.  Our auditors discovered 110,000 public employees and retirees who earned more than $100,000 last year.

Los Angeles Lakers return $4.6 million loan received from Paycheck Protection Program.  The Los Angeles Lakers applied for and received $4.6 million from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program but returned the money "so that financial support would be directed to those most in need," the Lakers said in a statement.  "The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program," the statement from the team read.  "However, once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need.  The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community."  The Lakers are worth $4.4 billion and were No. 1 in operating income at $178 million, according to the latest 'Forbes' NBA team valuations.

The Editor says...
Why would the Small Business Administration have any contact with any professional sports franchise?

If 800k Americans Are Out Of Work in NJ, Why Is Gov Considering Paying Illegals $600 Every Week?  New Jersey is, unsurprisingly, very broke.  Even at the best of times, the Garden State isn't known as a model of fiscal continence.  These aren't, as you may perhaps have noticed, the best of times.  New Jersey's nearly out of money.  Its ability to replenish that money is going to be severely tested by the fact that it's being hit with cataclysmic unemployment and business closures, meaning its tax base — already shrinking thanks to an exodus of residents — is drying up.  An infusion of cash if the Democrats are able to secure their much sought-after bailout for the states won't help much, considering the fact that it still won't solve long-term structural issues that existed before all this.

The Axios Bailout.  As Congress and the U.S. Treasury shovel billions of dollars to struggling businesses and fraudsters alike, we must be thankful for media organizations that are providing some accountability for the public.  Publicly traded companies that cut to the front of the line for the Paycheck Protection Program have been browbeaten and berated.  But what would the media do when the perpetrator was one of their own?  Axios, a digital media property with billionaire backers and a sponsorship roster that reads like a who's who of the Fortune 100, has provided us the opportunity to find out.  In a brief post on Wednesday, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei informed readers that the site had received just shy of $5 million in the first round of PPP funding.

Newsom Ordered by CA Supreme Court to Defend $75 Million Giveaway to Illegals.  Californians struggling to make ends meet during extended coronavirus shutdowns were not amused when their governor, Gavin Newsom, announced the creation of a public-private partnership to give away $125 million ($500/person) in pandemic relief grants to illegal immigrants who are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits or federal stimulus checks (because they are not here legally, duh).  Newsom further explained that of the $125 million in funding, $75 million would come from taxpayer funds (without explaining any legislative process appropriating such funds) and that "a group of charities" had promised to chip in $50 million.

To Help Out with the Pandemic and Unemployment, California Will Now Pay Seniors to Order From Restaurants.  If you're a restaurant-lovin' California senior citizen and lookin' to make a few extra bucks, you're in luck.  Assuming you fit the profile, the state will now pay you to wine and dine yourself — if you order your grub.  On Friday [4/24/2020], Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new program wherein local, state, and federal money (so if you're local, will you be triple-taxed for this?) will be paid out to eligible seniors who order food from nearby restaurants.

Coronavirus and the era of big government.  It's hard to know how much money Congress has forked out to combat coronavirus and attempt to salvage the American way of life and the economy since late February.  There's no precise, econometric way to calculate the "three-and-a-half" bills Congress has approved in recent weeks.  But, the grand total is pushing $3 trillion.  The measures have varied from an initial bill costing $8 billion — which started around $1.2 billion — and exploding to a staggering $2.2 trillion on another.  Now, the real action is set to begin on Capitol Hill — at least behind the scenes.  Democrats already have been calling for more as Republicans try tapping the brakes.

Luxury Hotel Company Is Biggest Beneficiary of Small-Business Funds.  Hotels, luxury resorts and management companies that funnel money back to a single company have secured about $53 million in federal virus aid, the largest known amount to benefit one firm and the latest example of how the government's small business relief program is also helping big companies.  Ashford Inc., an asset management firm based in Dallas, makes money partly by advising two real estate investment trusts:  Ashford Hospitality Trust and Braemar Hotels & Resorts, which together own more than 100 properties.  Those companies reported in public filings that their hotels had received millions in forgivable loans through a government program meant to help small businesses.  The so-called Paycheck Protection Program ran out of its initial $349 billion on April 16, leaving many small companies with no assistance.

Some inmates receiving coronavirus stimulus payments, watchdog warns.  Some inmates are receiving the $1,200 coronavirus economic stimulus payments that are part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, according to a government watchdog.  "We have no doubt that inmates are receiving checks for the same reason dead people are receiving checks," Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told Just the News.  "The IRS is relying on 2018 or 2019 tax returns, and does not know whether the taxpayer is deceased, incarcerated, or divorced, all of which, among other factors, would impact their eligibility to receive stimulus checks today," he also said.

Ivy League schools including Harvard, Princeton and Yale net millions in coronavirus bailouts despite billions in endowments.  Ivy League schools have been criticized for netting millions in taxpayer-funded coronavirus bailouts despite swimming in endowments worth billions.  The country's most prestigious private universities including Harvard, Princeton and Yale are among the beneficiaries of Washington's $2 trillion rescue package to keep businesses afloat during the epidemic.  Higher education institutions have been apportioned $14 billion of the aid provided under the CARES Act to weather the financial hits landed by the lockdown.

Harvard Backs Down:  University Says It Will Not Take Coronavirus Aid.  Harvard University said it will not take the $8.6 million in aid with was granted as part of the U.S. government's efforts to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown, reversing itself and bending to U.S. President Donald Trump who said Tuesday [4/21/2020] that the university should not take the money.  "Harvard is going to pay back the money and they shouldn't be taking it," Trump said Tuesday at a White House press briefing.

Illinois Dems' $41 Billion Demand Includes $10 Billion Pension Bailout That Has Nothing To Do With Coronavirus.  Illinois Democrats are demanding $41 billion from the federal government for coronavirus relief, including $10 billion for Illinois's cash-strapped and underfunded public pension plan.  The most fiscally mismanaged state in the union that has criminally neglected funding its public pension fund for two decades wants Washington to pull its chestnuts out of the fire?  Certainly, states should get something.  But what Illinois is asking for is shocking.

Non-Essential Workers?  Most Are in Government.  There's a stark contrast in suffering between the private and public sectors in this era of unprecedented government intrusion into American life and business.  Millions of mom-and-pop shops are shut and their income is decimated and large-company employees are furloughed.  But we hear virtually nothing about government workers being laid off — or even taking a pay cut.  Let that sink in: the folks whose work and taxes underwrite bureaucrat pay are cut off from livelihood while those they support in government are not only not hurting, but many are being given what are essentially paid vacations.  And we're hearing talk about non-essential workers?  The vast majority of non-essential jobs are in government.

Wasteful Spending?  State Department sends hip-hop stars to India for cultural understanding.  The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. [...] This week, our award is being given to the State Department for funding a $70,000 program called "Bridging Cultures Through Hip-Hop."  The goal of the project is to "explore the commonalities and differences between India and the United States through this influential music genre," according to a State Department grant description.

Gov. Inslee owes US Army, Feds an apology.  A week ago, Jay Inslee slammed our federal government for not doing enough for our state.  "The fact is, we cannot get as much help as we would like from the federal government", he said.  This was a week after the United States Army, under orders from the Trump administration, sent hundreds of soldiers to build a 250-bed hospital at the Century Link Field Events Center.  That hospital has sat empty ever since.  Not one patient.  On Wednesday [4/8/2020], Inslee announced that he wanted the facility disassembled and sent back to the federal government.  How much do you think think this assembly and disassembly is costing taxpayers?

The Federal Government Is Spending $60 Billion To Keep Mostly Empty Commercial Planes Flying Over the U.S..  Pending minimum service rules would require airlines to keep operating a certain number of flights, regardless of how little demand there is for air travel.

Airlines Make Out Like Bandits in $2.3 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Bill.  Despite the best efforts of Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), the House of Representatives just passed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by a voice vote.  The Senate had already approved the bill by a 96-0 vote on Wednesday [4/1/2020], so it now goes to President Donald Trump's desk.  That's good news for the country's airlines, which are set to receive roughly $60 billion in financial assistance.  That includes $32 billion in cash grants to air carriers to prevent employee layoffs, with $25 billion of that going to passenger airlines and $4 billion to cargo carriers.

Democrats Introduce Measure to Extend Coronavirus Relief Check to Illegal Aliens.  Democrats on Friday introduced a measure to amend the $2 trillion CARES Act, extending the cash payment benefit to non-citizens, including illegal aliens.  Three House Democrats, Reps.  Lou Correa (CA), Judy Chu (CA), and Raúl Grijalva (AZ), introduced the Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act designed to amend the cash payment portion of the CARES Act — the $2 trillion emergency economic relief measure designed to help U.S. citizens who are facing economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic — to extend to non-citizens.

House Democrats introduce bill giving coronavirus aid to illegal immigrants.  House Democrats introduced legislation Friday that would allow illegal immigrants to receive money from the coronavirus relief package.  California Rep. Lou Correa and two other lawmakers introduced the Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act that would amend the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, according to the Daily Caller.  "I was appalled to learn hardworking, taxpaying immigrants were left out of the $2 trillion CARES Act," Correa said in a statement Friday [4/3/2020].

Watch for Waste in Stimulus Spending.  With the pork stuffed into some of the COVID-19 stimulus proposals — like Democrats' plan to bail out the U.S. Postal Service's debt, reform small newspapers' pension programs, and give a $35 million payout to D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts — we need to be vigilant to ensure this stimulus doesn't turn into a slush fund as others have.  A decade ago, President Barack Obama enacted an $862 billion stimulus package to reverse the Great Recession that followed the financial crisis.  The program fell short of its lofty job creation, infrastructure, and growth goals, in part because too much stimulus money was spent on irrelevant and inefficient programs.  Many people have heard about the $535 million in stimulus money wasted when failed solar panel company Solyndra went under, but waste, fraud, and abuse under the previous stimulus program were widespread.

Our Crooked Congress.  Democrats decided that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic was a great time to try and backdoor their long laundry list of Leftie goals.  While Americans are fearing for their lives and livelihoods, Pelosi and her crew were treating the crisis as though it were a political gift — a genie in a bottle who could make all their wishes come true.  Green New Deal, open borders, funding sanctuary cities, forcing unions on mid-sized companies (500-10,000 employees) if they take government funds, ballot harvesting, and a cool $350 million for migrants and refugees, among other items.  But even more insulting is that the Democrats decided it was time to take advantage of a crisis to hand out goodies for their friends:  $75 million for the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, $50 million for the Office of Museum and Library services that already got funded for the year, $8 billion for tribal governments, $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, $25 million for the Kennedy Center (because nothing says helping the American people like giving the Kennedy Center a facelift even though it's sitting on a $140 million endowment), and — wait for it kids — a $25 million pay raise for the House of Representatives as well as $20 million for the FBI to cover "salaries and expenses."

In Light of the Kennedy Center Layoffs, a Republican Congressman Introduces a Bill to Get Back Our $25 Million.  Last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill and — like Kermit the Frog's romantic dreams — there was a bit of pork involved.  As you likely know, the bill included $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  And, as I relayed on the 28th, after the relief package was passed, the Kennedy Center laid off 96 orchestra members.

Leaked Audio:  Kennedy Center President Deployed Lobbyist to Secure $25 Million in Coronavirus Stimulus, But Not a Cent for Workers.  The Gateway Pundit has received audio of a video conference call between Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, members of their human resources department, and 200 of their employees.  The audio was first obtained by Jack Posobiec of One America News.  As the Gateway Pundit previously reported, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts infamously received a controversial $25 million from Democrats in the coronavirus relief package — and just hours later they told their performers and employees that they will not be getting paychecks.

Kennedy Center Tells Musicians It Will Stop Paying Them Hours After $25 Million Bailout Is Signed.  The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts informed members of the National Symphony Orchestra that they would no longer be paid just hours after President Trump signed a $25 million taxpayer bailout for the cultural center, according to an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. Nearly 100 musicians will no longer receive paychecks after April 3, according to an email from the orchestra's Covid-19 Advisory Committee.  "The Covid-19 Advisory Committee was broadsided today during our conversation with [Kennedy Center President] Deborah Rutter," the email says.  "Ms. Rutter abruptly informed us today that the last paycheck for all musicians and librarians will be April 3 and that we will not be paid again until the Center reopens."

Coronavirus: Illegal Aliens Demand $1.2K Each in Taxpayer-Funded Checks.  Illegal aliens are demanding they too receive $1,200 in federal checks from the government as part of a Chinese coronavirus crisis relief package.  Open borders organizations like the George Soros-funded United We Dream, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the National Immigration Law Center — all of which represent the roughly 11 to 22 million illegal aliens living in the United States — are pleading with the federal government to cut federal checks to illegal aliens who have Individual Tax Identification Number (ITINs).

$5 trillion down the drain.  In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone should read Robert Higgs' economic classic "Crisis and Leviathan."  The critical warning of this masterpiece is that government always uses a crisis — from the Civil War to the Great Depression to World War II — to expand power, not only during the emergency but also afterward.  Emergencies tend to ratchet up the cost and power of government permanently.  That expansion of government authority is especially unwise now, given that when this coronavirus fiasco is finally over, it may go down in history as one of the greatest government screwups in American history.  That's saying a lot.

The U.S. Navy is spending $400K to fix clogged toilets on its newest aircraft carriers.  Two of the Navy's newest aircraft carriers require a unique system to keep the toilets unclogged and cost $400,000 to fix each clog, a government watchdog said in a report released Tuesday [3/24/2020].  The USS Gerald R. Ford and USS George H.W. Bush, both based in Virginia, were constructed with a toilet system similar to those used on a commercial plane.  But with 4,000 people on board the ship, the toilets require an acid flush of the system.  "While each acid flush costs about $400,000, the Navy has yet to determine how often and for how many ships this action will need to be repeated, making the full cost impact difficult to quantify," the congressionally-mandated report by the Government Accountability Office said.

13 Key Things to Know About the Senate's Giant Coronavirus Bill.  Congress's response to the economic consequences of the coronavirus should be targeted, temporary, and directed at public health efforts while limiting politically motivated bailouts and abuse.  Unfortunately, the Senate's version of the CARES Act, which continues to be held up amid political fights, misses this mark by including special benefits to specific industries that will exceed $200 billion.  And that's not the only thing wrong with the legislation.  The $1,200 checks going out to most Americans will add substantially to our debt — while providing taxpayer funds to plenty of people who don't need more money.  The legislation also gives the Treasury Department too much control over huge loans to businesses — loans that don't come with enough strings to ensure they're strictly used for business situations caused by COVID-19.

The Stimulus Package That Will Not Stimulate.  First, a reminder for Congress and the White House that money doesn't grow on trees and we've already been spending like drunken sailors for 20 years.  Sure, this is a highly unusual situation, but because of the corrupt and obscene spending that is part of life in Washington, we just can't throw money at things.  We're not financially sound enough.  Second, stimulate what?  We're not supposed to be out there "consuming."  Stimulus packages, if you are a Keynesian, which I am not and last I knew most conservatives were not, operates on the principle that the economy can be goosed by the government injecting money into it.  That is an unproven theory at best as it seems that FDR's endless spending and federal programs in the 1930s prolonged the Great Depression.  Obama's stimulus package in 2009 after the last panic set the stage for the worst economic recovery in the history of recorded economic recoveries.  But also, we've all but pushed pause on the economy, so there is about zilch to stimulate.  This is a bailout.  And guaranteed that once it gets to Congress, it will be larded up further.

Feds spending $7.5 million on retirement village for chimps.  The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government.  The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.  This week, we are awarding the coveted title to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for a $7.5 million contract awarded to Charles River Laboratories to house retired government chimpanzees used in prior research.  Though the facility estimates an ability to house up to 288 chimpanzees comfortably, there are only 40-50 elderly chimps in the program.  Meaning between $150,000 and $187,000 will be spent on the eldercare of each ape.

Much-touted Crescent Dunes solar plant goes bust.  Do readers remember the Crescent Dunes solar power plant in Tonopah?  The project commenced some 10 years ago and was financed in part with a $737 million federal loan guarantee.  Nevada Energy fully supported the project, promising to buy power at a rate almost six times as high as the market at the time.  At the same time, the company was destroying Nevada's residential solar businesses by pushing through a measure to reduce the "buyback" of energy generated by households to less than one-sixth of the going rate.  How is the Crescent Dunes doing?  It ceased operations in April.

$11.6 Million for Zombies.  In an effort to identify and prevent payments after death, the Social Security Administration (SSA) established a program under which states and US territories can voluntarily contract with SSA to provide the agency with death data to compare with its records.  States electronically submit death reports to SSA, and SSA automatically posts the state death information and terminates payments to deceased beneficiaries.  Unfortunately for taxpayers, Puerto Rico does not have such a system in place, which has led to millions of overpayments to dead people.  The Puerto Rico Department of Health provided SSA's watchdog, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), with the vital records data of approximately 568,000 Social Security number holders who died in Puerto Rico from January 1992 through December 2016. [...] OIG found that SSA issued approximately $11.6 million in posthumous payments to 149 beneficiaries who died in Puerto Rico during that time period.

California Lottery gave away $212,500 in Scratchers on 'Ellen.' Some call it a misuse of funds.  Comedian Ellen DeGeneres drew wild cheers from the studio audience of her television talk show in December when she announced each person in attendance would receive a $500 bundle of Scratchers tickets from the California State Lottery.  Lottery officials saw it as a publicity boon, but a whistleblower complaint filed by some lottery employees argues the agency's giveaway of the tickets — which have a combined face value of $212,500 — should be investigated as a "misuse of funds," according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.  The controversy comes just weeks before a state audit is scheduled to be released on lottery finances in response to a string of recent scandals that included allegations of wasteful spending, improper gifts and nepotism.

Report: Missing $1.8 Billion in Aid Linked to Corrupt Oligarch Who 'Bankrolled' Ukraine Revolution.  In a live video presentation, Thursday night, conservative radio host Glenn Beck accused the Obama administration of funneling $1.8 billion in taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in order to fund the Ukrainian revolution against Russia.  Calling the scandal bigger than the Reagan-era "Iran Contra" scandal, The Blaze founder said that his research team made the discovery while looking into the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, which spurred the Democrats' now-failed impeachment charade.

$225M new N.J. port still hasn't created the jobs that were promised, mayor says.  Nearly three years after a $255 million state-funded marine terminal opened in Gloucester County, the Port of Paulsboro is still only bringing in steel from Russia and the effort to diversify and increase the cargo may be several years away.  The port, maintained by the South Jersey Port Corp, was touted as the first new marine terminal on the Delaware in nearly 50 years when it opened in winter 2017.  It was formerly a 190-acre petroleum storage field that had to be cleaned up and redeveloped.

This $1 Billion Solar Plant Is an Obsolete, Expensive FlopBloomberg reports that a planned $1 billion solar plant was out of date and obsolete before it could even be completed.  The Crescent Dunes plant opened outside of Las Vegas in 2015, when its technology was already behind, and the solar boom since then has completely eclipsed it.  Now, the closed and abandoned plant is the subject of huge ongoing lawsuits.  In a way, Crescent Dunes was like the Elon Musk dream solar farm of its heyday after construction was approved in 2011.  It covers about 300 acres with thousands of solar collectors that power a central molten salt tower.  In 2011, a handful of companies presented plans for the plant and received over $700 million in government loan guarantees.

The feds bet $737 million on a salt tower for solar power.  You'll never guess the result.  An inconvenient truth is that the sun sets each day, but the Obama Administration's green planners had an app for that.  They decided to invest in the Crescent Dunes facility that would use molten salt to store heat from the sun, produce steam, and generate electricity even at night.  The utility NV Energy had already agreed to buy the electricity.  Government support would carry the project to sunny success.  In September 2011, the Energy Department described how the 110-megawatt facility would "be the first of its kind in the United States and the tallest molten salt tower in the world," powering more than 43,000 homes a year.  The precedent was Solar Two, a small pilot plant decommissioned in 1999 that had shown it was technically feasible to use molten salt to store and generate power.  But in a 2006 report the Energy Department said the 10-megawatt facility "was never expected to be a viable commercial-scale plant and, in fact, did not validate economic feasibility."  No worries.  It's only taxpayer money, [...]

Illinois Takes Steps to Ensure Undocumented and Transgender Students Can Apply For Aid.  Illinois has massive financial problems, but it's good to know they are prioritizing things so well.

Computers spew checks like this because they operate without sanity.
IRS Sent $46,378,040 in Refunds to 23,994 'Unauthorized' Aliens at One Atlanta Address.  The Internal Revenue Service sent 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined $46,378,040 to "unauthorized" alien workers who all used the same address in Atlanta, Ga., in 2011, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).  That was not the only Atlanta address theoretically used by thousands of "unauthorized" alien workers receiving millions in federal tax refunds in 2011. In fact, according to a TIGTA audit report published last year, four of the top ten addresses to which the IRS sent thousands of tax refunds to "unauthorized" aliens were in Atlanta.  The IRS sent 11,284 refunds worth a combined $2,164,976 to unauthorized alien workers at a second Atlanta address; 3,608 worth $2,691,448 to a third; and 2,386 worth $1,232,943 to a fourth.  Other locations on the IG's Top Ten list for singular addresses that were theoretically used simultaneously by thousands of unauthorized alien workers, included an address in Oxnard, Calif, where the IRS sent 2,507 refunds worth $10,395,874; an address in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the IRS sent 2,408 refunds worth $7,284,212; an address in Phoenix, Ariz., where the IRS sent 2,047 refunds worth $5,558,608; an address in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where the IRS sent 1,972 refunds worth $2,256,302; an address in San Jose, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,942 refunds worth $5,091,027; and an address in Arvin, Calif., where the IRS sent 1,846 refunds worth $3,298,877.

Taxpayer group cites AOC as 'Porker of the Year' for 2019.  A watchdog group named Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday its "Porker of the Year" for 2019, citing her sponsorship of the costly "Green New Deal" proposal.  Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz said the New York Democrat received 54% in the group's online poll, easily beating out Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who garnered 25%, and four other candidates.  "The results are not surprising, as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's $93 trillion proposal exemplifies the Congress's failure to protect the taxpayers' hard-earned money," Mr. Schatz said.  "For pushing a radical plan that would destroy the American economy, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez deserves the distinction of 2019 Porker of the Year."

Citizens Against Government Waste Names Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 2019 Porker of the Year.  Today [1/7/2020], Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) announced the results of its online poll for the 2019 Porker of the Year.  There were six worthy candidates who were guilty of plugging pricey policies, promoting earmarks and wasteful practices, and pushing a big-spending agenda.  After the votes were tallied, the dishonor went to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who was named CAGW's March Porker of the Month for introducing the egregiously expensive "Green New Deal."  Rep. Ocasio-Cortez received 54 percent of the vote, more than twice as much as the 25 percent for runner-up Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).  Senator Warren was named CAGW's 2019 May Porker of the Month for proposing "free" college and a taxpayer-funded bailout of all student loan debt.

Two tribes aren't recognized federally.  Yet members won $500 million in minority contracts.  Companies set up by members of a self-described and state-recognized Creek Indian tribe in Alabama have received more than $240 million in federal minority-business contracts, despite a determination by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs that there is no credible evidence the group has Native American ancestry, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.  Federal contracts worth an additional $273 million have gone to two companies run by a member of a different Native American group in Alabama with no federal recognition as a tribe.

Trump's Biggest Wins Of 2019.  [Scroll down]  Space Force:  Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act into law Dec. 20, which formally created the U.S. Space Force.  The Space Force became the 6th independent branch of the military, and was the first new military service to be created in more than 70 years.  Along with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, Trump has redoubled American efforts to be the leader in space exploration and defense.

The Editor says...
If a Space Force exists, why are we still paying for NASA?

Senator Rand Paul Releases Over $50 Billion Waste Report — $466,991 Frog Mating Calls Study, $34 Million For Textbooks For Afghan Students.  For years, former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) would publish what became known as his "Wastebook."  Now, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is bringing to light the wasteful and unconstitutional spending of the federal beast.  In his 2019 "Festivus" Edition of "The Waste Report," Paul lays out just how Americans' tax dollars are being spent without their authorization per the Constitution, and then he lit up Twitter with a barrage of tweets highlighting some of the top wasteful spending in the past year.  Senator Paul, chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released his 2019 Festivus edition of The Waste Report, which is his fifth edition.

Afghanistan Papers Prove US Gov Blew $3 Trillion, Lied About It.  Less than a day after 2000 documents were published proving the govt knew the Afghanistan War was unwinnable, Congress approved nearly a trillion dollars more.  It's rare that I read something on the Washington Post that I don't find highly biased, even repugnant.  But with their recent article on the Afghanistan Papers, they truly knocked the ball out of the park.  The facts they shared should have every American protesting in the streets.  Trillions of dollars have been spent on a war that the Pentagon knew was unwinnable all along.

Ted Cruz Blasts Spending Bill:  Funds Planned Parenthood, Gun Control.  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blasted the $1.4 trillion spending bill that passed the House and Senate this week and was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday.  The 2,313-page piece of legislation spends $1.4 trillion and will fund the government until September 30, 2020, through most of what is anticipated to be a combative election season. [...] The senator said the spending deal benefits the "lobbyists who are bankrupting this country," and told CBS 11 it represents "lobbyists' Christmas present."

House Funds Key Programs but Adds to Government Bloat, Waste.  The House passed two spending bills totaling $1.4 trillion Tuesday [12/17/2019] to fund the federal government through the remainder of fiscal year 2020, which began Oct. 1.  Although the first bill would provide much-needed funding and budget certainty to core constitutional responsibilities, such as national defense, the second "minibus" is a Christmas tree of bloated spending and add-ons that have no place being voted on through an appropriations bill.  The House passed the two bills, introduced late Monday afternoon, in less than 24 hours.  The Senate is expected to consider the two measures later this week.  The fact that the House voted on more than 2,000 combined pages of text within 24 hours of introducing the two bills is a troubling symptom of Washington's budget dysfunction.  This is not the way that the budget process is supposed to work, and it leads to wasteful spending and other negative impacts for American taxpayers.

Climate change policies are going to be costly, says U.N.-backed report.  Tighter government climate regulations by 2025 could wipe up to $2.3 trillion off the value of companies in industries ranging from fossil fuel producers to agriculture and car makers, an investor group warned in a report.  Rules aimed at lowering carbon emissions are expected to accelerate in the coming years as countries scramble to meet obligations under the 2015 Paris climate agreement limiting global warming.

The Editor says...
Before any of this effort is undertaken, it should first be proven that the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is harmful, that man-made sources of CO2 outweigh natural sources, and that the greenhouse effect is approaching a "thermal runaway" condition.  None of these has been proven.  Thus it is apparent that the government is in a big rush to solve a problem that doesn't exist.  There is no "climate crisis."  There is no "planetary emergency."  There is no "existential threat."  Not only that, there is no global warming.

Wasted Spaces:  How the Federal Government Runs Its Real-Estate Empire.  In a months-long investigation, we learned that no one really knows just how many buildings the federal government has — not even the feds themselves.  In recent years, the government's own estimates have ranged from about 120,000 to 400,000.  And these figures do not even include the Defense Department and Intelligence agencies.  According to its most recent reporting, DoD has about 280,000 buildings in the U.S. and abroad.  All totaled, the federal government may own and lease about two-thirds of a million buildings.  Maintenance expenditures for government facilities are also not fully known.  Government estimates range as high as $21 billion spent annually on government-owned buildings, nearly $7 billion to lease office space, and about $2 billion to maintain empty properties.  A large part of the discrepancy in the number of buildings owned and leased is due to who is doing the counting and how each agency identifies its buildings' status.

New York City to Free 125K Accused Criminals, Give Taxpayer-Funded Housing, Job Training.  The state of New York is likely to free at least 125,000 accused criminals from prison next year and provide many with taxpayer-funded housing and job training services thanks to criminal justice reform laws.  As Breitbart News has reported, the state's series of bail reforms will ensure that suspects accused of crimes deemed "non-violent" are not jailed before their trial dates and do not have to post bail. [...] Across the county, jailbreak legislation is helping to free thousands of accused and convicted criminals from prison.  Federally, the First Step Act that was signed into law by President Trump has thus far freed about 240 sex offenders, nearly 60 convicted murderers and assailants, as well as almost 1,000 inmates convicted of drug crimes.  Also freed by the First Step Act is Joel Francisco, a notorious former leader of the "Latin Kings" gang who immediately returned to a life of drugs after his release and is now accused of murder.

Pentagon's Second Audit Identifies 1,300 New Problems.  The second ever audit of the Department of Defense ended, predictably, in a second consecutive failure. [...] The recently completed audit uncovered 1,300 new problems with the Pentagon's budgeting and record-keeping.  That's on top of the 2,410 separate findings and recommendations made last year, when auditors cracked open the department's books for the first time in history.  Auditors also identified 25 "material weaknesses" — broad areas, such as the F-35 fighter program, where managerial and record-keeping failures put taxpayer dollars at risk.  Auditors gave Pentagon officials credit for resolving about 500 of the issues identified last year.  That should prove that the Defense Department was wrong to resist audits for so long, and it gives us some measure of hope that the biggest black hole in the universe of federal spending might someday be reduced in size.

Cornell's new library exposes students to more than literature.  The sleek new library at Cornell University has a design flaw that allows people to see up the skirts of anyone browsing for books, students and reports say.  The state-of-the-art building — which took more than $21 million to build over five years — features elevated platforms with see-through grated floors that put visitors on full view as people pass below, the students say.

The Editor says...
Yes, and this design would allow smoke and fire to spread throughout the whole building in a matter of seconds.  And if you drop an earring on the floor, there's no way to know how far it will go.  Moreover, all this assumes that the library patrons are all well-behaved citizens who act like adults.  Never mind the view from below — what about a homeless drunk on the uppermost floor vomiting (or worse) on everyone below?

It's Time To Let The Crony Export-Import Bank Die.  The Export-Import Bank — the poster child for corporate welfare — was due to expire at the end of September.  But it has been given a temporary reprieve while congressional leaders plot to renew it on the sly by attaching it to a must-pass spending bill, meaning the bank will never get the scrutiny taxpayers deserve.  Ex-Im subsidizes export transactions using sweetheart terms — including below-market-rate loans — that are backed by the American taxpayer.  According to the bank's website, the agency provides financing when "private sector lenders are unable or unwilling to" and "assumes credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept."

The Editor says...
Articles like this have circulated for years.  Nothing is going to change.  Similarly, some have been clamoring for the elimination of public funding for Sesame Street, too, but that's not going to change.  Farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, windmill subsidies, boondoggles, earmarks, white elephants, pork barrel spending, bridges to nowhere, robots on Mars, and endless spending on things that nobody asked for will continue uninterrupted until the U.S. currency collapses under the weight of the national debt.

Trickle-Down Bureaucracy Is Destroying Vermont.  So much money is spent on reports, studies, and employment for state workers that Vermont's property tax rates are some of the highest in the nation.  To the extent that any of the money does come back down, it is indeed a mere trickle.  Vermont demonstrates the government bloat that plagues many states, and the effects are becoming apparent.  Vermont now has fewer than 700 conventional dairy farms — but the Vermont Department of Agriculture and the UVM Extension Service steadily increase employees, and salaries.  This is quite typical of the virus-like quality of the Vermont bureaucracy — it grows, and citizens lose wealth or leave.  Vermont has nearly twice as many full-time state employees per 10,000 residents as New Hampshire, yet Vermonters are struggling much more than their thriving neighbors.  There is no growth, and the governor has infamously offered $10,000 bribes to out-of-state earners to reside in Vermont.

Newsom's Gas-Tax Switcheroo.  [Scroll down]  My favorite local example involved the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, which scared the heck out of residents about West Nile virus and an encroaching menace: the red imported fire ant.  Such pests could be handled by, say, calling an exterminator if you found a nest in your backyard.  Instead, voters gave the district more money.  Its main priority after the increase was to increase its workers' pensions by 62 percent.  A few years later, the agency tried to spend from $1 million to $10 million hatching a mosquito museum.

Robocop Fail raises questions.  [Scroll down]  So here's this woman witnessing a violent confrontation and she's frantically pushing the helpful looking button on the robot that says "Emergency Alert."  But nothing happens.  Her friend finally dials 911, but by the time the cops arrive (fifteen minutes later) there's a woman being wheeled out to an ambulance and the assailants are long gone.  The (human) police had an explanation.  As it turns out, the Emergency Alert button was never connected to the 911 dispatch office.  The messages were being sent instead to the manufacturer of the robot, where they either didn't receive them or had no idea what to do with them.  And after yelling at the women to get out of the way, the robot reportedly continued gliding smoothly along past the ongoing fight, continuing on its route through the park playing some sort of science fiction melody as it went.  So how much did you pay for this robocop again?

Money down the drain in Puerto Rico.  Imagine having the task of distributing the most aid money ever for a natural disaster responsibly to a government mired in corruption and under FBI investigation.  That's what's happening right now in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico two years after two hurricanes, Maria and Irma.  You have $91 billion reasons to care.  That's how much of your tax money is intended for recovery.  Today, we go to Puerto Rico to follow the hurricane money and the fraud.

Senators chide NEA for spending taxpayer money on Che Guevara portrait.  Florida's two senators demanded answers Tuesday after revealing the National Endowment for the Arts paid $45,000 for a traveling art exhibition featuring a portrait of socialist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, saying U.S. taxpayers shouldn't subsidize the idolization of a man involved in "mass murder."  Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott said it was an insult to exiles who lived through the Cuban revolution to see their tax money go to aggrandize Guevara.

Fools, hacks, and liars:  Democrats out to destroy America via Pres.  Trump.  Almost without exception, most who run for political office, as well as their appointees, smile, and preen for the aforementioned media with lies of "I just want to serve."  No one stands up and says "I want to Destroy America."  With idiotic civil rights laws and a national voting rights laws, all passed in the name of "all men are created equal" we see wretched bureaus like the CIA, FBI, a litany of cabinet-level tax-soaking offices running the lives of the citizens while smiling into cameras with phony dictums of having served the people.  And the service of most of these departments are not allowed by the constitution nor for the most part, do they perform the service for which they advertise.  As an example, The Department of Energy finds no energy source.  The Education Department teaches no one.  The agriculture Department grows nothing (but debt).  The Commerce Department does not engage in commerce.  They simply provide jobs for bureaucratic servants.

Feds rush to spend 20% of $500 billion in one month in 'use it or lose it' spending spree.  Federal agencies have shelled out tens of millions of dollars on cars, movie cameras and other items in a contract spending spree that happens across government at the end of every fiscal year.  The State Department dropped more than $33 million on passenger cars in the first two weeks of this month and the Justice Department spent more than $3 million on movie cameras, records show.  Not to be outdone, the U.S. Mint has spent more than $60 million on raw gold and silver.  An estimated $66 million has gone to debt collectors trying to claw back money spent on student loans, records show.

Can we stop subsidizing beach houses now?  "This is beyond just a fiscal problem," Jeb Hensarling said in 2017.  "This is a moral problem."  The former Texas congressman and Financial Services chairman was specifically addressing the federal National Flood Insurance Program.  At the time, the program was about to be tapped to pay claims by residents along the Texas Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey.  It was already $25 billion in debt.  Today, with new claims on the way, it is only $21 billion in the red, but that's only because Congress forgave an additional $16 billion that the program owed the U.S. Treasury — owed, that is, to taxpayers.  But money is not and never has been the real issue.  The ongoing failure of this program to break even is merely a sign that it is only fixing the symptoms and not the problem.

Court Rules Idaho Must Pay for Trans Sex Offender's Transition Surgery.  A federal appeals court has ruled that the state of Idaho must pay for a transgender inmates' sex reassignment surgery.  Inmate Adree Edmo, a convicted sex offender, was diagnosed with gender dysmorphia in 2012.  His attorney, Deborah Ferguson, argued in January that the state was placing him at risk of suicide if they refused to fund his surgery.

The Editor says...
Someone who can't decide if he's a man or a woman is so fundamentally confused and miserable that he's likely to be a suicide risk no matter what.

Idaho Governor Criticizes 'Activist Court' for Ordering Gender Surgery for Convicted Child Molester.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Idaho taxpayers must pay for a 31-year-old prison inmate to undergo "gender confirmation surgery" — the opinion does not call it sex reassignment — allowing the inmate to remove the bits that show the inmate was born a male.  Mason Dean Edmo, now called Adree Edmo, pleaded guilty in 2012 to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy at a party.  Idaho Gov. Brad Little, frustrated by the "activist court," said his state plans to appeal once again, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court:  [Video clip]

New Jersey Awarded $3.8 Million in Financial Aid to Illegal Aliens.  A local news report revealed that the state of New Jersey awarded $3.8 million in financial aid to illegal immigrants during the 2018-2019 school year.  According to a report from, the state of New Jersey gave $3.8 million in financial aid to 749 illegal immigrant students in the last academic year.  More than a quarter of the funding went to 328 illegal immigrants that attend Rutgers University.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law last year that allowed illegal immigrants to apply for financial aid.

Far-Left Blue State Gave Nearly $4 Million to Illegal Aliens In Financial Aid.  When New Jersey debuted a new program last year offering college aid to immigrants living in the country illegally, it was unclear how many undocumented students would sign up.  After a year, advocates and state official say the program has been a success.  During the 2018-2019 academic year, 749 undocumented students were awarded $3.8 million in state financial aid to attend New Jersey colleges, according to new statistics released by the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

New $53M Texas high school football stadium has state's largest video board.  The latest cathedral to pigskin is the new $50+ million Children's Health Stadium, which will host Prosper (Texas) High School.  Prosper is a northern suburb of Dallas.  In total, the stadium will seat 12,000 fans and houses the largest video board in any Texas high school stadium, football or otherwise.

U.S. Spends $907 Million On Useless "Nutrition Education" For Food Stamp, WIC Recipients.  Besides spending tens of billions of dollars on fraud-infested programs to feed the poor, the U.S. government wastes an additional $907 million to give recipients useless "nutrition education" courses with rates of effectiveness that cannot be assessed.  It marks the latest scandal to rock the government's famously bloated and corrupt food stamp program as well as a multi-billion-dollar sister project that feeds millions of low-income women and their children.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates and funds both programs and spends a fortune on them annually.  The grand master is food stamps, renamed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by the Obama administration to eliminate the welfare stigma.  Under Obama the food stamp tab reached a ghastly $80.4 billion in one year to provide a record 46 million people with the welfare benefit.

HUD official Lynne Patton says $16 billion [was] recently given to Baltimore.  Department of Housing and Urban Development regional administrator Lynne Patton appeared Monday [7/29/2019] on Fox News and took note of just how much federal money has been steered into Cummings' district, which is nearly 53% percent black.  "President Trump has given $16 billion in 2018 alone to Elijah Cummings' district in federal grants," Patton explained.  "We have given more money in homeless funds to Baltimore than the last administration.  We have given more money in 'community development grants.'"  Patton then asked, "What are you actually doing with the money so that it benefits residents in the community for once instead of deep-pocket, crooked politicians?"

More about Baltimore.

Climate Trillions Frittered in the Wind.  This year, the world will spend $162 billion (US) subsidising renewable energy, propping up inefficient industries and supporting middle-class homeowners to erect solar panels, according to the International Energy Agency.  In addition, the Paris Agreement on climate change will cost theworld from $1 to $2 trillion (US) a year by 2030.  Astonishingly, neither of these hugely expensive policies will have any measurable impact on temperatures by the end of the century.

Trump Says Lawmakers Reach Bipartisan Deal to Suspend Debt Limit.  President Donald Trump announced a bipartisan deal to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling and boost spending levels for two years, capping weeks of frenzied negotiations that avert the risk of a damaging payments default.  Congressional leaders pledged to support the bipartisan compromise that left all sides unsatisfied but focusing on the provisions they could count as a win.

New Budget Deal Puts Final Nail in the Tea-Party Coffin.  President Trump and congressional leaders are nearing a deal that would raise the discretionary-spending caps by $320 billion over two years and offset less than one-quarter of those costs (and even those offsets would take a decade to materialize).  The budget deal would essentially repeal the final two years of the 2011 Budget Control Act and raise the baseline for future discretionary spending by nearly $2 trillion over the decade.

The Editor says...
Apparently spending cuts are out of the question.

9/11 Victims compensation fund and what you don't know about it.  Inclusions in the Victims compensation fund bill you should hear about.  First, this bill compensates victims until 2092.  It is not limited to First Responders and crash site workers, "Passersby" now qualify.  I am not a wizard at math but 9/11 occurred in 2001.  We are talking 90 years.  In an unheard of action, there are simply no limitations placed on any amount of money to be paid.  This boondoggle is not limited to First responders and those who worked the clean up sites even now.

The Editor says...
Why is the government using taxpayer money to compensate victims of terrorist attacks?  What part of the Constitution authorizes payments of this sort?  (I know — what difference at this point does it make?)  Such compensation could only be justified if the government caused the 9/11 attacks, and was proven to be at fault.  But the official story is that hijackers acting on behalf of the Religion of Peace crashed into the Twin Towers, both of which collapsed (each one falling straight down onto its own footprint as if professionally imploded) within two hours of being struck by the airplanes.  This happened even though no concrete-and-steel building had ever collapsed before as the result of a fire.  Oh, and World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed, too, the same day, even though no plane had hit it, and there were only minor fires in progress at the time.  But you're not supposed to remember that — and how could you remember anyway, since that even was barely mentioned in the news media — and if you speak in public about the collapse of WTC-7, you'll be ostracized as a "9/11 Truther."  In the very long term, it doesn't matter who was the mastermind behind the 9/11/2001 events.  Those responsible will pay for their sins in a lake of fire — forever.

Democrats 2020: Trillions and Trillions and Trillions More.  We're currently witnessing one of the greatest attempts at mass bribery in history.  With each passing week the Democrats running for the 2020 nomination offer yet another bribe for winning more votes. [...] Consider the 10-year cost estimates for some of the major plans that most, if not all, of the potential 2020 nominees have already embraced:  Medicare for All, otherwise known as socialized medicine, is $32.6 trillion.  The Green New Deal, also known as coercive environmental socialism, is $93 trillion.  Universal basic income, in which people would become paid wards of the state, is $38 trillion.  Slavery reparations would cost $14 trillion, but once that Pandora's box is opened, where do you actually draw the line and decide who would get money and why?  As for erasing college debt and free college, that's about $2.4 trillion in the first decade — which counts as "modest" in this context.  The cost of all of those plans combined in the first 10 years is $180 trillion.  That's just one decade.

Public Servants Or The Public's Masters?  California's cities, counties, and public agencies have secured a record tax windfall in recent years, as property tax collections soar, yet they continue to cry poor-mouth.  There's not enough money, they say, to provide adequate public services.  Government officials and public-sector unions already have hatched a plan for the 2020 ballot that would dramatically raise property tax on commercial property owners by undermining Proposition 13's tax protections.  But a new report from the Orange County Register's Teri Sforza hints at why these agencies never have enough money to do their jobs.  Based on data from the state controller's office, she found that "More than 100 city and county workers earned total compensation exceeding a half-million dollars in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties last year."  One need only look at the Transparent California database to see that this is no aberration.

Corey Johnson announces $19M in new LGBT programs as city celebrates World Pride weekend.  City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced $19 million in funding for LGBT support programs in honor of Pride, including big boosts to help transgender people.  On World Pride weekend in the city, Johnson said the move to nearly double funding for the programs marks a sea change in New York's approach to the gay community.  "Acceptance is not enough," Johnson said.  "Our local government must fund programs that support the LBGTQ community, particularly transgender people."

Fake women being offered Pap smears and breast screenings, but real women are not.  Ordinarily, catering to people who think or claim to be a gender other than the one nature assigned them is silly but harmless.  But now Public Health England (formerly the National Health Service) has implemented a practice that could prove deadly.  It has begun inviting men who identify as women to come in for annual Pap smears and breast screenings despite their lack of a cervix on which to administer the first test.  But PHE has also stopped inviting women who identify as men to come in for these crucial screenings out of fear of offending them.

California's 3 top paid county workers all made $1 million last year — at 1 hospital.  It pays to be a doctor.  It really pays to be a neurosurgeon.  It really, really pays to be a neurosurgeon at San Joaquin General Hospital.  The eight highest-paid county employees in California last year were all physicians or physician managers for San Joaquin County, with three of them making more than $1 million in 2018, according to wage data released Tuesday [6/25/2019] by the state Controller's Office.

Florida city agrees to pay nearly $600,000 after ransomware attack.  A Florida city has agreed to pay hackers who incapacitated their computer system nearly $600,000 in ransom.  The Riviera Beach, Fla., City Council voted unanimously Monday night to have its insurer pay a hacker's demand for 65 bitcoin, valued at $592,000.  The city will pay an addition $25,000 to cover its deductible, according to The Palm Beach Post.  The attack began on May 29, when a police department employee in Riviera Beach, a city of 35,000 people north of West Palm Beach, downloaded an infected email attachment, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Can California Be Saved, or Is It Too Late?  Jerry Brown's imaginary high-speed rail that was to initially run from Bakersfield to Merced in Central California is a bust.  The cost was projected to be $77 [billion] but has forecast to be $98 [billion]!  It most likely will never be completed.  Billions have been wasted.

Border Agency Buying 2.2 Million Diapers to Help Migrants.  The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is buying 2.2 million diapers to help deliver economic migrants and their young children into Americans' worksites, schools, and neighborhoods, according to an online contract request.  The purchase implements the welcome policy set by a bipartisan panel in Congress, which in February directed the Department of Homeland Security to help the migrants — despite the impact on Americans' wages, schools, and neighborhoods — instead of helping Americans by giving the agency the legal authority needed to block the migration.

$586 Billion Later, Health Care Is Worse Than Before Obamacare — Thanks Obama.  "I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last."  That was how then-President Barack Obama pitched Obamacare to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9, 2009.  He described a health care system in crisis and promised that his reforms would "provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance.  It will provide insurance for those who don't.  And it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government."  Nearly a decade after having his vision realized, how have his promises worked out?  Based on polling data, Obamacare has been a miserable failure, and Obama will be far from the last president to grapple with this issue.

Registered sex offenders in NY got Medicaid money for erectile dysfunction.  Registered sex offenders in New York received $63,000 worth of erectile dysfunction drugs and other sexual treatments courtesy of the state's publicly funded Medicaid program, according to an audit released Wednesday [6/5/2019].

A Government Coup by NASA's Bureaucracy.  Every single big space project since the founding of NASA has always been proposed and approved by elected officials.  NASA officials might have lobbied for one version or another, but always, always, it was understood and accepted that the project did not exist without first getting an enthusiastic and very public authorization from elected officials.  What was understood without question was that the right to make these fundamental policy decisions belonged only to the lawmakers, elected as they were by the citizenry under the Constitution.  NASA's new Lunar Gateway project, however, is something altogether different.  It was conceived, designed, and proposed by the big aerospace companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing as a justification for the continuing construction of SLS and Orion.  It was added as a budget line item by NASA bureaucrats who supported it, and it now exists as a growing major space project comparable to Apollo, the Space Shuttle, ISS, and SLS/Orion.  Yet no president has ever officially and publicly proposed the Lunar Gateway.  No Congress ever reviewed or endorsed the program.

Schools from New York to California shell out money for illegals.  Schools spanning the United States offer benefits to illegal alien applicants and students.  These range from scholarships and "creative workshops" to mental health counseling and free food.

NYC goes stone-age Green.  New York City politicians intend to "lead the way" to combat "climate change."  Last week, the City Council voted almost unanimously for a package of six bills that comprise the "Climate Mobilization Act" for the nation's largest city.  Of the 44 council members voting, only two opposed this legislation.  What will happen that is predictable is the immediate cost.  The centerpiece of this legislation is the $4 billion energy efficiency mandate on the City's largest buildings, on top of the already substantial property taxes and construction costs.  But that is just the beginning of Mayor Bill de Blasio's estimated $14 billion strategic plan — his own "Green New Deal" — unveiled on Earth Day to reduce the City's "carbon footprint... before it's too late."

California spends $178 million per fish to bring back salmon.  Leftie greenies recently hailed the return of ... five ... salmon, swimming upstream to the San Joaquin river to spawn.  Paradise restored!  In water-starved California, that was quite an achievement, given that each salmon required 50,000 gallons of water to get the job done, coming at a price tag of $890 million at the low end and $2 billion at the high.  And that water came out of the hides of California's farmers, who got very little of the water they were promised, and paid for, as a result.  That's some use of resources to get those five salmon to swim upstream.

Should we shutter the Department of Education?  Since its inception 40 years ago as a political payoff from President Jimmy Carter to the National Education Association, the Department of Education has engaged in scores of dubious actions that have made millions of Americans yearn for its expulsion.  The most recent example of comes from a long string of audits showing the federal department is doing a lousy job keeping tabs on the $38 billion it receives to administer federally funded K-12 programs.  "Complex and persistent" is how Congress' spending watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, described the agency's mismanagement of data, oversight, and evaluation.

Denver airport's $14.5M sign busted after less than 2 years in use: reports.  Denver International Airport built a wall of sorts — a 1,000-foot-long collection of illuminated poles interrupted by large television screens for displaying ads — but now the wall doesn't work right.  The $14.5 million Panasonic sign has broken down after only 16 months in operation, leaving many questioning if the sign will ever rake in enough ad dollars to recoup the large investment, according to a report.

Future of New Orleans in peril as $14B flood protection starts sinking.  The $14 billion upgrade to New Orleans' system of levees to fortify the city is sinking, according to engineering experts.  After investing an amount of money that is five times greater than the gross domestic product of the island country of Aruba, the Army Corp of Engineers said levees may not be adequate enough to protect New Orleans and the surrounding region from major flooding associated with a 100-year storm.

The $14 billion system of levees and floodwalls built after Hurricane Katrina is already sinking.  The $14 billion system of levees and floodwalls built around New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is already sinking just 11 months after it was completed, experts have said.  The Army Corps of Engineers said in an impact study notice earlier this month that the flood control system could loose its intended ability protect against a 100-year flood as soon as 2023.

Trump Is Right:  Puerto Rico Shouldn't Get More Hurricane Subsidies.  While there is some disagreement over the exact figure that Puerto Rico has received, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has reported $20 billion in hurricane recovery funds, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency has funded an additional $8 billion and the Small Business Administration has approved $2 billion in loans.  Yet we are told Puerto Rico needs more of American taxpayers' money.  Democrats are insisting that American taxpayers continue to further fund Puerto Rican leaders' additional demands.  The fact of the matter is, not one more dime in funding should be sent to Puerto Rico until it gets its political house in order, either of its own accord or by the Trump administration forcing systematic change.  Putting more money into a broken system won't fix anything.  Most importantly, it will only continue to hurt our fellow citizens — the people of Puerto Rico.

Most of the $33 Billion in Remittances to Mexico Flow Via U.S. Govt.  Banking Program.  Though President Trump said he would block money transfers to Mexico to fund a much-needed border wall, Mexicans in the U.S. sent a record $33.48 billion in remittances last year and a big chunk of it flowed through a government program operated by the Federal Reserve.  This means that, amid an onslaught of illegal immigration, the U.S. government is largely responsible for the billions in remittances flowing south of the border from illegal aliens.  Figures released by Mexico's central bank show that 104 million transactions were executed in 2018, nearly six million more than the previous year.  Uncle Sam facilitates the process with a program called "Directo a Mexico" (Direct to Mexico), launched by the Federal Reserve, the government agency that serves as the nation's central bank, more than a decade ago.

Florida housing agency paid $3,650 to teach embattled boss to be nice, stop being abusive to staff.  A Florida housing agency paid $3,650 to a consultant to teach their boss to be nice and stop being abusive to his staff.  St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love came under fire amid revelations of complaints made by senior staffers who claim that he acted inappropriately by shouting and demeaning them.

Money in the Toilet — The Billion Dollar Cost of Public Bathrooms.  The fastest rising item in the country isn't gold or bitcoin, it's the cost of a public bathroom.  In '08, a San Francisco Weekly article fumed that a park restroom in Golden Gate Park was costing taxpayers $531,219.  Fast forward, a decade later the cost of a park restroom in the Golden Gate Boathouse had ballooned to $2 million or $4,700 per square foot.  The modern bathroom had a third All-Gender option that the '08 bathroom didn't.  But adding a non-gender shouldn't have quadrupled the price.  Inflation would have kept the cost well below a million.  Why did a 15-foot by 28-foot bathroom cost millions?  Part of the answer may be that San Fran privileges minority businesses and requires that 15% of work hours be carried out by "disadvantaged" workers.

The government is now a check-writing, wealth-redistribution machine that costs trillions.  Today, the one thing the federal government does above all else is write checks.  Lots of checks.  Nearly $3.2 trillion worth of checks.  Each and every year. [...] In other words, 70 percent of everything the federal government will spend this year will amount to writing checks to benefit individuals.  That's up from 28 percent in 1968 and 50 percent in 1991.

The Editor says...
The writer of the USA Today article sees nothing wrong with the government taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor.  He only regrets that the poor aren't getting paid enough.

Duke University to pay $112.5 million settlement for faked research.  Duke University agreed to a deal Monday [3/25/2019] that will require it to repay the federal government $112.5 million to settle claims it falsified scientific research at taxpayers' expense.  The prestigious private school in Durham, North Carolina, said it will take additional steps on "research integrity" and says it already has implemented more monitoring of research in the wake of the scandal, which involved a health researcher and her supervisors.

Duke Whistleblower Gets More Than $33 Million In Research Fraud Settlement.  Duke University is paying the U.S. government $112.5 million to settle accusations that it submitted bogus data to win federal research grants.  The settlement will also bring a $33.75 million payment to Joseph Thomas, the whistleblower who drew attention to the fraud when he worked for Duke.  Thomas, a former Duke lab analyst, sued the university on behalf of the federal government, saying that a Duke researcher fudged data to help the university win and keep lucrative grants from two agencies, the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency.

De Blasio's program spent $300M to create only 3,000 jobs.  Mayor Bill de Blasio spent $300 million to create just 3,000 jobs, a top city official admitted Monday [3/18/2019].  Testifying at a City Council hearing, James Patchett, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., defended the slow progress of the mayor's $1.35 billion "New York Works" program, launched in 2017.  The program is supposed to create 100,000 jobs each paying at least $50,000 by 2027.  Patchett said the city has spent $300 million so far investing in job training and infrastructure for companies that expand or relocate to the city.

There are just nine steps from freedom to socialism to societal breakdown.  Step 1.  Massive Government Spending.  Socialist states have government at the center of their economies and feature enormous spending programs.  In early 1990s Sweden often cited as a socialist state, government spending exceeded 70 percent of its economy.  Under President Jefferson, government spending was approximately 2 to 3 percent of the economy.  Today, we are at 36 percent.  Sweden, now walking away from socialism, has reduced its spending share to just over 50 percent.  Government education, retirement, and medical care — nearly cradle to grave spending — are three cornerstones of future socialist states.  Obama once said you can create a governing majority of those dependent on government.  Elizabeth Warren is now promoting "universal child care," which would extend that dependence.

Feds Pay Millions for Lobster Tail, Booze, Toys in End of Year Spending Binge.  Federal agencies billed taxpayers millions for lobster tail, alcohol, standing desks, golf carts, and more frivolous expenditures before budgets ran out at the end of the fiscal year.  A new analysis released by found 66 agencies spent $97 billion last September, the final month of fiscal year 2018.  The end of the year taxpayer-funded spending spree included contracts with Coors, millions on iPhones, furniture, and CrossFit equipment.  "In the final month of the fiscal year, federal agencies scramble to spend what's left in their annual budget," said.  "Agencies worry spending less than their budget allows might prompt Congress to appropriate less money in the next fiscal year.  To avoid this, federal agencies choose to embark on an annual shopping spree rather than admit they can operate on less."

De Blasio wants to spend $10B to make Manhattan bigger.  Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to spend $10 billion to "climate proof" lower Manhattan by building out the coastline by two blocks into the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Battery.  "It will be one of the most complex environmental and engineering challenges our city has ever undertaken and it will, literally, alter the shape of the island of Manhattan," the mayor wrote in a New York Magazine op-ed.  The buildout will include a half-billion dollars for "grassy berms in parks and removable barriers that can be anchored in place as storms approach," according to the mayor.

The Editor says...
[#1] Maybe you should wait until you actually have a problem before spending ten billion dollars of someone else's money.  [#2]  It is not possible to "climate proof" Manhattan.  The climate will still take its toll, even if the mean sea level recedes.

Feds splurge on lobster, pianos, golf carts in race to spend 'use it or lose it' budget.  It turns out September, not April, may be federal taxpayers' worst nightmare.  The end of the government's fiscal year usually brings an orgy of spending as agencies look at their budgets, see extra cash lying around, and figure they'd better use it all up or risk getting cut in the future.  The "use it or lose it" mentality explains why the Defense Department shelled out $9,241 on a Wexford leather chair, $2.3 million on crab and another $2.3 million on lobster tails in September, according to a study released Thursday by OpenTheBooks.  All told, taxpayers shelled out $97 billion on contracts in September — including a staggering $53 billion in the final week, or more than the entire month of August.

New Jersey city agrees to pay $27M to lease property it sold for $1.  The city of Newark, N.J. has agreed to pay $27 million over 30 years to rent property that it previously sold in 2017 for just $1, leading some to question why the city didn't just hold on to the land in the first place.  "We're paying them for something that we gave them.  This is basic math, it doesn't add up," Newark resident Debra Salters told Wednesday during a City Council meeting, where the deal was narrowly approved in a 5-4 vote.

De Blasio and 'co-mayor' wife have wasted $1.8B of taxpayer money.  Who's got a billion to burn?  Well, Bill de Blasio for sure.  But also mayoral spouse Chirlane McCray, who has just been revealed as a world-class boondoggler in her own right.  Hey, the family that preys together stays together, right?  And it's only (your) money — even if it is quite a lot of it. [...] Fast-forward to Wednesday, when the City Council was startled to discover that McCray and Team Thrive are closing in on having spent an eye-popping $900 million since the program's inception — and nobody seems to have a clue on what.  That is, nobody appears to have kept receipts; the subways and street corners are still overrun with crazy people, and nobody in charge knows what's to happen next.

Sugar Subsidies Are Welfare for the Rich.  America's biggest welfare recipients are often politically connected corporations — like America's sugar producers.  The industry gets billions of dollars in special deals while deceitfully running ads that say, "American farmers don't get subsidy checks."  That ad confused me.  If they "don't get subsidy checks," then what is America's multibillion-dollar sugar program?  "It costs taxpayers nothing," claim ads from the American Sugar Alliance.  "We are a no-cost program, no cost to the taxpayer."  "That's absolutely bogus," says Ross Marchand of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance in my newest video.  Americans "pay as customers and they pay as taxpayers."  He's right.

Congress Spends 40 Times More On Foreign Aid Than Border Security.  While Democrats and Republicans battle over funding for the border, there's one thing they can agree on — sending that money to other countries.  One America's Pearson Sharp explains how Congress has approved 40 times more on foreign aid than for protecting the U.S. border.

$1,973 LEDs and the Green New Deal.  The Green New Deal that Democrats unveiled last week has a grand ambition to eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years, retrofit every building in America, and guarantee high-paying jobs in the bargain.  If you want to see how that works in the real world, consider the public housing projects near Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's New York office.  The New York City Housing Authority (Nycha) has a more modest goal of a 30% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2027.  As part of its plan, Nycha is switching to LED lighting, which lasts longer than incandescent bulbs and consumes less energy.  Sounds smart, until you see how many union workers it takes to screw in a light bulb.  One recent project focused on 23 housing developments, and changing the light bulbs and fixtures there cost $33.2 million.  Supplies account for a fraction of that cost.  Under Nycha's Project Labor Agreement, electricians make $81 in base pay and $54 in fringe per hour, and overtime is usually time and a half.  Add administrative and contracting expenses.  All in, Nycha paid an average of $1,973 per apartment to install LEDs.

Netflix paid Nothing in federal or state taxes in 2018 despite posting record profits of $845 million, and even got a $22 million rebate.  Netflix didn't pay a cent in state or federal income taxes last year, despite posting its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018 of $845 million, according to a new report.  In addition, the streaming giant reported a $22 million federal tax rebate, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).  Senior fellow at ITEP Matthew Gardner said corporations like Netflix, which has its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, are still 'exploiting loopholes' and called the figures 'troubling'.

Billions in TSA 9/11 Security Fees Diverted by Congress for Other Causes.  Money to sustain the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continuously flowed into the government's coffers via a special security fee collected from every passenger, yet Congress didn't release the funds during the shutdown.  Known as the September 11 Security Fee, air carriers collect $5.60 per one-way trip and $11.20 round trip to help fund the TSA.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports an average daily air passenger flow of 2.6 million, which translates into $14.5 million per day in TSA fees.  That amounts to more than $507 million collected during the 35-day government shutdown yet the agency's 51,000 employees didn't get paid, igniting an onslaught of hardship stories in the media.  What happened to the money?

Feds Spending $1,489,703 Studying Sleep Habits at Mexico Border.  The National Institutes of Health is spending roughly $1.5 million on a study of the sleep habits of Mexican Americans living along the U.S. border.  The "border health" study began last year and is being conducted by the University of Arizona.  The study is recruiting 1,100 people in the tiny border town of Nogales, Ariz., to see how well they sleep.  Researchers claim Mexican Americans do not sleep as well as their peers, blaming "social" factors at the border.

Atlanta Spent $23 Million Building a Pedestrian Bridge for the Super Bowl That Pedestrians Can't Use.  In anticipation of hosting this year's Super Bowl at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the city of Atlanta spent more than $23 million to build a pedestrian bridge linking the stadium to the nearby Vine City public transit station, allowing fans to cross a busy street without needing a crosswalk.  The bridge was originally supposed to cost about $13 million — already pretty pricey for a simple pedestrian crossing over a four-lane road — but city officials approved an extra $10 million in funding last year to ensure the project would be finished in time for the big game, which kicks off Sunday evening [2/3/2019].  The serpentine bridge — decked out with dazzling, customizable LED lights and wrapped with diamond-shaped aluminum panels — did indeed get finished in time for the Super Bowl.  But it won't be used by the vast majority of the expected 80,000 people heading to the game on Sunday.  Because of it's location adjacent to the stadium, the bridge has been deemed a security risk and will be closed to everyone except credentialed staff and media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week.

You Paid For It:  Vivaldi-listening Cats, Coked-up Quails, and Monkey Marriage Proposals.  And the winner of Senator Joni Ernst's (R-IA) January 2019 Squeal Award is... the National Institutes of Health (NIH)!  As Sen. Ernst explains in her press release:  "The [NIH] supported ten different cat studies — funded from grants totaling $1.3 million of your money — that concluded classical music has an effect on cat behaviors.  For example, a study found that after playing classical music for cats every day, they were less likely to poop outside of the litter box or cough up hairballs."  Kudos to Sen. Ernst for letting the cat out of the bag about this boondoggle.  Her report provides yet another a case study for why more transparency and accountability about federal spending on animal experiments are so badly needed.

Feds Spend $453,592 Giving Financial Support to Transgender Women.  The National Institutes of Health is spending over $450,000 to provide transgender women of color financial tips and "gender transition supports."  Virginia Commonwealth University began the project last year, which studies "economically disadvantaged male-to-female" transgender individuals in Richmond, Va., and St. Louis, Mo.  "Transgender women (TGW) face persistent discrimination and structural disadvantages including high rates of unemployment, unstable housing, poverty, and dramatically elevated rates of HIV," according to the grant for the study.  "The proposed research, using a randomized experimental design, seeks to develop and test an integrated microeconomic intervention, and to assess the feasibility and efficacy of the intervention to improve the financial status of TGW and to reduce participation in high-risk income-generation strategies."  The study will recruit transgender women as "key informants" to assess their "current experiences and preferences."

What you don't know about the lucrative travel our leaders enjoy on your dime.  We have long noted Pelosi's abuse of the perks of public office that granted her access to luxury military travel.  This current expedition is hardly new for her.  In 2009, during Pelosi's first speakership, we uncovered documents from the Department of Defense detailing her multiple requests for military air travel.  The documents included internal DOD email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi's numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker's last-minute cancellations and changes.  In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, "Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend? ... [T]here's no need to block every weekend 'just in case'..."  The email also notes that Pelosi's office had, "a history of canceling many of their past requests."

New York to spend millions putting DREAMers through college.  New York state lawmakers approved a measure that aims to dole out millions in taxpayer-funded aid to Dreamers — who entered the country illegally — attending college.  The now-Democratic controlled New York state legislature on Wednesday passed the Dream Act, legislation that would make thousands of Dreamers eligible for financial aid to attend public colleges in the state.  The bill, which has attracted praise from Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would cost $27 million.

The Editor says...
From the Democrats' perspective, it makes perfect sense to send illegal aliens to college, because the colleges inject socialism into every class.

Taxpayers Funded Shrinks Who Deem Masculinity Harmful to Health.  Taxpayers helped finance research used by the American Psychological Association to label traditional masculinity harmful.  The APA's "First-Ever Guidelines for Practice with Men and Boys" received input from dozens of psychoanalysts who believe masculinity is a social construct, are passionate about social justice, and think there is a danger in a role model like John Wayne.  Several contributors to the guidelines have received federal funding from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, totaling more than $4.4 million.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC Spent $300K at Luxury Resorts Last Cycle.  The political action committee linked to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars of its funds on luxury resorts, upscale restaurants, nightclubs, and tickets to Vegas events throughout the last election cycle, Federal Election Commission filings show.  The CHC BOLD PAC, the fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, came under fire this week for a delegation trip to a seaside resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during the government shutdown where its members mingled with more than 100 lobbyists, attended a viewing of the Broadway show "Hamilton," and met with Puerto Rican officials.  The trip was met with condemnation from a number of Republican leaders.

The War on Terror Has Cost $5,900,000,000,000 & Still Isn't Being Fought Properly.  According to Brown University's Cost of War Project, the war on terror has cost approximately $5.9 trillion since September 11, 2001, including $2 trillion for operations in various foreign countries and $924 billion for security at home.  And what do we have to show for it?  Not much.  The jihadis haven't struck again in America on the scale they did on 9/11, but they have struck, in Boston, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Little Rock, San Bernardino, New York City, and elsewhere.  The jihad threat is still very much with us.

The War on Terror's Total Cost: $5,900,000,000,000 : Is America any safer?  By any reasonable estimate, the monetary and human costs of the U.S.-led war on terrorism has been considerable.  To the political scientists at Brown University, the numbers have been astronomical.  The Ivy League university's Cost of War Project calculates that Washington will spend approximately $5.9 trillion between FY2001-FY2019, a pot of money that includes over $2 trillion in overseas contingency operations, $924 billion in homeland security spending, and $353 billion in medical and disability care for U.S. troops serving in overseas conflict zones.  Add the cost of interest to borrowed money into the equation, and the American people will be paying back the debt for decades to come.

We Could Build 2 Border Walls By Just By Eliminating 'Improper Payments,' Audit Shows.  Trump's $5.7 billion would fund 234 miles of border.  Eliminating just half of the government's "improper payments" would provide enough money to build a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, with $21 billion left over.  The GAO has also found "tens of billions of dollars" in savings simply by reducing overlapping and duplicative federal programs.  For example, the federal government spends almost $3 billion on 163 separate STEM education programs across 13 agencies.  "Nearly all of these programs overlapped with at least one other program," the GAO found.  Citizens Against Government Waste has identified 636 examples of wasteful government spending that, if eliminated, would save $430 billion in the first year alone.

Border Wall Is An Ineffective Waste, Democrats Say.  Here's the Real Waste.  Among the goodies the open-borders Democrats want are $12 billion more for international affairs programs, or 29 percent more than the president wanted.  That includes $2.9 billion more for economic and development assistance to foreigners in the Middle East.  Why funding to Israel, Syria, and Pakistan is more important the security at the southern border of our own country is a mystery, as is the "$700 million more than requested for the United Nations, including restoring funding for the United Nations Population Fund."  Of course, that funding contains money, OMB observed, that would "undermine the President's Mexico City Policy ... which prohibits the funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions."  The House bill also included "$2 billion in excessive Environmental Protection Agency funding, providing funds beyond the Agency's core mission and including funding for programs that can and should be executed at the local level."  More unnecessary — and blatantly unconstitutional — spending includes $7.1 billion for "rental assistance programs" in the Housing and Urban Development Department, itself a massive unconstitutional agency.

Things Democrats Have Funded that Cost More than the Border Wall.  [#1] "Rural Utility Service."  This program costs taxpayers $8.2 billion/year and has no actual purpose after its original intent — bringing electricity to rural communities — was long ago achieved.  It's now being used to bring broadband access to small communities (usually with populations of less than 20,000). [...] [#4] The United Nations.  As the United Nation's largest contributor, the U.S. in 2016 donated $10 billion to the U.N. [...] [#8] Waste, Fraud, and Abuse.  The Government Accountability Office estimates taxpayers are spending more than $137 billion annually on "payment errors," which covers all manner of waste, fraud, and abuse within Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  The feds could implement the same kind of fraud protections credit card companies used to ensure against abuse, but don't.

Missouri: Entrepreneur Uses Gun Buy Back Program to Sell Junk Guns for Cash to Purchase New Ones.  Yes, every time that government seeks to overstep its bounds and do things it was never intended to do or ban certain items, they simply spark human ingenuity and entrepreneurship to work around their pretended legislation.  In this case, government decided to engage in an unlawful "buy back" of guns with taxpayer money, something they are not authorized to do.  One entrepreneur in Missouri had his eye on new guns and decided that he could put together scrap metal as guns and sell them off to the "no questions asked" buy back program for cash to purchase new ones.  He succeeded.

Migrants' Remittances to Mexico, Central America Jump to $53 Billion in 2018.  Legal and illegal migrants sent $53.4 billion in remittances back to Mexico and Central America in 2018, or more than double the cost of building a border barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a World Bank report.  Remittances to Mexico reached $33.7 billion in 2018, up 21 percent from roughly $27.8 billion in 2016, the bank reported.  Remittances from the three Central Americans countries are being spiked by the growing inflow of asylum-seeking migrants into blue-collar jobs throughout the U.S. economy, via the border's catch-and-release laws.  The outflow to Central America rose to $19.7 billion in 2018, up from $15.8 billion in 2016, according to the bank.

Congressional day care center with miniature National Mall to open, with $12 million taxpayer-funded outlay.  The 26,000-square foot facility, which an host up to 120 toddlers, services both members of Congress and their staff, in an effort to make working on Capitol Hill more appealing.  In early 2018, the waiting list for the House day care facility reportedly topped 175 names, and newborns at both the House and Senate day care centers typically waited between two and three years for a slot to open.  The delays were so lengthy that many House employees signed up before they became pregnant.

Government shutdown exposes redundancy in Washington.  Back in 1979, when Jimmy Carter proposed spending about $6 billion to fund a brand new Department of Education (F.Y. 2019 budget is $60 billion), one of the strongest selling points was that education programs were scattered in every department and agency across the government.  Just think how much money we can save if we bring all those programs under the control of one, federal department!  It didn't work.  Today, there are still education programs in many federal agencies, and the Education Department has become a gigantic presence.

Illegal Aliens Cost Taxpayers $100+ Billion Annually.  [Scroll down]  In fact, if all Americans paid taxes at the same rate illegal aliens did, the budget deficit would be at least quadruple what it is now.  According to prior estimates of mine based off the size of the 2017 labor force, if we were to replace the entire labor force with illegal immigrants and have them pay all their taxes (including state and local) to the feds, the federal government would've collected approximately $240 billion in tax revenue in 2017, as opposed to the $3.3 trillion that the Federal government actually collected.

IRS unable to recoup nearly $1 billion in Obamacare subsidies.  The IRS overpaid nearly $4 billion to Obamacare customers through tax credits last year, and because of the way the law is written it can't even try to collect on a quarter of that, the Treasury Department's inspector general reported this week.  All told, the Treasury Department paid out roughly $27 billion in Obamacare subsidies in the 2018 tax-filing season, with overages accounting for $3.7 billion of that.  Only $2.7 billion was recaptured.

After Defense Flunks Audit, What Next?  The first-ever comprehensive audit of DOD and its $2.7 trillion in assets was a resounding failure, with officials saying it should take years for the Pentagon to get its books in order.  "We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it," Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters. [...] Critics have slammed DOD for the audit, which showcases substandard accounting practices that have resulted in transaction records that differ from those of the U.S. Treasury.  DOD also hasn't recorded all of its real estate and property assets.  Its management of expenses led to $665 million in waste last year.

Rand Paul issues 'Festivus Edition' of The Waste Report.  Every Christmas since he took office, Senator Rand Paul has issued a "Waste Report" on government spending.  This year, Senator Paul has outdone himself in finding the stupid, inane, shocking, maddening, and depressing examples of how our federal government spends the hard-earned tax dollars of citizens. [...]
  [#1]   Since 2009, the State Department has allocated more than $76 million to provide stipends to the nearly non-existent Somali army.
  [#2]   The Agriculture Department spent more than $13 million to promote the already overcrowded farmers' market industry.
  [#3]   The U.S. embassy in Rwanda spent more than $250,000 to teach citizens how to lobby.
  [#4]   The National Endowment for the Arts spent $15,000 on "theatrical research" to combat poverty.
  [#5]   NIH spent more than $800,000 to study the sex lives of quails high on cocaine.
On and on it goes — thousands upon thousands of line items in the budget for useless programs that not only are questionable expenditures on their face, but raise questions about whether the federal government should even be funding these things.

City to pay $480G in medical costs for suspect injured after allegedly shooting police officer: reports.  Taxpayers in Omaha, Neb., will pay nearly $480,000 in medical bills for a suspect whom police wounded with gunfire after he allegedly shot an officer on Sept. 11, city council members decided this week in a 6-1 vote.  The officers struck suspect John Ezell Jr., 36, multiple times after he fired at Omaha Police Gang Unit Officer Ken Fortune, 42, striking the officer in a shoulder, during a traffic stop in the city, authorities said, according to Omaha's FOX 42.

Louis Farrakhan Is Getting Cash From U.S. Government.  Our federal government has been paying the Nation Of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan to teach religious study programs in federal prisons.  Per the Washington Examiner, "the Nation of Islam and its leaders have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the U.S. government since 2008.  Its leaders have received at least $364,500 in contracts and awards from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2019.

Omaha taxpayers hit with $250,000 medical bill of gang member who shot police officer.  A man allegedly shot a police officer — and now taxpayers have to help pay his medical bill.  The city of Omaha has been hit with a $239,670.63 bill after a 36-year-old gang member needed treatment while in police custody, according to The Omaha World-Herald.

Overpaid public-sector employees.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that state and local government employee total compensation is now 47 percent higher than for private sector employees.  Total compensation for federal, state, and local government employees cost taxpayers $1.9 trillion in 2016, or about $15,176 per household.

From Your Table to Their Farm.  Forget all the tongue clucking about Washington being so divided and nasty that Democrats and Republicans cannot work together.  As the Senate and House proved this week in passing the $867 billion farm bill, when it comes to spending money they don't have, party leaders really can reach across the aisle.  With the national federal debt approaching $22 trillion, President Donald Trump has praised the bill, which provides food stamps for the poor, but also hands out subsidies to American farmers, even though it does not include needed reforms or even modest spending cuts.  Conservative think tanks dismiss the farm subsidies as corporate welfare.  On the left, environmentalist groups have opposed them as well.  Fiscal hawks are appalled at the failure of Congress to do anything to ease the deficit.  And yet the farm bill lives.

Subsidies For All! — The Farm Bill's Creeping Socialism.  As the Washington Post noted, Congress passed the $867 billion farm bill "with strong bipartisan support, spurred in part by pressure from farmers battered by President Trump's trade war with China."  Sorry, don't blame the trade war with China for this debacle.  The Farm Bill is a disaster on its own.  It's filled with literally hundreds of billions of dollars of market-distorting subsidies to U.S. farmers.  But the bill that passed excluded the one good idea it originally contained:  A work requirement for able-bodied welfare recipients.  How bad is the bill?  Even Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, himself a farmer, was outraged because the package granted federal subsidies even to distant relatives of farmers that don't farm.

Obama Used 310 Million Taxpayer Dollars for Illegals' Legal Fees.  An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has revealed that the Obama-era U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in apparent violation of federal immigration law, awarded multiple high-value contracts, worth over $310 million, to a single nonprofit group in 2015 and 2016.  All of these contracts were awarded for the purpose of providing legal representation to unaccompanied alien children (UACs).  A significant number of the so-called youth were tied to MS-13.  The money was sent to the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), a nonprofit group that provides immigrants with access to legal services.  One of the former directors, Christopher Stone, also served as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations from 2012-2017.

Alabama sheriff's office mistakenly orders 24,000 rolls of toilet paper.  Officials in an Alabama county have a financial mess to wipe up after the sheriff's department mistakenly ordered 24,000 extra rolls of toilet paper.  WAFF-TV reports the Marshall County Sheriff's Office mistakenly spent $22,000 on toilet paper and another $9,000 for 450 cases of trash bags.  That's a big problem, because its entire budget for janitorial supplies for next year is only $15,000.

$280 Million USAID Program Was To Help 75,000 Afghan Women - It Helped 60.  Since 2015, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has spent $280 million on a program intended to help tens of thousands of Afghan women enter their country's work force and gain promotions.  According to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the program has helped somewhere between no women and roughly 60.

SF spends $300,000 to register noncitizen voters — a whopping 49 sign up.  San Francisco's effort to get noncitizen parents to the ballot box is pretty much a bust the first time out, with only 49 signing up to vote in the Nov. 6 election.  Back in July, the city began registering noncitizens — including undocumented immigrants — to vote in school board elections.  The program is the first-of-its-kind in California and followed passage of a 2016 San Francisco ballot measure opening school elections to noncitizens who are over the age of 18, city residents and have children under age 19.  The city spent about $310,000 setting up the new registration system and encouraging people to sign up.

California's $77 billion bullet train will be one of the state's great embarrassments:  Larry Ellison.  Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Tesla CEO Elon Musk are on the same page when it comes to California's $77 billion high-speed rail project.  "Trains leave when you don't want to leave, from a place you don't want to leave from, and take you to a place you don't want to go to, at a time you don't want to get there, and then you have to get into a car and go wherever you're going.  It is a crazy system," said Ellison during an exclusive interview with Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria" on Thursday [10/25/2018].  Ellison, who said he hasn't spoken to Musk about the train, noted that their views are in-line.

Costly path-to-citizenship program comes under fire.  U.S. Customs and Immigration empowers 866 regional centers around the country to oversee EB-5 investments.  Recent years have seen numerous high-profile scandals at the centers.  One in Vermont was shut down this summer over allegations its principals misused over $200 million in a Ponzi-like scheme.  The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a Florida center blew a large chunk of $43.9 million in EB-5 investments.  And last year in California, two fraudsters pled guilty to stealing millions from EB-5 investors and trying to sell visas to people on China's "100 Most Wanted List."

Mogadishu, Minnesota.  When it was noted that the carry-on bags of multiple airline passengers traveling from Minneapolis to Somalia contained millions of dollars in cash, on a regular basis, law enforcement was naturally curious to know where the money came from and where it was going.  It soon emerged that millions of taxpayer dollars, and possibly much more, had been stolen through a massive scam of Minnesota's social-services sector, specifically through fraudulent daycare claims.  To make matters worse, the money appears to have wound up in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab, the Islamic jihadist group responsible for numerous terrorist outrages.  Starting in the 1990s, the State Department directed thousands of refugees from Somalia's civil war to Minnesota, which is now home to the largest population of Somalis outside Somalia itself.

Air Force squadron spends $56,000 on metal coffee cups.  An Air Force squadron spent almost $56,000 to replace broken just dozens of metal coffee cups over the past three years, in the latest example Pentagon procurement pricing irregularities.  The cups are used by the 60th Aerial Port Squadron at Travis Air Force base in California because they can reheat coffee and tea on air refueling tankers in flight.  But, because of the container's design, the handle breaks easily whenever the cups are dropped.

Since there's plenty of money available...
Gov. 'Moonbeam' says California to launch climate satellite.  California Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday [9/14/2018] that [...] state officials will work with the San Francisco-based company Planet Labs to develop a satellite to track climate-change causing pollutants.

Millions Of Water Bottles Found Rotting In Puerto Rico As San Juan Mayor Continues To Bash Trump.  San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump over the U.S. government's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, even as 12 million bottles of water were discovered this week rotting on an airport runway in Puerto Rico.  BuzzFeed News reports that "Justo Hernández, deputy federal coordinating officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told reporters that the 19,841 pallets of water were left on the runway at José Aponte de la Torre Airport and that as a result, 'some of that water was spoiled.'"

Massive stockpile of bottled water found in Puerto Rico a year after Maria.  Hundreds of thousands of water bottles meant for victims of Hurricane Maria are still sitting at a Puerto Rico airport — nearly a year after the deadly storm, according to a report.  A photo showing the bottles in boxes and covered in a blue tarp on a runway in Ceiba was shared widely on social media Tuesday evening.  "Although you don't believe it... almost a million boxes of water that were never delivered to the villages," posted Abdiel Santana, a photographer working for a Puerto Rican state police agency who took the pictures.  "Is there anyone who can explain this?"  FEMA acknowledged to CBS News on Wednesday [9/12/2018] that the bottles were brought inland in 2017 in the wake of the hurricane and that they were turned over to "central government."

A Portland-Area Effort To End Homelessness Shows How Not To Do It.  The Seattle Times published an interesting story today [8/27/2018] about the failure of an attempt by the city of Portland to offer shelter to everyone who needed it.  The so-called "no turn away" policy started, as these things often do, with a genuine desire to help families living on the street and ended two years later with a blown budget.

The Editor says...
Unfortunately, a "blown budget" is not perceived as a problem by most Democrats.  That's how we have accumulated a $21 trillion national debt.

Chicago Plans to Take on $10 Billion More Debt to Make Up for $28 Billon Pension Hole.  The Democrat-led city of Chicago has a new plan to try and make up the difference of a $28 billion pension deficit:  take on another $10 billion in debt.  As the pension for Chicago's municipal workers, including its police and firefighters, continues to spiral out of control, Democrat Mayor and former Barack Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is launching a scheme to float an additional $10 billion taxable bond offering, according to Fox Business Network.

A $2.2 million loss:
Failed VA wind turbine to be torn down in 2019.  A failed wind turbine at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center will be torn down. [...] The turbine was built in 2011 and never produced any energy for the VA.

50 Wacky Ways The Government Spends Your Money.  [#23] Fruit Of The Loons:  The University of Tennessee used $5 million of taxpayer money allowing student to dress up like fruits and veggies in an attempt to promote healthy eating habits.  "Students created the term 'fruved' to describe 'the process of eating FRUits and VEgetables.'"

Scott Pruitt used that $43,000 phone booth to call the White House once.  Remember earlier this year when the now-departed Scott Pruitt spent about $43,000 in taxpayer money to construct a secure phone booth in his office as director of the Environmental Protection Agency?  That seemed a little excessive even for a government agency that deals with sensitive — and controversial — environmental issues in an age of hacking. [...] When the initial $20,000 phone booth purchase price and $23,000 installation costs came out, Pruitt likened it to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a highly-secure location used by government officials for secure conversations and document-reading.  The EPA already has one of those SCIF rooms.  But the director would have had to go to a different floor from his office. [...] Now, we learn from newly-released agency records that Pruitt used the secure telephone booth only once to call the White House, which has its own very secure phone system.

Obama administration gave out $434 million in improper Obamacare payments:  Watchdog.  The Obama administration improperly paid out $434 million to Obamacare customers to pay down the cost of insurance in 2014, the first year the law's health insurance marketplaces went online, a federal watchdog reported Monday [8/13/2018].  Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General released a report Monday that outlined the improper payments during Obamacare's first year.

No justice for taxpaying Americans.  There are two systems of justice, but it's not so much about race as it is about immigration status.  If you're an American, chances are you get hard time.  If you're an illegal immigrant, you get everything, and I do mean everything, including an EBT card, MassHealth and a Sect. 8 housing certificate.  First, when the "racist" cops say you have the right to remain silent, the illegal says "no habla" English.  He gets a translator.  He claims he's "indigent," so he gets a public defender.  If he's charged with OUI, the public defender hires a psychologist (also on the taxpayers' dime) to say that the illegal immigrant "lacks the enzyme" to metabolize alcohol and thus can't be held accountable for killing some gringo.  But the real double standard kicks in when the undocumented Democrat gets to the courtroom.  A taxpaying American can only dream of the kid-gloves treatment these Third World fiends get.

Smug Seattle keeps throwing money after streetcar, bike lane fiasco that's totally off the rails.  Seattle was one of the first cities to get electric streetcars in the U.S., with the first electric car entering service in 1889.  With over a century of experience, you would think the city would know how to handle public transit.  Not so.  Taxpayers are paying a big price for the incompetence of city officials.  The public transportation system in Seattle is a mess.  Construction costs for new and upgraded streetcar and light rail lines are skyrocketing well above estimated costs.  One of the more unbelievable mistakes made was the purchase of 10 new streetcars last fall.  Apparently, when the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) ordered the cars no one thought to check the measurements.  The order was placed for street cars that are likely too big for the tracks and the maintenance barn.

Seattle's new streetcars may be too big to fit tracks, maintenance barn, mayor's office says.  The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) ordered 10 new streetcars in the fall, at a cost of $52 million, as it planned to link the two existing streetcar lines with a new line along First Avenue through downtown.  But Durkan halted that work in March and ordered an independent review of the project's finances, after a Seattle Times report said costs to operate the new system could be 50 percent higher than SDOT had publicly stated.

Seattle's $52M streetcar fiasco.  The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reportedly ordered 10 new streetcars last year, to help expand the Seattle Streetcar system by linking the two existing streetcar lines.  Questions [were] raised as to whether 10 new streetcars ordered by Seattle will fit current tracks[.]  But the new streetcars also are reportedly heavier and longer than the ones currently in use, raising concerns about whether they'll be used at all.

Florida domestic violence chief is paid $761,000 a year.  Tiffany Carr runs the state's top domestic violence organization, a nonprofit that uses public money — state and federal — to finance shelters and other essential services.  And she makes a good living.  How good?  In a June 30, 2017 report, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence disclosed she is paid $761,560 annually, a salary that is approved by its board.  She hit that mark after receiving pay raises totaling $313,475 over a two-year period.

Jeb Bush's Florida do-gooder with a $761,000 salary.  [Scroll down]  So this woman, who runs this non-profit group that supposedly helps battered women, is really, truly worth her $761,560 salary, and the state just has to cough up for her because of all the value she brings, or else all is lost.  The racket is perpetrated not by civil service classifications, which are transparent to all, but by the contracting-out system, where less than transparent boards of directors sign off on these outrages, and who knows, get something they want from it.  The Herald reports that $761,000-woman Carr's group gets nearly all its money from the government.  She owns three houses, two of them expensive vacation homes, as part of a program set up by, surprise, then-gov. Jeb Bush.

15 Former Chicago Aldermen Collect 6-Figure Pensions.  Of the 38 former elected Chicago officials currently receiving pensions, 15 former aldermen see yearly payouts exceeding $100,000, according to documents from the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, or MEABF. Two additional aldermen receive annual pension payouts just a few thousand dollars shy of $100,000.  On average, the 15 former aldermen collecting six-figure annual pensions have accumulated $768,500 in total gross pension benefits.  Four of those ex-aldermen have accumulated more than $1 million in gross benefits.

More about Chicago.

Wasteful spending will sink our country.  When government spends more money on projects to reduce global warming, for example, it is at the expense of increased costs of other goods people buy.  No one claims that it would prevent global warming because climate is determined by natural forces, and man-made global warming is only part of it.  Moreover, since electricity produced by wind and solar power is more costly than electricity produced from fossil fuels, businesses and consumers have to pay the higher utility costs, and consumers will have to pay higher prices for domestically produced goods.

Wasteful spending will sink our country.  There can be little doubt that federal government spending is excessive on a wide range of programs in nearly every department and agency.  Depending on whom you use as the source, there are 78 to 137 independent federal government agencies, most of which you probably never heard of.  How much it costs the federal government to ignore the cost of overspending in the programs of these agencies and how much it costs the private sector because too much is spent by the federal government is unknown, but it has to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Unbelievable Nerve:  Illegal Detainee Complaints Cross The Line.  Previous reports about illegal detainees haven't discussed the topic of food.  The detainees must be feeling more entitled to what they want.  Complaints of food not following "religious beliefs" are pretty shocking because these people are just lucky they survived crossing.  In other words, beggars shouldn't be choosers.  That might sound harsh but we are keeping thousands and thousands of these illegals at taxpayer expense.  America is over 20 TRILLION dollars in debt so you have to ask yourself how long we can be the world's babysitter.

Wasteful spending will sink our country.  The GAO reports that five federal agencies alone spent $3.1 billion on workers placed on administrative leave in a two-year time span.  The Heritage Foundation reported that Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties; government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them — costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually — fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.  The Congressional Budget Office published a "Budget Options" series identifying more than $100 billion in potential spending cuts.  Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) wrote in a recent report that there was over $473 billion in wasteful spending in one recent year.

Feds order Georgia sheriff to return $69G spent on Hellcat muscle car.  A Georgia police department is in hot water over the purchase of a Hellcat muscle car.  Fox 5 reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has asked the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office to pay back $69,258 that it received from a federal program that distributes seized drug money to law enforcement agencies, which was used to buy the 707 hp Dodge Charger Hellcat in May.

Money laundering:
Inspector General:  Obama Paid $300 Million To 'People Who Don't Exist'.  Barack Obama will always be remembered for a series of highly irregular overseas payments to authoritarian regimes, however according to a report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, those wasted millions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Obama's largesse.  According to special inspector general John Sopko, Obama wasted at least $300 million on the salaries of "people who don't exist", who were supposedly operating in Afghanistan, far away from the prying eyes of U.S. oversight.

Atlanta airport reveals it spent nearly $4M on dog bathrooms.  Officials for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently revealed that its seven new Service Animal Relief Areas, which were installed last year, cost a total of $3.9 million.  The airport installed the seven dog bathrooms, one in each concourse, last summer, but the cost to construct them was made public only this week, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.

A Mountain Of Surplus Cheese, Brought To You By The Federal Government.  The amount of surplus cheese is growing fast — up 6% in just the past year.  According to news accounts, the reason is that dairy production is climbing, while dairy consumption is falling. [...] In what other industry would you find producers continuing to ramp up production while demand slides, and then stuffing the growing pile of surplus into warehouses, hoping the federal government will buy some of it?  What makes the dairy industry different is decades of government efforts to "support" dairy farmers with various subsidy schemes.  The 2014 farm bill did away with old federal price support programs, but replaced them with heavily subsidized insurance that essentially guarantees margins for those who sign up.  This year, the dairy industry successfully lobbied Congress to expand this subsidy program.

How $21 Trillion in U.S. Tax Money Disappeared:  The following are highlights from the DOD IG "Summary of DOD Office of the Inspector General Audits of Financial Management":
  •   The financial management systems DOD has put in place to control and monitor the money flow don't facilitate but actually "prevent DOD from collecting and reporting financial information... that is accurate, reliable, and timely."  (p. 4)
  •   DOD frequently enters "unsupported" (i.e. imaginary) amounts in its books (p. 13) and uses those figures to make the books balance.  (p. 14)
  •   Inventory records are not reviewed and adjusted; unreliable and inaccurate data are used to report inventories, and purchases are made based on those distorted inventory reports.  (p. 7)
  •   DOD managers do not know how much money is in their accounts at the Treasury, or when they spend more than Congress appropriates to them.  (p. 5)
  •   Nor does DOD "record, report, collect, and reconcile" funds received from other agencies or the public (p. 6),
  •   DOD tracks neither buyer nor seller amounts when conducting transactions with other agencies.  (p. 12)
  •   "The cost and depreciation of the DOD general property, plant, and equipment are not reliably reported...." (p. 8);
  •   "...the value of DOD property and material in the possession of contractors is not reliably reported." (p. 9)
  •   DOD does not know who owes it money, nor how much. (p. 10.)

U.S. Post Office to pay $3.5M for using wrong Statue of Liberty on stamp.  The U.S. Postal Service was ordered last week to pay $3.5 million for mistakenly featuring Las Vegas' Statue of Liberty replica on a "forever" stamp instead of the original New York statue.  In a copyright infringement lawsuit, Las Vegas sculptor Robert Davidson sued the Postal Service five years ago over its 2011 forever stamp design.  Davidson created the replica Lady Liberty in the façade at the New-York-New-York casino-resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

USPS must pay Statue of Liberty replica sculptor $3.5M.  They knocked off a knockoff — and now the US Postal Service must fork over $3.5 million to a sculptor who built the famously tacky Statue of Liberty replica in Las Vegas, a judge has ruled.  In an embarrassing and now costly move, the money-losing USPS used an image of Robert Davidson's "sexier" and "more fresh faced" faux Lady Liberty — instead of the majestic original in New York Harbor — on a popular patriotic stamp without permission, according to court records.  "We are satisfied that plaintiff succeeded in making the statue his own creation, particularly the face," Judge Eric G. Bruggink, of the US Court of Federal Claims, said last week.  "We find that defendant's use was infringing."

Handing them out like candy.
Seattle authorities luring homeless off the streets with plane tickets, rent payments.  Seattle is testing out other ideas, such as using tax payer money to purchase airfare for homeless people looking to stay with family in other places.  Last week, two people at the camp accepted plane tickets to Kansas to stay with friends in a more stable housing situation using the taxpayers' money.  Now [Mayor Jenny] Durkan is willing to dig deeper than just covering homeless people's airfare.  She is now proposing paying two months rent or even paying car repairs in order to keep people off the city's streets or give them opportunities to relocate.  Durken has described her plan of action as a diversion service.

Sounds like a slush fund:
New Jersey Funds the Media.  In the liberal mind, the way to prove you value something is by funding it with taxpayer money.  So if you love journalism, you take taxpayer money and give it to journalists.  It is a sacred mantra of the Left that corporate funding of media inevitably results in a pro-corporate media bias.  Consistency would dictate that government funding of media would lead to a pro-government bias.  Not in New Jersey. [...] Garden State legislators have approved a bill to use taxpayer money to support "grants to strengthen local news coverage," starting with an opening $5 million kitty.  The goal is to have $20 million allocated toward the "civic information" fund every year for five years.

Report: Taxpayers' Money Going To Islamic Charity Group With Ties To Terrorist Groups.  One of the largest Islamic charities in the world has financial ties to several terrorist organizations, according to a report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.  Islamic Relief, the highly influential international nonprofit, receives funds from the Charitable Society for Social Welfare, for example, which was founded by Al-Qaida terrorist and "Bin Laden loyalist" Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, the report says.  Islamic Relief is also accused of financially supporting Hamas, the militant and political Islamist organization regarded by much of the international community as a terrorist group.

French Research Agency Churning Out Pseudoscience on America's Dime.  Cancer research is big business, and with big business comes big corruption.  The embattled International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based in Lyon, France, is in Congress's crosshairs again.  The U.S. House Science, Space and Technology (SST) Committee has been concerned about IARC's scientific integrity — and the millions of dollars of funding it receives from American taxpayers — since 2016.

US anti-narcotic effort in Afghanistan is a costly failure, official report finds.  Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit a record high last year, a US government watchdog has said, describing American-funded counternarcotics efforts in the war-torn country as a failure.  Since the American-led invasion in late 2001, the US has spent about $8.6bn on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, yet the country remains the world's largest producer of opium.  According to a new study by the office of the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (Sigar), opium cultivation reached about 328,000 hectares (1,265 square miles) in 2017 — a 63% jump from the year before and the greatest amount tallied since 2002.

The CIA studied the impact of space storms on psychic powers.  In late 2016 then-President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on geomagnetic storm preparedness.  His plan, co-chaired by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, focused exclusively on guiding the country through damages to our power grid, which could cause an estimated $12 trillion in damages.  Apparently the Central Intelligence Agency took the issue with lack of concern over solar flare-induced psychic phenomena, however, dedicating part of its 824 page risk report on it.  The first part of the document, released to Michael Morisy, is entitled "Geomagnetic Factors in Subjective Telepathic, Precognitive and Postmortem Experiences."  It's just as bizarre as one might expect.

Restatement on Fozia Ali.  [Scroll down]  Fozia Ali served as the centerpiece of [Jeff] Baillon's story.  She stole $1.5 million from the Child Care Assistance Program over an 18-month period.  The media can't quibble with the facts of the Fozia Ali case.  Her guilty plea in federal court earlier this year told its own story, although the media somehow overlooked it.  Reviewing the facts of Ali's case I called and wrote the Minnesota Department of Human Services to ask one question:  "CCAP seems to be a program that is relatively easy to defraud.  How else to account for a case like Fozia Ali's and the multiplicity of similar cases?"  DHS responded:  "Any amount of fraud is too much.  DHS created the Office of the Inspector General in 2011 to address fraud, waste and abuse in public programs.  DHS has added resources and made recommendations to the Legislature to increase our ability to ensure public funds are used for those who need them."  DHS also instructed me not to attribute this nonresponse response to the person who provided it.

Robert Mueller Reveals The Price Tag For His Special Counsel Investigation.  The special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has cost nearly $17 million dollars so far, according to a new report from the Justice Department.  Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors and FBI special agents has spent by far the most money on covering salaries, followed by rent and information technology services, the statement of expenditures says.  The office has been operating for just over a year — since May 17, 2017, when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, the former FBI director.

Mueller team spent $4.5 million in six months.  Special counsel Robert Mueller has cost American taxpayers another $4.5 million.  According to a new statement of expenditures released on Thursday [5/31/2018] showing expenses between Oct. 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, most of the money — $2.78 million — was spent on personnel compensation and benefits.  Mueller also announced an additional $5.476 million had been spent separately on the investigation by Justice Department officials not on Mueller's team.  He stated those costs "would have incurred" regardless of his own work and appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Far from cages:  Feds pay $670 a day to make unaccompanied alien children 'comfortable'.  The image of two illegal immigrant children sleeping on the floor in a chain-link fence "cage" swept the internet last weekend, sparking misdirected anger from activists who blamed President Trump for the conditions — which were actually from 2014, when the photo was taken, under President Obama.  Here is another image:  illegal immigrant children set up in comfy dormitories, coloring with "multicultural crayons," watching their favorite soccer teams from back home on the extensive cable system, even kicking the ball around themselves on a beautiful new soccer field — all paid for by taxpayers.  There's "Spanish language yoga" for those that want it and trips to go bowling, to visit museums and even to hit up the amusement park, at $49 a ticket, also on taxpayers' tab.  The children chow on three meals a day plus snacks, since federal rules say they must be fed "until they are full."

Andrew McCabe Spent $70,000 On A Table.  The FBI Hid It From Congress.  Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who was fired for lying under oath, spent $70,000 in taxpayer dollars on a conference table.  The FBI also redacted the conference table's steep price tag from documents that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee requested, in an apparent attempt to hide it from Congress.  In a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley revealed that the FBI had redacted the cost of the table from a document he and his fellow members of the committee requested to see.  Grassley said many of the redactions within the documents made no sense, nor were they made to protect national security secrets.

Feds Spend $333,210 Studying Bars Along Mexico Border.  The National Institutes of Health is spending over $300,000 to study bars along the U.S.-Mexico border.  The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is heading the project.  Among the study's aims are to examine whether bars in border towns like Mexicali have "more dancing" and "louder music."  The study, "Mexican American Drinking Contexts On and Away From the U.S.-Mexico Border," involves researchers going into bars for "unobtrusive systematic observations."

Mogadishu, Minnesota.  When it was noted that the carry-on bags of multiple airline passengers traveling from Minneapolis to Somalia contained millions of dollars in cash, on a regular basis, law enforcement was naturally curious to know where the money came from and where it was going.  It soon emerged that millions of taxpayer dollars, and possibly much more, had been stolen through a massive scam of Minnesota's social-services sector, specifically through fraudulent daycare claims.  To make matters worse, the money appears to have wound up in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab, the Islamic jihadist group responsible for numerous terrorist outrages.

Minnesota Republicans call for crackdown on child care assistance fraud.  Minnesota Republicans said Tuesday [5/15/2018] they want to crack down on subsidized child-care providers who commit fraud, following a television news report that suggested illegally obtained funds may be going overseas to finance terrorist groups.  State and federal officials said Tuesday that they've seen no evidence of a link between Minnesota day-care operators and overseas terrorist groups, but that they welcome any additional resources to investigate fraud against the state's child-care subsidy program.  The legislation introduced Tuesday would enable the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to close child-care businesses that participate in the program but fail to fully cooperate with investigators.  It would also create new criminal and civil penalties for anyone who transferred fraudulently obtained money to countries on the U.S. State Department's travel ban list.

The Great Somali Welfare Rip-Off.  At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the carry-on bag bulged with $1 million in cash from a welfare rip-off scheme.  The loot was headed for Somalia, some of it to regions controlled by the al Shabaab terrorist group, and this shipment was part of $100 million sent over the past year alone.  This scheme was not uncovered by the New York Times, CNN, "Frontline" or any "investigative" journalist in the old-line establishment media.  It came to light in [...] a story by Jeff Baillon of KMSP, a Fox News outlet in Minnesota and the subject of a Powerline blog by John Hinderaker on Monday [5/14/2018].  Back on March 5, Fox 9 got a tip about a man leaving the country with $1 million in cash, but this was only part of the story.

Millions of dollars in suitcases fly out of MSP, but why?  For five months, Fox 9 has been investigating what appears to be rampant fraud in a massive state program.  This fraud is suspected of costing Minnesota taxpayers as much as $100 million a year.  The Fox 9 Investigators reporting is based on public records and nearly a dozen government sources who have direct knowledge of what is happening.  These sources have a deep fear, and there is evidence to support their concerns, that some of that public money is ending up in the hands of terrorists.

FBI 'won't touch it' for fear of offending Muslims.
Refugees sending 'suitcases of welfare cash' home to Somalia.  Men and women pulling "suitcases full of cash" started showing up at Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport last year holding tickets for international flights bound for Africa.  Transporting large amounts of cash overseas is perfectly legal.  But it was who was carrying the money ... and where it was going that caught the attention of law enforcement, according to a report by KING 5, the local NBC affiliate for western Washington.  Those hauling the cash-laden cases were Somali-Americans who'd come to this country as refugees.  They routinely send money back to Somalia.  And many of the greenbacks headed to the jihadist-infested East African country come from welfare checks the refugees receive from the U.S. government, compliments of American taxpayers.  Carrying more than $10,000 while traveling out of the United States is legal as long as the traveler declares it by filling out a one-page federal form.  It was while looking at these slips of paper that terrorism expert Glenn Kerns found a disturbing pattern.

Here are 1,366 well sourced examples of Barack Obama's lies, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, waste, etc..  [#36] During one of Obama's "stimulus" projects, $205,075 of combined federal and local government funding was spent to relocate and care for a single specimen of Arctostaphylos franciscana, a shrubbery which nurseries sell for $16.  [...] [#37] Obama's administration funded a study to see whether or not rats' enjoyment of the music of Miles Davis was increased when the rats were high on cocaine. [...] [#49] During Obama's presidency, the federal government repeatedly purchased soda for a cost of $3.40 per can. [...] [#50] Obama's "stimulus" paid to connect some households in Montana to the internet, at a cost of $7 million per household.[...] [#111] In 2012, the Obama administration spent $516,000 on a video game called "Prom Week." [...] [#115] Obama spent $27 million on pottery classes in Morocco. [...] [#122] In the summer of 2011, the Obama administration spent $50,000 on a George S. Patton impersonator.  [#123] The Obama administration spent $75,000 of taxpayer money on a bicycle. [...] [#159] In March 2013, it was reported that Obama was spending $277,050 of tax money per year for three professional calligraphists.  It was also reported that cheap computer software could produce the exact same calligraphy for a tiny fraction of that cost. [...] [#161] Obama spent $2.6 million to teach Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly on the job. [...] [#171] In May 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $402,721 on underwear that detects the presence of cigarette smoke. [...] [#204] In July 2013, it was reported that Obama had spent $630,000 of taxpayers' money in order to get more Facebook "likes." [...] [#217] In July 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $3 million to study the health risks of dating Mexican prostitutes. [...] [#324] In September 2013, the Obama administration spent $98,670 to build an outhouse at the Swede Park Trail Head in Alaska. [...] [#389] The Obamacare website was originally supposed to cost $94 million.  However, when it went online on October 1, 2013, it had already cost $634 million. [...] [#460] In August 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration would be spending $1.5 million to help women in Brazil quit smoking. [...] [#502] In December 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $914,000 to study "romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction." [#503] In December 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $65 million on television ads to promote tourism in New York and New Jersey. [#504] In December 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $1.5 million each year to tell the movie industry how to portray the FBI in movies. [...] [#542] In January 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $2,797,979 so people in Veitnam could watch television. [...] [#522] In January 2013, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $544,338 for an "Enhanced Company Profile" on LinkedIn. [...] [#557] In February 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $464,272 to find out why gay men in Peru get Syphilis. [...] [#690] In April 2014, the Obama administration spent $194,788 to study how transwomen use Facebook. [...] [#715] In May 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $430,000 to renovate a house in Detroit, and then sold it for $80,000. [...] [#720] In July 2014, it reported that the Obama administration was spending $252 per day per child to house illegal aliens. [...] [#751] In June 2014, it was reported that the Phoenix VA Health Care System spent $20 million on solar panels while as many as 40 of its patients died while waiting for care. [...] [#797] Between 2010 and 2014, the Obama administration spent a total of $34 million of taxpayers' money to try to convince the people of Afghanistan to grow and eat soybeans. [...] [#865] In October 2014, it was reported that Obama had spent $466,642 of taxpayers' money to find out why obese teenage girls have a hard time getting dates. [...] [#874] In October 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $667,000 of taxpayers' money to study the health benefits of watching reruns on television.  [#875] In October 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $600,000 of taxpayers' money to find out why chimpanzees throw their poop.  [#876] In October 2014, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $350,000 of taxpayers' money to study the importance of imagination while golfing. [...] [#965] In December 2014, the Obama administration spent $33,341 to find out if gay and lesbian couples lived near stores that sold cigarettes. [...] [#1071] In 2014, the Obama administration spent $288,000 of taxpayers' money to relocate Diana Rubens, the director of the Philadelphia VA regional benefits office, a distance of 140 miles. [...] [#1075] In April 2015, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $410,265 of taxpayers' money to study gay men's level of satisfaction from their first sexual experience. [...] [#1087] In February 2015, the Obama administration spent $15,000 of taxpayers' money to have a comedian speak to employes of the U.S. Census Bureau. [...] [#1142] In September 2015, it was reported that Obama had spent $236,517 of taxpayers' money to create a video game to teach 11-year-old Kenyans how to use condoms. [...] [#1150] In October 2015, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $49,083 of taxpayers' money to create a network to support the gay, lesbian, bigender, and transsexual community in India. [...] [#1182] In November 2015, it was reported that the Department of Defense had spent $43 million of taxpayers' money to build a gas station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan, that was supposed to cost $500,000. [...] [#1189] In April 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $336,413 of taxpayers' money to build a randomizer app that chooses left or right.  In the private sector, such an app can be built for $10.  [Or you could just flip a coin.] [...] [#1215] In March 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent $412,930 of taxpayers' money to study the "relationship between gender and glaciers." [...] [#1267] In August 2016, it was reported that the State Department had spent $185,000 of taxpayers' money on a piece of artwork that was made from balls of thread, and was displayed in Islamabad, Pakistan. [...] [#1275] In August 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent taxpayers' money to try to convince lesbians to become farmers.

Feds Spend $318,876 on Mindfulness for Drunks.  The National Institutes of Health is spending over $300,000 getting drunks to practice mindfulness meditation.  The Wake Forest University study will seek to curb the cravings of "moderate to high" drinkers, which the researchers define as low as just one drink per day for women, and two drinks for men.  "The scientific premise of the Wake Forest Translational Alcohol Research Center (WF-TARC) is that the neurobiological substrates that contribute to alcohol use disorder (AUD) vulnerability and resilience are not fully understood," according to the grant for the study.  "Despite the fact that alcohol misuse contributes to 88,000 deaths in America each year, the effectiveness of currently available interventions is less than desirable and is demonstrated by relapse occurring in up to 70 [percent] of treated patients."

Amazon handling our national security:  Worse than you think.  The U.S. Department of Defense has more than 3,000 datacenters and countless applications.  The DOD smartly want to consolidate to save money.  In March, the DOD put out a request for a proposal about a compute cloud infrastructure.  Business Insider reports that Amazon is currently a shoe-in for the $10-billion contract.  One reason is because Amazon has already signed a $600M contract with the CIA to run a more secure datacenter in Washington, D.C.  Bryan Crabtree wrote an article talking about why it is a mistake for the U.S. military to choose Amazon.  Many don't realize there is already a free solution to this problem, called OpenStack.

Obama State Dept.  Gave Soros $9 Million To Support 'Socialist-Communist' Activities.  The Obama State Dept. and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2016 sent $9 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to a Soros-backed group, which used the money to fund far-left political activities in Albania, newly released documents show.  According to the watchdog website, Judicial Watch, which obtained the 32 pages of records through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the American tax dollars were used to help the country's socialist government push for highly controversial judicial "reform."  The records also provide insight into how the Soros operation "helped the State Department review grant applications from other groups for taxpayer funding."

DOJ announces $1M grant to cover costs associated with Parkland shooting.  The Justice Department has awarded a $1 million grant to Florida state and local law enforcement to cover expenses related to the Parkland high school shooting earlier this year.  The grant is intended to pay salary and overtime expenses for the first responders who arrived at the scene, according to a Justice Department release shared by ABC News.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that the department "stands ready to help them in any way we can."

The Editor says...
By what authority does the Justice Department give away a million dollars to cover the costs of cleaning up after an isolated criminal act?

Carving Off The Extra Bits Of Government Spending To Reduce The Deficit.  Ordinary Americans know what to do when they have too much debt.  They sit at the kitchen table and decide on what they can do without.  Clever families search their closets and sell items on eBay!  While eBay is not an option for the disposal of federal property, the President should follow Main Street's example and monetize excess property.  Not only would it help pay down the debt, but it also would be a clear demonstration to Main Street that President Trump is serious about changing an intrusive, wasteful federal government.

Now, EPA's Scott Pruitt buys a $43,000 phone booth.  President-elect Donald Trump promised the country he'd have the best Cabinet in history.  He didn't say when.  There's been considerable turnover as he sorts folks out.  David Shulkin is gone.  Rex Tillerson is gone.  Tom Price is gone.  Not to mention a battalion of White House aides.

Your taxes are funding terrorists.  U.S. economic aid to the Palestinian Authority — paid for by your tax dollars — averages $400 million a year.  The Palestinian Authority's 2018 budget includes approximately $360 million to support imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists — including murderers of Israelis and Americans.  These payments make about as much sense as having American taxpayers send monthly support checks to the families of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists or the family of the Las Vegas gunman who murdered 58 people last year.

A $76,000 Monthly Pension:  Why States and Cities Are Short on Cash.  A public university president in Oregon gives new meaning to the idea of a pensioner.  Joseph Robertson, an eye surgeon who retired as head of the Oregon Health & Science University last fall, receives the state's largest government pension.  It is $76,111.  Per month.  That is considerably more than the average Oregon family earns in a year.  Oregon — like many other states and cities, including New Jersey, Kentucky and Connecticut — is caught in a fiscal squeeze of its own making.  Its economy is growing, but the cost of its state-run pension system is growing faster.  More government workers are retiring, including more than 2,000, like Dr. Robertson, who get pensions exceeding $100,000 a year.

New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy Spends $13,000 on a Door.  New Jersey is already burdened by some of the highest property taxes in the nation, with the typical household paying 8% of their income in property taxes, or $8,353.  The State also charges an additional 1.4% — 8.97% income tax rate, for approximately another $4,000 paid by the median household.  That's somehow not enough to cover even a doorway for the State's new governor, Phil Murphy.

Dem New Jersey Governor Spends 13k In Taxpayer Funds On A Door For His Wife.  New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy spent nearly $13,000 of taxpayer money for his wife to have an office nearby.  The purpose of the taxpayer fund project was to turn a conference room down the hall from the governor's office into a private office for the first lady, New Jersey Advance Media reported.  The governor and first lady have spent $27,000 of taxpayer money refurbishing their respective work spaces since taking office in January.  The governor defended spending taxpayer money on a door Thursday [4/5/2018].

Obama State Dept used taxpayer dollars to fund George Soros group's political activities in Albania, watchdog group says.  The Obama administration sent U.S. taxpayer funds to a group backed by billionaire George Soros to fund left-wing activities in Albania, a conservative watchdog group says.  The group, Judicial Watch, obtained 32 pages of records from the Justice Department this week through a May 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID.)  The new documents show USAID funds were sent through the agency's Civil Society Project to back Soros' left-wing "East West Management Institute" through USAID's "Justice for All" campaign.  USAID provided $8.8 million in 2016 to that campaign.

These 13 California legislators are getting two government checks a month.  Amid ongoing warnings about underfunded public employee pension funds, more than a dozen California state lawmakers are augmenting their $107,242 salaries by collecting retirement payments from previous government jobs, a practice that taxpayer activists condemn as "double dipping."  A string of reports in recent weeks have predicted greater financial challenges for state and local governments in meeting the financial obligations of public pension systems.  At the same time, taxpayer advocates are critical of policies that allow public officials to receive a government pension check while taking a salary from a different agency.  "The public never envisioned that kind of thing can be done, where you pile one check on top of another," said Jack Dean, vice president of the group California Pension Reform.

NASA awards Lockheed Skunk Works $247.5M supersonic X-plane.  Supersonic commercial air travel may once again become a reality under a partnership between NASA and Lockheed Martin.  The American space agency announced on Tuesday that it awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works to design, build and flight test the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD), an X-plane that will be used by NASA to find ways to bring supersonic jet travel back to the skies.  The cost-plus-incentive-fee contract is valued at $247.5 million.

The Editor says...
If supersonic commercial air travel is economically feasible, that is, if there is sufficient demand for such a service, the airlines should pay for the development of the aircraft.  The Concorde proved there is insufficient demand.  Therefore this $247 million project is either a cover story or a white elephant.

Military Recruiting Slogans:  The Navy Sinks $457 Million.  With great fanfare the United States Navy has unveiled a new recruiting campaign built around the slogan, "Forged by the Sea."  The Navy paid its PR/advertising consultant Young & Rubicam $457 million to develop the new brand, which took 18 months to think up.

The Wall is National Defense.  What is defense?  Is it not to make Americans safe from foreign attack?  To prevent foreigners from imposing their way of life upon us, through invasion or other means?  To maintain the independence, peace, and prosperity of the already-existing American people?  Very little of what the government does in the name of defense accomplishes these things. [...] America maintains hundreds of overseas bases, builds and develops increasingly sophisticated conventional arms, continues to slog on inconclusively in Afghanistan, and, in spite of a smallish uniformed military, still spends mountains of money. [...] The substantial defense budget does nothing to prevent foreigners — whether mere economic migrants, violent drug gangs, or Islamic terrorists — from entering through our porous southern border.  Instead, it funds bases, multiple aircraft carriers, and super-weapons to protect us from ... who exactly?

Palestinian Government Still Paying Terrorists With U.S. Taxpayer Funds, Defying U.S. Law.  The Palestinian Authority is continuing to pay out salaries to convicted terrorists using funds provided by the American taxpayer, a policy that defies a recent U.S. law mandating the PA stop these subsidies or face a cutoff in U.S. aid dollars, according to U.S. and Israeli lawmakers who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.  Palestinian officials in recent days have rejected a new U.S. law, known as the Taylor Force Act, or TFA, that bans the PA government from providing salaries to terrorists and their families, a longstanding policy that had become the center of controversy after it was found U.S. taxpayer aid dollars to the Palestinians had been used to subsidize this practice.

HUD Gives Dicey Obama Plan to Transform Slums into Middle-Class Neighborhoods $5 Mil.  A controversial Obama program that's reaped enormous amounts of taxpayer money to transform slums into desirable middle-class neighborhoods just got a $5 million infusion from the Trump administration.  Known as Choice Neighborhoods, the costly experiment was the centerpiece of a broader Obama initiative to convert poverty-stricken neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income areas with affordable housing, safe streets and good schools. [...] During Obama's tenure Choice Neighborhoods received a breathtaking $375 million, according to HUD figures.  A substantial chunk of it — $120 million — was rewarded as a parting gift in 2016, the HUD numbers reveal and the largest portion — $122.27 million — was allocated in 2010 when Obama launched the program.  Like many of the former president's initiatives, large sums of cash went to leftist nonprofits and community groups that aligned with his liberal agenda.

Here's what Congress is stuffing into its $1.3 trillion spending bill.  [Scroll down]  Arts:  Federal funding for the arts goes up, despite GOP attempts to slash it.  The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities will see funding climb to $152.8 million each, a $3 million increase over the last fiscal year.  Trump proposed eliminating the endowments.  The National Gallery of Art gets $165.9 million, a $1.04 million jump in funding.  The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will receive $40.5 million, which is $4 million more than the last fiscal year.

These 5 Horrible Bureaucrats Beat the Clock and Kept Their Pensions.  [#1] John Beale:  Beginning in 2000, eight years before he was eligible for retirement, Beale, a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency, began telling his boss he was moonlighting as a secret agent to get out of work.  He would leave his job for as long as 18 months at a time — adding up to two and a half years in total — claiming to be on top-secret missions to Pakistan while actually heading off to his vacation house in Massachusetts.  When he did travel for his actual job, Beale ensured that he traveled in James Bond-esque style by claiming to have lumbar problems that required him to be seated in first class.  While Beale did time for his numerous crimes, he retired in 2011 before he could be fired and, to this day, receives a full pension for his brave service.

FBI Scandal Over Andrew McCabe's 'Lost' Pension Isn't What You Think.  The outrage and self-righteous posturing over the fact that fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe might lose his FBI pension is misplaced.  What's truly outrageous is how large and lavish government benefits have become.

Interior spending $139K to upgrade doors in Zinke's office.  The Interior Department is spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in the office of Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Pass the Taylor Force Act to Curb Terror.  "It was just two years ago that Taylor Force, a 28-year-old American tourist and former U.S. Army captain who had served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was stabbed to death in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist who was then shot dead by Israeli police.  While the Force family mourned, the terrorist's family on the West Bank celebrated and pocketed cash from the Palestinian Authority, as do all terrorists' families. [...] The Taylor Force Act, named after a good American murdered by radicals, would stop all U.S. aid to the PA — $300 million a year — unless and until these sickening official rewards for terror cease.

Weeding Out Waste and Fraud at Federal Agencies.  [Scroll down]  The I.G. report noted that under the terms of the project, DOE was supposed to obtain invoices from [Summit Texas Clean Energy] prior to allowing expenses or reimbursing the company, but the I.G. found that DOE had approved more than $38 million in reimbursements without receiving proper documentation.  Among the expenses the IG deemed "potentially unallowable" were bills sent by Summit to DOE for more than $1.2 million in lobbying costs and $1.3 million in "questionable or prohibited" travel-related expenses.  Under federal law, companies partnering with the federal government are disallowed from charging the government for their lobbying activities.  The travel-related expenses included more than $650,000 paid to a consultant for Summit, which the consultant spent on items such as a spa service, alcohol, first-class travel, limousine services, receipts in foreign currency, and business meals.

America Is Finally Catching Up on Clean Coal.  That the Obama administration was out to severely curtail fossil fuel use is well known.  The former president's scorn for coal was abundantly obvious, and the Paris agreement was its embodiment.  Despite proclaiming the U.S. the "Saudi Arabia of coal," in May 2008, Obama soon back-flipped once in office and turned against the resource.  Within a year, Obama unleashed the war on coal when he proposed a nationwide cap-and-trade system targeting local plants, stifling coal companies with excessive regulation, and cutting billions in funding for clean coal projects across the country.  Worse, what remained of the federal grants for such projects was allowed to be willfully misspent.  In an example of the utter incompetence of the Obama White House, power firm Summit Power Group squandered parts of a $450-million stimulus grant on absurd excesses rather than using the money to advance a long sought after clean coal project in Texas.

California bullet train costs soar to $77B; opening delayed.  The projected cost of California's bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles has jumped to $77 billion and the completion date has been pushed back four years to 2033, according to a business plan released Friday [3/9/2018].  The plan by the California High-Speed Rail Authority presents the latest setbacks for a project that's been beleaguered by delays and cost overruns since voters first gave it the green[ ]light in 2008.

Understanding the California Mind.  A record of nearly $30 billion a year is forecast to be sent this year as remittances home to Mexico.  If the sum is assumed to be wired largely by the reported 11 million illegal aliens, then illegal immigrants are sending per capita around $2,700 home per year.  Again, in per capita terms, a household of five would average about $1,100 sent home per month to Mexico — a generosity impossible without the subsidies of the American taxpayer.

America's Missing Money.  On September 10, 2001, then U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disclosed that his department was unable to account for roughly $2.3 trillion worth of transactions.  The next day, the U.S. sustained the terrorist attacks that changed the world, and this startling revelation was forgotten.  When an account discrepancy occurs that cannot be traced, it's customary to make what is called an "un-documentable adjustment."  This is similar to when your checkbook balance is off by, say, ten dollars; you add or subtract that amount to make everything balance with the bank.  In 1999, the amount that the Pentagon adjusted was eight times the Defense Department budget for that year; it was one-third greater than the entire federal budget.  By 2015, the amount reported missing by the Office of the Inspector General had increased to $6.5 trillion — and that was just for the army.  Using public data from federal databases, Mark Skidmore, a professor of economics at Michigan State University, found that $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments had been reported by the Defense and Housing and Urban Development departments between 1998 and 2015.

It's Not Enough to Get Paid for Not Working:  These L.A. Police and Firefighters Figured Out How to Double It.  Take a program that lets a public employee earn both a pension and a salary at the same time.  Add an extremely generous disability leave and workers' compensation program that allows public employees to be paid while not working for months or even years on end.  What do you get?  Massive corruption, obviously.  A new report from the Los Angeles Times attempts to quantify the costs and consequences of a program allowing L.A. police and firefighters to collect both salaries and pension returns in the years running up to retirement.  But these same employees often spend massive chunks of their final years on the payroll out on medical leave — so they're costing the city even more money without actually working.

Welfare for refugees — my, how the U.S. taxpayer does pay.  Taxpayers in the United States are shelling out a reported $867 million each year to support refugees who've been resettled in this country and make sure they have adequate food and clothing and the like.  In the overall federal budgeting scheme, that's maybe small potatoes.  But at the same time, if we're talking welfare — and we are — then it would seem the more American thing to pay for those already in-country, already legal citizens, before paying for those who are simply visitors.

Study: Welfare for Foreign Refugees Costs U.S. Taxpayers $870M Annually.  Every year, American taxpayers pay nearly $870 million on welfare for foreign refugees who are resettled across the United States by the State Department.  A new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) reveals that annually, foreign refugees are being given about $867 million in welfare benefits that U.S. taxpayers pay for.  Every year, taxpayers are billed about $1.8 billion for the full cost of resettling foreign refugees, and after five years, American taxpayers will have spent about $8.8 billion on resettling foreign refugees.

The House That Pocahantas Built.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exists to spend consumers' finances like drunken sailors who just found out they've been drinking fermented AIDS. [...] Socialist Opulence is, like government, what we all do together.  It's just that only a certain Elect get to benefit from it.

An Exclusive Peek Into Elizabeth Warren's Luxurious CFPB Headquarters.  The first thing that stands out is that the office space does not feel like a government building at all.  It could be an upscale hotel, a college campus or a corporate headquarters.  "There was interest to move this above a Class C Building," said a CFPB source familiar with the renovation and the operation of the building.  "Now it's a Class A building," he told TheDCNF.  The Building Owners and Managers Association International, which represents owners and managers of all commercial office buildings, describe Class A buildings as "the most coveted buildings in the marketplace."  The $124 million spent to date for the 303,000 square foot office building is $409 per square foot, more than Trump World Tower, which cost $334 per square foot or Las Vegas' Bellagio Hotel and Casino, priced at $330 per square foot.

FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.  Two Democrats are calling for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be subpoenaed for documents relating to Hurricane Maria, suggesting the agency failed to provide tens of millions of meals after the storm devastated Puerto Rico.  US Rep. Elijah Cummings and Stacey Plaskett, the congressional delegate from the US Virgin Islands, signed a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy on Tuesday morning [2/6/2018], calling into question a $156 million contract awarded to a small Atlanta-based company, Tribute Contracting LLC.

This happened under Obama, not Trump:
Pentagon Auditor Can't Account For $800 Million In Spending.  The Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has reportedly "lost track" of hundreds of millions of dollars it spent, said Ernst & Young, the accounting firm conducting the first-ever Pentagon audit, according to Politico.  E&Y discovered that DLA "failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects," said Politico, which also reported this is just one of the many instances where millions of dollars went missing as the accountability system inside the Pentagon is broken.  Worse, according to Politico, the first-ever audit, covering the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2016, signals complete incompetence about how the Pentagon handles its $700 billion annual budget.

Obama's Administration Miscalculated $500 Billion.  [Scroll down]  These mistakes amounted to $278.5 billion in misstatements in financial notes altogether.  This was basically a half billion dollar error in budgetary resources and $19.5 billion in discrepancies of line items of the report that was not the same as those when the audit was first submitted.  All reports together suffered a $516 billion in corrections and additional $3.4 billion to the financial statement.  The Inspector General was aware of the HUD's corrections, but the difference in cost was substantial.  As stated earlier, the media didn't care for this story a lot, because it didn't fit them to care.  Instead, they focused on what President Donald Trump was doing, especially in the intensified last week of the elections.

An Illegal Immigrant Almost Killed My Family.  [Scroll down]  Thankfully, nobody in my family was seriously hurt, though my sister had braces and her mouth was bloodied.  By providence, the younger kids sitting in the back had been wearing their seat belts.  A few people in our vehicle had back pain after the accident, and I still have a herniated disk with the accompanying neck, shoulder, and arm issues, a result of the airbag blowing my arm back as my body went forward (my right arm and hand ache as I write this today).  The drunk driver was thrown from his car and almost died.  Bystanders who ran a bait shop on that road, along with arriving police officers, administered emergency care and helped save the man's life.  He was later airlifted to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  The man was not only drunk when he hit us, but had also snorted cocaine before heading down the road.  If the man hadn't hit us, we were told, it was likely he would have careened into a house or business on the other side of the road.  We moved on with our lives.  The police officers told us the man had no insurance, and was in the United States illegally.  Because of this, we assumed he was deported.

The Editor says...
How many un-recoverable taxpayer dollars were spent to airlift this perpetrator to (and treat him in) the Mayo Clinic?

Cuomo wants to let Dreamers go to college for free.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to give another break to immigrant Dreamers by extending free public college tuition to students who were brought into the United States illegally as kids.  Cuomo tucked a provision in his $168 billion budget plan that would amend state education law to make the undocumented students eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship program, which covers tuition costs for students from families with incomes of up to $125,000.  On Tuesday [1/23/2018], he said the state would continue providing Medicaid to Dreamers regardless of any federal changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Convicted Dems Corrine Brown and Chaka Fattah Still Receiving Taxpayer-Funded Pensions.  Former Democratic representatives Corrine Brown (Fla.) and Chaka Fattah (Pa.) are still receiving taxpayer-funded federal pensions despite being convicted and sentenced to prison on corruption charges.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that Brown is still receiving Federal Employees' Retirement System annuity benefits even though she was sentenced to prison for wire fraud and tax evasion — actions that stemmed from a sham charity founded by the former congresswoman.

Leftist Group that Blasted Trump Over DACA Gets Biggest Slice of $37 Mil HUD Grant.  A leftist group that attacked President Trump for terminating an Obama program that protects hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. is being rewarded with taxpayer dollars.  The Washington D.C. nonprofit, National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), will get the largest chunk — $999,962 — of a $37 million grant awarded this week to fight housing discrimination.  The cash is being distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an agency long embroiled in a multitude of scandals and well known for waste and abuse.  The generous award comes on the heels of NFHA's Trump bashing over a contentious policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that shields nearly 800,000 illegal aliens under the age of 31 from deportation and lets them obtain work permits and drivers' licenses.

Some Mentally Ill, Some Radical Refugee Men Rejected by Australia Arrive in the States.  One is heading to New Jersey, another to Tennessee to study human rights which is the trade of the hard-left.  Others are going to North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, states the left wants to turn blue for the most part.  This is one group of at least forty.  No American, Australian or U.N. official will tell us who they are and where they are going in the States.  They were rejected by Australia and many have been radical left protesters while stranded on an island.  Others will require a lot of therapy we are told.  Hundreds of them are mentally ill.  We have nothing against these people and sure hope they succeed but the people behind it really are only being generous with your money and your welfare.  You have no idea how bad some of these refugees are.  They take a fortune to educate and some can't be educated well because of their intelligence and mental issues.

Overpriced Afghanistan Helicopter Upgrades Are A US Taxpayer Handout For Contractors.  [Scroll down]  DoD returned to Congress with improbable news that an Mi-17 cost $20 million, while a refurbished H-60 could be had for only $6 million.  The Pentagon also discounted the Hip's significant cargo capacity, its ability to carry substantial armaments while ferrying troops or cargo, and its use for close air support.  But $20 million for an Mi-17?  You don't want to take those DoD guys with you when you go new car shopping.  You can order a new Mi-17 from the maker, Kazan Helicopters, for $14-15 million "depending on extras and avionics."

Importing The [Bad Places].  Is there any question Haiti is a [bad place]?  Who's offended by that?  If it wasn't a [bad place] it wouldn't be one of the most prominent recipients of American charity aid on Planet Earth.  And it isn't like this country has ignored Haiti — we've been trying to lift it out of [bad place] status for more than a century, with absolutely no result whatever.  In 1910, President William Howard Taft granted Haiti a large loan in hopes that Haiti could pay off its staggering international debt and therefore achieve a larger measure of independence from Europe.  The result?  Haiti defaulted and U.S. tax dollars were poured into a bottomless pit.  In 1915, following the assassination of Haitian president Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, President Woodrow Wilson sent in the U.S. Marines to help establish order there — and the American military presence in Haiti didn't end until 1934.

A New CFPB Scandal — Cost Overruns for Its New Luxury Headquarters.  Renovation costs for the brand new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau headquarters have skyrocketed, posting 25 percent in cost overruns — significantly above the original budget set by the General Services Administration, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.  Original cost estimates for the CFPB's renovation were estimated at $55 million, but the bureau ran up the proposed cost to $216 million.  The Federal Reserve Inspector General rejected the proposal in 2014, saying there was no "sound basis" for the figure.  As the CFPB renovation costs continued to escalate, renovation was taken out of the CFPB's hands and transferred to the General Services Administration (GSA).  GSA's budget, however, was nearly twice the original $55 million, hitting $99 million.

A New CFPB Scandal — Cost Overruns for It's [sic] New Lux Headquarters.  Renovation costs for the brand new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau headquarters have skyrocketed, posting 25 percent in cost overruns — significantly above the original budget set by the General Services Administration, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.  Original cost estimates for the CFPB's renovation were estimated at $55 million, but the bureau ran up the proposed cost to $216 million.  The Federal Reserve Inspector General rejected the proposal in 2014, saying there was no "sound basis" for the figure.  As the CFPB renovation costs continued to escalate, renovation was taken out of the CFPB's hands and transferred to the General Services Administration (GSA).  GSA's budget, however, was nearly twice the original $55 million, hitting $99 million.

The Editor says...
Please note that the government is spending millions to refurbish the headquarters of an agency that shouldn't even exist.

'Mapping the Swamp' report finds 30,000 feds earn more than any governor.  The 40-page report, titled "Mapping the Swamp" and released by government watchdog group OpenTheBooks, focused on the "size, scope and power" of the federal government — and found salary spending for high-paid employees on the rise.  "The number of highly compensated federal employees is growing," the report said, describing six-figure salaries as increasingly common.  According to the report, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent between fiscal 2010 and 2016.  Federal employees making $150,000 or more grew by 60 percent, with the number making more than $100,000 increasing by 37 percent in the same time period.

A Tally of Iran Sanctions Relief Includes More Than $10 Billion in Cash, Gold.  In the three years since a preliminary nuclear deal was struck with Iran, Tehran has received more than $10 billion in sanctions relief from around the world in the form of cash and gold, according to current and former U.S. officials.  The large shipments of gold and cash, from oil funds unfrozen in numerous countries, represent the kind of financial relief that made Iran's leaders eager to complete the international nuclear accord.

New York City subway construction 'is the most expensive in the world'.  Construction projects for New York City subways are the most expensive in the world thanks to overall mismanagement by transit officials, favoritism toward powerful special interests like labor unions and building firms, inefficient staffing, and a bloated bureaucracy, according to a report published on Friday [11/29/2017].  A lengthy expose by The New York Times reveals why New Yorkers are forced to foot the highest costs for the maintenance and expansion of their transit system than those in other world class cities.  The report found that the agency in charge of the subways, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, wastes massive sums of money by employing too many people to do work that can be performed in the same amount of time by half the number of personnel.

11 Outrageous Ways Government Wasted $473 Billion in 2017.  All we hear from Democrats about the tax cuts or border wall is that it will "blow a hole in the deficit" or something.  Well maybe, if the government would stop wasting billions of dollars on outrageous programs like these eleven, that money could be used for whatever shortfalls come from the tax cuts and border wall.  All of these programs are leftovers from the Obama regime.

Guess where high school dropouts can make $400 an hour.  It turns out I have just the job for you:  performing largely unskilled labor building subway tunnels in New York City! [...] But maybe the idea of working on subway tunnels, even at $400 an hour, doesn't appeal to you.  If you're willing to consider a small pay cut, consider working for the New York transit authority, where the average compensation is $140,000 a year.

New York City subway construction 'is the most expensive in the world' thanks to bloated staffing, inflated wages of up to $1,000 a day, and favoritism to unions.  Construction projects for New York City subways are the most expensive in the world thanks to overall mismanagement by transit officials, favoritism toward powerful special interests like labor unions and building firms, inefficient staffing, and a bloated bureaucracy, according to a report published on Friday [12/29/2017].  A lengthy expose by The New York Times reveals why New Yorkers are forced to foot the highest costs for the maintenance and expansion of their transit system than those in other world class cities.  The report found that the agency in charge of the subways, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, wastes massive sums of money by employing too many people to do work that can be performed in the same amount of time by half the number of personnel.

Propaganda costs money.
'Mapping The Swamp' Report Shows It's Even Bigger, Costlier Than You Think.  James P. Cochrane earns $250,335 annually as chief marketing and sales officer for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), making him the highest paid public relations employee of the federal government.  The USPS lost $5.1 billion in 2016.  Right behind Cochrane is Stephen Katsanos, who pulls down $229,333 as a public affairs official for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).  And the third highest-paid federal public relations employee is Titus Simmons, also of the FDIC, at $215,248, according to "Mapping The Swamp," a new report compiled by Open The Books, an independent nonprofit that tracks federal spending using the government's own numbers.  These three individuals are among the 3,618 federal workers who get an average of $101,827 annually to put the best possible "spin" on government every day.  That comes to $368.4 million a year.

Top 10 States That Rely Most on Federal Aid.  A new report by the Tax Foundation shows what percentage of each state's revenue comes from the federal government through federal grants-in-aid, a sum that in total has reached $600 billion a year.  Federal grants-in-aid to state and local governments include payments for Medicaid, education funding assistance, infrastructure project support, housing grants, and other payments, according to the Tax Foundation.  For fiscal year 2013, which is the latest year for complete data, the Tax Foundation found that Mississippi got 42.9% of its general revenue from the federal government, and Louisiana came in second with 41.9% of its revenue from the U.S. Treasury.

Why Trump Should Stop Funding the U.N.'s Palestinian 'Refugee' Agency.  Amid the Trump administration's threats about cutting funding to the United Nations and member states, the White House should seriously consider entirely defunding the scandalous U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which ministers to so-called Palestinian refugees.  The U.S. is UNRWA's single largest donor, and the Trump administration has reportedly been mulling whether to continue providing its annual contribution of more than $300 million.

Has Our Government Spent $21 Trillion Of Our Money Without Telling Us?  On July 26, 2016, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report "Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported".  The report indicates that for fiscal year 2015 the Army failed to provide adequate support for $6.5 trillion in journal voucher adjustments.  According to the GAO's Comptroller General, "Journal vouchers are summary-level accounting adjustments made when balances between systems cannot be reconciled.  Often these journal vouchers are unsupported, meaning they lack supporting documentation to justify the adjustment or are not tied to specific accounting transactions.  For an auditor, journal vouchers are a red flag for transactions not being captured, reported, or summarized correctly." [...] Given that the entire Army budget in fiscal year 2015 was $120 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the level of spending authorized by Congress.

House GOP Agrees on $81 Billion in Disaster Spending.  The Refugee Act of 1980 created the official United States Refugee Admissions Program, and like any other government-funded industry, their original mission has long been forgotten.  Resettlement policies have devolved into another bureaucracy, where government and non-profit agencies work to protect their jobs and expand "services."  Currently, legitimate refugees must prove that they are persecuted for one of several reasons: political persuasion, religion, race, etc., but efforts are underway by the refugee industry to expand the definition to anyone moving anywhere for any reason.  The latest designation is the "climate refugee:"  people escaping changing weather patterns where they live are now "refugees" too.

Senate Dems Blew $20 Mil Studying UFOs as Kickback to Donor.  'Uniparty' talk is fashionable these days.  Yes there's a lot wrong with the GOP. But nobody matches the sheer level of crazy corruption of the Dems. [...] These are people who believe UFOs are real, but Islamic terrorists are imaginary.

$22 Million Spent on UFO Program Benefitting Friend of Harry Reid.  The Department of Defense spent $22 million on a program involving unidentified flying objects, with most of the funds going to a friend of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).  The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which for years investigated reports of UFOs, was initially largely funded at the request of Reid, who has long held an interest in space phenomena, the New York Times reports.  The majority of designated funds went to an aerospace research company run by Reid's longterm friend Robert Bigelow.  The billionaire entrepreneur said in May he was "absolutely convinced" aliens exist and UFOs have visited Earth.

EPA spent millions in taxpayer dollars to push climate change propaganda via social media.  Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency was one of the most tyrannical, lawless institutions in the entire country, spitting out tens of thousands of unconstitutional regulations each year and compelling businesses to abide by the left's radical climate change agenda.  Mind you, these are regulations that the American people did not vote for, nor do they necessarily support; rather, the EPA's agenda under the Obama regime was wholly undemocratic and against the principles that America was founded upon.

Let's Kill the CDBG.  Nothing in President Donald Trump's first federal budget, issued earlier this year, produced more howls of indignation than the proposal to kill off a remnant of the War on Poverty known as the Community Development Block Grant program, or CDBG.  Politicians, advocates, the liberal media, and executives of nonprofits that receive these often-sizable grants denounced Trump's plan as devastating. [...] The overheated rhetoric came in defense of one of the nation's most wasteful and ineffective domestic-spending programs.  Conceived in the early 1970s as a way to give local officials a say in how federal poverty aid gets doled out, the CDBG has sent some $150 billion to impoverished neighborhoods in Baltimore, Buffalo, Newark, and other struggling cities, with little or nothing positive to show for it.  Worse, the CDBG has created a local patronage racket, funding politically connected nonprofits that do little to spur economic development.  And to build further support, Congress extended CDBG funding to wealthier areas, so that grants now help build tennis courts and swimming pools in neighborhoods with above-average incomes.

While Pleading For Help And Mired In Debt Puerto Rico Pays Out Christmas Bonuses.  It has actually been an annual tradition; a US territory sunk deep in a debt crisis doles out bonuses to federal employees at Christmastime, coming due in the coming week.  What makes this year's Yuletide largesse more pronounced is that the debt has not only worsened, but currently the country is pleading for Congress to shell out billions in hurricane relief aid dollars.  The bonuses themselves really are not the issue.  The island will pay out roughly $100 million in Christmas checks this year while facing tens of billions of dollars in the red.  At the same time as these payouts the Governor, Ricardo Rossello, is asking for just shy of $100 BILLION in relief aid for the island.  While the bonuses are not central to the island's financials they do typify some of the underlying issues leading to the debt crisis.

Puerto Rico gives out $100 million in bonuses after pleading for $94 billion in hurricane relief.  Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello Nevares last month asked federal taxpayers to shell out $94 billion to pay for the territory's recovery from Hurricane Maria — then turned around and paid out about $100 million in Christmas bonuses to island government employees.  The governor's aides say the bonuses are a longstanding tradition and part of the law, and were planned for in the budget approved last summer.  But that budget came well before Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, leaving much of the territory in ruin and leaving the government begging for federal assistance.

How Much Should Taxpayers Invest in Elon Musk?  Few people realize that [Elon] Musk played an important part in the creation of PayPal.  More familiar is Musk's role as the CEO of Tesla, an innovative and increasingly successful auto manufacturer that produces stylish electric cars.  He also helped found SolarCity, one of the leading companies in the United States that manufactures solar panels. [...] Like all celebrated inventors/entrepreneurs, however, Musk has had his share of failures and detractors, and more importantly his successes have always come at a price.  Increasingly, that price is borne by taxpayers, in the form of costly subsidies, tax breaks, and government contracts.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Musk's companies have received, or will receive, government subsidies and tax breaks totaling $4.9 billion!  It is thus reasonable to ask:  is Elon Musk worthy of such a giant investment of taxpayer dollars?

Washington Post inadvertently unmasks climate change scam.  Wait a second.  If carbon dioxide really were a threat to the planet, other countries would dig deeper in their pockets to pay for this. [...] So basically this is another foreign aid scam, which usually becomes a welfare program for dictators.

Pentagon pays for service member's gender reassignment surgery.  An active-duty service member has undergone gender reassignment surgery, the Pentagon said Tuesday [11/14/2017].  Defense Department spokesman Dana White said in a statement that the military's health coverage paid for the surgery because the doctor who performed the operation deemed it to be medically necessary.  "Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery, therefore it was conducted in a private hospital," said White, who added that that because the service member "had already begun a sex-reassignment course of treatment ... a waiver was approved by the director of the Defense Health Agency."

Pentagon Approves Gender-Reassignment Surgery for Service Member.  The Pentagon approved a gender-reassignment surgery for an active-duty military member, defense officials said on Tuesday, four months after President Trump abruptly announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military.  The surgery is the latest setback to Mr. Trump's effort to put a ban in place.  Two weeks ago, a federal judge temporarily blocked the ban, ruling that the justification for it was suspect and most likely unconstitutional.  Even before the ruling, officials at the Defense Department had been slow-walking Mr. Trump's orders, telling transgender members of the military that they could continue to serve openly while the Pentagon decided how to handle the ban.

That Teenage Illegal Immigrant That Got An Abortion?  Now She's Seeking Mental Health Treatment.  Remember in late October when a teenage illegal immigrant girl in Texas who was pregnant with a 16-week-old baby decided she wanted an abortion, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Trump Administration, which was trying to save the baby?  The girl said through the ACLU, "People I don't even know are trying to make me change my mind.  I made my decision and that is between me and God."  Guess what?  According to the government, after killing her baby, the girl is seeking mental health treatment.

Should the American taxpayer be required to subsidize an industry that could not survive on its own?  Following news that President Trump's draft budget repeals the $7,500-per-vehicle federal tax credit for electric cars, Tesla's share price took more than a 7% dip.  Electric vehicles are the only kind Tesla makes, and it receives other subsidies as well.  At the state level, it receives carbon credits, which it can sell to companies that don't exclusively sell electric cars.  These credits have the effect of raising the price that consumers pay for non-electric cars.  So the middle class Deplorable in his Ford Explorer has been subsidizing the much richer guy in his Tesla.  Additionally, several states offer rebates to buyers of electric cars.  To the extent that state taxes are deductible from federal taxes, Americans in other states are subsidizing the "green" state cars.  This is not even to mention the various subsidies states and municipalities offer to induce green companies to build plants in their area, which also ultimately get passed via the state tax pass-through.

Congresswoman: Transgender 'Medical Condition' Disqualifies Someone from Military Service.  Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) said the U.S. military should be able to deny transgender individuals from serving for the same reasons it prohibits people with asthma, flat feet or diabetes from serving.  She told a story about a constituent who wanted to serve in the armed forces but was rejected entry due to asthma.  "The health risks outweighed the benefits to the military and precluded his service," she said during a "Keeping Our Military Ready" event at the Family Research Council last week.  "Having gender reassignment surgery prevents military members from deploying for up to 267 days for surgery alone and it costs the taxpayers billions.  Certainly, to be consistent and fair, this medical condition should be precluded as well."

IRS gives illegals welfare, forces Obamacare tax on Americans.  In 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Collection released a shocking report detailing how illegal aliens are able to utilize a filing loophole to obtain $4.2 billion every year in Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) funds.  The ACTC, much like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is refundable, meaning it's essentially a welfare payment through the tax code.  While the IRS requires tax filers to supply a valid Social Security number in order to receive the EITC, they purposely allow illegal aliens to get the ACTC by simply providing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) supplied to them by the IRS itself.  It's yet another classic case of the fox guarding the hen house.  The IRS could easily check with DHS and the Social Security Administration to verify one's legal status and hold up any tax credits for illegal aliens, yet they concocted a scheme to ensure they get welfare.

"Germany's entire submarine fleet is now out of action".  The Associated Press reported all German submarines are out of commission.  All six of them.  Germany commissioned some 1,250 U-boats into the Kriegsmarine, according to Wikipedia.  Face it, Germany plays America for a fool.  We are its military.  It laughs at us and mocks our president.  We're the suckers for covering for them.

Per Capita Federal Spending Up Sevenfold Since 1941.  In fiscal 1941, real per capita federal spending was approximately $1,718.  In fiscal 2017, which concluded at the end of September, it was about $12,239.  Back in 1941, at the beginning of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's unprecedented third presidential term, the federal government spent $13,653,000,000, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.  Although that was a massive increase from the $4,598,000,000 the federal government had spent in 1933, when Roosevelt first took office, it was a pittance compared to what it would spend in the years to come.

Feds Spend $246,785 on 'Facebook Intervention' for Young Gay Smokers.  The National Institutes of Health is spending over $200,000 on a "Facebook intervention" targeting young gay people who smoke.  The University of California, San Francisco received the funding for the project, which began in August.  The goal of the study is to create a "culturally-tailored intervention" on social media for LGBTQ teens. [...] The university received $246,785, and research will continue through February 2019.

One in four government workers makes $100K thanks to overtime.  One out of every four New York City government workers pulled in pay of more than $100,000 last year — thanks largely to overtime, according to a new study.  "New York City can be a hub of opportunity, and not just for aspiring Broadway stars.  All sorts of city workers earn big bucks," said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of the government watchdog, which conducted the study.  About 37,000 of 295,455 full-time city workers receive a salary that tops $100,000.

Why is rebuilding after storms the federal government's responsibility?  The hurricane devastation is severe.  What should the federal government do?  Give us lots of money, say many in the wounded states.  Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) demanded "about $150 billion" — just for Texas.  So far, Congress has agreed to $15 billion in hurricane relief.  But more will come.  Few Americans will object.  The House vote for the first $7.9 billion was 419-3.  But let's take a breath.  Why is rebuilding the federal government's responsibility?

Fannie Mae Charged Taxpayers $250,000 for a Chandelier.  Fannie Mae is charging taxpayers millions for upgrades to its new headquarters, including $250,000 for a chandelier.  The inspector general for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which acts as a conservator for the mortgage lender, recently noted $32 million in questionable costs in an audit for Fannie Mae's new headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C.  Fannie Mae will be the flagship of Midtown Center, which is scheduled to complete construction in June 2018.  The inspector general reported that costs for the new headquarters have "risen dramatically," to $171 million, up from $115 million when the consolidated headquarters was announced in 2015.

Record $135 billion a year for illegal immigration, average $8,075 each, $25,000 in NY.  The swelling population of illegal immigrants and their kids is costing American taxpayers $135 billion a year, the highest ever, driven by free medical care, education and a huge law enforcement bill, according to the the most authoritative report on the issue yet.  And despite claims from pro-illegal immigration advocates that the aliens pay significant off-setting taxes back to federal, state and local treasuries, the Federation for American Immigration Reform report tallied just $19 billion, making the final hit to taxpayers about $116 billion.  State and local governments are getting ravaged by the costs, at over $88 billion.  The federal government, by comparison, is getting off easy at $45 billion in costs for illegals.

Super-rich ex-presidents and the law that supports them.  Sen. Joni Ernst is taking a swing at the money we pay ex-presidents.  She's written a bill that caps what we pay them, but it doesn't go far enough.  With ex-presidents making tens of millions of dollars upon leaving office, why are we still paying multimillionaire ex-presidents obscene amounts of money every year?  We have politicians who have grown monumentally rich on the perks that come after our having hired them.  Speaking engagements, book deals, board memberships, you name it, they do it and the millions roll in.

Berkeley receives $100K to 'honor the legacy' of the Black Panther Party.  The radical Marxist revolutionary organization from the 1960s, the Black Panthers, will be the subject of an academic study conducted by the University of California-Berkeley to discover and honor the group's legacy.  The study is being funded by the American taxpayer via a grant for about $100,000 from, curiously, the National Park Service.

Goodbye, four billion dollars.
Cassini: NASA's £3 billion spacecraft explodes in Saturn's atmosphere after a historic 20-year mission.  In its thirteen years at Saturn and two decades in space, the $4 billion (£3 billion) Cassini probe has transformed our understanding of the ringed planet and its moons.  It has watched giant storms on the gas giant, recorded its ring system in stunning detail, and revealed incredible new insights on the potential habitability of Saturn's moons.

The Editor says...
We the taxpayers spent $4 billion to study "the potential habitability of Saturn's moons?"  How will that improve the lives of anyone outside of NASA?

Hurricane Harvey Relief Comes With an Extra-Large Side of Pork.  [Scroll down]  On the Harvey side, it included $7.4 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program — which had been on the president's budget chopping block because its "allocation formula poorly targets funds to the areas of greatest need" and because "many aspects of the program have become outdated."  But because Harvey relief was linked to the continuing resolution, voting for money for Texas also meant, among other things, agreeing to extend the authority for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, a project begun in 1999 and described by columnist George Will as a "saga of arrogance and celebrity worship."  He added, "Sixteen years later, and eight years after the project's 2007 scheduled completion, scores of millions have been squandered, and there is no memorial and no immediate prospect of building one."  It also meant a vote to extend the problematic Head Start base grants and allows for an increase in former presidents' pension.

Joni Ernst, GOP senator, demands cap on ex-presidents' payments.  A Republican senator introduced legislation Tuesday [9/12/2017] to cut down on the amount of money ex-presidents siphon from taxpayers, looking to limit their pensions and office expenses.  Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, said that while presidents should keep getting taxpayer-funded security details, they don't need the more than $1 million in pensions and office equipment that former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush are each expected to cost in 2018.  Her bill would cap the annual pension payment at $200,000 per president, and would impose a cap on how much an ex-president's office can cost.

Feds Spend $138,000 Asking Four-Year-Olds About Their 'Internal Sense of Gender Identity'.  The National Science Foundation is spending over $130,000 on a study that asks four-year-olds about their "internal sense of gender identity." A grant for a two-year study was awarded to the University of Washington this summer.  The project will interview 250 children aged four to six, and their parents, asking a series of questions about "gendered behavior."  "Prominent theories of gender development have discussed the degree to which gender identity results from an internal sense of gender and socialization processes," according to the grant.

Social Security pays millions to people VA says are dead.  The Department of Veterans Affairs knew they were dead, but the Social Security Administration kept paying benefits to hundreds of people anyway, according to a new agency audit released Friday [9/1/2017] that says at least $37 million in bogus payments were made.  Investigators compared the VA's record to Social Security rolls and found nearly 4,000 people who were listed as dead by the VA, but were still getting checks.  Some of those people listed as dead were in fact still alive, but others were deceased — and their checks never should have been paid, the Social Security inspector general said.

NYPD needs to replace 36K useless smartphones.  The NYPD has to scrap the 36,000 smartphones it gave cops over the past two years because they're already obsolete and can't be upgraded, The [New York] Post has learned.  The city bought Microsoft-based Nokia smartphones as part of a $160 million NYPD Mobility Initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio touted as "a huge step into the 21st century."  But just months after the last phone was handed out, officials plan to begin replacing them all with brand-new iPhones by the end of the year, sources said.

Feds Spend $174,932 on 'Implicit Bias' Conference.  The National Science Foundation is spending nearly $200,000 on an "implicit bias" conference.  The conference will gather "leading experts on racism and prejudice" to write a report on how to make unconscious bias training, which assumes that "everyone is a little bit racist or sexist," more effective.  "This project brings together experts on prejudice and discrimination to have a deep discussion and write up a report to understand what various measures of bias represent and best ways to measure implicit bias," according to the grant for the project.

San Antonio Drops ShotSpotter, System not Cost Effective.  One of the technological fixes that has been attempted is the use of sensors to pinpoint gunshots inside of cities.  The theory of the technology is fairly simple.  Spread audio sensors throughout the city.  Feed the input into a computer system, looking for gunshots.  With sophisticated programs, isolate the gunshots from the other noise, and pinpoint their location and time.  Ideally, this happens in near real time, to allow police response to gunshots.

ShotSpotter program stripped from proposed city budget.  A program intended to help police officers identify where a shooting happens, get there quicker and ultimately cut down on crime has been stripped from the proposed city budget because city leaders said it's not effective.  It cost the city $270,000 to put ShotSpotters on the city's crime-ridden east and west sides, but police Chief William McManus said the program's results don't match up with its hefty price tag.

Don't buy the spin on CPS. It's still a dumpster fire.  As all the world knows by now, Springfield is getting close to another fiscal crisis, this time over school funding.  At the center of the crisis is how much more to give to CPS.  The district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel make a good case for added money, particularly to help fund teacher pensions, which everywhere else in Illinois outside of Chicago are fully financed by the state.  But CPS admits that, even if it gets every penny of the roughly $300 million in net new aid it wants from the state, City Hall will have to come up with another $269 million — and that's just for this school year.  The truth is, CPS has been fiscally mismanaged for decades.

Feds Spend $438,699 Studying If 'Gender Norms' Make LGBTQ People Get Drunk.  The National Institutes of Health is spending over $400,000 studying whether gender norms of masculinity and femininity lead LGBTQ individuals to drink too much.  Trying to find the "meanings of intoxication" of sexual and gender minorities is the central question of a study that was awarded in late July.  The project will "examine the extent to which gendered norms shape risky drinking practices for sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults," according to the grant for the study.  The grant states that alcohol is an "integral component of bars and clubs."

Our Government Spends Billions Promoting Itself.  Of course they do so under the cover of "public service."  In fact, the most recent data I could find was from Breitbart in 2015.  The report, obtained from, states that the government spends, or wastes, $4.34 billion on public relations.  That was two years ago. [...] Much of that money spent promoting itself is via the Ad Council.  We've all heard and seen those wonderfully inspiring & heartfelt radio & TV ads.  They promote ways to help us manage our lives — because we can't manage on our own.

Tacoma Looks To Spend $440,000 a Year To Protect Trespassing Immigrants.  [C]itizens of Tacoma, just like most cities, have problems that should come before protecting people who are unlawfully present in the U.S., who are, at a minimum, trespassing.

SSA gave $1.3 million in benefits to criminals.  The Social Security Administration gave $1.3 million in benefits to criminals, including individuals who had already defrauded the government, according to a new audit.  The inspector general for the agency found that just over 50 representative payees who were felons received benefits even though they should have been barred from receiving payments.  Representative payees are individuals who are responsible for administering benefits for someone who cannot manage payments themselves, such as their children or a disabled family member.

Obama EPA Employees Earned Overtime Pay Without Justification.  Environmental Protection Agency employees under the Obama administration earned emergency overtime pay without justification, in violation of agency policy.  The inspector general for the agency released an audit last week finding "numerous instances of noncompliance" of the emergency overtime pay system for employees in Seattle, Wash.  Employees must receive a waiver from biweekly pay caps if they are to receive extra pay for working during a natural disaster, or for conducting "mission-critical" work.  The inspector general found just a fraction of employees in the final three years of the Obama administration who received overtime pay had requested a waiver.

Illinois Has 63,000 Government Workers Making Over $100K.  Illinoisans are struggling under the highest property taxes in the nation, a declining population and the nation's worst income growth, but one group is still doing pretty well — government workers.  According to, Illinois has 63,000 public employees making more than $100,000, costing taxpayers $10 billion.  These government workers range from auto pound supervisors to corrections nurses to junior college presidents and more.  One of the most lucrative government fields is that of village and city managers, many of whom out-earn every U.S. governor.

L.A. County hands $1.3 billion to illegals for welfare.  Los Angeles County is a massive draw for illegals, with more than a million flocking there and setting up home — and now we know why.  Not only is it hallowed sanctuary ground; it's also, apparently, taxpayer-dole-out central.  Look at this, from Robert Rector with the Heritage Foundation:  "They get $3 in benefits for every $1 they spend," he said, speaking of the costs of education, police, fire, medical and housing that illegals get, compared to what they pay back by way of taxes.  This isn't conjecture.  It's based on analysis of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services database.  Among the findings:  In 2015, more than 58,000 families received $602 million in benefits.  In 2016, more than 64,000 families received $675 million.

L.A. County Paid Out $1.3 Billion In Welfare To Illegal Aliens.  On the bright side, it's expected that the Los Angeles County will spend $200 million less in 2017, as fewer illegal aliens arrive and more have left, mostly due to allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to do their job, to enforce the laws that are on the books, unfettered by politicians and political appointees.  We keep being told that illegal aliens are a boon for our economy.  Well, the illegals are getting $3 in benefits for every $1 they spend.  It sure seems that they are more of a drain on taxpayer money that giving more back.

Chicago Public Schools To Pay $850 Million in Interest on $500 Million Loan.  In July, Chicago Public Schools borrowed $500 million in long-term, high-interest loans.  These loans, taken out at interest rates between 7.25-7.65 percent, will cost the district more than $850 million in interest costs alone for a total cost of $1.35 billion, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis.  CPS will pay off the loans over 25 years, paying roughly $35 million a year in interest.  Adjusted for inflation, the total value of the interest on the loan is roughly $405 million.  As the Tribune notes, by the time the loan is paid off, CPS students entering kindergarten this fall will be in their mid-30s.  The district plans to use $229 million from the $500 million loan to recoup losses on bonds from previous years.

Why is it up to us to pay for this?
$10 Million to Fund English Classes, Legal Services for Foreigners Seeking Citizenship.  The U.S. government announced on July 27 that it will continue to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to fund English, history, and civics courses, as well as naturalization legal services to foreigners seeking legal American citizenship, according to Judicial Watch.  According to a Homeland Security grant obtained by Judicial Watch, the $10 million will be allocated to the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program, operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The program, which will distribute the money across 36 organizations, aims to provide hopeful immigrants with classes in U.S. history and government in preparation for the citizenship test, as well for activities that promote civic and linguistic assimilation.  "Naturalization requirements, such as knowledge of English and of U.S. history and civics, encourage civic learning and build a strong foundation upon which immigrants can fully assimilate into society," the Homeland Security grant states.

Why do we have an EPA museum?  [Scroll down]  The Trump administration is at odds with the EPA?  Half the country is!  This is the agency that destroyed the Animas River by allowing 3.5 million gallons of toxins and heavy metals to flood it while "cleaning up" an abandoned mine.  No one went to jail for that either.  But the EPA did spend more than $300,000 on this museum outside the EPA Credit Union, and opened it three days before President Trump took office.

$2 Million Bathroom.  No park bathroom needs to cost $2 million.  An entire six-bedroom house nearby was for sale for $539,000.  Everything costs more when government builds it.  "Government always pays above-average prices for below-average work," says my friend who makes a living privatizing government activities.
  •   Obamacare's website was supposed to cost $464 million.  It cost $834 million and still crashed.
  •   Washington, D.C.'s Visitor Center rose in cost from $265 million to $621 million.
  •   The Veterans Affairs medical center being built near Denver was projected to cost $590 million.  Now they estimate $1.7 billion.
Government spends more because every decision is tied up in endless rules.  Rigid specs.  Affirmative action.  Minority outreach.  Wheelchair access.

US military blows millions a year on Viagra for its troops.  The US military blows $41.6 million a year on Viagra for its troops — about five times more than the estimated medical costs for transgender servicepeople, according to a new report.  Spending on the little blue pills is part of $84 million total the military plunks down annually for erectile dysfunction medicines, according to the Washington Post, which cited a 2015 report by the Military Times.  The eye-popping stats resurfaced Wednesday, the same day President Trump announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military because of "the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

Obama's IRS doled out more than $24 billion in potentially bogus refunds.  The IRS doled out more than $24 billion in potentially bogus refunds claimed under several controversial tax credits in 2016, according to a new audit that said $118 million was even paid to people who weren't authorized to work in the U.S. in the first place.  Some $16.8 billion in payments were made on improper claims under the Earned Income Tax Credit, signifying a 24 percent error rate.  Investigators also estimated $7.2 billion in improper payments for the Additional Child Tax Credit, representing 25 percent of the total, and $1.1 billion in improper payments, or 24 percent, for a higher education tax credit.

NYC Government Spends $2 Million on a Park Bathroom.  Did you see the $2 million dollar bathroom?  That's what New York City government spent to build a "comfort station" in a park.  I went to look at it.  There were no gold-plated fixtures.  It's just a little building with four toilets and four sinks.

The Editor says...
The facility was built in New York City, so it is safe to assume that it was built by unionized craftsmen (at their pace and by their rules), and it must also have been built to accommodate wheelchair access and include any other feature required by federal law.  But even in the most expensive city in the country, two million dollars sounds high, doesn't it?

Feds Subsidized Housing for 'Nonexistent Tenants'.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development spent over $500,000 on apartments for people who "did not exist," according to the agency's inspector general.  An audit released last month found that managers of Section 8 housing in Jefferson County, Texas, defrauded the government by stealing the identities of former tenants and falsifying incomes.  The government subsidizes the rent of 99 units at Beverly Place Apartments in Groves, Texas, and paid the complex $1.8 million between January 2013 and December 2015.

Brilliant business strategy:
The U.S. Postal Service has helped turn Amazon into a giant by undercharging them by $1.46 a package on postage.  There's a reason Amazon packages have become a common sight on front steps around the country, and that's because the U.S. Postal Service practically subsidizes postage for the internet giant.  As Josh Sandbulte, co-president of money management firm Greenhaven Associates, pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, the Postal Service has a legal monopoly to deliver first-class mail in the U.S. — in other words, non-urgent letters.  In exchange, the Postal Service is required to deliver, if needed, mail to every address in America, six days a week.  Since the invention of email, the amount of physical mail being sent has dramatically declined, so the Postal Service has supplemented that business with package delivery.

Pentagon to keep paying for sex-change surgeries.  Two-dozen House Republicans broke with their pro-defense brethren Thursday and helped Democrats kill an amendment that would have barred the military from funding transgender sex reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies.  The amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which sets out policies on America's $696 billion military budget, failed 214-209, with all Democrats and 24 Republicans opposing.  It means the military health care system will be called on to provide such surgeries as routine treatments for the first time, unless the Trump administration changes Obama-era policies that allow transgender troops to remain on duty.

Trump Admin Continues Obama-Era Tradition Of Giving Millions To Soros-Linked Groups.  The Trump administration gave $6.3 million to a group linked to liberal mega-donor George Soros as part of an effort to to develop "independent, professional media" in Moldova, The Daily Caller has learned.  The Agency for International Development (USAID) doles out millions of dollars to groups around the world, and frequently this money ends up in the hands of organizations supported by Soros.  The Daily Caller has previously reported that USAID during the Obama administration gave at least $15.8 million in Macedonia to groups ran by Soros and to organizations tied to his Open Society Foundations.

Feds Use Arts Funding to Subsidize Billion-Dollar Nonprofits.  The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities is giving millions of taxpayer dollars to nonprofits with assets of over $1 billion., a transparency watchdog group, released a report this week highlighting egregious examples of arts funding going towards museums, universities, and nonprofit organizations that hardly need federal funding.  The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities issued $20.5 million in grants to "asset-rich" nonprofit groups with assets of $1 billion or more in 2016 alone.

[Fighting] Climate Change has cost you at least $166 Billion so far.  The U.S. government spent nearly as much fighting "climate change" between 1993 and 2014 as was spent on the entire Apollo program between 1962 and 1973, according to a new report.  A May 2017 report from the Capital Research Center (CRS) states that "from FY 1993 to FY 2014 total U.S. expenditures on climate change amount to more than $166 billion."  The total includes more than $26.1 billion from President Obama's 2009 stimulus bill, as well as regular annual budget amounts and federal tax credits distributed over a period of 21 years.

Surprise!  You're still paying for Obama's vacations.  Former President Barack Obama's family may be out of office, but taxpayers are still footing the bill for their vacations, and you will be for life.  The Obamas began a nine-day vacation in Indonesia on June 30 by rafting along a river in a luxurious resort in Bali.  It was a homecoming for Obama, who grew up attending school there.  But taxpayers are footing the bill for this family trip down Memory Lane.  Under the Former Presidents Act, the president and his wife are allowed $1.5 million a year in travel expenses, not including their security detail and lavish, lifelong pension.

Taxpayers Have Now Spent $3.5 Million to Find Out Why Lesbians Are Obese.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now spent over $3.5 million to determine why the majority of lesbians are obese.  The project, now entering its fifth year, received another grant worth $658,485 this summer.  The total funding for the research is now $3,531,925.  Funding has more than doubled since the study was first revealed in 2013.  Since, the study that is examining why three-quarters of lesbians are obese, but gay men are not, has survived sequester cuts, and continues to produce results such as the discovery that gay men have a "greater desire for toned muscles" than straight men.  Another scientific paper associated with the research concluded that lesbians have lower "athletic-self esteem" that may lead to higher rates of obesity.

Flint's Water Crisis Has Law Firms Swimming in Cash.  Michigan's legal bills for the man-made water crisis in Flint are piling up.  At least $14 million has been spent hiring lawyers from at least 33 law firms, according to an Associated Press analysis of state records.  Costs are only expected to balloon as Attorney General Bill Schuette's outside team of two-dozen attorneys and investigators turns toward prosecuting a dozen current or former state employees or appointees whose criminal defenses are being covered by taxpayers.

Salary hikes, bonuses abound at taxpayer-funded WGBH.  Boston public broadcasting behemoth WGBH, facing potentially severe budget cuts by the Trump administration, awarded big pay hikes and bonuses to executives and staffers last year while reporting a $38 million loss, new reports show.  The taxpayer-funded nonprofit's CEO, Jonathan Abbott, got an $85,000 bonus in the 2016 fiscal year, boosting his annual compensation to $624,930, according to tax reports filed with the state attorney general's office.  WGBH gave out a total of nearly $300,000 in bonuses to 10 employees, including Abbott, according to their financial reports.  New on-air host Jim Braude earned nearly $364,000 in the 2016 fiscal year, reports show, while seven other high-ranking staffers and executives also topped the $300,000-a-year mark.

EPA Ends $1 Million Taxpayer-Funded Gym Membership Program.  The Environmental Protection Agency has ended a nearly $1 million program that provided gym memberships for employees.  The new administration under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt identified the gym memberships as an abuse of taxpayer dollars.  Examples of the program's misuse included $15,000 for gym memberships for 37 EPA scientists in Las Vegas last year.

New York City Has Taken 7½ Years and $2 Million to Build a 400-Square-Foot Public Bathroom.  Urban development is one of those areas where a perfect shit storm of fiscal mismanagement can quickly appear while the politicians responsible just shrug their shoulders and say, "Well, that's just the way things work."  That was basically the reaction of New York City Councilman David Greenfield after he mentioned the $2 million price tag for a new 400-square-foot public bathroom in a park in his district.

Obama Program Erroneously Paid $729 Million To Doctors Including Dead Doctors.  An Obama program made over $729 million in erroneous payments to doctors, and as if that isn't bad enough, this includes payments made to dead doctors.  The inspector general stated that there was "minimal oversight" of the program and payments and that it was "vulnerable to fraud and abuse."

Taxpayers Give $30 Million so NYC's Shakespeare Festival can Assassinate Trump Onstage.  After learning that an actor dressed to look just like his father gets brutally murdered on stage in a production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Donald Trump, Jr. asked, "I wonder how much of this 'art' is funded by taxpayers?"  Well, thanks to some digging by Adam Andrzejewski, founder of the federal watchdog, we now know the answer: [...]

D.C. Spending $20,000 to Paint LGBTQ Murals on Storm Drains.  The District of Columbia is spending $20,000 to pay artists to paint environmentally friendly, pro-LGBTQ murals on storm drains.  Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled a "rainbow-colored crosswalk" on Friday [6/9/2017] to promote gay pride parades that are taking place in the city this weekend.  Bowser announced storm drains would also be painted by local artists to "celebrate the LGBTQ identity" and the environment.

Obama Program Made $729 Million in Erroneous Payments to Doctors.  An Obama administration program to encourage the use of electronic health records made over $729 million in erroneous payments, according to a new audit.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also paid dead doctors for enrolling in its program, the audit, released by the agency's inspector general Monday [6/12/2017], revealed.  "From May 2011 through June 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paid an estimated $729 million in Medicare electronic health record incentive payments to eligible professionals who did not comply with Federal requirements," the inspector general said.  "In addition, it paid $2.3 million in inappropriate electronic health record incentive payments to eligible professionals who switched incentive programs."

Tax Money Shouldn't Shore Up Blatantly Biased TV and Radio.  A government $20 trillion in debt has just extended — not eliminated, as promised — funding for a public broadcaster that regularly infuriates and offends half the country.  The recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 not only gave the Corporation for Public Broadcasting its regular $495 million sweetsop, Congress also threw in another $50 million to upgrade its "interconnection system."  Yet again, it was a two-year "advance appropriation" for the CPB — a special arrangement designed "to provide a firewall of independence" from the government accountability that usually goes hand in hand with government funding.

U.S. Paid $1 Billion To Paris Agreement Green Fund — All Other Nations Combined $0.  The Paris Treaty was/is always about distribution of economic wealth; and the convenient use of "climate phrases" as branding instruments used to create political policy favorable to multinational corporate interests who control the shifting of economic wealth.  Listen to the responses from participating EU corporate comptrollers discussing climate and the entire purpose of the Paris Treaty becomes self-evident.

Education Official Got Secret Cash Bonuses as Office Lost Billions to Fraud, Corruption.  The senior Obama Education Department official who resigned this month to avoid testifying before Congress got hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses despite his well-documented failures, sources inside the agency tell Judicial Watch.  The extra cash was kept off the books, away from the public, and doesn't appear on his official government salary record but Judicial Watch has obtained the figures with yearly breakdowns.  The official, James Runcie, ran the scandal-plagued Federal Student Aid (FSA) office, the government's $1.4 trillion financial aid program.

Obama's regulations in 2016 to drain economy by $2 trillion.  The Obama administration issued a record number of new regulations on its way out the door in 2016, leaving an administrative state that saps the economy of nearly $2 trillion a year, according to a new report being released Wednesday [5/31/2017].  The government itself spent $63 billion in 2016 to administer and enforce all of its own regulations, the Competitive Enterprise Institute said.

Social Security Administration Spent $32 Million on Conferences.  The Social Security Administration billed taxpayers $32 million for work conferences, according to a new audit.  The inspector general for the agency reported that just over 300 conferences cost taxpayers roughly $100,000 each in travel, meals, and lodging expenses during a three-year period.  The audit found that the agency mostly complied with federal reporting requirements to disclose conferences that cost $20,000 or more.

Forest Service Owns 'National Junkyard' of Thousands of Unused Buildings.  The Forest Service oversees thousands of buildings that are unused, many that are falling apart, full of mold, and pose safety hazards, according to a new audit.  The inspector general for the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the Forest Service has compiled over $5 billion worth of repairs to buildings, roads, dams, and trails it operates.  Officials admit they are becoming a "national junkyard" by overseeing thousands of decrepit buildings the government does not need.

Planned Parenthood closes clinics but continues to collect $500 million a year in taxpayer funding.  Pro-lifers say declining patient numbers, the promotion of abortion at the expense of health care services and the shuttering of several facilities show that Planned Parenthood's business model is failing and its taxpayer funding could be better spent elsewhere.  The nation's largest abortion provider announced last week that it would close four clinics in Iowa, three in New Mexico, two in Colorado and its last remaining facility in Wyoming, despite continuing to receive more than $500 million in annual taxpayer funding.

How Much Does the U.S. Government Subsidize Electricity Generating Technologies?  Over the period 2010 to 2019, we identified 76 programs worth US $11 billion to $18 billion per year that met our criteria for intentionality, selectivity/preferentiality, and the potential for wealth transfer.  Bottom line?  In total dollars, the fossil fuel industry receives benefits comparable to that for the renewables industry, but when considering only the portion of fossil fuel support that relates to electric power, renewables receive far more support.

Chelsea Manning to Remain in Army, Receive Health Care Benefits After Prison Release.  Manning will be an unpaid soldier and will be eligible for health care and other benefits, USA Today reported. Army spokesman Dave Foster told the paper that she will remain a private in the Army.  "Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review," Foster said.

Should Toledo Taxpayers Pay for Aspen Art?  Here in the billionaires' playground of Aspen, the politicians waived the zoning laws a few years ago for a monstrosity they call an art museum.  It's a huge square wicker basket dominating a city block, with zero setback and zero architecture.  This place that is supposed to display visual beauty is itself an eyesore.  Almost everyone hates it.  But not the director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson.  In an artistic burst, she created for herself a $900,000 salary.  Her salary is about the only permanent or valuable piece in the collection.

The real 1 percent: The federal workforce.  The non-defense, non-postal service part of the federal government comprises about 2 million employees — about 1.37 percent of the total U.S. workforce.  Since 2004, federal government average hourly earnings have increased from $28.57 to $39.19 in 2016, while private sector average hourly earnings have only increased from $20.91 to $25.67, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  On average, private sector workers only make about 65.5 percent of their federal government counterparts.

IG: 'IRS Overpaid More Than 600 Employees Approximately $4.2 Million'.  The Internal Revenue Service, which is responsible for collecting federal taxes and enforcing federal tax law, was unable to accurately deal with its own complex rules governing the payment of its own employees and ended up overpaying more than 600 IRS workers about $4,200,000, according to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  The IRS also underpaid more than 900 employees about $2,700,000, according to TIGTA's estimate.  The inspector general found that the IRS's rules for how it determines the correct pay for one of its own employees when he or she is promoted to a management position are "confusing."

More than $100M in taxpayer money spent on public worker lawsuits each year.  The legal settlements and jury awards have come rapid-fire, month after month, year after year: $400,000 to the public works employee who claimed a hostile work environment; $2.1 million to the fire inspector whom a jury found had been harassed; $200,000 to the former police dispatcher who said she was improperly fired; $3.65 million to the NJ Transit workers who said they faced racial discrimination.  New Jersey, a state where property taxes and the cost of living rank among the highest in the nation, is increasingly hemorrhaging taxpayer cash as more and more public workers file lawsuits against the government agencies that employ them.  By one conservative estimate, the costs associated with such suits, including the legal fees to fight them, now top $100 million annually, a threefold increase over the past 15 years.

Veterans Affairs has 346 workers who do only union work.  An estimated 346 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs do no actual work for taxpayers.  Instead, they spend all of their time doing work on behalf of their union while drawing a federal salary, a practice known as "official time."  That's according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.  But exactly what those VA workers are doing and why so many are doing it is not clear.  The VA doesn't track that, and the GAO report offers no clue.

Trump Ends Obama's African Ebola Amnesty.  In a refreshing move, the Trump administration is eliminating one of Barack Obama's many outrageous amnesty initiatives, this one involving illegal immigrants from African countries affected by the Ebola virus a few years ago.  The Ebola amnesty scandal got buried in the hoopla of the administration's broad executive order protecting millions of illegal alien Mexicans and Central Americans, but it was just as alarming.  Launched in 2014, the Ebola reprieve was issued separately — and quietly — via a Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a humanitarian program that's supposed to be short-term.  Under the plan, the administration designated Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for TPS for 18 months.  That's how it always starts — for a short period of time then it grows into years.  Before you know it, illegal aliens who benefit from TPS for humanitarian reasons are legal residents enjoying all the generous perks — free education, food stamps, medical care etc. — that Uncle Sam has to offer.

The NEH Can't Be Mended, So End It.  Partisans of the Endowments, from the Right as well as the Left, oscillate between telling us what a derisory sum of money they command — hardly worth paying attention to, don't you know — and insisting that the work of the arts and the humanities is absolutely essential to the future of civilization as we know it.  Important it may be.  But there is a pragmatic and a principled reason to favor the abolition of federal funding for the Endowments.

Should Tax Dollars Finance Broadway Shows?  Apparently one argument in favor of continuing taxpayer funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is that it frequently gives grants to Broadway productions.  Some have argued that without the NEA, there wouldn't be Hamilton, even though as CNBC's Jake Novak pointed out, "this successful private-sector project was backed and funded for real by private investors all the way." [...] This is the blockbuster Hamilton, where tickets began at $175 per ticket and then went to $850 per ticket.  Please stop telling me that this show would not exist without a check from the taxpayers.  By last year, it was making $600,000 a week in profit and depending on how long it runs, it could be the first Broadway production to make $1 billion.

The Magic Disappearing $100 Billion Climate Fund.  Shocking news — the magic $100 billion climate fund appears not to be taking shape!  Even optimistic estimates say the fund is $40 billion short, and developing countries say that understates the problem.

Pruitt ends EPA gym memberships.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday [4/13/2017] that the days of gym memberships being paid for by the American taxpayer are over.  Pruitt was on "Fox and Friends," where he was asked about documents released Wednesday that show EPA employees spent more than $15,000 on gym memberships outside of the free services they were already being given.  "Well, the gym memberships ended yesterday, it was quite something to hear about that," Pruitt said.  He said the agency is investigating the matter, saying "it was the previous administration that granted those gym memberships," which "were rather expensive."

EPA Staffer Uses Government Credit Card To Buy $15K Gym Membership.  A Las Vegas-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official used his government credit card to purchase a $14,799 in gym memberships.  A conservative advocacy group released documents purporting to show EPA contracting officer Kevin Broadnax bought 37 year-long memberships at Super Sport gym on April 11, 2017.  Broadnax used his government charge card to pay for these memberships.  The sheer amount of paperwork related to the transaction suggests that multiple EPA officials were aware of the purchase.

Judicial Watch Sues EPA for Records about Controversial Obama Environmental Justice Grants.  Judicial Watch today [3/27/2017] announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking copies of grant awards and associated proposals for "environmental justice" grants in 2014 and 2015.  The EPA's controversial "environmental justice" programs provide taxpayer funding for environmental and other left-wing interest groups.  The EPA awards more than $4 billion annually in funding for grants and other assistance agreements.  Shortly after President Trump assumed the presidency, the Trump administration instructed officials at the EPA to freeze its grants and contracts.

The Federal Government's Student-Loan Fraud.  All told, the federal government's portfolio of student loans now stands at a whopping $1.3 trillion.  As the Washington Post notes, "What's striking about the findings is that Americans have a variety of repayment options to avoid default.  The Obama administration expanded programs that cap monthly payments to a percentage of earnings, but even though millions of people are enrolled in those income-driven plans, there is still a disconnect."  Actually, there is no disconnect at all.  As we noted earlier, just under one-half of millennials today believe their student debts will be forgiven, and an increasing number even use their loans for exotic spring break vacations, booze, and partying.  So, by that logic, you'd be a fool to pay.

Donald Trump budget blueprint targets the do-nothings.  [Scroll down]  According to the Cato Institute, federal workers average $123,160 a year in pay and benefits, compared to $69,901 in the dreaded private sector.  That's a 76 percent income gap between the two sectors, up from 39 percent two decades ago.  Not to mention, it's almost impossible to fire any of these sloths for just cause — look at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Public sector employees take 38 percent more time off than people with real jobs.  And now they're increasingly avoiding their own offices.  They "telecommute," and what a joke that is, at least for federal employees.  Thanks to direct deposit, they no longer even have to appear twice a month to pick up their paychecks.  How overpaid are these slugs?  Seven of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest per-capita income are inside the D.C. Beltway.  Those who produce nothing are the most richly compensated.

Ten Good Reasons to Eliminate Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.  Reason #2:  The NEA is welfare for cultural elitists.  Despite Endowment claims that federal funding permits underpriviledged individuals to gain access to the arts, NEA grants offer little more than a subsidy to the well-to-do.  One-fifth of direct NEA grants go to multimillion-dollar arts organizations.  Harvard University Political Scientist Edward C. Banfield has noted that the "art public is now, as it has always been, overwhelmingly middle and upper middle class and above average in income-relatively prosperous people who would probably enjoy art about as much in the absence of subsidies."

Trump's Budget Chief Says Climate Research 'A Waste Of Your Money'.  President Donald Trump's budget director told reporters Thursday [3/16/2017] the White House was no longer spending money on climate change research because it's a "waste of your money."  "We're not spending money on that anymore," Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director, said at a press briefing while discussing the president's decision to dial back climate science research.  "We consider that to be a waste of your money," he added.  Trump released his congressional budget request Thursday, which contained several contentious reductions, including dramatic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy.

Obama's $77 Billion climate funds stash found — will be gutted.  President Donald Trump will find the job of reining in spending on climate initiatives made harder by an Obama-era policy of dispersing billions of dollars in programs across dozens of agencies — in part so they couldn't easily be cut.  There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did.  The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration.

How Would You Like Big Bird Served?  [Scroll down]  Politico asks, "Can Big Bird Survive Trump?"  Yes, Big Bird can, because Big Bird is Big Business!  Big Bird makes money!  Investor's Business Daily reports:  ["]Last year, Sesame Workshop had $121.6 million in revenues.  Of that, $49.6 million came in distribution fees and royalties and $36.6 million in licensing of toys, games, clothing, food and such.  In 2014, only 4% of its revenue came from government grants.  Despite being a taxpayer-supported nonprofit, however, Sesame Workshop pays its top executives fabulously well.  According to tax filings — the most recent of which covers 2014 — then-president and CEO Melvin Ming was paid more than $586,000 in salary and benefits in the nine months before retiring, which included a $37,500 bonus and $18,700 in benefits.  The year before that, Ming cleared $672,391 in salary, bonuses and benefits.["]

Why am I paying for this junk?  President Trump's efforts to balance a federal budget that is $443 billion out of whack — the deficit grows by more than a billion a day — is meeting resistance in Philadelphia, where the National Park Service is threatening to close all the exhibits at the "Independence National Historical Park."  [...] But really, why is this a national park?  The Liberty Bell is important, and we should display and protect it.  But surely the good people of Philadelphia should cover the cost of preserving it, in exchange for the honor of being its home.

Obama Spent Record $36 Million Fighting FOIA Suits.  Former President Obama's administration spent a record-shattering $36.2 million on legal costs beating back Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, according to an analysis from the Associated Press.  Obama, who once hailed his administration as "the most transparent administration in history," fielded a record-breaking influx of 788,769 FOIA requests last year alone and spent $478 million answering those requests.  A whopping $36.2 million was spent fighting to keep federal records from the public eye.

Your Welfare Dollars Feed State Budgets, Not Needy Families.  Prior to the TANF Act, families in need received cash assistance through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, where federal funds matched half or more of every dollar of cash assistance that a state provided to a needy family.  The AFDC funding method didn't provide states with enough flexibility for the use of federal funds, thus the implementation of the TANF Act.  Proponents argued that states could shift the funds freed up when families left welfare to work or child-care programs, where the need would likely increase.  But that didn't happen.  Instead, states redirected a substantial portion of their state and federal TANF funds to fill state budget holes or to substitute for existing state spending.  Even when need increased during the Great Recession, states were often unable to bring the funds back to core welfare reform services and instead made cuts in basic assistance and work programs.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Received Over $500K in Taxpayer-Funded Gov't Grants.  The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was awarded more than $500,000 in taxpayer-funded government grants since 2010, records show.  Seven of its leaders additionally paid themselves six-figure salaries, according to the group's most recent tax filings.  The CBC Foundation, a nonprofit that is separate from the Congressional Black Caucus, carries a mission of advancing "the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public."

Axing Wasteful EPA Program that Gave Leftist Groups Millions "Racist".  The cash flowed freely through the EPA's special environmental justice office, which the Trump administration plans to get rid of as part of a broader budget cut for the famously bloated agency.  This is great news for American taxpayers who were forced to fund this nonsense.  Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the EPA's environmental justice boondoggle and exposed the atrocities that occurred under the reckless initiative.  Here are some examples of how the money was used[:]  to teach residents of public housing about recycling, seniors to reduce their "carbon footprint," inner city neighborhoods about "climate-change readiness" and middle school students with a "disparate economic and racial/ethnic composition" how to "identify and mitigate air pollution and solid waste disposal issues."

U.S. Gives Soros Groups Millions to Destabilize Macedonia's Conservative Govt.  The U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros, records obtained by Judicial Watch show.  Barack Obama's U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros' Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Nearly 100 bureaucrats caught viewing 'copious' porn at work.  NBC 4 in Washington, D.C. decided to investigate bureaucrats who spend their time on the clock looking at pornography.  The news station sent FOIA requests to 12 federal agencies, among them the departments of Justice, Transportation, Labor, Commerce, Energy, HHS, Social Security and the EPA.  They asked for information on the most egregious cases.  What they received was evidence on nearly 100 individuals who had been found spending "copious" amounts of time looking at porn while on the taxpayer's dime.

Hundreds of Feds Caught Watching Porn at Work.  Hundreds of federal workers have been caught watching porn on the job, including viewing child pornography, according to a new investigation.  NBC News 4 in Washington, D.C., identified over 100 "egregious" cases during the past five years where federal employees watched porn for hours during the day or required an inspector general investigation into their porn habits at work.  The report relied on records obtained through Freedom of Information Act from 12 separate government agencies.  "The cases include workers who admitted spending six hours a day surfing illicit images and videos and maintaining tens of thousands of adult images on their office desktops," the report said.

These Government Agencies Receive the Most Money.  The Office of Management and Budget provides government outlay data from 1962 to 2021.  If an agency was established after 1962, the office lists spending attributable to predecessor agencies.  Note that all figures are inflation adjusted to the 2009 value of the dollar, the year the Office of Management and Budget uses as its framework.  Remarkably, approximately half of all government outlays go to just two agencies:  the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.

EPA Employees Used Gov't Purchase Card to Spend $14,985 on Fitness Memberships.  Environmental Protection Agency employees used their government purchase cards to spend $14,985 on fitness memberships, according to an audit by the inspector general of the agency.  With the goal of assessing the risk of illegal, improper, and erroneous purchases made on the EPA's purchase card, the auditors evaluated 18 transactions totaling $48,345 and found that none of them complied with any of the internal controls that were tested.  Some of these controls require that officials give approval, that records be properly placed in the vendor's banking system, and that transactions be reviewed by the card holder within 10 days of posting.

Infuriating List of Ridiculous Spending Items By Obama Administration.  The FBI spent $1.5 million to help Hollywood accurately depict the agency.  The State Department spent $630,000 to buy "likes" on Facebook.  The National Endowment for the Arts spent $10,000 on a pole-dancing performance art project in Austin.  Arlington, Va., used federal money to build a $1 million bus stop that does not actually shield passengers from the weather.  The National Guard spent $10 million on tie-ins for the latest Superman movie to support recruiting efforts.  The National Science Foundation approved a $251,525 grant to study the Senate filibuster.

Feds Paid $1 Billion in Social Security Benefits to Individuals Without a SSN.  The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.  The agency's inspector general found errors in the government's documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.  The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.  Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who "did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application."

State worker racks up nearly $180K in overtime pay.  A state technology worker more than tripled her salary last year by running up $179,930 in overtime, records show.  Deborah Casais walked off with total earnings of $247,757 working for the Office of Information Technology Services despite a base salary of $67,827.  That made the Albany-area woman the state overtime champ for 2016.

Dem Leader Chuck Schumer Given 'Porker of the Year' Award from Gov Waste Watchdog.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) was awarded the title of 2016 Porker of the Year after he pulled away from five fellow wasteful congressman in a poll conducted by Citizens Against Government Waste, a government spending watchdog group.  Schumer was highlighted by the group for his work on supporting the policy of making "debt free" college for all college students.

IG report reveals Army general used gov't charge card to pay for strip club tabs.  A former three-star U.S. Army general and aide to Defense Secretary Ash Carter was demoted and will retire as a one-star general after an investigation revealed he used a government credit card to pay bar tabs at strip clubs in Rome and Seoul.  The move against Maj. General Ronald Lewis, who was formerly a three-star general, was made by former Army Secretary Eric Fanning, the Army said in a statement Thursday [2/9/2017], according to the Army Times.  A Defense Department probe discovered that Lewis used his government charge card for lavish spending at two strips clubs — one in Rome and another in Seoul.

Federal Agency Eased Sanctions for Plagiarism, Data Fabrication in Taxpayer-Funded Research.  A federal agency that funds scientific research nixed punishments recommended by its own ethics watchdog for some academics who plagiarized and manipulated data in grant proposals and taxpayer-funded research, public records show.  The inspector general for the National Science Foundation identified at least 23 instances of plagiarism in proposals, NSF-funded research, and agency publications in 2015 and 2016.  It found at least eight instances of data manipulation and fabrication in those years.  NSF officials disregarded recommended sanctions against some of the scientists and academics implicated in those findings.  Though many were temporarily barred from receiving additional federal funding, nearly all will be eligible for taxpayer support and official roles in NSF-funded research in the future.

$8.5 Billion U.S. Counter Narcotics Effort in Afghanistan Boosts Opium Production.  The U.S. government's multi-billion-dollar effort to counter narcotics in Afghanistan is a humiliating failure that's resulted in a huge increase in poppy cultivation and opium production.  Despite the free-flow of American tax dollars to combat the crisis, opium production rose 43% in the Islamic nation, to an estimated 4,800 tons, and approximately 201,000 hectares of land are under poppy cultivation, representing a 10% increase in one year alone.  Uncle Sam's embarrassing counter narcotics effort is part of a broader and costly failure involving the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Cameras catch BART janitor who made $270,000 in a year spending hours in Powell St. closet.  Last November, a nonprofit called Transparent California reported that a BART janitor named Liang Zhao Zhang made $271,000 in a single year — over $162,000 of that in the form of overtime.  Now, a KTVU investigation into Zhang's hours and pay revealed that he disappears into a storage closet at the Powell St. station, sometimes for hours a day.

Gravy Train Flows Wide And Deep At Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Agency.  Pay is flowing so generously at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that hundreds of bureaucrats there receive more than most members of Congress. [...] Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin receives $223,000 per year, but that's less than what 54 CFPB employees are paid.  Another 170 CFPB employees earn more than the secretaries of defense and state, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence.  All cabinet salaries are capped at $199,700, but not at the bureau.

Obama's last money shower for the UN: some $9.2 billion.  In its last year in office, the Obama Administration showered at least some $9.2 billion on the United Nations and its sprawling array of organizations, according to a document recently posted on the State Department website.  The total is gleaned from a document that summarizes U.S. government spending for international organizations, and is about 20 percent higher than the $7.7 billion figure given out by State for 2010, before the Obama Administration abruptly quit providing any overall tally for its U.N. support.

Mexico's remittances reach almost $27 billion.  Mexicans living abroad sent home almost $27 billion in 2016, the highest yearly figure on record, the central bank reported on Wednesday [2/1/2017].  The remittances rose 8.8 percent, from $24.78 billion in 2015 to 26.97 billion last year.

The Editor says...
The money that is sent by wire transfer to Mexico — from workers who, in many cases, are not supposed to be in this country at all — is money that leaves the U.S. economy and no longer benefits the citizens of the neighborhoods and cities where the money was earned.  This is assuming that the money was earned and not stolen.  The money is therefore out of circulation in this country and, as it stands now, leaves the U.S. without even being taxed.  A hefty tax on these wire transfers wouldn't raise enough to build a wall on the Mexican border, and perhaps this tax revenue would be given away to people who are too lazy to work, or spent on a useless pork barrel project, but at least somebody on this side of the border would benefit.

The $7 billion school improvement grant program:  Greatest failure in the history of the US Department of Education?  The final IES report on the School Improvement Grant program is devastating to Arne Duncan's and the Obama administration's education legacy.  A major evaluation commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by two highly respected research institutions delivered a crushing verdict:  The program failed and failed badly.  (The Washington Post's article by Emma Brown does an exceptional job recounting the administration's $7 billion folly.)

Education Department report finds billions spent under Obama had 'no impact' on achievement.  The Obama administration pumped more than $7 billion into an education program, first authorized under President George W. Bush, that had no impact on student achievement — according to a report released by the Department of Education in the final days of the 44th president's term.  The Department of Education's findings were contained in its "School Improvement Grants:  Implementation and Effectiveness" report.  The study could energize the debate over national education policy just as the Senate considers President Trump's controversial pick to lead the department, Betsy DeVos, an outspoken school choice advocate who has questioned the way federal education dollars are spent.

IRS Sent $46,378,040 in Refunds to 23,994 'Unauthorized' Aliens at One Atlanta Address.  The Internal Revenue Service sent 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined $46,378,040 to "unauthorized" alien workers who all used the same address in Atlanta, Ga., in 2011, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).  That was not the only Atlanta address theoretically used by thousands of "unauthorized" alien workers receiving millions in federal tax refunds in 2011.  In fact, according to a TIGTA audit report published last year, four of the top ten addresses to which the IRS sent thousands of tax refunds to "unauthorized" aliens were in Atlanta.  The IRS sent 11,284 refunds worth a combined $2,164,976 to unauthorized alien workers at a second Atlanta address; 3,608 worth $2,691,448 to a third; and 2,386 worth $1,232,943 to a fourth.

NASA Gets Religion About Extraterrestrials.  [Scroll down to page 58]  "How might the world's religions respond to the discovery of life on other planets?"  NASA is enlisting theologians to answer that question to prepare for if and when human contact is made with extraterrestrials.  The NASA Astrobiology Program awarded more than $1.1 million to the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI) to examine "the societal implications of the search for life in the universe."

Wastebook Exposes More than $5 Billion in Questionable Federal Spending.  Arizona senator Jeff Flake released his annual 200-page catalogue of egregious government spending today, shedding light on 50 unnecessary taxpayer-funded projects from 2016.

Obama Wastes Another $500 Million for UN Climate Fund.  Of course, this money will go to dictators and bad guys in many areas.  Well, the money that makes it out of the hands of the United Nations, which doesn't exactly have a great track record of competence and fiscal responsibility.  And, what money makes it beyond the greedy hands of  3rd world  developing nation leaders, will be position as being from the UN, rather than the United States.  Obama's just throwing money that taxpayers earned with hard work away, and all for nothing.

Barack Obama transfers $500m to Green Climate Fund in attempt to protect Paris deal.  Barack Obama has heeded calls to help secure the future of the historic Paris agreement by transferring a second $500m instalment to the Green Climate Fund, just three days before he leaves office.  The fund was a key aspect of the Paris agreement signed in 2015, which aims to keep global warming "well below" 2[°]C and aspires to keep warming to 1.5[°]C.  Established in 2010, it is financed by wealthy countries and used to assist developing countries with adaptation and mitigation.  It was widely seen as a key measure to bring both rich and poor countries to the negotiating table.  The US committed to transferring $3bn to the fund.  The new instalment leaves $2bn owing, with the incoming president, Donald Trump, expected to cease any further payments.

Air Force general uses $387G in taxpayer funds to renovate foyer.  A foyer leading to a three-star general's office has been renovated at a cost to taxpayers of $387,000.

D.C. Just Unveiled a Taxpayer-Funded, Anti-Street Harassment Walkway.  The Washington D.C. government justified spending taxpayer dollars on an anti-catcalling display by claiming women run into the street to avoid whistling and catcalls.  WAMU reports Washington D.C. unveiled "The Walkway" as part of the District Department of Transportation's and Mayor Muriel Bowser's "Vision Zero" project to reduce traffic fatalities in the city.  WAMU describes the tunnel as "hot pink ramp with bright, color-changing lights" that includes audio of people whistling and catcalling.  The display also includes photos of people who have allegedly been forced to endure the trauma of being catcalled, as well as quotes about their experiences.

HUD Spent Almost $1M To Cover Up Accusation Against Top Exec.  Taxpayers wrote a $900,000 settlement check to a federal employee to compensate her for once being likened to a "Little Rascals" character by her boss, The Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group has learned.  The secret settlement appears to be one of the largest-ever discrimination settlement payouts to an individual federal employee.  The payment came after an Equal Opportunity Employment office ruled that the remark was racist and accepted without challenge the claim that it caused nearly a million dollars worth of emotional harm.  The offending boss was Mary K. Kinney, then-executive vice president of Ginnie Mae, which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Obama Has Little To Show For His Lavish Spending On Roads, Green Energy And E-Cars.  Obama came into office like a starry-eyed dreamer.  He promised a vast network of high-speed rail, a "smart" electric grid, a million electric cars on the roads, a "clean energy economy" creating millions of new green jobs.  And he spent lavishly to realize this dream. [...] Obama has spent billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing windmills and solar plants as part of his vision of a "clean energy" future.  But despite his repeated claims about a huge increase in renewable energy production, renewables today make up just 11% of the nation's total energy production, according to the Energy Information Administration.  In mid-1983, the share of energy production comprised of renewables was... 11%.

Stop Wasting Our Money!  Have you ever read your morning paper and thought to yourself, "Why did it cost $17 million to plant some flowers in the town square?"  Perhaps they had to pay a union crew to survey the land (drink coffee and talk about baseball) for a few months before starting the project.  Then they had to pay a master electrician thousands of dollars to be on-call because of the underground power line 300 yards away.  Then they heard that a family of pygmy turtles may be living in the area, so the project was delayed for six months.  But payments continued.  Or perhaps the town supervisor's brother-in-law is a florist, a very wealthy florist.  Whatever the reason, when the government gets involved, the price tag never seems to match the project at hand.  Is it incompetence, carelessness, corruption or a combination of all three?  Or just human nature?

Medicare failed to recover up to $125 million in overpayments, records show.  Six years ago, federal health officials were confident they could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually by auditing private Medicare Advantage insurance plans that allegedly overcharged the government for medical services.  An initial round of audits found that Medicare had potentially overpaid five of the health plans $128 million in 2007 alone, according to confidential government documents released recently in response to a public records request and lawsuit.  But officials never recovered most of that money.  Under intense pressure from the health insurance industry, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quietly backed off their repayment demands and settled the audits in 2012 for just under $3.4 million — shortchanging taxpayers by up to $125 million in possible overcharges just for 2007.  The centers are part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Hunt for Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Should Start in the Executive Branch.  [Scroll down]  For example, Open the Books found that the Environmental Protection Agency under both President George W. Bush and President Obama (the study covered the years 2000 to 2014) spent over $15.1 million on outside public-relations consultants, despite having nearly 200 public-affairs employees in-house.  Between 2007 and 2014, the EPA spent $141.496 million on salaries for its dedicated public-affairs officers.  It surely didn't need to spend millions more on hired guns to do the same job.

The cost of Obama.  Obama isn't exactly new to spending like a second wife on Rodeo Drive.  When he wasn't taking two planes on five-star family vacations and hoisting Cristal with bubble-dwelling super-celebrities like Mr. and Mrs. Beyonce, he was sending planes on secret missions to hand hundreds of billions of dollars to fun guys like Iran.  Eight years of Obama spent the Democrats into a hole deep enough to hide every "green energy" boondoggle and auto industry bailout.

America's Most Wasted.  [This report describes] more than $13 billion in wasteful defense spending across the Department, including:
  •   $12 billion for 26 Littoral Combat Ships with no proven combat capability
  •   $458 million paid out inappropriately for travel expense reimbursements
  •   $375 million for Missile Defense Agency (MDA) targets that weren't used or didn't work
  •   $58 million for the Navy's experiments with alternative fuel sources for its Great Green Fleet
  •   $12 million for defective spare parts that will need to be replaced or refunded
  •   $1 million for travel claim reimbursements for unauthorized expenses at casinos and strip clubs

Abolish the Department of Energy.  Why would anyone want to abolish the DOE?  According to one liberal commentator, it was because the department "was established during Jimmy Carter's administration and it perhaps sounds like it might have something to do with solar panels."  Jimmy Carter created it, all right, but solar panels were only a symptom of the real problem.  The DOE was conceived in dark and pessimistic beliefs and forecasts that have proven totally wrong.  As Obama might say, the DOE is on the wrong side of history.  As it stands the department needs to either be rethought or retired.

The Costly DEA Drug Fighting Airplane that Never Flew.  In 2008, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) paid $8.6 million for an airplane.  By March 2016, that airplane — though still unable to fly — had cost taxpayers over $86 million, according to a federal government watchdog.  In September 2008, the DEA bought an ATR 500 series aircraft for nearly $8.6 million to be used in its illegal drug fighting efforts in Afghanistan. [...] The combined ATR purchase and modification project, eventually dubbed the Global Discovery program, was projected by the DEA and DOD to cost no more than $22 million.  So far, so good, but the only thing the Global Discovery program discovered was another way to waste a lot of the taxpayers' money.

Last Obama 'climate change' spending frenzy: $90M.  Before leaving office, President Barack Obama is sneaking in one last attempt to fund his "global warming" agenda — a move that could cost American taxpayers another $90 million if he successfully persuades Asian cities to adopt his plan when he travels there during the last month of his second and final term.  The outgoing president's push to throw millions into his exorbitant climate change initiative is a last-ditch effort to fund and keep his clean energy legacy before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration in January.  However, Obama's final spending frenzy is nothing new.

Pentagon Spent Over $1 Million Studying Rat Personalities.  Sen. John McCain is calling out the ridiculous, frivolous ways the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars in a his semi-annual "America's Most Wasted" report released Monday [12/19/2016].

'Luxury' living:  Senate report finds IRS workers racked up huge travel tab.  The IRS spent more than $1.4 million on long-term travel for just 27 employees in fiscal 2015, including on high-end car services and luxury apartment and hotel stays, a Senate report has found — with one lawmaker blasting "woefully insufficient efforts" to reduce expenses at the agency.  The Senate Finance Committee report, obtained by, found that while federal guidelines say employees must exercise the same care in incurring expenses as a "prudent person" traveling on personal business, IRS employees who traveled 125 business days or more racked up an average cost of over $52,000 a year.

Go Big: Eliminate the Energy Department.  When created in 1977, DOE was given the responsibility for "the design, constructing, and testing of nuclear weapons, and ... a loosely knit amalgamation of energy-related programs scattered throughout the Federal Government."  Prior to DOE, the federal government played a very limited role in energy policy and development.  Presumed scarcity, excessive dependence on OPEC nations, distrust in markets, and the search for energy independence became the foundation for what is now a $32.5 billion bureaucracy in search for relevance.  A series of energy policies have done little to contribute to the abundance of affordable energy that fuels a growing economy.  What DOE has done is squander money on the search for alternative energy sources.  In the process, it enabled Bootlegger and Baptist schemes that enriched crony capitalists who are all too willing to support the flawed notion that government can pick winners and losers.  For 2017, a large chunk of DOE spending — $12.6 billion, or 39 percent — is earmarked to "support the President's strategy to combat climate change."

ICE spends $100 million ferrying illegal immigrant children around U.S., watchdog says.  Government figures obtained by the Immigration Reform Law Institute through an open records request show Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent an average of $665 per juvenile in 2014, with most of that going to the cost of airplane flights to shuttle the children among government agencies, to relatives here in the U.S. or back to their home countries — if they're deported.  At that rate, ICE will spend about $4.5 million flying just the children nabbed at the border in October, and somewhere north of $100 million since the surge began in earnest in 2014.

Pentagon Documents Prove Trump is Right — Boeing Air-Force-One Over $4 Billion.  Immediately the Trump opposition, which is essentially the entire MSM apparatus, went into apoplectic rage and attack mode because, according to them, there was no basis for the price assertion at $4 billion.  However, Pentagon contract documents obtained by The Daily Mail show Donald Trump was precisely correct, and all the moonbat antagonists were precisely wrong.

Trump was right about Air Force One:  Pentagon budget documents show Boeing program is slated to cost more than $4.2 billion.  The Pentagon program that will replace the pair of aging 'Air Force One' planes is already slated to cost $4.265 billion through the year 2021, according to federal budget and procurement documents obtained by  That number supports what President-elect Donald Trump said two days ago when he claimed the U.S. Air Force should cancel its order with Boeing because the project's cost had spiraled above $4 billion.

Pentagon wastes $125 billion; Obama missing in action.  The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.  The report recommended that the bureaucracy be trimmed because it is overstaffed and overfunded.  It describes the infighting at the Pentagon, with everyone shifting the blame to others.  But the missing name in the story is the name of President Obama.  If you read the story, you could conclude that we do not have a president to make the decision to save $125 billion.  It is all the fault of Congress, or the generals or the system or defense secretaries.

Pentagon reportedly buried study exposing $125 billion in waste.  Senior defense officials suppressed a study documenting $125 billion worth of administrative waste at the Pentagon out of fears that Congress would use its findings to cut the defense budget, the Washington Post reported late Monday [12/5/2016].  The report, which was issued in January 2015 by the advisory Defense Business Board, called for a series of reforms that would have saved the department $125 billion over the next five years.  Among its other findings, the report showed that the Defense Department was paying just over 1 million contractors, civilian employees and uniformed personnel to fill back-office jobs.  That number nearly matches the amount of active duty troops — 1.3 million, the lowest since 1940.

Trump: Boeing 'doing a little bit of a number' on taxpayers for new Air Force One.  President-elect Trump said Tuesday [12/6/2016] that Boeing is "doing a little bit of a number" on the American taxpayer with its deal to build the new fleet of Air Force Ones, and threatened to cancel the government's order.  The cost of building a new Air Force One will be about $4 billion, Trump tweeted Tuesday.  He later took a question from reporters at Trump Tower about the tweet and said it's going to cost too much.  "The plane is totally out of control, it's going to be over $4 billion for the Air Force One program, and I think it's ridiculous," Trump said.

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste.  The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.  Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power.  But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

U.S. Spends Millions to Give Africa "Clean" Energy.  As part of a broad mission to end extreme poverty worldwide the Obama administration is giving unproven startups millions of dollars to create solar power in Africa. [...] It appears to be the international version of the president's disastrous — and costly — plan to create innovative clean technologies domestically by filling the coffers of fly-by-night companies that never delivered.  Instead, they went bankrupt after getting billions of dollars from American taxpayers under a Department of Energy (DOE) initiative that doled out $16.1 billion for more than two dozen projects.  Among the recipients was a now-defunct northern California solar panel firm named Solyndra that abruptly folded after getting $535 million from the DOE to promote green energy.

Gov't Spends $750,000 On A Wooden Sculpture And It Made Everyone Sick.  Several employees at the FBI became seriously ill after the agency spent $750,000 on a 15,000 pound, two-story tall wooden statue that was placed in the lobby of its Miami, Fl. office.  A dozen people were ultimately hospitalized because of the dust the sculpture created, according to Politico.  The statue, which is made of red cedar imported from Vancouver, Canada and supposed to resemble a tornado, was purchased by the General Services Administration (GSA), an independent government agency.  It was installed early last year, but has already been removed due to its almost toxic-like qualities.

15,000 lb cedar sculpture at the FBI makes more than a dozen employees seriously ill including the office nurse.  An enormous sculpture in the FBI's Miami field office is being blamed for sickening a number of the bureau's workers including the office nurse who had an extreme allergic reaction.  The 17-feet tall red cedar wood sculpture known as 'Cedrus' was installed early last year in the lobby, but soon after the unveiling employees began to feel ill.  Politico reports at least a dozen workers had to go to hospital with most suffering allergic reactions to the cedar dust from the sculpture.

Report: Federal Government Blows $247 Billion on 'Wasteful and Inefficient Spending'.  The federal government has wasted at least $247 billion in domestic and overseas spending, says a new report.  In his second annual "Federal Fumbles" report, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) highlighted 100 examples of "wasteful and inefficient spending" and the threat of an almost $20 trillion national debt.  The federal government, which announced a deficit of over $500 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, spent $223 billion on interest payments alone in 2015.  Even if the nation had a $50 billion budget surplus, "it would still take 460 years to pay off our national debt," according to Lankford's report.  In tracking down examples of federal wastefulness, "we are really dealing with four different main areas," the senator explained in the press conference releasing the report.  The areas are "grants that need oversight, regulations and regulators that need oversight, agency bureaucracy and inefficiency, and then a lack of coordination between agencies."

Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball.  The State Department spent one million dollars to bring movie producers and others from Jordan, Turkey and other nations to study American filmmakers and then use their new skills to benefit other countries.  More than $500,000 went to digging up graves and religious sites to study the transition of churches in the late seventh through 12th centuries.  In Iceland.  In Afghanistan, a $48.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force was meant to build a new headquarters for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.  Due for completion in 2010, the project ran five years late and $106 million over-budget.

Snuggies, Shakespeare top annual government wasteful-spending list.  If Shakespeare is performed without the bard's immortal words, is it really Shakespeare?  The National Endowment for the Arts has committed $10,000 of taxpayers' money to test that question — one of dozens of projects to make the wasteful spending list of Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican who's continuing the tradition of former Sen. Tom Coburn's annual Wastebook.  The National Science Foundation again comes in for an outsized share of criticism for its research spending, including a $1.8 million grant to a university that spent some of the money on embroidered Snuggies, the robe-style blankets that are a staple of As-Seen-On-TV trinket advertising.

The Navy's New Stealth Destroyer Broke Down in the Panama Canal.  The US Navy's newest destroyer broke down while transiting the Panama Canal, colliding with the Canal lock walls and forcing the $4 billion dollar ship to resort to a tow from a tugboat.  The USS Zumwalt was towed to a former U.S. naval station in Panama where it will undergo emergency repairs.  This is just months after a similar incident in September.

Government Doesn't Know How To Stop Wasting $137 Billion On Improper Payments.  The Do Not Pay (DNP) system, created by the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, combines several federal databases that agencies can use as a tool to check whether the recipient of a contract, grant, loan or other government payment was truly eligible to receive the money.  Without the DNP system working properly, the government is trapped in an expensive "pay and chase" process, where agencies have to catch overpayments or wrongful payments and recover the funds later.  Ideally, agencies would reduce improper payments by checking contract and grant recipients in the database, but for a variety of reasons, agencies rarely, if ever, use the system.

Federal Pell Grant Waste Quadrupled Last Year.  The amount of improper Pell Grant payments by the federal government more than quadrupled in the past year, wasting more than $2 billion taxpayer dollars, a new report reveals.  The 2016 fiscal year report by the Department of Education breaks down the department's spending in a variety of areas, including the distribution of Pell Grants, the primary form of federal financial aid to low-income college students.  The report touted that the government had substantially expanded overall Pell awards compared to when President Barack Obama took office.  But buried near the end of the report was a notable admission:  The number of improper payments exploded between the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years.

It's Time to Stop Spending Taxpayer Dollars on Elon Musk and Cronyism.  The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have launched a probe into tax incentives paid to solar companies, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The committee probes, led by their respective Republican chairmen, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, have found an appropriate and disturbing target to begin this work.  SolarCity, a solar installation company set to be purchased by Tesla Motors Inc., is one of the seven companies named in the initial investigation.  Already grossly subsidized, Musk's SolarCity has become an albatross of waste, fraud, and abuse of tax payer dollars.

President Obama's UniParty Slush Fund.  [Scroll down]  The shovel ready jobs program was a ruse, as Obama later admitted there were no "shovel ready" jobs created.  Instead the reality was the $1 trillion ["Stimulus"] entered the various cabinet offices at the discretion of the President.  Initially Obama gave a big chuck to the Dept of Education to use as a subsidy for economic drops in state education funds.  In essence Obama subsidized the teachers payrolls, and kept the teachers union happy.  Other notable large expenditures went into crony capitalistic endeavors with the Dept of Energy and EPA (Solyndra etc.), along with the State Dept.  The key point is the $1 trillion 2009 "stimulus" funds, became a tool for President Obama to use in whatever cabinet office need he saw.

Spending a $100 Million a Year to Pay Teachers to Do Nothing.  The New York Post ran a story Sunday [11/6/2016] about a man who was suing New York City.  He wasn't after money (he's making $94,000 a year).  He was suing to be allowed to earn his money.  David Suker, 48, is one of hundreds of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve.  He gets paid to show up.  "I come to work every day, sit down and do nothing," Suker told the Post.  I'd heard of such instances before, but I was unaware just how large the program is.  The Post says there are currently 1,304 people in the ATR.

The USS Zumwalt Can't Fire Its Guns Because the Ammo Is Too Expensive.  Just three weeks after commissioning the USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navy has admitted it is canceling ammunition specially developed for the ship's high-tech gun systems because the rounds are too expensive.  The guns, tailor made for the destroyer, will be unable to fire until the Navy chooses a cheaper replacement round.  The Zumwalt-class destroyers were conceived in the late 1990s as the first of a new generation of stealthy warships.  The radar signature of the 610 foot long warship is that of a 50-foot fishing boat, making the Zumwalts great for getting in close to an enemy coastline and then using the 155-millimeter Advanced Gun Systems mounted on the front of the hull.  The guns were designed to fire the advanced Long Range Land Attack Projectile, a GPS guided shell with a range of 60 miles.

U.S. Illegally Dispensed $60 Mil to Combat African Ebola Crisis, Money Keeps Flowing.  In its crusade to tackle the Ebola crisis in Africa the Obama administration violated its own laws by frantically doling out tens of millions of dollars to leftist groups that claimed they could help control the virus from spreading in the continent's western region.  Congress dedicated a breathtaking $2.5 billion to deal with Africa's Ebola crisis but the funds came with rules to keep the allocation process in check and they were repeatedly violated, according to a federal audit made public this month.  At least $60 million was fraudulently dispersed to nongovernmental organizations and other efforts without the proper steps to assure the American taxpayer funds were going to valid groups and causes.

NASA in talks with Russian space agency over joint mission to Venus - report.  The US and Russia may join efforts in exploring the second planet from the Sun, as NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos are discussing a joint mission to Venus, Russian media reports.  NASA has already drawn up a number of scenarios for the joint mission with their Russian counterparts to Venus, director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Lev Zeleny told the Izvestiya daily.

The Editor says...
Like everything NASA now undertakes, this mission to Venus is pointless.  How will this benefit anyone without connections to NASA?

Another government hospital runs over budget, repeating a wasteful pattern.  Construction of the new Army medical center at Fort Bliss in El Paso is almost two years behind schedule and could be more than $100 million over budget before it's completed.  Two years is an awfully long time for our nation's heroes to wait for new hospital beds.  And Donald Trump's tax returns notwithstanding, $100 million is still an awful lot of taxpayer cabbage.  One might argue that at least the William Beaumont Army Medical Center is no Aurora, Colorado, Veterans Affairs hospital, still unfinished, with the meter running on more than $1 billion in cost overruns and years past its estimated original completion date.  Still, the troubles at Fort Bliss should come as no surprise.  A check on the past two military hospital projects — in Killeen and San Antonio — shows the same budget bloat and dilatory scheduling.

Clinton's State Department spent $5.4 million on 'crystal stemware'.  Hillary Clinton's State Department spent millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish goods and frivolous initiatives, such as a $5.4 million "no-bid contract for crystal stemware" and $630,000 to "increase Facebook likes on four State Department pages." [...] While wasteful spending is a familiar find at most federal agencies, Clinton presided over particularly expensive unsuccessful reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Her agency spent more than $600 million on failed projects in those two countries alone, according to the RNC memo.

Clinton's Lavish State Department Spending.  Now, in another new report, we are learning that Hillary Clinton's State Department wasted hundreds of millions of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars on a wild spending binge. [...] These are all State Department expenditures during her tenure:
  •   $5.4 million on a no-bid contract for Crystal Stemware
  •   $167.5 million on cost overruns at the Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan
  •   Over $200 million on mostly unused police training facilities in Iraq
  •   $79,000 to buy copies of President Obama's books
  •   $53,000 to polish marble at the Brazilian Embassy
  •   $630,000 to try to make State Department Facebook pages more popular
  •   $216,000 to hire an event planner for a 4th of July party in Madrid
  •   $88,000 to send three comedians to India
  •   More than $250,000 to purchase art in Mexico
  •   $410,000 to purchase art in China

Exclusive: American Tax Dollars Going To Sports Programs For Refugees.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (OOR) informed governors' offices of its intent to provide sports programs, mental health counseling and job placement services for refugees during a conference call Thursday [10/27/2016].  On the quarterly call on refugee issues, participants were told the sports programs are necessary to help them acclimate to American culture.  The cost of the sports programs has not yet been disclosed.

The $6 Billion Clinton's State Dept LOST Was Not 'Debunked'.  Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's claim that the $6 billion the Department of State lost was "debunked" contradicts multiple investigations and audits by the agency's watchdog.  "When you ran the State Department, $6 billion was missing," Republican nominee Trump said during Wednesday's [10/19/2016] final presidential debate.  "How do you miss $6 billion?  Six billion dollars was either stolen, they don't know.  It's gone."  Clinton replied:  "Well, first of all, what he just said about the State Department is not only untrue, it's been debunked numerous times."  But it was the State Department's Inspector General (IG) who found in three investigations and two audits that an estimated $6 billion was lost to contract mismanagement, fraud and incompetence during Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

N.J. took $1.4B from your phone bill for new 911 system but never delivered.  [F]or more than a decade, every person in New Jersey with a phone has paid a tax on their monthly bill to make it happen, handing over a whopping $1.37 billion to Trenton.  Then came the classic Jersey bait-and-switch.  Rather than using the money for 911, lawmakers and governors have instead raided it time and again to balance the budget, leaving critical upgrades to the state's most important public safety system on hold.  An NJ Advance Media analysis found that of the $1.37 billion the state has collected in 911 fees since 2004, only 15 percent, about $211 million, has been used to help pay for the 911 system.  Investment in the upgrade, known as NextGen 911, has trickled to a halt.

Barack Obama Spent BILLIONS Of Taxpayer Dollars Trying To Convince You He's Smart.  It has been eight years of the most ego-driven presidency in the history of the Republic.  And if the devil is to be found in the details, those details have now revealed the extent of Barack Obama's yearning to convince others of his own magnificence — an endeavor he spent a half-BILLION dollars per year of taxpayer dollars on.  And beyond that direct $500 million per year federal employee public relations army, is another ONE BILLION dollars the administration is utilizing for outside the administration PR firms to spin his policies in a favorable light.  That is a one billion dollar advertising campaign to combat reports on administration-related scandals, the still-tepid economy, unemployment, the rise of ISIS, etc.  In short, it is the pay-to-play scheme that Team Obama has utilized to control the Mainstream Media.

Obama's army of public relations staffers cost U.S. taxpayers $500M per year.  President Obama has swelled the ranks of government PR, adding hundreds of new public relations specialists to the federal payroll during his time in office, costing taxpayers a half-billion dollars a year, the government's chief watchdog said Wednesday [10/5/2016].  That doesn't include the more than $100 million the administration spends annually for help from private sector spinmeisters, nor does it account for the $800 million spent on contracts for advertising in 2015, according to the Government Accountability Office.  "Spending $1.5 billion on government PR activities is a huge waste of money.  That sort of spending should be drastically scaled back," said Chris Edwards, a federal budget scholar at the Cato Institute.

WH defends $1.5 billion in PR expenses.  The White House on Thursday defended its decision to significantly expand the ranks of public relations specialists on the executive payroll during President Obama's time in office, and cast it as a transparency exercise that's needed to ensure officials are communicating "effectively" to the public.  The Obama administration has spent more than $1.5 billion on government public relations staffers a year, as well as additional private-sector communications specialists, since the president took office, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday [10/65/2016].  The White House's chief spokesman, Josh Earnest, defended the move and called it money well spent.

The Unstoppable PR Machine Fed By Your Taxes.  A new report commissioned by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. (F, 58%), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, found that government agencies spend about $1.5 billion every year on advertising and public relations.  It may take a minute for the absurdity of that to sink in.

US taxpayers made millionaires out of Afghan gangsters, warlords and connected class.  American taxpayers have spent more than $100 billion rebuilding Afghanistan, creating schools, hospitals and roads while making millionaires out of a rogue's gallery of warlords, gangsters and corrupt officials.  A total of $114 billion, which does not include even more spent on the military effort to oust the Taliban and stabilize the impoverished country, has been appropriated since 2002.  While it has likely improved conditions in the country, corrupt builders, security providers, mercenaries and even local bankers have all taken their cuts — and gotten rich in the process.

EpiPens and Government Cheese.  At the end of August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture bought 11 million pounds of cheese — that's a cheese cube for every man, woman, and child in America — in order to bail out the nation's feckless cheesemongers.  Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack touted the aid package, worth $20 million, as a win-win:  "This commodity purchase is part of a robust, comprehensive safety net that will help reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high while, at the same time, moving a high-protein food to the tables of those most in need."  (Most of the federal government's new stockpile will go to food banks.)

Taxpayers pay rent for Somalis who feel the need to visit Somalia (for months!)  You cannot make this up!  Virtually all Somalis who live in the US came here (we are told) as poor refugees (there are going on 200,000 of them).  So how persecuted and fearful of returning home are they if many travel back and forth to Africa and the taxpayers of Minneapolis cover most of their rent while they are gone!  By the way, Somalis are not the only (fake) persecuted and impoverished 'refugees' who go 'home' for visits from time to time.

Obama Spends $770M Dollars In Tax Payer Money To Renovate Mosques Over Seas.  CBS exposing Obama paying for the renovation of mosques is actually a story from 2015.  But it got little media attention then and he's still doing it.  He's diverting hundreds of millions of US dollars to overseas mosques to renovate them.  Tell me again how he is not a Muslim.  This just screams it.  And people wonder why he grovels before the Mullahs of Iran[,] why he gives ISIS a pass[,] why he is terraforming the US into a Muslim nation.

BART tax could quadruple original claim.  It turns out that the average property tax bill required to support BART's proposed $3.5 billion bond measure on the November ballot could be as much as four times what the transit agency claimed.  Two months ago, I reported that the taxes needed to pay off that bond borrowing would be about double BART's public estimate.  Well, it could be even twice that.  That's because legal language in Measure RR allows BART to issue bonds at up to the state limit of 12 percent interest, far higher than assumed for the previous estimates.

U.S. State Department to allocate $2.65 million for North Korea human rights.  The U.S. State Department is allocating $2.65 million to improving human rights in North Korea.  The funds will go to human rights organizations and research institutions to support work on North Korea-related issues, Voice of America reported Thursday.

Feds to Spend $4.6 Million to Give 'Emotional Wellness' to Refugees.  The Obama administration plans to spend $4.6 million next year on health promotion and "emotional wellness" for refugees as President Obama plans a 30 percent increase in the number of refugees admitted into the country.  The Department of Health and Human Services issued a grant forecast last month detailing its plans to issue health care grants for refugees on top of government programs that are already available, such as Medicaid.  "The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) invites States to submit applications for Refugee Health Promotion (RHP) discretionary grant funds," the grant forecast says.  "The purpose of the RHP grant is to support health and emotional wellness among refugees.  The program is designed to coordinate and promote local health and mental health services and education."

$2.3 Million Taxpayer Dollars Goes to Help Students Cope With Freddie Gray Trauma.  The U.S. Department of Education awarded the city of Baltimore more than $2.3 million in grant money to help students deal with "significant trauma related to episodes of civil unrest."  The announcement said that the money is part of a new Promoting Student Resilience (PSR) program geared "to promote student resilience."  The federal government gave Baltimore $2,374,000, which will go towards counseling and behavioral programs to improve the mental health of students who may have been traumatized by civil unrest.  After Freddie Gray's death as a result of injuries suffered while in police custody, protests and rioting broke out in the city.  Tension increased again after the officers involved were either acquitted at trial or had their charges dropped by prosecutors.

DOD Is Leasing Land To Green Energy Companies For Free.  The Department of Defense (DOD) allowed private companies to build green energy projects on federal lands for little or no compensation, according to an audit of the Pentagon's green energy efforts.  Government Accountability Office (GAO) auditors reviewed 17 green energy projects on DOD land and found 14 of those projects were, "not always clear about the value of the land used and the compensation DOD received for granting such use."  "Specifically, for 8 projects, DOD received little or no financial compensation for the use of its land, but the documentation did not clearly compare the value for granting use of DOD land to the value of what DOD received for it," GAO found.  "As a result, DOD contributed potentially valuable land — in some cases, over 100 acres — for the development of a project without including this as a cost in project documentation."

Feds Spend Millions Fighting FOIA Lawsuits, GAO Finds.  Federal agencies spend millions of tax dollars opposing Americans' successful lawsuits seeking public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but can't say exactly how much, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.  Department of Justice (DOJ) officials responsible for tracking agencies' FOIA compliance don't know how much agencies spent fighting 112 cases from 2009 to 2014 in which the plaintiff "substantially" prevailed, according to GAO. Of the 57 lawsuits agencies could track, agencies spent $1.8 million.  But that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the $144 million agencies estimated they spent fighting 3,350 FOIA lawsuits from 2009 to 2014, according to GAO.

More Than 28,000 Mexican Citizens [are] Housed in U.S. Federal Prisons.  There are 28,683 Mexican citizens being housed in U.S. federal prisons as of the most recent statistics, PJM has learned.  The figure represents the total number of inmates with Mexican citizenship in the custody of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons as of July 30, 2016, out of the total 193,391 inmates.  Mexican inmates are currently the second largest group of inmates based on citizenship of the total federal prison population at 14.8 percent, behind U.S. citizens at 77.8 percent.  In May, the number of Mexican citizens housed in federal prisons was higher at 29,371 out of 194,991 total inmates.  The bureau could not provide the specific number of inmates in their custody who are illegal immigrants.

DoD Officials Did Not Take Appropriate Action When Notified of Potential Travel Card Misuse at Casinos and Adult Entertainment Establishments.  DoD had less money available for legitimate travel expenses because of the travel overpayments[.]  DoD experienced potential national security vulnerabilities due to the untimely reporting or non-reporting of derogatory information regarding misuse of Government travel cards to the DoD Consolidated Adjudications Facility, resulting in the delay or lack of adjudication (decision on security clearance eligibility) for cleared DoD cardholders with financial concerns or personal conduct issues[.]

DOD Lets Workers Use Govt.  Plastic at Strip Clubs, Casinos — "Potential National Security Vulnerabilities".  More than a year after a federal audit revealed that Department of Defense (DOD) employees made millions of dollars in personal charges — including at casinos and strip clubs — on their government-issued credit cards, no action has been taken to stop the criminal behavior.  Pentagon officials have done nothing to crack down on the abuse, instead allowing cardholders to keep sticking it to taxpayers by continuing to use the government credit cards at gambling and adult entertainment establishments.

Tens Of Millions In 'Consumer Relief' Funds Going To Liberal Activists.  The Obama administration has quietly funneled millions (and potentially billions) of dollars to leftist organizations and politicians that promote liberal policies and win political elections at the entry-level of government, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Pentagon Officials Permitted Government Spending at Strip Clubs and Casinos:  Report.  Department of Defense workers spent nearly $100,000 at strip clubs and "adult entertainment establishments," and almost $1 million at casinos, according to the report, which cited a May 2015 audit.  At the request of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the inspector general further investigated the matter.  According to the report, out of a sample of 30 government cardholders, 22 sought and received reimbursements on 131 vouchers totaling $8,544.  Furthermore, officials did not consider the "security implications of improper personal use of the travel card," the report found.

Feds spend $911,056 studying the drinking habits of lesbian couples.  The National Institutes of Health is spending nearly $1 million on a study of lesbian couples to see if stress makes them drink too much.  The grant awarded to Old Dominion University will involve lesbians filling out daily diaries about their romantic relationships to determine what causes them to drink.

Leftist Latino Group Crowns USDA "Federal Agency of the Year" for Cultural Transformation.  Under Obama the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shattered records for spending mammoth amounts to give an unprecedented number of people — including illegal aliens — food stamps, make fresh fruits and vegetables available in inner-city "food deserts" and expand farm loans for underserved communities.  The agency has also conducted a minority cash giveaway for "discriminated" farmers that initially targeted blacks but then expanded dramatically to benefit Hispanics.  The idea behind that was to make amends to those who suffered discrimination when seeking farm loans from the USDA.  Black farmers got a $1.25 billion settlement and women and Hispanics received $195 million "to ensure inclusivity for all who seek justice."  All Hispanics who felt they were victims of USDA discrimination got up to $50,000 for their suffering after filling out a form.

Fed Housing Dept Has $43 Billion Worth Of Indecipherable Records.  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials have ignored 63 financial management recommendations from Congress' investigative arm since 2012 and only half-heartedly followed many more, resulting in the $43 billion agency's books to be all but useless.  Things have gotten so bad at HUD so rapidly, that auditors who found only one "material weakness" in the department's accounting in 2012 found nine in 2015, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published Monday [8/22/2016].

Clinton's State Department Blew $6 Billion In Contracts, And We're About To Learn Why.  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton may soon have to answer questions about an estimated $6 billion in contract mismanagement, fraud and incompetence that happened under her watch at the Department of State.  Non-profit government watchdog Cause of Action Institute (CofA) filed a Freedom of Information Act request Friday [8/19/2016] for records related to a March 2014 management alert issued by the department's Inspector General.

More than 100,000 defective combat helmets made by federal inmates put soldiers' lives at risk — and cost the government $19 Million.  Defective combat helmets made by federal inmates in Texas put soldiers' lives at risk.  The poorly-manufactured helmets were produced for the US military using prison labor and later failed ballistics tests, the Justice Department's Inspector General said Wednesday [8/17/2016] in a report.  Nearly 150,000 of the helmets were manufactured between 2006 and 2009, when the White House ordered 'surges' in combat troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Poorly supervised inmates also used dangerous, improvised tools such as makeshift hatchets, which could easily have become weapons.

USDA teams up with Iowa law school and Cyndi Lauper to celebrate lesbian farmers.  It's tough being gay and living in rural areas — or so says the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  That's why the agency known for grading your beef is teaming up with LGBT groups and Drake University's law school to host an "LGBT Rural Summit" on Thursday [8/18/2016]. [...] It is unclear how much the program is costing U.S. taxpayers, although USDA's Office of Civil Rights, which is coordinating the summits, requested $24.4 million in funding in its fiscal-year 2016 budget request.

1,300 Fugitives Were Living In Federally-Funded Housing, Now Grassley Demands To Know Why.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley thinks it's time for a federal watchdog to cough up some answers about a disturbing report it withheld from Congress and taxpayers on an estimated 1,300 wanted criminal fugitives living in subsidized public housing.  The Iowa Republican also wants to know why the Department of Housing and Urban Development apparently isn't enforcing the law against criminals living in federally subsidized housing.

VA Hospital Bought $300,000 Worth Of TVs, Then Stored Them.  Detroit's Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital spent $311,000 on TVs that were never used and remain in storage.  The federal agency's facility ordered the 300 TVs "because they had funds available," which "may have violated the bona fide needs rule," according to a new report from the department's inspector general (IG).  Now, the TVs have sat "in storage for about 2½ years.  Further, warranties for the TVs expired."

VA Drops Millions on Delayed Solar Power Projects.  The Department of Veterans Affairs has spent more than $408 million to install solar panels on its medical facilities in recent years, despite many of the projects experiencing significant delays and some of the systems not becoming operational at all.  The VA has failed to effectively plan and manage these solar panel projects, resulting in significant delays and additional costs, according to a report released by the agency's inspector general last week.  The watchdog conducted an audit of 11 of the 15 solar projects awarded between fiscal years 2010 and 2013 that were still in progress as of May last year.  The investigation, which was completed in March, found that only two of the 11 solar panel projects were fully completed.

Here's $49,577,386 That Could Have Gone to Zika Relief.  The National Institutes of Health has spent more on exercise programs for refugees, anti-tobacco video games, weight-loss programs for truckers, and studies on gay hook up apps than it has to fight the Zika virus.  The Department of Health and Human Services is warning that its funding to fight the Zika virus in the United States will be exhausted by September, sending a letter to Congress this week saying "additional funding is needed."  HHS has so far received $374 million for domestic Zika relief, including $47 million specifically for the NIH.  However, the Washington Free Beacon has uncovered $49,577,386 worth of questionable NIH studies since the Zika epidemic began in the beginning of 2015.

Watchdog calls for work by veteran artists after report shows VA spent $20M on high-end art.  A taxpayer watchdog group is calling on the Veterans Affairs Administration to showcase work by veteran artists, after it was revealed the VA spent some $20 million on lavish art at facilities around the country. [...] The $19.7 million tab included a $700,000 sculpture to adorn a California facility for blind veterans.  The VA also spent $21,000 for a 27-foot fake Christmas tree; $32,000 for 62 "local image" pictures for the San Francisco VA; and $115,600 for "art consultants" for the Palo Alto facility.

IG: Obama sends hundreds of millions to 'sanctuary cities'.  President Obama's Justice Department has coughed up hundreds of millions of dollars to so-called "sanctuary cities" that refuse federal demands for criminal illegal immigrants sought for deportation, according to a new inspector general memo.  In just 10 of 155 jurisdictions reviewed, taxpayers handed over $342.1 million in Justice grants to the law-breaking cities and states that have policies barring jails and police from cooperating with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.  The IG said that is 63 percent of the funds available to all American cities.

Government Agency Spent Millions on Public Relations Campaign to Improve Image.  Top officials at the Government National Mortgage Association spent $3.9 million on a public relations campaign designed to create positive images for themselves, including a magazine piece on how one of them avoided obesity.  Spending tax dollars to polish an individual employee's image isn't allowed under Federal Acquisition Regulations, the Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general said in a report released Tuesday [7/26/2016].  The association — which is popularly known as "Ginnie Mae" — is part of HUD.  "The majority of the charges related to Ginnie Mae's president, Theodore W. Tozer, and its former executive vice president, Mary K. Kinney," the inspector general said.  "This activity did not clearly meet the [rules] for allowable public relations and advertising costs."

VA Spent $20 Million on Art Amidst Scandal.  The taxpayer watchdog group Open the Books teamed up with COX Media Washington, D.C., for an oversight report on spending at the VA, finding numerous frivolous expenditures on artwork, including six-figure dollar sculptures at facilities for the blind.  "In the now-infamous VA scandal of 2012-2015, the nation was appalled to learn that 1,000 veterans died while waiting to see a doctor," wrote Adam Andrzejewski, the founder and CEO of Open the Books, in an editorial for Forbes.  "Tragically, many calls to the suicide assistance hotline were answered by voicemail.  The health claim appeals process was known as 'the hamster wheel' and the appointment books were cooked in seven of every ten clinics."  "Yet, in the midst of these horrific failings the VA managed to spend $20 million on high-end art over the last ten years — with $16 million spent during the Obama years," Andrzejewski said.

$3.1 billion — at least — lost in bogus tax refunds to ID thieves in 2014.  The IRS has a Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP) that sounds like it should provide security.  It does, but not enough to prevent IRS from paying $30 million to identity theft fraudsters in 2014, based on the 1.6 million screened by the program.  That's just one of the ways Uncle Sam fights identity theft fraud.  About 7,200 of them were bogus.  In total, IRS processed more than 150 million individual tax returns in 2015.  Overall, the GAO report indicates the IRS does a decent job of detecting and stopping ID fraud, which is a big business.  Crooks attempted to get $25.6 billion from bogus refunds in 2014.  The IRS beat them most of the time, stopping or recovering the theft of $22.5 billion, 88 percent of the attempted pillage.  But in the remaining cases, crooks got the $3.1 billion.

US Navy's newest $12.9bn supercarrier doesn't work.  The most expensive warship ever built has been delayed from hitting the front line because it is reportedly not ready for battle.  The $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford Navy supercarrier — the first of three in its class with a total cost of $43 billion — could potentially struggle with planes landing and taking off, moving military weapons and being able to successfully defend itself, a memo obtained by Bloomberg News reads.  The memo allegedly states 'poor or unknown reliability issues' were identified in a letter dated June 28.

'Bribery and Kickback Schemes' Plague Syrian Relief Program Funded With Tax Dollars.  U.S. tax dollars are going to relief agencies in Syria that are engaging in "bid-rigging and multiple bribery and kickback schemes" and the federal government has taken inadequate steps to prevent it, according to a recent audit.

Trump Gets It Right On Reforming the VA.  [Donald] Trump is absolutely right in his diagnosis of what ails the program:  "Politicians in Washington have tried to fix the VA by holding hearings and blindly throwing money at the problem.  None of it has worked."  It is a classic example of a single-payer health care system — wasteful, inefficient and impervious to change.  A case in point is the $10 billion "reform" passed two years ago that was supposed to relieve chronic, and at times deadly, delays that veterans had to endure to get treatment.  An Associated Press investigation found that wait times had not improved at all last year.

Navy's $12.9 Billion Carrier Falls Further Behind Schedule.  The USS Gerald R. Ford — the Navy's newest aircraft carrier and the costliest U.S. warship at $12.9 billion — won't be delivered until at least November, more than two years late.

IRS "Security" Program Unable to Stop $3.1 Billion Fraud.  While it's absorbed persecuting law-abiding conservative groups the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can't seem to stop crooks from scamming it to the tune of several billion dollars in one year alone via bogus tax refunds.  It's the latest of many transgressions at the agency that's doubled as an Obama administration tool to crack down on political adversaries.  A special IRS security feature called Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP) couldn't prevent criminals from scamming the agency out of an eye-popping $3.1 billion in one year, according to a federal audit.  TPP was implemented to curb an epidemic of identity theft that allows criminals to fraudulently get tax refunds.  Supposedly, identity theft fraud is reduced through a verification process but the federal probe, conducted by the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), found serious loopholes.

ObamaCare Is Destroying The Co-Ops It Spent Billions Creating.  After providing $2.4 billion in loans to get them started, ObamaCare is now driving several nonprofit insurance co-ops out of business.  That, in turn, will leave tens of thousands of people scrambling to find other insurance, while making it unlikely that those taxpayer-subsidized loans will ever be repaid.

Obama Gives $500 Mil. to U.N. Climate Fund.  In a March 8 Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing, the U.S. State Department announced it had delivered $500 million to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund (GCF), a program intended to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate changes.  Heather Higginbottom, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, announced the Obama administration had given money to GCF, which drew much criticism from SFRC members because Congress had not approved funding for GCF.  While being questioned by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Higginbottom told the committee the funds were diverted from the department's Economic Support Fund, which provides economic funding to foreign countries.  "Did Congress authorize the Green Climate Fund?  No ... We've reviewed the authority and the process under which we can do it, and our lawyers and we have determined that we have the ability to do it," Higginbottom testified.

Seattle City Council Votes to Destroy $30,000 of Police Guns Each Year.  Sometimes, reality approximates buffoonery.  The Seattle City Council has unanimously decided to waste $30,000 a year.  It is not exactly clear why.  The easiest way to describe it might be a sacrifice to the gods of political correctness.

State Department Paid College Students $12,000 To Make Hashtags.  Students are fighting terrorism with hashtags, and many are receiving cash awards from the Department of State for their work.  The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) took home $5,000 prize for their social media campaign "It's Time: #ExOut Violent Extremism."  Two other schools won a $3,000 reward, and one school received a $1,000 prize as part of State's program to counter Islamic State propaganda online, according to FedScoop.  A total of 47 schools participated in the program this spring, each receiving a $2,000 grant and $400 in Facebook ad credits to implement their plan.

Michelle Obama to announce nearly $100 million for education in Morocco.  First lady Michelle Obama is relying heavily on social media to tout an overseas trip tied to the Let Girls Learn campaign, which is aiming to get an estimated 62 million uneducated girls into school.  Obama started a Snapchat account with help from celebrities including James Corden of "The Late Late Show," with whom she recently taped a "Carpool Karaoke" that will run at a future date.

Feds Spend $1.25 Million on Superhero Cartoon in Pakistan.  The State Department is spending over $1 million to create a cartoon superhero who teaches the importance of "living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle" and "women's empowerment" for kids in Pakistan.  The agency's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, or INL, division issued a grant solicitation for two seasons of an animated series to "promote security and stability" in Pakistan.  "INL would like to develop a superhero animated cartoon series aimed at an older target audience (ages 14-25)," according to the grant announcement.  "This series would inform, educate, and positively influence Pakistani youth in an entertaining and engaging manner."

Angry Man Who Resents Your Choices of Deodorant and Sneakers Doesn't Mind $38,000 a Day in Security.  While Hillary Clinton has effectively clinched the nomination, Bernie Sanders remains the race.  There are no more primaries or caucuses scheduled between now and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in August.  Even if super delegates from those states Bernie Sanders won switched their allegiance to him from Hillary Clinton he would not have enough delegates to win.  Barring an event that incapacitates Clinton or disqualifies her from the nomination, Sanders doesn't have a chance.  Someone waiting in the wings in case of worst case scenario isn't really a candidate anymore.  But he's still wasting taxpayer money.  The Washington Post reports that while Sanders is no longer actively campaigning, his campaign remains active because he has not "suspended" it, and thus Sanders continues to receive up to $38,000 a day in secret service protection.

Milwaukee schools:  Almost half a million bucks for Black Lives Matter curriculum.  The Milwaukee Public Schools have set aside $471,073 in next year's budget "to create a 'cultural studies curriculum'" and to enhance overall school performance via "facilitation of meaningful dialogue and support on issues surrounding race and trauma faced in communities and schools."  This amount almost equals that allocated for College Access Centers, Universal Driver Education, and Advanced Studies of World Languages combined.

Milwaukee Public Schools Will Spend Almost $500,000 Pushing Black Lives Matter.  Public schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are planning to spend nearly $500,000 of taxpayer money implementing a program that furthers the goals of Black Lives Matter.  The $471,073 outlay in the proposed 2016-17 budget for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is included as one of many partnerships the district is pursuing with outside organizations.  The partnership with Black Lives Matter is described as an effort to create a "cultural studies curriculum" and improve school performance through the "facilitation of meaningful dialogue and support on issues surrounding race and trauma faced in communities and schools."

Flying High on the Taxpayer Dime:  These Three Senators Bust the Budget on Air Travel.  Sen. Charles Schumer spent $292,000 in public money flying private airplanes last year.  His protégé Sen. Kristen Gillibrand spent more than $150,000 on charter travel.  The two New York Democrats were the top spenders on private air travel between October 2014 and September 2015, an analysis of Senate office-account records shows.  Third place is held by a lawmaker from the other side of the political aisle and the other side of the country:  Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming spent more than $75,000 in the last fiscal year flying charters.

U.S. Doesn't Track if Millions in Biz "Loans" to Refugees on Public Assistance Are Repaid.  The U.S. government gives refugees on public assistance special "loans" of up to $15,000 to start a business but fails to keep track of defaults that could translate into huge losses for American taxpayers, records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal.  The cash is distributed through a program called Microenterprise Development run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.  Since 2010 the program has granted thousands of loans to refugees that lack the financial resources, credit history or personal assets to qualify for business loans from commercial banks.  Most if not all the recipients already get assistance or subsidies from the government, according to the qualification guidelines set by the Microenterprise Development Program.  It's a risky operation that blindly gives public funds to poor foreign nationals with no roots in the U.S. and there's no follow up to assure the cash is paid back.  The idea behind it is to "equip refugees with the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs" by helping them expand or maintain their own business and become financially independent.

Feds Spend Eight Years And $300M To Develop Useless Software.  But Feds have no money to improve waiting time for vets' medical care?

Commissioner says fraud from Obamaphone program approaching $500 million.  The federal subsidy known as the "Obamaphone" or "Obamanet" program could be losing nearly $500 million to fraud annually, according to a top Republican on the Federal Communications Commission.  Commissioner Ajit Pai made the accusation Wednesday in letter to the Universal Service Administrative Company, referring to the FCC's Universal Service Fund, which provides a monthly $9.95 subsidy for telecom service to low-income consumers.  The subsidy is limited to one per "independent economic household," or IEH, but telecom companies have the ability to override that restriction if applicants check a box stating they represent a separate household, even if they have the same address.

Keyword:  Cloward-Piven strategy.
Feds spend nearly $20,000 to settle every refugee.  Federal taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $20,000 just to settle each refugee and asylum seeker, who are then immediately eligible for cash welfare, food stamps, housing and medical aid, according to a new report on the "refugee industry."  The report provided federal budget figures showing that the government spends $19,884 on each refugee the U.S. takes in.  And that number is set to jump if President Obama gets his way and brings in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in this year.

It's the liberal way of life:  Take a bad situation and make it worse.
NYC spends $265G to urge people to use restroom of their choice.  New York City has spent $265,000 in taxpayer funds to make sure everyone knows they can use the bathroom of their choice, with a massive ad campaign urging residents, commuters and tourists to "Look past pink and blue."  The ads, which urge readers to "Use the restroom consistent with who you are," feature transgender models and are set to be featured in subway cars, bus shelters, phone booths, local newspapers, digital ads and social media promotions.  Most will be printed in either English or Spanish, though some community newspaper ads will be written in Korean, Chinese, Russian and Bengali.

U.S. government spent $1 million to determine if cheerleaders are more attractive in a squad.  The U.S. government spent more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars to study the question of whether cheerleaders appear more attractive when they are grouped together in a squad.  That's just one of "Twenty Questions Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head," according to a recent report from the office of Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican.  Another head-scratching study, Mr. Flake's office noted, was one by the Department of Defense which asked, "Why does walking with coffee cause it to spill?"  The price tag was $172,000, just a couple thousand shy of the base salary for a U.S. senator.

Twenty Questions Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head.  [For example, the National Institutes of Health spent a million dollars to find out what kind of music is preferred by monkeys and chimpanzees.]  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has conducted numerous studies over the past decade to determine the musical preferences of non-human primates, even going so far as to have music composed specifically to suit the taste of tamarins.  The studies found that most primates do not like popular Western music, with one exception — the heavy metal sounds of the rock band Metallica.  When given the option to listen to different types of music or opt for silence, chimpanzees chose Indian and African music — and even silence — over Western or Japanese music, but the monkeys went ape for the sounds composed specifically for their ears.

Technology That Hasn't Been Used.  The aerospike engine was to be used first on the x33 Venture Star, an attempt to gather information leading to a true reusable Single Stage To Orbit(SSTO) vehicle.  Unfortunately the X33 died because of mission creep and cost overruns.  Essentially the mission planner forgot what the X projects were for and tried for a fully flight ready vehicle when what was needed was an engine test bed.  They truly forgot the KISS principle in design and development.

ICE spends millions flying illegal immigrant children across US.  The Obama administration has spent at least $18.5 million to fly "unaccompanied children" caught crossing into the country illegally to locations inside the United States, according to newly obtained figures.  The numbers, shared with by the Senate subcommittee on immigration, were provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in response to questions from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.  The numbers shed light on the extent of a program that has drawn scrutiny not just from lawmakers but the federal courts, amid concerns the U.S. government is effectively aiding smugglers.

EPA Conducts Two Secret Meetings A Year To Decide How To Dole Out Billions In Slush Fund Money.  Congress appropriates about $1 billion annually for EPA's Superfund program, and the agency has accumulated nearly $6.8 billion in more than 1,300 slush fund-like accounts since 1990.  Two committees consisting entirely of EPA officials meet behind closed doors twice annually to decide how the agency spends those funds on highly polluted — and often dangerous — Superfund sites.  All reports to and from the groups, as well as the minutes of their meetings and all other details, are kept behind closed doors.

The High Price of Security Theater.  Since 2001, the U.S. government has laid out mind-boggling sums to keep the homeland safe from violent extremists.  There was the $30 billion raise for the FBI that didn't see 9/11 coming and $70 billion for the bureaucrats who have consistently failed to keep our airports safe.  Add in more than $200 billion for a new Cabinet-level department to coordinate all of this activity and half a trillion for mass surveillance, plus the incredible costs of a decade and a half of military action abroad, and the total comes to a whopping $4 trillion.  Where did all that money go?

IRS improperly paid $15.6 billion through Earned Income Tax Credit program.  The IRS erroneously paid out an estimated $15.6 billion in Earned Income Tax Credit payments in fiscal year 2015, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report.  A low-income worker can receive refundable tax credits from the Earned Income Tax Credit program when they meet certain requirements for income and age.  The $15.6 billion in improper payments identified by the inspector general represented 23.8 percent of total earned income credits paid out in that fiscal year.  According to the Office of Management and Budget, an improper payment is a transfer that should not have been made, was made in the incorrect amount, or was made to an ineligible recipient.

NYC's putting bums and junkies up at this swanky boutique hotel.  Dozens of homeless men are bunking in a new, boutique hotel in Brooklyn — despite Mayor de Blasio's pledge to end the practice following a triple slaying in a Staten Island hotel that was doubling as a shelter.  The BKLYN House in Bushwick — which offers "loft-style" lodging and "street-art-inspired" decorations — is renting out 44 of its 113 rooms to the Department of Homeless Services, officials said Friday [5/20/2016].  Taxpayers have been shelling out $168 a night per room to "temporarily" house 80 employed or job-hunting single men since late November, DHS said.

Shocker: Government Throws Billions at Problem — Doesn't Solve it.  The latest example of government making worse the problem they created is the V.A. healthcare system.  Feel free to also call it a vision of the future of Obamacare.  And why is it that America's heroes are always the ones getting the shaft?  We never seem to hear about the sorry state of the welfare system, or any of the other hundreds of government giveaway programs.  They seem to get their checks and benefits on time.  It's always our veterans, the men and women who put it all on the line for our country, who get the government short-shrift.  Reports have been consistently bad on the state of the V.A. system for years — decades even, yet it can't seem to get fixed.

Obama-Backed Solar Plant Literally Incinerates Itself.  The world's largest solar energy plant known for incinerating birds just got a taste of its own medicine.  A fire at the plant Thursday morning [5/19/2016], which may have been caused by "misaligned" mirrors used to reflect sunlight at boiler towers, broke out in the facility's interior — literally scorching parts of the plant.  NRG Energy, the company operating the Ivanpah solar plant in southern California, was forced to shut down one of its generating towers and is investigating if mirrors, or heliostats, failed and torched a boiling tower.  Now, the plant, which got $1.6 billion from the Obama administration, will only be able to generate electricity from one of its three towers.

Federal Government Waste Exploded Under Obama, Data Show.  A federal website called Payment Accuracy tracks in great detail what it calls "improper payments" made by the federal government through Medicare, Medicaid, farm programs, school lunch programs and others to contractors, doctors, students, and so on.  Last year, the government made $126 billion in overpayments, nearly double the amount of made in President Bush's last year.  Improper payments in Medicare, for example, went from $10 billion in 2008 to $43 billion last year; and for Medicaid, the figured jumped from $19 billion to $29 billion.

U.S. has 'overpaid' $1.2 billion for U.N. peacekeeping troops.  Despite a Clinton-era law capping U.S. subsidies to the United Nations peacekeeping force, President Obama and a willing Congress have spent over $1.2 billion more than allowed, handing Republican Donald Trump a new issue to hit Hillary Rodham Clinton with.  A spending analysis from the Heritage Foundation's U.N. specialist showed that from 2010-15, the difference between the cap and the money sent to U.N. peacekeepers is approximately $1.26 billion.

Another $37.3 Mil to Combat Housing Discrimination.  Throughout his two terms Obama has allocated colossal sums of taxpayer dollars to combat what he believes is an epidemic of discrimination against minorities in everything from the criminal justice system to education, housing and the workforce.  This has been a government wide effort in which a number of federal agencies have doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to fund a multitude of controversial initiatives.  Among the biggest spenders has been the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Judicial Watch has reported on this waste over the years, including the results of a probe that revealed HUD violated a ban on federal funding for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) by giving the famously corrupt group tens of thousands of dollars in grants to "combat housing and lending discrimination."

Waste, Violations in $25 Mil Program to Fight Climate Change in Guatemala.  A $25 million project to help Guatemala combat the ills of climate change is rife with problems that include data errors and discrepancies, no sustainability plan as required by the government and security and funding violations.  Though it constitutes an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars, this is par for the course with virtually all of the Obama administration's "green" ventures, which have largely failed after getting hundreds of millions in federal funds.  Among them is a fly-by-night solar panel company (Solyndra) that went under after getting $535 million from the feds and an electric car company (Fisker) that also folded after the government gave it $200 million.

The Editor says...
To what extent has the climate changed exclusively and specifically in Guatemala, and how much of a remedy can be bought for $25 million?

Waste, Violations in $25 Mil Program to Fight Climate Change in Guatemala.  This one is officially known as Climate Nature and Communities in Guatemala (CNCG) and it's a tiny slice of the president's broad and costly initiative to conquer global warming in developing nations.  The goal is to conserve Guatemala's wealth of natural resources and support the country's efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.  Since the U.S. launched CNCG in 2013, nearly half of the money allocated has been disbursed to a New York-based nonprofit called Rainforest Alliance that oversees a consortium of environmental, academic and business institutions.  This group gets a lot of money from Uncle Sam for its various biodiversity conservation causes and, not surprisingly, there's lots of waste and mismanagement.

ICE Just Blew $100K On Office Redo, Bathroom Renovations For Director.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent $100,000 renovating the suite not only of director Sarah Saldaña, but also her assistant's office, according to an internal document obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.  In response to a query submitted by a Senate Committee on Appropriations staffer regarding the cost of office renovation, ICE confirmed that it had modified the director's suite "to improve the workflow and usable desk space."  The original question from the staffer included a humorous quip about the state of the director's suite, which implied redoing the space would constitute waste.

Tale of Two Tribes: 'Climate Refugees' vs.  EPA Victims.  The New York Times splashed a viral story on its pages this week spotlighting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's $48 million grant to Native-Americans who live in the flood-ravaged coastal community of Isle de Jean Charles.  About 60 residents, the majority of whom belong to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, will be resettled to drier land.  That's a whopping $800,000 per "climate refugee!"  Never mind that the Times' propagandists themselves admit that erosion on the island began in 1955 as a result of land-use and land-management factors that had nothing to do with climate change. [...] Never mind that enviro-alarmists have conveniently changed their tune from blaming global warming for causing sea level rises to blaming global warming for causing sea level drops.

These Expensive DOJ Offices, Rented With Your Money, Are Empty!  PJ Media has obtained video taken inside Justice Department offices which show empty, unused office space within leased commercial space.  The offices are intended for at least twenty federal employees according to DOJ sources — but only two are using them.  The Justice Department Community Relations Service offices in Dallas are on the 20th floor of the Harwood Center, a luxury downtown high rise.  Justice Department sources provided PJ Media with a video taken inside the Dallas DOJ offices which documents the brazen waste of taxpayer dollars.

FAIL: Busted Wind Turbines Give College Whopping Negative 99.14% Return On Investment.  Lake Land College recently announced plans to tear down broken wind turbines on campus, after the school got $987,697.20 in taxpayer support for wind power.  The turbines were funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, but the turbines lasted for less than four years and were incredibly costly to maintain.  "Since the installation in 2012, the college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor to maintain the turbines," Kelly Allee, Director of Public Relations at Lake Land College, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.  The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer.

Barack Obama is really good at solving problems that don't exist, by spending other people's money.
Obama administration warns of 'climate refugees' due to rapid Arctic warming.  The Obama administration has warned the US will need to deal with a wave of "climate refugees" as the Arctic continues to warm, joining with the Canadian government to express alarm over how climate change is affecting indigenous communities.  Sally Jewell, US secretary of the interior, painted a stark picture of communities relocating and lives disrupted in her first official visit to Canada. [...] "We will have climate refugees," Jewell said.  "We have to figure out how to deal with potentially relocating villages.  There's real tangible support we need to do from a government basis, working alongside indigenous communities as they make very difficult choices about what is right for them.  "We can't turn this around.  We can stem the increase in temperature, we can stem some of the effect, perhaps, if we act on climate.  But the changes are under way and they are very rapid."

Most expensive weapon ever built limps toward finish line.  With a $110-million price-tag, the F-35 fighter jet is the most expensive weapon ever built for America's arsenal — but nine years into development, it's also a weapon still "not acceptable for combat," and plagued by huge cost overruns that one lawmaker is calling a "scandal."  Those were the troubling messages exchanged Tuesday [4/26/2016] during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing into the $379-billion weapons program — along with an acknowledgement that the U.S.  can't afford to see the program fail.

Exposing Waste and Mismanagement at the Department of Homeland Security.  Since its inception, DHS has faced significant obstacles, including consolidating 22 pre-existing agencies and reporting to approximately 100 congressional oversight committees, all while trying to strike a balance between national security and protecting privacy.  However, with this country more than $19 trillion in debt, our taxpayers can't afford to support failing management.  Through hearings, site visits, legislation, and watchdog reports, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, which I chair, has identified areas of cost-savings, provided transparency to the American people, and highlighted numerous deficiencies within the department that are ripe for improvement.

Gov't Employee Steals From Feds, Uses Taxpayer-Funded Lawyers To Fight Eviction After Getting Caught.  Markquonda Mathis rented one of the two subsidized units she obtained to her sister, Markquasha, who used it as a second home and to park her Lexus.  Mathis faced no criminal or civil penalties even though she lied to federal investigators about the units, one of which was in the District of Columbia and the other in Alexandria, Virginia.  A 2014 HUD Inspector General report made public by The Daily Caller News Foundation earlier this month said housing authorities were moving to evict Mathis.  That's when Mathis turned to attorneys from the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, which is supported by the federally funded Legal Services Corporation.  In other words, Mathis was using one government agency to fight another government agency to preserve her right to defraud a third, all while drawing a paycheck from HUD.

It's all your money:  US aiding business start-ups — for illegal aliens.  Read the fine print on the Small Business Administration's website, and you'll find that the agency does not provide the funds to "start or grow" a small business — the engine of the American economy, providing roughly three-quarters of all new jobs.  Rather, the SBA provides offers loan guarantees to the banks and lenders that do provide seed money.  So it might come as a surprise to American entrepreneurs that there is at least one group to whom the federal government is providing direct assistance for business start-ups:  illegal aliens.  In fact, these recipients of your taxpayer funds fall into an even more restricted category: illegal aliens who have been deported back to their native land.

Climate Change:  The Greatest Conspiracy Against the Taxpayer, Ever!  Climate change is the biggest scam in the history of the world — a $1.5 trillion-a-year conspiracy against the taxpayer, every cent, penny and centime of which ends in the pockets of the wrong kind of people, none of which goes towards a cause remotely worth funding, all of it a complete and utter waste.

Gov't Spends Nearly $3M Encouraging Gen Y to Eat Fruit.  The federal government has spent nearly $3 million on a web-based intervention study that aims to have young adults increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.  The 5-year "MENU (Making Effective Nutritional Choices) Gen Y Study" has received $2,834,393 in taxpayer money since 2012.  The goal of the effort "is to increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables for young adults born in or after 1980, known as "Generation Y," according to the project description on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website.

The Editor says...
The NIH, like every other government agency, works daily to find new ways to justify its continued existence.

Illegal immigrants are being deported on private jets — $300,000 every day to fly aliens back home.  American taxpayers are forking out more than $300,000 every day to deport illegal immigrants on commercial flights and even on private jets, Daily Mail Online can exclusively reveal.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spent $116m in 2015 to transport 235,413 people in the United States illegally back to their home countries.  More than 40 percent of those who had violated visa restrictions were convicted criminals while more than 1,000 were identified as gang members.

Corruption, Incompetence Scandal at DOJ's Ferguson Unit Widens.  On April 12, PJ Media Legal Editor J. Christian Adams reported that DOJ sources had revealed how two top employees in the Justice Department's Community Relations Service (CRS) used taxpayer money for personal travel.  The DOJ sources also revealed how these two top employees were responsible for a culture of incompetence, political decision-making, and gross mismanagement.  Here, we reveal that those same sources told Adams and me about corruption by other CRS managers, and about a hostile work environment that includes bullying and discrimination — particularly against anyone who complains about the waste, fraud, and abuse.

DOJ Employees in Ferguson and Trayvon Unit Used Taxpayer Cash for Airfare, Dentist Visits, and Dinners at Emeril's.  Justice Department employees in the DOJ Community Relations Service have reported gross mismanagement and corruption to Attorney General Loretta Lynch — but she has taken no action to investigate the problems.  The Community Relations Service has been at the center of high-profile, racially charged controversies involving the Justice Department, including the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore and the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Florida.  Multiple DOJ sources report to PJ Media a culture of incompetence and political decision-making by managers in the Justice Department component.  The complaints also allege the use of federal money for personal travel, including one Atlanta manager flying to see a dentist in his hometown of Miami, and a Dallas manager flying to New Orleans on tax dollars to dine at Emeril Lagasse's restaurant in New Orleans.

The U.S. paid for NATO: $30 trillion and counting.  As the firestorm ignited by Donald Trump regarding the structure and utility of NATO burns on, the freeloaders in the alliance continue to whine and ask for even greater levels of subsidization.  Take Lithuania, whose defense minister recently claimed that "the harassment of an American warship [by Russian fighter jets] shows why the US should help build the region's missile defenses.  A correct translation of "help build" is "have the Americans pay for.  While Lithuania is apparently now on-target to reach the preferred NATO defense-spending target of just 2% of GDP within a few years, the Lithuanians have done nothing for the common defense since the small country on the alliance's volatile periphery joined in 2004. In fact, between 2004 and 2013, its military spending dropped from a puny 1.2% of GDP down to an irrelevant 0.8% of GDP.

'Mr. Social Security' Indicted in $600 Million Disability Fraud Scheme.  Eric C. Conn, a flashy Kentucky lawyer who called himself "Mr. Social Security," was arrested for his alleged role in a $600 million federal disability fraud scheme, according to an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday [4/5/2016].  Conn, David Daugherty, and Alfred Adkins, a clinical psychologist who performed medical evaluations for Conn seven years, were charged in an 18-count indictment on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  Conn was arrested on Tuesday, and the indictment was unsealed.  Conn's law firm was the centerpiece of a two-year investigation that concluded in 2013 led by former Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who found the lawyer was working with discredited doctors who provided phony medical evidence for thousands of disability claims, which were then signed off on by Administrative Law Judge David B. Daugherty.

White House: $589 million to go to fight Zika virus.  Most of the $589 million would be devoted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research on the virus and Zika-related birth defects, as well as the creation of response teams to limit its spread.

The Editor says...
It would be far less expensive and more effective to remove the ban on DDT and/or temporarily prohibit two-way travel to Central and South America.

U.S. Govt.  Banking Program Facilitates Remittances to Mexico.  The program is called "Directo a Mexico" and the Federal Reserve, the government agency that serves as the nation's central bank, launched it nearly a decade ago.  Judicial Watch investigated the outrageous taxpayer-subsidized initiative and obtained government records back in 2006.  It was created by President George W. Bush following the 2001 U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity, undermines our nation's immigration laws and is a potential national security nightmare.  The goal was to provide low-cost banking services to illegal immigrants and facilitate the process for those sending money home.  Remittances are transferred through the Federal Reserve's own automated clearinghouse linked directly to Mexico's central bank (Banco de Mexico).  At the time Federal Reserve officials acknowledged that most of the Mexicans who send money home are illegal immigrants so a Mexican-issued identification is the only requirement to use the government banking service.

State Dept.  hiring interior designers, salaries up to $141,000.  The State Department has put out an advertisement that says it wants to hire three interior designers, jobs that pay anywhere from $92,000 to $141,000 per year.  Applicants for the interior designer positions must be able to obtain and maintain a "Top Secret" security clearance, and if they get the job, they'll work on designing U.S.  diplomatic missions abroad.  State is looking for designers to hire at the GS-13 and 14 levels — the GS-14 position will be paid the most.  All the jobs are full-time.

Administration's efforts to reduce red tape results in $16-billion increase in costs.  The American Action Forum has released a scathing report taking the Obama administration to task for its paperwork reduction efforts.  While the president directed the agencies to repeal, modify, or remove rules that contributed unnecessarily to the red tape burden of businesses, government bureaucrats responded by expanding some regs while failing to remove or modify other burdensome rules. [...] The paperwork burden on business is an astronomical $1.9 trillion.  Under Obama, we've seen six straight years of escalating red tape.

"Deeply Troubled" DHS System Blows Millions, Feds Want Extra $1 Bil.  Years after the U.S.  launched an automated Homeland Security system essential to keeping the nation safe, it's a malfunctioning flop that's so far swallowed a mind-boggling $1.7 billion and needs an additional billion and several more years to perhaps get it to work.  That's not even the best part.  A number of federal audits have documented the serious problems with this costly failure in the last few years and officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have simply ignored the government investigators' findings and recommendations.

US agencies have spent $86m on grounded surveillance plane, audit says.  An $86m Drug Enforcement Administration plane purchased seven years ago to fly surveillance and counter-narcotics missions in Afghanistan remains grounded in the US and will probably never fly in Asia, according to a scathing audit released on Wednesday by the Justice Department's inspector general.

Congress Should Flip the Switch and End Unauthorized Federal Spending.  The federal government is scheduled to spend $310 billion of your tax dollars this year on federal programs that are not authorized by law according to the Congressional Budget Office.  That's about a quarter of all so-called discretionary spending, so one of every four taxpayer dollars Congress spends is going to a program that is legally expired.  It is a total breakdown of accountability and oversight and, unfortunately, it is business as usual in Washington.  The good news is an innovative legislative solution has been proposed by Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers: automatic reductions in spending via sequestration for programs that remain unauthorized, and ultimately phasing them out completely unless Congress acts to reauthorize them.

Houston Community College loses $40k on rodeo parking.  Houston Community College managed to lose $39,475 selling parking spots at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this year.  This was no meager accomplishment, given that the Houston Rodeo draws more than 1.3 million in paid attendance and generates roughly a half-billion dollars in sales when it takes over South Houston for three weeks every March.

Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Solar Project That Doesn't Work.  As every ten-year-old who ever got a sweater for a birthday present has been told, "It's the thought that counts."  That seems to be the guiding principle at the Department of Energy and the California Public Utilities Commission when it comes to solar power.  The latest example is the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. [...] Brightsource, which is privately held, is owned by a virtual who's who of those that don't need subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers.

Kerry: Let's Fight ISIS With A Soap Opera.  They're not an existential threat to us."  That was President Obama, defending his seeming indifference to the latest ISIS terrorist attack in Europe.  "Groups like (ISIS) can't destroy us, they can't defeat us.  They don't produce anything," he said.  So what should the U.S. do to fight this non-existential threat that doesn't produce anything?  Let's put on a show!  It's almost too ridiculous to believe, but the day after the attacks in Brussels, the State Department posted a $1.5 million grant proposal to develop "a television drama series that addresses the issue of countering violent extremism among young people in contemporary Afghan society."

Marines to spend $50 million moving 1,100 turtles.  The U.S. Marine Corps plans to spend $50 million moving some 1,100 turtles from its training base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., or about $45,454 each.  The program includes a 30-year assessment of their efforts to monitor the desert tortoises that are listed as threatened under federal law.  According to Marine Corps Times, the tortoises live on a section of the base that is to be used for training.

'Slush Fund': Senator Slams State Dept. for $500M Payment to Green Climate Fund.  Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Tuesday [3/8/2016] slammed the administration's handover of $500 million to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, asking a State Department official how the "handout to foreign bureaucrats" could be justified at a time when there were "real problems" that need to be addressed at home.  Barrasso told Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom he viewed the payment to the "new international climate change slush fund" — the first installment of a $3 billion pledge — as both a misuse of taxpayer dollars and a violation of legislation that prohibits federal agencies from spending federal funds in advance or in excess of an appropriation.  "It appears to be latest example of the administration going around Congress because the American people don't really support what the president is doing with this initiative," he said.

No longer speaker, but two Boehner aides being paid over $10,000 a month.  Two aides to former House Speaker John Boehner are earning over $10,000 a month in his taxpayer-funded "Office of the Former Speaker," according to congressional records.  Both longtime aides, Amy Lozupone received $26,414 for work done in November and December as Boehner's administrative assistant, and Michael Sommers was paid $22,185 during the same period.

House Probe Reveals Audit Detailing Climate Change Researcher's 'Double Dipping' With Taxpayer Funds.  Congressional investigators have obtained an internal audit from George Mason University that suggests one of its professors — a major proponent of man-made climate change — mismanaged millions of dollars in taxpayer money by "double dipping" in violation of university policy.  The professor, Jagadish Shukla, received $511,410 in combined compensation from George Mason University and his own taxpayer-funded climate change research center in 2014 alone, without receiving required permission from university officials, the audit found.

$2 Billion In ObamaCare Subsidies Might Have Been In Error, Audit Finds.  A stinging audit of ObamaCare released on Wednesday [2/24/2016] finds that the agency in charge of the health care program could have paid out more than $2 billion in subsidies in 2014 that it shouldn't have.  The Government Accountability Office report found that hundreds of thousands of applications contained unresolved "inconsistencies" — meaning the information provided by applicants about their income, Social Security numbers, citizenship status, or whether they were in jail or not, didn't match existing government records.

Treasury Dept. Spends Another $2B On Housing Recovery.  The U.S. Department of Treasury announced Friday [2/19/2016] that it will spend an additional $2 billion on neighborhoods and homeowners to help them "recover from the finacial crisis."  "Today's announcement is the next step in the Administration's effort to help struggling homeowners recover from the financial crisis, and strengthen the housing recovery," Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said.  According to MLive, the announcement comes less than two months after five Michigan cities finished about $133 million in work to demolish vacant homes.

These 8 federal agencies are the worst. Here's how to fix them.  From the historic breach of 22 million personnel records to the systemic failure to take care of veterans to outrageous shenanigans among Secret Service agents, federal agencies are acquitting themselves poorly these days.  What follows is a rundown of the eight worst agencies.  But this list is by no means comprehensive.  Others could join, but this is a magazine, not a phonebook.  The list also includes the number of employees deemed essential during the 2013 shutdown.

Six Fed-Funded Non-Profits Are 'Scandals Waiting To Happen'.  Six obscure nonprofits funded almost entirely by federal taxpayers in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that recruits technically skilled seniors for cheap labor are "scandals waiting to happen," according to an expert on advocacy groups.  "The idea of government funding charitable works ought to be something conservatives and libertarians are concerned about," Capital Research Center's (CRC) Senior Vice President Matthew Vadum told The Daily Caller News Foundation.  "The government's been doing this a long time, but it rarely gets discussed."

Carrier Received $5.1 Million in Obama-Stimulus Cash Before Move To Mexico.  Heating and air-conditioning company Carrier, which has announced it will move 1,400 Americans' jobs to Mexico, received $5.1 million from the Obama administration.  Local media reported the "Department of Energy awarded Carrier $5.1 million in clean energy tax credits in December 2013" for its Indianapolis facility.  They planned to use the money to "expand production at its Indianapolis facility to meet increasing demand for its eco-friendly condensing gas furnace product line."

Illegals leave Texas detention with free Samsung Galaxy 4 phone — for safety!.  The government is giving immigrant families released from Texas detention facilities free cell phones.  The criteria used to determine who will be offered the phones are those who are considered low flight risks and unlikely to pose a danger to the community, according to Fox News.  So far, 25 families have been offered the phones, which aren't your run-of-the-mill phones — they're Samsung Galaxy 4 smartphones — and the program is understandably coming under fire.

Millionaires Are Qualifying for Medicaid Under Obamacare.  In states that expanded Medicaid, people with high net worths and low monthly incomes qualify for Medicaid because of loosened eligibility requirements implemented under Obamacare.  And in rural states like Iowa, Americans whom many would consider wealthy are taking advantage of this "loophole" and enrolling in coverage paid for by taxpayers.  Jesse Patton, an insurance broker living in Iowa, has had clients with net worths ranging from $2 million to $5 million, which often stem from farmland or assets from divorce settlements.  And those clients, he said, are enrolled in Medicaid in expansion states like Iowa.

U.S. Blows $5.7 Bil on Cyber Defense System That Doesn't Work.  Reckless government spending is at full throttle with the example du jour a $5.7 billion cyber defense system created to protect computers at federal agencies against hackers.  Despite its mind-boggling price tag the system is seriously flawed and uses features already available in much cheaper commercial-grade products, according to a federal probe made public recently.  The problem, besides sticking it to taxpayers for the exorbitant cost, is that the multibillion-dollar system simply doesn't work.  Nevertheless, the bloated agency handling this particular boondoggle, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), insists the program, National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS), is effective despite its documented failures.  This is par for the course at the monstrous agency created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep the nation safe.

Welfare moms unhappy with free lodging, prepared meals, WiFi, maid service.  D.C. welfare moms are having to put up with lodging in hotels that give them prepared meals, cable TV, internet WiFi access, and maid service that don't meet their standards: [...] Isn't this shocking, how taxpayers are paying to prepare such low-class meals for welfare moms?  What kind of country is this that doesn't cook better meals for people on welfare?  By the way, if you're wondering why Tiera has four children and no daddies, here is that part of the story: [...]

Senate report: Illegal immigrants benefited from up to $750M in ObamaCare subsidies.  Illegal immigrants and individuals with unclear legal status wrongly benefited from up to $750 million in ObamaCare subsidies and the government is struggling to recoup the money, according to a new Senate report obtained by Fox News.  The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums.  It found that as of June 2015, "the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence."

Labor Dep't Spending $20M on Summer Jobs, 'Career Pathways' for Urban Youth.  The Labor Department on Thursday [2/4/2016] announced it will spend $20 million on an effort to create summer jobs and "career pathways" for young people.  Up to $2 million will go to each of 10 local workforce development boards to expand existing summer jobs programs into year-round employment, career pathways and work experience programs for young people, 16 to 24, who have limited or no work experience.  "Too many young people are sitting on the sidelines," the news release noted.  On Friday [2/5/2016], the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the unemployment rate for both sexes, ages 16-19, was 16 percent.

The Editor says...
When the government announces a program to create jobs for "young people," that almost always means "young minority people" exclusively.  The term "urban youth" is the government's way of saying, "black kids."  This type of spending does not promote the general welfare, unless the kids in your family are generally black.

Failed Dept. of Education Cyber-Security Chief Ran Car Detailing, Home Theater Businesses On the Side.  Hundreds of millions of Americans are at risk of identity theft because the Department of Education's cyber chief spent his time detailing cars and allowing his office's morale to crumble.  The Department of Education's inspector general has repeatedly reported the agency is "vulnerable to security threats."  The watchdog simultaneously investigated Chief Information Officer (CIO) Danny Harris — who received more than $200,000 in federal bonuses — for side businesses that involved his subordinates, according to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

Also posted under Welfare state waste.

Public Housing Units Getting Free Internet at Speeds Higher Than Most Homes.  Google Fiber and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have partnered to bring "ultra-high speed" 1 gigabit Internet to public housing units in many cities — a connection speed much faster than the average household in the United States.  West Bluff Townhomes in Kansas City, Mo., has become the first public housing development with a 1 gigabit or 1,000 mbps Internet connection through the ConnectHome Initiative.  Google Fiber said the speed has been provided free of charge and at no cost to HUD.  According to the most recent State of the Internet report, the average U.S. Internet connection speed was 11.9 mbps.

Propaganda isn't cheap.
Feds Spend $156,340 to Talk About 'Food Deserts'.  The National Endowment for the Humanities is spending more than $300,000 to talk about "food deserts" in Pennsylvania and sea level rise in Miami.  The projects are part of the federal agency's "Humanities in the Public Square" initiative, which awarded $3.6 million worth of grants in December.

Billions in Taxpayer Money Blown on Fraudulent "Research".  National Science Foundation officials award $7 billion in grants annually based on funding proposals the agency's watchdog estimates have hundreds of examples of plagiarism and "falsified or fabricated data."  The federal science research agency awards 11,000 grants to 2,000 research institutions annually, but Allison Lerner, the agency's inspector general, only oversees about 1 percent of those recipients.  Researcher misconduct has drastically increased over the past decade, meaning millions of tax dollars go to fraudsters, according to Lerner.  The watchdog estimated that around 1,200 proposals for funding could contain plagiarism and another 800 proposals or results include "falsified or fabricated data," according the IG's semiannual report.

US pledges $97M to combat Ethiopia's drought.  The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development has announced $97 million dollars in emergency assistance to Ethiopia to combat the devastating effects of a drought brought on by the El Nino climate phenomenon.

The Editor says...
Why is Ethiopia's weather our problem?  How is fighting the weather (in any part of the world) anything other than futility?  El Nino is not a permanent weather condition, nor is it anything new.  And above all, what part of the Constitution authorizes this expenditure?

U.S. Commits $9.5 Mil to Migrant Education.  The money will flow through the Office of Migrant Education which operates under the bloated U.S. Department of Education, Jimmy Carter's brilliant creation.  The funds will be divided between the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which will receive $5,407,472 and the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) for migrants, which will get $4,082,415, according to an announcement in the federal register.  CAMP helps migrant and seasonal farmworkers and members of their immediate family pay for college.  HEP assists them in obtaining a general education diploma that meets guidelines for high school equivalency.  The government will then help those folks gain employment or be placed in an institution of higher education, compliments of Uncle Sam.

L.A.'s Mass Transit Fiasco Shows Limits of Government 'Investments'.  Los Angeles has spent $9 billion over the past three decades to build light rail and subway lines designed to entice people off of the car-choked highways and onto buses and trains.  The system boasts six lines, 80 stations and more than 90 miles of track.  So how is this investment paying off?  There are fewer people using public transit than in the mid-1980s, when the only public transit option was the bus.  That's according to a terrific bit of reporting by the Los Angeles Times, which found that ridership is down 10% over the past decade and that the decline "appears to be accelerating."

Gov't Builds $75 Million Facility Federal Cops Can't Use.  General Services Administration (GSA) officials designed a $75 million federal law enforcement facility so unsuited to what the intended occupants needed that they couldn't use the building when it was completed, according to the Government Accountability Office.

US navy launches first biofuel-powered aircraft carriers.  The US navy on Wednesday launched its first carrier strike group powered partly by biofuel a mix made from beef fat, calling it a milestone toward easing the military's reliance on foreign oil.

The Editor says...
The Navy wouldn't have to rely on foreign oil if the government would step out of the way and remove the restrictions on fracking and ANWR.

Congress spending $310 billion on non-authorized programs.  A majority of the federal government's non-defense discretionary spending in fiscal 2016, a total of $310 billion, will go to programs whose authorization has expired and hasn't been renewed by Congress, the Congressional Budget Office reported Friday [1/15/2016].  Congress appropriated the funds even though the authorization for the programs, originally granted through 256 separate laws, has expired.  Sen. Mike Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, drew attention to the report as an example of the budget process breaking apart.

Obama pledges nearly $4 billion for self-driving cars.  President Obama is calling for lawmakers to spend $4 billion on the development of self-driving cars.  The Obama administration said Thursday [1/14/2016] the money would be used "to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects."  Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a speech at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that getting automated cars on U.S. roads more quickly would pay dividends in safety improvements.

New Navy Ships Have Trouble Surviving the High Seas.  The U.S. Navy is spending millions of dollars to repair new high-speed transport ships built by Austal Ltd. because their weak bows can't stand buffeting from high seas, according to the Pentagon's chief weapons tester.  "The entire ship class requires reinforcing structure" to bridge the twin hulls of the all-aluminum catamarans because of a design change that the Navy adopted at Austal's recommendation for the $2.1 billion fleet of Expeditionary Fast Transports, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department's director of operational test and evaluation, said in a report to Congress.

How do you buy $7 billion of stuff you don't need?  [Robert] McNamara's creation, known as the Defense Logistics Agency, has grown into a global, $44 billion operation that, were it a private enterprise, would rank in the Fortune 50.  Its 25,000 employees process roughly 100,000 orders a day for everything from poultry to pharmaceuticals, precious metals to aircraft parts.  In terms of Pentagon contracts, it is nearly as large as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's largest contractors, combined.  Led by military officials with little or no private-sector experience, DLA lacks the redeeming features of the lean and efficient business McNamara envisioned.  A trail of inspector general reports shows how DLA is systemically overcharged for parts.  It buys things the military doesn't need — like 80 years worth of aircraft frames for a plane that will likely be out of use long before then.  The Government Accountability Office in 2010 estimated that about half of the agency's inventory — said to be worth nearly $14 billion at the time — was just taking up space.

IRS sent out $46 million in tax refunds flagged as potentially fraudulent, watchdog says.  The Internal Revenue Service erroneously released more than $46 million in tax refunds in 2013 that had been flagged as potentially fraudulent, the result of poor monitoring and a computer programming error, the agency's watchdog found.  The returns had been identified as questionable by two internal teams and should have been set aside for further review.  But the IRS software system did the opposite, accidentally setting things in motion so that refunds were released to taxpayers, an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosed this week.

IRS loses $27 million to computer glitch.  A pattern of "ineffective monitoring," identified by the IRS' watchdog, caused the IRS to hand out an additional $19 million before the agency verified that the recipients had provided accurate income information.  "We forecast that over five years the IRS could issue $135 million in potentially erroneous refunds due to this programming error," wrote the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which oversees the IRS, in a report made public Monday [12/21/2015].

IRS Issued $46 Million in Erroneous Tax Refunds.  The Internal Revenue Service issued more than $46 million in erroneous tax refunds due to a computer glitch and ineffective monitoring, issues that left uncorrected could cost taxpayers up to $230 million over the next five years.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released an audit Monday [12/21/2015] faulting the IRS for approving thousands of potentially fraudulent tax refunds in 2013.  "TIGTA identified that because of a programming error, over $27 million of refunds were erroneously issued for 13,043 Tax Year 2013 tax returns," the audit said.  "The programming error is overriding the IRS's two-week processing delay on some refund tax returns that are identified by the IRS as potentially fraudulent."

Obama's liberal agenda gets federally funded ride through the arts.  Taxpayers are forking over $27 million next year for federally funded arts projects that include a performance by a San Francisco drag queen, art installations with climate change themes and theater plays that showcase food stamps, President Obama's immigration amnesty, lesbianism and gun rights opposition.  The National Endowment for the Arts, the federal agency that provides government assistance for artistic endeavors across the country, announced its latest round of grants for fiscal year 2016 last week, leaving some spending critics in disbelief.

Report: Govt. Wastes Billions as National Debt Approaches $19 Trillion.  It's been well documented that government wastes enormous amounts of money on all sorts of outrageous things and now some of the enraging details are available in a lengthy report that reveals how the cash is being spent, like studying bugs' reactions to artificial light, a weight-loss program for truck drivers and a federal agency's multi-million-dollar social media account.  Dozens of examples are included in the 145-page document, which was made public this month by a U.S. Senator that reminds us in the introduction that "our national debt is careening toward $19 trillion (yes, that is a 19 followed by 12 zeros)."  Yet Uncle Sam keeps blowing hundreds of millions of dollars on ridiculous things that lawmakers can't possibly justify.  Here's one of the many examples included in the report; the government actually spent $300,000 to study how previously married seniors handle dating later in life.  The weight-loss program for truck drivers cost an astounding $2.7 million and $406,419 was dedicated to determine whether the media polarizes people politically.

Federal Fumbles 2015.  It takes countless months, days, and hours to go through agency budgets, GAO reports, and Inspectors General reviews to identify, research, and fact-check government waste.  It should not be this difficult to find out how exactly our government spends money.  Federal spending information should not be limited to Members of Congress and their staffs.  So here is one solution:  the Taxpayer's Right to Know Act.

Feds shelling out billions to public relations firms.  The federal government has spent more than $4 billion on public relations services since 2007, according to a watchdog group, with more than half of the money going to the world's largest firms.  A review conducted by Open the Books found that there are now 3,092 public affairs professionals working in the government, an increase of 15 percent — or about 400 people — over the past seven years.

Taxpayers Billed $27 Million for Hoveround Wheelchairs That Weren't Medically Necessary.  Taxpayers were billed $27 million for thousands of power wheelchairs that were not medically necessary for their users.  Hoveround was the subject of an audit released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, which faulted the company for failing to meet Medicare requirements before it charged the government for its electric wheelchairs.  In 2010, Hoveround provided 13,025 power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries.  Eighty-five percent of those who received the wheelchairs did not meet the necessary medical requirements, according to the audit.  The findings were based on a sample of 200 individuals who received a power wheelchair from Hoveround.

Pentagon spent millions for luxurious private villas.  The same Defense Department office that spent $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan also spent 20 percent of the rest of its budget to house workers and visitors at luxurious private villas, rather than have them stay on military bases for free to save "tens of millions of dollars," investigators have concluded.  The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations defended the villas as a way to entice investors into the fragile country, and said they were needed to prove that foreigners could live and operate in Afghanistan without being dependent on the U.S. military.

Justice's Liberal Slush Fund.  Republicans talk often about using the "power of the purse" to rein in a lawless Obama administration.  If they mean it, they ought to use their year-end spending bill to stop a textbook case of outrageous executive overreach.  This scandal comes courtesy of the Justice Department, which for 16 months has engaged in a scheme to undermine Congress's spending authority by independently transferring dollars to President Obama's political allies.  The department is in the process of funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups, at least some of which will actively support Democrats in the coming election.

EPA Gives $9,000 Bonus For Less Than Three Months Work.  A new hire at the Environmental Protection Agency hit the jackpot when the employee's new bosses awarded her $9,000 in performance bonuses for less than three months of work.  The EPA's inspector general said the newly hired director of the environmental agency's RTP Finance Center in Raleigh was paid two separate performance bonuses of $4,500 shortly after beginning work.

The Department of Agriculture Is a Welfare Scam.  I may have to change my mind. When asked a few years ago to pick which department in Washington most deserved to be eliminated, I chose the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  And HUD unquestionably is a cesspool of waste, so it certainly should be shuttered.  But the more I read about the bizarre handouts and subsidies showered on big agribusiness producers by the Department of Agriculture, the more I think there's a very compelling argument that it should be at top of my list.

Last Call for Ethanol.  A federal program, once launched, is impossible to kill.  It doesn't matter if the scheme wastes money.  It doesn't matter if the program doesn't work.  It doesn't even matter if the program does the very opposite of what it is supposed to do.  Every government program enters the world with an army of fairy godmothers prepared to fend off any effort to cut the cord.  Hence, the staying power of ethanol.

Obama's EPA Spending Millions Overseas.  President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency has doled out nearly $25 million to foreign nations and entities — including many countries with terrible environmental track records through 135 separate grants.  Officials at the EPA defend the awards to international organizations and foreign governments since 2009.

Conservative Group 'Empower Texans' Faces Political Persecution.  According to a lawsuit filed in Travis County, Texas, Empower Texans is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that was organized in 2006 to build support for strong fiscal stewardship by the state government, and to inform Texas voters and taxpayers about how their government officials are acting in relation to that objective.  In 2007, for example, Empower Texans mounted a direct mail campaign asking voters to call on their state legislators to return a $13 billion tax surplus instead of spending it on more government programs.  This kind of activity, along with its legislative scorecard, apparently angered not just state legislators, but lobbyists who make their living convincing the state government to spend money on their clients' pet projects.

State Department spent $36.5 million polling foreigners' opinions.  Would you spend money to find out what people in Spain think about their medical insurance or what people in Austria think about their government?  That's exactly what the federal government has been doing, using millions of Americans' tax dollars.  Since 2007 the U.S. State Department has spent over $36.5 million to survey citizens in foreign countries on a wide range of topics, including general public opinion polling on how their own governments — many of them U.S. allies — are performing.  And the biggest spike in that spending occurred on Hillary Rodham Clinton's watch as secretary of state.

Should the State Department Be Disbanded?  In recent years, Republican presidential candidates — notably Rick Perry and Ted Cruz — have called for numerous government departments — Education, Energy, Commerce, HUD and, of course, the IRS — to be disbanded.  Almost all candidates have urged that the bureaucracies be significantly curtailed.  But in this orgy of cost and regulation cutting, one monumental, all-important agency (with a budget approaching $50 billion) curiously has been ignored — the State Department. [...] The last few years have shown us that prying information out of the State Department (Benghazi, Clinton emails, etc.) is [impossible].  Their lineup of spokespeople are about as forthcoming as dead bats.  The primary purpose of the organization seems to be self-preservation, but self-preservation for what?

Report: Social Security paying millions to dead people.  The [Social Security Administration] managed to recover $3.4 billion in overpayments, but spent $0.07 chasing every dollar it got back and ended the year with $18.5 billion in uncollected payments.  That included $46.8 million that was paid to Social Security recipients who had already died.

How to Get a No-Show Job.  What's the best place to get a no-show job? The federal government.  Uncle Sam pays corrupt or incompetent employees not to come to work, because it's easier than firing them, never mind the cost to taxpayers.  Congress is trying to get to the bottom of this outrageous waste.  So far, the Obama administration is stonewalling. [...] Right now, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R.-Iowa, is pressing for answers about the $3.1 billion spent on no-show jobs in the last three years.

Why is the FBI Spending $80 Million on a New Gun?  When conservatives complain about profligate federal spending, part of the problem is the sheer magnitude of the federal budget, where mere tens of millions seem hardly worth talking about in a flood of dollars, both taxed and borrowed, that is in the trillions.  That of course, allows all sorts of waste in which a few million here and there hardly seems worth fighting over.  Take for example, the FBI's recent decision to reequip their agents with an entirely new and entirely unnecessary handgun, which will cost American taxpayers something like $80,000,000.

A decade into a project to digitize U.S. immigration forms, just 1 is online.  Heaving under mountains of paperwork, the government has spent more than $1 billion trying to replace its antiquated approach to managing immigration with a system of digitized records, online applications and a full suite of nearly 100 electronic forms.  A decade in, all that officials have to show for the effort is a single form that's now available for online applications and a single type of fee that immigrants pay electronically.  The 94 other forms can be filed only with paper.

DHS Spent $1 Billion For An Immigration Upgrade That Never Arrived.  According to the Washington Post, the Department of Homeland Security had planned to have a digitized system in place in 2013, at a cost of $500 million.  But here it is, the end of 2015, and after pouring more than $1 billion, DHS now says it needs another four years and $2.1 billion to get it finished.  At stake is more than just wasted taxpayer money.  The existing immigration system is ancient and deeply flawed, causing agonizing delays for those who should be granted legal status, while making it harder for DHS to screen out security threats.

EPA Gave Paid Leave to Drug and Child Sex Offenders.  Drug and child sex offenders received paid administrative leave from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new audit.  The agency's inspector general found the EPA rehired a child sex offender after they were put on leave for violating probation, in one example of misuse of administrative leave that cost taxpayers over $1 million.

After Closing One Welcome Center — R.I. Gets $9M From Feds to Open Another.  The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved a $9 million federal grant of taxpayer dollars to build a new welcome center in Rhode Island.  Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) has announced the federal approval of the state's application for a competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant if state officials decide to move forward with the welcome center project.

The Editor says...
What part of the Constitution authorizes this expenditure?  Does that no longer matter?

Dozens of feds on paid leave for over a year, senator wants end to costly practice.  The alleged abuse of administrative leave policy has been most egregious at the Department of Veterans Affairs where two of the officials whose actions touched off the VA scandal last year have been on paid leave for the last 18 months.  They're not alone — of the nearly 6,000 VA employees put on administrative leave between 2011 and 2013, 46 individuals have been paid not to work for more than a year.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is pressing for answers.

Pentagon offers no answers on $43 million price tag for Afghan gas station.  The Defense Department spent $43 million on a compressed natural gas fueling station in Afghanistan, while a similar project in Pakistan cost just $300,000 — and now the Pentagon can't even account for who made the decisions behind the waste, according to an inspector general's report being released Monday [11/1/2015].  John F. Sopko, the inspector general who oversees U.S. spending on Afghanistan reconstruction, called the cost for the green energy project exorbitant and deemed the project ill-conceived.

Poverty Pentagon: Nobody Watching As Feds Fund $429M Of 'Noble Intentions'.  More than $429 million worth of noble intentions has been funded with the Section 4 program since its approval as part of the HUD Demonstration Act of 1993.  President Bill Clinton and a Democratically-controlled Congress intended for Section 4 to help local groups combat poverty through a bureaucratically pliable process of "capacity building."

Non-Profit Got Federal Anti-Poverty Millions, But Paid Execs Lavish Salaries.  A Maryland-based nonprofit got more than $305 million in five years that it was supposed to channel to urban anti-poverty groups, but instead pocketed most of the money, including large sums to pay its top executives lavish salaries and benefits.  Enterprise Community Partners — which once spent millions of tax dollars in a failed effort to revitalize Freddie Gray's Baltimore neighborhood — is one of only three groups made eligible by Congress for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's little-known Section 4 grants "to develop the capacity and ability of community development corporations" to combat poverty.

Enabling fraud by the billions.  Ever heard of the Government Accountability Office?  The Obama administration wishes you never hear from the folks there after the truly astounding figures they just released.  The GAO is a key watchdog group and their numbers show the government is on track to waste an absolutely massive amount of money this year.  So what does the Obama's administration do?  Actively take steps to enable more fraud.  I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.  Here are the facts — the cold, hard numbers, because math is nonpartisan.  Numbers and cents don't lie and it doesn't take a Common Core math education to know that $125 billion wasted on fraud and improper payments is horrendous. [...] One billion is 1,000 million.  We lost 125 of those, most of which came from Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Feds may pay for soundproofing homes around 2 N.J. airports.  New noise level maps around Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports are being developed to determine whether surrounding homes and businesses qualify for federal soundproofing aid.  Houses, apartments, office buildings and other workplaces within areas with a noise level of at least 65 decibels attributable to airport operations would be eligible for soundproof aid, said Norm Dotti, a member of the New Jersey Noise Control Council, which is participating in the noise mapping process.

The Editor says...
Since when is this the federal government's problem?  If you don't like the noise, you should move — especially if the airport is older than your house.

Now Federal Employees Make 78 Percent More Than Private Sector Workers.  A new report show once again that government workers — all of them — are leeches, most of whom we should fire.  Now we find the outrageous statistics showing that federal workers earned on average 78 percent more in total compensation than private sector workers in 2014.  78 percent!  This is intolerable.  The stats were found in a new report from Government Magazine that assembled the numbers for us.

An Incoherent Syria War Strategy.  The Obama administration's $500 million initiative to train and arm so-called moderate rebels to take on the Islamic State never seemed promising when it was rolled out last year.  Having acknowledged that this plan has failed — largely because Syrian opposition groups are more interested in taking on President Bashar al-Assad — the White House on Friday [10/9/2015] unveiled a plan that is even more incoherent and fraught with risk.

Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels.  After struggling for years to identify groups in Syria that it can confidently support, the Obama administration on Friday abandoned its effort to build a rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State.  It acknowledged the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and said whatever money remained would be used to provide lethal aid for groups already engaged in the battle.  Senior officials at the White House and the Pentagon said the strategy to pull fighters out of Syria, teach them advanced skills and return them to face the Islamic State had failed, in part because many of the rebel groups were more focused on fighting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

GAO: Safety net programs account for billions in improper payments.  Three health and safety net programs for the poor and elderly accounted for most of the federal government's $124.7 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2014, the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday [10/1/2015].  The figure, which represents improper payments across 124 federal programs, is up roughly 20 percent from $105.8 billion in fiscal 2013, according to a new GAO report.  Most of the $19 billion increase resulted from erroneous payments under the Medicare, Medicaid and Earned Income Tax Credit programs.  They account for more than 75 percent of the GAO's government-wide improper payment estimate.

GAO: Feds made nearly $1 trillion in overpayments since fiscal 2003.  Government waste took a significant turn for the worse in fiscal 2014, rising dramatically to $124.7 billion from $105.8 billion in fiscal 2013.  That's a striking increase of nearly 20 percent in improper federal payments.  As the White House and Congress continues to blow out the federal deficit to $18 trillion in their Miracle-Gro, "Supersize Me" approach to government, little is being done to stop federal overpayments.  Since fiscal 2003, "cumulative improper payment estimates have totaled almost $1 trillion," the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report.

Mystery ambulance rides cost Medicare $30M: auditors.  Medicare paid $30 million for ambulance rides for which no record exists that patients got medical care at their destination, the place where they were picked up or other critical information.

EPA's fondness for high-end furniture costs taxpayers $92 million.  The federal agency that has the job of protecting the environment doesn't seem to have too much concern for trees, at least the ones cut down to make furniture.  The Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade has spent a whopping $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install and store office furniture ranging from fancy hickory chairs and a hexagonal wooden table, worth thousands of dollars each, to a simple drawer to store pencils that cost $813.57.

How a $2.7 billion air-defense system became a 'zombie' program.  Unknown to most Americans, the Pentagon has spent $2.7 billion developing a system of giant radar-equipped blimps to provide an early warning if the country were ever attacked with cruise missiles, drones or other low-flying weapons. [...] Seventeen years after its birth, JLENS is a stark example of what defense specialists call a "zombie" program: costly, ineffectual and seemingly impossible to kill.

Speaking of JLENS...
Report: Army's runaway blimp flew for hours due to missing batteries.  An Army blimp that broke loose in Maryland in October stayed airborne for hours because someone failed to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday [2/14/2016].  The blimp escaped from Aberdeen Proving Ground and its dangling tether caused power outages in Pennsylvania.  The mishap led to widespread ridicule of the Pentagon's blimp surveillance program, known as JLENS for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, which has cost taxpayers $2.7 billion since 1998.

Missing batteries among issues that caused Army's runaway blimp.  The blimp that broke loose from an Army facility in Maryland last fall, wreaking havoc with its milelong tether, flew uncontrolled for hours because someone neglected to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, Pentagon investigators have found.  The pilotless, radar-carrying blimp was part of the troubled JLENS missile-defense system, which has failed to perform as promised while costing taxpayers more than $2.7 billion since 1998.

White House targets crime and climate change in one fell swoop.  The White House started a new initiative Monday [9/14/2015] to help cities tackle everything from crime to climate change.  The new $160 million Smart Cities Initiative seeks to leverage 25 new federal technology programs to help cities do everything from improving congested roads and reducing crime to "fostering economic growth, managing the effects of a changing climate, and improving the delivery of city services."

The Editor says...
Write to me in September, 2025, and see if you can report one good thing that resulted from this $160 million expenditure.

Obama's revamped college evaluation site ripped as 'misleading,' unnecessary.  President Obama has launched a scaled-back college evaluation website that does not include what some in the higher-ed world had feared — a government rating system of America's roughly 7,000 colleges and universities.  But the site still has Washington asking questions about why the Department of Education is doing it in the first place.  Among the concerns is why spend taxpayer dollars when such for-profit operations as Barron's, The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report have for years been providing similar information and rankings.

U.S. Federal Government Program: Pay Minnesota Muslims Not To Kill People.  If you thought Secretary Kerry's 2013 "Jobs for Jihadists" program was goofy, wait until you read about this one.  The U.S. federal government is announcing a new program called CVE (Counter Violent Extremism) in Minneapolis Minnesota.  Under the U.S. program, authorized by President Obama, Somali Muslims living in Minnesota will be paid not to go on terror rampages, or blow themselves up.

Obama Admin to Spend Hundreds of Thousands to Bribe Minnesota Somali Immigrants Not To Become Terrorists.  Now the Obama administration is attempting to throw tax dollars at would-be Somali terrorists in Minnesota to bribe them into staying away from terrorism.  Think that'll work?

Freddie Gray's family settles with city for $6.4M.  The parents of Freddie Gray reached a tentative $6.4 million settlement [9/7/2015] with the city of Baltimore, nearly five months after their 25-year-old son was critically injured in police custody, sparking days of protests and rioting.

Update: Details of Pay Out.  Keep in mind:  [#1] no wrongdoing has ever been found;  [#2] Marilyn Mosby's private attorney is the same attorney as Freddie Gray's family;  [#3] The Gray family never filed a lawsuit, so this is not a "settlement" per se';  [#4] The possibility of any police wrongful conduct being found during trial is quite probably nil;  [#5] The maximum payout under Maryland state law, if lawsuit filed — and if police misconduct could be identified, would have been $400k.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'.  "The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns," the report said.

Green energy company fights for life after getting billions from feds.  Abengoa, a renewable energy multinational company headquartered in Spain, has been a favorite of the Obama administration in getting federal tax money for clean energy projects.  Since 2009, Abengoa and its subsidiaries, according to estimates, have received $2.9 billion in grants and loan guarantees through the Department of Energy to undertake solar projects in California and Arizona — as well as the construction of a cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas.  But in the space of less than a year, Abengoa's financial health has become critical, leading investors to worry whether the company can survive.

Obama to offer aid to Alaskans affected by climate change.  During the first trip north of the Arctic Circle by a sitting president [9/2/2015], Obama is expected to observe first-hand the effects of warming temperatures and their effect on shorelines and community infrastructures.  The White House said he will announce federal grants to deal with coastal erosion in areas such as northwestern Alaska, which could include relocation in extreme cases.

The Editor says...
Every dollar spent on compensation for the effects of global warming is a dollar down the drain, simply because there is no global warming.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'.  "The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns," the report said.

DHS Spent $20 Million on Conferences Last Fiscal Year.  The Department of Homeland Security ran up more than $20 million in conference-related expenses in 2014, according to a recently released government audit.  The Office of Inspector General report, which looked at conferences either hosted or attended by the department or its employees from October 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014, found that the the department — which handles issues related to terrorism, border security, and cybersecurity — was involved with a total of 1,883 conferences in fiscal year 2014 that amounted to $20.3 million in expenses.  According to the General Services Administration, training, meetings, or events that include employee travel are considered conferences.  In total last year, the department hosted 490 conferences that cost $13.14 million and attended an additional 1,393 conferences at an expense of $7.16 million.

Obama: $12 billion new federal loan guarantees for renewables.  The Obama administration has just announced $12 billion in new Federal loan guarantees for renewables businesses. [...] Federal renewable loan guarantee schemes have attracted significant criticism in the past, for example when Solyndra went spectacularly bust in 2012, a bankruptcy which cost US taxpayers $535 million in lost federal loan guarantees.

Amid Security Failures DHS Spends $20.3 Mil on Conferences.  While it let Islamic terrorists enter the country, wasted huge sums on faulty equipment and failed miserably to remove criminal illegal aliens, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was busy blowing $20.3 million to host 1,883 conferences last year. [...] A $110,993 "outreach" summit in Washington D.C. brought Customs and Border Patrol senior managers, transportation executives and foreign government partners together to discuss "securing and managing our borders" and a $108,617 Ft. Worth Texas conference provided a "platform for conveying information regarding relevant issues in immigration enforcement."  DHS also doled out $131,868 on the Afghanistan Pakistan Illicit Procurement Network Symposium in Tampa, Florida where discussions focused on preventing hostile nations and illicit procurement networks from illegally obtaining U.S. military products or sensitive technology that could be used against the U.S.

TSA Spent $160 Mil For Scanners With A 96% Failure Rate.  When Congress decided to let the federal government take over airport security in the wake of 9/11, critics said it would only make matters worse.  Fourteen years later, it looks like the critics had it exactly right.  On Monday [8/17/2015], Politico broke the news that the federally run TSA has spent $160 million — or more than $150,000 per unit — on body scanners meant to prevent fliers from bringing contraband onto planes.  And what did taxpayers get for their money?  A recent security audit found that TSA scanners failed to stop explosives and weapons 96% of the time.

A family in public housing makes $498,000 a year.  And HUD wants tenants like this to stay.  A family of four in New York City makes $497,911 a year but pays $1,574 a month to live in public housing in a three-bedroom apartment subsidized by taxpayers.  In Los Angeles, a family of five that's lived in public housing since 1974 made $204,784 last year but paid $1,091 for a four-bedroom apartment.  And a tenant with assets worth $1.6 million — including stocks, real estate and retirement accounts — last year paid $300 for a one-bedroom apartment in public housing in Oxford, Neb.  In a new report, the watchdog for the Department of Housing and Urban Development describes these and more than 25,000 other "over income" families earning more than the maximum income for government-subsidized housing as an "egregious" abuse of the system.

$22 million in taxpayer funds flushed away on Detroit cruise ship lure.  Before squandering $22 million in taxpayer dollar, perhaps the bureaucrats should have asked cruise ship operators if they really wanted to dock in Detroit.

American Kids Pay Heavy Price For Obama's Border Failure.  Remember, heroin is not produced in the United States and is an illegal substance.  Therefore every gram of heroin in the United States provides graphic evidence of a failure of border security.  As noted on the official DHS website, the budget for the DHS for Fiscal Year 2015 included 23,871 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and the overall budget for CBP was for 12.8 billion dollars.  This raises the very reasonable question:  "What are we getting for all of the money?"

USDA putting solar panels on chicken coops.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is spending millions on green energy projects for farms, including putting solar panels on the tops of chicken coops.  The federal agency announced Friday [8/7/2015] that its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) will spend $63 million on solar panels and wind turbines for the farming industry.

Taxpayer money being used to teach 'transgendered' men to talk like girls.  The University of Connecticut, which received state and federal funding, has a program to teach men who want to be pretend to be women how to talk like girls (and vice versa, of course — no discrimination there!).  You would think this would be something easily accomplished without classes, but I guess, like thespians, they want to learn from professionals.

Solyndra II: ObamaCare's $3 Billion Co-Op Program Is Failing.  When government-supported solar cell manufacturer Solyndra failed in 2011, it was headline news for weeks — a prime example of the dangers of crony capitalism.  But Solyndra's demise cost taxpayers just $500 million.  The ObamaCare co-ops could wind up costing close to $3 billion.  ObamaCare created these nonprofit, "consumer directed" co-ops to provide stiff price competition in the ObamaCare exchanges.  And to get them off the ground, the Obama administration handed out $2.6 billion in low-interest loans and startup funding.  Administration officials claimed that the resulting 23 co-ops were carefully selected because they showed a "high probability of financial viability" and an ability to repay those loans.  Did they mean that as a joke?

No words can describe the folly in these federally funded projects.  Recent reports about two federally funded projects may leave you speechless.  Literally.  The first:  a $125,000 study funded by the National Science Foundation to determine if various adjectives are sexist or racist.  Example?  The word "good."  We're not kidding.  "In a masculine work domain ... 'good' for a woman may mean something objectively less good than 'good' for a man," says the tax-funded foundation.  Got that?  (If so, you may be the only one.)  Even if there is something to this gibberish, it's not clear why hardworking US taxpayers should have to pay to have it "studied."

The F-35: Throwing Good Money after Bad.  The F-35 program could cripple U.S. defense for decades to come.  "You could argue it [the F-35] was already one of the biggest white elephants in history a long time ago," stated former U.K. defense chief Nick Harvey in a May interview.  Harvey then doubled down, saying there is "not a cat in hell's chance" the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) would be combat-ready by 2018.  While it is noteworthy that a person of Harvey's stature would level such harsh criticisms, his statement merely reflects the conclusions of reports by the U.S. Defense Department's Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Congressional Research Service, and various independent air-power analysts:  The F-35 program is a mess; it is unaffordable and will not be able to fulfill its mission.

DHS Spends $360 Million On Border Drones With No Positive Results.  Drones used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to "guard" the U.S. border for nearly a decade are ineffective even though the agency has blown hundreds of millions of dollars on the failed program and wants Congress to keep funding it.  It's yet another example of what government does best; waste money.  In this case the frontline DHS agency — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) — that operates the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAC) is actually requesting more money from Congress to keep the futile drone experiment going.  Imagine a private business that for years blew huge sums on a failed enterprise asking investors to pour more cash into the same useless project.

Bayonne losing $25K a month with windmill generator on the fritz, officials say.  The wind turbine used to power the city's Oak Street and Fifth Street pumping stations has gone motionless, costing the city roughly $25,000 a month in energy costs, officials confirmed.  And there's more possible bad news — Bayonne may be on the hook for roughly $350,000 to replace the broken generator.  The 260-foot structure, off East Fifth Street, went into operation in June 2012, with city officials touting energy savings of up to $300,000 a year.  But the wind turbine stopped working in June.

More about wind energy.

Corporate welfare flop: Mitsubishi expected to close Illinois car plant.  Despite $29 million in tax breaks handed out by failed Illinois Governor Pat Quinn just four years ago — Mitsubushi appears to ready to say sayonora [sic] to the Prairie State.  When the giveaway was announced by the Chicago Democrat — he claimed it would save 1,200 jobs.

The Federal Government's 100 Billion Dollar Mistake.  As the bureaucracy dithers, our ship of state keeps leaking money.  The Government Accountability Office in a March, 2015 report found that the problem of improper payments is massive.  As the Washington Post reported, "the U.S. government forked over an estimated $124.7 billion to ineligible recipients in 2014, representing the first jump in four years.  The highest amount for the Obama administration occurred in 2010, with an estimated $125.6 million in losses.  Medicare reported the highest number of improper payments last year, with the program accounting for nearly $60 billion in incorrect disbursements.  Rounding out the top three were the Earned Income Tax Credit with $17.7 billion in lost revenue and Medicaid at $17.5 billion."  This is real money that is being wasted on an epic scale by federal bureaucrats as our nation sinks deeper into a debt that is over $18 trillion.

How housing an illegal immigrant for a night in the United States' biggest detention center costs more than a stay at the nearest four-star Hilton Hotel.  The government shells out $231 every 24 hours to house just one of the 2,105 foreign detainees at The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, a small town 200 miles from the Mexican border.  That is more than a double room at the four-star Hilton Palacio del Rio 70 miles away in San Antonio, which costs $169.

Taxpayers Have Now Spent $3.5 Million to Find Out Why Lesbians Are Obese.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now spent over $3.5 million to determine why the majority of lesbians are obese.  The project, now entering its fifth year, received another grant worth $658,485 this summer.  The total funding for the research is now $3,531,925.  Funding has more than doubled since the study was first revealed in 2013.  Since, the study that is examining why three-quarters of lesbians are obese, but gay men are not, has survived sequester cuts, and continues to produce results such as the discovery that gay men have a "greater desire for toned muscles" than straight men.

Feds spent $2 million to have wives nag men about chewing tobacco.  Since 2012 the government has spent nearly $2 million on a campaign to get women to nag the men in their lives to quit using smokeless tobacco.  The National Institutes of Health has sponsored a continuing grant for the Oregon Research Institute to "evaluate an innovative approach that encourages male smokeless tobacco users to quit by enlisting the support of their wives/partners, both to lead smokeless tobacco users to engage in treatment and to help them sustain abstinence."

You Will Never Guess What The EPA Might Regulate Next.  It's obvious the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has way too much money to play with.  Following yesterday's [3/17/2015] news that the EPA was funding research to reduce air pollution emissions from cooking on propane fired barbecue grills, the latest research grant is aimed at hotel showers.  Researchers at the University of Tulsa were awarded $15,000 to develop a wireless device that will allow water use from showers to be measured and reported to both the hotel guest via a smartphone and to hotel management.  According to the grant, hotel guests waste millions of gallons of water each year and it's hoped that guests will reduce their water use when they realize the amount of water they are using.  The research on propane gas grills involves modifying the barbecue grill design to reduce particulate matter that's emitted during cooking especially when the fire hits the grease from the food.

Watchdog: Agency spends more than it makes to collect wrongful payments.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) spends more money than it collects when trying to recover payments to individuals who received benefits for which they were not eligible.  According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the SSA issued $128.3 million in "low-dollar" overpayments between 2008 and 2013, and then spent $323 million to collect them.  The agency ultimately recovered only $109.4 million.  "This resulted in SSA spending over $213.6 million more than it collected," the OIG said, in an audit released Wednesday [7/1/2015].

Obama Is Spending $500 Million On Training Fewer Than 100 Syrian Rebels To fight ISIS.  We don't have the money to do this first off.  And training rebels has never worked.  This is not going to work and they know it.  It strikes me that someone is getting rich once again over a faux military program.  Someone might want to check where the bulk of that $500 million is actually going.  Probably to terrorists.  The military has trained less than 100 and 0 have graduated from the program.  Their goal is 3,000 by the year's end.  That's laughable.

'Cash Strapped' VA Forgot It Had $43.1 Million Stashed Away.  When not pleading poverty, the Department of Veterans Affairs can be awfully careless with its money.  The latest example:  In 2011, the VA set $43.1 million aside to produce brochures informing veterans about their benefits, then forgot about it.  The money went unspent for three years and now might be lost for good.  An internal audit released earlier this month said, "A breakdown of VA fiscal controls and a lack of oversight led to the parking of funds ... and the failure to detect and properly use and manage these funds."  That breakdown in fiscal controls seems to be endemic at the VA.

GAO hits Obama administration on renewable energy projects: audit.  Lawmakers on Wednesday [6/24/2015] demanded accountability from the Bureau of Land Management following an investigation that found the government routinely fails to secure proper bonding from wind and solar project developers, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars.  The Government Accountability Office report — which gives more fuel to critics who say President Obama will push "green" power at all costs — also said that the administration has kept shoddy records, may have shredded bond documents and blatantly treats renewable power differently than it treats fossil fuel projects.

SSA Paid the Dead $46.8 Million.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) paid individuals acting as representatives for disabled beneficiaries nearly $50 million even though they were dead.  An audit from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is just the latest example of the SSA's inability to figure out who on their rolls is still alive.  The audit focused on "representative payees," or a person who manages another's finances due to mental or physical limitations.  The OIG found that many payees acting on behalf of disability beneficiaries had died.

Navy pays millions to keep using Windows XP.  The Navy will pay more than $9 million to keep using Windows XP under a contract signed this month, Computerworld reported Tuesday [6/23/2015].  The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) will pay Microsoft $9,149,000 through the contract, which was approved earlier this month.  It could eventually grow to be as large as $30,842,980 by 2017.

Pay $1.22 million to save $500,000.  Morons run the country.  In New Hampshire, they are paying $1.22 million to save $500,000.

ObamaCare Can't Account for Almost $3 Billion In Subsidy Payments.  Now we learn that the Obama administration doesn't know whether billions in subsidies it paid out to insurers were appropriate.  Yeah, this law is working just great.

Obama Admin Making Billions In Obamacare Subsidy Payments Without Verifying Amounts.  The Obama administration is making billions in payments to health insurers under Obamacare without calculating the exact amount companies are owed, according to a federal audit released Tuesday [6/16/2015].  Obamacare's premium subsidies are paid each month directly to insurance companies, to ease the burden of health coverage to eligible customers in the health law's government exchanges.  The payments add up:  the federal government doled out almost $2.8 billion to insurers in just the first four months of 2014, when Obamacare launched.

If you ran a business this way, you'd probably go to prison.
Feds Can't Verify $2.8 Billion in Obamacare Subsidies.  The federal government cannot verify nearly $3 billion in subsidies distributed through Obamacare, putting significant taxpayer funding "at risk," according to a new audit report.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit Tuesday [6/16/2015] finding that the agency did not have an internal system to ensure that subsidies went to the right enrollees, or in the correct amounts.

On The Brink Of Bankruptcy, Federal Disability Program Wastes Billions.  A government audit finds that the Social Security Disability Insurance program paid out $16.8 billion in disability benefits over the past decade to about four million people who either were working, made too much money, were in prison, were dead, weren't eligible or were no longer physically or mentally disabled. [...] Between 2003 and 2014, SSDI rolls climbed 44% — even though the Census Bureau reports that the number of actual working-age disabled has been climbing at a far lower rate.

Social Security overpaid nearly half on disability, watchdog says.  In all, Social Security overpaid beneficiaries by nearly $17 billion, according to a 10-year study by the agency's inspector general.

Stop paying federal workers to sit home, personnel chief tells agencies.  The government is taking action to curb the long-maligned practice of putting federal employees on paid leave for months — and even years — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to the office.  In a memo last week, Office of Personnel Management director Katherine Archuleta told agency heads that the extensive use of administrative leave throughout government should be just the opposite:  a "temporary solution," only for problem employees who pose a danger to themselves or their colleagues.  In other words, if someone poses a threat to his own safety or the safety of others, send him home.  If the situation could take a long time to resolve, like most misconduct cases, keep them on the job.

How the government wasted tobacco's $200B windfall.  Back in 1998, the tobacco industry reached an agreement with 48 states.  Cigarette makers were to pay a guaranteed minimum of $206 billion over 25 years to cover the cost of health care for people who got sick smoking — along with other anti-smoking, public health-related programs.  As happens when politicians are involved, most of the money really didn't go to health programs.  It mostly went to special interest projects throughout the states.  That's bad enough, but the real disaster occurred when states like New York decided to take the money up front and run.

Feds pour $32 million more into beleaguered solar industry.  This latest funding is dedicated to training a workforce of solar technicians, developing new technology and implementing a database to share performance data, the DOE announced in a press release last week.  The training goal is 75,000 workers by 2020 and an undisclosed amount of "other professionals" in other fields such as real estate, finance, insurance and fire and safety.  What the release didn't say was that the Obama Administration has spent $150 billion on green initiatives between 2009 and 2014, yet the industry cannot survive without government giveaways, a Brookings Institution study found.

Probe: PA Paid $2.2 Billion in Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance.  Conservatives have been trying for years to investigate fraud in welfare programs at the national and state levels.  Repeatedly, we are told by the Left that such attempts are unnecessary and endanger the ability of those programs to help those in need.  However, time and again, we see that there are examples of fraud in welfare programs across the country.  The recent probe into fraudulent unemployment insurance claims proves this yet again.  As the Washington Examiner reports, unemployment programs as a whole handed out $5.6 billion in improper benefits between the years of 2009 and 2013.  Astoundingly, $2.2 billion of that came from Pennsylvania.

Elon Musk's growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies.  Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.  And he's built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.  Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The [Los Angeles] Times.  The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire:  a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

IRS Admits Refunding Billions On Fake Tax Returns.  Just hours after being force to admit that they were hacked (by Russians apparently), an inspector general's report shows that The IRS has rather remarkably continued to pay refunds on hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tax returns in recent years, and sent dozens of checks to the same addresses, including in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.  While some progress has been made, $2.3 billion of real US taxpayer's money was wrongfully refunded to fake US taxpayers... but with this new cyber-attack, we suspect that number will soar.

DOD rings up more than $3M in credit card charges at casinos, strip clubs in one year.  There was a time when a story such as this would have resulted in shock and outrage around the nation.  These days, sadly, it barely causes a ripple on the national media pond.  Judicial Watch has concluded yet another investigation into government spending, this time at the Department of Defense, and found that government credit cards are being used in all sorts of interesting places.

Watchdog: IRS issued $5.6B in potentially bogus education credits.  The IRS issued $5.6 billion in potentially bogus education tax credits in a single year — more than a quarter of all education credits claimed by taxpayers, a government watchdog said Tuesday [5/12/2015].

Latest Scott Walker 'John Doe' probe cost Wisconsin taxpayers $1 million.  An effort to investigate Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's political fundraising during his 2012 recall election cost Badger State voters $1.1 million, recently released court documents show.  The investigation was halted last year after a judge determined that the activities alleged in the probe were not in fact illegal.

The Government Did WHAT With $300 Million?  In the last fiscal year, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion.  That's the sum total of the total lifetime incomes of 3.5 million working Americans, give or take.  How much of that was that was misspent?  Ten percent?  Fifteen?  Twenty?  More?  Do we really want to know?  Most elected Republicans pay lip service to the waste of government but ultimately do not care to do anything about it.  Democrats want to spend even more money and don't want to be bothered with arguments about how that might not be the greatest idea.  A country that can readily wave off such waste is courting not renaissance but ruin.

Report: Defense Dept. paid NFL millions of taxpayer dollars to salute troops.  The United States Department of Defense paid the National Football League more than $5 million in taxpayer money between 2011 to 2014 to honor U.S. soldiers and veterans at games, an investigation revealed this week. [...] But instead of purely heartfelt salutes to soldiers from hometown football teams, the halftime segments were reportedly part of paid promotions under federal advertising contracts for the military.

John McCain: Gov't wasting $294 billion on expired programs.  The federal government is set to spend at least $294 billion of taxpayer money on hundreds of expired programs this year alone, according to a report released Thursday [5/7/2015].  The 19-page "America's Most Wasted" report from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is the first in a series of oversight studies meant to shed a light on wasteful and duplicative government spending.

Pentagon credit cards used for gambling, escorts.  A Defense Department audit has found that a number of Pentagon employees used their government credit cards to gamble and pay for "adult entertainment" — findings that are expected to lead department officials to issue stern new warnings.  The audit of "Government Travel Charge Transactions" by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which is to be made public in coming weeks, found that both civilian and military employees used the credit cards at casinos and for escort services and other adult activities — in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

The Editor says...
Warnings are cheap.  Firing somebody (like all air traffic controllers, en masse) shows you're serious about curtailing behavioral problems.  Unfortunately, it appears that the termination of a federal employee is nearly impossible.

IRS Doled Out $5.6 Billion in Erroneous Stimulus Education Credits.  A report released Tuesday from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reveals that the IRS doled out more than $5.6 billion in education credits in 2012 for more than 3.8 million students.  The tax credits in question, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), were instituted with the 2009 Stimulus, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  They are intended to help offset the cost of higher education.

IRS wasted $5.6B on bogus Obama stimulus tax credits: Audit.  The IRS doled out more than $5 billion in potentially bogus college aid payments under an Obama stimulus tax credit in 2012, according to a new report Tuesday [5/5/2015] from the agency's inspector general that said the administration still doesn't have a good handle on how to root out erroneous claims.  More than 3.8 million students received more than $5.6 billion in questionable tax credits, the audit found — more than half of those never filed their tuition statement, while others were paid tax credits even though the schools they attended weren't acceptable institutions.  Still other students claimed the credit for more than four years.

Not enough money? Baltimore got $1.8 billion from Obama Stimulus.  Last Tuesday [4/28/2015], President Obama blamed the GOP-controlled Congress for its failure to fund the "massive investment in urban communities" that could "make a difference."  Well, how does $1.8 billion for the 622,000 people of Baltimore sound?  Pretty massive — actually, just about $2900 for every man, woman, child, and baby of the entire City of Baltimore.  But that's the total amount of Obama Stimulus money sent to Charm City, according to an analysis by The [Washington] Free Beacon.

Baltimore Received $1.8 Billion from Obama's Stimulus Law.  The city of Baltimore received over $1.8 billion from President Barack Obama's stimulus law, including $467.1 million to invest in education and $26.5 million for crime prevention.  President Obama claimed last Tuesday [4/28/2015] that if the Republican-controlled Congress would implement his policies to make "massive investments in urban communities," they could "make a difference right now" in the city, currently in upheaval following the death of Freddie Gray.  However, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found that the Obama administration and Democratically-controlled Congress did make a "massive" investment into Baltimore, appropriating $1,831,768,487 though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus.

War on Poverty? How about war against insanity!  Just in case I was wrong, I checked and found out that the federal government has "invested" $22 trillion fighting the War on Poverty in the 50 years since it was declared by President Lyndon Johnson (Source: Heritage Foundation).  According to my calculation, that's $440 billion per year on average.  Considering that spending on welfare and food stamps has steadily increased in recent years, not to mention the costs of Obamacare, I am confident we are spending well over half a trillion per year to rescue our impoverished members of society. [...] That's right, our $22 trillion investment went right down the rabbit hole, or more accurately the black hole, and we are left with inner cities in decay like Detroit, turmoil like Baltimore, and abject poverty like Watts.

Community Investment? Oh, Please.  These communities are not an "investment"; they're an expense!  The biggest money hole in the history of the human race.  Since Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty program was enacted, we have spent over fifteen trillion — with a t — on welfare (AFDC and other programs), Food Stamps, WIC stamps, free pre-school, free primary and secondary education, free medical care, free cell phones, Section 8 housing assistance, food pantries, free transportation to the Social Services Office and your medical appointments, free legal services, and I don't know what else because I haven't the stomach to look any further.  And what has the nation gotten back?  Zip, nada, zero.  Indeed, less than zero, because while in the 1960s the propaganda was that there were only "obstacles to overcome," now there is "hopelessness" — a word bandied about not just by white liberals, but also by right-of-center personalities who attribute the terrible schools in these communities, the lack of fathers in the home, the unemployment, poverty, and crime to I don't know — residual racism, more money not being spent on education, something, anything but the actual behavior of the people concerned.

Tsarnaev Family Flown to U.S., Housed in Boston at Taxpayer Expense.  The family of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been flown to the U.S. from their home in Chechnya, are being housed at a Hampton Inn outside of Boston, and are being guarded 24 hours a day by at least three federal agencies.  The taxpayer-funded junket to the U.S. for the family of a Muslim terrorist is costing well over $100,000, according to a former U.S. attorney.

ICE could have saved millions on detainee flights, watchdog says.  An internal watchdog report says millions of dollars may have been saved through better management and by filling empty seats on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement charter flights carrying detained immigrants to their home countries.  The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General said flights — which returned detainees mainly to Central America, South America and the Caribbean — flew partially empty more than a third of the time.  Filling seats could have saved $41.1 million, the report says.

Congresswoman questions $730K repairs to Arizona border fence.  U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Arizona) [...] wrote a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske on Thursday after an Associated Press report found the repairs to about 60 feet of fencing cost $730,000.

Unwanted tanks and other government waste detailed in reports.  If the Republican majority in Congress really wants to cut back on government waste, it can find some inspiration from a pair of reports recently released, detailing examples of egregious spending and programs that could arguably go on the chopping block.

Waste Watch.  [For example,] An Afghan Contractor Builds Walls that Melt in the Rain [$456,669]:  In 2012, U.S. military authorities paid an Afghan construction firm nearly half a million dollars to build a "dry fire range" (DFR) for the Afghan Special Police to use in training exercises.  "The DFR replicates a typical Afghan village and is used to conduct simulated police search and clearance exercises," according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  The range is "dry fire," meaning it is not designed for use with live ammunition.  Only four months after completion, however, the walls of the DFR began to disintegrate.

Russell follows Coburn's footsteps, identifies $117M in first 'Waste Watch'.  Rep. Steve Russell featured more than $117 million worth of failed government efforts in the first of a "Waste Watch" series dedicated to exposing the squandering of taxpayer money.  The freshman Republican from Oklahoma took up the mantle of another Oklahoman, retired Sen. Tom Coburn, whose annual "Wastebook" publication also chronicled flagrant examples of frivolous, illegal and wasteful government spending.

Los Federales To Fly In Children From Central America For Illegals.  Is it any wonder that "57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the policies and practices of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally"? [...] I'm not surprised in the least by this action.  I wouldn't even have been surprised had this occurred under President Bush, much less under Mr. Obama.  The kids would be considered "refugees", hence, eligible for all sorts of government benefits, including food stamps and living expenses.

Gov't program would fly in Central American children to join parents in US.  Images of unaccompanied children flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border defined the immigration crisis last summer.  Now, the federal government is intervening so these children won't have to make that trek — they'll get to fly into the U.S. instead.  For free.  A new State Department and Department of Homeland Security program seeks to stop the surge of immigrant children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador at the southern border by giving their U.S.-based parents the option to apply to have their kids picked up and put on a plane, without paying a penny.

The Editor says...
Exactly the opposite should be done:  The parents should be flown out of the country to rejoin the children.  This is the "anchor baby" problem in reverse:  It's the Obama way of generating DREAMer kids who can then say (20 years from now) that they had no choice in the matter, they were brought here as children and now deserve to be given citizenship.  Furthermore, why is this nameless program limited to children in Mexico and Central America?  Why is it limited to children with relatives living in this country?

The Pentagon's $10-billion bet gone bad.  It was the most powerful radar of its kind in the world, they told Congress.  So powerful it could detect a baseball over San Francisco from the other side of the country.  If North Korea launched a sneak attack, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar — SBX for short — would spot the incoming missiles, track them through space and guide U.S. rocket-interceptors to destroy them.  Crucially, the system would be able to distinguish between actual missiles and decoys. [...] In reality, the giant floating radar has been a $2.2-billion flop, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.

USDA Employees Used Government Credit Cards at Bowling Alleys, Barbershops.  The OIG found $192.2 million in potentially "questionable transactions" by employees using agency purchase cards and convenience checks.  The audit, released Tuesday [3/24/2015], blamed the improper purchases on poor training.  From a pool of 169,054 questionable transactions, the OIG selected 230 for closer review.  The audit found that 174 were questionable, totaling $163,160, because transactions were "prohibited by [the Office of Procurement and Property Management] OPPM's policy, were not properly approved, or lacked supporting documentation."  "Some of the questionable transactions involved retailers identified as beauty and barber shops, bowling alleys, and amusement parks," the OIG audit said.

The Other Army Green.  When you think about those hundreds of trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlement liabilities, you might be tempted to roll your eyes at relatively picayune examples of government waste, but consider that the perks that go along with being an admiral or general — the private jets, the chefs, the entourages — cost taxpayers around $1 million a year per flag officer, which is no small thing when you have about a thousand of them.  We have an army of generals and more admirals than battleships.  Does the Pentagon spend its money wisely?  Nobody knows — especially not the Pentagon.

Secret Service chief asks for $8 million to build scale replica of the White House for training.  The new head of the Secret Service has admitted he has agents with a drinking problem after two were accused of crashing their car while drunk at the White House.  Joseph Clancy, newly-installed director of the agency, made the admission in a stormy session in front of Congress as he tried to get their approval to build a replica White House for agents to practice protecting the president.

The Editor says...
They may also need a full-size replica of Camp David and a full-size mockup of Hawaii, but that can wait til next year.

Secret Service Wants a Fake White House to Help Protect the Real One.  Stung by accusations that it cannot adequately protect the White House, the Secret Service wants to spend $8 million to build another White House in Beltsville, Md.  In prepared testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Joseph P. Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, on Tuesday [3/17/2015] will urge lawmakers to give him money to build a detailed replica of the White House to aid in training officers and agents to protect the real thing.  Beltsville, about 20 miles from the real White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is the site of a 500-acre Secret Service training site in the verdant terrain of Southern Maryland.

Feds shelled out $125B in bogus payments last year.  The government paid out $124.7 billion in potentially bogus payments last year, the government's chief watchdog said Monday [3/16/2015], blaming a controversial tax credit for the poor as well as increased bad payments in Medicare and Medicaid.  One major problem is tracking when Americans die — the Social Security Administration admitted last week that its rolls are filled with names of more than 6 million folks who are listed as 112 years of age or older.

Clinton has received $16 million in post-presidency benefits.  Former President Bill Clinton has received nearly $16 million in taxpayer funds since leaving the White House, covering everything from his pension to personnel to benefits — and renewing questions over how much taxpayers really should spend on ex-presidents who make millions after leaving office.  A new Politico report and analysis examined the payments since he left office in 2001, and claimed it amounts to more than any other ex-president has received.  Meanwhile, Politico points out, Clinton has a personal annual income that beats all the other living former presidents.

Taxpayer tab for Clinton Inc.: $16 million.  By Election Day 2016, taxpayers will have paid out more than $16 million to fund Bill Clinton's pension, travel, office expenses and even the salaries and benefits of staff at his family's foundation, federal records show.  Since he left the White House in 2001, Clinton and his office have received more money through the Former Presidents Act than any other ex-president, according to a POLITICO analysis of budget documents.

Feds spend $42,676 studying sexting by college girls.  A nearly $50,000 federal study is examining the sext messages of college girls to determine whether sending racy pictures makes them more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.  "This project will address how sexting (the exchange of sexually suggestive texts or pictures via mobile phone) and problematic alcohol use together increase the risk for risky sexual behavior and sexual assault among college women," read a grant issued last year.

State Department Spends $2.15 Million on Drapes for Diplomats in Moscow.  The State Department is spending over $2 million on drapes for the U.S. Embassy and U.S. diplomatic residences in Moscow, according to a government contract awarded Tuesday [3/10/2015].  The award brings an end to a four-month search for a suitable contractor to replace the draperies, which will come in either "silk or faux silk."

It would be far better to spend a billion dollars on a massive border wall.
VP Joe Biden Renews Calls For $1 Billion For Central America, Following Illegal Immigration Surge.  Vice President Joe Biden is reiterating his call for Congress to agree to the administration's requested $1 billion for Central America, as a response to the surge in illegal immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that reached a fever pitch last summer.

CFPB Director Swats Down Congressional Question About $215 Million Spent On New HQ: 'Why Does That Matter to You?'.  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray told Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) that it was none of her business how much the agency spent to renovate its lavish new headquarters.  During a Congressional hearing on Tuesday, an angry Wagner asked him to explain who authorized a $215 million expenditure on the "untouchable" agency's new headquarters, Cordray sounded eerily like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who offered a similar response to questions posed in Congressional hearings last year about the 2012 murders of four Americans at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

What does soil moisture have to do with aeronautics and space?
NASA launches $916 million soil moisture satellite.  A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket boosted an innovative NASA satellite into orbit Saturday [1/31/2015], kicking off a three-year, $916 million mission to measure the moisture, frozen and liquid, in the top few inches of Earth's soil to improve forecasting, to better understand the causes and impact of droughts, floods and other natural disasters and to improve long-range climate change projections.

Feds Spent $432,000 Studying Gay Hookup Apps.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly a half a million dollars studying gay hookup apps such as Grindr.  The government awarded $432,000 to Columbia University to interview gay men who use GPS dating apps and determine whether it increases their likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior.

Obamaites Behaving Badly.  An inspector general's report last fall, which somehow escaped publicity, found that political appointees at the Department of Labor violated contracting rules on one project and spent what many would consider an absurd amount of money on another.  An earlier IG letter indicated the same officials were involved in misusing department resources on yet a third project. [...] Elliot P. Lewis, the assistant inspector general for audit, wrote to T. Michael Kerr, assistant secretary for administration and management, about the allegation in my article that "the Department of Labor (DOL) awarded a $100,000 no-bid contract to an outside public relations firm ... to promote a book club."  (Yes, a book club.)  As it turned out, there were two contracts involved, to the tune of $208,970.

17,000 Federal Employees Earned More Than $200K Last Year.  More than 16,900 federal employees took home in excess of $200,000 in base salary in 2014, according to a partial database of federal salary data.  The information, compiled by using data from the Office of Personnel Management and other agencies, shows the annual compensation for every civilian federal worker, save those at the Defense Department.  The number of workers earning more than $200,000 represented about 1.6 percent of employees on the list and is up from about 15,000 who cleared that salary in 2013.  It also makes up a slightly higher percentage of the employees on this list.

Obama's DHS Spent Nearly $150M on Office Furniture and Makeovers.  Funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — which is due to expire at the end of this week unless an agreement in Washington is reached — has continued to rise under President Barack Obama.  His administration claims the agency's increased funding is necessary to protect the homeland, but records show that the DHS has continued to increase its spending on furniture and office makeovers as its budget has been increased.  A review of records on the official government spending website by the Washington Free Beacon shows the agency has spent nearly $150 million on office furniture and makeovers since Obama took office.

HUD Paid $37 Million in Rent for Deadbeats.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) subsidized over 100,000 apartments for tenants who do not meet work or community service requirements, costing taxpayers at least $37 million.  According to an audit released by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Wednesday, the federal government is at risk of losing an additional $448 million worth of subsidies this year on "noncompliant tenants."

U.S. sends China millions in foreign aid despite $1.3 trillion debt.  China has become one of the world's largest two economies, and is wealthy enough to buy up at least $1.3 trillion of the U.S. debt.  But that hasn't stopped Uncle Sam from continuing to send foreign aid to Beijing.  In 2014 the U.S. State Department and its USAID program provided nearly all of the $12.3 million in taxpayer-funded aid set aside for China.  And another $6.8 million is on tap for Beijing this year, according to

Pentagon spent $504,000 on Viagra last year alone.  The Department of Defense has spent about $1.2 million on impotence medications since they first went on its insurance plan's formulary, including more than a half-million dollars last year alone.

Less than half [of] $2.9 [billion in] Ebola money reached affected countries — UN study.  Almost $2.9 [billion] (£1.92 [billion]) was pledged by the end of 2014 in donations to fight west Africa's Ebola epidemic, yet only about 40% had actually reached affected countries, researchers have said.  A study by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that tracked international donations showed barely $1.09 [billion] had reached the worst affected countries by the end of last year, they said.

Robin in Deadwood Forest.  Chris Edwards at the Cato Institute believes there should be a National Museum of Government Failure.  He argues that the displays at the Smithsonian would pale into insignificance if set beside the awe-inspiring sight of such things as the "$349 million on a rocket test facility that is completely unused", the Superconducting Collider whose ruins include nearly 15 miles of tunnel and the ex-future Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.  Yet these artifacts, whose scale would surpass many a Lost City, are far from the worst failures.  The biggest fiascos by dollar value are the various government programs designed to win the war on drugs or poverty which after having spent trillions of dollars fruitlessly, lie somewhere in an unmarked bureaucratic grave.

Anti-terror cops are still chauffeuring around bureaucrats.  Anti-terror cops are still chauffeuring around New York City bureaucrats, even on the heels of terror attacks in France.  The offices of Public Advocate Letitia James and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito could not come up with a defense for the ongoing practice, first exposed by The [New York] Post two months ago, and passed the buck to the NYPD.  Comptroller Scott Stringer's office said he was doing what the NYPD recommended.

The reasons why Guantanamo is so expensive.  Even though the Gitmo detainee population has shrunk from 779 to 122 detainees over a decade, the size of the military units and contractors guarding them, providing health care, cooking and cleaning for them, staffing a library and recreational activities haven't downsized accordingly.

How is it that no one is ever held accountable for the failures of government?  Homeland Security spent $50 billion over the past 11 years on counterterrorism programs, but the Department cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result.

HHS execs doing good and living large, flying first class around the world.  Helping America's poor, aged and sick is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' reason for being, but hundreds of its top officials are traveling in style and luxury at taxpayer expense.  Records obtained by the Washington Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act show that HHS executives spent $31 million taking 7,000 first class and business class flights between 2009 and 2013, including 253 trips for which a one-way ticket cost more than $15,000.

U.S. Official: America Paying Salaries of Afghan Cops That Don't Exist.  The United States continues to pay more than $300 million annually to the Afghan National Police (ANP), and some of that money is going to officers who do not actually exist, according to government officials who warn that fraud and a lack of oversight are causing U.S. taxpayer dollars to be wasted on the force.  The United States continues to pay the salaries of ANP officers despite a lack of supervision over the funds and the fact that fraud is rampant among the force, according to a new report by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Feds find border drones don't actually make border more secure.  The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) own watchdog says that drones deployed at the United States-Mexico border do not achieve their objective of protecting the country.  In a 37-page report issued on December 24, 2014 but published for the first time on Tuesday, DHS' Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concluded that "after 8 years, [Customs and Border Protection, or CBP] cannot prove that the program is effective because it has not developed performance measures."  In a statement, the agency had a damning conclusion for the CBP drone program, which anticipates spending an additional $443 million to acquire and operate 14 more drones.

Audit: DHS Drone Program Ineffective at Border Security.  Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) drone program is ineffective and surveys less than 200 miles of the southwest border, according to an audit by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General.  The program operates 10 Predator B drones at a cost of more than $12,000 for every hour a drone spends in the air, funding which could be put to better use elsewhere, according to the OIG.  The program costs $10,000 more per flight hour than what DHS claims, according to the OIG.  "We estimate that, in fiscal year 2013, it cost at least $62.5 million to operate the program, or about $12,255 per [flight] hour," the audit said.  "The Office of Air and Marine's calculation of $2,468 per flight hour does not include operating costs, such as the costs of pilots, equipment, and overhead."

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle.  "The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns," the report said.

Oversight report finds major problems with DHS.  U.S. Senator Tom Coburn released his final oversight report on the Department of Homeland Security, which has found major problems in the branch.  The report finds that Homeland Security is not successfully executing any of its five main missions.  "Ten years of oversight of the Department of Homeland Security finds that the Department still has a lot of work to do to strengthen our nation's security," Coburn explained.  "Congress needs to review the Department's mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility."

The CDC At A Glance.  The Ebola crisis shined the spotlight on the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The agency is being criticized for mishandling the Ebola crisis but the CDC has been plagued with problems for years and its incompetence has been tied to its expanding mission. [...] For example, the CDC has programs addressing, chronic diseases such as obesity, environmental health, occupational health and of course infectious disease.  The CDC is also involved in behavioral issues including domestic violence, teen dating and bulling.  The agency also conducted studies on gun violence and alcohol.

DOD workers ring up $5 million in improper charge card purchases.  More than $5 million in unauthorized "micro-purchases" were made with government charge cards by employees of the U.S. Southern Command from April 2012 to March 2013.  Government purchase cards are intended to be used only for purchases of approved merchandise under $3,000.  Southern Command employees used the cards improperly nearly 6,000 times at a cost of $5.1 million, according to a Department of Defense inspector general report.  Another $160,000 was spent on an estimated 3,500 unnecessary gifts in the years since 2010, often just days before the government's fiscal years ended.  The items remained in storage at least three years.

NIH Had No $$$ for Ebola Vaccine, Spent $100 Mil on Meditation.  [T]he ACLU was nowhere in sight when [Rep. Tim] Ryan decided to propagandize his creed to pre-schoolers, but if a conventionally religious politician tried to promote Christian or Jewish practices in school using a government grant, all hell would break loose.

NIH Has Spent $100.2 Million on Mindfulness Meditation.  "The advantage of this is that it actually doesn't cost anything," said Karen May, a vice president at Google, explaining how her company offers "mindfulness" classes to its employees.  Mindfulness is a New Age kind of meditation that focuses on the present moment "non-judgmentally," tracing its origins to Buddhism.

NIH Blows $1.3 Billion On Failed Children's Health Study.  Congress mandated the National Children's Study as part of the Children's Health Act of 2000.  The idea was to follow 100,000 newborns across the nation — in places ranging from urban California to the Florida swamps — until they turned 21, and measure how environmental and other factors affected their health.  Yet for the past 14 years, all the NIH managed to do was spend $1.3 billion figuring out how to conduct the massive effort and running some pilot experiments.  The actual study wasn't scheduled to start officially until some time next year.

Obama Unveils $1B Boost for Preschools, Including $55 Million From Disney.  It's a year-end present for tens of thousands of kids and early childhood education programs.  President Obama today [12/10/2014] is set to unveil a $1 billion package of new public and private funding for U.S. preschool programs during a White House summit to promote one of his favored domestic initiatives.

The Editor says...
Pre-school "education" or nanny-state daycare has been proven to be ineffective, therefore any money spent on programs like this are completely wasted.

51 Examples of Government Waste.  [#11] The Department of Defense spent nearly $500 million to purchase military transport planes for the Afghan Air Force, which have since been scrapped.  The planes did not meet operational requirements, and the maintenance of the planes was too expensive for the Afghan Air Force.  [#12] The Defense Department overpaid by $3.3 million for radios for the Afghan Army because the Defense Department did not follow contracting procedures, which would have prevented overpayment.

Watchdog Report: IRS Paid Out More Than $20 Billion in Erroneous Low-Income Tax Credits.  The Internal Revenue Service paid out $14.5 billion in erroneous Earned Income Tax Credit payments and between $5.9 billion and $7.1 billion in improper Additional Child Tax Credit payments in Fiscal Year 2013, according to a new government watchdog report.  The EITC and ACTC are refundable tax credits intended for lower-income Americans.  In Tax Year 2012, the IRS paid out $63 billion in EITCs and $26.6 billion in ACTC payments.

6 Years Later, Stimulus Funds Still Being Spent on Manure.  Almost six years after the passage of the stimulus package, taxpayer dollars have finally found their way into a shovel ready project:  $60,000 to haul horse manure.  Sold as an opportunity to bring America into the "21st century," the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus, is now being used to remove wild horse manure off of public lands.  According to a contract awarded last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will pay $58,650 to load, haul, and dispose manure from a corral in Burns, Oregon.

$466,642 Federal Study: Why Do Fat Girls Date Less and Risk More?  The National Institutes of Health has awarded $466,642 in taxpayer dollars to Magee-Women's Research Institute and Foundation in Pittsburgh, Pa., to study and compare the intimate relationships of obese and non-obese girls.  "Mounting evidence demonstrates that weight influences intimate (i.e., dating and sexual) relationship formation and sexual negotiations among adolescent girls.  Obese girls consistently report having fewer dating and sexual experiences, but more sexual risk behaviors (i.e., condom nonuse) once they are sexually active," the grant abstract said.  "No studies have actually examined whether the interpersonal skills and intimate relationships of obese and non-obese girls differ," it said.

Global climate aid up to $650 billion.  As much as $650 billion is being spent globally to aid countries in adjusting to climate change, according to a new United Nations report.  The report, released Wednesday at a climate change conference in Lima, Peru, said the low end of the amount being spent was $350 billion.  The report covered aid during 2011 and 2012 and noted that, due to the complexity of determining where climate funding comes from, the actual amount spent could be higher.  Climate finance is one of the major components of a deal nations hope to strike next year in Paris that would govern emissions beyond 2020.  The Lima conference is meant to set up those negotiations a year from now.

The Editor says...
The item immediately above is categorized (by me) as wasted taxpayer revenue because [#1]  all the money in the world cannot change the weather, and [#2] global warming stopped, all by itself, in 1998.

Documents Reveal Obama HHS Paid Baptist Children and Family Services $182,129,786 for Four Months Housing of Illegal Alien Children.  According to the documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the cost to the American taxpayer was $86,846.34 per illegal alien child at Ft. Sill, for a total to $104,215,608 for 1,200 UACs from June 12 to October 18.  The bill also included $2,648,800 in compensation for 30 members of the BCFS "Incident Management Team" (IMT), for a total to $88,293 per IMT member for the four-month period.  The $77,914,178 to care for 1,200 children at Lackland AFB amounted to a cost to the taxpayer of $64,928 per illegal alien child from May 18 to September 18.  The Lackland bill included $20,000 for a "cable television screen/projector set up" and 20 shower stalls at $1,000 each.

Somehow the separation of church and state people are all silent about this.

Audit: Taxpayer dollars paid for eco group's $25G Christmas party, and more.  $25,000 for a Christmas party.  $11,000 for premium coffee services.  Millions more for questionable construction costs.  All this was billed to taxpayers by an obscure federally funded science group, according to a scathing new inspector general report.  The audit, conducted by the National Science Foundation inspector general and the Defense Contract Audit Agency, detailed spending by the Colorado-based National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).  The nonprofit, designed to operate a network of ecological observatories across the continent, is solely funded by the National Science Foundation.

Fiscal responsibility is 'anti-science' now.  The media framing for stories about fiscal responsibility now involves portraying Republicans as "anti-science" when they object to handing out fat research grants for stupid projects.  For example, Politico's big article on the subject is entitled, "Next Battle In the War on Science."  Got that?  Shutting down wasteful, and sometimes downright harmful, monkey-gambling studies and robot-squirrel construction projects is now a "war on science."  You don't want to spend a million bucks studying how ideas spread across Twitter, producing a study that might prove useful for anti-free-speech activists?  Why do you hate science, wingnut?

Obama plan to 'Power Africa' gets off to a dim start.  Barack Obama last year told a cheering crowd in Cape Town that a $7 billion plan to "Power Africa" would double electricity output on the world's poorest continent and bring "light where currently there is darkness". [...] But the five-year plan has not yet delivered the power.  Power Africa has not measured its progress by counting actual megawatts added to the grid but promises of additional power made in deals it says it helped negotiate, according to sources inside the project and documents seen by Reuters.

Feds have sunk $65M into stalled Eisenhower memorial never built.  [Scroll down]  Fifteen years later the project has already cost American taxpayers more than $65 million.  And quarrels between the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission on the one hand and Congress and the Eisenhower family on the other hand mean that there's a real possibility that no memorial will ever be built and the money will have gone for naught.  The commission, the body in charge of the memorial's "nature, design, construction and location," previously devoured $41 million of the funds and is on pace to spend the rest of the $65 million allotment from Congress without ever building a monument.

White House, Congress Raided Hundreds of Millions from Anti-Bioterrorism Fund.  Congress and the Obama White House looked for billions of dollars a few years ago to offset the costs of a legal settlement with black farmers and American Indians, to increase education aid to the states and to develop a vaccine for swine flu.  To get those billions, they looked to the same coffer:  Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion fund created specifically to prepare America for a bioterrorist attack and develop treatments for deadly viruses such as Ebola.  Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., warned that the BioShield fund was not supposed to be raided as a source of "Monopoly money for politicians."

Prisoners file $1 billion in bogus tax returns.  Inmates and their accomplices filed $1 billion in fraudulent tax returns in 2012, a six-fold increase from 2007, according to a report released Tuesday [11/25/2014] by the Internal Revenue Service's auditor.  The audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration discovered the IRS has yet to comply with previous recommendations to shore up fraudulent activities so costly to taxpayers.

Labor union work by federal employees on 'official time' costs taxpayers millions.  Unionized federal employees spent 2.48 million hours working for their labor unions while getting paid by taxpayers during 2013, and more than 360 workers who are on the federal payroll spent 100 percent of their time working for their union.  Under federal rules, employees who are members of a labor union are entitled to so-called "official time," where they are dismissed from their duties as a government employee to engage in labor union organizing activities.

Jay Nixon To Spend $100k To Study How They Messed Up STL.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, appointed members voted to give themselves $100k through the Governor's newly-created Ferguson Commission. Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, the only elected official on the board, was the only "no" vote.  That's what happens when you're accountable to the public.

Ten Years Later, the Question Remains: How on Earth Do You 'Lose' $5.5 Billion?  Despite a full decade of audits and investigations, Pentagon officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash that was intended for the Development Fund for Iraq.  Apparently, it just "disappeared."  Was it just misplaced in an accounting error, or was it "stolen"?  Who knows?  Apparently, the Pentagon has no idea.

$20 Mil to Boost Reading Skills in the Dominican Republic.  While America's failing public schools remain on a perpetual downward spiral, the U.S. government is spending tens of millions of dollars to help struggling students and improve academics in the Dominican Republic.  It may seem crazy, but unfortunately it's simply one of a myriad of real-life stories illustrating how government wastes our tax dollars.  To be fair, state governments and the feds — mostly via the U.S. Department of Education — spend boatloads of cash on public schools in this country, though it's done little over the years to improve performance in the nation's inner cities.

Prosecutors Troubled by Extent of Military Fraud.  Fabian Barrera found a way to make fast cash in the Texas National Guard, earning roughly $181,000 for claiming to have steered 119 potential recruits to join the military.  But the bonuses were ill-gotten because the former captain never actually referred any of them.

Feds Spent $10 Million on a Video Game About Escaping a Fat Town.  The federal government has invested over $10 million developing and promoting a video game about a young teen that must escape a town full of fat people, as a method to fight obesity.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) paid for the development of two video games that promote healthier eating, including "Escape from Diab," a "nightmare" fictional city where people are only allowed to eat junk food.  "The story centers around five children who must get healthy enough to escape the evil King Etes," explains Archimage, Inc., a computer game company that received $9,091,409 to develop the games.  King Etes is a fat ruler who forces his people to eat out of vending machines.

$40G per bird? California cormorants refuse to budge from bridge being demolished.  Now that a crucial section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been replaced by a new $6.4 billion span, nobody needs it anymore — nobody except about 800 birds who call the decrepit, 78-year-old segment home. [...] "They're spending $33 million to get rid of these 800 birds — that comes out to about $40,000 a bird — that's more money than most people in the United States make in a given year!" said Brian Sussman, a conservative radio talk show host in San Francisco.

World's largest solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan.  After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan. [...] The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan.

The Editor says...
I suspect Google has plenty of cash on hand.  If this unwise investment results in a catastrophic loss (of $539 million), it will serve as an example to the next investor:  Don't get too excited about investing in solar panels, and don't expect the government to bail you out when you default on a government loan.

Discrimination in other countries is not our problem!
U.S. Allots $1.4 Mil to Fight Work Discrimination in Mexico.  As if it weren't bad enough that the U.S. spends exorbitant amounts of taxpayer funds to support illegal immigrants in this country, it's allocating north of a million dollars to help the Mexican government combat employment discrimination in Mexico.  Is there no end to the madness?  Each year Americans are forced to pay tens of billions of dollars to educate, feed, house, incarcerate and medically treat illegal aliens — most of them from Mexico — in the U.S. and now we're sending cash south of the border for a cause that's hardly ours to fund.

Illegal immigrant children treated to guitar lessons, miniature ponies, tilapia farm.  One of the contractors housing some of the surge of illegal immigrant children from this summer offers them a petting zoo with miniature ponies, a tilapia fish farm operation and guitar lessons, according to documents released Thursday [10/30/2014] by a senator who questioned whether the plush accommodations were a good use of taxpayers' money.  Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said it seemed excessive to pay the $329 that Southwest Key Programs, the contractor, charged per child per day at one of its California facilities in Lemon Grove, California.  Another facility in El Cajon cost taxpayers $316 per child per day.

Medicare Bought Meds For Dead People.  A report released Friday [10/31/2014] by the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general said the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient's death — at odds with the program's basic principles, not to mention common sense.

Tom Coburn highlights ridiculous government spending in final Wastebook.  This year's Wastebook does not show the $5,210 that the State Department tried to spend on a blowup, human-size foosball field for an embassy in Belize.  But the fact that the project isn't in Sen. Tom Coburn's annual report on ridiculous spending choices is probably one of the biggest victories of the report, because it means the State Department canceled the project after the senator's staffers asked about it.

Coburn's 2014 Wastebook: A $25 Billion Taxpayer Loss.  Over the last five years, Sen. Tom Coburn, the retiring senior Republican Senator from Oklahoma and notorious deficit hawk, has released a massive annual report ripping into the federal government's spending habits.  The much-anticipated "Wastebook" outlines what Coburn deems the top 100 "wasteful" federal projects that collectively cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.  The annual report is known for scrutinizing programs run by every major department.  From the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department, to tiny obscure agencies like the National Technical Information Service — no one is immune to a feared mention in Coburn's "Wastebook."

$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of gov't waste.  As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow. [...] The first example cited in the report is the millions spent on what one attorney called the government's "dirty little secret":  paid administrative leave for troublesome employees.

Thousands of federal workers on extended paid leave.  Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.  During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer.  The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.

Milking the State Department's cash cow.  The liberal media is ignoring the developing story detailing the fiduciary incompetence of the Department of State (DOS) during Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State.  Meanwhile, the Inspector General (IG) of the DOS, Steve A. Linick, appears to be taking his job quite seriously.

Feds Spend $2.1 Million to Develop Weight-Tracking Insoles, Buttons.  The federal government is spending more than $2 million to develop wearable insoles and buttons that can track a person's weight in order to fight obesity.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded grants for two projects that will monitor "lifestyle behavior" through technologies that will encourage people to exercise more.  The first project, awarded to SmartMove, Inc., a company that provides physical activity "coaching solutions," is creating insoles that will track a person's weight.

CDC Spent 3 Times as Much on "Community Transformation" Than On Disease Control.  While the nurses in Texas were dealing with an Ebola patient without protocols and proper equipment, the CDC continued to claim the protocols were in place and the hospitals in the U.S. were ready.  You have to understand.  Ebola takes them away from their real mission which is to build bike lanes, get rid of guns, tell you what to eat, and harass anyone who builds a playground.

Feds have 'gone wild' with taxpayer-funded credit cards.  A congressional hearing on how federal agencies have "gone wild" with government credit cards found that personal use of taxpayer-funded cards is significant despite tighter controls passed in 2012.  Auditors revealed more than half of the $153,000 in credit-card purchases sampled at the Environmental Protection Agency were prohibited under the guidelines.  They included multi-course meals at an employee award ceremony, gift cards and family gym memberships.

U.S. Destroys $500M Planes, Sells for 6 Cent Scrap.  Sixteen military transport planes bought by the United States government for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) at a cost of nearly $500 million were recently destroyed by the Afghan military and sold for scrap parts at around six cents per pound, prompting a government inquiry to determine why millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted on the ill-fated program.  The Department of Defense purchased for the AAF a total of 20 Italian-made G222 military transport planes at a cost of $486 million.  However, the fleet was grounded in March 2013 "after sustained, serious performance, maintenance, and spare parts problems" were discovered, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Who's tending State Department's cash cow?  The U.S. State Department has been handing over billions of dollars in grants for foreign projects — ranging from cultural exchanges to "climate change" activities — without adequate oversight or adequate assessment of the risks involved, and sometimes without knowing whether the money was actually spent, according to the department's Inspector General.  Moreover, these money-management problems have been going on for years, despite specific warnings, according to the watchdog IG's office.

Pentagon Wastes More Than $100M On Unnecessary Vehicles In Just One Year.  Over just a one-year period, the Army and Marine Corps may have wasted more than $100 million returning vehicles from Afghanistan they do not need, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday [9/30/2014]. [...] The Pentagon also spent $620 million on late fees for shipping containers it did not return on time.

California Gives $3 Million to Groups Providing Free Legal Aid to Illegal Aliens.  California Gov. Jerry Brown is channeling the "progressive spirit" of California in his latest act as governor.  Turns out he just signed a bill that would give $3 million in grants to non-profits that would offer unaccompanied alien minors legal counsel- which is $1 million more than what the federal government planned to give in grants nationwide.

Stage Production for 18-Minute Obama Speech Cost $94,360.  The stage, drapes, and sound system for an 18-minute speech by President Barack Obama cost taxpayers nearly $100,000.  "Elite Productions," the go-to company for prominent Democratic politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, put on the set for Obama's speech to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 17.  The company provided "stage, drapery, and audio/visual equipment," according to a contract document made public by the Air Force last week.  The government paid the company $94,360 for a speech that lasted from 12:04 p.m. to 12:22 p.m., at a cost of approximately $5,242.22 per minute.

Zombie Spending.  Aficionados of horror movies know that the monster is never really dead when you think it is.  It may be down, but it will inevitably climb back from the dead at least one more time before the final credits.  So it is with government programs.  No matter how outdated, useless, wasteful, or redundant programs may be, they come as close to immortality as possible. [...] [T]he Rural Electrification Administration was created in 1935 to bring electricity to farm country.  There aren't many farms without electricity anymore, but the REA, now called the Rural Utilities Service, is still with us, spending almost $800 million last year.

51 Cents of Every Dollar: How Much Americans Think the Government Wastes.  The timing could not have been more appropriate.  The poll was released just days before Congress and the president agreed on a stopgap spending measure to fund federal government programs and agencies indiscriminately at the annualized rate of $1.1 trillion.  This year's figure is tied for the highest since Gallup began asking the question in 1979.

Taxpayer-Funded Climate Change Musical Closes Early.  A Broadway-styled musical play has gone down to disastrous failure both critically and from audiences, despite having been funded by tax dollars to push global warming.  "The Great Immensity," was just as advertised; immense.  Not just an immense bomb, but according to one Congressman an immense waste of the $700,000 in tax dollars spent to float the production.

The Show Won't Go On.  After a series of lackluster reviews, the traveling global warming musical that was financed by the U.S. taxpayers is ending its run early.  The Great Immensity, a musical described as "painfully long" and "awkward," was made possible by a $697,177 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UN climate change: Obama gives cash to developing nations without any strings attached.  American and European liberals see the climate change debate, as well as the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) discussion, as an altruistic response to their global public policy concerns.  United Nations officials and leaders from developing nations, however, see the climate change discussion and the fight over MDGs as their future revenue source.

Get ready! NASA's MAVEN mission is about to reach Mars.  The spacecraft, the first mission to examine the planet's upper atmosphere, was 218 million kilometers away from Earth on Wednesday [9/17/2014] and a mere 1.2 million kilometers from Mars.

MAVEN takes off: what you need to know about NASA's new mission to Mars.  Today [11/18/2013], NASA will launch a new mission — one that cost $671 million and has been in development for 10 years — to determine what happened to the water on Mars.

The Editor says...
How will your life improve if and when NASA reaches an indisputable conclusion about what happened to the water on Mars — assuming they can tell if there ever was any water?  Such a discovery won't make any difference to anybody.  The entire project is a complete waste of taxpayers' money.

Afghan Government Asks U.S. for $537 Million Bailout.  Afghanistan's government recently asked the US for a $537 million bailout to pay its bills, and they'd like it within the next "five to six" days.  "We hope they will pay for us, and we are asking at once," Alhaj M. Aqa, the director general of the treasury at the Ministry of Finance, told The Washington Post.  "They are asking me when I need it, and I told them this week or we will have a problem."

Millions in taxpayer money used to study drunken monkeys.  The federal government reportedly has spent more than $3 million to get monkeys drunk in order to study the effect the alcohol has on body tissue.  The Washington Times reported Friday [9/12/2014] on a host of questionable grant programs administered by the National Institutes of Health, including a multi-year project to study if over-drinking causes gamblers to lose more money.

Patent office whistleblower: 'Managers have no idea when their employees are working'.  With top Commerce Department officials headed to Capitol Hill Friday [9/12/2014] to answer allegations about fraudulent practices by patent examiners, the Washington Post this week obtained copies of the whistleblower complaints that set in motion a series of investigations of the patent office.  Four whistleblowers, at least two of them managers, submitted lengthy, detailed accounts to an anonymous hotline set up by the Commerce inspector general's office in 2012.  The accounts described widespread time and attendance fraud by examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Emails: IRS worker got $138,000 to do 'nothing' — and union saved her job.  Underperforming IRS workers are being protected from firing by the National Treasury Employees Union in the tax agency that let workers devote 500,000 hours — worth over $20 million in salary — on labor activities last year, according to internal emails revealed Wednesday [9/10/2014].  The House Ways and Means Committee said that emails from former IRS executive Lois Lerner, being probed for her involvement in the agency's targeting of conservatives, show she vented at being blocked from firing one worker who did "nothing," yet still received up to $138,136 a year.

Army can't track spending on $4.3b system to track spending, IG finds.  More than $725 million was spent by the Army on a high-tech network for tracking supplies and expenses that failed to comply with federal financial reporting rules meant to allow auditors to track spending, according to an inspector general's report issued Wednesday [9/3/2014].  The Global Combat Support System-Army, a logistical support system meant to track supplies, spare parts and other equipment, was launched in 1997.  In 2003, the program switched from custom software to a web-based commercial software system.  About $95 million was spent before the switch was made, according to the report from the Department of Defense IG.

Feds Still Studying Why Lesbians Are Obese.  The federal government is still seeking answers as to why the majority of lesbians are obese and U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill, which now totals $2.87 million.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) study is now in its fourth year, receiving an additional $670,567 for fiscal year 2014.  The project seeks to determine why "nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese," and why gay males are not.  In just two years the project's budget has nearly doubled, growing from $1.5 million to nearly $3 million today, despite fears that sequestration could jeopardize the project and other NIH funding.

Federal study on lesbian obesity costs $3 million.  A federal study to determine why 75 percent of lesbian women are obese and gay men are not has totaled nearly $3 million.  The National Institutes of Health study is now in its fourth year, receiving an additional $670,567 for fiscal year 2014, for a total cost of $2.87 million, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

How many tax dollars are being spent for the FBI to promote itself?
FBI Radio: Public Service or Self-Serving?  Listen to the radio and you might run across a segment that sounds something like a news report.  A newsy music introduction plays as woman's officious-sounding voice begins narrating a story.  In a stilted delivery that appears to mimic that of a news anchor, the woman states, "In a move demonstrating the FBI's valuable role of protecting national security, Director James Comey creates a separate Intelligence Branch..."  It turns out this isn't a news report at all.  And the "news anchor" is actually a public affairs specialist.  You might call the radio spot a faux news report brought to you by the FBI.

Labor Department spends $100K on a book club.  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to account for that expense and others that the California Republican views as frivolous.  Documents released Tuesday [8/26/2014] [8/26/2014] by the committee described Labor Department spending between 2009 and the present that, besides the book club, included nearly $25,000 in entry fees for public relations contests.

Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Game the System.  The lobby of Rosewood Post-Acute Rehab, a nursing home in this Sacramento suburb, bears all the touches of a luxury hotel, including high ceilings, leather club chairs and paintings of bucolic landscapes.  What really sets Rosewood apart, however, is its five-star rating from Medicare, which has been assigning hotel-style ratings to nearly every nursing home in the country for the last five years.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'.  Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.  Nearly $300 million later, the new system is nowhere near ready and agency officials are struggling to salvage a project racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games.  While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.  It was part of a Medicare scam run by two Houston doctors who defrauded the system out of $97 million over five years.

Feds Buy Border Fence ... for Ukraine.  As part of the U.S. Crisis Support Package for Ukraine announced by the White House in April, the State Department awarded a $435,000 contract to B.K. Engineering System in Kyiv for razor wire to help "defend the newly imposed borders between Ukraine's mainland and the Crimean peninsula."  The contract was awarded on June 12, but was just posted online this week.

6 Years, $1.7 Bil Later DHS Visa System Deemed Failure.  While stories abound of government wasting our tax dollars, here is one that never the less sticks out; an automated Homeland Security system that cost a mind-boggling $1.7 billion and took nearly six years to develop has turned out to be a malfunctioning boondoggle.  Unfortunately, the government regularly fleeces American taxpayers in this manner.  The failed system was supposed to speed up the way immigration forms are processed, but instead it takes twice as long with the multi-billion-dollar, state-of-the-art flop.

U.S. Gov't Loans $64.5M for Wind Farm — in Uruguay.  The Export-Import Bank of the United States is giving a $64.5 million direct loan to a company in Uruguay for the purchase of wind turbines made by a Spanish company at one of its plants in Pennsylvania, according to the bank.  The $64.5 million direct loan to Astidey S.A., in Montevideo, Uruguay" is for "the purchase of U.S.-manufactured wind-turbine generators being exported by Gamesa Technology Corporation Inc., headquartered in Feasterville-Trevose, Penn.," reads the July 10 press release from the Ex-Im Bank.

Patent office filters out worst telework abuses in report to its watchdog.  Prompted by multiple whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began an internal investigation two years ago of an award-winning program that's been praised in and outside government:  Employees are allowed to work from home.  What the inquiry uncovered was alarming.  Some of the 8,300 patent examiners, about half of whom work from home full time, repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn't do.

While Border Agents' Morale Is At An 'All Time Low,' DHS Spends $450K For Luxurious DC Gym Memberships.  In an interview with Fox News, border agent Chris Cabrera said that the lawlessness and influx of illegal immigrants has left border agents wiped out and demoralized.  As National Review Online reports, Cabrera says he's never seen it this bad among the border force.

Homeland Security spends $450K on'state of the art' gym memberships.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is spending more than $450,000 on gym memberships for TSA agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees who work desk jobs at a procurement office in Washington, D.C.  Last month, DHS bought gym memberships for ICE workers in its Office of Acquisition to boost their morale and "improve working conditions."

Federal agencies spend millions on union business.  The Internal Revenue Service isn't the only federal agency where hundreds of employees do union business full-time on the public's dime.  "Taxpayers spent around $156 million on federal employees who did no federal work at all," said Nathan Mehrens, president of Americans for Limited Government. reported last week that union business — oxymoronically classified as "official time" — is subsidized by the IRS.  Mehrens uncovered similar behavior at other agencies.

Feds Will Spend $450K to Help Native Americans Adapt to 'Climate Change'.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to spend up to $450,000 in taxpayer dollars to teach Native American tribes in the Great Basin region "climate adaptation plans" for their hunting, fishing and gathering activities.  "Due to climate change, the natural landscapes are becoming impacted," and the "traditional practices for hunting, fishing, and gathering for ceremonial purposes" can potentially create further impacts," according to BLM's Cooperative Agreement announcement.

Obama announces $33B in commitments for Africa.  President Barack Obama on Tuesday [8/5/2014] promised more than $33 billion in public and private investments in Africa, pledging that the United States wants to deliver business and development to the rapidly booming continent, where China already has a massive presence.  Obama made the remarks as he addressed the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first of its kind and the largest event any American president has held with African heads of state and government.  Countries including China have held similar events for years as they've sought access to African markets for oil and other natural resources.

Obama to announce $14 billion in U.S. corporate investments in Africa.  President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday [8/5/2014] that U.S. businesses have committed to investing $14 billion in construction, clean energy, banking, and information technology projects across Africa, a White House official said.

Assigned no work, federal employees entertain themselves with online pornography.  At the Environmental Protection Agency, a senior official spent so much time watching pornography while on the federal clock that the Office of the Inspector General dispatched a special agent to look into it — and the official continued watching porn while the OIG agent was in his office.  At the Federal Communications Commission — which, among other things, polices pornography — employees routinely spend the equivalent of a full workday each week watching porn.  At the General Services Administration — which, like the FCC, has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies, being charged with minimizing federal operating costs — employees spend up to six hours a day watching porn on the taxpayers' dime.  At Commerce, paralegals were paid upward of $4 million to do no work — any guesses how they filled their days?

Feds Fly Unaccompanied Minors to Alaska.  As unaccompanied minors continue to illegally cross the Texas-Mexico border, President Obama's Health and Human Services (HHS) has been quietly releasing them onto U.S. soil.  A total of 30,340 unaccompanied minors have already been released from federal custody and placed into foster homes, according to HHS' Office of Refugee and Resettlement (ORR).  While many migrants have been released in border states like Texas and California, others have been set free in Alaska.

The Government Will Pay for Your Flight to Hawaii! The Catch: Only Illegal Immigrants May Apply.  Our government is so desperate to help illegal aliens settle in America that it's footing the bill for a few to fly to beautiful Hawaii!  No citizens allowed.

Union teams up with Interior for 'win-win' $3M plan to combat global warming.  The U.S. Department of the Interior announced that it will join forces with the Union Sportsmen Alliance on projects to rebuild, renew and restore national parks across the country.  The Department will grant $3 million to "Boots on the Ground" volunteer projects in several states including, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Maryland, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin.  Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called the merger a "win-win."

The Editor says...
This is money down the drain because global warming stopped almost 18 years ago.

Immigrants to be Housed in 'Suites' Near San Antonio.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday [8/1/2014] will open a remodeled detention center three hours north of the Rio Grande Valley.  The Karnes City center will house women and children who entered the country illegally through the Valley.  The 532-bed facility underwent a massive renovation to house women and children.  The center housed only adult immigrants in the past.  Immigrants will be at the facility for an average of 23 days.

It's the suite life for our little friends from South of the Border.  Come to America for the safety, but stay for the amenities.  That's the message being sent to the children of Central America by the new detention center resident center just unveiled in Karnes City, Texas by ICE, which seems to be bursting with pride over the amenities being offered our guests.

Federal paralegals had no work, so they surfed the Internet.  Dozens of federal employees at an obscure agency that handles appeals of patent applications went years with so little work to do that they collected salaries — and even bonuses — while they surfed the Internet, did laundry, exercised and watched television, an investigation has found.  The employees, paralegals making $60,000 to $80,000 a year, were idle with full knowledge of their immediate bosses and multiple layers of managers and judges who "sat on their hands" waiting for work to give them, a year-long probe by the Commerce Department inspector general's office uncovered.

Government Paying $140,368 to Take 10 Students on a 'Climate Change Journey'.  The National Park Service (NPS) is spending $140,368 to fly 10 students to Sydney, Australia so they can experience a "climate change journey."  The government announced last week they are paying for the group to attend the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Parks Congress (WPC), a global conference on conservation this Fall.

Social Security's 300M IT Project Doesn't Work.  After spending nearly $300 million on a new computer system to handle disability claims, the Social Security Administration still can't get it to work.  And officials can't say when it will.

Why the U.S. Is Building a Fantastical Aquarium in Brazil.  Soon enough, Brazil will be able to boast the largest aquarium in South America.  When it is completed in 2015, Acquario Ceará, a new public aquarium planned for the northeastern Brazilian city of Fortaleza, will easily be the world's most recognizable aquarium — an architectural statement piece if there ever was one.  It may also be the most truly American project in the Western Hemisphere.  While the backers of Acquario Ceará are aiming to create a new design symbol for South America, it will be almost entirely a product of North America.

Feds Spending $10 Million to Build Robot Companions for Children.  The National Science Foundation has committed $10 million to build robots that will act as "personal trainers" for children, in an effort to influence their behavior and eating habits.  The government has spent $2.15 million so far for the five-year project, which is being led by Yale University.  The project, "Robots Helping Kids," will ultimately "deploy" robots into homes and schools to teach English as a second language, and encourage kids to exercise.

Biden's 6-Figure Hotel Bill for One Wild Brazilian Night Brings 'Cost-Cutting Mission' to Abrupt End.  Last month it was reported that every weekend he gets a lift from D.C. to his home in Wilmington, Delaware, via Air Force Two — the V.P.'s airplane — and Marine Two — the V.P.'s helicopter.  And he often gets a mid-weekend lift back to the Andrews Air Force Base for a round of golf with the President.  Based upon the $22,000 an hour cost for the airtime, that works out to about $1 million per year in shuttling costs.  That doesn't count the cost of the 20 condominiums that the Secret Service rents in Wilmington nor the cost of Air Force Two sitting and waiting for him while he plays 18 holes of golf.

Unfathomable billions in government waste.  Improper payments result when people collect money from government programs for which they are ineligible.  For example, paying unemployment insurance to people who are secretly working is an improper payment, and needlessly adds to the already out-of-control deficit.  The GAO thinks it's likely the amount of improper payments is even higher than the $105.8 billion reported.  In its own words, "the federal government's inability to determine the full extent to which improper payments occur" represents a serious limitation on their estimates.  Some programs, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare program, do not bother reporting estimates of improper payments at all.

Gutter politics: Bush already fixed bowling lanes Obama wants to renovate with 'green' materials.  When Obama administration officials revealed plans this week to rebuild the White House's bowling lanes, they failed to mention that the George W. Bush administration paid for a renovation of the facility just before President Obama took office.  A former official in the Bush White House, John Dorff, said the bowling lanes in the basement of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were rebuilt in 2007-08 in a project that took several months to complete.  The renovations were needed to repair water damage caused by an unrelated construction project in the building.

The wrong folks get billions in tax dollars.  The federal government is continuing to dole out billions of dollars to people who shouldn't get them.  A government watchdog agency said an estimated $106 billion in payments were made in error last year:  meaning they were the wrong amount, went to the wrong person or lacked sufficient documentation.  These payments include tax refunds, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, and Medicare and Medicaid coverage.  The improper payments could be even higher since not all agencies reported to the Government Accountability Office.

Government Made 100B in Improper Payments.  Federal agencies reported making $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them.

What did $7 billion spent on opium eradication in Afghanistan buy? More opium.  With the outcome of Afghanistan's controversial presidential election still in doubt, and uncertainty over Afghan forces' ability to stand against the Taliban after most US forces withdraw, it's hard to say with certainty what the US-led war there has accomplished, or failed to accomplish.  But one thing is clear, as shown by latest quarterly report from the US Special Inspector General on Afghanistan Reconstruction:  The $7 billion US program to eradicate poppy cultivation there over the past decade has been a flop.

Potential Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren at Center of CFPB Scandal.  Possible presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who came up with the idea and led the start-up of the "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau" as a federal watchdog to prevent financial institutions from abusing U.S. consumers, is now at the center of the a scandal regarding the vanished authorization to spend $215.8 million on a luxurious remodel that included a new penthouse floor and indoor waterfall for the bureau's rented Washington, D.C. office space.  The Office of Inspector General of the United States Federal Reserve (OIG) was requested by the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Committee on January 29, 2014, to evaluate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) headquarters renovation costs that rose from $55 million to at least $215.8 million.

The U.S. State Department has its own air force.  And it's surprisingly big.  The U.S. State Department possesses just under 100 helicopters and more than 30 fixed-wing aircraft and deploys them all over the world, mostly as part of the America's international drug war.  The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs' Office of Aviation — a.k.a., the INL Air Wing — employs contractors and foreign government aviators to fly these aircraft in seven countries:  Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, Pakistan, and Peru.  The main mission of the Air Wing is to assist friendly states in their own fights against illegal drugs and narco-terrorism.  However, with its large fleet — larger than the air forces of some NATO members — the Air Wing also trains allied governments and provides general aviation support, including transportation for diplomatic missions.

Billions In Taxpayer Dollars Spent On 'Lyrical, Poetic' Embassy Architecture Overseas.  Under the Obama administration, embassy construction costs have exploded even while security — a major issue in the Benghazi scandal — has grown worse.  Now we know why.  A video released by the State Department in 2012 shows exhibits the philosophy behind a campaign begun under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to build fancy buildings overseas to enhance the nation's reputation.

State of Colorado's $58 million computer upgrade 'a train wreck'.  "A disaster in the making." That's just one way Secretary of State Scott Gessler describes Colorado's new $58 million computerized accounting system.  The computer endeavor is called CORE (Colorado Operations and Resource Engine). State agencies have been told to start using it Tuesday, July 1.  However, internal documents obtained by FOX31 Denver show the system isn't even close to ready and won't work as planned.

Federal Headquarters Costing More To Renovate Than Trump Tower Cost To Build.  A federal consumer protection agency is spending more money per square foot to renovate its Washington D.C. headquarters than it cost to build the Trump World Tower or Las Vegas's Bellagio Hotel — and the project's budget continues to grow.  That's the House Financial Services Committee interpretation of a Federal Reserve's Office of the Inspector General report that found that the cost to renovate the headquarters for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now estimated to be $215.8 million.

Nothing but the best for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau HQ.  It's another case of bureaucrats gone wild, DC mandarins lavishing money on their own offices, and spending more per square foot on renovations to existing, perfectly usable office space than it cost to build lavish buildings like Trump World Tower and the Bellagio Hotel and Casino from scratch.  But hey, four story glass staircases and two story waterfalls and sunken gardens aren't cheap.

18,709 VA Employees Make $180,000 or More.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has 59,297 employees — 17.3 percent out of 342,089 workers total — that make $100,000 or more in yearly salary, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Among those employees, 18,709 of them earn a salary of $180,000 or more.

More about VA hospitals.

EPA spends $1.6 million on hotel for 'Environmental Justice' conference.  The Environmental Protection Agency will spend more than $1 million on hotel accommodations for an "Environmental Justice" conference this fall.  The agency posted its intention to contract with the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel for its upcoming public meeting, for which it will need to book 195 rooms for 24 days.

House Leaders Question $461 Million Training Center.  The Foreign Affairs Security Training Center, years in the making, would consolidate similar training operations in one place.  To be built on 1,500 acres of public land that was home to the Fort Pickett Army National Guard in Blackstone, Va., the security training center will look and feel like a real U.S. embassy surrounded by urban-style streets, buildings, and facades, State Department officials announced in April.  Some 10,000 students per year will practice shooting on firing ranges, driving at high speeds on race tracks, and detecting improvised explosive devices.

The Editor says...
I suspect they're training for house-to-house urban combat against us!

Vets: VA's Care of Veterans Impeded by Filming of TV Series, Conference.  Dr. Roy Marokus, who currently serves in private practice, told the Free Beacon that veterans were denied care because of a mandatory conference he attended last March.  Marokus said veterans' appointments were cancelled so VA medical providers could attend the two-day conference.  Medical providers at the VA Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where Marokus briefly worked, and providers at all other VA medical centers in the Veterans Integrated Services Network, attended the conference.  A review of the paperwork handed out during the conference showed topics included advice on how to plan a party and asked the medical staff to explore, "What Color is Your Personality?"

'Scrap this broken agency': Audit finds Broadcasting Board of Governors wasted $5M.  A new State Department Office of the Inspector General audit finds that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees U.S. international broadcasting, has wasted almost $5 million in taxpayer dollars on questionable and unapproved purchases.  The State Department's watchdog coined the BBGs mishap as a "systematic failure" of acquisitions.  Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the BBG's "wasteful spending, non-competitive contracting practices, and violations of current law point to an organization without accountable leadership."

Rick Perry: Feds gobble up available rooms for illegal children — nothing left for Texans.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the federal government has taken up every bit of spare available space in his state to house the tens of thousands of illegal children flooding over the U.S. border, leaving him with no rooms for Texans who might be left homeless in a natural disaster like a hurricane.  "Were we to have a major event, I literally would not have places to house our citizens because of this influx from Mexico," he warned at a media luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.  "I am greatly concerned about the huge catastrophe that could occur with those two events happening simultaneously," he said of the potential for a hurricane hitting as the federal government continues to embrace illegal youths instead of sending them home.

Military Blows $3 Million on Boats for Afghanistan, then Secretly Cancels Shipment.  The U.S. military spent more than $3 million on patrol boats for Afghanistan in 2010 and then quietly canceled the shipment several months later with no explanation, leaving costly patrol boats unused in a Virginia warehouse for the past several years, according to new information released by a government watchdog group.  It has come to light that the military and Defense Department cannot explain why the money was wasted due to "lapses in record keeping" that have resulted in files detailing the purchase being lost, according to an investigation by the Special Investigator for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  "The military has been unable to provide records that would answer the most basic questions surrounding this $3 million purchase," SIGAR revealed Thursday [6/12/2014].

NIH Spent $480,500 to Text Message Drunks.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly half a million dollars text messaging alcoholics to encourage them to stop drinking.  Dr. Frederick Muench, an assistant professor in Columbia University's psychiatry department, is leading the $480,500 study aimed to reduce "problem drinking."

The U.S. spent $3 million on boats for landlocked Afghanistan.  The United States spent more than $3 million on eight patrol boats for the Afghan police, according to an internal audit released Thursday [6/12/2014].  That sentence is surprising for a few reasons:  [#1] Afghanistan is landlocked.  [#2] Not a single boat has arrived in Afghanistan, even though the purchase was made in 2010.  [#3] That works out to be more than $375,000 per boat.  Similar boats in the United States are typically sold for about $50,000.

VA Spent Tens of Millions on Ad Campaigns, Audits, Green Energy.  An analysis of more than $1 billion dollars in spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs on "professional services" finds several instances of questionable spending, including millions for a national ad campaign and energy programs to make VA facilities more sustainable.  The spending comes in light of the ongoing allegations of misconduct and an audit that revealed potentially fraudulent practices at 90 VA centers.

Military Back Pay & Special Compensation for Bergdahl May Lead to Big Sum.  Alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl may receive compensation by the U.S. military for being held in captivity by the Taliban for five years, depending on how his status is classified.  If Bergdahl is deemed to have been a "POW" and receives military backpay for his time of service, he could claim more than $300,000 from U.S. taxpayers.

European Reassurance Initiative: Obama announces $1bn fund.  President Barack Obama has announced plans for a $1bn (£600m) fund to increase US military deployments to Europe, during a visit to Poland.  Mr Obama, who will meet Nato leaders amid concerns over the Ukraine crisis, said the security of America's European allies was "sacrosanct".  In April, 150 US soldiers were sent to Poland for military exercises amid growing tensions with Russia.  Mr Obama will also visit Belgium and France during his tour.

The Editor says...
This is just another slush fund:  Money created by Barack Obama just by announcing it.  Where did he get a billion dollars?

The State Department's Wasteful, Dangerous Plan for More Beautiful, More Energy-Efficient Embassies.  A new State Department initiative to build unique, energy-efficient embassies across the globe is drawing criticism for both its excessive costs and the security concerns posed by the time it's taking to build new embassies.  As part of the initiative, called "Design Excellence," a new U.S. embassy in London is scheduled to open in 2017.  Six months into construction, according to a new report from CBS News, the $1 billion project is already $100 million over budget.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl May Be Getting A Huge Amount Of Money After His Release.  Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could be entitled to about $300,000 in back pay and special compensation following his release as a Taliban prisoner, experts say.  Service members designated by the Defense Department as "captive, missing or missing in action" are entitled to receive back pay and allowances, officials said.  Any additional pay and allowances earned such as promotions or special entitlements are not issued until they are officially recovered or classified as deceased.

USDA Creating $1.9 Million Research Center Devoted to Changing American's Food Choices.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is creating a $2 million research center to study how the government can "nudge" Americans toward making healthier eating habits.  The agency is currently accepting grant applications to establish a "Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research," which will facilitate studies such as how breaking up combo meals at fast food restaurants would influence customers.

Audit: State paid $12 million in health costs — for dead people.  Cook County has long been ridiculed for allowing dead people cast votes, but the state may have just garnered a new distinction.  It paid $12 million in health care for people who were already dead — including in one case, for a person who had died in 1989.  A new financial audit released by Auditor General Bill Holland's office on Thursday found that the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services had 8,232 people still on Medicaid rolls qualifying for benefits, even though they were dead.

Report shows $6.7 billion in improper Medicare payments.  Medicare paid out $6.7 billion in 2010 for health care visits that were improperly coded or lacked documentation, a report released Thursday [5/29/2014] found.  That's 21% of Medicare's total budget for diagnostic and assessment visits, according to the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general.  They found that 42% of diagnostic and assessment claims were improperly coded and 19% were improperly documented.  This comes after a 2010 report found that 1,669 physicians consistently billed for the two highest-paying codes.  In the new report, 56% of claims for those high-coding physicians physicians were incorrect, with 99% being up-coded in the provider's favor, and with 1% of the "errors" being down-coded.  Those providers cost $26 million in 2010 in incorrect coding.

Feds Paid $4.9 Million to Create Hypothetical Utopian Climate Change Future.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave nearly $5 million to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to create scenarios based on America's actions on climate change, including a utopian future where everyone rides a bike and courts forcibly take property from the wealthy.  The government has awarded $4,911,961 for the project, which is slated to run until March 2016 and for which the school has created a website suggesting different possibilities of what Yahara, a Wisconsin watershed, will be like in 2070.  In the scenario where Americans "shift our values," people live in hippie-like communes after "youth culture" convinces the world to give up their cars and eat vegetarian.

Government Agency Scraps Employee Ratings To Avoid 'Discrimination'.  One government agency has decided that the results of employee ratings are too discriminatory, and eliminated the process entirely.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Monday [5/26/2014] that it will now award all employees the highest rating regardless of performance reviews.  The CFPB, which oversees transactions in the financial sector for the federal government, decided to no longer conduct employee reviews because there were just too many apparent "significant disparities" between the races, ages, and locations of its employees.  According to American Banker, this new policy is set to cost over $5 million dollars, as it will now pay employees as if they received the highest evaluation score.

The Editor says...
In other words, this is five million dollars that will be spent to appease the perpetually offended ("I didn't get a raise because I'm black!") and lower everyone's standards to rock bottom.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau already sinking into scandal.  It's great to have Uncle Sam looking out for the little guy, isn't it?  That's why it was such a super-duper, nifty idea for Washington to summon into being the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [...] So now that they are on the job, keeping citizens safe from big banking fat cats and ensuring financial responsibility and ethics, how are they doing?  Well... pretty much on par with what you'd expect out of any massive Washington bureaucracy.

Long after announced 'resignation,' ex-Cover Oregon director Bruce Goldberg draws $14,425 monthly salary.  He was the highest profile casualty of Oregon's health insurance exchange disaster.  Bruce Goldberg, the respected, long-time director of the Oregon Health Authority, offered to resign on March 18.  Two days later, with the Cover Oregon tech mess going from bad to worse, Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that he'd shown Goldberg the door.  The resignation was "effective immediately," said officials in the governor's office.  Or so we thought.  It turns out, Goldberg never really left and is now drawing a full-time salary from the state.

Taxpayers Paid $5.6 Million for Climate Change Games.  Taxpayers paid more than $5 million to create climate change games, including voicemails from the future warning that "neo-luddites" will kill global warming enthusiasts by 2035.  Columbia University's Climate Center has received $5.7 million from the National Science Foundation for the university's "PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership," to "engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change."  Based on the theory that games "motivate exploration and learning of complex material," the school created "Future Coast," a website that features hundreds of made up voicemails painting a dire picture of the future as a result of climate change.

IRS workers spent 521,725 hours on union activities; cost taxpayers $23.5m.  The Treasury Department has revealed to the House Ways and Means Committee that Internal Revenue Service employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activities last year.  They estimated the cost to taxpayers at $23.5 million in salary and benefits.  Officials told [the Washington Examiner] that the exact hours IRS members of the National Treasury Employees Union dedicated to labor activities was 521,725 in fiscal 2013, which ran from October 2012 to September 2013.  That was slightly less than the 573,319 hours in fiscal 2012, according to the IRS, but the spending was significantly above that year's total of $16 million.

Planned Homeland Security headquarters, long delayed and over budget, now in doubt.  In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the George W. Bush administration called for a new, centralized headquarters to strengthen the department's ability to coordinate the fight against terrorism and respond to natural disasters.  More than 50 historic buildings would be renovated and new ones erected on the grounds of St. Elizabeths, a onetime insane asylum with a panoramic view of the District.  The entire complex was to be finished as early as this year, at a cost of less than $3 billion, according to the initial plan. [...] The budget has ballooned to $4.5 billion, with completion pushed back to 2026.

Fire watch officers at Paterson high school cost $445,000.  The cost of assigning special fire watch officers to International High School continues to climb even though state officials say they completed work on a requisite smoke control system seven months ago.

Feds used donations intended for poor for massages, luxuries for themselves.  Federal employees and a contractor diverted more than $1 million of charitable contributions to spending on themselves for in-office massages, meals at every meeting and other luxuries and unnecessary expenses, a government audit found.  They called themselves "volunteers" and said they needed "motivation" to help the less fortunate, even though some 41 federal workers were being paid full-time salaries to administer just one local chapter of the government's annual workplace charity drive, the Combined Federal Campaign.  They arrived a day early and stayed a day late for annual training conferences in New Orleans and Las Vegas, and paid for room service and pay-per-view movies with donated funds.  Then, they adamantly defended their right to do so when questioned by auditors.

EPA Awarded Nearly $500,000 In Improper Bonuses.  Retention bonuses are payments or rewards outside of an employee's salary that are used as an incentive to keep the employee in their current position.  According to Investopedia, the bonuses have been used during mergers and acquisitions, or to decrease corporate poaching.

Do We Need This Government Agency? 'Let Me Google That'.  The National Technical Information Service was told to catalog, warehouse and make available all manner of scientific and academic papers.  That was 64 years ago, decades before the Internet was even invented.  So what's an easy way to find those papers now?  At a computer in his Senate office, Sen. Tom Coburn is looking for one of those reports — the one about the hazardous waste.  NTIS sells it on their website:  $25 for an electronic file, $73 for a paper copy.  "There it is," Coburn says.  "There's everything you want on it.  There's the appendices, and here's the characteristics of the study.  I can print it out now.  I don't want it, but I could print it out right now on my computer and have it in 2 minutes."  How much does that same study cost at the EPA website?  That would be nothing.  Zero.

Federal subsidy for Brazilian granite hurts U.S. rivals.  Granite manufacturers are one of many U.S. industries struggling to compete with foreign competition — which makes it odd that the federal government is subsidizing a Brazilian granite project.  The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. businesses that set up operations in foreign countries.  In 2012, OPIC approved a $6 million taxpayer-backed loan to support a U.S. company expanding its Brazilian operation that extracts granite and cuts it into slabs for countertops to ship to the U.S. and other countries.  The OPIC subsidy obviously helps the recipient — Wisenbaker Building Supply — but it hurts American companies that excavate granite or shape granite blocks into countertops in the U.S.

The Editor says...
If you receive a government subsidy, don't take it for granite.

Pentagon Spending Tax Money Preparing for "Climate Change".  The phrase "fighting climate change" has taken on new meaning, with the Department of Defense factoring consensus-based forecasts of a warmer planet into its military preparedness models. [...] The problem, many critics would say, is that the DoD's "mission reality" is based on the outcome of a "political debate" — not on sound science.  Climate models that had predicted rising temperatures for the past couple of decades have proved faulty, as there has been no warming now for almost 18 years.

VA Spends Close to $500 Million on Conference Room, Office Makeovers Under Obama.  President Barack Obama has increased the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget each year since he took office, claiming the funds would give veterans the health care they deserve.  However, an analysis of records show the agency has spent close to $500 million on office furniture under the Obama administration.  This upcoming fiscal year Obama requested a 3 percent increase for the Veterans Affairs budget.  Obama's FY 2015 budget request points out he has increased the VA discretionary budget by 35.2 percent since 2009 so veterans continue to access necessary services.

More about VA hospitals:  a clear picture of what Obamacare will bring to all of us.

Obamacare Contractor Pays Employees To Do... Absolutely Nothing.  Under a Republican administration, this would be a huge scandal.  Above-the-fold coverage in The New York Times for weeks on end.  The lead story on the network news.  You know the drill.  Given this administration, however, suffice it to say that you'll only see this immense waste of taxpayer dough on a few select outlets willing to speak truth to power.  Please note that this investigation was the product of an intrepid, local news team at St. Louis KMOV.  And anyone with a modicum of sense knows that this is but the tip of the iceberg.

Employees charged with reviewing paper applications for Obamacare contractor do nothing all day, whistle blower alleges.  Employees working for Obamacare contractor Serco do nothing for days or weeks at a time, a whistle blower within the company told a local news station this week.  The employees want to work but there's not enough work to go around, the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told St. Louis, Missouri's News 4 KMOV.  The employee alleged that Serco is keeping its workforce unnecessarily high to get more money out of the federal government.

Cash for Obamacare Shirkers.  When Obamacare operatives aren't busy trashing the private health insurance market and squandering billions on useless technology, they're busy ... being idle. [...] According to at least one Obamacare paper-pusher, employees at an application-processing center in Wentzville, Mo., are getting paid to sit around and do nothing.  Investigative reporter Chris Nagus of the St. Louis television station KMOV News 4 spoke to the whistleblower.

Obamacare Contractor Pays Employees to Spend Their Days Doing Nothing.  The contractor is called Serco and local reporter discovered that, despite there not being any work to be done, the government contractor is still hiring.  "The company is still hiring," says a local reporter.  "A current employee wonders why ... After providing proof of employment, this Serco employee agreed to speak through the phone with their voice altered.  The employee says hundreds of employees spend much of the day staring at computer screens, with little or no work to do."

Cost of CFPB July Training Session Estimated at $400,000.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is planning an "all hands" meeting for its more than 1,300 employees at a hotel in Washington, D.C., this summer, with cost estimates nearing $400,000.  The agency will book up to 475 hotel rooms each night for a five-day conference in July.  The CFPB issued a solicitation on Friday, which included an attachment with the agency's request for hotel accommodations.  The event is billed as a "training meeting," which will be run by its Supervision Enforcement and Fair Lending division.

Report: Pentagon Paid $150 Per Gallon for Green Jet Fuel.  The Department of Defense (DOD) paid $150 per gallon for alternative jet fuel made from algae, more than 64 times the current market price for standard carbon-based fuels, according to a report released on Wednesday [5/7/2014].  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted in its report that a Pentagon official reported paying "about $150 per gallon for 1,500 gallons of alternative jet fuel derived from algal oil."

USAID Awards $341 Mil in April, Including $24.5 Mil for Circumcisions in Swaziland.  As April comes to an end Judicial Watch offers a sampling of some of the outrageous foreign causes that one agency alone dedicated hundreds of millions to, including $24.5 million for male circumcision in Swaziland and $71 million to improve child learning outcomes in Ghana.  Remember, this huge chunk of American taxpayer dollars was allocated in just one month by a single government agency, the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID).  With a massive budget and little oversight, USAID is charged with providing global economic, development and humanitarian assistance.  That means big bucks go to all sorts of preposterous initiatives in countries that are unlikely to be a priority for Americans as they suffer through economic hardships and high unemployment at home.

Convict Jackson Jr. Gets $8.7K A Month Disability For 'Mood Disorder'.  Whenever you hear our dear politicians in Washington DC say there's nothing more to cut or that they're just like us, let me give you a friendly reminder.  As Breitbart reported after his jail sentencing, convicted ex-congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) receives $8,700 per month in government disability pay, as well as a partial federal pension of $45,000. [...] And I wouldn't be surprised if Jackson Jr. eventually gets a pardon from his Chicago buddy, Barack Hussein Obama.

Unrequired reading.  Every year, as required by law, the U.S. government prepares an official report to Congress on Dog and Cat Fur Protection.  The task requires at least 15 employees in at least six different federal offices.  First, workers have to gather data about the enforcement of a law banning imports of fur coats, furry toys or other items made from the pelts of pets.  How many shipments were checked?  How many illegal furs were found?  The data are written into a report, passed up the chain of command and sent to Capitol Hill.  And then nothing happens.

Afghan opium production explodes despite billions spent, says US report.  Opium cultivation is estimated to be at an all-time high in Afghanistan, despite the US spending $7.5bn to combat it.  A report released Wednesday by Washington's Afghanistan war watchdog has found that the billions spent by the State and Defense departments on counter-narcotics since 2002 has been for nought.  Opium-poppy cultivation takes up 209,000 hectares (516,230 acres) of land in Afghanistan, a 36% increase since 2012.

USDA Made $6.2 Billion in Improper Payments Last Year.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made $6.2 billion in improper payments in 2013, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The OIG released an audit earlier this month that found that at least $416 million in waste could have been avoided if the agency had met its reduction targets mandated by the Improper Payment Information Act (IPIA).  In fact, the USDA has failed to comply with the law for a third consecutive year.

In NYC, A $185M Tunnel That Leads Nowhere, For Now.  The 800-foot-long, 35-foot-deep concrete trench could someday lead to two new commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River to New Jersey, if the billions needed to build them ever materialize.

Feds Spent $26.2 Million On Medicare Advantage For Illegal Immigrants.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has improperly paid millions of dollars to Medicare Advantage organizations on behalf of illegal immigrants.  In a new report released Friday [4/25/2014], the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed that for calendar years 2010 through 2012, CMS provided $26.2 million in improper payments to Medicare Advantage organizations for 1,600 "unlawfully present beneficiaries" — or nearly $16,375 per illegal immigrant.

Unsolicited proposal earns architect $500,000 from Port Authority.  The Port Authority quietly paid the world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava $500,000 for bridge designs that the agency didn't request and can't use, records show.  The 2012 payment came after two Port Authority commissioners with ties to Calatrava privately pressed agency staff to incorporate the unsolicited designs into construction of two bridges between New Jersey and New York and helped provide the architect with insider access to pitch his plans, according to internal agency documents.

Despite Rollout Failures, Federal Obamacare Employees Awarded Big Raises.  Last year employees at the federal office in charge of implementing Obamacare were given raises despite the massive failures of the rollout of the president's takeover of our healthcare system.  A recent Freedom of Information Act request made by the Washington Examiner discovered that employees of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were paid substantially more in 2013 compared to their 2012 salaries.  The CMS is Obama's "ground zero in launching and managing Obamacare."

Math mistakes lead government to pay contractors up to 3 times market rate under Davis-Bacon.  Construction workers at companies doing work for the federal government are paid as much as three times what their peers outside of government get for the same work, a Washington Examiner review of federal statistics found.  Pipefitters in Laredo, Texas, for example, can usually expect to make around $11.47 hourly, but if working on a federal contract, they must be paid at least $36.49, plus benefits.  Window installers in New York City make $18.87 an hour in the market — that's the median salary, including industry veterans — yet the government requires those doing that work for it in the New York area to be paid at least $42, even if they're inexperienced.

U.S. Releases Another $1 Billion to Iran.  The United States has released $1 billion in cash assets to Iran in April alone under the interim nuclear deal aimed at ratcheting back Iran's nuclear program, according to the White House.  The Obama administration unfroze Iranian assets totaling $550 million on April 10 and another $450 million on April 15.  The United States has now released $2.55 billion to Iran since February, when the scheduled cash infusions first began.

Medicaid paid $12 million for deceased people in Illinois, documents show.  The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

Obama administration gives Detroit $100 million for 'blight removal'.  The cash infusion by the federal government is actually going to help the city pay pensions, even though they're playing a kind of shell game with the money.  As for "blight removal," perhaps they could start with city hall.

Biden: Taking Grandkids on Trips 'One of the Great Advantages of Being Vice President'.  The Obama daughters aren't the only ones with travel privileges.  Vice President Joe Biden told a gathering on Monday that he likes to bring his grandchildren with him when he travels.  "I literally — at Christmastime, Mr. Ambassador, I always sit with the kids the last five or — and say, well, where do you want to go this year?  Because one of the great advantages of being vice president, I'm able to take, if I'm not going into a war zone, one of my grandchildren with me.  And I do take them all.  They're good kids.  They don't get in the way.  And it's a great experience."

Feds spending $750,000 to study how kid cartoons contribute to obesity.  The federal government is worried Dora the Explorer is contributing to childhood obesity.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded two grants totaling $750,000 to find out if cartoon characters are making children overweight and whether researchers can hone the marketing power of characters to sway kids' eating habits.  Both studies were awarded last June, and the project is scheduled to run until 2016.  The first grant, totaling $300,000, was awarded to Ellen Wartella, a psychology professor at Northwestern University.  Sandra Calvert, the director of the Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University, received $450,000.

Many Government Programs Have 10 Agencies Doing Same Job.  A new Government Accountability Office report reveals that government programs are often "fragmented, duplicative, overlapping, or just inefficient," USA Today reports. [...] For example, there are 10 different Health and Human Services offices that run programs related to AIDS in minority communities.  Eleven different agencies are dedicated to researching autism, and the Defense Department has eight agencies searching for prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Look At What America Is Giving To Terrorists.  Look at what America is giving these terrorists in Syria.  This is a BGM-71, one of the most widely used anti-tank guided missiles.  The weapon is used in anti-armor, anti-bunker, anti-fortification and anti-amphibious landing roles.  The TOW is in service with over 45 militaries and is integrated on over 15,000 ground, vehicle and helicopter platforms worldwide.  In other words, its serious weaponry, and its in the hands of these savages all thanks to politicians like Obama and McCain.

Rocket Science: House Conservative Targets NASA's $3 million Spent to Find Intelligent Life ... in Congress?  An Arizona conservative congressman is shining light on how President Barack Obama is using $3 million of taxpayer money to teach National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials how to lobby Congress.  In the first of a series of efforts targeting wasteful government spending, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) wrote to House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) last week to pressure him to include language banning the Obama administration from spending money on the program.

The Editor says...
NASA has run out of things to do, quite simply, and if you'd like details, go here.

IRS Wasted $11.6 Million of Computer Software.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) bought $11.6 million worth of computer software the agency never used, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).  TIGTA attributed the error to poor management and a lack of inventory of more than $200 million in software purchased by the IRS, according to an audit released Thursday [4/3/2014].

Hackers Steal $1.5 Million in Printer Ink from FBI, EPA, GSA.  Hackers were able to steal $1.5 million worth of printer cartridges from the FBI, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the General Services Administration (GSA) by placing fraudulent contract orders.

Government Wastes More Money than You Think.  [You might] wonder why Washington doesn't have a single agency to monitor and expose government waste and mismanagement of our tax dollars.  In fact, we have several.  There are 73 inspectors general at different federal agencies.  The White House contains an Office of Management and Budget that looks for ways to cut costs.  The Government Accountability Office also checks expenditures.  And so do legions of congressional staffers who are eager to help their bosses score political points.

Obama administration spending $400,000 on camel sculpture in Pakistan.  The Obama administration wants to spend $400,000 on a camel sculpture for a new embassy building in Pakistan, according to a report Monday.  BuzzFeed broke the news that the State Department has plans to commission the camel sculpture from John Baldessari, an American artist.  The art is called, "Camel Contemplating Needle."

Postal service employees use travel cards to gamble, pay bills and go bowling.  Postal employees have spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on gambling, bills and other personal expenses, according to a series of reports by the U.S. Postal Service inspector general.  Federal employees may use government credit cards for official travel expenses, but some used theirs to withdraw cash before hitting casinos.  Nearly a dozen reports on closed travel card theft investigations were obtained by the Washington Examiner in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Feds Spend $50K on Two Mitsubishis for the Albanian Border Police.  The State Department purchased two Mitsubishi pick-ups for $50,000 to be used by the border police in Albania.  The U.S. government has already bought six L200 Double Cab Mitsubishis for the Albanian Border Police (ABP), and said the two additional vehicles will "fulfill the ABP's needs."

Taxpayers paid $697,177 for a musical theater production about global warming.  The National Science Foundation awarded a grant of nearly $700,000 in 2010 to a New York City theater company so it could write and produce a play about climate change.  'The play uses real places and stories drawn from interviews conducted by the artists to create an experience that is part investigative journalism and part inventive theater,' according to the grant's online description.  'Attendance at the performances is projected to be about 75,000.'

Federal workers make up to twice as much as others doing same job.  Across the country, employees of companies with federal contracts make up to twice what others doing the same work in the region make, dramatically increasing the costs to taxpayers, a Washington Examiner analysis found.  Under the Service Contract Act of 1965, contractors are paid a minimum wage determined to be "prevailing" in the area by the Labor Department.  But those "prevailing wages" are often far off the mark, according to the analysis, which compared every SCA "district" with far more authoritative figures compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

U.S. Gives Russia Free Military Equipment Used By Army, Marines.  Behind closed doors the U.S. government is giving Russia free military equipment — also used to train American troops — even after President Obama announced punitive sanctions against Moscow and, more importantly, a suspension in military engagement over the invasion and occupation of Ukraine.  The secret operation was exposed this week by members of Congress that discovered it in the process of reviewing the Fiscal Year 2014 budget and the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.  It turns out that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been providing the Russian Federation with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), the federal legislators say.

Early Results Indicate $4.6 Billion in School Turnarounds was a Waste.  A $4.6 billion federal school improvement program aimed at the bottom 5 percent of U.S. schools has at best done nothing for them, and at worst spent money as some schools worsened, federal data show, and analysts and educators are questioning the program.  The U.S. Department of Education released a report Nov. 21 comparing average proficiency rates of School Improvement Grant (S(G) schools in 2011-2012 to the year prior.  Although some schools' academic performance improved, many worsened.  "SIG is almost certainly going to go down as one of the U.S. Department of Education's biggest and most expensive mistakes — possibly the biggest," said Andy Smarick, a partner at Bellwether Education Partners. "Schools are getting millions, and we're just not seeing anything close to the gains that were promised and are needed."

Why Does Michelle Obama's Mother Live at the White House?  Here's a question I'll bet nobody ever asked Jay Carney at a White House press briefing:  Why does Michelle Obama's mother live at the White House at taxpayer expense? [...] Now that Michelle Obama's mother has caused a disruption on the latest exotic vacation for the first lady, perhaps it is time for some answers about why Marian Robinson is even on the trip to China.  Worse, why is she appearing in official photographs with Chinese officials?

Feds flying in style: Uncle Sam's executive jets used for personal travel.  Federal officials have no qualms flying the friendly skies in style, regularly using executive jets and other planes in the government's fleet of 1,700 aircraft for everyday travel.  But they often don't track how much such trips cost or the reasons why they skipped cheaper commercial flights in favor of firing up one of Uncle Sam's aircraft.  And lawmakers in Congress — usually charged with overseeing or reining in such expenditures — have their own addiction to luxury travel with a growing tendency to fly first class.  Those findings by two separate watchdogs in Congress are the latest examples of a culture of entitlement that pervades federal spending, even in an era of supposed cutbacks and bulging budget deficits, critics warn.

$2.3M Wind Turbine at Veterans Affairs Medical Center 'Inoperable' for Last 1½ Years.  A wind turbine at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota paid for with $2.3 million in federal stimulus funds has been "inoperable" for one and half years.  According to Fox News, the "600-kilowatt wind turbine — some 245 foot [sic] tall — stands... frozen" and no one is even trying to fix it.

Veterans Affairs wind turbine, built for $2.3 million, stands dormant.  A $2.3 million federal stimulus project at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Cloud is giving green energy initiatives a bad name.  A 600-kilowatt wind turbine — some 245 foot [sic] tall — stands on the wintry VA grounds, frozen in time and temperature, essentially inoperable for the past 1½ years.  No one is working to fix it, though many attempts were made to repair the turbine, once billed as a model green energy project.

The Pentagon Spent $2.7 Billion on an Intelligence System That Doesn't Work.  Here's another item for the (long) list of spectacular waste in the Pentagon's budget:  a $2.7-billion intelligence program that's supposed to help Army troops on the ground collect and use intelligence on enemy fighters.  It sounds like a good idea, but the thing is, the Army's Distributed Common Ground System doesn't actually do that, according to report from Foreign Policy.  The article cites an internal assessment of the DCGS's effectiveness, long requested by Congress but kept under wraps by the Pentagon for eight months.  Probably because they didn't feel like talking about such a spectacular failure.

Gov't Spending $4.8M to Tell Students to 'Get Fruved'.  If a college student dressed up as a giant bunch of grapes jumped out of the shadows and told you to "get fruved," what could you possibly say?  The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is getting more than $4.8 million taxpayer dollars to develop a healthy-eating campaign that has students — dressed up as fruits and vegetables — cavorting in the hallways of higher education.

Feds spend millions dressing creepy students up as fruits, vegetables.  The federal government gave nearly $5 million to the University of Tennessee in support of its creepy healthy-eating campaign, which dresses students up as fruits and vegetables and films them terrorizing the residence halls. [...] Most of the campaign is designed and run by students.  The grant for the project was made through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Border Patrol Shifted $7M From Border Fence to Salaries.  As sequestration bore down in February 2013, the threat of furloughs for thousands of government workers was a common refrain from those warning of the dire effects of the across the board budget cuts. [...] As it turned out, DHS did not furlough any personnel, but rather relied on cuts to other areas and shifting funds from other budgets to cover salaries.  For instance, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shifted $7 million from its border security fencing account to salaries and expenses.

Bipartisan Bill Would Eliminate Useless Government Reports.  Congress is moving forward with legislation that would eliminate hundreds of useless government reports, including the annual review on "Dog and Cat Fur" by the Department of Homeland Security. [...] The legislation would eliminate 118 reports and consolidate 200 others, which range from the irrelevant to the bizarre.  A Department of Agriculture report provides a "Listing of Areas Rural in Character," and the Corporation for National and Community Service has a "Report on Reports Provided by Other Federal Agencies."

Government's Empty Buildings Are Costing Taxpayers Billions.  Government estimates suggest there may be 77,000 empty or underutilized buildings across the country.  Taxpayers own them, and even vacant, they're expensive.  The Office of Management and Budget says these buildings could be costing taxpayers $1.7 billion a year.  That's because someone has to mow the lawns, keep the pipes from freezing, maintain security fences, pay for some basic power — even when the buildings are just sitting empty.

Two weeks later, CBS runs the same story:
Empty government buildings cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.  No one has been coming to work in the USDA Cotton Annex building for some time.  Just blocks from the White House, it's been vacant for six years.  It's one of 77,000 empty buildings the government continues to own and maintain, costing taxpayers $1.5 billion a year in electric bills, roof repairs, and other monthly costs.  What's more, a recent audit found that part of the reason the costs are so high is that the government can't keep track of what buildings it owns and what shape they're in.

Feds Spend $30,410 for "Beauty Salon' in Minnesota Federal Prison.  The government is spending over $30,000 for "beauty salon" equipment for a women's federal prison, an order that includes "porcelain shampoo bowls," eight nail stations, and four massage tables.  Minnesota's Federal Correction Institution Waseca, which houses 1,030 inmates, put in an order on Thursday [3/13/2014] for multiple salon items.

Audit finds EPA workers used gov't-issued cards for dubious expenses.  A government audit found employees from the Environment Protection Agency used federally-issued charge cards to buy gym memberships, gift cards and other items that were either forbidden or not even documented.  The report by the office of the Inspector General faulted the agency for not keeping track of scores of transactions made by employees authorized to use so-called "SmartPay" cards.  It found more than half of $150,000 in expenditures singled out for scrutiny was not in compliance with federal regulations.

Inhofe: Obama Wasted $120 Billion on Global Warming Which Could Buy 1400 F-35s.  Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday [3/5/2014] at a hearing on the Defense Department's Fiscal Year 2015 budget that President Barack Obama has wasted $120 billion on global warming over the past five years — money that would be better spent on the military.  "I've been working on this for quite some time ... In the last five years, between 2009 and 2014, the president has spent $120 billion on the environmental agenda, mostly global warming, climate and that type of thing," said Inhofe.  "And in that respect, if you'll just take the amount that was not authorized by Congress — and I'm talking about the environmental agenda, you could actually buy 1,400 F-35s."

The Editor says...
Even politicians on the right make the mistake of speculating about what we "could have bought" with the money wasted on some frivolous program, without considering the best alternative:  Don't spend the money at all, especially if it increases the national debt.

As Global Debt Soars, Where's The Big Recovery?  A new study says governments around the world boosted their debts by more than 40% to over $100 trillion in response to the global financial crisis.  Where's the promised recovery from all that spending? [...] Get ready for the big tax hikes that are surely coming.  We keep hearing this is an age of austerity.  It isn't.  Governments are still ringing up record amounts of debt so they can spend more, but have nothing to show for it.

Obama proposes billions more for job training despite spotty track record.  Despite spotty evidence that the billions of dollars spent on dozens of federal job training programs are delivering results, President Obama is proposing to spend billions more as part of his $4 trillion budget plan.  On the federal level, the government already spends about $18 billion a year to provide multiple services to unemployed workers on everything from career counseling to job training and searching.  About half that money goes to Labor Department programs.

Iran to Receive Another $550 Million Cash Infusion.  Iran is scheduled to receive another $550 million in unfrozen assets from the Obama administration on Friday [3/7/2014], just days after Tehran unveiled a slew of new weapons and advanced ballistic missiles.  Iranian banking authorities on Wednesday confirmed that another $550 million is now on its way to Tehran under the interim nuclear accord inked last year with the United States and other Western nations.

Taxpayers Paid $2.4 Million to Develop 'Origami' Condoms.  Taxpayers have paid more than $2.4 million to develop "origami condoms," including male and female versions, and the "first of its kind anal condom."  Out to "reinvent the condom," Los Angeles businessman Danny Resnic has completed the first rounds of testing for three variations based on Japanese folding paper, courtesy of the National Institutes of Health.

[The] State [Department] spent more than $94 million a year on condoms, contraceptives.  The State Department's international aid branch is bidding to prevent 54 million births and help 6 million people with HIV/AIDS in 80 countries annually via a smorgasbord of tools from medicines, the pill, IUDs, and condoms scented to smell like banana, vanilla and strawberry.  In documents broadly outlining what USAID plans to buy and distribute overseas to help with birth control, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other issues, the taxpayer-funded agency revealed its population control and HIV/AIDS prevention agenda.

The Editor says...
Taxpayers in the U.S. should not pay to prevent childbirth or diseases in other countries.

CFPB must explain spiraling renovation costs.  It's about time.  That somebody called out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that is.  As the Washington Examiner's Richard Pollock reported Friday, the Federal Reserve's inspector general has opened an investigation into why what started out as a $55 million renovation of the new bureau's central headquarters has ballooned to $145 million in less than two years.

Obama marks 5th birthday of his shovel-ready spending hoax.  Like most Americans, you probably remember exactly where you were that February day when the brand-new president flew out to Denver because he could.  And there, he signed the nearly trillion-dollar spending bill, one of the largest in history.  It's one that helped take the national debt to new heights of Democratic achievement, ensuring that generations of unborn taxpayers will long remember this 44th president.  Despite minority Republican warnings that only the private sector creates real jobs, the colossal spending measure was hastily rammed through the Democratic Congress because of the economic urgency and because Obama wanted to show action in his first month.  He'd already promised to close Guantanamo by the end of 2009.

The 10 Most Outrageous Stimulus Projects.  Today marks the five-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Commonly known as the stimulus, the nearly $1 trillion law was hailed as an opportunity to bring America into the "21st century."  Just two years after the bill was signed into law, President Barack Obama admitted, "shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected."  While the law failed to create jobs as promised, it has provided plenty of examples of waste, fraud, and abuse.  Five years and at least $816.3 billion later, here are 10 ways the government wasted taxpayer money.

Obama pledges $1B in loan guarantees to Jordan.  President Obama pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees for Jordan, a Middle East ally that is dealing with a flood of Syrian refugees who have crossed the border.  The president made the loan guarantee commitment during a meeting Friday evening [2/14/2014] with Jordan's King Abdullah II at Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage, Calif.  Obama also extended an aid package for the country for five years.

Debbie Does USAF.  [Scroll down]  The F-35 "Lightning II" is the most expensive defense procurement program ever.  It's going to cost more than $400 billion to buy and, according to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, about $1 trillion for the Air Force to own and maintain over its life.  For that kind of money, you'd assume that the [...] thing would work.  But it doesn't, even in its thirteenth year of "development," as I've written before.

Bad News for Obama's Antiobesity Effort.  With the obesity epidemic in full swing and millions of American living in neighborhoods where fruits and vegetables are hard to come by, the Obama administration thought it saw a solution:  fund stores that will stock fresh, affordable produce in these deprived areas.  But now, three years and $500 million into the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, there's a problem:  A study suggests it's not working.

IRS employees to receive bonuses.  I generally don't think much of bonuses for government workers anyway.  Why give someone extra for just doing his job?  If we're going to hand out bonuses, then we should also cut the salaries of people who screw up.  Like IRS employees.

U.S. Taxpayers Fund $52K Study of 16 Schizophrenic LGBT Canadians.  American taxpayers are paying over $52,000 to study 16 LGBT individuals who have schizophrenia in Toronto, Canada.  The research project, "Defining Community for LGBT People with Schizophrenia," will follow the lives of a handful of lesbian, gay, and transgender individuals for one year to study the societal "barriers" of this group.

U.S. Spends $2.7M to Study Impact of TV on Area of Vietnam That Lacks Electricity.  The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $2,797,979 on a study that brings television to more than a dozen remote villages in Vietnam to study its impact on their culture and reproductive behavior.  "In cooperation with the Vietnam government, we have selected 14 villages in a remote, mountainous area of Vietnam that currently lacks electricity," according to the grant description for 'Television and International Family Change:  A Randomized Experiment.'  "Treatment villages will receive televisions and generators with gasoline to operate the televisions.  Control villages will not receive generators or televisions."

Millions in farm subsidies flow freely to DC residents who don't actually farm.  Washington, D.C., doesn't have many farms, or farmers.  Yet thousands of residents in and around the nation's capital receive millions of dollars every year in federal farm subsidies, including working-class residents in Southeast, wealthy lobbyists on K Street and well-connected lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  In neighboring Chevy Chase, Md., one of the nation's wealthiest communities, lawyers, lobbyists and at least one psychologist collected nearly $342,000 in taxpayer farm subsidies between 2008 and 2011, according to the watchdog group Open the Books.

EPA to Invalidate 30 Million Fuel Credits After Fraud.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it has invalidated 33.5 million renewable-fuel credits sold by an Indiana company for biofuel it didn't produce, the fourth time the agency has alleged fraud in the program.  The filing today [12/18/2013] follows fraud charges filed against the former owners of the Indiana-based E-Biofuels LLC in September.

Federal government continues to lose billions to waste, fraud and abuse.  Despite progress in reducing improper payments, federal agencies continue to lose billions annually to waste, fraud and abuse.  The federal government lost $261 billion, or 7 percent of total spending, to fraud and waste in 2012, said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) during a February [2013] House committee hearing.

Two men just defrauded the Renewable Fuel Standard credit system for $37 million.  From agriculture and energy subsidies to food stamps to Medicare and Medicaid, the feds lose hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars every year via the nefarious deeds of people who scam the system.  It couldn't be that Big Government is both a vehicle for costly, bureaucratic inefficiency as well as an enabler of opportunities for said waste, fraud, and abuse, could it?

Omnibus Spending Bill Continues Funding Food Stamp Ads in Mexico.  The omnibus spending bill before Congress continues to fund U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advertising programs for food stamps in foreign countries like Mexico, Breitbart News has learned. [...] The funding will continue despite claims in a document the House Appropriations Committee published that the bill contains a "prohibition" on such programs.

Omnibus Funds 'Permanent Extended Coffee Break' for Dozens of DOJ Employees.  Hans von Spakovsky has the inside scoop of the new omnibus spending bill.  Most notably, the new bill funds the government jobs of dozens Department of Justice employees who no longer have any work to do after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

Report Finds More Flaws in Digitizing Patient Files.  Although the federal government is spending more than $22 billion to encourage hospitals and doctors to adopt electronic health records, it has failed to put safeguards in place to prevent the technology from being used for inflating costs and overbilling, according to a new report by a federal oversight agency.

The Editor says...
The government is spending $22 billion on encouragement?  That must be a euphemism for coercion.

Justice Department will spend $544,000 on a new LinkedIn profile.  The U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division is paying $544,000 for a shiny new LinkedIn profile, in the wake of a partial government shutdown that followed a top Democrat's assurance that 'the cupboard is bare, there's no more cuts to make.'  While Congress was wrangling in December over how many billions to trim from future budgets, Washington bureaucrats were spending like teenagers with their first credit cards.

OPM: Nearly $85 Million Paid to Dead Federal Retirees in 2013.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) erroneously paid $274 million in benefits to deceased federal retirees over the past three years, including $84.7 million in 2013 alone, according to the agency's annual financial report.  OPM's FY 2013 financial report released in mid-December revealed that improper "overpayments" to deceased federal annuitants under its retirement program reached $102.9 million in FY 2011, $86.1 million in FY 2012, and $84.7 million in FY 2013 for a total of nearly $274 million during that three year span.

Don't Let Death Stop your Social Security.  Uncle Sam, always generous to a fault with taxpayers' money, doled out about $108 billion in Social Security benefits to the dead in 2012.

Dead or alive? Social Security can't always say.  Federal auditors said Friday the Social Security Administration still struggles with a basic problem — figuring out who is dead and who is not.  The question is a crucial one, since federal agencies rely on the administration to cross-match data on deceased persons and avoid paying out federally funded benefits to people who aren't alive, or to establish accurate benefits for survivors.  The administration also maintains a "Death Master File" that is available to the public.

Department of Labor Gives $5 Million Dollar Grant to Morocco.  From the Department of Labor press release:  ["]The project aims to reduce child labor in the Marrakesh-Tensift-Al-Haouz region of Morocco by promoting children's participation in educational programs and delivering vocational training focused on sectors, such as farming and ecotourism.["]

White House Damage Control: Obamacare Repeal Will 'Cost too Much'.  [I]t is a bit hard to understand how repealing the Affordable Care Act could cost more than the millions that is being inefficiently spent to enroll single applicants.  Early in November, for instance, it was discovered that the five Obamacare enrollees for the District of Columbia cost the taxpayers a hefty $26.7 million each.  Other states have seen similar waste, one source estimating that the cost for all enrollees nationwide had been $14,000 each.

National Lampoon's ObamaCare Vacation.  Enrollment and technical dysfunctions and security breaches akin to the 36 federal exchanges continue to beset Minnesota's operation, called MNsure.  On Tuesday [12/17/2013], April Todd-Malmlov, the exchange's executive director since 2011, resigned under political duress. [...] Out in Hawaii, Coral Andrews stepped down from her position running that state's exchange on the same day as Ms. Pearce.  Fewer than 500 people have enrolled thus far in the Aloha State's exchange, despite having received $205,342,270 in federal exchange planning and establishment grants.

N.J. public servant wants job No. 6.  There are double dippers and then there is Patrick DeBlasio, a man with five public jobs in New Jersey.  He now wants one more.  DeBlasio wants to increase his workload by adding at least 10 hours a week as Highlands' new chief financial officer.  His annual compensation totaled $244,606 in 2012, according to state pension and payroll records.  If hired in the new position, DeBlasio would be paid up to $65,000, a portion of which could be shared with an assistant, borough officials said.

The EPA's Million-Dollar Con Man.  As a senior policy adviser in the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation, [John C.] Beale dealt with his workplace malaise by convincing his bosses that he was a CIA operative whose top-secret work required him to be out of the office for long periods of time — including one stretch that lasted 18 months.  Sometimes Beale claimed to be in Pakistan.  Other times he claimed to be at CIA HQ in Langley.  In reality, the agency's top climate-change expert spent most of his time puttering around his Northern Virginia home or at his vacation house on the Cape, collecting his salary (plus bonuses!) while doing zero work.

Sen. Tom Coburn's annual Wastebook catalogs government waste in lean times.  The federal government this year made significant cuts to important services and programs while at the same time wasting $30 billion on frivolous expenditures like the "pillownauts" study NASA conducted to learn the effects of lying in bed all day, a new watchdog report shows.  Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., on Tuesday [12/17/2013] released his fourth annual "Wastebook," a catalog of questionable government spending that is, at best, pretty wacky (funding for "Popular Romance Project" — $1 million) and, at its worst, infuriating (continuing pay for Army Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter — $52,000).

Wasted: Feds pay to collect human urine.  Facebook, the hot technology company that is earning more than $1 billion in revenue, won't pay any taxes on its income this year and instead probably will get a major refund from federal taxpayers, according to Sen. Tom Coburn's annual roundup of wasteful spending.  Among the nearly $30 billion of unnecessary spending that the Oklahoma Republican identified in this year's "Wastebook" were taxpayer dollars going to buy human urine, to purchase crystal goblets at the State Department, and to pay $18,000 apiece to "pillownauts" — people whom NASA recruited to lie on a bed for two straight months.

Sen. Coburn's Wastebook: extravagant government spending amid claims cupboard is bare.  Despite a warning last July 31 from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that under sequestration, "We risk fielding a force that is unprepared due to a lack of training, maintenance, and the latest equipment," Coburn found DoD is leaving 2,000 MRAP's — Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles — behind in Afghanistan to be destroyed rather than delivered to other bases.  MRAP's were rushed through the procurement process in 2007, as I.E.D attacks took an increasing toll on NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Each MRAP cost $500,000 to build, Coburn's report says.

Nothing Left to Cut: Budget Deal Spares $30 Billion in Waste.  Now that the Senate is on board with a budget deal that busts the sequester spending caps, lawmakers can finally stop all that dreadful cost-cutting — before they hit vital projects like NASA's 3D Pizza Printer.  The bipartisan budget deal, which will add $63 billion in spending, came just in time.  After all, "the cupboard is bare," as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., put it awhile back.  "There's no more cuts to make." [...] In addition to its $125,000 3D Pizza Printer effort, for example, NASA is spending $3 million on a space-aged study into how Congress works, and another $390,000 on a YouTube cartoon about global warming.

'Complete waste': Army Corps flushed $5.4M on 'unusable' trash incinerators, probe finds.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers paid $5.4 million for shoddy trash incinerators that were delivered years behind schedule and never used, leaving soldiers at an Afghanistan base with no other option than to keep burning waste in open-air pits, according to an internal probe.

HHS Spending $55.5 Million to 'Bolster' Healthcare Workforce as Obamacare Causes Doctor Shortages.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is spending an additional $55 million to "bolster" the healthcare workforce, as Obamacare contributes to shortages in the industry.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last week that her agency will provide over 270 grants "from diversity to dentistry" to address worker shortages in the healthcare industry.  The funding includes $45.4 million to support the nursing workforce, $5.2 million of which will go towards "improving nursing diversity."

The Editor says...
The government is really good about pretending to solve problems that don't exist, when in reality they are pandering to specific constituents:  How many people have complained about a lack of "nursing diversity?"  And how much does diversity cost, anyway?

State Department defends $1 million sculpture for London embassy.  The State Department on Friday [12/6/2013] defended its decision to commission a $1 million sculpture for the American embassy in London just days before the partial government shutdown in October.

State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown.  While the rest of the government prepared to shut down this fall, the State Department was busy stocking up on embassy liquor supplies.  In September, the final month of the fiscal year, the State Department spent about $180,000 — and racked up a total of more than $400,000 for the whole year, three times the entire liquor tab for all of 2008.

Dozens of Russian diplomats have been ripping off Medicare for years.  Almost 50 Russian diplomats and members of their families have been charged in a massive health care fraud scheme, officials announced Thursday [12/5/2013].  Federal officials allege that 58 of the 63 births to Russian officials living in New York between 2004 and 2013 were fraudulently paid for by Medicare at a cost of roughly $1.5 million to US taxpayers.  The Russians were applying for these benefits while emptying their pockets at famed stores such as Bloomingdale's, Jimmy Choo's, Prada and Tiffany & Co, officials said.

Obama reveals $100 million HIV research initiative.  Obama says his administration is redirecting $100 million into the project to find a new generation of therapies.

The Editor says...
(1)  The money is being redirected from where?  (2)  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of therapy, and AIDS is one of the most easily preventable diseases in the world.

Nebraska's Tax Dollars at Work: Promoting a New Outlet Mall.  The grand opening festivities for Nebraska Crossing Outlets began one day before the official opening with a fashion show featuring former University of Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne and continued Friday [11/15/2013] with live remotes, deejays and giveaways including Husker football tickets and a Land Rover Evoque.  It's not clear which of these grand opening festivities might constitute your tax dollars at work, however, since Gretna city officials refused to divulge much information about how the $16.7 million in subsidies for "marketing and communication" is being spent.

NSF Spends $82,525 to Study Self-Defense by Millipedes.  The National Science Foundation spent $82,525 on a one-year grant to study on the self-defense of bioluminescent millipedes.  "Animals use myriad strategies to avoid predation — camouflage, spines, and toxins are among a few.  Animals that are toxic, inedible, or otherwise noxious often advertise this by a warning signal, for example the yellow and black stripes of a yellowjacket or the rattle of a snake," the award abstract said.

No remorse, no hesitation, no stigma at all.
During chilly November, feds jet off to Caribbean resort at taxpayer expense.  Down go the temperatures, and away go the bureaucrats to the Caribbean, nonetheless.  A group of federal officials skipped chilly Washington this month for a taxpayer-funded trip to the Virgin Islands in the name of protecting the world's coral reef.

USAID programs hit by fraud, corruption and bid-rigging allegations.  USAID, the government agency in charge of distributing tax dollars to foreign aid projects, once again is being hit with allegations and audits exposing how fraud and corruption are undermining its programs.  Though the government says it's taking "steps" to address the problems, the multiple reports reflect a decades-long problem with how USAID money is administered and, critics say, how little has been done to fix it.

MAVEN takes off.  Today [11/18/2013], NASA will launch a new mission — one that cost $671 million and has been in development for 10 years — to determine what happened to the water on Mars.

NASA Aims for Mars, With Robotic Maven Set to Soar.  The Maven mission will cost $671 million over its entire lifetime.

NASA launches new spacecraft to orbit Mars.  You may have heard it before:  Billions of years ago, Mars probably looked more like Earth does now, with clouds and oceans and a much thicker atmosphere. [...] So what happened?  Where did the air and water go? [...] NASA says the mission will cost $671 million.

The Editor says...
NASA — or at least CNN — presumes to know what Mars looked like "billions of years ago."

IRS Sent Hundreds of Checks to One Address in China.  The IRS, which is adept at targeting conservatives and which is the enforcement arm for Obamacare, sent 655 tax refunds to one address in Lithuania!  They sent 343 tax refunds to one address in China!  It apparently never occurred to them that this could be identity fraud.  There is no one minding the store.

Our Cash For Obama's Clunkers.  The last five years of American economic policy has been a sad and expensive replay of what governments should never do.  Amidst the uproar over the pathetic ObamaCare website rollout, many Americans missed the stinging report about Obama's Cash for Clunkers program.  Not surprisingly, it was a failed program that cost us $1.4 million for each job allegedly created — a perfect representation of the failure of government-led economies.

Agencies can't always tell who's dead and who's not, so benefit checks keep coming.  The U.S. government has a problem with dead people.  For one thing, it pays them way too much money.  In the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased.  The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who had passed away.  And an aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 of the dead.

Bankrupting America: Or, Gorbachev's revenge.  Starting in the 1930s with Social Security and unemployment insurance and continuing right through the introduction of the subsidized health-care insurance program known as Obamacare on Oct. 1, the U.S. Congress has provided a helping hand to any and every cause that can put together a street demonstration, a petition or (these days) a website.  And the enemies of America know this.  They are not stupid.  So they are using our compassion as a weapon against us, just as we used the Russians' urge for world dominance as a weapon against them.  Call it Gorbachev's revenge.  Our enemies know that we truly care about people as individuals and want to assist everyone in achieving a better life, so we have been challenged to do more than we possibly can.

Watchdogs: Government Paid Millions in Medicare to Deceased, Illegal Immigrants.  The Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paid out $23 million to beneficiaries after their deaths in 2011, according to one report from HHS' inspector general.  Another report tallied more than $28 million in payments from 2009 to 2011 to individuals who were in the country illegally.  In all, CMS paid Medicare benefits to 4,139 illegal immigrants and 17,403 deceased people, according to the two reports.

Medicare paid millions to dead patients, illegal immigrants, probe finds.  Medicare paid $23 million for dead patients in 2011 and $29 million for drug benefits for illegal immigrants from 2009 to 2011, according to a report Thursday [10/31/2013] from the Health and Human Services inspector general.  The investigators said Medicare has safeguards to try to stop payments to dead patients, but it still ended up sending out the $23 million anyway.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the same agency that is struggling to fix the broken Obamacare website — acknowledged the problems and said it will try to take steps to fix them.

Stick a Fork in Obama.  America put men on the moon.  Now, with 3½ years and a half a billion dollars, we can't even build a website.  This is how much Barry and his ilk have degraded the brand.  We used to be the shining light on the hill.  Now, we are darkness at the end of the tunnel.  Barack Obama has been the worst thing that has ever happened to the Oval Office, and in the end, ObamaCare will seal his fate as a failed president.  Three and on half years ago, who would have thought that the most emblematic part of the Affordable Care Act, would be the website?  Yet, they already have more than a half a billion dollars in for something that doesn't work at all.  Just imagine how much they will spend to fix it.

Former Dept. of Veterans Affairs chief pleads the Fifth.  A former assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs pleaded the Fifth on Wednesday [10/30/2013], refusing to testify about a pair of taxpayer-funded human resources conferences in 2011 that cost a scandalous $6.1 million or more.  John Sepulveda oversaw the conferences, which included the screening of a parody video based on 'Patton,' whose production cost the Treasury more than $52,000.  But in front of the House Oversight Committee, he chose to remain silent, [...]

Coburn attacks National Park Service for wasteful spending while parks themselves fall into disrepair.  Taxpayers shell out $52,000 a year to maintain the home of Black History Month founder Carter Woodson.  Yet the tiny, dilapidated row house in northwest Washington D.C., with a "No Trespassing" sign and iron bars blocking the front door and windows hasn't seen a visitor in the seven years since the National Park Service bought it for $2.1 million and designated it a National Historic Site.  Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., points to the house as one tiny symbol in a sea of dysfunction in the National Park Service.  The Service, with its comparatively small budget, is, he says, a microcosm for wasteful spending in the federal government.

Global warming gets nearly twice as much taxpayer money as border security.  The White House reported to House Republicans that there are 18 federal agencies engaged in global warming activities in 2013, funding a wide range of programs, including scientific research, international climate assistance, incentivizing renewable energy technology and subsidies to renewable energy producers.  Global warming spending is estimated to cost $22.2 billion this year, and $21.4 billion next year.  At the same time, the federal government will spend nearly $12 billion on customs and border enforcement this year.

Government 'Mining' Social Media for Information on Health Behavior.  The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is "mining" Facebook and Twitter to improve its social media footprint and to assess how Tweets can be used as "change-agents" for health behaviors.  The NLM, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will have software installed on government computers that will store data from social media as part of a $30,000 project announced last week.

Federal Employees Receive Full Pay for Shutdown Period — Even If They Didn't Work.  Much ink was spilled earlier this month about the plight of federal workers who were furloughed due to the budget impasse.  One federal employee union even bafflingly likened its members to "indentured servants."  But now, quietly, federal workers are receiving full pay for the shutdown period, whether they worked or not.  In fact, some furloughed employees will receive special overtime and holiday premiums on top of their regular paychecks, just as long as they were scheduled to work overtime or on Columbus Day.

BLS: Gov't Workers 'Absent' 50% More Than Private-Sector Workers.  A government worker is 38 percent more likely to be absent from work for personal reasons or illnesses than a private-sector worker, and government workers miss 50 percent more of their usual work hours as a result of such absences than do private sector workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Arrival of Obamacare puts focus on IRS tax-credit scandal.  The program is the Earned Income Tax Credit, through which the federal government gives out between $60 billion and $70 billion to low-income working Americans each year.  It's known as a "refundable" tax credit, but it is basically a transfer payment, in which the IRS sends a check — perhaps even $5,000 every year — to workers who have little or no tax liability.  The problem is, the IRS does little to determine whether recipients actually qualify for the money.

What to Cut? Gov't finds wasteful spending hard to shake.  In the realm of government excesses, it's hard to top a series of grants recently awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that have drawn the scrutiny of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.  Sessions wrote acting NEH Director Carol Watson this week asking why it awarded $25,000 for a study entitled, "What is the Good Life and How Do I Live It?"; $23,390 for a study entitled, "Why are Bad People Bad?"; and $24,990 for yet another study called, "What is a Monster?"

After troops leave, U.S. to lose access to Afghan reconstruction projects worth billions.  As coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan, U.S.-funded reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars in far-flung regions of the country will soon be impossible for American officials to safely visit and directly inspect.

Your tax dollars: $24,953 to research 'meaning of life'.  What is the meaning of life?  The answer is worth $24,953, at least according to the National Endowment for the Humanities, a taxpayer-funded federal agency that is providing an educational grant to study the question.

It's Ted Cruz's Fault!  Texas Senator Ted Cruz is why ObamaCare is having 'glitches' a month after its $600 million rollout — software any contractor could have designed for one million.  The president explained that Apple also had glitches when OS7 was rolled out.  He is correct and Apple fixed theirs in 24 hours.  That's the difference between private and government enterprise.

ObamaCare spending to top contractors tops $1 billion.  The price tag usually associated the Affordable Care Act rollout is $394 million, based on a Government Accountability Office report.  [Peter] Gosselin argued that study was too narrowly focused, so he expanded his search of a federal contractor databases to include all awards where the acronym "ACA" or other related words and phrases appeared.  "In looking at the full range of ACA-related contracts for just 10 firms, the BGOV analysis found more than $1 billion worth of contract awards," he wrote.

Another IRS Triumph.  The earned-income tax credit, or EITC, is a major welfare program intended to supplement the incomes of the working poor.  It is "refundable," which means you get the credit even if you pay no income tax.  In 2011, more than 27 million families received EITC payments of nearly $62 billion.  But here's the catch:  The IG report says that in 2011 at least 21% of those payments and as much as 26% were "improper."  The percentages in 2012 were 21% and 25%.  In other words, at least one of every five dollars, and maybe one in four, of EITC payouts were in some way undeserved.

Investigator: IRS paid more than $110 billion in improper tax credits over past decade.  The Internal Revenue Service paid out more than $110 billion in tax credits over the past decade to people who didn't qualify for them, according to a Treasury report released Tuesday [10/22/2013].  The Earned Income Tax Credits were intended for poor working families.  In his report, IRS inspector general J. Russell George said more than one-fifth of all credits paid under the program went to people who didn't qualify.

With U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, American military gear sold as scrap.  The armored trucks, televisions, ice cream scoops and nearly everything else shipped here for America's war against the Taliban are now part of the world's biggest garage sale.  Every week, as the U.S. troop drawdown accelerates, the United States is selling 12 million to 14 million pounds of its equipment on the Afghan market.

Reality Check for  [A] lot of people would like to know how the federal government showered $634 million on a host of IT contractors to build, a website that has had the worst debut of any product since New Coke.

The Army's $5 billion New Uniform Already Being Replaced.  Eight years after spending $5 billion on a heavily-criticized universal camouflage pattern, the Army is back at the drawing board looking for a new design that's estimated to cost another $4 billion.

US quietly releasing $1.6B in Pakistan assistance.  The U.S. has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan that was suspended when relations between the two countries disintegrated over the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden and deadly U.S. airstrikes against Pakistani soldiers.

Another ObamaCare 'Glitch': $30B blown on non-operational medical record system.  The rollout of ObamaCare has been plagued by problems these past two weeks, as thousands complained they couldn't sign up for coverage due to a deeply defective website.  But this process could have been easier if a nine-year, government-backed effort to set up a system of electronic medical records had gotten off the ground.  Instead of setting up their medical ID for the first time, would-be customers would have their records already on file.  Unfortunately for patients — and taxpayers — the long-running project has produced tangibly few results despite costing the government, so far, at least $30 billion.

Insight: As Obamacare tech woes mounted, contractor payments soared.  A Reuters review of government documents shows that the contract to build the federal online insurance website — key to President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform — tripled in potential total value to nearly $292 million as new money was assigned to the work beginning in April this year.

Just how much does cost?  Government officials deny the price tag on the troubled ObamaCare website is as big as $634 million, as widely reported on Thursday.  Nonetheless, a close look at the cost of and the overall architecture of this giant federal program reveals no real bargain for the American taxpayer.  "What a train wreck.  How can we tax people for not buying a product from a website that doesn't work?" Speaker of the House John Boehner demanded on Wednesday [10/9/2013], as report after report indicated that the software problems experienced by the online portal were nowhere near being resolved.

Postal Service Destroys 'Just Move' Stamps Over Safety Concerns.  The stamps, which were aimed at getting children to be more active, featured kids cannonballing into a pool, skateboarding without kneepads, and performing a headstand without a helmet.

We paid over $500 million for the Obamacare sites and all we got was this lousy 404.  The site itself, which apparently underwent major code renovations over the weekend, still rejects user logins, fails to load drop-down menus and other crucial components for users that successfully gain entrance, and otherwise prevents uninsured Americans in the 36 states it serves from purchasing healthcare at competitive rates —'s primary purpose.  The site is so busted that, as of a couple days ago, the number of people that successfully purchased healthcare through it was in the "single digits," according to the Washington Post.

How the government spent $634 million on the Obamacare website and it still doesn't work.  The federal government has spent $634 million on the Obamacare website — more than it cost to build Facebook or Twitter, it was revealed today. [...] The price tag for the broken healthcare site is more than six and a half times higher than what the government initially meant to pay.

Obama Spent $634 Million to Build Broken Website.  I could have built him a broken website for only $633 million.  But I have trouble even taking in or believing that number is real. [...] Google managed to build an index of 60 million pages while basically being run by two guys with $100k in seed money.  Sure they had Stanford's computers, but this was supposed to be backed by the US government.  Data centers are expensive.  That's why you used to see Twitter's Fail Whale so much.  But Facebook spends $50 million a year on data centers.  And it rarely goes down.

Government spends $47k on mechanical bull as a National Guard recruitment tool seven days into shutdown.  Seven days into the government shutdown it has been revealed that the National Guard has bought a $47,000 mechanical bull.  The National Guard contract was awarded to a Pennsylvania company tasked with supplying the device as a way to attract new recruits.

Obama Continues to Violate His Own 'Stimulus' Law by Not Releasing Quarterly Reports.  Have you heard much about President Obama's $787,000,000,000 economic "stimulus" (now estimated to cost $831,000,000,000) lately?  In its last report, published in 2011, the president's own Council of Economic Advisors released an estimate showing that, for every $317,000 in "stimulus" spending that had by then gone out the door, only one job had been created or saved.

Committee Reveals Widespread Disability Scheme.  A Kentucky lawyer made millions off Social Security disability programs, devising a scheme with a judge to approve fraudulent claims at an "assembly-line" rate.  A two-year investigation led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed a case of coordinated fraud responsible for the approval of billions in claims.

New Air Force cargo planes fly straight into mothballs.  The Pentagon is sending $50 million cargo planes straight from the assembly line to mothballs because it has no use for them, yet it still hasn't stopped ordering the aircraft, according to a report.  A dozen nearly new Italian-built C-27J Spartans have been shipped to an Air Force facility in Arizona dubbed "the boneyard," and five more currently under construction are likely headed for the same fate, according to an investigation by the Dayton Daily News.  The Air Force has spent $567 million on 21 of the planes since 2007, according to purchasing officials at Dayton's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

State Dept. Awards $5M Contract for Crystal Stem and Barware For Embassies.  Just a week before the government shutdown kicked in on October 1, the State Department awarded a five-year, maximum $5 million contract for custom handcrafted crystal stem and barware, according to a report in the Valley News, an online news site in Vermont.

Tribes Mishandle Funds, Go Unpunished.  American Indian tribes have been caught misappropriating tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, according to internal tribal audits and other documents.

New York's pampered pooches get a $5 million park and dog run thanks to Uncle Sam.  TriBeCa, one of Manhattan's most affluent neighborhoods put a federal windfall worth millions into play this past summer.  Local brass decided to spend the $5 million earmarked in 2005 not on subways or bridges but to bankroll a dog run and install an immaculate landscaping along a waterfront park, MailOnline has learned.

Serving Our Government Masters.  [George] Washington once said that government is "a troublesome servant and a fearful master."  Government has long ceased being a troublesome servant and has become our fearful master.  Today the servants of the people have more servants of their own than many kings and queens.  The government shutdown has forced Obama to make do with only a quarter of his 1,701 person staff.  That would leave 436 "vital" employees.  The 90 people who look after his living quarters would be slashed to 15 to "provide minimum maintenance and support".

Shutdown Preparations Prove Most Government Is Waste.  When the government shuts down, the president will do without three-fourths of his White House staff — 1,265 taxpayer-salaried federal workers.  That's a fraction of the government's total waste.  House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who didn't show up to vote on the budget last week, recently claimed, "the cupboard is bare.  There's no more cuts to make" in a government that spends almost $4 trillion each year.  But it's funny how when the massive state apparatus is starved of its cash flow, lots of things magically appear in that bare cupboard.

Bankrupt ideas lead to bankrupt governments.  Medicare fraud and abuse alone now costs more than $115 billion per year, and even though the problem is well known, it persists decade after decade, as Mrs. Pelosi and her colleagues do nothing to stop it.  But then, again, it is not their money that is wasted.  According to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. government has 77,000 unused or underused buildings that cost taxpayers $1.67 billion annually to operate and maintain.  The list goes on and on.

Fiscal Monkey Business.  As the budget histrionics continue, both parties are slyly doing what Congress does best — spend more money.  We reported last week that the GOP House has already agreed with Senate Democrats to raise spending in 2014 by $19 billion over the Budget Control Act caps — to $986 billion from $967 billion.  But now Senate budget experts have identified in the spending bill some $18 billion more of mostly phantom savings from "changes in mandatory spending programs," also known appropriately enough as Chimps.

Oklahoma senator calls out Congress for blowing money on 'fruity' grants.  One Washington lawmaker says the fiscal fight in DC needs to be refocused on millions of dollars being blown on new government grants that include everything from spending on social media for apples, Christmas tree initiatives and a YouTube video promoting the proper handling of watermelons.  And that's just this week alone.

Detroit to Receive "Not-Bailout" from Federal Government.  Detroit is going to receive an infusion of cash, courtesy of the federal government.  The municipality declared bankruptcy this summer and is trying to avoid having to pay the $18 billion in liabilities it has accrued, with court battles and protests raging all the while.  Final details will be worked out in Detroit by an Obama administration delegation led by Gene Sperling, head of the White House National Economic Council, which sounds like something out of an Ayn Rand novel. [...] The ostensible purpose of the meeting is not to talk about bailouts (which aren't happening, everyone insists) but rather to discuss plans to "lift up" Detroit, "to expand opportunity and renew this world-class city."

Obama administration plans $320 million to aid Detroit recovery.  Top Obama administration officials will head to Detroit on Friday [9/27/2013] to announce nearly $320 million in federal and private aid as the city grapples with the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

Meet the slush funds Obama used to bail out Detroit.  According to the Detroit Free Press, [Gene] Sperling "wasn't immediately able to break down" exactly how much of the money awarded represents "new funding" for Detroit, but he did say "much of it represented an effort by administration officials to scour their departments for funding that Detroit could access."  In other words, this is all the cash Obama could scrape together after looking for spare change in between the couch cushions of the federal government.

U.S. sells $50 million green-tech loan at sharp discount.  The U.S. Department of Energy recovered only about one-sixth of its $50 million green-technology loan to Vehicle Production Group LLC, a maker of wheelchair-accessible vans now under new ownership.

Not Even Fisker's Fire Sale Can Dampen DOE Enthusiasm for 'Investments'.  After the Department of Energy announced this week it had given up on not-bankrupt-but-should-be Fisker Automotive, and will auction off its loan for a pittance, you'd think (and hope) Congress would have had enough of this kind of thing.  Senator John Thune certainly has.  "The Obama administration has gotten into the business of picking winners and losers at a significant cost to taxpayers," said the South Dakota Republican yesterday [9/18/2013].

How will anyone benefit from this?
FDA Spending $182,814 to 'Better Understand' Social Media.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is paying six figures to a group that worked for the "Obama for America" campaign to monitor its social media platforms so it can be more effective on Facebook and Twitter.  The agency awarded $182,814 to IB5k, a company billing itself as "the People Who Brought You Obama '08," to provide "comprehensive coverage" of the FDA's social media websites.

Kerry to Spend $10 Million to Fight 'Gender-Based Violence'.  "Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday the provision of $10 million in funding for a new U.S. initiative, Safe from the Start, to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies worldwide.  Secretary Kerry emphasized that in the face of conflict and disaster, we should strive to protect women and girls from sexual assault and other violence," reads the State Department press release.

The Editor says...
If Mr. Kerry wants to waste $10 million of his own money, that's one thing.  But spending taxpayer dollars (by the million) to chase down feminist problems in other countries is not the proper role of government, to put it politely.

House CR Forks Over $174,000 for Late Senator's Wife.  There are many things House Republicans liked about the government continuing resolution.  It defunds Obamacare, locks in the sequester spending cuts and keeps the government running.  But there's one provision tucked into the CR that may anger constituents back home:  Among the various sections of the House-passed CR are 28 words that would pay $174,000 to the widow of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J. [...] Before Lautenberg's death, he was No. 8 on Roll Call's 50 Richest Members of Congress with a net worth of at least $56.8 million.

House eliminates payout to wealthy senator's widow.  After an outcry, the House has dropped a $174,000 payment to the widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg from its stopgap spending bill.

U.S. Makes $1.2 Bil in Disability "Overpayments".  In a recent example of egregious government waste, the U.S. has doled out more than a billion dollars in disability benefits to tens of thousands of people who were not supposed to get it.  One recipient got $90,000 — nearly twice the median annual income in the U.S. — without being detected by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency that hands out the cash.  Others raked in $74,000 and $57,000 without raising any alarms.  In all, 36,000 people who didn't qualify for SSA disability money received an astounding $1.29 billion without getting caught, according to a federal audit.

Budget Cuts, Political Sensitivity Preventing Military Spending Reform.  While it is important for the U.S. military to be prepared for whatever unexpected conflicts arise, [Senator Tom] Coburn said [9/18/2013] there are ample opportunities for the Department of Defense (DOD) to operate more efficiently.  He noted the consolidation of the Air Force's operations at its three strategic depots, which he said would save $1.6 billion, and Army requests for as much as $2.5 billion for equipment needs like cargo planes that can be met for $100 million as examples.

Undocumented LA County Parents On Pace To Receive $650M In Welfare Benefits.  A projected $650 million in welfare benefits will be distributed to illegal alien parents in 2013, county officials said Monday.  Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced the latest figures from the Department of Public Social Services, which showed more than $376 million in CalWORKs benefits and food stamps combined have been distributed through July to illegal alien parents for their native-born children.

Also posted under welfare programs attract illegal immigrants.

Flying carrot, winged guitar, not health care, featured in new $3.2m Obamacare ad.  New Obamacare ads targeting Oregon residents never mention health care reform or the system's new health care exchanges opening Oct. 1, and instead feature psychedelic Images of people flying through the air singing, "Long live Oregonians, we're free to be healthy."  The so-called "Free" ads cost $3.2 million.  What's odd about the ads for Cover Oregon is the lack of information about Obamacare [...]

State Dept. to Spend $450K for Green Jobs — in Morocco.  The State Department through its Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs plans to spend $450,000 to create green jobs in Morocco.  "Morocco has set the goal to become one of the world's largest sustainable economies by 2020, with an emphasis on creating green jobs in:  renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental and natural resource management, and improvement in environmental technologies," the grant announcement said.

Google's Brin, Page lose Pentagon fuel subsidy on private jets.  Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have lost a jet fuel perk, according to a new report.  Google and the Pentagon inked a deal, which started in 2007, that let Google purchase fuel for its entire fleet — seven jets and two helicopters — at a discounted price from the US government, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google Jet Fleet Loses a Pentagon Fuel Perk.  The agreement between the Google founders and the government, which started in 2007, ended Aug. 31 after officials at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration — which sponsored the arrangement — opted not to renew it, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman.

DOE to Lose Tens of Millions on Green Car Company.  The Department of Energy (DOE) will likely lose tens of millions of dollars on a loan extended to a green vehicle company with ties to a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama.  The news comes days after DOE announced that it would restart the loan program responsible for lending taxpayer funds to the struggling company.  The department loaned $50 million to the Vehicle Production Group in March 2011.  It announced this week that, after recouping a small amount of that loan, it will sell the remaining $45 million debt to AM General for $3 million.

Sequestration nation: DoD doles out $7 billion in wind-energy contracts.  Why the Obama administration insists upon using the military as a sponsor of what they, rather than the free market, have arbitrarily and falsely deemed to be practical and cost-effective sources of energy, it pains me to think on — but the point is that the U.S. military is currently choosing to spend big money on energy sources that do not offer them the biggest bang for their buck.  Even better, the Pentagon dished out a similarly sized set of contracts for solar energy companies last month; and this is all on top the Navy's push to outfit a number of cruisers, destroyers, and fighter jets with biofuel-blended gas.

The art of saving: Bill would cut funds for official portraits.  The capital is full of portraits of government officials, sometimes more than one of the same person. [...] But in budget-conscious Congress, an effort is underway to put an end to the practice of taxpayers footing the bill for the commissioned paintings.  The measure is dubbed the Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting, or EGO, Act.

Energy Department loses a casual $42 million on failed loan to green van company, no big deal.  [T]he Department of Energy just got some sweet news about yet another project in government venture socialism.  Yet another of the beneficiaries of their ghastly loan guarantee program has made it to the end of the line, and not in a good way.

Palestinian Authority takes $148M from US, doles out 'grants' to convicted terrorists.  The Palestinian Authority is doling out millions of dollars in cash grants to convicted terrorists recently released from Israeli prisons in a program announced the same day as the P.A. accepted $148 million in the latest round of U.S. aid.

U.S. Failed to Reduce 'Food Insecurity' Despite Spending Billions More.  Despite a $6 billion increase in food assistance spending, there was no reduction in the number of American households that are "food insecure," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The USDA says its food programs "increase food security."  However, the agency's spending through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) increased by $6.4 billion from 2011 to 2012 with no statistically significant change in the level of food insecurity.

Feds Spending $2.2 Million to Study Lesbian Obesity.  The National Institutes of Health awarded an additional $682,873 to Brigham and Women's Hospital for the study on July 17.  The project had received previous grants of $778,622 in 2011, and $741,378 in 2012. Total funding has reached $2,202,873.  The project has survived budget cuts due to sequestration, which the NIH warned would "delay progress in medical breakthroughs."

Former senior EPA adviser Beale expected to plead guilty in $900,000 pay fraud.  Over the past 12 years, John C. Beale was often away from his job as a high-level staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency.  He cultivated an air of mystery and explained his lengthy absences by telling his bosses that he was doing top-secret work, including for the CIA.  For years, apparently, no one checked.

Grounded TV Marti plane [is] a monument to the limits of American austerity.  At an airfield in rural Georgia, the U.S. government pays a contractor $6,600 a month for a plane that doesn't fly.  The plane is a 1960s turboprop with an odd array of antennas on its back end and the name of a Cuban national hero painted on its tail.  It can fly, but it doesn't.  Government orders.

Electric Losers, Round Two.  A leading candidate for the biggest government failure in recent years is the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM), which stopped doling out loans in 2011 after funding such debacles as Fisker Automotive.  But this is the Obama Administration, where nothing in government fails, so naturally new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz wants to revive it.

State Department Begins Work on New $178M Embassy Complex in Benin.  This week, the State Department announced that [...] construction has begun on a new $178 million embassy complex in the small West African nation, a neighbor of Togo and Nigeria.  As is often the case in the construction of new U.S. diplomatic facilities, the plans include a number of "sustainable" features including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, wastewater reuse, and LED lighting.

The Editor says...
Why must the United States have an embassy in every country?

DHS spends $600,000 to buy $100,000 homes.  The Homeland Security Department spent $600,000 apiece to build houses in Arizona that would have gone for less than $100,000, according to a report in the Arizona Republic that's raising questions in Congress.  "This type of spending is irresponsible as our nation faces significant budget deficits and the men and women in the Border Patrol face cuts in overtime that are essential to their mission," Rep. Ron Barber, Arizona Democrat, said in a statement Friday [8/16/2013].

Pentagon Car Rentals: We Don't Try Harder.  The old saying is that no one washes a rental car.  It's a little bit different at the Pentagon.  Over there, they rent a lot of cars for travel by staff in and around the capital.  They don't need to wash many of them, either — because they drive them so rarely.  That's the bottom line in a Pentagon inspector general's report released Thursday showing that 511 of the 774 vehicles leased by four Pentagon offices in 2011 — two out of every three — weren't driven enough miles annually to warrant their rental.

The United States Constitution vs. Barack Obama.  SUNY Buffalo received $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana.
Montana received $2.2 million to install skylights in their state-run liquor warehouse.
$30 million for a spring training baseball complex for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
The Coast Guard gets $572 million to create 1,235 new jobs.  This comes to $460,000 per job.
$11 million for Microsoft to build a bridge connecting its two headquarter campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway.
$1.15 million to install a guardrail for a persistently dry lake bed in Guymon, Oklahoma.

Left-Wing Labor Protesters Funded by Taxpayer Dollars.  Using a combination of federal grants and grants from left-leaning organizations, the Restaurant Opportunity Center, or ROC, is technically a charitable nonprofit and not a union.  But their pro-worker messages, anti-employer protests and self-proclaimed goal of organizing service sector employees for the purposes of negotiating higher wages make ROC look and sound much like a labor union. [...] While the Restaurant Opportunity Center is working to increase wages for some workers, they are getting paid, in part, with federal tax dollars.

Golden hammer: Medicaid innovation programs ran up $32 billion tab, watchdog says.  When the government approved letting states experiment with new ways to deliver Medicaid services, it promised the innovations wouldn't cost taxpayers any extra money.  Somebody in the bureaucracy, however, failed to keep track.  A new report by the chief watchdog for Congress finds that the so-called demonstration projects have cost taxpayers as much as $32 billion more than if the program has just been left alone over the last five years.

Great Green Waste: Are Military Contracts the New Obama Stimulus?  The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest energy consumer in the United States.  To meet its energy needs, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) executes contracts to purchase fuel and electricity on behalf of the service branches.  These contracts present opportunities for the federal government to provide de facto subsidies, should they choose to purchase more expensive sources of energy than is necessary.  For the purposes of this report, subsidies are defined as disbursements by the federal government that have an identifiable federal budget impact and are specifically targeted at energy production.  If the government pays more than the fair market value for a good or service, particularly in a closed-bidding process, this amounts to a subsidy.

Wetlands Protection.  Remember how the sequester was going to force the federal government to slash vital services?  Not only didn't it happen, but the Labor Department's Women's Bureau is still in operation.  As its acting director, Latifa Lyles, explains in a blog post, the bureau was established in the year of Helen Thomas's birth to "promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency and advance their opportunities for profitable employment."  If you thought that mission was accomplished sometime around 1973, think again.

Cory Booker Spent $100 Million in Education Money on Political Consultants.  Newark Mayor and U.S. Senate Candidate Cory Booker claims he cares about education, but a new ad produced by the American Commitment Fund shows Booker squandered $100 million in education funds donated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on political consultants, focus groups, mailing and polling.

Time to Sequester Insipid Federal Research.  These studies include: how to ride a bike; when dogs became man's best friend; whether political views are genetically predetermined; and why the same teams always seem to dominate the NCAA basketball tournament.  More recent studies funded by the NSF include "how power affects empathy" and an assessment of "the role of optimism and pessimism in shaping the political beliefs and behavior of Americans."  Most of these ill-advised projects are funded by the [National] science foundation's Social, Behavioral and Economics Directorate.

The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope.  Very few of the proposals submitted for NSF financial support represented transformative scientific research according to most grant reviewers surveyed.  Taxpayers may also question the value of many of the projects NSF actually chose to fund, such as:  How to ride a bike; When did dogs became man's best friend; If political views are genetically pre-determined; How to improve the quality of wine; Do boys like to play with trucks and girls like to play with dolls; How rumors get started; If parents choose trendy baby names; How much housework does a husband create for a wife; and When is the best time to buy a ticket to a sold out sporting event.

Money for nothing.  Writing in the The Atlantic magazine, Orszag and Bridgeland estimate that less than $1 out of every $100 in federal spending "is backed by even the most basic evidence that the money is being spent wisely."  Instead, they write, "spending decisions are largely based on good intentions, inertia, hunches, partisan politics, and personal relationships."  Orszag and Bridgeland offer infuriating examples, drawn from experience, of programs that were either useless or at best questionable and yet continued to get billions because somebody knew somebody and every item sounded like a good idea.

Questions raised about IRS executive travel.  A new report by the inspector general of the IRS found that a small group of top executives at the IRS ran up "extremely high travel expenses" in recent years, with some basically commuting each week to work in Washington, D.C. by plane from around the nation. [...] An IRS source told me the most frequent travelers were four different officials inside the tax agency who "work" in Washington, at IRS headquarters, but actually live in Dallas, Minneapolis and Atlanta.

Fraud fighter in $$ shock.  The acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security flouted nepotism rules by employing his wife, and took multiple jaunts, at taxpayers' expense, to Florida, according to documents obtained by The [New York] Post.

$10.33 billion in energy loans pressured by the White House and POTUS approved, now at risk.  [Scroll down]  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Biorefinery Assistance Program, funded through the energy title of the farm bill, which was first introduced in 2002, also provides government-backed loan guarantees to support renewable energy, as they did with Range Fuels and others, since 2009 for about $1.02 billion.  In the Range Fuels case, which received a $76 million federal loan from the Bush administration in 2007, and over $80 million from the Obama administration in 2009 ($46 million DOE grant and a $40 million USDA loan guarantee), eventually went bust in 2011.

IRS Overpaid Earned Income Credit By Nearly $111 Billion, Treasury Report Says.  The Internal Revenue Service has overpaid the Earned Income Tax Credit by at least $110.8 billion since 2000, according to a recent Treasury Department inspector general report.  That is more than double the $53 billion of sequester cuts expected in 2013, totaling less than 2 percent of outlays, and puts the lie to those who suggest there is nothing to cut in the federal budget.

Audit: Workers at costly Veterans Affairs job center took average of 2 calls a day.  The Veterans Affairs Department is spending millions on employment call centers where workers have handled as few as one or two calls a day ever since the facilities opened in October 2011, according to a recent inspector general report.  The two centers are operated and staffed by a private contractor and were opened to increase the number of veterans working for the department.

364 Billion Ways the Government Wastes Your Money.  In 2012, the GAO produced a 428-page study that outlines inconceivable duplication, overlap, and fragmentation which can be cut back to save over $360 billion every single year!  The GAO report should be required reading for taxpayers and presidents because it includes Mitt Romney's claim of 47 different federal programs for job training, 20 programs devoted to homelessness, 17 grant programs for disaster assistance, 17 programs for technical assistance to entrepreneurs with 5 of these entrepreneur programs being run by USDA.

Millions Missing, Misspent at Texas Housing Authority: Auditor.  The Harris County (Texas) Housing Authority is a generous landlord, one that gave its tenants $8,500 in gift cards to Walmart for Christmas in 2011.  But that sort of unrestrained spending — on tenants, on memorabilia, on failed real estate deals, on its own salaries and especially on contracts with two firms connected to two former board members — has dissipated the agency's fund balances from $37.9 million to $1.6 million between 2009 and 2012, according to an audit recently published by the inspector general of the Texas Department of Housing and Urban Development.

More about waste and fraud in the welfare state.

Defense Dept. Memo Decries Having Too Much Money, Urges Spending All Of It.  An internal email from a Department of Defense agency calls its budget "too large" while at the same time urging colleagues about the importance of spending "100% of our available resources."  The June 27 memo, obtained by the Washington Post and sent by the Defense Information Systems Agency, said, "Our available funding balances remain large in all appropriations — too large to spend" on just unfunded requests.

Military spending millions to protect gophers, while workers go on furlough.  A total of 650,000 civilian employees are now being furloughed at U.S. military bases in response to sequester cuts — but the Department of Defense is still spending millions to protect fuzzy critters.  Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington state just received a $3.5 million department grant to purchase land around the base in an effort to protect the Mazama pocket gopher, a species that has not even been listed as endangered or threatened.

Feds Unwilling or Unable To Stop Illegal Checks.  A Long Island, N.Y., woman has spent nearly two years trying to convince the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service that persons with Hispanic-sounding surnames using her address to obtain tax refunds from the IRS are part of a fraud scheme.  She has not found a government agency that will stop the phony tax refunds from arriving in her mailbox.  Instead, federal and state authorities pass the buck.  The checks, including some offering payment for Hurricane Sandy "relief" to people who may not exist, keep coming.

Military dumps $34M into Afghanistan HQ that US forces won't use.  The U.S. military blew through $34 million on a hulking headquarters in southwestern Afghanistan that probably will never be used by U.S. forces, in an example of government waste that has military commanders fuming.

Another Fine Mess Obama's Gotten Us Into In Mideast.  Is it too late, Mr. President, to get a refund on the billions in aid you gave the Islamist thugs in Egypt?  How about the F-16s and Abrams tanks you sent?  It's now painfully obvious you invested in the wrong regime.

Why Call it Intelligence?  The American Intelligence Community (IC) is starting to resemble a large cast of delinquents, a Faustian opera where bad behavior seeks constant rationalization and confirmation.  And like most bad behavior, the real remedy might not be that complicated. [...] Ironically, the 9/11 attack in New York, the worst warning failure since Pearl Harbor, produced a knee-jerk windfall for American Intelligence.  Like public school systems, failure became a kind of fiscal stimulus.  Subsequently, government agencies that could embed "terrorism" in their mission statements were showered with tax dollars.

54 Months: Record Stretch of 7.5%+ Unemployment Continues.  [Scroll down]  In a February 2013 report on the impact of Obama's stimulus law — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) — the Congressional Budget Office said that it estimated the law would have the net effect of increasing federal budget deficits by $830 billion between 2009 and 2019.  CBO also estimated that the stimulus had the impact in the last quarter of 2012 of lowering "the unemployment rate by between 0.1 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points."

Videos Obtained by Judicial Watch Reveal Costumed Parodies, Playacting at GSA.  Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained more than a half-dozen, newly uncovered videos from U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) which show senior GSA officials and staff participating in costumed playacting and parodies.  These videos are evidence of GSA's extravagance, which, along with the scandalous 2010 Las Vegas regional conference, were revealed in a scathing April 2012 inspector general (IG) report.  These videos had been available on GSA's website prior to the release of the IG Report but were removed shortly thereafter.

IG report: State Department spent $630,000 to increase Facebook 'likes'.  The State Department spent over $630,000 to increase Facebook "likes" for four of its pages on the social-networking site, according to an inspector general's report.  The efforts, which involved advertising initiatives between 2011 and March 2013, increased the fan numbers for each page from about 100,000 to more than 2 million, the report said.  But employees complained that the agency was "buying fans," according to the inspector general.

The high price of Astroturf:
Hillary Clinton's State Department Spent $630,000 on Facebook.  Only two percent of the people who "liked" the Facebook pages shared or commented on the items.  The program faced problems when Facebook changed its approach to news feeds, making the campaign less viable.  Instead, the bureau now pays for sponsored ads to keep content visible.

State Department bureau spent $630,000 on Facebook 'likes'.  State Department officials spent $630,000 to get more Facebook "likes," prompting employees to complain to a government watchdog that the bureau was "buying fans" in social media, the agency's inspector general says.  The department's Bureau of International Information Programs spent the money to increase its "likes" count between 2011 and March 2013.  "Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as 'buying fans' who may have once clicked on an ad or 'liked' a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further," the inspector general reported.

DOT to Spend $1.8 Million to Encourage Kids to Walk, Bike to School.  The Transportation Department's Federal Highway Administration is planning to spend $1.8 million to encourage students to bike and walk to school through the establishment and operation of a National Safe Routes to School Clearinghouse.

The Editor says...
The Department of Transportation is spending serious money to tell kids to walk to school.  What kind of transportation is that?

Obama unveils $7 billion power initiative for Africa.  U.S. President Barack Obama pledged $7 billion Sunday [6/30/2013] to help combat frequent power blackouts in sub-Saharan Africa.  Funds from the initiative, dubbed Power Africa, will be distributed over the next five years.

'Waist' of money at Guantanamo Bay as detainees get prison's 'infidel' gym replaced.  Americans are supposed to have sympathy for the accused terrorist detainees now on hunger strike to protest supposedly cruel conditions at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. [...] But just a few years ago, detainees got so plump from overeating hummus and other dishes from the camp's Islamically correct menu that commanders specially ordered treadmills to help them lose weight.

Washington's $279 Billion Fraud.  If you think the federal student-loan program looks like a bad deal for taxpayers, imagine how it would look with honest accounting.  And now you don't need to imagine thanks to a new report that's receiving far too little attention.  Turns out that the official "savings" for taxpayers of $184 billion over the next decade really add up to $95 billion in losses.

US to Spend $771M on Planes Afghans Can't Use.  The U.S. government is about to spend more than $771 million on military aircraft that the Afghan people "lack the capacity to operate," according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

IRS credit cards used for wine, pornography, IG report says.  Another government watchdog report has flagged inappropriate behavior at the IRS, this time claiming government credit cards were used to make questionable purchases on items ranging from wine to online pornography.  The report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that between fiscal 2010 and 2011, the more than 5,000 IRS card accounts racked up $103 million in purchases.

IRS Sent $46,378,040 in Refunds to 23,994 'Unauthorized' Aliens at 1 Atlanta Address.  The Internal Revenue Service sent 23,994 tax refunds worth a combined $46,378,040 to "unauthorized" alien workers who all used the same address in Atlanta, Ga., in 2011, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).  That was not the only Atlanta address theoretically occupied by thousands of "unauthorized" alien workers receiving millions in federal tax refunds in 2011.  In fact, according to a TIGTA audit report published last year, four of the top ten addresses to which the IRS sent thousands of tax refunds to "unauthorized" aliens were in Atlanta.

Tax dollars spent on public broadcasting are being squandered on facilities like this:
NPR flaunts its wealth as MSM struggles.  An understandable wave of envy is sweeping through the Beltway mainstream media, in the wake of NPR (formerly known as National Public Radio) showing off a spectacular new headquarters building in Washington, DC.  NPR is spending big on creating a pleasant work environment while most other news media companies are cutting back and laying off.  The controversy started last Tuesday, when NPR offered a media tour of its new facility.

NPR Shows Off New Facility.  NPR recently moved from Chinatown into its new 400,000 square-foot home on North Capitol, and they're excited about it.  Eager to show off the new facility, the organization offered a tour to members of the media Tuesday morning [6/18/2013], starting with breakfast from their in-house chefs, along with some talking points from CEO Gary Knell, who outlined some impressive features of the space.

Big Pill to Swallow: Taxpayers to Pay for Illegal Immigrants' Med School.  "The university's Stritch School of Medicine not only intends to waive legal residency as an admissions requirement for applicants but aims to offer a financing plan through a state agency."  Yes, that's right, not only is Loyola admitting illegal aliens to its medical school, it is also handing you, the Illinois taxpayer, the bill for their education.

$45K for bloody mary mix, $213K for strawberries among federal subsidies that must end, Coburn says.  Even as it's cutting food programs for poor women and children, the Agriculture Department is still spending money on housing for wealthy residents on Martha's Vineyard and paying companies to run marketing campaigns for alcohol, pickles and jelly, according to a top senator who wants to see those priorities changed.

Stuff like this used to be called Army Surplus.
Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown.  Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014. [...] Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home.

Uncle Sam's Yard Sale: Gov't looks to unload Afghanistan war hardware.  After 12 years of war in Afghanistan, officials are now pondering what to do with $50 billion in equipment half a world away — including combat vehicles, dining rooms, gyms, clothing and more.  "A lot of this stuff, you're not really concerned about bringing it back," said Jim Hasik, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.  "I mean if a Coke machine falls into the hands of the Taliban, this is just not a big disaster."  But eventually, much of the gear will trickle down to the public.  With the click of a mouse the spoils of war can be yours on  Each day, new items appear on the site — as bases around the country release unneeded items — from rafts and trucks, to fire engines and pretzel stands.

The Editor says...
I wouldn't mind having a fire truck, but I don't want to go to Afghanistan to pick it up.

IRS Hiring 'Diversity and Inclusion Specialist,' Starting at $123,758/Year.  The IRS is looking to hire a "diversity and inclusion" specialist, with a minimum salary of $123,758 a year.  The opening for a full-time "Supervisory Diversity and Inclusion Specialist" at the agency's national headquarters in Washington, D.C. was announced on June 11 and is open until June 24.  The Diversity Specialist will "serve as a change agent to provide strategies, solutions, training, tools, resources and thought leadership on diversity and foster inclusion" across the workplace and "build internal awareness" for diversity and inclusion throughout the agency.

HHS spent $36 million on meetings for bureaucrats.  Coming on the heels of revelations that the IRS spent $50 million on more than 200 employee conferences, it may be inconsequential to find out about $20,000 for a dental conference, $30,000 for a meeting in New Jersey and $1 million for a Head Start gathering.  Except perhaps to millions of American taxpayers who grow either more angry or weary every time they hear — as they so frequently do these days — of yet another federal employee conference of dubious value and excessive expense.  The outlays for the dental, New Jersey and Head Start conferences were part of the $36 million spent on such events by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2009, according to the House Education and the Workforce Committee chaired by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.

Taxpayers spend $41.3 million in a year to advertise food stamps, a 6-fold increase over last decade.  Spending on advertising and outreach for food stamps has increased six-fold since 2000 — reaching $41.3 million in 2011, according to a new GOP report.  According to calculations released by Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions Budget Committee staff, using data from the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service, in the year 2000 spending on advertising for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — was approximately $6.5 million.

DOD Makes $1.1 Bil in "Erroneous Payments" in One Year.  Though it may seem inconceivable to the taxpayers that fund this atrocity, a major government agency with a monstrous annual budget loses such large sums of money to waste and fraud each year that it has no idea how much and nothing has been done to stop the hemorrhaging.  What we do know, thanks to a federal audit released this month, is that the amount of public funds lost to waste and fraud amounted to at least $1.1 billion in one recent year alone though it's likely much higher.  The actual figure will never be pinned down because financial management shortcomings at the agency, the Department of Defense (DOD), are too severe.

State Employee Gambles Nearly $1 Million in Taxpayer Money at Casino.  The former fiscal director of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals stole more than $1 million in taxpayer money over a six-year period and spent more than $600,000 of it at a local casino, CBS WAFB reports.  She has been charged with theft by fraud, money laundering and malfeasance in office and faces a prison sentence of up to 115 years.

Kerry quietly approved $1.3 billion in arms to Egypt.  US Secretary of State John Kerry quietly approved sending $1.3 billion in arms to Egypt in May, waiving the requirements of a US law meant to promote democratic development in the post-revolutionary country.

U.S. quietly allows military aid to Egypt despite rights concerns.  Secretary of State John Kerry quietly acted last month to give Egypt $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid, deciding that this was in the national interest despite Egypt's failure to meet democracy standards.

Secret Man Caves Found in EPA Warehouse.  A warehouse maintained by contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency contained secret rooms full of exercise equipment, televisions and couches, according to an internal audit.  EPA's inspector general found contractors used partitions, screens and piled up boxes to hide the rooms from security cameras in the 70,000 square-foot building located in Landover, Md.  The warehouse — used for inventory storage — is owned by the General Services Administration and leased to the EPA for about $750,000 per year.

'Deplorable' Conditions Cited at EPA Warehouse in Maryland.  The report found that the 70,000-square-foot warehouse — one of EPA's largest — was storing large amounts of expensive, unused equipment, ranging from computers to pianos.  It also found numerous security and safety issues.  "Personally identifiable information and agency sensitive files — such as passports and legal files — were located in unsecured open boxes throughout the warehouse," the report states.  "There was a locked office inside the facility for which we could not determine a purpose."

GITMO Offers 'Resume Writing' Class for Terrorists.  The 166 terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay are offered a course in "interviewing and resume writing" as part of their indefinite stay at the prison camp.  Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) lists the variety of classes and activities it offers to the terrorist trainers, financiers, bomb makers, recruiters and facilitators who are housed at Gitmo.  Among them:  "Interviewing and Resume Writing "and "Writing Success."

House panel: Report finds $50M for IRS conferences.  Already under siege, the Internal Revenue Service was cited by a government watchdog for a $4.1 million training conference featuring luxury rooms and free drinks, even as conservative figures told Congress Tuesday [6/4/2013] they had been abused for years while seeking tax-exempt status.

More information — none of it favorable — about the IRS.

IRS Spent $1.1 Million on BlackBerries and Aircards It Didn't Use.  According to an audit report released in January 2013 by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internal Revenue Service spent $1 million in taxpayer dollars to purchase BlackBerry™ smartphones and wireless internet "aircards" — that subsequently went unused.  According to the report, "The IRS paid approximately $1.1 million during Fiscal Year 2011 for 13,878 aircards and 754 BlackBerry™ smartphones that were not used for periods of three months to one year.  [Moreover,] TIGTA identified 45 aircards and 68 BlackBerry™ smartphones that were not used at all for the entire 12 months of the fiscal year."

IRS Worker Used Federal Plastic For Amazon Buys.  Entrusted with a government credit card, an Internal Revenue Service worker allegedly used the plastic for a years-long shopping spree that netted her hundreds of items, including a chocolate fondue fountain; Bollywood movies; Pampers; Harlequin romance novels; Omaha Steaks; Apple Bottoms skinny jeans; mango body wash; and a Ginsu knife set.  Yetunde Oseni, 37, was named this month in a U.S. District Court felony complaint charging her with embezzling government funds.  Oseni has worked since 2000 as a secretary in an IRS office in Lanham, Maryland.  According to a court filing, Oseni was given a Citibank MasterCard for the "purchase of office supplies for her business unit."

$19.5 Mil to Study Effect of Climate Change on Cows.  Just when you thought the U.S. government's global warming frenzy couldn't possibly get any worse, the Obama administration announces that it's dedicating a whopping $19.5 million to study the effect of climate change on cows.  This crazy story comes via the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is giving several academic institutions the cash to support research, education and other activities associated with climate solutions in agriculture.  The goal is to uncover the impacts of climate variability and change on dairy and beef cattle, according to an agency announcement released this week.

The Editor says...
Cows have been around longer than people, and so far the cows and the people have adapted every time their surrounding climates changed.  Also notice that "global warming" is now called "climate change", because there is no global warming at the moment.

Stimulus: $152K to Get Lesbians Ready for 'Adoptive Parenthood'.  While the White House claims its stimulus package "supported as many as 3.5 million jobs," none were yielded from a $152,000 project to ready lesbians for "adoptive parenthood."  The $833 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus, awarded the tustees of Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., $152,000 to interview roughly 50 lesbian couples about their adoption experiences.

Feds Spend $402,721 on Underwear That Senses Cigarette Smoke.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $400,000 to a research project involving underwear that can detect when a person smokes cigarettes.  The University of Alabama has received two grants totaling $402,721 for the project, which so far has produced a "very early prototype" of the monitoring system, which — in its current state — fits like a vest.

The Editor says...
I doubt if the vest can tell the difference between first- and second-hand smoke.  But more importantly, who needs a device like this, and for what purpose?

$12 million to help Bengal tigers survive global warming — in Bangladesh.  Stymied in its war on global warming in the United States, the administration is taking its fight overseas and into Bangladeshi jungles to help the Bengal tiger survive the effects of climate change.  While the most numerous of all tigers, there are only about 2,500 left in the wild and 440 in Bangladesh, where the U.S. Agency for International Development is shopping around a four-year, $10.8 million to $12 million grant to help establish the "Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity."

Wasn't enrollment in Obamacare supposed to be quick and easy?
HHS budgets $150m to teach people how to enroll in Obamacare.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that HHS will spend $150 million to teach people how to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges, after a Democratic senator scolded her for running a poor "public information campaign."

Obama's $2.5M Hotel and 'Vehicle Rental' Tab on Last Mexico Trip.  According to recently discovered documents relating to the costs of that trip, taxpayers paid nearly $2.5 million for hotel and "vehicle rental."

Obama admin paid at least $2.5 million for hotel rooms and rental cars during one meeting in Mexico.  The Obama administration spent between $2.52 million and $2.77 million for hotel rooms and rental cars during the president's 2012 trip to Mexico for a G-20 summit, MailOnline has learned.  Government travel documents available online show that the State Department contracted with a travel agency to spend between $1,889,383 and $2,078,327 on hotel rooms alone, for the President, the Secret Service, and the rest of the State Department and White House staff and VIPs.  And rental cars for the trip cost between $630,760 and $693,836, according to a separate contract document.

New Video Slams Unbuilt Ike Memorial for $142 Million Cost to Taxpayers.  So far, the Eisenhower Memorial Committee has spent more than $30 million on the yet-to-be built monument, and the total estimated cost of the project is $142 million — three times the usual cost of presidential memorials in today's dollars, and twice what was originally proposed.

Congresswoman's Round-the-World Trip Cost Taxpayers $23K.  The House Judiciary Committee reported Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, traveled around the world on an official trip in February that cost $23,646.  The Feb. 16-22 trip on commercial flights was to Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Senate Republicans quiz Labor Department on purported payments for labor unions worldwide.  Senate Republicans say the Labor Department appears to be spending millions in taxpayer dollars to establish labor unions and promote collective bargaining in foreign countries and are asking top Obama administration officials for a full audit.

Karzai's Office Gets Bags Full of C.I.A. Cash.  For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan's president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.  All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

Shrink the Federal Bureaucracy.  The federal government simply spends too much.  It also wastes far too much.  Needless duplication and wasteful inefficiency permeate the federal bureaucracy.  For instance, the Government Accountability Office issued a report in March 2011 detailing "34 areas for consideration related to duplication, overlap, or fragmentation" and 47 additional areas "describing other opportunities for agencies or Congress to consider taking action."  A year later, only five percent of the GAO's recommendations had been fully addressed.

Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts.  It is one of the oddest spending habits in Washington:  This year, the government will spend at least $890,000 on service fees for bank accounts that are empty.  At last count, Uncle Sam has 13,712 such accounts with a balance of zero.  They are supposed to be closed.  But nobody has done the paperwork yet.

Another IRS Scandal; Employees Lie to Get Welfare, Food Stamps.  On the heels of "Tax Day," 24 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees have been charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in government benefits, including food stamps, welfare and housing vouchers.  The story comes out of Tennessee, where federal prosecutors announced this month that the scheme fleeced U.S. taxpayers out of at least a quarter of a million dollars in government benefits.  The corrupt IRS employees did it by making false statements to fraudulently obtain the benefits, which also included unemployment insurance.

Another day, another pointless and expensive experiment.
Why NASA Is Firing Cell Phones Into Space.  The space agency this week took a handful of cheap but powerful smartphones, slapped them to a gigantic rocket and blasted them into low-earth orbit to see how they'd fare.  The project, called PhoneSat, is one of those wacky experiments that seems at first to have nothing to do with science.

More about NASA — an organization that ran out of meaningful tasks about 20 years ago.

DOJ Spent $100 Million On Conferences In One Year.  Before the sequester took effect Attorney General Eric Holder went out and warned the American people that our safety would be at risk if the budget for the Department of Justice was cut.  What he didn't tell us is how much money the department wastes every year.  Despite having four empty federal prisons, they bought another prison in Illinois for $165 million that's now sitting empty and costing $6 million a year to maintain.  They also spend $1.5 million a year to work with Hollywood.  And in 2010 alone, they spent $100 million on conferences, according to Rep. Bob Goodlatte.

Safe from Sequester: $704,198 for Gardening at NATO Ambassador's Home.  Just over a week after sequestration took effect, the State Department allotted more than $700,000 for gardening at a U.S. Ambassador's residence in Brussels, Belgium.  On March 11, State awarded a contract to provide gardening services at an "official residence" of the U.S. Mission in Belgium.

DHS Orders Bagpipes? So Much for Sequester Cuts.  Apparently the head of the Department of Homeland Security is not even trying to save the government any money.  Yesterday [4/10/2013] DHS ordered a new supply of musical instruments including bagpipes and drums.  There is music writing software included in the order as well as the many small parts that go into caring for bagpipes.

Paterson cardiologist admits to $19M in health care fraud.  A prominent cardiologist who ran medical services companies in New Jersey and New York pleaded guilty on Wednesday to orchestrating a massive fraud that subjected thousands of patients to unnecessary tests and procedures and resulted in $19 million in losses.  Dr. Jose Katz, 68, of Closter, confessed his crimes to U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares during a hearing in federal court in Newark.

Feds waste $95 billion on duplicative programs.  How many federal agencies does it take to do catfish safety inspections?  At least three, according to the Government Accountability Office, which on Tuesday [4/9/2013] released its 2013 report on fragmentation and duplication of federal programs.  This year's report — there were two previous editions of the report first requested by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. — documents an estimated $95 billion in duplicative programs that waste precious tax dollars.  That brings the three-year total of potential savings documented by GAO to $295 billion.

IRS Sits By As Inmates Collect Fraudulent Tax Refunds.  Nearly a year after Congress passed a law to stop incarcerated criminals from fraudulently receiving millions of dollars in tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hasn't bothered creating a system to catch the offenders.

Shouldn't those employees be working?
Obama Admin Spends $21,000 on Basketball Equipment.  At least the Oval Office just plays pick-up.  The Departments of Interior and Transportation have caught the basketball fever so bad, they've dropped more than $20K on rebounding machines.

Arlington, Va.'s million-dollar bus stop looks cool, but why so expensive?  At the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Dr. in Arlington, Va., sits a stainless steel bus stop with a million dollar price tag.  Yes, that's right.  The futuristic-looking bus stop cost $1 million to build.  The so-called "super stop" boasts a heated concrete floor and a digital display board that shows when the next bus will arrive, but it doesn't do much to keep commuters warm or dry (except for their feet).

364 Billion Ways the Government Wastes Your Money.  As the White House politicized the sequester cuts amounting to $85 billion in lower federal spending, a recent GAO (Government Accountability Office) study identified "more than 1,362 duplicative programs accounting for at least $364.5 billion in federal spending every single year..." claims Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) in a letter to the White House on February 26.  Yet little publicity has been generated in the media by the GAO report to Congress [...]

Here is the GAO report:
Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue.  We have found that agencies can often realize a range of benefits, such as improved customer service, decreased administrative burdens, and cost savings from addressing the issues we raise in this report.  Cost savings related to reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, and fragmentation can be difficult to estimate in some cases because the portion of agency budgets devoted to certain programs or activities is often not clear.

$423,500 Stimulus on 'Correct Condom Use' Yields Zero Jobs.  The details of a stimulus grant awarded to Indiana University to study condom use have now been released on a government website.  The study, titled "Barriers to Correct Condom Use," is now completed, according to the website, and the university received $423,500 of stimulus funds to perform the study.

HUD report: Nearly $700 million Katrina rebuilding funding missing.  A report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of the Inspector General reveals that $698.5 million dollars in disaster recovery funds given to Louisiana homeowners in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were not used to fulfill the purpose of the funding — to elevate damaged homes.  According to the report, dated March 29, a total of 24,042 Louisiana homeowners who received up to $30,000 each were "noncompliant, including those that had not elevated their homes; were nonresponsive; or did not provide sufficient supporting documentation" to show that they had used the taxpayer funding to reconstruct their homes as of Aug. 31, 2012.

$700 Mil in Hurricane Recovery Funds Gone With the Wind.  In yet another example of how the Obama administration blows the nation's tax dollars, hundreds of millions earmarked for a failed housing program have vanished and the feds aren't terribly worried about recovering the lost cash.  The missing loot is part of a highly questionable Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that liberally doled out cash to Louisiana homeowners so they could elevate and protect their houses from storms.  The feds came up with this brilliant idea after Hurricane Katrina slammed the region in 2005 because the area, especially New Orleans, got flooded.

Obama's great high-speed train robbery.  The state of California, already $28 billion in debt, is supposed to begin construction of a $68 billion high-speed rail project in July.  The state's High-Speed Rail Authority voted last week to issue $8.6 billion in taxpayer-approved bonds to build the first 130 miles of track between Fresno and Bakersfield.  But a slew of lawsuits threatens to delay the project, and state authorities still have not purchased a single acre of land on which to build the rail line.

More information (none of it favorable) about high speed rail projects.

Obama to announce $100 million for brain research.  President Barack Obama on Tuesday [4/2/2013] unveiled a $100 million initiative to unlock the "enormous mystery" of the human brain in hopes of boosting the understanding and treatment of brain disorders.

The Editor says...
Scientists are already studying the human brain, and have been for at least a century.  Basic scientific research is not the proper role of government.  Spending $100 million on such a thing, at a time when the national debt is already increasing rapidly, is irresponsible.  President Obama is spending money on problems nobody has asked him to address, simply because spending other people's money is the only thing he knows how to do.

Bread and Circuses: The Last Days of the American Empire.  The 2012 Census report of Foreign Economic and Military Aid totaled some $45 B, handed to 70 such major (and numerous minor) recipients as Pakistan, Egypt, Russia, (Russia?) Zimbabwe and the Gaza Strip.  If the U.S. is not an empire, it certainly seems to act like one.  And as Rome's empire finally exceeded its finances, so now with America.  One cannot finance an empire with deficits.

Feds Spending $880,000 to Study Benefits of Snail Sex.  The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.  The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually — the snail can do both — hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.

HHS Gives Planned Parenthood Orlando $2.4 Million to Fund Sex Ed for Teens.  Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescence Health is giving Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando $2,388,950 in grant funding for its "Teens Rise!" project.

Insane Government Waste and Use of Taxpayer Money:
  •   $1.5 million on designing a video game controller
  •   $100,000 on taxpayer funded comedy group tour in India
  •   $547,430 on a dancing robot that connects to an iPhone
  •   $25,000 funding a course about "How to be happy"
  •   $145,000 on a sculpture garden
  •   $25,000 on an Alabama Watermelon Queen tour
  •   $697,177 on a climate change musical

IRS knowingly sends Billions in Fraudulent Refunds to Illegal Immigrants.  A WTHR-TV Indianapolis investigative report exposes a fraudulent scheme wherein the IRS is sending $4.2 billion per year to illegal immigrants as an "additional child tax credit" for children who don't even live in the U.S.  Further, the IRS and Congress have been ignoring the scheme for years.

Pentagon handed out $419 million in improper travel reimbursements last year.  While making improvements in some spending areas, the Defense Department was singled out this week for failing to trim unnecessary travel reimbursements.  In fact, the Pentagon's internal watchdog concluded that wasteful travel spending actually grew last year to a total of $419.3 million, accounting for roughly five percent of the Pentagon's mammoth $8.4 billion travel budget.

The Economic Truth About Lying.  The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan revealed in October 2011 an investigation into Long Island Railroad workers' fraudulent disability claims adding up to millions of dollars.  As of January, 32 people had been indicted, with 16 guilty pleas involving perjury, health-care fraud and obstruction of justice.  An FBI report on financial crimes for the 2010-11 fiscal year calculated that fraudulent billing to health-care payers, Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurers is between 2% and 10% of total health-care expenditures.

No Money for Air Traffic Control, But $500 million for Hamas.  Dear Leader says there's no money for airport control towers.  But that didn't stop him from writing a $500 million dollar check to the terrorists of Hamas.

Joe Biden runs up bill of $585,000 for just one night in five-star Paris hotel.  Paris may be known as the City of Light, but that title certainly doesn't mean that visitors are light on spending as Vice President Joe Biden's one day trip cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars.  When Mr Biden and his hefty entourage stayed in Paris for an evening in early February and it cost $585,000.50 for that single night.

Biden's $459,388.65 Hotel Bill.  Vice President Biden and his entourage spent a little time in London in early February during his first foreign trip of the second term of the Obama administration.  A document released today [3/22/2013] revealed that the cost of lodging in London alone was close to half a million dollars.

Sequester Joe Biden.  Vice President Biden's hotel bill in Paris — the Drudge Report headlines it at $585,000.50 for a night at the Intercontinental, not including the ride in from the airport — is prompting the to wonder why Amtrak's most famous passenger failed to stay at the sprawling palace that serves as the residence of the American ambassador in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.  A good question, to which we'd add our own:  What was Mr. Biden, whose only constitutional duty is to serve in the Senate as its president, doing in Paris in the first place?

Amtrak isn't good enough for him.
As VP, Biden Has Been Flying To Delaware on the Weekends.  Vice President Biden has been flying home to Wilmington, Delaware most weekends at enormous expense to taxpayers, even though he has an exclusive government-provided residence in Washington. [...] The cost of flying Air Force Two, a military version of the Boeing 757-200, amounts to about $8,800 per hour, according to the most recent federal data.  The distance between Washington and Wilmington is only about a hundred miles [...]

Unplug the electric subsidies.  Taxpayers already offset $7,500 of the cost of every hybrid through a federal tax credit at a total cost of $2 billion.  In addition, many states offer similar incentives of their own.  The 2009 stimulus bill poured $2 billion into the development and manufacture of electric-car batteries and other components, and the Energy Department's "advanced-technology vehicle manufacturing program" offers up to $25 billion in direct federal loans to electric car makers.  Moreover, $400,000 has been wasted on "education projects" to promote electric cars.

$2.7M Federal Study: Why Do Lesbians Have Higher 'Risk for Hazardous Drinking'?  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $2.7 million to study why lesbians are at a higher "risk for hazardous drinking."  The University of Illinois has received grants since 2009 for its project, "Cumulative Stress and Hazardous Drinking in a Community of Adult Lesbians," which aims to develop "culturally sensitive" strategies to prevent lesbians from being drunks.

Obama keeps rolling the dice on green energy.  Like a desperate gambler who doubles down on a losing bet, President Obama is calling for spending $2 billion more on green energy projects.  Apparently these billions will succeed where previous billions have failed.

U.S. Spending $227,437 to Study How National Geographic Depicted Animals.  The federal government is spending $227,437 to investigate how animals have been depicted in National Geographic magazine over a span of 120 years, which federal officials say is an "innovative study" that will examine "images of animals to see how people have changed their view of the natural world."  The grant was issued March 4 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Michigan State University to look at how animals were depicted in the science magazine from 1888 to 2008.

Obama seeks $2 billion in research on cleaner vehicles, fuels.  President Barack Obama tried to turn the page on bitterly partisan fights over energy policy on Friday [3/15/2013], focusing the first energy speech of his second term on a modest proposal to fund research into cars that run on anything but gasoline.

This is what's known as a slush fund.
Obama to call for $2 billion green energy fund.  President Obama in Illinois Friday will call for the creation of a $2 billion Energy Security Trust, which would take government royalties from offshore oil and gas leasing and use the money for research in green-energy technologies. [...] The initiative comes as Republicans pressure Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.  The president has delayed construction of the pipeline because of environmental concerns.

Obama doubles down on alternative energy.  President Barack Obama is doubling down on the administration's plan to reinvest federal oil-and-gas drilling revenues into next-generation alternative energy technology, unveiled during his State of the Union address last February.

$1.8M Federal Grant Helped D.C. Make Fruits and Vegetables Available at Work.  The municipal government of Washington, D.C. received a $1.8 million federal Community Transformation Grant in 2012 to promote healthy lifestyles in the city.  Among the things the city would do with the money, as listed on its application, was increasing the "availability of fruit and vegetables to employees in their workplaces."

Government Waste Hits You Right in the Pocketbook.  Federal watchdogs have ideas for saving $67 billion a year, according to a report by a House committee.  That's without counting the sequester.  So who are these "watchdogs"?  They are the government's Inspectors General who police the departments of the government for waste, fraud and abuse.  They are the government's auditors.  They suggest ways to make government operation more efficient and to plug money leaks.

Patriots Must Be Prepared to Answer Obama's Lies and Deceptions.  Obama stubbornly refused to cut Washington spending $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.  The Government Accountability Office revealed that more than half of federal employee upgrades to business-class flights are not properly authorized, costing taxpayers $146 million a year.  In 2008 and 2009 alone, Obama's Department of Justice spent $121 million on conferences for government employees.  A Senate audit exposed $18 billion in egregious government spending.

Feds let Medicare provider give away $20 grocery cards to lure patients.  The Department of Health and Human Services has given qualified approval for a Medicare provider to give away $20 grocery gift cards to induce seniors to get more taxpayer-funded health screenings, despite concerns the promotion could run afoul of federal anti-kickback laws.

Feds Spend $1.5 Million to Study Why Lesbians Are Fat.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $1.5 million to study biological and social factors for why "three-quarters" of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not, calling it an issue of "high public-health significance."  Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., has received two grants administered by NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to study the relationship between sexual orientation and obesity.

Not so fast, Mr. President.  Since President Obama took office in 2009, money-saving ideas have continued to sit on a shelf, collecting dust.  Four years ago, there were 10,894 recommended reductions, compared with 16,900 reductions, worth an additional $30 billion, awaiting action today.  Since those "figures reflect the most conservative possible accounting" of the number of recommendations, their value is likely to be "significantly higher," the committee explains.  That's quite a contrast to the endless parade of sky-is-falling scenarios broadcast by the Cabinet during the sequestration fight over a mere $85 billion reduction in the rate of spending growth.

HHS Awards $6 Million Contract for Parking Spaces.  The contract was awarded on February 19th before the sequester took effect, but the timing could still prove embarrassing for the Obama administration.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the five-year lease for 1,076 parking spaces in Bethesda, Maryland, for National Institutes of Health (NIH) employees at a cost of almost $6 million.  This breaks down to $1,115 per space per year.

NSF Under the Microscope.  The report identifies more than $1.2 billion the National Science Foundation (NSF) has lost due to waste, fraud, duplication and mismanagement and an additional $1.7 billion in unspent funds. [...] Examples of the more than $3 billion in waste and duplication outlined in the report include:
  •   $80,000 study on why the same teams always dominate March Madness;
  •   $315,000 study suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships;
  •   $1 million for an analysis of how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names;
  •   $2 million to figure out that people who often post pictures on the internet from the same location at the same time are usually friends; and
  •   $581,000 on whether online dating site users are racist.

Investing in Bad Science.  [Scroll down]  The master of waste, fraud, and abuse among the research-funding agencies, though, is the Environmental Protection Agency, the logo of which should be a Golden Fleece flanked by dollar signs.  EPA, with a research budget in excess of $800 million, has long been more concerned with public relations than public health.  A scheme was exposed several years that would have diverted EPA "research" funds to pay outside public relations consultants up to $5 million over five years to improve the website of the Office of Research and Development, conduct focus groups on how to polish the office's image, and produce ghostwritten articles praising the agency "for publication in scholarly journals and magazines."

Sen. Coburn targets Defense Department waste.  Senator Tom Coburn [is] blasting the Defense Department over wasteful spending.  He insists there are plenty of expenses to cut from the defense budget without hurting the military.  For instance, $1 million to send a spaceship to another galaxy, $1.5 million to cook up a new type of beef jerky, and why spend any amount of money on a 46-minute video production called "Grill It Safe" featuring grill sergeants showing off their own recipes.

Obscene Government Waste.  The government spends $1.7 billion for maintenance on empty buildings it owns, although some sources put the figure at closer to $25 billion.  The Office of Management and Budget estimates that 55,000 properties are underutilized or entirely vacant.  The federal government owns approximately one-third of all U.S. land.  It does not need more land and it could be argued that it should not own 80% of Nevada and Alaska, and more than half of Idaho.

How more than $8 billion in US taxpayers' money went to waste in Iraq.  During the course of the nine-year US presence in Iraq, at least $8 billion — or 13.3 percent of US reconstruction spending — was wasted, according to the final report released today by the Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Paper Which Just Laid Off A Bunch Of Employees Hysterical Over "Austerity".  First of all, if the people who run the federal agencies cannot deal with tiny reductions in future increases of budget allocation and maximize the money they have, perhaps they should be replaced with people who understand How To Make A Budget.  Start with refusing to pay for cost overruns (this could save hundreds of billions each year).  Stop funding masters degrees for people in Indonesia (16-20 million).  $500 million on a study to get 5 year olds to sit still.  Reduce overlapping programs.  Oh, and here's $25 billion a year to maintain unused federal buildings.

White House Visitors Office director received $30,000 raise in 4 years.  The annual salary for the director of the White House Visitors Office, Ellie S. Schafer, went from $70,000 in 2009 to $100,000 in 2012.  According to annual reports to Congress on White House staff salaries, Schafer was paid $70,000 in 2009, $71,400 in 2010, $80,000 in 2011 and $100,000 in 2012.  Schafer is listed by the White House on each report as the director of the Visitors Office for each year, but was also named a special assistant to the president in 2012.

Chief White House calligrapher gets paid $96,725 a year.  In all, the White House appears to employ three calligraphers for a yearly total of $277,050.

U.S. Pays $1.5 Mil to Preserve Politically Correct Graffiti.  Because it's considered defacement and vandalism, graffiti is a crime yet the U.S. government has spent $1.5 million to actually preserve some left during the hostile Indian occupation of California's Alcatraz Island more than four decades go.  Why is Indian graffiti worth preserving when local governments across the nation spend tens of millions of dollars to remove it annually?  Because, evidently, this is politically correct graffiti that has a "social significance," according to a National Park Service official quoted in a San Francisco newspaper.

Senate Audit Exposes $18 Billion in Egregious Govt. Spending.  As the nation suffers through a mind-boggling $16 trillion (and growing) debt crisis, a federal audit exposes some of the egregious ways the U.S. government has blown your tax dollars, including millions on Moroccan pottery classes and hundreds of thousands on a musical about climate change.  It would almost be unbelievable if it weren't documented in a lengthy report (appropriately titled "Waste Book 2012") released this week by a U.S. Senator who sits on the Finance, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.  While the Obama Administration racks up record debt, many government agencies have embarked on wild spending sprees as Congress sits idly by.

High-flying Holder: Report shows AG, FBI director used luxury jets for personal travel.  Two high-tech luxury jets that the FBI convinced Congress were needed for the fight against global terrorism have instead been used to ferry around Attorney General Eric Holder and his predecessors, as well as FBI Director Robert Mueller, according to a government report released Thursday [2/28/2013].  Those officials — which included Holder and Mueller, as well as former Attorneys General Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales — racked up nearly 700 "nonmission" trips between 2007 and 2011, at a cost of $11.4 million, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Sequestration doesn't cut nearly enough.  A study to learn whether or not a fish called the golden shiner can teach us about "collective action":  $5 million.  A project to design beef jerky that rolls up:  $1.5 million.  A seminar in which a topic was, "Did Jesus die for Klingons, too?" (This is a question, I can assure you, that will not be answered by any sane person):  $100,000.  These examples of absurd government spending become even more absurd when you realize these items were all part of the budget for the Department of Defense.

The FAA's unfriendly skies.  [I]n the last seven years the FAA has sent more than 18,000 of its employees to conferences across the country, including destinations such as Las Vegas.  In fiscal 2010 alone, the agency spent more than $8 million on conferences for its employees.  Three of those conferences, all held in the same city during the same three-week span, cost more than $4.5 million.

The Logic of Liberalism.  Green energy solutions have become a centerpiece of the current administration.  Hundreds of millions have been poured into green energy programs, many without a single measurable result.  Yet, the administration is convinced of the importance of green energy and is committed to further investment in this venue.

'Tens of Billions of Dollars' Wasted on Duplicate Federal Programs: Report.  A federal government watchdog said Tuesday tens of billions of dollars are being wasted because of duplicate programs run by several agencies, and more effort is needed to address a problem first identified last year.  A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan agency, said there are 51 areas where programs can be streamlined and made more efficient.  The GAO's 428-page report identifies programs that share goals and services, and that are spread across multiple agencies.

$50,000 for Michelle's Let's Move! trip .  First lady Michelle Obama's three-day, four-city hop scotch to promote the third anniversary of her "Let's Move!" initiative that cheers healthy eating and exercise will likely cost an estimated $50,000 or more, enough to fund a few programs for kids that the White House fears the sequester will kill.

Pulling the plug on federal agencies' TVs.  I realize that each federal agency needs some cable televisions — for the agency head, the congressional affairs office, the press office and the top-tier staff (e.g., chief agency attorney), to monitor congressional hearings, etc.  But the parking lot clerk?  No way!  Ditto for front-office clerical staff.  I think they will be much more productive when there's no television blaring away in the reception area.

The Diversity Racket.  Millions of dollars in federal and local taxpayer money have been spent on a controversial "diversity" speaker who has made government workers say the "pilgrims were illegal aliens" and excused illegal immigration because the U.S. "took over what used to be Mexico."  Judicial Watch recently revealed that two federal government agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Defense, had hired Dr. Samuel Betances.  Both agencies spent more than $3 million on Betances' training program.  Judicial Watch obtained a videotape of Betances' speech to USDA employees through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Samuel Betances: Race Hustler on the Dole.  The Obama administration would have you believe trimming federal fat will cause a calamity.  Here's a suggestion — stop giving federal money to Samuel Betances.  Betances is the top-shelf race hustler who receives your hard-earned tax dollars to go inside federal agencies in Washington, D.C., and teach government workers that America is a racist country.  Judicial Watch obtained records of one of his looney talks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  It contained a creepy call and response that would have made the Symbionese Liberation Army proud.

Health Dept.: Homeless Can't Eat Deer Meat.  Hunters across Louisiana are outraged after state health officials ordered a rescue mission to destroy $8,000 worth of deer meat because venison is not allowed to be served in homeless shelters.  The Dept. of Health and Hospitals ordered the staff at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission to throw 1,600 pounds of donated venison in garbage bins — and then ordered then to douse the meat with Clorox — so other animals would not eat the meat.  "Deer meat is not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana," said a Health Dept. official in an email to Fox News.

The Editor says...
Beggars can't be choosers.  Let them eat venison, or horse meat, or road kill.  The homeless shelter is not a hotel.  We do not owe vagrants a balanced and nutritious diet.

DoD Spends $5.2 Million on "Goldfish Studies".  In an era of trillion dollar-plus annual deficits, $5 million might not seem like a lot of money.  But it's a start.  And because [Kentucky Senator Rand] Paul recognizes that there are so many other government programs that are wasteful and serve no meaningful purpose, he wants to give the president more leeway to cut them.

Insurer with NY's 'worst' record of complaints gets $340M Obamacare loan.  The New York-based Freelancers Insurance Company has been rated the "worst" insurer for two straight years by state regulators, and data compiled by a national insurance association show an extremely high rate of consumer complaints.  The firm was founded in 2008 by Sara Horowitz, who worked with Obama while he was in the Illinois state senate to launch Demos, a left-wing, New York think tank funded in part by George Soros.

DOE confirms LG Chem battery plant workers were paid not to make Chevy Volt batteries.  After a big announcement in 2010 that the plant would open and hire over 400 people, the first batteries were supposed to start being made in 2012.  Unfortunately, the plant has been sitting idle even though the company received $142 million in federal funds and was granted $175 million in tax breaks.  Only half of the 400 job have been filled, and those workers were paid about $842,000 to do other things in late 2012, including watching movies and playing board, card and video games.

FBI raids headquarters of The Scooter Store as part of $100 million Medicare fraud investigation.  More than 150 FBI agents and local cops have raided the Texas headquarters of The Scooter Store, the nation's largest supplier of mobility vehicles, after the company allegedly defrauded Medicare by $100 million.  The company is accused of harassing doctors with constant phone calls and surgery visits in order to wear them down to prescribe their vehicles to patients who do not need them.

USDA staff taught that the pilgrims were 'illegal aliens' in compulsory 'Cultural Sensitivity Training' video.  The USDA is under fire for spending $200,000 of taxpayers money on a mandatory 'Cultural Sensitivity Training' program in which employees were told to refer to the Pilgrims as 'illegal aliens' and minorities as 'emerging majorities'.

Senators raise alarm over another possible sale of taxpayer-backed firm to Chinese.  Republican senators complained Wednesday that U.S. taxpayer dollars could end up boosting the Chinese economy, following reports that a Chinese firm is leading the pack of companies bidding for a majority stake in government-backed Fisker Automotive.  The troubled California-based electric car maker, which was backed by U.S. taxpayers to the tune of nearly $530 million, for months has been looking for a financial partner.

Taxpayer dollars used to fund study tying Tea Party to tobacco lobby.  Taxpayer dollars were used to fund a study that painted the Tea Party movement as the spawn of the tobacco lobby — a premise that Tea Party leaders say is absurd.

NJ Transit workers take trip to Super Bowl on taxpayers' dime.  NJ Transit sent four employees to the Super Bowl in New Orleans — including a key rail official who was in charge of the Hoboken terminal when dozens of rail cars and locomotives, left to sit in low-lying yards, were damaged during superstorm Sandy — at a taxpayer cost of $14,505, expense reports show.

Federally Funded Chevy Volt Battery Plant Paid Workers to Play, Not Make Batteries.  It was supposed to be the center of a resurgent domestic lithium ion battery industry.  A shiny new factory in Holland, Michigan, that by the end of 2013 would produce enough energy cells to power 60,000 electric or hybrid electric cars — and the Chevy Volt would be its highest-profile customer.  Instead, after spending $142 million of a $151 million federal Recovery Act grant to set up the factory, LG Chem Michigan has yet to produce a single battery cell that can be used in an electric car sold to the public.  It gets worse.  Two of five planned production lines remain unfinished.  And rather than the 440 jobs the plant was supposed to create, less than half exist today.

Retiring Parsippany police chief to get $132K a year, state says.  The township police chief will soon retire with an annual benefit of $131,951.76, according to state Department of Treasury spokesman William Quinn.  Anthony DeZenzo filed a retirement application with the New Jersey Police and Firemen's Retirement System on Feb. 8, according to Quinn.

Report: $2 billion spent annually for Medicaid emergencies, largely for illegal immigrant baby deliveries.  Even though federal law largely bars illegal immigrants from obtaining Medicaid coverage, the program annually pays out more than $2 billion in free emergency coverage that mostly goes to illegal immigrants, according to Kaiser Health News.  The vast majority of the total emergency care reimbursements cover delivering babies, Kaiser reports.

Obama Commits Assault With Battery.  The problem here is so obvious that it shouldn't be necessary to say it:  If projects such as this made any economic sense at all, banks would be financing them.  But these schemes are far too irrational for even the most profligate of banks or the junk bonds or any other legitimate means of finance.  So the politicians rush in, falling over each other to squander the nation's diminishing treasure on yet another billion-dollar photo op.

Confidential, expensive USDA sensitivity training: 'The Pilgrims were illegal aliens'.  Footage of the United States Department of Agriculture's compulsory "Cultural Sensitivity Training" program reveals USDA employees being instructed to refer to the Pilgrims as "illegal aliens" and minorities as "emerging majorities" — at "a huge expense" to taxpayers.  The video clips were made public Thursday evening by the conservative government accountability group Judicial Watch, which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made on May 18, 2012.

No Batteries, Just Playtime: Another $150M Strike for Green-Tech Stimulus.  In February 2010, LG Chem Michigan Inc., a subsidiary of the Korean corporation, was awarded more than $150 million in Recovery Act funding to help construct a $304 million manufacturing plant in Holland, Mich., for lithium-ion polymer batteries to be used in electric cars.  The goal was to manufacture enough electric-car batteries to equip 60,000 vehicles annually by the end of this year. [...] While employees were goofing off, the plant hadn't even reached the capability to manufacture batteries beyond test cells that couldn't be sold to the public. [...] Additionally, a project that was supposed to create more than 440 jobs didn't even reach half that goal.

Report: Michigan battery firm misused $150M U.S. grant.  A Michigan-based company slated to produce lithium-ion polymer batteries for electric vehicles has instead kept production overseas, has failed to meet job targets outlined in a $150 million grant from the federal government, and has been reimbursed by the government for $842,000 in wasted work time, according to a U.S. Department of Energy Special Report released Wednesday [2/13/2013]. [...] The agency said employees "spent time volunteering at local non-profit organizations, playing games and watching movies during regular working hours."

Jet-setting Panetta most expensive defense secretary, with $32,000 tab per weekend trip.  As Leon E. Panetta ends a decades-long Washington career capped by his service as defense secretary, he has said repeatedly he is ready to get back to his family's bucolic walnut ranch off the central coast of California.  But over the last four years, while serving a CIA director and defense secretary, he already has been spending a lot of time there, continuing a cross-country commute back to Monterey, Calif. nearly every weekend on the taxpayer's dime.

Colorado Energy Office Misspends Millions in Stimulus Funds.  The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) misspent millions in stimulus funds and could not account for a variety of other financial statements, according to a new audit from the Colorado state auditor.  The CEO, charged with administering energy funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a host of other energy initiatives, "was unable to demonstrate that $252 million spent over the past six years was spent cost-effectively," the report concluded.  More than half of that amount, roughly $144 million, came from Recovery stimulus monies distributed between the 2009-2012 fiscal years.

Government spends millions on resort for retired research chimps.  The National Institutes of Health, the government's medical research arm, is spending about $12 million annually to care for the chimps currently and formerly used for research, some of it for a retirement sanctuary in Louisiana where the animals are housed.  And the agency is soon in danger of reaching a $30 million cumulative spending cap that Congress set for the retirement home, dubbed Chimp Haven.

Swept Away.  A United States minesweeper ship that crashed into a coral reef due to inaccurate Navy maps will have to be cut into small pieces and removed in order to prevent harming the ocean's ecosystem, according to the Navy and other reports.  The $277 million USS Guardian, a Naval warship that clears waterways of mines, crashed into a coral reef near the Philippines earlier this month.

Car buyers reject electric cars, but Obama won't quit spending on them.  The market has spoken.  People don't want unreliable short range transportation.  Electric cars are a fine place to cut the budget.

Medicare improperly paid $120M to ineligibles.  Illegal immigrants and prison inmates received more than $120 million in Medicare services from 2009-2011 despite federal law that makes them ineligible for the program, according to two new reports from the HHS inspector general.  The issue, according to the reports, is timing.  When Medicare is alerted that someone is incarcerated or undocumented, its contractors help prevent payments from going out the door.  But often, Medicare's databases aren't up to date, and improper payments go out.

Auditors: $230 million in Labor Dept. grants had no criteria for success.  You'd expect a program to help train workers in new skills would have grades to measure how well the students learned.  And you'd expect the program itself to be graded on whether it actually helped those students find employment after they graduated.  But that's precisely what a Labor Department jobs program failed to measure for grants it made in 2010 and 2011, auditors say.

Benghazi/Fast and Furious: The Real Scandals Underlying Both.  Though conservatives are often loath to admit it, small and limited government is not remotely consistent with U.S. troops stationed around the world.  Taking nothing away from the correct belief in peace through strength, it would be nice to hear a defender of the military status quo explain how we're made safer through our implicit defense of some of the richest nations on earth.  After that, if a strong economy is necessary for maintaining peace through strength, how is our economy strengthened by all the money spent, not to mention human capital expended, on protecting South Korea and Japan?

Audit: Taxpayer money used to pay for $222K renovation to official's bathroom.  [WSB-TV] has obtained photos of a costly renovation of a government official's bathroom.  Channel 2's Scott MacFarlane secured images inside the office at the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Interior Department.  The renovation was done on the interior secretary's private office bathroom.  The bathroom is approximately 100 square feet and cost about $222,000 to renovate, making it more expensive that [sic] many homes.  MacFarlane obtained photos of the renovated bathroom through the Freedom of Information Act.

Investing in Foreign Countries.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report Thursday [1/17/2013] that shows much of the money in a Department of Energy renewable-energy grant program has gone to foreign companies and has failed to produce many jobs.  "American Taxpayer Investment, Foreign Corporation Benefit" examined the grants the Department of Energy has awarded through its "Section 1603" green-energy grant program.  "Nearly one-quarter of this federal grant funding went to the U.S. operations of a handful of large European and Asian renewable energy corporations," the report said.

Terror haven Somalia likely to get taxpayer cash.  It was only two years ago that then-CIA Director David Petraeus testified before Congress on the dangers posed by Somali terrorists [...] Today the U.S. is preparing to formally recognize the Somali government, paving the way to send taxpayer dollars to the place that will forever be associated with "Black Hawk Down," where a U.S. Army Ranger was dragged through the streets in 1993.

The 'Sandy Relief' Bill Passes.  It's a $50.7 billion bill with $17 billion in actual Sandy relief.  Two thirds of the money in that bill has [nothing] to do with Hurricane Sandy.

New York Fires Auditor Who Found Abuse of Federal Hurricane Sandy Funds.  No good deed goes unpunished in New York as the state has abruptly cut off a contract with the independent auditor who found that the city and state had been wasting federal money meant to be spent on Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.  Thomas Sadowski, the fired consultant, told the Times Union that he was escorted out of the building when he visited the New York Office of Emergency Management shortly after he filed his report on November 17.

Taxpayers Unwittingly Hand Over $137 Million to Unions.  U.S. taxpayers are footing the $137 million bill for federal employees to perform union work while on the clock at their government jobs, according to Professor Mallory Factor in the Wall Street Journal.  The practice, known as "official time" is enshrined in the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA), according to the Workforce Freedom Initiative (WFI), and lets government officials do work for unions while being paid by the taxpayer.

Taxpayers pay for Bill Clinton's Cinemax, Jimmy Carter's Dish Network.  Bill Clinton is a multimillionaire, but you're paying for the Cinemax in his office.  That's just one eyebrow-raising expense a former occupant of the White House has been allowed to put on the taxpayer tab every year, even though every living ex-president is quite wealthy.

Feds fund $100,000 video game featuring female climate change 'superhero'.  A new video game featuring a black alien female superhero delivered to Earth to fight global warming is about to hit the market thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Obama administration.

Ex-Im Bank Funds Green Jobs Overseas.  The U.S. Export-Import Bank recently steered hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loans to Spanish green energy conglomerate Abengoa, which happens to share an advisory board member with the bank.  The Ex-Im Bank approved a $78.6 million direct loan to Spain-based Abengoa in December.  It also approved a $73.6 million direct loan to a wind farm in Uruguay, which is owned by Abengoa.

2012: The Year of Taxpayer 'Green' Waste.  The past year was a dismal one for the passé idea that government would use taxpayer dollars responsibly, and that was nowhere more evident than with President Obama's initiatives to promote "clean" energy technology companies and projects with so-called "stimulus" funds and other public money.

Obscure federal office doles out millions to trade groups like Christmas tree growers.  The Prune Bargaining Association scored $99,429 this year to "provide crop insurance education and to educate specialty crop producers on effectively negotiating marketing contracts" and "managing market risk."  [And] The San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association won $36,000 to help grape growers for California's wine industry learn how to apply for federal crop insurance and deal with "production management, crop marketing and financial risk."

Billion-Dollar Flop: Air Force Stumbles on Software Plan.  For the United States Air Force, installing a new software system has certainly proved to be a wicked problem.  Last month, it canceled a six-year-old modernization effort that had eaten up more than $1 billion.  When the Air Force realized that it would cost another $1 billion just to achieve one-quarter of the capabilities originally planned — and that even then the system would not be fully ready before 2020 — it decided to decamp.

The Next Taxpayer Bailout: The Federal Housing Administration.  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), hit hard by the collapse of the housing bubble, is still making risky loans on the taxpayers' dime, and may need a bailout in 2013.

Obama Claus Gives You 90 More Days To Collect Your $50,000 Reparations Check.  No, you don't need a potted plant and you don't even to be black or even Hispanic; as long as you are a woman (or related to one) and you fill out the forms correctly, you can collect the money because nobody will verify your information. [...] Legally, nobody CAN verify any information; the law was written to make it impossible for the people looking at the claim forms to verify that their information is correct.

Why Are Taxpayers Paying Union Officials' So Much?  Taxpayers are forking out $4.8 million for 35 union officials at the Department of Transportation.  But the beneficiary here isn't the taxpayer, it's President Obama, who is raking campaign cash from these unions. [...] That means taxpayers are actually paying for union efforts to shake down taxpayers for ever higher salaries and benefits for government workers.

Five-Point Action Plan for President Obama to Reduce Violence by the Mentally Ill.  [Point #5]  Eliminate the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA).  SAMHSA is the epicenter of what is wrong with the American mental-health system.  SAMHSA actively encourages states to engage in mission creep and send the most seriously ill to the end of the line.  They provide massive funding to organizations that want to prevent mentally ill individuals from receiving treatment.  They have nothing positive to show for their efforts in spite of a massive bureaucracy that meets and meets and meets and never accomplishes anything.

Green Graveyard: 19 Taxpayer-Funded Failures.  While there's speculation over which federally supported green energy company may be the next to declare bankruptcy, plenty have already gone belly up.  In one of the most extensive compilations to date, Heritage has identified 19 bankrupt green energy companies — unable to make it even with the $2.6 billion in financial assistance and incentives the government promised.

Solar firms probed for possible 'misrepresentations' in getting public money.  Three of the country's most prolific installers of residential solar panels are under federal investigation to determine if they inflated the cost of their work to increase the payments they would receive from the government, according to government and industry officials familiar with the probe.  SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity have received subpoenas from the Treasury Department's office of inspector general for financial records to justify more than $500 million in federal grants and tax credits the firms tapped for performing work.

Ramping Up Government Control of the Energy Sector.  If insanity consists of "doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different," President Obama is surely mad.  He has spent four years funding green energy start-ups that have failed, one after another.  Now he wants to spend the next four years funding green energy firms that are again likely to fail.

New documents reveal lavish spending at government-subsidized travel-promotion agency.  Promoting travel to America can be expensive — especially if Uncle Sam is footing most of the bill.  Documents exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller show extensive waste and mismanagement at the public-private partnership Brand USA, a government-backed travel-promotion agency established in May 2011 under Travel Promotion Act of 2009 to encourage foreign travelers to visit the United States.

Brand USA Scandal Deepens.  KTS Business Consulting's recent audit of Brand USA — the government-subsidized corporation created by Congress to promote United States tourism that has been dogged by allegations of cronyism and waste — obtained by the Free Beacon shows a company without vision, motivation, or oversight.  The audit found "a majority of the staff did not have any idea what the mission" of Brand USA was and that "all staff was in limbo as to what type of organization the Brand USA is."

Barack H. Obama is giving away F-16 jets to a middle east dictator.
Lawmakers question gift of 20 F-16s to Morsi's Egypt.  Key lawmakers expressing concerns about the Obama administration's plan to send 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, where new President Mohamed Morsi's allegiances are as uncertain as his grip on power.  Under a foreign aid deal signed in 2010, when Morsi's U.S.-friendly predecessor Hosni Mubarak was in charge, the U.S. is giving the planes to Egypt's air force, which already has more than 200 of the aircraft.

Does Egypt Need Advance Aircraft?  The announcement that 20 F-16s are being given to Egypt, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, should be of interest to senators already uneasy about the president's widely reported choice of Susan Rice for Secretary of State, replacing the retiring Mrs. Hillary Clinton.

DOD Green Energy Project to Pay Off in 447 Years.  In a mind-boggling example of government waste, it will take the U.S. Navy an astounding 447 years to benefit from a costly green-energy project that's supposed to save money by lowering utility bills.  Like many other failed renewable energy experiments, the Navy project was funded with money from President Obama's $787 billion stimulus, the fraud-infested disaster that was supposed to jump start the economy and put Americans back to work.  Instead, big chunks of money have gone to wasteful projects [...]

Department of Everything.  The threat of our national debt can be defeated by reviewing every department, every program, and expenditure within the federal budget, including at the Department of Defense (DOD). [...] This report examines five areas of the Pentagon budget that have little to do with national security where taxpayer dollars could be saved and deficits reduced without impacting our national security.

Wind Turbine Projects at Long-Range Radar Sites in Alaska Were Not Adequately Planned.  Completing a wind study would have provided 611th CES personnel the information necessary to determine the most advantageous location at which to build the turbine.  Because 611th CES personnel did not complete a wind study at Tin City before construction, the turbine is located in an area with turbulent winds, and therefore, according to 611th CES personnel, produces sporadic, unusable power.

More about windmill power.

Bankrupt Obama-stimulus recipient goes to the highest bidder, the highest bidder being China.  The problem here is that in the case of A123 Systems, a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric cards, the Obama administration spoon-fed hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money into what they assured us was a guaranteed-successful endeavor at ushering in the glorious green-energy revolution and leading us down the path of ostensibly necessary energy independence.

Feds spend half billion dollars designing facility they haven't built yet.  Imagine spending your life savings to design your dream home, only to discover your blueprint was too small to fit all your furniture and family.  That's essentially what the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration did, leaving taxpayers with a jaw-dropping bill and nothing to show for it yet.

Feds handing NYC kids $30 million for free lunches as Sandy aid — whether they need it or not.  Whoever said there's no such thing as a free lunch has never dined with Uncle Sam.  Even as the nation teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff, the feds have found $30 million in extra lunch money to shower on city schoolchildren in the name of hurricane relief.

U.S. Government Lends $105M to Brazil — to Build an Aquarium.  The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an agency of the federal government, is lending $105 million to the Brazilian state of Ceara to help build an aquarium in its capital city of Fortaleza.  "An anticipated tourist attraction, the aquarium will boast four floors housing 25 large tanks containing approximately 15 million liters of water and showcasing 500 marine species and 35,000 individual specimens," the Export-Import Bank said in a press release.

China bids today on yet another failed Obama energy loan recipient.  You won't hear much about it elsewhere today.  But from some downtown Chicago law offices will come the distinct sound of one more nail being driven into the coffin of Barack Obama's green energy giveaway loans.  A123 Systems will be auctioned off.  It's a Michigan lithium ion battery maker which declared bankruptcy back in October, the same day it cashed another $1 million check from the crack Obama investment team.

Battery maker that received stimulus money could be sold to Chinese company.  A bankrupt battery manufacturer that was a cornerstone of President Obama's effort to make the United States a global leader in clean-energy technology could end up in the hands of a Chinese company when it goes on the auction block Thursday [12/6/2012].

Electric Cars: The Environmentally Friendly Way of Losing Money Since 2009.  A Congressional Budget Office report released in the fall tells Obama what the rest of us have known for some time:  Your bet on electric cars wasn't an investment, but a gamble; a dumb gamble.  And now you've just come up snake eyes.

Questions surround $55 million program to cut violence in Chicago.  On a chilly afternoon this fall, teenagers across Chicago's South Side were busy at work, earning $8.75 an hour to hand out fliers with a message of non-violence.

State Department Spent 4.5 Million for Embassy Art, Had No Money for Benghazi Security.  Remember Benghazi only happened because the State Department had no money for security.  And the military had no money for planes. [...] Things that the State Department did have money for?  Mosque renovations, promoting environmental awareness in Baghdad, and 4.5 million for Art in Embassies.

Drone crashes mount at civilian airports.  The U.S. Air Force drone, on a classified spy mission over the Indian Ocean, was destined for disaster from the start.  An inexperienced military contractor in shorts and a T-shirt, flying by remote control from a trailer at Seychelles International Airport, committed blunder after blunder in six minutes on April 4. [...] The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists.  No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident in five months — under eerily similar circumstances.

Washington Proposes $1 Trillion Bailout for Delinquent Student Loans.  America's now-nationalized student loan industry just reached a value of $1 trillion, according to Citigroup, growing at a 20 percent-per-year pace.  Since President Obama nationalized the industry (a tacked-on provision of the Obamacare bill), tuition has gone up 25 percent and the three-year default rate is at a record 13.4 percent.

DHS Flushes Away Almost Half a Billion on Unused Radios.  In short, bureaucrats flushed another $430 million down the drain.  That's almost as much as the $535 million Obama stole from taxpayers to pay off his fundraisers at Solyndra.  Yet no one is screaming for the conspicuously incompetent Janet Napolitano to be fired; hardly anyone even seems to care.  The DHS, like most everything federal, is primarily a gigantic boondoggle, the purpose of which is to spread our money around [...]

The Debate About Tax Rates:  The federal government consumed less than four percent of GDP in 1930, 9.8 percent in 1940, and 16.2 percent in 1948.  By 1965, the number had climbed to 25 percent of GDP, and it hit 30 percent in 2000.

Pentagon spends $1.5 million to develop its own jerky.  The goal, officials say, was to make a beef jerky that was more like a Fruit Roll-Up — tastier and cheaper — than than the traditional grocery store fare.  The project, however, cost taxpayers $1.5 million and is unlikely to improve battlefield performance.

Obama spent $29M building port that can't be accessed because it was 'shovel ready'.  President Obama sought to fund "shovel ready" projects with the 2009 stimulus, so the federal government spent $29 million in taxpayer money to dig a port in Alaska that has no roads connecting it to other towns. [...] Construction of a road to connect the "port" to the nearest town two miles away won't begin for years, but the federal government is now committed either to losing the money spent already or having to lay out even more cash to build that road.

White House Announces $6 Billion to Promote Clean Energy — in Asia.  The White House announced the federal government will spend $6 billion over four years for a "sustainable energy future" plan with Asian countries that involves loaning tax dollars to other countries to increase their purchasing power for U.S. technology, services and equipment.

At SEC: Porn Surfing Down, Waste Up, Stunning Disregard For Basic Computer Security.  An internal investigative report of the SEC's Trading and Markets division has been recently been reviewed by Reuters. [...] The sheer irresponsibility on display here springs from the sort of irredeemable carelessness that comes with spending other people's money (taxes) and operating without any credible oversight or accountability (a large percentage of government entities).

Battery company got $1M from Energy Department the day it filed Chapter 11.  The Energy Department has supported A123 Systems, Inc., which produced batteries for electric vehicles, through thick and thin.  The company received a $946,830 payment, part of a larger grant, on the day it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-October.  The company revealed the Oct. 16 payment in a letter this week to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-S.D.), who have questioned federal financing for the company.

Govt Funded Climate Models Continue Abysmal Performance.  Government bureaucrat-scientists and their expert "global warming" climate models, based on levels of atmospheric CO2, continue to prove an astounding incompetence — billions of taxpayer monies wasted on failed computer simulations that can't predict global temperatures.

Demand Congress Audit Every Federal Agency.  The misappropriation of taxpayer funds at the Las Vegas GSA training conference stinks worse the deeper we dig.  The now-infamous expenditures include:
$147,000 on airfare and posh lodging for conference organizers
$3,200 for a mind-reader
$6,300 for commemorative coin sets
$75,000 for a training exercise on how to build a bicycle
[...] This is just one scandal and it took 2 years to finally be exposed.

Green War.  [Scroll down]  For example, the report notes a $14 million Air Force construction project to convert three Alaskan radar stations from diesel to wind energy.  The project was begun without any assurances it was properly planned or would result in any cost savings.  The Navy is also spending $170 million to convert parts of its fleet to algae-based biofuel, which currently costs $15 a gallon or four times the cost of conventional fuel.  The Defense Department spends more than $15 billion on energy annually and is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government.  Alternative fuel could potentially save taxpayers significant amounts of money.

Housing Agency: 'We Have Fun' — With Public Money.  It's a state agency that's supposed to help meet the housing needs of the Tennessee's neediest families.  But a [WTVF-TV] investigation discovered the Tennessee Housing Development Agency also spends lots of money having fun.  They call it "employee development."

President Obama's Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures.  The government's picking winners and losers in the energy market has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the rate of failure, cronyism, and corruption at the companies receiving the subsidies is substantial.  The fact that some companies are not under financial duress does not make the policy a success.  It simply means that our taxpayer dollars subsidized companies that would've found the financial support in the private market.

As many as 50 Obama-backed green energy companies bankrupt or troubled.  The October bankruptcy of solar company Satcon Technology Corp. puts the number of bankrupt or troubled green energy companies as high as 50, according to one estimate.

$19 Billion in Pure Government Waste this Year and Growing.  Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) issued his annual report on government waste this week. [...] Nothing is too wasteful to exclude for this Congress.  There is another bridge to nowhere, a sidewalk to nowhere, indirect subsidies to professional sports, and awarding of contracts to the highest bidders instead of the lowest bidders.

Over $60,000 in Welfare Spent Per Household in Poverty.  The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.  "According to the Census's American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795," the Senate Budget Committee notes.  "If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011."

U.S. can't produce $1 billion of fuel receipts in Iraq.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot produce about $1 billion of receipts for fuel and other supplies it bought in Iraq using Iraqi money, a government investigation has found.  The total amount of funds unaccounted for has now reached a staggering $7 billion, officials say — and they warn that the Iraqi government is likely to demand at least some of that money back.

GM to invest 450m in Argentina to manufacture a global Chevy vehicle.  General Motors (GM) will invest 450 [million] dollars to manufacture a new global Chevy vehicle at its Rosario Automotive Complex in Argentina.  The investment will be made between 2013 and 2015 at the Rosario facility, which produced more than 136,000 vehicles in 2011.

Report: Taxpayer loss due to Solyndra may be as high as $849 million.  The cost to taxpayers for the failure of solar panel company Solyndra may be much higher than the $535 million dollar federal loan guarantee the company received.  After the company went bankrupt in last August, 2011, the Energy Department, which had given the original loan, okayed an unprecedented deal to attract more private investment to Solyndra.  One result of this deal is that it has allowed more than $350 million in tax write-offs to pass to those private creditors, one of which is owned by a major donor to President Obama.

ReVolt Technology, backed by Oregon, Portland tax money, heads for bankruptcy.  Another publicly subsidized green company is going under, this one — called ReVolt Technology — backed in Portland by city and state taxpayers.  Losses on ReVolt are tiny compared to those at Solyndra Inc., the notorious California solar company that tanked after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee.  Portland and the state of Oregon had committed $6.8 million to ReVolt, which also landed a $5 million federal grant.

U.S. Taxpayers Fork Over Millions for Cultural Preservation in Foreign Countries.  The U.S. government spent $5.6 million in 2011 to preserve historical sites, artifacts, and traditional arts — in foreign countries.  The money was distributed under the auspices of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. [...] In the last 11 years the fund has disbursed nearly $33 million of American taxpayers' hard-earned money to over 700 projects in more than 100 foreign countries.

Feds Give Welfare to the Dead, Deny Medicare to the Living.  The federal government has been paying welfare benefits to the dead and withholding Medicare benefits from the living, according to a new report from the Inspector General (IG) of the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The report, released October 12, set out to determine whether some individuals were improperly receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments after having their Medicare benefits terminated because they were considered deceased.

U.S. Directly Deposited Welfare Payments to Person Using ATM — In Vietnam.  The federal government in 2011 directly deposited $5,262 in improper welfare payments into the bank account of a foreign-born U.S. citizen who was living in Hanoi, Vietnam — and who withdrew the funds via an ATM.  The improper Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were discovered when the inspector general of the Social Security Administration (SSA) audited a sample of 250 SSI recipients who were foreign born citizens.

Plant that Received $150m Stimulus Cash Hasn't Produced a Single Battery.  A local Michigan television station reports that workers at LG Chem, a lithium-ion battery plant that received over $150 million stimulus dollars, have so little to do that they spend their days playing cards and board games, reading magazines and watching movies.  And they have yet to make a single battery.

Nanny State Update: Obama's Food Cops Strike.  The cost of the Nanny State is growing, in terms of our liberty and money; American Action Forum has released a report finding that new regulations under Obama have cost us $488 billion dollars.  Some of the most costly agencies are:  DHHS at $16.7 billion, the EPA at $12.1 billion and DOE at $10.6 billion in 2012 alone.

Coburn report details $18 billion of wasteful gov't initiatives.  Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn released his "Wastebook 2012" on Tuesday [10/16/2012], which highlights over $18 billion in taxpayer money that the outspoken spending hawk says has been wasted by the government.  In his report, the senator singles out the current Congress as the "biggest waste of taxpayer money" for its potentially historic lack of productivity.  Some committees rarely hold hearings, and Congress has passed just 61 bills to date.  Twenty senators, Coburn notes, have yet to even introduce an amendment — all while allowing wasteful spending to continue unabated.

"Wastebook 2012":  [PDF]

The Oceans Are Neither Rising, Nor Turning to Acid.  When you consider how deeply in debt the nation is, you might think that scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) would want to avoid wasting taxpayer dollars studying "ocean acidification in the Arctic and what this means for the future survival of marine and terrestrial organisms."  You would be wrong. [...] We have arrived at the sad and dangerous point in our history when our government's agencies are just as likely to be used to advance the global warming/climate change hoax as to be engaged in the original and actual functions for which they were established.

$1.3 billion for 288 jobs: The failure of government-subsidized renewable energy.  Despite the lofty promises, these "green jobs" are few and far between, even after massive federal subsidies.  Since 2009, the federal government has funneled more than $1.3 billion into geothermal, solar and wind projects in Nevada.  However, these projects have led — or are projected to lead — to just 288 permanent, full-time jobs.  That's an initial cost of over $4.6 million per job.

More about green jobs.

Illinois paid over $2 million in unemployment to jail inmates.  According to the Associated Press, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said one inmate in the Cook County jail in Chicago was able to collect nearly $43,000 in unemployment benefits, however most of the inmates were paid less than that.

Troubling Auto-Rescue Plunder (TARP).  Remember that "trillion-dollar bank bailout" that President Bush pushed four years ago?  The Congressional Budget Office now says that (1) it cost just $24 billion, nowhere near a trillion; (2) taxpayers made money from the banks; and (3) the vast majority of the money went to auto companies.  Don't call it a trillion-dollar bank bailout.  Call it the $20-billion UAW payoff.

Sesame Street received $1 mil stimulus bill grant — created "1.47" jobs.  Sesame Workshop, the independent nonprofit corporation that produces the popular childrens' program Sesame Street, received a $1,067,532 stimulus bill grant in August 2010, via the Department of Health and Human Services.  The funding was to promote healthy eating according to the federal website.

Plant that got $150M in taxpayer money to make Volt batteries furloughs workers.  President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence "manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States," but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.

Ark. congressman wants to disconnect $1 billion free cell phone program.  [Rep. Tim] Griffin said his constituents have told him about people abusing the government benefit.  "I had someone call me this morning telling me they had somebody who would only work a certain number of hours a week because if they worked too many hours a week then they couldn't get their government assistance.  And that person has multiple cell phones, and gets them new every month with new minutes," he said, sounding outraged.  The cell phone companies add to the problem, he said.  "Every one they give out, they get money for from the federal government.  So they have an incentive to give as many away as possible," Griffin explained.  "And that's exactly what they're doing, and they're making a killing."

More about free cell phones.

Embassies Facing Security Cuts Waste Money on Chevy Volts.  The U.S. military's newspaper, Stars & Stripes, recently reported that the Pentagon is buying Chevy Volts in a 1,500 electric-vehicle purchase, as part of the Defense Department's "green initiatives," which seek to reduce the country's dependence on foreign energy sources.  A recent Congressional Budget Office study challenged the assumption that electric vehicles have any impact on such dependence, prompting the question of why the government is spending money this way.

VA's HR chief resigns amid conference scandal.  Two multimillion-dollar conferences for Veterans Affairs Department human resources officials have resulted in the resignation of the agency's top personnel official, as an internal investigation found excessive spending and evidence that some of those planning the events had improperly accepted gifts from potential vendors.

Obama Increased Foreign Aid 80%; Spent 76% More on Foreign Aid Than Border Security.  From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2011, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government increased spending on foreign aid by 80 percent and, in fiscal 2011, spent 76 percent more on foreign aid than it did securing the borders of the United States.

Official resigns after report finds VA spent $6.1M on lavish conferences.  The head of Human Resources for the Veterans Affairs Department resigned after an inspector general's (IG) report found that the agency spent $6.1 million on two week[-]long conferences.  The 142-page IG report investigated about $762,000 in "unauthorized, unnecessary, and/or wasteful expenses" during two conferences held in Orlando, Fla., that included $49,516 to produce a parody video of the late-Gen. George S. Patton.

Slime Blooms in Reflecting Pool After Feds Spend $34M.  Massive quantities of algae are now blooming in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, where the federal government has just spent $34 million in stimulus money to make the pool "sustainable" and "improve the quality and appearance of the water."

Obama's Electric Car Future Gets Zapped.  First, the Congressional Budget Office released a detailed report on Obama's massive electric car program.  Its conclusion:  The money "will have little or no impact on the total gasoline use and greenhouse gas emissions of the nation's vehicle fleet over the next several years."  It also found that, even with the $7,500 tax credits, electric cars are a bad buy, costing owners far more over the life of the car than traditional gas-powered vehicles.  Translation:  Obama's electric car subsidies are a complete and total waste of money.

More about electric cars.

Open hatch sank Port Authority's $500G boat.  A $500,000 Port Authority patrol boat sank this month after a veteran police sergeant took the advice of a clueless civilian safety instructor — and opened a hatch while it was under water, The [New York] Post has learned.  "It was like opening a window during a carwash," one PA insider lamented of the screw-up off Breezy Point, Queens, that left 11 people scrambling for their lives.

Obama's America: Student Reading SAT Scores Hit Record Lows.  No doubt the Obama administration will combat this problem by complaining about racial discrepancies in education and suggesting pouring billions more down the rathole that is the public education system — all the while avoiding scrutiny for teachers unions.  That's the all-purpose liberal solution:  cash, cash, and more cash.

Rep. Nita Lowey collects an extra $10G pension on top of her salary.  Rep. Nita Lowey is the wealthiest member of New York's congressional delegation and one of the richest members of Congress.  She's also a double dipper.  The Westchester Democrat, who is worth at least $14.3 million, collects a $10,302 annual state pension on top of her $174,000 congressional salary.

Arizona taxpayers pay for 53% of births.  Arizona taxpayers foot the bill for the delivery of more than half of all babies born here, a growing trend with a $200 million-plus annual price tag that has caught state leaders off guard — even though the numbers have been rising for more than a decade.

If PB&J is racist, then we're toast.  Quite a few eyebrows were raised by a Portland, Oregon, report that found traces of racism in the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The study is aimed at uprooting the subtle ways schools foist majority viewpoints on minority students.  Its authors decided that telling children a PB&J sandwich is the quintessential American kids lunch sends a message of inferiority to students whose families hail from places where peanut butter and jelly comes on a pita or corn husk.  Extreme multicultural hoo-haw.  Yet Portland spent $526,000 to get that feedback.

Obama Administration 'Strengthening the American Workforce' with $500 Million 'Investment' in Schools.  Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced on Wednesday [9/19/2012] that her department and the Department of Education are giving out $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country as part of a $2 billion, four-year plan to expand training programs.

Lambasted Chinese solar panels placed on government building.  Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn't stop the federal government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator, congressman and several agencies.  Even the contractor questioned whether Chinese-made panels could be used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus program that mandated use of U.S.-made products.

The Defense Dept. Will Buy Volts, Instead of Military Equipment, to Make Obama Look Good.  GM's Volt electric car is much in the news because GM is losing up to $49,000 on every Volt it builds.  They have sold only 13,500 Volts this year, 33.75% of it's [sic] 40,000 goal.  Even at that, hardly anyone wants to buy one.  Such a dilemma.  The "Optics" are very bad for Democrats who have just proclaimed GM being "alive" as one of the Obama administration's great triumphs.

Pentagon to Buy 1,500 Chevy Volts.  General Motors, the financially strained U.S. automaker that absorbed billions of taxpayer dollars through the auto bailout, has secured a new deep-pocketed customer for its purportedly failed electric Chevy Volt:  the Pentagon.  The Department of Defense is seeking to make the federal government's military operation more "environmentally-friendly" by reducing its use of fossil fuels with a conversion to electric vehicles.  The DOD plans to purchase 1,500 models of the Volt, which has been burdened with lethargic sales and mounting losses since the automaker launched it in 2010.

Our Ambassador Is Dead, but Obama's Political Guru Is Safe.  Our U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans who served us there are dead because of insufficient security while the assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, a woman named Valerie Jarrett, has been given an entourage of well-armed, highly trained protectors as she goes to and from work in Washington, goes shopping or out to dinner, and travels to political events and vacations on Martha's Vineyard.  Why is Valerie Jarrett such a high priority when it comes to security, and why are our diplomats in Libya so much less of a priority?

Obama Senior Aide Valerie Jarrett's Million Dollar Security Detail.  Valerie Jarrett, long known in some circles as the "other half of Barack's brain," and in other circles as a Chicago slumlord, has her own security detail.  Jarrett's official title is "Senior Advisor to the President."

The Audacity of Cronyism.  [Valerie] Jarrett gets a security detail from the US Secret Service (USSS).  That means 24/7 protection, at a cost of millions of dollars a year.  Of course, it also means an air of importance for Jarrett — her own taxpayer-funded entourage.  The idea that someone such as Jarrett — who officially plays no role in national security or counter-terrorism — would receive USSS protection would be laughable if it weren't, in fact, real.  It's like a tale out of the Versailles Court of the Sun King — the sort of anecdote that provokes the peasants, eventually, to revolution.

689 Reasons to Defeat Barack Obama.  [For example,]
457. "Cap and trade."
458. "Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."
459. The war on coal.
470. Ener1 received a $118.5 million grant from the Department of Energy.  It went bankrupt in January.
471. BrightSource received $1.6 billion in guarantees and turned it into a $177 million loss.
472. Beacon Power received $43 million in loan guarantees.  It's now bankrupt.
473. ECOtality received $126.2 million of taxpayers' money.  It posted $45 million in losses and will never be profitable.
474. Abound Solar received $400 million in loan guarantees to build photovoltaic-panel factories.  The company has filed for bankruptcy and laid off all 305 of its employees.

50 Examples of Government Waste.  A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayerfunded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations.  In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, including "over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold."  The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.

Fired Municipal Bureaucrat Demands $837,000 in Vacation and Sick Pay.  The greed and arrogance of the parasites who rule us know no bounds.

Obama's $107 billion transportation plan: Trains and roads to nowhere.  If Obama was actually spending all this money on roads and bridges designed to get you to work and home quicker, then maybe this transportation spending explosion would be worth it.  But he's not.  In 2009, the highway trust fund spent $52.7 billion, but only 62 percent of that went to general purpose roads and safety programs.  The rest was diverted into pet liberal causes like trolleys, bicycles, buses, scenic byways, historic covered bridges and "community preservation."  And those are the dollars that are supposed to be going to highways.  The rest of Obama's transportation spending is even more wasteful.

40 Reasons Not To Re-Elect Barack Obama.  [#2]  Barack Obama's stimulus plan cost more than the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, and putting a man on the moon — combined[,] and it was a complete and utter failure — more than 800 billion dollars that accomplished nothing of significance.

GM goes from bad to worse despite Obama bailout.  GM has been selling cars in the U.S. at deep discount and, while it's making money in China — and is outsourcing operations there and elsewhere — it's bleeding losses in Europe.  It's spending billions to ditch its Opel brand there in favor of Chevrolet, including $559 million to put the Chevy logo on Manchester United soccer team uniforms — and just fired the marketing exec who cut that deal.

Rural Utilities Create Zero Jobs With $47 Million in Stimulus Funding.  A stimulus program designed to create jobs by funding rural utility projects has created only about 12% of the jobs projected at the outset of the program in a sample of towns recently examined by the Agriculture Department's Inspector General.  The IG examined 22 local utilities and government agencies to receive stimulus money.  The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a division of the USDA, projected that the sample of companies would create 3,384 jobs.  To date, however, those companies have used their stimulus awards to create a mere 415 jobs.  Some of the recipients have not used their stimulus awards to create a single job.

Chaffetz seeks data on use of stimulus cash for job ads.  Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, plans to push Obama administration officials for more information on why the Labor Department spent a half-million dollars in federal stimulus money for more than 100 commercials that ran on MSNBC.  The ads ran on the "Rachel Maddow Show" and "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" in 2009, but government reports showed the contract created no jobs.  The money was paid out through a public relations firm to raise awareness about "green training" efforts through the Job Corps program.

Labor Department spends stimulus funds for ads during Olbermann, Maddow shows.  The Labor Department paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal stimulus funds to a public relations firm to run more than 100 commercials touting the Obama administration's "green training" job efforts on two MSNBC cable shows, records show.  The commercials ran on MSNBC on shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in 2009, but the contract didn't report any jobs created, according to records reviewed recently by The Washington Times.

Did someone mention green jobs again?

LaHood: 'I'm very proud' of DOT stimulus spending at $738,000 per job.  Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told The Daily Caller that he is "very proud" of the Economic Recovery Act of 2009 that put 65,000 people to work with $48 billion in federal funds for the Department of Transportation, amounting to $738,461 per job.  The Recovery Act of 2009, which in total cost taxpayers $825 billion, has been criticized because it did not prevent the unemployment rate from rising above 8 percent, contrary to what the Obama administration predicted.

Four-star general being investigated for lavish trip spending.  A four-star Army general is under investigation for allegedly misusing hundreds of thousands of government dollars on travel, hotels and other unauthorized expense, Defense Department officials said Wednesday [8/15/2012].  The general has been identified as William "Kip" Ward, the first leader of the U.S. Africa Command.

High School Dropout? Gov't Will Pay You 36% More Than Private Sector.  People who drop out of high school and get a job with the federal government earn, on average, 36 percent more in wages and benefits than their dropout counterparts in the private sector, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  In fact, the CRS report confirmed, federal government workers generally earn more than their peers in the private sector.

Obama's $25 Billion Government Motors Lemon.  On Tuesday [8/14/2012], GM fell $0.26, or 1.3%, to $20.21.  At that price, the government would lose another $995 million on its GM bailout.  The report notes the government still has 500 million shares of GM and needs to sell those shares at $53 each for the government to break even on the bailout.  Worse yet, the entire financial loss suffered by taxpayers is the result of a massive and planned redistribution of wealth from them to the auto unions that form a key part of Obama's base and re-election drive.  In its analysis, the Heritage Foundation says all the taxpayer losses occurred because the administration manipulated bankruptcy law to shelter the United Auto Workers' compensation.

Agency Fighting 'Climate Change' Operates 9,516 Vehicles for 11,605 Employees.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, operates 9,516 vehicles even though it only has 11,605 employees.  That works out to one vehicle for every 1.2 employees.  The service promotes itself, in part, as a component of the federal government's effort to deal with climate change.

Palm Beach County to Hire Global Warming Czar.  Palm Beach County has allocated $200,000 of taxpayer money to hire a staffer to address global warming.  County officials created the position despite a $15 million county budget deficit.  The new global warming czar will direct the county's efforts to reduce global temperature increases and adapt to any warming that may occur.  County officials said they are particularly concerned about rapid sea level rise.

New York Gov. Cuomo to Sell Failed High-Speed Trains.  In 1998, then-governor George Pataki (R) announced a "historic" high-speed rail partnership with Amtrak.  The state poured $70 million into a plan calling for retrofitting seven sets of Amtrak gas turbine trains and making track improvements to facilitate high-speed travel from Albany to New York City.  Now, 14 years later, the state will sell what's left of the unused trains, probably for scrap.

Obama Requests $542 Million In Housing Aid for Drug Addicts.  President Barack Obama has requested over half-a-billion dollars for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs that provide housing assistance to homeless or HIV-positive people in drug treatment.  For the Fiscal Year 2013 National Drug Control budget, Obama has requested $25.6 billion, including $542.4 million to fund HUD programs that provide housing to individuals in drug treatment, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which is charged with developing that budget.  According to the ONDCP, the requested FY 2013 budget will "reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States."

IRS discourages employees from detecting fraud.  Child tax credit payments to illegal immigrants have quadrupled in the past five years as a result of President Obama's stimulus package and the Internal Revenue Service's refusal to pursue instances of fraud, a new study shows.  The IRS is also failing to inform citizens that illegal immigrants have stolen their Social Security Numbers.  The IRS paid out $7.4 billion in tax refunds to illegal immigrants in 2012, quadruple the $1.7 billion paid out in 2007, according to a new report by Senate Republicans.

USDA spends $2 million on internship program for one full-time intern.  The United States Department of Agriculture spent $2 million on an internship program that only hired one full-time intern, a recent audit of the USDA's Office of the Chief Information Officer reveals.  A USDA Inspector General's report detailing the mismanagement of the agency's multi-million dollar attempt to beef up the USDA's information technology security found that after an infusion of millions, "[b]ecause these projects were not effectively managed, the Department's information systems are still at risk, even after expending $63.4 million of funding increases received in FY 2010 and 2011."

Hermosa Beach meter maids making nearly $100K?  When contemplating the many reasons cities in California and elsewhere are venturing closer to bankruptcy, look no further than the relatively lucrative and often-unjustifiable salaries bestowed on municipal employees — and the lofty pension benefits attached to the high pay.  One of the latest examples comes from the California coastal city of Hermosa Beach, where some community service staffers who collect money from parking meters and manage their operations — positions once widely known as "meter maids" — are making nearly $100,000 a year in total compensation, according to city documents.

General Spending Administration.  Rep. John Mica (R., Fla.), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, revealed last week that the General Services Administration (GSA), the government agency at the center of a luxury spending scandal, had awarded $44 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses last year, far more than previously reported.  Though GSA staff constitute just one percent of the federal workforce, agency bonuses made up 10 percent of government bonuses paid out in 2011.  Mica's analysis of GSA compensation data found a number of bonuses worth as much as $50,000 or more.  One employee received an $80,000 bonus, in addition to $180,000 in salary and other compensation.

GSA Breaking the Law, Spending Millions on Travel, Conferences, Bad Deals.  GSA is hiding money and using it for profligate conferences and bonuses.  GSA is supposed to cut waste in other branches of government and oversee property owned by the government, selling it when appropriate — they can't even oversee themselves.  There are 14,000 properties they are responsible for and they're languishing — the value of the properties and their upkeep is in the billions.

Documents show dozens of questionable GSA conferences, millions in bonuses.  The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show the extent to which GSA dumped money into questionable conferences, sometimes with little or no record of spending.  They also show that while the GSA was hosting lavish affairs, they were also doling out bonuses to their party guest employees.  One of the more troubling conferences was held in 2010 in Crystal City, Va., where GSA employees within the Federal Acquisition Service spent hours drumming in what administrators billed as a "team-building" exercise.

Oakland police radios fail during Obama visit.  The year-old system has been plagued by breakdowns and dead zones that have left officers' digital radios prone to blackouts across the city and in most commercial buildings, including the basement of police headquarters.  A city-hired consultant said last week that the system was not up to urban standards. [...] Oakland paid $18 million for the radio system when it became operational last year, largely using grant money.

Jobs Program Spent $76,000 PerPerson To Help Youth Find Minimum Wage Jobs.  A new jobs training oversight report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) found that a federally-funded Oklahoma Job Corps program spent around $76,000 per person to help youth secure minimum wage jobs.  The report, released Tuesday [7/24/2012], comes 18 months after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found that billions of taxpayer dollars are being poured into job training programs that benefit those who run them, not the unemployed workers they are supposed to assist. [...] In one program, just 14 cents of every dollar went to actual job training.

The Green Graveyard of Taxpayer-Funded Failures.  Solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra became a household name when it collapsed, taking $627 million in American taxpayer dollars with it.  It's the poster company for the government picking winners and losers — or really, just losers — in the energy market.  But there are 12 more "green energy" losers that have declared bankruptcy despite attempts to prop them up with taxpayer money — and the list is growing.  There's a reason why these companies could not rely solely on private financing and needed help from the government.  They couldn't make it on their own; they couldn't even make it with extra taxpayer help.

GSA Spent $270,000 on One-day Awards Ceremony.  The unveiling of another lavish employee event has added to the General Services Administration's (GSA) already scandal-ridden status as a corrupt government agency notorious for taxpayer waste.  Only three months after GSA officials were exposed for having spent more than $800,000 on a Las Vegas "training conference," the department's inspector general is launching an investigation into a Washington event that cost a sizable $270,000.

'Beleaguered' Homeland Security agency wastes $57 million on failed computer contract.  A scandal involving $57 million in government contract dollars is set to rock the Federal Protective Service, a small agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Congressional Democrats and Republicans have criticized the service in recent years, and both law enforcement reform organizations and labor unions have excoriated its managers for their handling of a 2008 project plagued by scheduling delays, cost overruns and conflicts of interest.

Energy Department loses $500k worth of "stimulus" equipment.  CNS News reports the not-particularly-surprising news that "An audit conducted by the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General was 'unable to locate' $500,000 worth of equipment purchased with stimulus money by a recipient of funds distributed through the department's Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program."  Ah, that wonderful Obama "stimulus."  Will the magic never end?  It didn't produce many jobs, but it certainly created plenty of opportunities for audits and investigations.

It's a shovel ready project!
Union Bosses Okay Digging Up — Then Filling Back In — Ditches on Taxpayers' Dime.  [Scroll down]  And when some of the Earth Supply and Renewal "employees" explain that they literally dig a ditch, then fill it up again, Hutchings says, "It sounds like, it almost is exactly the same as where we were with Green Jobs, Green New York."  Green Jobs, Green New York was a $112 million state plan that was designed to create environmentally-friendly jobs.  And it was sponsored, in large part, by unions.

The Editor says...
Labor leaders don't care if their union members are actually accomplishing anything — only that they are employed and paid union-scale wages.

Transportation Dept. Hands Out $500 Million More Stimulus Funds.  In a fourth round of funding grants paid for by the $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Chicago is receiving $100 million of $500 million for CREATE, a regional rail task force.

The Editor says...
After some digging, I was able to discover that CREATE stands for the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program.  Apparently it has been around for years, but I had never heard of it until today.

More Taxpayer Dollars Lost In Green Energy Venture.  It turns out that the Department of Energy (DOE) has lost at least $500,000 worth of equipment for a special alternative energy program that got nearly $2 billion from the president's disastrous stimulus.  Remember, the $787 billion plan that was supposed to jump start the economy and put Americans back to work but instead lost billions to fraud and abuse?  In any case, it turns out that the DOE has blown more than half the money — around $1.2 billion — earmarked for the special "advanced batteries and hybrid components program" that is supposed to "support the construction of U.S. based battery and electric drive component manufacturing plants."  In all, 30 manufacturers (undoubtedly, politically connected) got cash from the Obama DOE to complete the task.

Sierra Club Sues to Stop Offshore Drilling, and Guess Who Is Funding the Defense.  [Scroll down]  A little known US law called the Equal Access to Justice Act, signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, allows the groups to use lawsuits against government as revenue sources.  When they sue, the government has to incur the costs of defending itself against the lawsuits, and also picks up the expenses for the groups suing the government.  No one even keeps track of how much money the government has ended up spending on such lawsuits.

Energy Dept. 'Unable to Locate' $500,000 in Equipment Bought With Stimulus Money.  An audit conducted by the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General was "unable to locate" $500,000 worth of equipment purchased with stimulus money by a recipient of funds distributed through the deparment's "Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program," according to an audit report published by the OIG.  The DOE said it would not be "appropriate" to release the name of stimulus-money recipient where the $500,000 worth of equipment could not be located.

The Air Force is spending 16 times as much as it needs to.
U.S. Air Force tests biofuel at $59 per gallon.  The U.S. Navy angered Republicans by spending $26 a gallon for biofuels for this week's Great Green Fleet demonstration, but the Air Force received little attention when it paid twice as much per gallon to test synthetic jet fuel last month.  The Air Force bought 11,000 gallons of alcohol-to-jet fuel from Gevo Inc, a Colorado biofuels company, at $59 a gallon in a program aimed at proving that new alternative fuels can be used reliably in military aircraft — once, that is, their pricing is competitive with petroleum, which now costs $3.60 a gallon.

The Navy offers a rebuttal:
Navy: We'll Never, Ever Overpay for Biofuels.  Last week, [Wired magazine's] Danger Room published a critical look at the Navy's efforts to launch a renewable-powered "Great Green Fleet" — and kickstart the market for biofuels in the process.  Not surprisingly, the Navy's leadership had all sorts of objections to the piece.  But they took particular exception to the section about the price of the biofuel.  A Pentagon-sponsored study says that the Navy could spend as much as $1.76 billion annually for all the biofuel they've promised to use by 2020.  In this exclusive op-ed, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Tom Hicks says the Navy will never pay that kind of premium.

Congresswoman demands investigation into millions of taxpayer dollars used for Disney World conference.  Florida Republican Rep. Sandy Adams is digging into a federal agency she said has misused millions in taxpayer dollars for, among other things, a trip to Disney World.  Adams said in a statement that a whistleblower gave her documents from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership that show the agency used millions for a conference at a lavish resort near Disney World in Florida.

Obama's Stimulus Tax Dollars Used to Create Jobs Overseas.  A few weeks ago, the Washington Post and the Obama campaign worked together to attack Governor Mitt Romney with proven lies about outsourcing.  Though this attack has been exposed as a lie, that didn't stop Barack Obama from continuing the attack nor has it stopped his Media Palace Guards from attempting to drag Romney into the trap of responding to these lies.

Obama Administration to Spend $20 Million on Green Energy Plan — For Africa.  The U.S. government is spending $20 million to "help clean energy projects in Africa get started."  Those projects include wind farms and solar panels, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at the recent Rio+20 Conference in Brazil.  But the government watchdog Judicial Watch criticized the spending as wasteful, given the administration's track record in trying to pick green energy winners.