IG: Obamacare’s Medical Device Tax Not Bringing In As Much Cash As Expected

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Sarah Hurtubise

Obamacare’s controversial medical device tax isn’t bringing in nearly as much cash as expected, according to a federal report issued Tuesday.

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that the number of filings for the medical device excise tax, instituted as part of the Affordable Care Act, is already lower than expected — and so is the resulting revenue. The was supposed to bring in $1.2 billion for the first two quarters of 2013, but the federal government only collected $913 million.

The Internal Revenue Service still doesn’t have the ability to identify the medical device manufacturers that are actually required to submit the proper forms and pay the excise tax.

Even for the companies that have paid the tax so far, the IRS doesn’t have the proper processing systems to make sure the amount of tax paid is correct. The IG report found discrepancies in the amount of excise tax paid in 276 out of 5,107 medical device tax forms it examined — resulting in a $117.8 million discrepancy between the amount of tax collected and the amount auditors expected.

Not to mention, the IRS incorrectly charged companies late penalties 219 times, to the tune of $706,753. They corrected 133 of the overcharges, but didn’t reverse the remaining penalties until the IG office reminded the agency of its failure.

“While the IRS has taken steps to educate medical device manufacturers of the medical device tax during implementation, it faces challenges to definitively identify manufacturers subject to the medical device excise tax reporting and payment requirements,” said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for tax administration.

The medical device tax was included in Obamacare to help finance the health care law’s more expensive provisions, but critics immediately took aim at the excise tax for increasing health care costs and costing jobs. A February report from trade group Advanced Medical Technology Association concluded that the tax has already cost 33,000 jobs in the medical device industry from both layoffs and a lack of new hires, and predicted that it would kill another 132,000 in the future. (RELATED: Health Industry Group: Yes We’ve Suffered Massive Obamacare Job Losses)

The medical device tax is just one of many included in the health care law. It’s supposed to bring in $20 billion by 2019, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation; the federal government expects to collect $438 in Obamacare taxes by 2019, all told.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/19/ig-obamacares-medical-device-tax-not-bringing-in-as-much-cash-as-expected/#ixzz3AtFunAzW

Sheila Jackson Lee Calls Ferguson Cop A “Criminal”

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By Robert Gehl
August 15, 2014

One of Capitol Hill’s top race baiters – and also one of its dimmest bulbs – is calling the police officer who shot Michael Brown a “criminal.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is joining with other members of the always-rational Congressional Black Caucus in calling for hearings on the shooting in Ferguson, Mo, which has caused days of riots by citizens and hyper-militarization by the local police. Because Congressional hearings always manage to solve problems.

Lee – who couldn’t wait to make an incendiary and outrageous comment, said the police were not following the law.

“All of us are strong supporters of law and order and most of us, such as myself, have strong working relationships with local and federal police agencies. I know good police persons who are professional and follow the law,” she said. “In the instance of Michael Brown and other cases, a failing to follow the law is obvious.

“Michael Brown was shot down in the street.”

Incredibly, she also said it was important to “hear both sides of the story.”

With President Obama already weighing in, two of the three branches of government have crowbarred themselves into an issue they have no right to comment about. Capitol Hill watchers turn now toward the Judicial Branch to see if Chief Justice John Roberts wants to comment as well.

Don’t hold your breath.

We Are Sorry To Report That Eleanor Holmes Norton Is ‘Troubled’ That White People Keep Getting Elected In Missouri

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By Brian Carey
August 19, 2014

There are simply too many white people holding elected office in Missouri.

That’s the complaint of Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-But you knew that), anyway.

Speaking for the best interests of the American people in general and the citizens of Missouri in particular, Holmes Norton told all 16 of MSNBC’s viewers today that she is quite concerned with the overwhelming number of white people − white people! − who keep getting elected in Missouri.

It’s almost like voters want them to be elected or something.

“Here you have the mostly white police force in a mostly black community. But I’m perplexed about why most of the elected officials are white as well. Is there something about the way elections are done in Missouri or in the county? That’s troublesome,” she said to MSNBC’s Jose Diaz Balart (one of the 16 people listening to her).

Yes, it’s very troublesome that the person with the most votes, regardless of skin color, wins the election.

“Hey, black community! You see what happens when you don’t have your own elected officials out there, people who have had experiences similar to your own. I don’t understand that. Again, there may be something about the way the elections are conducted in that county. But if I were in that community, the first thing I would be doing is organize voters to go to the polls in November.”

Sounds like she’s trying to gain support for Democrats in November. Maybe she’s just following Rahm Emmanuel’s advice to not let a good crisis go to waste.

Or a bad crisis.

ISIS APPEARS TO BEHEAD AMERICAN PHOTOJOURNALIST IN YOUTUBE VIDEO

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Propaganda video was removed from YouTube after more than 20 minutes

by JESSICA TESTA | BUZZFEED | AUGUST 19, 2014

The video, uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, includes about a minute and a half of President Obama announcing his recent authorization of targeted airstrikes and a humanitarian operation in Iraq.

Around the two minute mark, a man believed to be James Wright Foley, 40, delivers a statement: “I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers: the U.S. government.” He then addresses his brother John, a member of the U.S. Air Force, at length. After about two minutes and 20 seconds, he is beheaded.

Two people who know Foley said the man in the video appears to be him, and that the voice sounds like his. His family did not respond immediately to an inquiry about the video.

Foley, a freelance photojournalist, and his translater were kidnapped in Binesh, Syria, in Novermber 2012. According to the FBI, his translator was later released.

The propaganda video was removed from YouTube after more than 20 minutes.

FERGUSON: NEW BLACK PANTHERS THREATEN TO SMASH JOURNALISTS’ CAMERAS

Blocked cameras, pushed reporters, and threatened to break video equipment

by INFOWARS.COM | AUGUST 19, 2014

Members of the Infowars team in Ferguson, Missouri were told by “peacekeepers” ostensibly with the Black Panthers they would not be allowed to film protest activities on a public street.

Videographer Josh Owens and reporter Sgt. Joe Biggs were told by several people not to film. The so-called “peacekeepers,” according to the Infowars team, blocked cameras, pushed reporters, and threatened to break video equipment.

In the United States, photographers have the right to photograph what is in plain view on a public street, including people.

The confrontational attitude of the Black Panthers once again reveals the thuggish mindset prevalent on the left side of the political spectrum in America. Leftists and collectivists do not respect the constitutional rights of their political opponents and aggressively attempt to prevent them from engaging in freely practicing their First Amendment right.

MSNBC HOST: MAYBE COPS NEED MILITARY GEAR TO DEAL WITH “ANTI-GOVERNMENT” GROUPS

Ed Schultz perfectly happy for militarized law enforcement to target non-liberals

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | AUGUST 19, 2014

MSNBC host Ed Schultz suggested on his show last night that police like those currently occupying Ferguson, Missouri may need military gear in order to deal with the threat posed by “anti-government groups.”

“The Department of Homeland Security recently came out with a report saying the biggest threat to our security is here within our own borders,” said Schultz, adding, “There’s a lot of anti-government groups that have popped up in this country, hate groups that have popped up in this country, and law enforcement feels outgunned and they want to be prepared,”

The MSNBC host went on to suggest that it was the use of militarized equipment that was the issue, not a question of whether police departments should possess it in the first place.”

Apparently, Schultz thinks it’s perfectly reasonable for heavily armed police to use armored vehicles and military weapons against someAmericans, so long as their political opinions can be skewed as “anti-government.”

“Did you catch that? If not, allow me to summarize: The police are too militarized and as a result are unfairly and unjustly using their unnecessary power to harm black people. But wait, could they actually need this stuff because of people who don’t trust the police?” writes Caleb Howe.

Schultz’s reference to the DHS report relates to a leaked document from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis which predicted a rise in “anti-government violence over the next year.”

The report notes that a “perceived victory” during the Bunkerville standoff involving Cliven Bundy has emboldened such extremists, who will continue to cite “government overreach and oppression” as an excuse to stage “more violence.”

Schultz’ myopic comments again expose the hypocrisy of the left-right paradigm. Both sides of the partisan persuasion are only concerned about police brutality and the militarization of domestic law enforcement when it is used to target people who embrace their political dogma, when the sensible response would be to realize that the constitutional rights of people from all over the political map are simultaneously being oppressed.

Obama heads back to vacation after unexplained DC trip

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By Justin Sink – 08/19/14 04:31 PM EDT

President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place.

Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.

Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations.
Judicial Watch estimates the extra roundtrip cost $1.1 million. Only daughter Malia accompanied Obama back to Washington.

Speculation for why Obama returned focused around the possibility of a secret foreign leader meeting or the roll out of a new administration initiative on immigration or corporate taxes.

But no such explanation materialized.

The most unusual deviation from a normal day at the White House was Obama’s dinner Monday night at Sam Kass’s home. The president, joined by deputy chief of staff Anita Breckenridge, spent nearly five hours at the White House chef’s Dupont Circle duplex apartment.

It’s possible that the party may have been a celebration of Kass’s impending nuptials to MSNBC host Alex Wagner. The couple announced their engagement last September. But the White House provided no details of the meal.

White House officials have bristled at repeated questions over the decision, even as the story has popcorned across the Internet.

“WH claimed Obama can do everything on the Vineyard, so why did he need to fly back to WH to meet with staff?” tweeted Joseph Curl, a Washington Times columnist and editor of the Drudge Report. “So wait, both Obama AND Holder flew from the Vineyard to DC so Holder could update Obama on Ferguson? Something very fishy going on here.”

One possibility is that Democrats were simply wary of the president taking a full two-week vacation ahead of November’s midterm elections. Obama’s approval ratings are already sputtering in the low-40s, and Republicans have attacked his decision to retreat to the Vineyard.

Yet Obama and the White House have repeatedly signaled they worry little about such perceptions. Minutes after he gave his first public remarks last week about the racially-charged protests in Ferguson, Mo., Obama was out on the golf course in Martha’s Vineyard.

The Republican National Committee released a web video last week criticizing the president’s golf outings.

“Not too much comes between this president and his vacations, even these three major crises overseas. America needs a president who is more concerned with supporting our allies than working on his golf game,” the RNC said in a statement.

Press secretary Josh Earnest insisted earlier this month that the return did not reflect sensitivity to the optics of the president’s vacation.

“The president recognizes that he is president of the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wherever he happens to be,” Earnest said. “And the president will be in a position to fulfill the core functions of the commander-in-chief and ensure for the safety and security of the American people wherever he travels.”

While fiscal cliff negotiations in 2012 caused a Washington interruption to his Hawaii holiday, Obama did not return to D.C. last summer as Egypt’s government tottered.

Nor did he fly back after the attempted underwear bombing of a Northwest flight headed to Detroit in 2009 or the Russian incursion into Ukraine during a golf weekend in Key Largo earlier this year.

Besides his meetings on Tuesday, Obama held separate meetings Monday with his national security team and Attorney General Eric Holder, and fielded questions from reporters at a brief news conference about Iraq and Ferguson.

But Obama didn’t need to return to Washington to meet with anyone.

Holder traveled with the president to Massachusetts, and the White House posted pictures of Obama discussing the situation with the attorney general and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

Obama can also teleconference in to a meeting with his economic or national security teams from Martha’s Vineyard, something the White House has underlined.

“He travels with a wide array of communications equipment, and we also travel with a staff that allows us to have robust operational capabilities,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said last week.

If Obama wanted to speak to the media, he can do that on vacation too. The president made three public statements during his time at Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Obama’s lunch with Biden on Monday was symbolically important for the vice president after Obama partied with Hillary Clinton — Biden’s likely rival for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — last week in Massachusetts. But that meal, which was closed to the media, hardly necessitated a return from Martha’s Vineyard.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/215525-obama-heads-back-to-vacation-leaving-a-puzzle-behind-him#ixzz3AsG5TByY
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Heavy barrage of rockets fired at Tel Aviv area, southern Israel

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Hamas says it fired 40 rockets, claims responsibility for firing M-75 and Fajr-5 rockets at central Israel, J-80 missile at Ben Gurion Airport.
Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy
Latest Update: 08.19.14, 23:30 / Israel News

A heavy barrage of rockets was fired at Israel on Tuesday night, ar around 10:40pm. Loud explosions were heard in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, while Code Red sirens blared throughout southern and central Israel.

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Hamas said it fired 40 rockets at Israel. Among them, two hit open areas in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, four more in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, and five hit open areas in the Be’er Sheva area.

At least one was intercepted over central Israel and another fell in an open area. Two more were intercepted over Sderot, two intercepted over Be’er Sheva, two shot down over Kiryat Malachi, three were intercepted over Ashkelon.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the fire at central Israel, saying they fired M-75 and Fajr-5 missiles at the Tel Aviv area and a J-80 rocket towards Ben Gurion International Airport.

The latest ceasefire, that was set to expire on midnight, was broken some 8 hours earlier when three Grad rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell near Be’er Sheva and Netivot on Tuesday afternoon. The IDF responded by hitting different targets in the Gaza Strip.

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Heavy barrage of rockets fired at Tel Aviv area, southern Israel
Hamas says it fired 40 rockets, claims responsibility for firing M-75 and Fajr-5 rockets at central Israel, J-80 missile at Ben Gurion Airport.
Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy
Latest Update: 08.19.14, 23:30 / Israel News

A heavy barrage of rockets was fired at Israel on Tuesday night, ar around 10:40pm. Loud explosions were heard in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, while Code Red sirens blared throughout southern and central Israel.

Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

Hamas said it fired 40 rockets at Israel. Among them, two hit open areas in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council, four more in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, and five hit open areas in the Be’er Sheva area.

At least one was intercepted over central Israel and another fell in an open area. Two more were intercepted over Sderot, two intercepted over Be’er Sheva, two shot down over Kiryat Malachi, three were intercepted over Ashkelon.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the fire at central Israel, saying they fired M-75 and Fajr-5 missiles at the Tel Aviv area and a J-80 rocket towards Ben Gurion International Airport.

צילום: רויטרס

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel

The latest ceasefire, that was set to expire on midnight, was broken some 8 hours earlier when three Grad rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell near Be’er Sheva and Netivot on Tuesday afternoon. The IDF responded by hitting different targets in the Gaza Strip.

Later, rockets were fired at Netivot and the Sdot Negev Regional Council. Two of the rockets were intercepted over Netivot while one fell in an open area in Sdot Negev. After 8pm, rockets were fired at Ashdod and Hof Ashkelon, both falling in open areas.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, the dominant movement in the Gaza Strip, said it had no knowledge of any rockets being fired.

Even before the rocket fire, the Associated Press quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, who hinted of more rocket fire, saying: “If Netanyahu doesn’t understand … the language of politics in Cairo, we know how to make him understand.”

The rocket attack came hours before a ceasefire deal was exepcted to be signed in Cairo, but in wake of the attack Israel decided to recall its delegation, which was still in Egypt holding indirect talks with Hamas when rockets began to fall. The move seems to indicate that attempts at reaching a deal have collapsed. Palestinians for their part claim the IDF targeted Gaza before the rocket fire.

The rockets fell in open areas between Netivot and Be’er Sheva in the south and no injuries or damage were reported. This was the second time rockets were fired at Israel since a five-day ceasefire came into effect last Thursday. At the time, the IDF said Gaza militants had breached the truce by firing eight rockets at Israel shortly after midnight Thursday.

Local residents in Gaza said they saw militants attempt to fire rockets, and afterwards Israelis living near northern Gaza and the Be’er Sheva region said they heard a number of blasts.

While Palestinian sources expressed optimism that the fighting would not resume at midnight, Israeli officials continued to emphasize that the IDF was prepared to resume its operations.

“We are prepared for every scenario. The IDF has made arrangements for a forceful response if the fighting resumes. In the Middle East you need a combination of force and resilience. The IDF has the necessary force, and the ‘eternal people’ have proved they are not afraid of a winding road,” said Netanyahu earlier Monday night.

He emphasized: “The combination of perseverance and fortitude will help us reach the aim of the operation – security and safety for all Israelis.”

Shaky ceasefire
Last Thursday, in response to the breach in the ceasefire, Israeli fighter planes targeted “rocket launchers and terror sites” across the enclave later Thursday. No casualties were reported and hostilities died down by dawn Friday.

The second extension of the ceasefire, at the time for five days rather than three, has raised hopes that a longer-term resolution to the conflict can be found, although the way ahead remains fraught with difficulty.

A senior Hamas official who returned to Gaza from the negotiations in Cairo said they had been tough but expressed some optimism.

“There is still a real chance to clinch an agreement,” Khalil al-Hayya told reporters, saying that it depended on Israel not “playing with language to void our demands”.

“The Egyptian mediators are entering a good effort and we wish them success in this negotiation battle.”

After more than a month of intense conflict, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians, many of them civilians, as well as 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel, there is little appetite on either side for a resumption of bloodshed.

Hamas and its allies want an end to the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza. But Israel and Egypt harbour deep security concerns about Hamas, the dominant Islamist group in the small, Mediterranean coastal enclave, complicating any deal on easing border restrictions.

CNN’s Jake Tapper captures alarming image while reporting in Ferguson

On Monday night as CNN’s Jake Tapper was conducting an interview on the streets of Ferguson, CNN cameras captured a disconcerting sign above Tapper’s head. “ISIS HERE,” the sign read, on what looks to be a tattered t shirt. During Tapper’s interview with a Ferguson protester the man or woman holding up the sign ran to keep up with cameras and ensure the sign was visible. – See more at: http://rare.us/story/cnns-jake-tapper-captures-alarming-image-while-reporting-in-ferguson/#sthash.VJbow2Ko.dpuf

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