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Idlib: Nusra arrest 20 ISIS turbans, Gov’t closes key crossing
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Page 6: Politix
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Page 4: Opinion
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-Land of the Free
In the name of ‘externalities’ that go misunderstood.
[SPECTATOR.ORG] Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other public health advocates think sin taxes should be called and viewed as “health taxes.” Certain activities and products, like gambling and booze, issue “externalities” that are born by the community collectively. They say the overwhelming evidence indicates that higher taxes on alcohol and other vices will reduce excessive consumption and the associated health costs.

For sure, alcohol addiction and severe abuse is damaging. Anyone who has ever known an addict can speak to the awfulness and tragedy of it all. The same goes with compulsive gambling, which is horrifically costly.

So, what’s not to like about a sin or health tax?

Plenty. Dressing up the sin tax as a “health tax” sweeps under the rug some of the problems with this policy tool.

First, any product misused creates externalities. No man is an island unto himself, so when he gorges or misuses a product someone else will be affected. Consider the automobile, which racks up billions of dollars in costs and thousands of lost lives each year. These costs are born collectively. The same is true of guns and government-peddled lottery tickets. So why single out old timey “vices,” like drink, especially since we read today of individuals suffering cellphone and video gaming addiction.

Second, sin and health taxes are inherently unfair. Proponents of sin taxes argue they are needed to compensate society for externalities. Fine. But how to extract the compensation? Who should pay? There is, as David Leonhardt of the New York Times admitted, no easy answer. Is it fair to tax responsible drinkers for the costs of irresponsible drinkers? And more broadly, if the point of a sin tax is to compensate society collectively, then why does the teetotaler get compensated but the responsible tippler get charged? Both are part of society’s whole.

Third, sin and health taxes are regressive. As Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs notes, sin taxes “take a greater share of income from the poor than from the rich.” Now, the close reader might note all sales taxes have that sort of regressive effect. True. But the poor are hit more in an absolute sense because the poor drink and smoke more. Additionally, sin taxes have an even harder bite because they are often lumped on top of already-existing sales tax.

If these inherent issues were not enough, taxes on drinks and purported “vices” run into various practical problems.

The worst abusers of alcohol, those who consume the most and inflict the most costs on society, are immune to sin taxes. This ugly truth undermines the contention that higher prices will deter bad behavior.

Speaking of pricing, a sin tax needs be set with some precision lest it foment black markets.

The higher the drinks tax goes, the more attractive untaxed moonshine and illicit intoxicants will be. And don’t be fooled: while your cousin Jeremy might make some fine white lightning, much illicit hooch often is lethal stuff. Illicit alcohol inflicts immense human and social cost.

But that is not how politicians tend to determine the level of sin taxes. Instead, they set tax levels based upon the size budget hole they wish to plug.

As a policy tool, sin taxes come with their own cost: they encourage politicians to hide the true cost of government from the public. Elected officials tax alcohol and the like to fund things wholly unrelated to the externalities they cause, like road repair and government employees’ pensions.

And not to be underplayed is the measurement problem. Calculating the cost of externalities is fantastically complex, not least because it is difficult to differentiate coincidence and causality. For example, say a man with a mental illness punches someone. Police would charge him with assault. But if that same man had two beers before he slugged the person, the incident would be recorded by authorities as an alcohol-related assault. But did the two brews matter?

All of which means sin taxes need to be rethought, not cheerfully repackaged as “health taxes.”
Posted by: Fred || 08/28/2018 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is not like we don't know that the new taxes will be used the same way as the old taxes.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 08/28/2018 2:00 Comments || Top||

#2  Is it fair to tax responsible drinkers for the costs of irresponsible drinkers?

Or apply school tax to child-free residents.
Posted by: Skidmark || 08/28/2018 4:23 Comments || Top||

#3  "Universal Healthcare" is taxing the productive to subsidise those who do not look after their health.

A massive externality.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 08/28/2018 8:02 Comments || Top||


Cyber
A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private server
The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton emails to the Chinese company in real time.

[Daily Caller] The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

The Chinese firm obtained Clinton’s emails in real time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.

The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant "courtesy copy" for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.

For $7,000 or so our staff could have hired a half dozen Linux monkeys and hacker her closet server in under an hour. I doubt the ChiComs paid that much. NSA must have been inside too.
Posted by: Woodrow || 08/28/2018 07:48 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6509 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The intelligence officer declined to name of the Chinese company.

“We do know the name of the company. There are indications there are other ‘cutouts’ that were involved. I would be in a lot of trouble if I gave you the name,” he told TheDCNF.


"Other cutouts"....The Paki Awan bros? A sitting president possibly ?

Or perhaps the "Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C." (snicker, snicker) wasn't actually a Chinese Company, but rather a clandestine monitoring and distribution/dissemination network. Can't pin everything on the bloody Russians now can we ?

She was obviously a 'control' problem and refused (or was instructed not) to utilize the .gov system, how else could she have been monitored ?

Posted by: Besoeker || 08/28/2018 8:41 Comments || Top||

#2  For 7000 I'll write you a SMTP server lol.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 08/28/2018 8:49 Comments || Top||

#3  Please do NOT put the word "penetrated" in the same sentence with "Hillary Clinton."

thank you.
Posted by: Ebbegum Hatfield4506 || 08/28/2018 9:06 Comments || Top||

#4  Penetrated her server? She might as well had an "Open for business" sign on her server for anyone who was willing to pay the price for admission.
Posted by: JohnQC || 08/28/2018 11:35 Comments || Top||

#5  In my experience as a computer system administrator, monitoring the logs every single day, I can tell you the Chinese are by far the most prolific hackers. The Russians are a distant second. Obama had eight years to do something about it and he failed. Bush had eight years before that and he too failed. So to blame the hacking of the DNC email server on Trump and the Russians is...disingenuous at best. Further, anyone who administers such a server and fails to acknowledge the risk, fails to take defensive measure and fails to harden the server against such attacks should be fired. But then, I have also witnessed people in senior management positions, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is an example, who don't know what they don't know about these things and won't listen to people who do know. Obama in particular should have known about the Chinese. I'd like to believe that Bush and Obama fell into this category as well but I can't help thinking they might have been complicit. Of course, there is always the deep, dark suspicion that little Debbie was complicit with her Paki friends too. Actually, the only real question is whether these people are ignorant or worse than ignorant.
Posted by: Abu Uluque || 08/28/2018 12:04 Comments || Top||

#6  #5 well put. "Actually, the only real question is whether these people are ignorant or worse than ignorant". Perhaps show me the money.
Posted by: Dale || 08/28/2018 12:19 Comments || Top||

#7  LOL, well put Pebbles! I was thinking time constraint.
Posted by: Woodrow || 08/28/2018 13:10 Comments || Top||

#8  How's this for a coincidence:
China 'dismantled' CIA spying operations and killed sources – report

"The Chinese government “systematically dismantled” CIA spying operations in the country starting in late 2010 and killed or imprisoned at least a dozen CIA sources over the next two years, it was reported on Saturday."
Posted by: Anomolous Sources || 08/28/2018 20:04 Comments || Top||

#9  Aha another dot connected

Are we certain she isn't a mole?
Posted by: Sock Puppet of Doom || 08/28/2018 21:46 Comments || Top||

#10  So the only complete set of Hillary emails is in China.... Go figure...
Posted by: 49 Pan || 08/28/2018 22:23 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
More to the Story
New documents obtained by investigative journalist Sara Carter show that the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign --dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane -- heavily relied upon faulty intelligence gathered by longtime FBI informant Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper after he tried to set up several members of the Trump campaign.

In the fall of 2016, Adam Lovinger, a former senior official of the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA), stumbled upon evidence that the deep state wanted buried -- documents exposing Halper's role in the frame-up job. He voiced his concerns about what he had found and paid dearly for it.

Lovinger, a DoD analyst turned whistleblower, had his security clearance suspended on May 1, 2017, after he raised concerns about the roughly $1 million in tax-payer funded money Halper had received to write Defense Department foreign policy reports.
"It was a topic of conversation within the office," Lovinger's attorney, Sean M. Bigley, told the Washington Times earlier this month. "What is Halper doing, and why is he being paid astronomically more than others similarly situated?"

According to Bigley, Lovinger was suspended shortly after he began asking questions about the suspicious DoD contracts with Halper, as well as a close friend of Chelsea Clinton and others. He was then relegated to a make-work desk job until April 3, 2018, when he was indefinitely suspended from duty and pay.

Lovinger, a husband and father of three, was the primary breadwinner of his family, according to Carter.
"When Mr. Lovinger raised concerns about DoD’s misuse of Stefan Halper in 2016, he did so without any political designs or knowledge of Mr. Halper’s spying activities," Bigley told SaraACarter.com. "Instead, Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants: he reported violations of law and a gross waste of public funds to his superiors."

Bigley told Carter that they had expected some degree of retaliation for the whistleblowing, but were taken aback by the "ferocity" of it.

"We weren’t surprised when DoD bureaucrats moved shortly thereafter to strip Mr. Lovinger of both his security clearance and his detail to the National Security Council, where he had been senior director for strategy as a by-name request of the incoming Trump Administration," said the attorney.
Much more at the link.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 08/28/2018 11:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6495 views] Top|| File under:

#1  heavily relied upon faulty intelligence gathered by longtime FBI informant Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper after he tried to set up several members of the Trump campaign.

The attack on Trump is obviously a multi-pronged effort.
Posted by: Besoeker || 08/28/2018 16:22 Comments || Top||



Who's in the News
31[untagged]
5Govt of Pakistan
4Hamas
4Govt of Syria
4Boko Haram (ISIS)
4Moslem Colonists
4Taliban
2Islamic State
2al-Shabaab (AQ)
2Govt of Iran
2Houthis
1Narcos
1Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army
1Islamic State in the Greater Sahara
1Muslim Brotherhood
1Hezbollah
1al-Nusra
1Tin Hat Dictators, Presidents for Life, & Kleptocrats

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Two weeks of WOT
Tue 2018-08-28
  Idlib: Nusra arrest 20 ISIS turbans, Gov’t closes key crossing
Mon 2018-08-27
  Elite Army units moving to Idlib for major assault
Sun 2018-08-26
  John McCain dies at 81
Sat 2018-08-25
  Syrian Army launches powerful assault in northern Hama
Fri 2018-08-24
  Arab coalition thwarts Houthi boat bomb targeting commercial ships off Yemen
Thu 2018-08-23
  Syrian Army cuts all supply lines to ISIL’s last stronghold in southern Syria
Wed 2018-08-22
  ‘IS militants’ launch attacks in Chechnya; five killed
Tue 2018-08-21
  U.S. Rejects Turkey's Offer to Release Ransom Pastor, Report Says
Mon 2018-08-20
  ‘Allahu Akbar!': Knife-Man Shot Dead After Attacking Spanish Police
Sun 2018-08-19
  Yemeni army inflicts heavy casualties on Houthi militants in Taiz
Sat 2018-08-18
  HTS executes 6 people accused of being ISIS members in Idlib
Fri 2018-08-17
  American Couple Dies Tragically While Biking Through ISIS Territory Trying to Prove Evil Does Not Exist
Thu 2018-08-16
  ISIS Killer Caught in Sacramento
Wed 2018-08-15
  101st Airborne, US Special Forces Called Into Ghazni Battle
Tue 2018-08-14
  Islamic State member sentenced to death over killing security personnel in Nineveh

Better than the average link...



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