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Comment Re:"Violent protestors" = "Rioters" (Score 1) 233

Anarchist fall on all points of the political left-right scale. The protestors in question were anarcho-communists (as indicated by their flag) and are in fact far left on the political spectrum.

While a handful did show up to protest Obama (because they didn't consider him far left enough) it was a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers who showed up for the Trump protest.

Comment Re:bloviated shit gibbon (Score 1) 536

Just a small correction: Meals on Wheels does not seem to include the block grants in their 35% federal funding calculation so if the $33 million is taken out and calculated separately then the overall impact on Meals on Wheels is about a 5% reduction in funding; that's if every penny of the $33 million where actually going to Meals in the first place which it's not.

Comment Re:bloviated shit gibbon (Score 1) 536

From your link:

"The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the community development block grant program that Trump targeted for elimination, couldn't say how much of that money ultimately flows to Meals on Wheels. It's certainly a small fraction: Social services are capped by law at 15% of the block grants, and the most recent HUD figures show all senior services receive about $33 million."

So even by your own link the maximum amount possibly impacted by the block grant cuts is $33 million nationally and that's only if every single dollar was actually going to Meals on Wheels.

The $227 million in your quote is not part of the block grant being eliminated, it's part of an entirely separate program. It is possible that that $227 might see some reduction as part of the overall cost cutting but it's a very popular program so even if it is reduced would probably be one of the last programs they'd touch.

So for the 35% of their budgets that come from Federal monies less than 12% is on the chopping block which is a little over 4% overall.

Comment Re:bloviated shit gibbon (Score 2) 536

To be fair it only receives federal grant money in some States and even in those States it's not actually that much of their income.

In the States where they do receive 'Federal' grant money it is covered under the blanket Federal transfers to States which they can generally spend on anything. In a few cases they use a pittance of that transfer to help fund good programs like Meals but the vast majority of it goes to simple local pork projects.

Cutting these types of transfers will have more impact on some State level Senators plans on having a Library named after himself than any local Meals on Wheels program.

Comment Re: A budget that actually has to budget something (Score 1) 649

You cannot 'stonewall' a budget. It's not subject to filibustering in the same way other laws are. Harry Reid, as Senate leader, could have put a budget proposal up for a vote and pass it with 51 votes and there was nothing the Republicans could have done to stop it; he simply didn't want to do his job.

That's not to say it would have gone into effect since there would have been a lengthy process to merge the House and Senate budgets together, but to at least start that process you need a budget from both Houses and too often it was only the House budget that was passed.

Comment Re:A budget that actually has to budget something (Score 1) 649

or Democrats.

Obama's proposed budgets were generally only brought up for a vote by Republicans because Democrats didn't want to go on record voting against their leaders proposals, which they were then forced to.

It doesn't really matter anyway because Presidential budgets are only suggestions and while they may give insight into how they plan on prioritizing spending it's Congress that actually creates and passes a budget. During Obama's tenure the House (mostly controlled by Repubs) passed a budget each year but the Senate (mostly controlled by Dems) often didn't bother and just governed using continuing resolutions.

Comment Re:Tax Incentives (Score 1) 172

The majority of 'subsidies' given to the oil and natural gas industry are not actually subsidies in any real sense. Most of the 'studies' that like to report such enormous world wide subsides inflate their figures by defining a subsidy in such a way that even if when gas companies themselves don't get any money out of it it's added to their totals.

For instance the top 3 'subsidies' in the US, making up half +/- a few percentage points every year are, the strategic oil reserve, farm fuel tax credit and the various low income home heating credits.

The first is, as the name implies, a strategic reserve of oil that the US government keeps on hand to act as both a security blanket if anything bad happens to the oil supply or at times a tool to help control pricing if they believe their is not enough supply to meet normal demand.

The farm credit is simply the amount of money farmers don't have to pay torwards normal road taxes on fuel for equipment that does not run on roads.

The home heating credits are just that, credits given to low income people in colder climates to ensure they can heat their homes during winter.

None of those really go into the pockets of the oil companies but they are all counted towards the 'subsidy' totals reported. Similar programs exist in many other countries and help greatly inflate the global subsidy numbers.

Even regular business expenses are often deemed subsidies for the purpose of these reports. For example, say the normal practice allows for depreciation of an asset over some fixed period of time like 5 years. If an oil company requests the ability to depreciate that asset over an 8 year timespan instead and someone writes an exemption for them then all the tax savings from their ability to depreciate that asset are generally included in the 'subsidy' total. Never mind that all companies do that and it's not usually considered anything special, but when you're trying to make numbers as big as possible anything with the word oil or gas on it counts.

That's not to say they don't get direct subsidies too, they do, but the real numbers are just a fraction of the numbers used by most of the studies about ff subsidies.

Comment Re:Precedent (Score 1) 131

Most contracts give the client some control over "how it get's done". The contractor is being hired to perform a specific task, if I as the client have some stipulations then that is negotiated at the time the contract is signed.

Who provides and who decides the materials used? Who decides the hours to be worked? Can the work be done offsite or on?

All of these can be dictated by the client or left up to the worker and can have various degrees of bearing on whether they are employer/employee of client/contractor.

In most countries there is usually at least 5 or 6 primary criteria (often with several sub-criteria) for determining employee vs. contractor and the weights given to each are generally decided case by case.

Comment Re:I hate worker exploitation (Score 1) 131

Contractors are often required to use specific tools to perform their tasks as set out by their client. Go to any office where software contractors are brought in to help in projects and you'd be hard pressed to find a place that allows them to use whatever they want to complete that project. They are almost always required to use the same software as employees and in many case the company dictates/provides the hardware (computers, peripherals, etc..).

Comment Re:remove the tax and what happens to people who (Score 1) 134

The law never technically gave anyone legal protection, just made it a dangerous process for the rights holders to try and sue because most people didn't like the idea of record companies 'double dipping' (receive their portion of the tax and then suing for damages). Even so, if they tried to sue after the tax was removed for a violation that occurred while the tax existed my guess would be most judges would possibly find for the plaintiff (as piracy is a violation of copyright law) but the reward would be miniscule and set a precedent the record labels wouldn't want.

Comment Re:Good (Score 5, Interesting) 134

The main reason we get away with a lot of piracy is that we introduced the blank media tax in 1997. At the time that meant that almost any storage media that could possibly used to store MP3s/Video had some charge placed on it that was paid to the various rights holders. Essentially the various interested parties surrendered some of their ability to go after violators so that they could get a steady paycheck. It wasn't like Canada was some piracy utopia, they just found an alternative method to get paid and were happy to settle for that.

Cut to today where most people don't even use the taxable media anymore and those paychecks are getting smaller and smaller. The rights holders have fought for years to extend the tax to other devices (like MP3 players and smartphones) and have sometimes won but usually lost or been overturned so now they're just going to make noise. They've been talking about trying to remove the tax so that they can go after individuals much like in the US.

Comment Re:Don't vote for fascists if you value privacy. (Score 1) 627

The laws allowing for this search exist both in the US and most other countries and have for decades. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with who currently occupies the White House. Even if it did, I doubt if Trump's had time in the last 2 weeks to personally replace every border agent with the imaginary fascist thugs you seem to think exist.

International travellers have been telling stories like these forever back to the days of being requested to open up your locked briefcase.

The basic rule is if you don't want to comply, and you still want to enter the country in question, then either contact your employer for further instructions and wait it out or be ready to surrender your device which will be returned whenever border services decides they're done with it.

There is nothing new here.

Comment Re:US Citizen (Score 1) 627

Canada border services has pretty much the same powers as their American counterparts. They can't keep you out of the country since you are a citizen but your goods and possession are subject to almost any search they want to perform, without a warrant.

So while telling the border agent to "go fuck themselves" when they ask for your laptop won't keep you out of the country, it will most likely mean you are going home sans 1 laptop until such time that they 'decide' it's no longer of interest for them to hold it.

Comment Re: Trump is what he said he was (Score 1) 502

By her own admissions she was in violation of several statues involving the handling of classified information. Unlike most criminal law, these statues even directly state intent was not required to violate them so even her excuses do nothing but further prove her guilt.

The issue never had to do with evidence, that was a slam dunk on day one. It all had to do with political will and the FBI simply decided no one had the will to go after Clinton for what would have had essentially worked out to a small slap on the wrist. It's hard to get a prosecutor to bring forward a case that will in the end cost taxpayers millions with almost no benefit since she was no longer in office and would most likely have only been hit with a few hundred thousand in fines.
Lesser people with lower level violations of the same statues have served jail time but that simply doesn't happen to the political elite in the US.

Comment Re:Summary makes no sense (Score 1) 284

He made a standard court filing to identify the owners of the few parcels of land that are completely surrounded by his property so that they can choose whether they want to pay any back taxes and continue to own the land, sell to him (or someone else they choose) or officially abandon the land to the State. Apparently some of these half acre plots can have hundred of owners, most of whom have no idea they even own the property, so no one bothers to do anything with them.

From the article it appears only one even had a resident, who left a few years back, and he's actually supporting Zuckerberg's filing so that all the owners can be properly identified and paid.

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