Who Pays for Political Campaign Travel?

In the case of some Democrats, like President Barack Obama, it looks like us taxpayers pay a significant fraction of the costs. As Mark Knoller of CBS News noted the other day,

Under Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, the government must be reimbursed for parts of presidential political travel.

“When a trip is for political or unofficial purposes, those involved must pay for their own food and lodging and other related expenses, and they must also reimburse the government with the equivalent of the airfare that they would have paid had they used a commercial airline,” states the Congressional Research Service in a 2012 analysis of “Presidential Travel: Policy and Costs.”

Crony Capitalism and Big Government

California’s health insurance exchange has awarded $184 million in contracts without the competitive bidding and oversight that is standard practice across state government, including deals that sent millions of dollars to a firm whose employees have long-standing ties to the agency’s executive director.

Several of those contracts worth a total of $4.2 million went to a consulting firm, The Tori Group, whose founder has strong professional ties to agency Executive Director Peter Lee, while others were awarded to a subsidiary of a health care company he once headed.

No Travel Ban?

In a recent Fox News op-ed, Dr Tom Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, argued against a “travel ban” covering the western African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the nations hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic.

I answered most of his objections here.

In his latest piece, though, he raised a new objection, and he sounded like he actually meant it.

When a wildfire breaks out we don’t fence it off. We go in to extinguish it before one of the random sparks sets off another outbreak somewhere else.

Hong Kong and Freedom

The backdrop is this: in the last few days in the Hong Kong district of Mong Kok, there have been violent clashes between peaceful student and other protestors on the one hand and “locals” consisting, allegedly, of older residents and small business owners mixed with members of the triads on the other hand, this mix attacking the protesters. The latter are losing income from their prostitution and drug…enterprises…and they’re upset about it.

Liberty, Security, and Encryption

Moves by Apple Inc and Google Inc to put some smartphone data out of the reach of police and the courts are raising alarms inside US law-enforcement agencies, current and former officials say.

Of course the government is upset. Heaven forfend anything should interfere with its convenience in fishing for wrong-doing in our private correspondence. Privacy, though, is a necessary component of individual liberty and responsibility.

This Needs to get Moving

Fort McClellan, Anniston, AL, housed among other units the Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Corps. This Corps was responsible for the containment and disposal of chemical weapons, and it carried out this function, primarily, at Ft McClellan, a task it had done since before WWII. The base was closed 15 years ago due to failures in containment and leaching of the toxins into the soil and local water supply.

Democratic Plant?

This is part of a Facebook exchange between supposed Libertarian candidate for US Senator from North Carolina, Sean Haugh, and a North Carolina voter, via The Daily Caller. A fuller excerpt of the exchange is at Alex Pappas’ article behind the first link above.SeanHaugh_CroppedIn case the image is hard to read, the exchange goes like this:

Sean Haugh, Libertarian for US Senate: Well, obviously our realities are quite detached. I prefer my reality over yours because logic, reason and evidence exist in mine. I pity ignorant morons such as yourself and wish you would stop voting.

Some Ally

Under pressure from its Arab neighbors, Qatar has expelled some key players in the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, whose mission, among other things, is to overthrow secular governments throughout the Middle East and replace them with MB-approved governments. Those expellees are making a beeline for…Turkey, a NATO member and supposedly staunch Middle East ally of the US.


In addition to giving asylum to the MB’s leadership, Turkey

  • is host to the Palestinian Authority’s Hamas branch “overseas command center”
  • allows ISIS to use Turkey’s territory to sell ISIS-stolen oil on Turkey’s black market

More Party-of-No Yeses

The House passed three more bills in this short period before the mid-term election campaign recess.

One bill makes it illegal for IRS workers to use personal email accounts to conduct official business.

It’s already illegal to do this in many circumstances, as all official business communications must be recorded and saved. It’s also already contrary to IRS policy; although the IRS has ignored this policy whenever that became convenient.

This is, at bottom, an obvious move, too: private enterprise has, for years, held the flip side—the use of company equipment to conduct personal business—to be a fire-able offense; although they allow some limited personal use.

How Does This Work?

A Senate investigation released Wednesday [17 Sep] found that hackers linked to the Chinese government broke into US military transportation companies’ computer networks 20 times in a year.

But the Senate Armed Services Committee says officials of the US Transportation Command, responsible for moving troops across the globe in times of crisis, were told about just two of those incidents. If a system was compromised, they may not have known, the panel said.