Obamacare Pays Big 'Divorce Incentive'; Golda Meir Nixed Nuking Syria; Devil Is Real, Americans Say

Sunday, 13 Oct 2013 01:51 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. U.S. Now World's Top Oil and Gas Producer
2. 'Use It or Lose It' Plaguing Washington
3. Save Money on Obamacare — Get Divorced
4. Golda Meir Nixed Nuclear Strike on Syria
5. Audit Warned About Snowden's Screener — in 2010
6. Poll: Most Americans Believe in the Devil


1. U.S. Now World's Top Oil and Gas Producer

Recently released figures disclose that the United States surpassed Russia as the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas in July.

The United States produced about 22.2 million barrels a day of oil, gas, and related fuels in July, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency.

Russia's forecast for oil and gas production in 2013 is about 21.8 million barrels a day.

The "startling shift" in production by the two countries is "eroding the clout of traditional energy-rich nations," The Wall Street Journal observed.

America's rise to the top has been fueled by new drilling techniques, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have unlocked vast quantities of oil and gas from shale rock formations – especially in North Dakota and Texas, The Guardian reported.

An analysis by The Journal reveals that the United States is on track to surpass Russia as the top oil and gas producer for 2013.

As a result of increased domestic production, U.S. imports of natural gas have fallen 32 percent in the past five years, and oil imports dropped 15 percent, narrowing the trade deficit.

Last year the United States produced more natural gas than Russia for the first time since 1982, according to the International Energy Agency.

America is also catching up with Russia in oil production, pumping 10.3 million barrels a day compared to Russia's 10.8 million. Saudi Arabia is the leading producer at 11.7 million barrels.

Most of the new oil is coming from the western states. Oil production in Texas has more than doubled since 2010, and has tripled in North Dakota. Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah also have shown sharp increases in oil production over the past three years, according to EIA data cited by The Guardian.

As the Insider Report disclosed in September, the U.S. energy boom is benefiting not only the energy industry, but every American household, boosting household income by more than $1,200 last year.

And lower energy prices will result in a rise in disposable income, adding $2,700 per household in 2020.

Editor's Note:



2. 'Use It or Lose It' Plaguing Washington

On the last day of the 2013 fiscal year, Sept. 30, the Department of Agriculture spent $144,000 on ink toner cartridges — but that was business as usual for the federal government.

"It's a Washington phenomenon referred to as 'use it or lose it,'" according to a report from the Cost of Government Center.

"Agencies typically have to give back what they don't spend at the end of the fiscal year, prompting them to blow it on, say, three years' worth of staples instead of returning their surplus."

Also, agencies are allocated funds in large part based on what they spent the previous year, and they fear having their budget cut if they don't spend all they can.

So in the last week of September, the Department of Veterans Affairs spent $562,000 on artwork designed to "enhance clinical operations" — including $27,000 on photographs of sunsets — while the Coast Guard spent $178,000 on "Cubicle Furniture Rehab."

"Use it or lose it has been around for 30 years with budget-busting consequences," the center observed.

The most notorious example of the practice came in 2010 when the Internal Revenue Service, which had millions of dollars left in an account to hire new personnel, funded a lavish "Star Trek"-themed conference, which included a parody video filmed on a "Star Trek" set the IRS paid to build.

In 2012, the federal government spent $45 billion on contracts in the last week of September, The Washington Post reported. That was more than in any other week — 9 percent of the year's contract spending money allocated in 2 percent of the year.

A study by two university researchers found that during a recent five-year period, spending in the last week of the fiscal year was nearly five times higher than in the average week during the rest of the year.

Moreover, their data showed a sharp drop-off in the quality of information-technology projects at the end of the year.

Dean Sinclair, a former State Department employee who is urging a change in the system, suggests giving bonuses to managers who return leftover money to the Treasury at the end of the year. He told the Post: "It takes time and effort to waste money."

Editor's Note:



3. Save Money on Obamacare — Get Divorced

It's being called Obamacare's "wedding tax." Provisions of the healthcare reform bill discourage marriage — and encourage divorce.

According to a report by PJ Media, married couples can save thousands of dollars on healthcare premiums if they get a divorce and continue to live together.

That's because Obamacare is designed to provide healthcare benefits that are substantially more generous for lower-income people, and the bill counts a married couple's income jointly.

Using a calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation, PJ Media's Tom Blumer gave the example of a 60-year-old married couple with no children in the household, with identical annual incomes totaling $62,041. Obamacare premiums rise sharply when combined earnings hit $62,041.

If they remain wed, their net premium next year would be $16,382. But unmarried individuals can earn up to $45,960 before losing Obamacare's subsidies, so if the couple divorces and each reports an income of $31,020.50, their combined net premium would be $5,354. That's a savings of $11,028 next year.

Blumer also offers the example of a 40-year-old couple with two children and incomes of $70,000 and $23,000.

Their combined income is $93,000, and subsidies disappear at $92,401 for married pairs with two children. Their combined premium would be $11,547 next year.

But if they divorce and give custody of the children to the lower-earning spouse, one spouse's premium would be $3,857 and the other's would be $460, for a total of $4,317. That's a savings of $7,230 next year.

Blumer observes: "Clearly, many couples who are considering marriage, especially after several years of seeing formerly married couples regress to cohabiting, will look at Obamacare's 'wedding tax' and say, 'never mind.'

"The effect on society will be incalculable, and certainly not for the good."

However, the law in many states says a couple cannot cohabit indefinitely and still claim not to be married.

The IRS could find those couples who are claiming they are not wed for healthcare subsidy purposes, leading to this scenario, according to Blumer: "Those caught and punished by the IRS carrying out its new role as the de facto 'marriage police' could get hit with multi-year bills for undeserved 'tax credits' running into tens of thousands of dollars."

Editor's Note:



4. Golda Meir Nixed Nuclear Strike on Syria

A former Israeli official disclosed that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan urged Prime Minister Golda Meir to prepare for a nuclear strike against Syria during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, but Meir refused.

Arnon Azaryahu, who served as an aide to Israel Galili, a cabinet minister during the war, said in an interview with historian Avner Cohen that Dayan wanted to begin preparations to enable a nuclear attack, and spoke with Meir on Oct. 8, the second day of the war that erupted when Syria and Egypt mounted surprise attacks against Israel.

The interview, filmed several years ago, has been published for the first time on the website of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Jewish Daily Forward reported.

"Apparently there was bad news from the Golan [Heights] saying that the Syrians were advancing and we couldn't stop them," Azaryahu said.

He related that at a meeting of top Israeli officials attended by Galili, Dayan said: "I thought that since the situation is deteriorating, it is worthwhile, since we don't have much time and not many alternatives, that we should prepare to show the nuclear option."

Galili and another official argued that the Israelis could stop the Syrians when their reserve units arrived at the Golan Heights, and if Israel used nuclear weapons, "it will be the end of the whole thing."

According to Azaryahu, after Meir heard their arguments she told Dayan: "Forget it."

"Then Dayan said: 'If this is what you say, I accept.' But he wasn't convinced. He said so explicitly."

Israel eventually repulsed the Arab attacks, and a cease-fire was agreed to on Oct. 25.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it has a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Editor's Note:



5. Audit Warned About Snowden's Screener — in 2010

A government audit conducted as far back as 2010 warned that infractions by the contracting firm that gave National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden security clearance were posing a "risk to national security."

Within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Federal Investigations Service (FIS) is responsible for background checks for federal employees and contractors. In 2009, FIS contracted these duties to three companies.

One of those companies, U.S. Investigative Services Inc. (USIS), conducted background checks on Snowden and he received high-level security clearance.

USIS also cleared Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard on Sept. 16 — even though he had been arrested three times and was cited for misconduct by the Navy eight times.

The OPM audit uncovered by CNS News and blogger Matt Vespa disclosed that USIS "did not provide an OPM-approved training course to Investigative Technicians who conduct record checks.

"USIS did not provide a reason as to why seven individuals had not been trained. One Record Searcher had received training offered at the local/field level; however, the training has not been approved by OPM."

The audit found that USIS credited an investigator trainee with passing his final exam even though he failed it.

"One USIS Investigator failed the New Investigator Training final exam, but their training system showed that the Investigator passed the NIT course on the same date that the final exam was failed. No documentation was provided showing that the Investigator ever re-took and passed the NIT final exam."

The audit also reported that USIS did not "forward misconduct issues to OPM within the required timeframe."

Forty USIS employees reportedly had "misconduct issues" from October 2008 to August 2009.

Most disturbing is the audit's declaration that "if misconduct issues are not forwarded to OPM in accordance with established timelines, there is an increased risk that an unethical Investigator may be performing background investigations, thus increasing the risk to national security."

Snowden's high-level security clearance gave him access through his job at Booz Allen Hamilton to classified documents about the government's secret surveillance programs. Snowden passed information on the programs to reporters, who wrote stories revealing the existence of the NSA's phone and Internet data collection programs.

Editor's Note:



6. Poll: Most Americans Believe in the Devil

Americans by a slight majority believe in the existence of the devil, a new poll by YouGov reveals.

Overall, 57 percent of survey respondents said they do believe, while 28 percent do not believe and 15 percent "don't know."

Hispanics and blacks are significantly more likely to believe in the devil — 60 percent of Hispanics and 72 percent of blacks believe, compared to 54 percent of whites.

Seven in 10 Protestants and 66 percent of Catholics believe in the devil, while just 17 percent of Jews and 25 percent of Muslims agree, according to the poll of 1,000 adults.

Asked if someone can be possessed by the devil or some other evil spirit, 51 percent said yes, 28 percent said no, and the rest don't know.

Six percent of respondents believe people are possessed by the devil "very frequently," and 9 percent said "frequently."

The poll also found that 46 percent believe in the power of exorcism to drive out the devil or evil spirits, 19 percent don't believe, and 36 percent said they don't know.

Catholics are most likely to believe in the power of exorcism, at 67 percent.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is among those Americans who believe in the devil. In a recent interview with New York magazine, he said the devil is a "real person."

He also said it is "curious" that "in the Gospels, the devil is doing all sorts of things. He's making pigs run off cliffs, he's possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn't happen much anymore.

"It's because he's smart. What he's doing now is getting people not to believe in him or God. He's much more successful that way."

Note: Newsmax magazine is now available on the iPad. Find us in the App Store.

Editor's Note:



Editor's Notes:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Tax Code Tops 70,000 Pages; ANC Aide Praises Hitler on Jews; Recession Boosts Beer

Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 15:02 PM

Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Income Tax Code Now Spans 70,000 Pages
2. Only Three  . . .

ISIS Targeting Mecca; Pro-life Sentiment at All-Time High; Chalk Up Net Job Growth to Immigrants

Sunday, 13 Jul 2014 14:44 PM

Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Employment Growth Since 2000 All Notched by Immigrants

Millennials Write Off Social Security; Grads Not Ready for Jobs; Golf in Decline

Sunday, 06 Jul 2014 12:52 PM

Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Most Millennials Not Expecting Social Security Benefits < . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved