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How Has Congress Not Stopped Top Bureaucrats From Exploiting Government Jets For Personal Private Travel?

Recently, The War Zone covered how former FBI Director James Comey was able to take a Department of Justice Gulfstream 550 jet for one last ride home:

It was almost satirical in its level of sensationalism. Not long after the White House delivered a letter to the FBI telling director James Comey that he has been fired, helicopters descended onto the sacked official’s motorcade as it made its way through Los Angeles. The O.J. Simpson-esque news alert ended with Comey stepping up the stairs of a glimmering Gulfstream 550 long-range private jet.

The appearance of the massive luxury aircraft left many wondering if top federal officials really get to travel in such grandiose fashion on a normal basis, especially on just a short jaunt to California.

The section on Comey was a precursor to a bigger piece on private aviation in government, and it got me thinking; who uses (and abuses) this privilege, and how has Congress not stopped this practice in its tracks already?

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Sessions Reverses Mandatory Minimums, But Is It As Bad As It Looks?

I’m a big opponent of the drug war, and of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s increased focus on stocking our prisons with drug offenders.  And recently, when Sessions overturned a reduction in mandatory minimum sentences from former AG Eric Holder, I feared the worst:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is directing federal prosecutors to seek “the most serious” criminal charges against suspects, a move that would result in severe prison sentences – and is expected to reverse recent declines in the overcrowded federal prison system.

The brief, two-page directive, issued to the 94 U.S. attorneys offices across the country late Thursday, replaces a 2013 memo put in place by then-Attorney General Eric Holder that sought to limit the use of mandatory-minimum sentencing rules that had condemned some non-violent offenders to long prison terms – that proved to be expensive for taxpayers.

But, we all should have known that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if only because Holder himself instituted the directive, and opposed its removal:

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Barack Obama – Excessive Private Travel For Me, No Meat For Thee

Today’s post will provide a different take on a recent news story that has not been covered by the mainstream media – former President Obama’s hypocritical habits while giving a speech on “climate change” at a conference in Milan.  Free Market Shooter has covered the excessive emissions from private and first-class flight in the past, but it appears no one has bothered to inform the ex-President of the net carbon impact of all of his travel and consumption behaviors during his “get me paid” post-Presidency speech tour. 

Former President Obama journeyed to Milan yesterday to give a speech on climate change, blaming “meat consumption” for causing excessive carbon emissions:

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Obamacare? Trumpcare? Get Rid Of It All

Note:  Free Market Shooter is taking this week off from original content posting, and will be reposting content from other sources that will be covered at a later date.  Today’s post is from The Ron Paul Liberty Report, which details what is truly wrong with our healthcare system – a system which is structurally broken due to the interference of insurance companies. 

Free Market Shooter has covered this at earlier times; a system that would be ideal for consumers is one that eliminates insurance companies entirely, and allows consumers to deal directly with healthcare providers.  Unfortunately, “Trumpcare” does nothing to address this, so as the Ron Paul Liberty Report details, it would be very unwise to expect significant change, whether it is able to pass the Senate or not. 

Originally Appeared at The Ron Paul Liberty Report

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Monday Morning Quarterback: Hillary Clinton Is To The Election As The Falcons Are To The Super Bowl

Hillary Clinton has emerged from hibernation and found her way back into the news, and she made sure to start off by letting the world know that she took “personal responsibility” for her historic loss to President Trump:

“I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had,” Clinton said.

But, by now everyone knows that the claim of “personal responsibility” was just a token statement for the blame game that came afterwards.  So, for the first time ever, Free Market Shooter will do a “Monday Morning Quarterback” analysis of Hillary Clinton’s statements, analogizing them to a previously established comparison – the New England Patriots’ comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

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Automation vs. Growth – Sooner Or Later, Something Has To Give

Zerohedge shared a recent Bloomberg analysis which articulated how the rise of automation has changed the capital markets and entire business models:

Similarly, technology is reducing the need for labor. While those with specialized skills can continue to earn more in a wealthier world, the rise of robots provides a significant disinflationary force on the median wage globally. This effect will be most extreme in developed economies where labor costs are already elevated. (And as an aside, is the reason why increasing inequality and populism isn’t going away any time soon).

The knock-on effects of this are profound: bond curves should remain flatter than we are used to, equity valuations will look distorted relative to history due to a sustainable paradigm shift in discount rates, and many financial operations will have to adjust their whole business model.

Something to think about next time you want to fight current financial valuations purely on the basis that they look historically anomalous. Technology has changed the game.

The analysis put into simple terms what is quite possibly the most profound change in the global economy in centuries – automation, which is increasingly putting people out of work, is changing business models everywhere.  But, missing from the analysis is a look at the impact automation is having on the consumer, and the types of goods and services consumers will purchase in the future.

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If Recent Trends Are Any Indication, Marine Le Pen Is Being Drastically Underpriced By Oddsmakers

On Sunday, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will square off in the second round of the French Presidential elections.  Nearly every major poll and publication expects Macron to win the election with ease, as The Telegraph explains below:

The two candidates will face off in the second round on May 7, where Macron is widely tipped to become the president of France.

Oddsmakers have followed suit, but they seem to have thrown caution to the wind and all but ignored recent history.  Despite the Brexit and Trump wins, wagering odds are shockingly low for Le Pen to win.  It seems that bookmakers either have 1) not learned their lessons from the past, or 2) are goading the public into one of the biggest sucker bets of all-time on Le Pen.  Even if no.2 is the truth, the risk/reward makes a bet on Le Pen almost too good to pass up.

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Antifa “Gun Club” Responds To Fake Gun Critics With Laughable “Range Day” Intimidation Video

In March of 2017, Free Market Shooter exposed the “Phoenix John Brown Gun Club”, which, according to many observers showed anti-Trump “counter protesters” showing up to a pro-Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona openly carrying what appeared to be fake firearms:

The only reference to firearms training was in their “events” page, which had an event that took place on March 5th, titled “Introduction to Tactical Firearms”.  It had 46 guests.  There were no upcoming events, and the prior four events had absolutely nothing to do with firearms.

Not much of a “gun club” at all, is it?  Would you really be surprised to find out that many of their members didn’t even carry real firearms to an “open carry” demonstration against a Trump rally?

The group has appeared to respond to criticisms of “LARPing” with fake guns by releasing a YouTube video entitled “Phoenix John Brown Gun Club – Range Day”.  But this video ends up exposing not only the group’s laughable lack of experience with firearms, it all but confirms the (even more difficult to deny) accusation that their “open carry” demonstration did include several fake firearms.

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So Much For That Obama Administration “Plan” To “End Private Prison Use” In The US

In August of last year, Free Market Shooter wrote in support of an Obama administration directive to end the use of private prisons in the United States, one of the only policy issues the administration managed to get right:

Why, you ask, is a free market advocate in favor of ending private prisons?  Simple: because these facilities aren’t  “private” at all.

The reason why should be obvious.  Prisoners are their only “customer”, if you want to call them a customer at all; the “customers” are provided by the government, who pays private prison companies for their incarceration.

What else makes private prisons so profitable? This should also be obvious – having as many facilities and customers as possible. They have every incentive to encourage laws that keep as many incarcerated as possible, as it increases their “customer” base. Moreover, they then sell the “labor” from prisoners to companies who source prison labor at bargain basement prices, increasing their margins even further.

We all should have known the Obama administration would manage to screw this up; it just took two weeks into the job for new Attorney General and Drug War champion Jeff Sessions to flick his pen and undo Obama’s efforts:

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“Climate Change” Crusaders Seem To Conveniently Omit Addressing The Emissions Of Private And First-Class Flight

In the wake of a recent spate of incidents on US domestic airlines, The Wall Street Journal released an article detailing the differences major airlines are undergoing in the aim to gain more consumers – even less perks for the “economy” seats, and even more for the first-class and business travelers:

Battling it out with discount carriers, the world’s biggest airlines are rolling out ultracheap economy-class tickets, or cutting back sharply on basic amenities for their lowest-paying customers. At the same time, they are pulling out the stops to lavish their premium fliers with more perks.

American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. all now offer super-low fares, dubbed “basic economy,” that strip out even once-standard allowances, such as carry-on baggage or a choice of seat before boarding.

But at the front of the plane, the same carriers are showering premium passengers with ever more comfort. Middle East and Asian airlines are among those leading the way, with U.S. carriers trying to catch up. American Airlines has upgraded its business class. Delta last year unveiled plans for business-class suites, effectively small cabins that can be closed off from others, with fully reclining seats. The suites should feature on planes this year.

Bear in mind, this is the same Wall Street Journal that shamelessly published the Shultz/Baker/Paulson essay on why a “carbon tax” is essential, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  So why hasn’t the publication looked at the increase in emissions generated by first class, and more importantly, private aviation?

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