Superstorm Sandy

Get States off the Federal Dole

Why are U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for surveillance cameras in Alaska?

|

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the havoc it wrought on New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said they would ask the federal government to cover at least 90 percent—and perhaps all—of the cleanup and recovery costs. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) asked the same for the Garden State. "This was not a New York disaster, or a New Jersey disaster or a Connecticut disaster, but a national disaster, and FEMA and the federal government should be providing help to the region to the full extent they can," Schumer declared on November 1. "I will continue to push the feds to reimburse the city and state for the full costs of repair and recovery for all aspects of the disaster."

These reflexive calls for Washington to pick up the tab underscore one of the greatest shifts of power in American politics during the last four decades: the transition from state and local autonomy to federal subsidy and control. This centralization of government was made possible largely by grants-in-aid, money provided by the federal government to state and local governments or private parties. They have become the third largest category in the federal budget, trailing only Social Security and national defense. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, there were 1,724 of these grants in fiscal year 2011, paying for things such as bridges, teachers, Medicaid, farm subsidies, and abstinence programs. The total cost of these federal grants was $515 billion, up 160 percent in real terms since the beginning of the 1990s and nearly 60 percent since 2000. After the adoption of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. the 2009 stimulus bill, grant spending increased by 16 percent in 2009 and 11 percent in 2010—the highest annual spikes in history. 

Grants are not merely a substantial part of the federal budget. They have become like a drug for the states. The federal share of total state spending rose from 25.7 percent in 2001 to 34.1 percent in 2011. State and local governments drink up roughly 80 percent of total federal grant spending, with the remainder going mostly to nonprofit organizations providing services at the state and local levels. In a February 2011 Tax and Budget Bulletin, Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute found that in 2010 the federal government was micromanaging primary education with 109 grant programs costing taxpayers a total of $86.5 billion. Yet under the Constitution, K?12 education is a state and local activity. It was federal funding that allowed states to increase overall spending dramatically during the last two decades, including during the recent economic downturn. 

The Government Accountability Office, Washington's fiscal watchdog, has been pointing out chronic problems with federal grants, such as duplications, inefficiency, and waste, since at least 1975. The Office of Management and Budget regularly notes that grant programs have poorer performance, on average, than other federal programs. The transfers often come saddled with one-size-fits-all rules, which reduce healthy policy diversity and the incentives for states to find innovative solutions to common problems. 

Take homeland security grants. After September 11, 2001, the federal government dramatically expanded its "first responder" programs, essentially appropriating federal funds to pay for the salaries and equipment of local police and fire departments. Because the funding formula gives insufficient weight to areas of high risk, money aimed at fighting terrorism wound up paying for $200,000 in surveillance cameras in Dillingham, Alaska (population: 2,400), and $1.5 million worth of decontamination tents in Grand Forks County, North Dakota. 

Thanks to all the dollars up for grabs, grants designed to increase security wind up increasing lobbying activity instead. On March 4, 2004, just after the homeland security grants were first announced, 3,000 state officials flew into Washington to lobby Congress for first-responder money. Hard on their heels came a March 16 influx of firefighters from around the country. 

Data from the transparency watchdog OpenSecrets.org show that the International Association of Fire Fighters—the largest firefighter group in the country, with more than 30,000 members nationwide—has increased its lobbying spending significantly, from $60,000 in 2000 to $416,000 in 2011, with the biggest growth after 2005. Firefighting is no longer a local issue.

Instead of lobbying for this massive growth in federal spending, states and local communities should reassert responsibility for most of their preparedness efforts. If police officers feel they need more equipment to do their jobs, or firefighters need more training and gym memberships, they should turn to their local and state officials for funding.

Federalizing first-responder programs accentuates the public choice problem that already plagues the political process. A congressman from Wyoming has no incentive to admit that his state is not a likely terrorist target; on the contrary, that would mean turning down "free" money, which almost no successful politician ever does. By contrast, when first-responder programs are the responsibility of cities, counties, and states, legislators have an incentive to more accurately assess risk and the potential benefits from additional spending.

What is true for homeland security is also true for most other federal grants to the states, including anti-poverty spending. In fact, there is growing evidence that grants ostensibly aimed at helping the poor or boosting the economy are used by lawmakers as electoral currency to gain or reward constituent support. In a working paper, Vanderbilt University's John Hudak argues that the president and his subordinates strategically direct federal funding to electorally competitive states and that the executive branch delivers more money to swing states than all other states combined.

This strategy, while cynical, is a winning one. A May 2012 American Political Science Review paper by Boston University economists Douglas L. Kriner and Andrew Reeves finds evidence that "voters reward incumbent presidents (or their party's nominee) for increased federal spending in their communities." This phenomenon is heightened in battleground states. 

My own research on the way stimulus spending was allocated showed that the party affiliation of a congressional district's representative was a factor. Districts represented by Democrats got more money than districts represented by Republicans, even controlling for variables such as state capital, income, and unemployment. 

This system of federal aid should be scaled back and ultimately terminated. With today's massive deficits, the federal government can no longer afford to pick up state and local tabs.

For a model of how to reform federal grants, Cato's Edwards suggests looking to Canada. Our neighbors to the north cut their national debt as a share of GDP from 68 percent in the mid-1990s to just 34 percent today. One key part of that reform was cutting federal aid to provincial and local governments while consolidating the remaining aid into three large block grants. 

Over all, just 38 percent of government spending in Canada is done at the national level, compared to 71 percent in the United States. Canada has no federal department of education, for example. Far from hurting children, Canada's localized approach to education has correlated with test scores that are typically higher than those of American kids. Some provinces have made great strides in school choice and other innovations. 

This could happen in the United States too. The federal government should warn states that it is turning off the grant spigot and then do it. When bills come due for regular, predicable expenditures such as education, states and localities should figure out how to make ends meet. If states stop depending on the feds for bailouts and start saving for a rainy day, they will finally be ready for the next hurricane.  

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

159 responses to “Get States off the Federal Dole

  1. “Firefighting is no longer a local issue.”

    Pretty sure rent-seeking has little to do with fire-fighting.

    1. Why do you hate our American Heroes(TM)?

      1. “Since 2010, there have been 18 votes for pension reform in 12 cities and two losses, both in *San Francisco*.”
        http://taxdollars.ocregister.c…..se/156220/
        I live there, that’s why.

      2. Because America’s Heroes? have become a bunch of pussies.

  2. seems every problem is someone else’s responsibility.

    The federal government should warn states that it is turning off the grant spigot and then do it.

    Let’s be honest; that ^^^ is never going to happen. DC loves the power that federal money buys; states/locals love the sense of “it’s not my money” that it brings. The system is going to have to crash. There is zero political will to change it otherwise.

    1. This is absolutely true. When I was a teenager we had a vote in town for a property tax hike to build a new middle school. (In their defense, the middle school was a piece of shit.) This big justification was that we had to do it now in order to get “free money” in matching funds from the state. (Somehow, it didn’t pass. My town was somewhat fiscally conservative for some reason – my dad tells me its books are the only ones in reasonable shape among its neighbors today.)

  3. Oddly, it seems that the republicans are taking a beating, as usual, in the press over the funding. Politically, they could counter with, ‘instead of grants to be divvied up by the lords and ladies and guilds of New York, Jersey and Connecticut, we allow the home and business owners to write off the equivalent amount as assessed as damages each year until the value is recovered on their Federal taxes.’

    If a larger pork bill than what passed seems inevitable down the road, the GOP would be idiots not to take that tact given urban political machine pork goes to entrench political coalitions that view them as the less useful of the two parties.

  4. Grants are not merely a substantial part of the federal budget. They have become like a drug for the states.

    If you outlaw federal grants, then they’ll just get the grants on the street where shady black market federal grants will spring up. You know kids will be getting hold of them. Federal grants should stay legal and regulated. Prohibition doesn’t work.

  5. Grossly off topic, but from the SF Chronicle comes this nauseating story:

    “U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading an administration review of gun safety laws, has offered to talk with any families of the Connecticut elementary school shooting victims who would like to speak with personally, a support group said Saturday.”

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/cri…..z2Hn2ICUsr

    Good God, haven’t those families suffered enough? And just how far is Team Obama going to exploit this tragedy? Enough already!

    1. Good God, haven’t those families suffered enough? And just how far is Team Obama going to exploit this tragedy?

      They’ll exploit it until they get their wish. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first words out of Biden’s mouth when the news reported no deaths in the Taft, CA school shooting were “Fuck! Couldn’t he at least have killed one kid?”

  6. How did you get Warty to pose for that picture? And he must have lost weight. And I thought he would be furrier.

    1. H&R Poll:

      When picturing Warty when he posts, which Street Fighter II character is more appropos?

      A) Zangief?

      B) Blanka?

      The voice I most associate with Warty’s posts: The late pro wrestler, Road Warrior Hawk.

      1. I’ve always pictured him as Torgo

      2. A recent picture of Warty

      3. When picturing Warty when he posts, which Street Fighter II character is more appropos?

        A) Zangief?

        A dude at jiu-jitsu calls me Zangief. I’m not sure if he knows my real name.

      4. The way you guys talk I can’t help but figure it’s some combination of E Honda and Chun Li.

        1. Nonsense. Clearly he’s Zangief, as E Honda and Chun Li are hairless, and Warty has oft boasted of his impressive Carpet of Virility.

    2. I have a baby picture of him.

      http://www.freakingnews.com/pi…..-52912.jpg

      1. And here’s one of his mom.

        http://weeklyworldnews.files.w…..=390&h=261

        1. And a picture of him with his dad after the wings were removed.

          http://www.freakingnews.com/pi…..-52879.jpg

      2. That’s Shriek,no Warty.

  7. MSNBC asks the important questions: Should Obama be on Mount Rushmore?

    1. Why did you post this, you motherfucker?

      1. I will not suffer alone.

      2. I think we need to put our heads together and figure out how to translate all that bootlicking and his ego into energy

    2. +1 to the guy who who’s top comment suggested Mount Doom instead.

      I find it harder to blame Obama for his egomania when his supporters are so ridiculously cultish. It must really be tempting to indulge in all that worship.

      1. I like the Mt. Doom comment…+100

    3. Much like in the story of the Christian missionary who ended Druidism by chopping down the Great Tree, I wonder if taking a megaton to Mount Rushmore would have a similar result for the Cult of the Presidency.

    4. Sharpton ” Angela sez hez dun so much fa dis cuntry ”

      I have always tried hard not to hear sharpton, so I just noticed what an ignoramus jive-ass fuck stain he sounds like.

    5. Under it would be better.

    6. MSNBC asks the important questions: Should Obama be on Mount Rushmore?

      Why do the want to dis him like that.

      Obama deserves his own mountain monument.
      Not sharing some hill in flyover country with 4 racist white guys.

      1. Just put him in a glass coffin and make it mandatory that once a year every citizen travels to his mausoleum to pay their respects to the Dear Leader.

    7. “Should Obama be on Mount Rushmore?”

      Absolutely,….removing graffiti, scraping chewing gum out from under the tables, and hosting informative tours on the “real” presidents of Rushmore on the weekends…for America! Obama is so selfless like that.

  8. The Federal government cannot give anything to the states that it did not first take from their businesses and individual taxpayers; unless, of course, you count the real source of the fed gov’s power, the nexus from which it all flows: the Federal Reserve.

    Without Bernanke’s printing press and Treasury bond shell game, the federal government would be at the mercy of the states (instead of the other way around). The one-shot method of ending Leviathan is to END THE FED. End fiat money and discard the notion that wealth can be run off a bureaucrat’s printing press, and the rest goes with it.

    And fight the Fed in your own way–that is, save yourself–by owning physical gold. Gold will always win, because reality always wins, in the end.

  9. Truth be told, the only way to fix this is to repeal the 16th Amendment – which would basically make capital gains taxes illegal – and then also figure out a way to make wages and corporate profits off-limits and non-taxable as well.

    So long as Congress has the power to just put their hands in the figurative cookie jar and then pass the proceeds back as “free money” to whomever they please, then this practice will never end. The states and localities are acting rationally by asking for it and are just trying to recover what is essentially their own money that was previously taken from them.

    17th Amendment, too. Make senators answerable to their state governments and then the states can direct them to act in the best interest of the state and not their own reelection prospects.

    I’m increasingly cynical that it’s simply impossible to fix anything in this country at the federal level – and accordingly at the state and local level – so long as the federal government is enabled by those two big Progressive accomplishments from 100 years ago. The rules are simply rigged in favor of the federal government otherwise and the fucked-up system we have today is the logical conclusion.

    1. Basically liberty’s death rattle began exactly 100 years ago with the creation of the Fed followed by the income tax and the loss of the voice of the state legislatures in the Senate with the 17th.

      And sadly none of those things are likely to change anytime soon.

      1. Yeah, the Fed, too.

        The income tax enabled them to take whatever they want and the Fed enables them to make up the difference when that runs short.

      2. Butcept … liberty’s death rattle began when the mercatilists saw fit to trash the Articles of Confederation (because they were “ineffective” – guess at what?); escalated with the Whiskey Rebellion, et al; careened out of control thanks to the tyrant puppet Lincoln; and crashed at the bottom of the hill with the “Progressive” movement – pieces of which you address above. This frog has boiled slowly. That said, your conclusion is valid!

        1. Add to that the cronyism and warmongering of Henry Clay.

          By the time Paine returned from his adventures in the French Revolution, it was a different country than in 1776. He barely recognized it.

    2. I’ll add that I think fixing the income tax system would be a damn sight easier than repealing the 17th. The demagoguery of DEMOCRACY! and “disenfranchisement” is potent.

      1. And yet, I think getting rid of the 17th is more important. Not that Im opposed to getting rid of the 16th.

        1. ^^THIS^^

        2. I’m actually hard pressed to see what good repealing the 17th would do, even assuming the selection of senators by the state legislatures is a good thing. How many states do you think would revert to actual legislative control rather than simply automatically ratifying the statewide elections?

    3. Steyn said a little while ago that conservatives should just forget about the federal level and take the states and local government. With Wyoming taking its awesome pre-emptive strike on federal gun grabbers and the ongoing state-led guerilla war against Ocare, I think he was on to something.

      1. Here in Montana, at least, the Republicans have only maybe been lukewarm in rejecting federal money. It’s simply too tempting a fruit to resist. I wouldn’t count on Republican state legislatures to do the right thing.

    1. Yeah, but to be fair to this guy he’s apparently been doing it since Clinton and during the Bush years, so he’s just one of those people who just wants a monarchical Leviathan regardless of party.

      1. I actually know someone who works for him, and this person in the past has told me Serrano thinks term limits are anti-democratic because they deprive people the right to elect the candidate of their choice. FWIW.

        1. It is anti-democratic, and that’s a good thing in this case.

        2. The Constitution could be interpreted as an “anti-democratic” document, in that it checks naked majoritarianism.

          1. For sure (to both cw and AC)

      2. Yeah I know but it’s still a scary prospect, now and in the past.

  10. OT: I read Glenn Greenwald’s complaints over Zero Dark Thirty before seeing the movie last night and I honestly must say I disagree with him that the movie glorifies torture.

    Quite the opposite, Bigelow makes the torture scenes very uncomfortable to sit through because you feel like you’re in the room with them and you’re pretty much left to decide yourself whether or not torture ever works since essentially the breakthrough in finding OBL, according to the film, was pure luck rather than anything gained from detainee interrogation.

    At any rate, I’d call it easily the best movie about the War on Terror made so far.

    1. Greenwald is just whining that the film doesn’t take his side and then claims its neutrality as ‘bias’. Standard liberal SOP.

    2. Whether torture works or not isn’t the question, so to me implying that it helped develop the intelligence in this case is good art (and perhaps good history). I don’t doubt that it gives you good information sometimes, perhaps even many times. We shouldn’t do it not because it doesn’t work but because it’s wrong.

      1. “I don’t doubt that it gives you good information sometimes, perhaps even many times.”
        I’m sure it does, but it also deliverst too many false positives.

        “We shouldn’t do it not because it doesn’t work but because it’s wrong.”
        Why not both?

        1. Because it is enough to make the moral choice; being pragmatically correct is a bonus.

      2. There is nothing inherently wrong with torture. It can be used for good.

        1. Do you think it’s ok if some goat herder in Afghanistan tortured a soldier to get information on troop movements?

          1. What soldier? There’s too little information here to make a decision.

            If it’s an American soldier then no obviously not. America is freedom and no one has the right to resist freedom.

        2. Such as Obama’s raising spending and taxes? It’s like torture, but can be used for good.

  11. states/locals love the sense of “it’s not my money” that it brings.

    Exhibit A: Those big orange signs on the highway listing the respective share of funds from federal, state, and local checkbooks.

    “We done got you a free road; that’s how wonderful we are!”

    1. Yeah, seeing those signs always pisses me off. Zero local funding, and a trickle amount from the state; the vast majority from the Feds. But we Montanans like that way.

      1. I wrote my legislators about it. What a fucking embarrassment.

  12. Can I be the first to say that the people who cry about education spending cuts are full of shit?

  13. Good to be a man.

    http://www.freakingnews.com/pi…..-52879.jpg

    1. Oops. Wrong link:)

      http://www.coolpicturegallery……u-man.html

      1. Truth.

    2. I don’t understand what’s going on in the woman’s bathroom.

      1. It’s my understanding that women go to the bathroom to make out with each other.

        1. Are they doing the good ol Larry Craig wide stance in there? If so, they stole that from men.

  14. FUCK ART MODELL

    1. in the grave?

      1. Whatever it takes. Also, let’s all hope Ray Lewis gets paralyzed today.

        1. Calm down and have some Luba.

          (NSFW)

          Also, “Make you blush” is an anagram of Luba Shumeyko, and very apropos, no?

          1. You think you can placate me with boobs? Delicious, delicious boobs? It’ll never…work…boobs…

        2. Whatever it takes. Also, let’s all hope Ray Lewis gets paralyzed today.

          You and Peyton Manning can fuck right off.

        3. Champ Bailey?

          More like Chump Bailey. What kind of fucking coverage was that? Of course, a bad PI call kept the ball with the Ravens, but there’s still no excuse for letting a guy get behind you like that.

          1. It keeps getting better.
            Manning face time.

          2. Ravens got away with another PI on that pick six Peyton just threw.

            1. They call a phantom PI on the Broncos when the defender had inside position on an uncatchable ball and then they don’t call it there on Baltimore?

              Fix. FIX!!!!!

            2. And they get away with yet another PI. What. The. Fuck?????

              1. This first quarter is still better than all of last weeks games combined.

                  1. Fuck Denver, but I LOLed.

                  2. But when is Ray Lewis going to confess to Oprah?

          3. Uh-oh. The “Peyton Manning Gas Face” just made its first appearance.

            And the second bad call in the Ravens favor results in their second TD. That’s worse than replacement-ref-bad.

            1. AAUGUUHHH! Why would you throw a pass on 4th and 2?! WHY?!

  15. Cold? It’s still warmer in Denver then here.

  16. Oh please, please, please let this story be true.

    Few things in the political world could make me happier than for this to be true.

    1. That would be awesome, but at the same time there’s no way the media let’s this get any traction until Federal indictments are actually filed against Reid and I just don’t see that happening.

      1. Johnson has already been indicted, and Utah is a Team Red state. If the prosecutor isn’t a total muppet, the paper trail looks pretty simple to follow. Hell, there are links to it all over the story.

        1. Where is the Ted Stevens-level of prosecutorial aggression when you want it???

          1. Wrong TEAM.

            1. If insider trading were a crime for the ruling class we’d have no less than 30 new Senators and 300 Reps elected every 2 years

              1. I think that’s a very conservative estimate.

  17. reports say drones have killed more non-combatant civilians than died in 9/11.

    Neither the legality nor the ethics of drone attacks bear examination. Last year’s exhaustive report by lawyers from Stanford and New York universities concluded that they were in many cases illegal, killed civilians, and were militarily counter-productive. Among the deaths were an estimated 176 children. Such slaughter would have an infantry unit court-martialled. Air forces enjoy such prestige that civilian deaths are excused as a price worth paying for not jeopardising pilots’ lives.

    1. Why do you want Al Qaeda to win?

    2. We must protect the children! If it saves even one life…

      Wait, they’re brown?! And from Pakistan?

      Fuck those little bastards then. They’re probably enemy combatants, standing so close to a known/suspected terrorist like that.

      1. I’ll just pull this out since John and Cyto aren’t here:

        IT IS THE MORAL DUTY OF THE UNITED STATES AS A RIGHTS-RESPECTING NATION TO INFLICT THE APOCALYPSE UPON ALL NON-RIGHTS RESPECTING NATIONS AND THEIR CITIZENS DESERVE IT FOR HAVING THE TEMERITY TO ACTUALLY LIVE THERE.

        1. FAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAP

          /John and Cyto (in unison)

        2. I don’t think John is excited by the drone strikes. He’s argued that he thinks they are legal but counterproductive.

          Cyto on the other hand, well THE ABOVE IS WHAT CYTO ACTUALLY BELIEVES.

          1. I dunno. He and I have gone round and round on this issue here and he’s never acknowledged one time that they anything but a reasonable tool in our arsenal, even defending “double tapping”.

            1. John? John has said that double tapping is a war crime.

              1. But double tappin’ dat ass is soo, soo right….

                1. And HM reminds the white girls they can do it too. Woohoo!

                2. Well, that’s a good skank. I bet she’s a ton of fun before she raids your medicine cabinet.

                  1. That’s why I always keep a decoy bottle of Oxycontin in there.

              2. John? John has said that double tapping is a war crime.

                Then I stand corrected. But I thought he said it was OK if it’s just a bunch of people running in to help rather than identifiable and state-sanctioned first-responders. I’ll have to ask him when I see him on here again, but I’m just about certain he was supportive if the double-tap if it was just ordinary people running in.

            2. From a military perspective he’s right. If putting a bomb on a structure is legal, dropping a bomb on it 15 minutes later is also OK.

              Where he goes wrong, and seriously wrong, is that these aren’t military operations. IIRC, most of the attempted liquidations/whackings/targeted killings in places like Yemen are at the request of the Yemeni government, and occur throughout the country.

              This isn’t bombing a military base, or anti-aircraft battery, or even bombing the tent where an enemy general is thought to be sacking out.

              Essentially, they are setting off bombs in the homes of enemies of the Yemeni regime. That the bombs are carried by a rocket rather than having some Abwehr agent planting it under the bushes in the dead of night does not change that. It’s a fucking terror campaign.

              The AUMF is so vague and flexible that they can claim that the law permits them to treat Yemen as a combat zone. OF course, it means that the law is made mockery of the notion of any limitations on the government, since it never mentions Yemen by name, instead being an enabling act allowing the U.S. President to move without let or hindrance and kill anyone he wants anywhere.

              To me it doesn’t matter how many Congressmen say that a killing is not murder, it’s still murder.

            3. They are a reasonable tools in the arsenal. Tell me Sloop. How is it any different than an aircraft dropping bombs?

              Are you arguing against the technology or the policy under which it’s being used?

              There is a difference.

              1. I’m arguing against the policy, not the utility. And the operative word is “reasonable”, not “effective.” Of course they’d be effective, but the fact that the way we are using them is morally reprehensible is something I cannot get past.

                It’s one thing to lay out a compelling case to whack an avowed enemy that has the ability to inflict harm on America. It’s something else entirely when we kill “militants” or “AQ sympathizers” that live in huts in the desert and are wondering where their next meal will come from, not what they’re gonna do when they get to America.

                And I also take umbrage to the use of the CIA in the murderdrone program. It being taken out of the military structure is a giant red flag that says we are doing something shady.

                1. Essentially, if the U.S. government can run the drone program the way its doing… what is to prevent them from labeling murderers or other threats to public order as terrorist threats and killing them extrajudicially?

                  Consider Alex Jones, who promotes hysteria and bizarre conspiracy theories on his website, attracting paranoids and encouraging and enhancing their insanity. What’s to prevent him, as a sower of terror, from being whacked? And what’s to prevent the whacking from being done via a missile fired from 7,000 feet to create the illusion that its a military operation than by a government employee with an M-16?

                  1. what is to prevent them from labeling murderers or other threats to public order as terrorist threats and killing them extrajudicially?

                    Oddly enough, there is a little provision in the Constitution that gives him the authority to kill at his leisure.

                    Unfortunately it hasn’t been used since 1941. A Congressional declaration of war.

                    1. A Congressional declaration of war.

                      Declarations? We don’t need no steenking declarations!

                      /Every President since Truman

                2. It’s one thing to lay out a compelling case to whack an avowed enemy that has the ability to inflict harm on America. It’s something else entirely when we kill “militants” or “AQ sympathizers” that live in huts in the desert and are wondering where their next meal will come from, not what they’re gonna do when they get to America.

                  You are creating a false dichotomy. Here, our targets are both.

                  And I also take umbrage to the use of the CIA

                  Now that is a fair point.

            4. And I am right. Every time we’ve had this argument, I’ve won.

              1. Nice play there Cyto – claiming victory after everyone else left the thread!

            5. Actual conversation between me (Marine Infantry Platoon Commander) and ISR (Drone) operator.

              Tommy: Do you have eyes on?

              Operator: I think we got him.

              Tommy: Great, we have set a cordon around the area, this is the individual who continues to snipe us.

              Operator: Well we have you covered from the air…wait…no, no it’s not him.

              Tommy: What do you got?

              Operator: It’s…Break…nope, it’s a bush.

              My experience taught me that Drones are terrible. If you can’t tell the difference between a person and a bush (which happened almost on a daily basis) then how are we justified firing hellfire missiles from the platforms?

    3. How is this shit different than the right wing death squads in El Salvador in the 80’s?

      Other than in this case the U.S. President is demonstrably responsible for their operation rather than being connected tenuously through an military academy run by the pentagon.

    4. Ignoble Peace Prize.

    5. LOL. Because the Guardian is a real credible source.

      1. MEh. The UK Fraudian is more reliable than The Daily FAIL.

  18. Baltimore receivers are burning the Denver secondary but Flacco can’t hit any of them.

  19. Dan Dierdorf is the fucking worst.

    1. I’m sorry what was that?

      /Matt Millen

      1. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you either, Matt. You, Dierdorf, and Phil Simms – broadcaster hall of shame first round inductees.

    2. Joe Buck
      Cris Collinsworth

      1. Joe Buck comes off as wooden and laconic. But he actually has a very dry sense of humor. I like his game calling, and waiting for him to drop a couple of well-camoflaged knee-slappers.

    3. Dan Dierdorf just pointed out you don’t want to fumble during the playoffs.

    4. Who’s calling the Super Bowl for CBS this year?

      1. Nantz and Simms

        1. I read that at first as Nazi and Simms.

      2. Musberger and AJ McCarron’s girlfriend…for the ratings!

    5. That statement cannot possibly be true while Phil Simms is still employed.

  20. Breaking news: Ray Lewis has Joe Flacco’s mom tied up in his basement.

    Oooh, and there goes her pinky.

  21. Dumb challenge

  22. Idiotic decision to go for a FG there. Denver gave Baltimore that TD with such good field position.

  23. Vancouver, 1907

  24. Place your bets!

    Will this end like Waco or Ruby Ridge? Either way, I’d be willing to bet it’s not pretty.

    On a related note, Banjos and I are looking at land about 150 miles south in Nevada and you can get a section for $70k. So if done right, someone could drop about $300k and end up with more land than these guys. Of course, the key there is water and power but a well and septic runs about $10k and one could build a solar/wind hybrid powerplant for under $25k more. It’s starting to look more and more like our plan once my son is out of high school in 6 years.

    1. Waco.

      Some “concerned citizen” will report that children are being molestered in this “compound.” The ATF, dicks firmly in hand, will mount up with the latest in military surplus to slaughter them all protect the children.

    2. You’ll need a mule to go along with that land.

    3. Heh. I wonder if they’re okay with all the consequences of their freedom. Might be a lot of ‘Walter Whites’ in that town.

    4. They need to pace themselves with the “wake up calls” . Wait until Sandy Hook hysteria has petered out, then send in DCFS for a similar situation as with that polygamist group in West Texas in 2008.

  25. Baltimore gets it back with 1:10 left. Let’s see if Flacco has a miracle in his asshole.

      1. The Broncos don’t win in OT without Tebow!

      2. As a Pats fan I don’t know who I want to face. In my gut I really only fear the Ravens, but who knows?

    1. They should have gone for two and not pussied out like that with the PAT.

  26. Goddammit. FUCK ART MODELL.

  27. See, that is exactly what I am talking about, I mean like seriously.

    http://www.hot-anon.tk

  28. Baltimore with the FG! Baltimore with the FG! Fuck yes! Justice has prevailed! Denver has fallen! Suck it, Elway! SUCK IT!

  29. OK, what’s to stop the federal government from spending like crazy? If you talk about cutting federal spending you’re immediately branded as far-right, the republican moving further to the right, teabagger, selfish, unaware that demographics are changing, etc. You can’t get elected in today’s climate? So what do you do? You increase spending.

    But there’s got to be something that keeps this in check. Would it be inflation, people not showing up to buy our bonds (which sends interest rate skyrocketing and probably cause inflation)? Out of curiosity, what’s to stop any bankrupt country (like Greece, Spain) to issue bonds, and have their own central bank buy the bonds?

    1. You want to know what will kill spending – rising interest rates. The fuckers in Congress will have to cut like mad when rates climb to anything like an historical norm, or they’re going to have to jack EVERYONES taxes.

  30. 2013 Happy New Year,NFL,NBA,fashion kickoff for u

  31. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. the 2009

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.