Soda Tax Update

The Philadelphia soda tax on beverage distributors, passed by the city council last year to fund “universal pre-kindergarten,” is making waves for government social engineering. While people continue to drink soda, sales are down and PepsiCo jobs are “drying up.”

The $0.015 per ounce excise tax has sucked 40% of sales out of Philadelphia, “bubbling over” to outside the city limits, where the tax is not levied and sales are reportedly up between 10 and 15%.

A spokeswoman for Pepsico told MUNCHIES: “Unfortunately, after careful consideration of the economic realities created by the recently enacted beverage tax, we have been forced to give notice that we intend to eliminate 80 to 100 positions, including frontline and supervisory roles, in Philadelphia over the next few months, beginning immediately.”

Pepsico employs employed 423 people in Philadelphia.

City spokeswoman Lauren Hitt “stirred up” a little class warfare, demanding Pepsico continue to sell poison to children, but make less profit on it so the kids can have more government-subsidized education. But God forbid you fire anybody working for Pepsi to cut costs:

“The soda industry sunk [we’re guessing no pun intended here…if soda were untaxed and bubbly, they wouldn’t sink!] to a new low today. They are literally holding hostage the jobs of hardworking people in their battle to overturn the tax. Pepsi reported nearly $35 billion in gross income and $6 billion in profit last year, their CEO makes $25 million dollars a year, and they along with the beverage industry continue to shill out hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists and advertising against the tax.”


[Interestingly, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (above) made $19 million as of 2014 (according to Wikipedia), and while she may or may not have disparaged Trump supporters following his election (see link in sources…was it FAKE NEWS???) , she now sits on President Trump’s Business Council, according to Fortune.]

However, the Hitt fit continued in her rant to Philadelphia Business Journal:

“The idea that they can afford to do that but ‘must lay off workers’ should make every Philadelphian very skeptical of whether these layoffs are actually due to the tax. What is certain is that pre-k has already created over 250 jobs and allowed many parents to return to the workforce.”

[our emphasis]

Lauren Hitt

The Pepsi Hitt-woman. From Twitter.

So really, if Pepsico would just bend over a little more for Philly and create the kind of jobs the city believes are more valuable, we could all get along.



On the other side of the argument, the AP quoted an industry source saying that the tax most affects low-income people without the means to travel outside the city to purchase tax-free soda.

In its first month, the tax raised $5.7 million, which will go to funding universal pre-kindergarten education. The amount is twice as much as what the city expected, meaning people aren’t shifting away from soda as quickly as the city imagined they would.


Philly Me Up…Philadelphia Beverage Distributors to be Taxed by the Ounce “For the Children”


Thanks to our sources:

NFL Updates: Detroit Lions Free Agency

The Lions made some bold moves to kick off the free agency period. Baltimore Ravens right guard Rick Wagner will potentially make nearly $50 million over the next five years in Detroit, according to The Detroit News.

Rick Wagner

Photo from

Offensive guard T.J. Lang will come over from division rivals Green Bay Packers, multiple sources reported tonight. Lang will get $9.5 million annually for three years according to Pride of Detroit.

refer to caption

Lang, 29, made his first Pro Bowl in 2016.

Akeem Spence

Akeem Spence (above), who spent the past four seasons as defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signed a three-year, $9 million contract with Detroit, per Wikipedia.

Chicago DE Cornelius Washington signed for two years and potentially $6 million.

Although the Lions released longtime linebacker Deandre Levy (below), they signed Paul Worrilow from the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.

Scott Bish of Lions Wire reports that in recent years Worrilow became expendable as the Falcons made a concerted effort to get more athletic on defense. Speedy and quick linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell pushed Worrilow from his starting job last year[.]

Corner D.J. Hayden, wideout Keshawn Martin and tight end Darren Fells will also be playing for Detroit in 2017.


Thanks to our sources:

2017 NFL free agency: Everything we know about Lions' Paul Worrilow

March 8: ISIS Emulates American Strategy to Target Afghan Hospital

The Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan suffered at least 30 civilian deaths with 50 wounded when ISIS militants apparently infiltrated disguised as doctors and started shooting.

ISIS claimed responsibility through their propaganda news agency Aamaq.

According to Washington Post, SMDK hospital is close to the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan:


The assault Wednesday began when a vehicle bomb detonated outside the front gates […]

Almost immediately afterward, witnesses and officials said, gunmen already inside the hospital, wearing white medical coats, pulled out concealed assault rifles and began shooting. At least four attackers were involved, some of whom took cover on the second floor.


The Independent provided this image that ISIS propaganda claims to show one of their militants disguised as medical personnel.

This was not quite as efficient as the Afghan government reportedly deceiving the U.S. into razing a hospital from the air to get revenge on Taliban, but ISIS has much less military budget than the overgrown American military.

U.S. Bombs Hospital–UPDATE


In other violent American control of the planet news, General Joseph Votel on March 9 assumed responsibility for Trump’s disastrous January Yemen raid  that killed a Navy Seal, a young American girl and approximately 30 civilians:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! January 29: Two Americans Killed


“First and foremost I am responsible for this mission. I am the CENTCOM commander and I am responsible for what’s done in my region and what’s not done in my region. So I accept the responsibility for this. We lost a lot on this operation.”

Votel had said of the December 2015 Doctors Without Borders hospital massacre by the United States: “They were absolutely trying to do the right thing.”

Thanks to our sources:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! February 28–ISIS Counter-Offensive by America

Yahoo! News had some updates by Isabel Coles of Reuters and photos of the U.S.-led supported bombing campaign of Mosul, Iraq as politically-motivated public debates as to how many refugees would be granted American refugee privileges faded with the ashes of the 2016 election.

 The pictures are unfortunately disabled from “copy and paste.”
Reportedly, belligerents include Islamic State, who have controlled Mosul since 2014, and the Iraqi forces supported by America and other allies.
According to The Telegraph, Iraq deployed 30,000 troops last October for the latest wave of the Battle for Mosul. This means they greatly outnumber the jihadis and represent the largest invasion force since over 100,000 Americans led Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 alongside Polish, British and Australian forces.

While the Iraqis reclaimed the airport and other areas of west Mosul, the city’s residential neighborhoods are now caught in crossfire. Reuters has the estimate at 750,000 civilians.

“It’s strange and terrifying,” said a young woman who was barely visible in the gloom of a basement under her house in the Josaq district, where she went into hiding after giving birth to a baby girl 72 days ago. “I rarely go upstairs.”


If they defeat Islamic State in Mosul that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Unlike Islamic State, the United States is operating with no declaration of war.

Thanks to our sources:

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! February 27–Justice Department and EPA

Associated Press reported that new EPA head Scott Pruitt is under scrutiny for using personal email to communicate official business while Attorney General for Oklahoma, and lying about it to Congress.

A review of Pruitt emails obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request showed a 2014 exchange where the Republican emailed a member of his staff using a personal Apple email account.

Emails released under court order last week in response to a different public records request yielded additional examples where emails were addressed to Pruitt’s private account, including a 2013 exchange with a petroleum industry lobbyist who emailed Pruitt and a lawyer on the attorney general’s staff. That suggests Pruitt made his private email address available to professional contacts outside his office.

It is not illegal in Oklahoma for public officials to use private email as long as they are retained and made available as public records. Pruitt’s use of the private account appears to directly contradict statements he made last month as part of his Senate confirmation.

Pruitt’s deception came from the forward-thinking 2020 presidential hopeful, New Jersey’s Senator Cory Booker in a written inquiry for Pruitt prior to his confirmation hearing. Cabinet nominees apparently respond to written questions for vetting because it is more efficient for the Senate panels to process nominations.

Mr. Booker apparently sought to avoid the confusion caused by both Obama’s Secretary of State and Attorney General, who used personal emails throughout their tenures to flout Freedom of Information Act lawsuits:

Hillary Updates

The FOIA avoidance is especially relevant recently, because the National Security Archive FOIA Audit released March 11 revealed that only 38 out of 99 federal agencies have updated their FOIA regulations in compliance with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016.

This allows about 60% of our agencies are ignoring the new improvements on FOIA, which require agencies to notify citizens of their right to seek assistance with the FOIA liaison and prohibiting the charge of search or duplication fees when the agency fails to meet the notice requirements and time limits set by existing law.

Oh well.

Interestingly, Elijah Cummings said of the FOIA reform during 2016 floor debate:

“This is a simple improvement that every agency should adopt, and I look forward to working with Chairman [Jason] Chaffetz [R-Utah] in the years ahead on such commonsense [sic] reforms.”

[our emphasis]

Cummings Not Going

Let’s see if the career criminal Cummings holds his own future moves to the same standard of transparency.

The Hill:

Booker […] asked Pruitt whether he had ever conducted state business using personal email accounts. Pruitt responded: “I use only my official OAG email address and government issued phone to conduct official business.”


AP and other news organizations reported last week that 7,500 pages of emails released following a lawsuit filed by a left-leaning advocacy group showed Pruitt and his staff in Oklahoma coordinated closely on legal strategy with fossil-fuel companies and special interest groups working to undermine federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions.

The emails were released after an Oklahoma judge ruled that Pruitt had been illegally withholding his correspondence, which is public record under state law, for the last two years.


Pruitt’s use of private email was first reported earlier this month by FOX 25 television of Oklahoma City.

The Hill notes that Republicans rammed through Pruitt’s confirmation vote earlier in February prior to the release of the emails. Senator Booker joined all but two of his fellow Democrats in voting against Pruitt, who was confirmed 52-46.


The Pruitt predicament is interesting, because it was only one month ago (January 26) that…

Outgoing DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and three other officials fought Obama-appointed US District Court Judge Randolph Moss‘s order to preserve their emails for public record.

Conservative group Judicial Watch was conducting a Freedom of Information Act investigation of Johnson and his lackeys using private emails on government computers. Judge Moss declared the emails should be copied for official record for “an abundance of caution.” Just in case Johnson wanted to delete them. Like Hillary.


“DHS’s present understanding is that the former officials are not independently aware of how to transfer e-mails from a web-based account (i.e., Gmail) to a thumb drive and that DHS information technology staff who were consulted did not have any particular knowledge about how to transfer the e-mails, either,” Justice Department attorneys wrote.

The filing suggests the ex-officials and DHS staff are also unsure about how to copy part of the private emails archives, since the suit sought only work-related emails between certain dates in 2013 and 2015.

If Moss won’t lift his order, the Justice Department asked that he let the officials move the messages to encrypted DVDs instead of thumb drives or hard drives.

As brilliant and dedicated as our “public servants” are, moving an email to a thumb drive is apparently beyond their capabilities. But burning “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde” on a DVD? Easy.

As we have referenced above, disgraced ex-Attorney General Eric Holder deliberately used the email alias Lew Alcindor for official government proceedings to shield his official communications from FOIA lawsuits.


For all the missteps and truly troubling actions of his nascent leadership, Trump appeared to actually propose meaningful conservative budget reforms this week, reducing spending for State Department and EPA in a budget draft. The Hill:

The Trump administration is proposing a 37 percent spending cut for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), according to multiple reports.

U.S. officials say the suggested decrease would likely require laying off employees, including security contractors at diplomatic facilities overseas, The Associated Press said Tuesday.


The agencies together received $50.1 billion during the current fiscal year, it added, a little more than 1 percent of the total federal budget.

Career Republicans in Washington whose careers depend on lavishing their constituents’ money (which they exhausted $20 trillion ago) were not pleased.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he would oppose drastic cuts to the State Department. 

“Probably not,” he said when asked if Congress could pass a 37 percent reduction at the department, according to Fox News.

The leaked EPA budget proposal suggested Trump will cut spending by 24% (a reduction of $2 billion to $6.1 billion), possibly reducing the EPA “work”force by about 20% to “only” 12,000 employees.

Pathetic presidential hopeful, carpet-bombing and corporate welfare advocate Lindsey  Graham had equally strong reservations as McConnell on the proposal.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said Trump’s reported plans for his first budget were “dead on arrival.”

“It’s not going to happen,” he said, according to NBC News. “It would be a disaster. A budget this lean would put those who serve overseas for the State Department at risk. And it’s not going to happen.”

Ex-Im Bank Updates

The Trump budget will reportedly not touch the entitlement spending that is financially dooming everyone who does not die in the next 20 years.

Defense spending will increase by $54,000,000,000. That amount will be cut from non-defense spending.

As a reminder, the earlier full Trump budget proposal increased the national debt by $9,700,000,000,000 over the next 10 years. Rand Paul was the only Republican to vote against it.


Washington Free Beacon had some damning juice on the EPA this week as well.

Environmental Protection Agency employees used their government purchase cards to spend $14,985 on fitness memberships, according to an audit by the inspector general of the agency.


Three other transactions [from the audit] were made to vendors who were considered high risk[.]


Auditors also noted that this is not the first time the agency did not have adequate oversight of the purchase-card program. In March of 2014, the inspector general released a report noting that of the $152,602 in transactions that they evaluated, $79,254 went to purchases that were prohibited, improper, or erroneous.

[Less than 50% of sampled spending was allowed…that’s success, right?]

After the most recent findings, the inspector general said that the risk for the purchase-card program “is high enough to warrant an audit.”

The EPA did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

All emphasis is ours.

Thanks to our sources:–politics.html

FOIA Reform Adopted after Years-Long Battle

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! February 25–DNC Chair

Obama insider Thomas Perez was easily elected DNC chair on the second ballot.

Interestingly, the 440+ voters were supposed to use electronic “clickers” undergrad professors mandate to exert some marginal level of control over lectures. But first, there was a problem with the wi-fi. Then…

Almost certainly stolen by the Russians. Or the FBI.

Donna Brazile explained to the dumbfounded delegates how to mark a paper ballot:


Hillary Updates

According to The Hill, Howard Dean, a former DNC chair who dropped out of the race in December and backed South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigeig [yes that is his actual name] down the stretch, had some nasty words for the sway of reigning Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer:

“I think Chuck Schumer’s endorsement is the kiss of death,” Dean said at an event supporting rival DNC candidate Pete Buttigieg, the current mayor of South Bend, Ind.

“Because I had to say no to Chuck Schumer when he demanded $5 million, because I said, ‘Chuck, you’re not getting it for the DSCC; I’m putting it into local races,” Dean added, referring to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Buttigeig received one vote on the first ballot. Dean reportedly endorsed Ellison over Perez in round two. There was also commotion between rounds one and two with a false endorsement from Buttgeig of Ellison, which Buttigeig smacked down.

NPR reported that the Dean endorsement was legitimate:

“This is Governor Howard Dean. I believe that Keith Ellison would be the most likely person to be able to successfully bring in the first global generation to the Democratic Party. (This is real)”

The tweet is not available on Dean’s “Twitter.”


Dean Drops Out

According to Good Morning America:

Democrats also defeated a resolution that would have banned corporate donations to the party — a chance to reinstate an Obama policy that was nixed under [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz.

Thanks to our sources:–abc-news-topstories.html

BREAKING: Preet Bharara and Federal Cocaine Indictment

Gerard Benderoth (above) fatally shot himself last week during a traffic stop by the FBI.

Benderoth was reportedly wanted in connection with a quadruple homicide we reported on in December.

Retired, Always Vigilant

The 48-year-old, like Nicholas Tartaglione, was an ex-NYPD cop and body builder. Benderoth was reportedly named 10th strongest man in the country in 2008.

It is unclear if Tartaglione has been convicted yet. However, lohud of USA Today reported in January:

Tartaglione had a sketchy law enforcement career that started with jobs in four police departments in just three years: Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Pawling and Briarcliff Manor. The nine years he spent in Briarcliff were marked by brutality complaints, a perjury charge for which he was acquitted, a firing that was reversed in court; he spent the final four years out of work on disability after his elbow was injured when he was struck by a car.

Speculation by New York Post indicates Benderoth’s suicide prevented an imminent indictment by the FBI.

This is relevant because earlier today, U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York Preet Bharara was terminated after refusing to resign. Attorney General Jeff Sessions yesterday asked for the resignations of the 46 attorney general remaining from the Obama administration, as is customary with regime change. The other 48 AGs had already resigned before Friday.


Credit to Getty Images.

Bharara was apparently slated to prosecute Tartaglione (and, prior to his demise, Benderoth) following his December indictment of the accused four-body dropper.

Thanks to our sources:–abc-news-topstories.html

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! February 23–Court-Mandated Feeding Falls; Chicago Strikes; Podesta Peddles Influence and TSA Chokes

A woman who successfully kept state courts from force-feeding her succumbed to her anorexia-bulimia three months after establishing her right to enter palliative care.

Ashley G., 30, was a three-year inpatient at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, NJ according to Associated Press. She died at Morristown Medical Center.

New Jersey State Attorney General reportedly supported the NJ Department of Human Services request to have Ashley force-fed, arguing her anorexia was “not a terminal condition” and that her chronic depression precluded any mentally competent decision regarding her welfare.

Interestingly, Parsippany’s population is about 30% Asian, including 17% Indian American.

Ashley’s court-appointed lawyer was Edward D’Alessandro Jr.

Of note, Judge Paul Armstrong, who ruled for Ashley last November against the state attorney general, represented the parents of Karen Ann Quinlan as they fought successfully to have their 21-year-old daughter — who was in a persistent vegetative state after mixing alcohol with Valium at a party — removed from a ventilator so she could die with dignity. She lived nine more years but never came out of her coma.

Quinlan’s “right to die” case went to the New Jersey Supreme Court, who ruled her parents could remove the feeding tube. She also died in New Jersey, according to Wikipedia.


American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Council 31), which represents 38,000 Illinois state employees, voted to strike.

“Instead of working toward compromise, Governor [Bruce] Rauner has been seeking the power to unilaterally impose his own extreme demands, including a 100 percent hike in employee costs for health care that would take $10,000 out of the pocket of the average state worker, a four-year wage freeze and an end to safeguards against irresponsible privatization.”

–Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch

Rauner responded to the results of the union’s strike vote, which they broadcast on “Twitter.”

The Republican governor, elected in 2014, characterized the vote as “an attack on our state’s hardworking taxpayers and all those who rely on critical services provided everyday.


“[STUPID PHRASE ALERT] Put simply, AFSCME leaders will do or say anything to avoid implementing a contract that is fair to both taxpayers and state employees alike.

“If AFSCME chooses to strike, we will use every resource to ensure services continue to be available to the people of Illinois. We continue to encourage AFSCME to work with us in implementing a contract that is similar to those ratified by 20 other unions.”

Rauner was reportedly opposed to the union’s demands for overtime pay after working 37.5 hours in one week and favoring employee pay increases tied to seniority instead of performance.


Career criminal and ex-Hillary campaign chair John Podesta was hired to write for Washington Post. Presumably this means he will not resume his unregistered lobbying for Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

Panama Papers


And the New York Post editorial board brought us new details on the 11 air travelers who were allowed to board planes at JFK Monday morning without going through the exhaustive security measures innocent Americans endure daily:

TSA staffers left a security lane open but unmanned. Three set off a metal-detector alarm and still walked on. And TSA didn’t tell Port Authority cops for two hours. 



TSA Protects

Judicial Watch on Somali Immigrants

Swipe Left for Overfunded Incompetence–UPDATED

New York Daily News had more damning details:

At least three of the passengers set off metal detectors, meaning that they could have been armed.

“They have clearly taken their eye off the ball. TSA management must refocus their people on screening passengers and cargo,” Marshall McClain of the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers observed.

What have they been focusing on??

Image result for tsa worker

Image result for tsa worker

Image result for tsa worker

But not to worry:

The TSA said it found most of the 11 passengers when they landed in California, and deemed them not to be threats.

[our emphasis]

Thanks to our sources:

Illinois public-employee union members vote to authorize strike

Spring Break Blitz: Stories We Sat On!!! February 22–ATF Smuggles Ciggies, Succeeds Where Eric Garner Could Not

The bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (and Explosives!) was implicated in an ongoing New York Times investigation of ATF agents who allegedly scammed U.S. Tobacco Cooperative out of $24 million.

The co-op, consisting of 700 East Coast tobacco farmers, invested $5.5 million to purchase Bristol, VA-based Big South Wholesale. BSW was then supposed to sell ciggies for U.S. Tobacco. Instead, the Times reports, they used their existing Federal Government ties to steal from the farmers by selling fake cigarettes, buying the real cigarettes from themselves, jacking the price and selling back to the farmers [our emphasis]:

An export company working with the A.T.F. placed an order for cigarettes to be shipped internationally — thus not subject to American taxes. Big South would instead ship bottled water and potato chips, making it look as if cigarettes had been exported. Mr. [Jason] Carpenter and Mr. [Christopher] Small would then buy the tobacco at a slight markup through a private bank account. Lastly, they would sell the tobacco to Big South, again at a markup.

Because they had the authority to buy on behalf of the tobacco cooperative, “Carpenter and Small simply sold products to themselves,” the farmers wrote in court documents. All of these transactions occurred on paper. The cigarettes never left the Virginia warehouse.

Jason Carpenter and Christopher Small have started assembling their legal defense. The Times presents legal documents in which both men admit “participation in undercover law enforcement activities.”

A (sealed) judge’s order last August indicated the evidence presentation would include the defendants’ “work…on behalf of various government agencies, primarily the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

U.S. Tobacco apparently picked the wrong business partners: moles reporting back to the Federal Government.

[T]here were signs that Big South was not a simple tobacco distributor. Its assets included more than two dozen vehicles, including expensive S.U.V.s and a fleet of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus and Jaguar sports cars.

U.S. Tobacco is now being targeted by the IRS of the Federal Government for not paying the taxes on the fraudulent sales…conducted by a separate government agency. The far-left Times says it best:

The cooperative recently told a judge that it was under investigation by the Treasury Department.

All those secret tobacco sales, it turns out, should have been taxed. And the government wants its money.


From their website, the 4,800-employee, $1.15 billion (annually) Federal Agency lays down their mission:

ATF’s Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Programs purpose is to target, identify, and dismantle criminal enterprises with ties to violent crime, that traffic illicit liquor or contraband tobacco in interstate commerce; seize and deny their access to assets and funds; and prevent their encroachment into the legitimate alcohol or tobacco industry.

The Federal Government here does not directly mention its $119,000,000 annual subsidy of the carcinogenic tobacco.


The rules are a little different if you’re a poor person with no Big Government connections suffering under (and possibly benefiting from) the yoke of highly regressive Federal and State taxes.

Eric Garner was seen on camera in 2014, strangled to death by NYPD officers on Staten Island for allegedly selling untaxed ciggies. According to Associated Press, recently-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions is unlikely to hurry an indictment for this government-sponsored assassination.


New Yorker Donald Trump put his racist/homophobic/fascist/misogynistic/xenophobic/isolationist bent on the shelf at the time:

“That chokehold was terrible. That cop was so aggressive, it was ridiculous. I don’t know where he came from, but that was a ridiculous situation to do. I mean if it’s anything like we see … you know what we saw was a terrible situation.”


Garner’s family was paid $5.9 million by New York City, because that will justify his execution. His friend who shot the video, Ramsey Orta, was subsequently harassed by police, arrested eight times in two years, and last July pleaded to four years in prison for possessing a handgun and selling heroin to an undercover policeman, according to Al Jazeera. Full circle.


Thanks to our sources: