DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Archive for the 'Your tax dollars at work – and play.' Category

96 Percent of Hillary’s Charitable Donations in 2015 Went to Clinton Foundation

12th August 2016

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Let’s see — I take it out of the back pocket and put it in the front pocket — and I get a tax deduction! How cool is that?

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‘Hopelessly Insolvent’ Obama-Backed Solar Company on Verge of Extinction

12th August 2016

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My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

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DOJ Bills JW $50k to Search for Nonexistent Records about Anti-Terrorism Coalition Launched by AG Loretta Lynch

12th August 2016

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In its mission to educate the public about the operations and activities of government, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request with the DOJ on October 15, 2015 for documents related to SCN. Specifically, Judicial Watch asked for legal opinions and analysis prepared by the DOJ relating to the U.S. involvement in the program, documents that form the foundation for the decision for the country to participate in SCN, all international agreements and related records involving the commitment of U.S. resources or personnel to SCN and records of communication between officials in the Office of the Attorney General relating to the initiative. The request reminds the agency that, under the OPEN Government Act, Judicial Watch is entitled to a complete waiver of search and duplication fees if records aren’t produced within 20 business days.

On July 29, 2016, long after the deadline to produce the records, the DOJ sent Judicial Watch a $50,000 invoice for search fees, though not a single file was produced. The invoice, which lists Rashad Javaid as the DOJ official that “fulfilled” the request, doesn’t offer a breakdown and erroneously categorizes Judicial Watch as a “commercial” entity when in fact all government agencies know well that Judicial Watch is a nonprofit under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code. After all, Judicial Watch has been around for 22 years and all FOIA requests state clearly that it’s a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that by definition has no commercial purpose. Last week Judicial Watch appealed the preposterous DOJ invoice.

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Americans Are Still Giving Up Their Citizenship at Record Rates

12th August 2016

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To put this in context, fewer than 300 people chose to cease being Americans in all of 2006, meaning renunciation rates have arisen about 15-fold in a decade.

So why are so many folks saying so long to Uncle Sam? The Treasury Department, which is obliged to publish quarterly lists, doesn’t offer any explanations.

But the best guess is probably not Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (yet), but the the U.S. tax system.

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Amid Haiti Cholera Epidemic, U.N. Peacekeepers Spill Sewage and Ignore Water Treatment, Says Internal Report

12th August 2016

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Remind me again how getting the U.N. involved in anything actually helps.

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World Trade Center Builder Guilty of Fraud for Creating Fake ‘Minority Owned’ Businesses

11th August 2016

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As a condition of $1 billion worth of contracts from the New York Port Authority to build the One World Trade Center, Larry Davis, CEO of DCM Erectors, was required to work with minority- and women-owned businesses. The companies Davis claimed to work with were fake.

“The construction work awarded to Davis came with the obligation to employ minority and women-owned businesses, an obligation that Davis shirked and then lied about,” Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said. ” We cannot allow major public projects – particularly ones on the sacred World Trade Center site – to be built on a foundation of fraud.”

Whenever such political set-asides exist, people are going to try to game the system; and they don’t feel guilty about it because they have no relevance to the actual quality of the work being done, merely to cronyism on the part of those in control of the project.

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Official Finger-Pointing Lets Dangerous Fugitives Stay In Public Housing

11th August 2016

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Federal law bans fugitives from living in taxpayer-funded public housing, and federal officials have no idea how many criminals are doing it anyway.

An estimated 1,300 felony fugitives were found living in federally funded homes in just one region of the country in 2012. Local public housing authorities refused to evict them, according to an unpublished Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General (IG) investigation first reported July 26, 2016, by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Those residents faced warrants for crimes ranging from felony theft to rape and murder. But four years later, HUD officials don’t know what happened to the 1,300, or how many live in taxpayer-funded residences now.

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ObamaCare Problems Deepen as Insurers Scramble to Stem Losses

11th August 2016

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Gee, looks it would appear that all those pessimistic predictions are coming true. What a surprise.

ObamaCare: The gift that keeps on shivving.

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Report: Loretta Lynch’s Justice Dept. Declined FBI Request to Investigate Clinton Foundation

10th August 2016

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Lynch knows which side her bread is buttered on.

The Department of Justice declined a FBI request to open up a public integrity investigation into the Clinton Foundation, CNN reported on Wednesday.

According to the news network, the FBI made the request earlier this year, but the DOJ said it did not have enough evidence to open a formal probe.

Democrats investigating Democrats: Nobody gets fired, nobody goes to jail.

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Awful UC-Davis Chancellor Resigns, Rewarded With Taxpayer-Funded $420k Vacation

10th August 2016

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University of California, Davis (UC-Davis), chancellor Linda Katehi has finally resigned her post, after a rocky tenure that included wasting thousands on shady PR campaigns, spending lavishly on “work-related” travel, and taking paid positions on corporate boards without permission. In return for finally leaving, Katehi is being rewarded with what amounts to a year-long, taxpayer-funded $420,000 vacation.

I should have such a job. And she’s not even a Woman of Color.

According to the Los Angeles Times, under the terms of her departure, Katehi will spend a whole year on administrative leave as the school’s “chancellor emeritus,” for which she will receive her entire $424,360 salary. At the end of her year-long leave, Katehi will be guaranteed a tenured faculty post in UC-Davis’ electrical engineering department, along with an interdisciplinary position with the women’s and gender studies department. The school agreed not to pursue any misconduct charges against Katehi, which could have endanger Katehi’s tenure status.

In return for what amounts to a six-figure yearlong vacation along with a guaranteed taxpayer-funded job for life, Katehi agreed not to sue the UC system over her departure.

Democrats investigating Demcrats: Nobody gets fired, nobody goes to jail.

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3 Reasons Why Obamacare Is Bad for Millennials

10th August 2016

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So many young people believe Obamacare is helping our society and will make health care more affordable, but now it is abundantly clear that the plan is harming young people.

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Emails Reveal Hillary’s Shocking Pay-for-Play Scheme

10th August 2016

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Hillary Clinton put the State Department up for sale, with top aides pulling strings and doing favors for fat-cat donors to the Clinton Foundation — including a shady billionaire, according to smoking-gun emails released Tuesday.

The stunning revelations include how wealthy contributors seeking influence or prestigious government gigs could fork over piles of cash to get access to Clinton’s inner circle, including top aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

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Auburn University Spends $800K Annually on Diversity Staffers

10th August 2016

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Auburn University maintains a lengthy roster of employees dedicated to advancing diversity that costs taxpayers at least $800,000 annually, a payroll analysis by The College Fix has found.

The cost comes at a public university that has not only raised its tuition every single year since 2005 – but also has been ranked as having a poor record of enrolling students from lower-income families.

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GOP Lawmaker Suggests Obama Administration Employees Should Face Jail Time for Iran Cash Deal

10th August 2016

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As if that would ever happen.

A leading Republican critic of the Obama administration’s policy toward Iran is alleging that the U.S. government violated federal law when it delivered $400 million in cash to Tehran on the same day the country freed four American prisoners.

‘Federal law? We don’t need no steenkin’ federal law.’

“I want to know what Obama administration employees were involved with this and how long do they serve in prison,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “There is no doubt they violated federal law when they transferred U.S. taxpayer funds to a state sponsor of terrorism.”

“Until the president made an affirmative decision to pay that claim, it wasn’t Iran’s money,” Pompeo said in an interview. “It was American money. So they broke the law. The thrust of it is, ‘It’s illegal. You did it.’ And Congress has a role of identifying a breach of law and referring violators to the Justice Department for prosecution.”

I wonder what the weather’s like on his planet.

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Disgraced Immigration Boss Nominated for ‘Valor’ Award for Calming Employees Amid Terror Attack

10th August 2016

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A U.S. immigration official accused in a federal report of hindering law enforcement agents seeking a suspect in the San Bernardino terror attack and then lying about it has been nominated for a prestigious award – for telling her employees to stay calm and fetching one who was eating lunch in his car.

FoxNews.com reported in June that Irene Martin, who heads the San Bernardino U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, had been nominated for the Department of Homeland Security “Award for Valor.” But the department refused to say what Martin had done to earn consideration for an award previously given to government employees who saved people from sinking ships and burning cars and confronted gun-wielding criminals.

The answer was only revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request. As the Dec. 2, 2015, attack unfolded a mile and a half away, Martin “warned [her] employees to be very careful and to be vigil (sic) about their surroundings,” according to the nominating petition.

The nomination was made by Martin’s supervisors in Washington on March 3, just over a week before the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth launched his investigation into Martin’s behavior the day after the attack. Roth’s probe found that Martin blocked five armed Department of Homeland Security agents seeking the man authorities now say supplied the firepower in the deadly attack. The report also said she lied to investigators about her actions.

Vaughan said she suspects the award nomination was put forward to give cover to Martin, who may have broken the law.

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Critics Leery as Aid Groups Clamor for Federal Refugee Funds

10th August 2016

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It’s all about the money.

Zeze Rwasama’s Idaho nonprofit gets $900 a head to meet Syrian refugees at the airport and help them adjust to their new lives in America, but some critics say the rush for federal tax dollars could put local communities at risk.

Oh, ya think?

Critics of the vetting process say such organizations also have a duty to the unsuspecting communities into which they introduce potentially dangerous strangers. Several state lawmakers told FoxNews.com the government’s push to expand the program have created a taxpayer-funded gold rush that could expose cities and towns across America to crime and even terrorism.

No shit.

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Letter Shows #ExxonKnew Attorneys General Caught Up in Unlawful Collusion

9th August 2016

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On the heels of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) releasing the copy of the a secrecy pact between Democratic Attorneys General led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, obtained after a months-long fight with these AGs to keep it from the public, E&E Legal has posted a March 7th 2016 letter sent by Schneiderman and Vermont AG William Sorrell to other ideologically aligned AGs inviting them to join in using their law enforcement offices in an “informal coalition…to stem climate change and expand the availability and usage of renewable energy”.

The letter, also obtained under state open records laws, targets “Attorneys General who share this mission” of protecting and advancing “climate” policies, through “the formation of an Attorneys General climate change and energy coalition”.  This coalition’s members have launched investigations targeting industry and non-profit think tanks toward this end, under the guise of racketeering laws to promote this inherently political agenda.

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Political Correctness: UW-Stout Censors ‘Harmful’ Native American Murals

9th August 2016

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The University of Wisconsin-Stout has removed two historic murals from their places of prominence after members of the Diversity Leadership Team complained that they might make Native American students feel uncomfortable.

It’s hard to see why. Both murals are rather innocuous. One depicts fur trappers and Native Americans canoeing down a river. The other depicts an American fortress from colonial times. There’s no violence depicted in the works of art. Indeed, the white traders and natives seem to be getting along perfectly well.

Ah, but the murals could theoretically be offensive to someone, so they have to go.

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Finally, EPA May Be Held Accountable for Potential Wrongdoing at the Gold King Mine Spill

8th August 2016

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Criminal investigations into the Environmental Protection Agency’s disastrous handling of its Gold King Mine spill are under way. This is a laudable step toward accountability for the agency, which for one year has avoided accountability for conduct that would in all likelihood have resulted in criminal prosecution had the acts been performed by private parties.

Prediction: Democrats investigating Democrats — nobody will get fired, nobody will go to jail.

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ObamaCare Death Spiral Update

6th August 2016

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ObamaCare was always going to be a questionable deal for taxpayers if the only people who signed up were poorer people whose premiums were largely paid by taxpayers. That was fine as far as insurers were concerned. They can make a profit even if taxpayers are the only ones paying.

For insurers, the problem lies elsewhere: ObamaCare policies have proved so unattractive that even customers eligible for subsidies are turning away unless they also happen to be seriously or chronically ill. That’s because deductibles and copays keep going up with each successive renewal period. For a family of four on a bronze plan, the deductible is now above $11,000. This is the equivalent, in the case of routine illness or injury, of not being insured at all.

And the problem only gets worse as insurers, to stem their losses, keep hiking premiums, copays and deductibles. With each turn of the wheel, ObamaCare becomes an insurance program that appeals only to those who already know they face large health-care costs.

Welcome to the Obamanation.

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Dumped Cherries a Reminder of Awfulness of USDA Marketing Orders

6th August 2016

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The CIAB declares it “was created to assist the industry in dealing with the erratic production cycle of red tart cherries and to improve returns to the growers and processors of red tart cherries in the United States.” Its “primary goal is to establish orderly marketing conditions by alleviating supply/demand imbalances,” reads a 1985 report issued by the GAO.

In service of this goal, the board oversees all cherry handling in at least seven states. It sets annual quotas for tart cherries, establishing the portion of each year’s cherries that may reach the marketplace.

A marketing order—and cherries represent just one of many enforced by the USDA—is just that: an order. “A marketing order, with or without handler approval, is binding on all handlers in the industry,” reads a 1975 USDA report on marketing orders. Compliance is not optional.

And the ghost of Franklin Roosevelt arises to jerk on your chains.

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Navy Getting Rid of ‘Blueberries’ Camouflage Uniform

6th August 2016

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The Navy Working Uniform Type I, blue camouflage utilities commonly referred to as “blueberries” will be replaced everywhere in the service by the forest-green NWU Type III camouflage utilities developed by Naval Special Warfare Command as a tactical uniform.

From stupidity to stupidity, at your expense. Why anyone needs a camouflage uniform aboard a uniformly grey ship is beyond comprehension.

Apart from the common criticism that the uniforms, introduced in 2009, added more weight to sailors’ seabags, the pattern has been mocked as a pointless use of camouflage.

“The Navy ‘blueberries’ – I don’t know what the name is, that’s what sailors call them – the great camouflage it gives is if you fall overboard,” Mabus reportedly said in 2013, acknowledging the controversy.

Oh, ya think? The last thing a sailor needs to be wearing if he goes over the side and needs to be found at sea is a fargin camouflage uniform.

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Syrian Refugees Surge Into US; Obama on Track to Hit Target Amid Security Concerns

6th August 2016

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Invade the world, invite the world; welcome to the Obamanation.

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The Ransom that Dare Not Speak Its Name

5th August 2016

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It’s funny how coincidences work.

In 2010, as much as $7 million was dropped on the deck of the Maran Centaurus, an oil tanker captured by Somali pirates, and the brigands happened to free the crew.

In 1997, Walter Kwok, the son of extravagantly wealthy Chinese businessman, was found alive in a wooden box after — oddly enough — the gangster holding him was paid $77 million.

In 1974, Marxist guerrillas in Argentina who had kidnapped Exxon employee Victor Samuelson unaccountably decided to release him upon receipt of more than $14 million.

To the list of these random, hard-to-fathom events must be added yet another bizarre coincidence: Last January, Tehran released four American prisoners just as the Obama administration sent $400 million in cash gift-wrapped for the regime.

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Q. When Is a Ransom Not a Ransom? A: When Democrats Do It

5th August 2016

Obama on Iran payment: ‘We do not pay ransom’

PROOF OBAMA LIED=> US Iranian Hostage Abedini Says Iran Held Plane on Tarmac Until (Ransom) Plane Arrived (VIDEO)

The US did not pay a $400 million “ransom” to Iran. Here’s what actually happened.

The President’s Non-Ransom to Iran

Iran Ransom 2016: A Bigger Deal Than Iran-Contra 1985

How Iran spent its $400M ‘ransom’ windfall

Obama paid $400M ‘ransom’ to Iran

‘We Do Not Pay Ransom,’ Obama Declares, Calling Criticism of Iran Deal Illogical

Was the $400 million in cash paid after the Iran prisoner deal really ransom?

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UC Berkeley Chancellor Accused of ‘Elitism’ Over Claims of ‘Escape Hatch’ to Avoid Student Protests

5th August 2016

Oh, ya think?

Student activist says chancellor Nicholas Dirks is ‘out of touch’ with the student body

And thank God for that….

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FBI Agent Apparently Egged on ‘Draw Muhammad’ Shooter

5th August 2016

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Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.
“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday.   “U know what happened in Paris,” Simpson responded. “So that goes without saying… No need to be direct.”

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Spokesman Erupts in Laughter After Claiming State Dept. Is Transparent

5th August 2016

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I would have too.

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Metaphor of the Day: UC-Berkeley Builds Escape Hatch for Chancellor

4th August 2016

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The University of California at Berkeley has just finished construction on an extra door—dubbed an “escape hatch” by some—that will allow the chancellor to leave his office without encountering student-protesters.

Note that Chancellor Nicholas Dirks did not personally request the door, which cost $9,000, according to The Daily Californian. Other staff members, as well as the police, thought public safety would be improved if the administrative building had a second exit.

Evidently the thought of just arresting the trespassers and removing them never occurred to anybody.

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Something Strange Emerges When Looking at a Congresswoman’s Daytrading Records

3rd August 2016

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While we have often heard that members of Congress, who are not only exempt from insider trading oversight, are also ardent daytraders we had never seen it in action.

Until now.

The following publicly filed monthly Periodic Transaction Report by Democrat Congresswoman, Judy Chu, shows us just how pervasive daytrading is not only for algos, but for those who supposedly are paid to serve their constituents. What is interesting is the size of the trades – between $1,000 and $15,000 each, this is not some novice, penny pincher; what is even more interesting are the underlying securities of choice: volatile, and levered, calls and puts on not only the S&P500, but also on some of the most volatile securities out there, such as the VIX.

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Biden Goes from Opposing Same-Sex Marriage to Presiding Over One

3rd August 2016

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Vice President Joe Biden officiated at the wedding of two male White House staffers yesterday, despite belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that marriage is a sacrament that can occur only between a man and a woman.

Will he be excommunicated? Of course not.

You do not have to be an opponent of gay marriage or even a religious person to see the contradiction in Biden’s actions. By officiating at this ceremony, Biden demonstrated that progressive politics drive his actions more than his religious identification does, as is also evidenced by his support for abortion. This should disturb even people who agree with Biden’s support for same-sex marriage and abortion.

But it won’t.

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USC Campus Rape Lawsuit: This Title IX Official’s Vulgar Response Is Unbelievable

2nd August 2016

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For those of us who have been paying attention, it is all too believable.

A male University of Southern California student expelled for sexual assault appealed the decision on grounds that the adjudication process was wholly inadequate and stacked against him from the start. USC’s Title IX coordinator responded with shocking hostility—bureaucrats don’t like when their authority is questioned, it seems.

“Does that college motherfucker know who I am?” USC Title IX Director Gretchen Dahlinger Means asked Title IX Investigator Patrick Noonan, after a conference call during which the student, “John Doe,” had explained his intention to appeal. It was a hot mic moment: Dahlinger and Noonan thought the student and his lawyer had already exited the call.

That was not the only outburst. Means also said, “Who do those motherfuckers think they are?” in reference to the student and his lawyer, who had asked for USC to release the identities of the panel members who had voted to expel Doe. The administrators did not merely refuse this request; they were apparently incredulous that such a request had been made at all—that a student could possibly have the gall to ask for some basic transparency with respect to the Kafka-esque procedure that ruined his life.

The venomous statements of USC’s Title IX team give this case a unique flavor, though the rest of the details make for a textbook Title IX dispute: spurned female student, bad breakup, after-the-fact accusation, total absence of due process, predetermined finding of responsibility. Doe recently filed suit against USC, and a state court issued a stay preventing his expulsion from going into effect. As KC Johnson writes, “On this record, it’s not hard to see why.” (Special thanks to Johnson for providing the relevant court documents.)

Betcha she voted for Obama.

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Law Professor Goes After Maryland Prosecutor for Freddie Gray Case

2nd August 2016

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A law professor with a history of taking prosecutors to task has set his sights on the Baltimore state’s attorney, who failed in her bid to put six cops in prison in connection with the racially-charged death of Freddie Gray.

George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf has filed complaints against Marilyn Mosby with the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland. He alleges Mosby and two deputies committed ethics violations, used “fraudulent or misleading tactics,” withheld evidence from the defense and brought charges without probable cause against the Baltimore police officers involved in the April 12, 2015 arrest of Gray, who died of injuries suffered inside a police van.

Cue outraged cries of ‘racism’ from the Usual Suspects.

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Criminal Investigation Into Gold King Mine Spill Underway

2nd August 2016

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Prediction: Nobody will get fired, nobody will go to jail.

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ABC Spotlights Veterans Admin. Wasting Millions on Art During Scandal

30th July 2016

Read it. And watch the video.

ABC’s World News Tonight on Friday revisited the health care scandal at the Veterans Administration and pointed out the recent revelation that the federal agency spent millions of taxpayer money on abstract art. Correspondent Mary Bruce spotlighted how the V.A. defending the spending by claiming that the art pieces foster “a healing environment.”

I see no reason why veterans require a separate ‘national health service’ system when their needs could easily be handled by existing programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Of course, as Jerry Pournelle is fond of saying, the purpose of government is to hire and pay government workers….

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\Minimum Wage, Maximum Ignorance

29th July 2016

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William F. Buckley Jr. used to speak of the “invincible ignorance” of liberalism, and there’s hardly a better example than the minimum wage. Generally the first thing you learn on the first day of Econ 101 is that if you raise the price of something, you’ll reduce the demand for that something. Including labor.

So it’s fun to notice this morning that the city of Seattle, which threw out both shoulders patting itself on the back for raising its minimum age to $11 an hour last year, is finding the results are . . . not so good.

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Do Black Lives Matter for Democrats?

29th July 2016

I have a question.

Black people have been voting the straight Democrat ticket now for over 50 years.

How has that worked out? How much better is life now than before the Magic Negro sashayed into the White House?

I don’t see any improvement; quite the contrary.

So what the hell are they thinking?

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Obamacare’s Sinking Safety Net

29th July 2016

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But if you’re looking for a quintessential Obamacare failure story, you might also stick that pin directly in North Carolina. For the insurance companies doing business in the state–the ones issuing policies to those 600,000 people–Obamacare has turned into a financial sinkhole. UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurance company, is pulling out of the Obamacare business in North Carolina next year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which dominated the individual market with more than a half-million customers, reported that losses on its Obamacare business in 2014 and 2015 topped $400 million. The insurer said that figure includes government payments designed to shield insurers from big losses during the early years of Obamacare. The only other current competitor, Aetna, wants to hike rates by nearly 25 percent next year.

‘If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor!’ Uh, no, that was a lie.

‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan!’ Uh, no, that was a bigger lie.

‘It’s called the Affordable Care Act because it makes care more affordable!’ Uh, no, that was the biggest lie of all.

Obamacare: The gift that keeps on shivving.

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Documents Indicate IRS Officials Knew of Tea Party Targeting Since 2011

29th July 2016

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My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

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Hiked Obamacare Premiums to Dry Out Californian’s Bank Accounts

28th July 2016

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‘Like your doctor? You can keep your doctor!’ Uh, no, that’s a lie.

‘Like your plan? You can keep your plan!’ Uh, no, that’s a lie, too.

‘Affordable Health Care Act gives you affordable health care!’ Uh, that’s the biggest lie of all.

Obamacare, the gift that keeps on shivving.

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Security experts have cloned all seven TSA master keys

27th July 2016

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Key escrow — the process of keeping a set of keys for yourself “just in case” — has always been the U.S. government’s modus operandi when it comes to security. From the disastrous Clipper chip to today, the government has always wanted a back door into encryption and security. That plan backfired for the TSA.

The TSA, as you’ll remember, offers a set of screener-friendly locks. These locks use one of seven master keys that only the TSA can use — until 2014. In an article in The Washington Post, a reporter included a shot of all seven keys on a desk. It wasn’t long before nearly all the keys were made available for 3D printing and, last week, security researchers released the final key.

Don’t you feel more secure now?

And these are the people that Hillary and the Democrats want to trust with our health care … and, indeed, our whole economy.

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‘As a Teen Cashier Seeing Food Stamp Use, I Changed My Mind About the Democrat Party’

26th July 2016

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Mamaw encouraged me to get a job—she told me that it would be good for me and that I needed to learn the value of a dollar. When her encouragement fell on deaf ears, she then demanded that I get a job, and so I did, as a cashier at Dillman’s, a local grocery store.

Working as a cashier turned me into an amateur sociologist. A frenetic stress animated so many of our customers. One of our neighbors would walk in and yell at me for the smallest of transgressions—not smiling at her, or bagging the groceries too heavy one day or too light the next. Some came into the store in a hurry, pacing between aisles, looking frantically for a particular item. But others waded through the aisles deliberately, carefully marking each item off of their list.

Some folks purchased a lot of canned and frozen food, while others consistently arrived at the checkout counter with carts piled high with fresh produce.

The more harried a customer, the more they purchased precooked or frozen food, the more likely they were to be poor. And I knew they were poor because of the clothes they wore or because they purchased their food with food stamps. After a few months, I came home and asked Mamaw why only poor people bought baby formula. “Don’t rich people have babies, too?” Mamaw had no answers, and it would be many years before I learned that rich folks are considerably more likely to breast-feed their children.

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How the FAA Killed Supersonic Flight—And How It Can Revive It

26th July 2016

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Very few of us have enjoyed the thrill and convenience of a supersonic flight. This is partly due to economics: Both the Concorde (1,350 mph) and the Soviet Union’s Tupolev Tu-44 (1,200 mph) faced early retirements for financial reasons.

But this does not explain why top airplane speeds have lagged behind for so many decades. Today, most airlines cruise at altitudes well below the speed of sound, with a standard Boeing 747-B clocking in at a ho-hum 570 mph cruising speed. My Mercatus Center colleagues Eli Dourado and Michael Kotrous recently dug into airspeed data compiled by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), an international sports aviation measurement and standard-setting body. Their finding: Innovation in air travel speeds came to a grinding halt after Joerz’s still-unbroken record-setting feat in 1976.

You can thank the FAA for this continued mediocrity in air travel. In 1973, amid ample developments in supersonic flight, the FAA bizarrely decided to prohibit supersonic travel (SST) over the US. Why? When an aircraft travels faster than the speed of sound, it generates shock waves that become compressed into one super-loud “sonic boom.” The FAA and other civilian activists were concerned about the potential damage that SST flights could do to the environment or to civil infrastructure.

Unfortunately, evidence-based policy-making did not guide the FAA’s supersonic ban. Knee-jerk techno-skepticism did.

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Peacekeeping: Feeding The Monsters

26th July 2016

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One reason so many people are going hungry in conflict zones is because too much of the donated food and other supplies are not reaching those who need it. The UN, Red Cross and thousands of other foreign aid organizations are having a harder time raising money mainly they are having an even harder time dealing with the growing revelations about the extent to which foreign aid is stolen after arriving in the countries where it is needed. The plundering has gone on for so long that the thieves have gotten greedy and sloppy. For example, the refugees from the 1960s-70s war in southern Morocco (West Sahara) decades ago are still sitting in Algeria supported by foreign aid. But it’s become increasingly obvious that, while the aid organizations are regularly providing aid for 120,000 refugees there are only about 40,000 real refugees in the camps. The rest of the aid goes to make a few Polisario (the rebel group that runs the camp) leaders and Algerian officials millionaires and many more underlings wealthier. For years people who lived in the camp have casually told outsiders, including reporters, details of how aid is stolen and resold and deals made with air officials to keep the loot coming. It was not long before donors were informed.

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Congressman Who Once Feared Guam Could Capsize Compares Jewish Settlers to Ttermites’

26th July 2016

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A Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee compared Jewish Israeli settlers to termites on Monday while speaking at an event sponsored by an anti-Israel organization that supports boycotts of the Jewish state.

Rep. Hank Johnson, D- Ga., launched into a tirade against Israel and its policies toward the Palestinians, comparing Jewish people who live in disputed territories to “termites” that destroy homes. Johnson also compared Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a remark that drew vocal agreement from those in the room.

Think of the firestorm in the press if a white Republican had said something so stupid.

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What I Saw in the Schools

25th July 2016

Sol Stern illustrates the New York City behavioral sink.

I can still recall the shock I experienced one morning in September 1991 after dropping my boys off at P.S. 87’s schoolyard. I lingered for a few minutes, chatting with some other parents, when I noticed a bent man in dirty, tattered clothes, wandering around the yard as if in a stupor. Wondering if a derelict had gotten into the schoolyard, I asked one of the parents if she recognized him. She responded with an ironic grin: “Don’t you know? That’s Malcolm, one of our new teachers.”

Incredulous, I headed off to Principal Jane Hand’s office. It was all true, Hand confirmed. Malcolm was now a teacher in good standing at our K–5 school. She had to hire this deeply troubled person because of the seniority-transfer clause in the labor agreement between the city and the United Federation of Teachers. The contract required principals to post half of their schools’ teacher vacancies at the end of each year and offer the positions to applicants with the greatest seniority in the system. Hand didn’t even have the right to interview Malcolm (who had transferred from a Bronx elementary school) before he showed up on the first day of school.

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Anti-Union Ad Campaign Launches in Philadelphia Over Minimum-Wage Waivers

25th July 2016

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One big victory Bernie Sanders supporters won when the Democratic Party wrote its platform was including his call for a $15 minimum wage.

But this week in Philadelphia, Democratic delegates and other convention-goers will get a series of stark reminders that the union organizers who have been among the loudest advocates for a $15-per-hour wage floor have also sought carve-outs to allow companies to pay their own members less if they hire union workers, giving unions a key bargaining chip.

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The Common Core Costs Billions and Hurts Students

24th July 2016

Diane Ravitch blows the whistle.

FOR 15 years, since the passage of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind act, education reformers have promoted standardized testing, school choice, competition and accountability (meaning punishment of teachers and schools) as the primary means of improving education. For many years, I agreed with them. I was an assistant secretary of education in George H. W. Bush’s administration and a member of three conservative think tanks.

But as I watched the harmful effects of No Child Left Behind, I began to have doubts. The law required that all schools reach 100 percent proficiency as measured by state tests or face harsh punishments. This was an impossible goal. Standardized tests became the be-all and end-all of education, and states spent billions on them. Social scientists have long known that the best predictor of test scores is family income. Yet policy makers encouraged the firing of thousands of teachers and the closing of thousands of low-scoring public schools, mostly in poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

As the damage escalated, I renounced my support for high-stakes testing and charter schools. Nonetheless, I clung to the hope that we might agree on national standards and a national curriculum. Surely, I thought, they would promote equity since all children would study the same things and take the same tests. But now I realize that I was wrong about that, too.

Six years after the release of our first national standards, the Common Core, and the new federal tests that accompanied them, it seems clear that the pursuit of a national curriculum is yet another excuse to avoid making serious efforts to reduce the main causes of low student achievement: poverty and racial segregation.

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Here’s Why They’re Coming After Your Ministry, Church or Synagogue

24th July 2016

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Are they coming after your house of worship or ministry? And who are “they?’

If you live in Iowa, up until two weeks ago “they” would have been your own state government, in the form of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, a body empowered to interpret, apply, and enforce state civil rights laws and assess penalties for offenders.

Alarmingly, the Commission originally indicated that the state had a right to dictate how churches teach, preach, and operate regarding important doctrines such as gender and sexuality. First Liberty attorneys stepped in. For now, the Commission has admirably revised its application of the law and the Iowa problem seems to be corrected.

But the larger problem is not corrected. The larger problem is a lot of powerful “theys” across the country who are still infringing on churches or synagogues, or at least would like to do so in the right circumstances.

The aggressors are a small but powerful elite of legal activists, radical lawyers, government officials, and influential law professors. They question whether your First Amendment right to “free exercise” is even protected within the four walls of your house of worship.

Bad news for Iowa.

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The Real Problem with Killing America’s A-10 Warthog

23rd July 2016

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The history of American close air support is a tale of learn, master and forget. Institutional focus on strategic bombardment led the U.S. Army Air Forces to enter World War II with no concept of CAS or any organization to support it. Despite the bloody growing pains of early operations in the Mediterranean theater, the lessons learned by airmen of the Ninth Tactical Air Command, under the visionary leadership of Maj. Gen. Pete Quesada, enabled the delivery of masterfully effective close support amidst the chaos of Normandy’s beaches and Patton’s relentless advance across France. Merely six years later, Quesada’s innovations were completely forgotten as the strategically-focused USAF entered the Korean War with no professional close air support community. Tragically, U.S. troops were overrun by unopposed North Korean armor, while the Air Force struggled to reinvent CAS. The cycle repeated only a decade later in the jungles of Vietnam, and the USAF relied on Special Air Warfare units flying World War II–vintage A-1 Skyraiders to effectively recreate the mission. This pattern of learn, master and forget haunted the U.S. military in three consecutive wars, because it lacked a force-in-being of dedicated CAS professionals.

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