Sunday, April 19, 2015

Simplistic arguments which are nonetheless essentially true
...Walmart critics embrace two moral standards: in the first, morality requires payment of high wages to 1.2 million people. In the second, morality can be achieved without employing anyone at all–that is, by paying zero wages. Most of us have chosen to live by the second standard, and from our lofty moral position we can criticize Walmart for not meeting the first standard. How convenient!...
UPDATED: Elle Mallon’s additional grievance against We Are Oregon
...6:21 – Mallon files a response accusing Allison of sexual harassment because she referred to Mallon as “Ms.” when Mallon identifies with the use of “Mx.”

7:30 – Allison apologizes in an email, saying:

“In every situation I’ve been in with Elle, Elle has said Elle’s pronouns were “She, Her, Hers,” including on the Ducks F.I.R.S.T website. With that information, I used “Ms.” when addressing Elle.”

April 8:

Mallon submits a second grievance saying Allison chose to misgender her.

She cites the apology email from Allison as evidence saying that:

“Allison found a place where my pronouns were listed and then chose to misgender me anyway (My pronouns also include xe xem hyr and they them their).”...
‘Equal pay day’ this year is April 14; the next ‘equal occupational fatality day’ will be on July 29, 2027
...As in previous years, the chart above shows the significant gender disparity in workplace fatalities in the most recent year: 4,101 men died on the job (93.1% of the total) in 2013 compared to only 302 women (6.9% of the total). The “gender occupational fatality gap” in 2013 was considerable — nearly 14 men died on the job last year for every woman who died while working.

Based on the most recent BLS data, the next “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” will occur about 13 years from now ­­– on July 29, 2027. ...
Free fall: How government policies brought down the housing market
...Nevertheless, there are plentiful data on commitments by large banks to make CRA-type loans in connection with applications to the Fed for permission to merge with small and medium-sized institutions between 1997 and 2007. In a 2007 report, for example, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) reported that in this ten-year period its member organizations had induced banks that were seeking merger approvals from the Fed and other agencies to commit almost $4.5 trillion in CRA-type lending. Press releases at the time these mergers were approved (available online) backed up this claim. After this report received publicity, it was pulled from NCRC’s website, though it is now available elsewhere on the web.[13] These report loans totaling $1.3 trillion made to fulfill prior commitments,[14] but determining the delinquency rates on these loans is impossible; banks have generally refused to make these data available, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC)—established by Congress to investigate the causes of the 2008 financial crisis—did not seriously attempt to investigate this issue....

...In a market where prices are rising quickly, homeowners who cannot meet their mortgage obligations can often refinance or sell their homes without a loss. In the midst of a housing bubble, therefore, subprime loans can look like excellent risk-adjusted investments. For this reason, by 2004, private investors had become interested in PMBS backed by subprime loans; these securities were offering high yields but not showing losses commensurate with their risk. This phenomenon was helped along by the fact that the low interest rates in the early 2000s had produced a vast number of refinanced and unseasoned mortgages, which in their early years characteristically have low rates of delinquency and default. ...

THE TRUE STORY OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS — RESPONDING TO CRITICISM
Let's consider what Min is saying here. He's arguing that Pinto's definitions of subprime and Alt-A loans are not consistent with the definitions others have used for data collection and analysis. In other words, Pinto has used his own definitions to analyze the data in a new way. What Pinto did, that no one had done before, is show that loans made to people with FICO credit scores lower than 660 (which he called "subprime") had substantially higher rates of delinquency and default than loans to people with credit scores above 660 (which he called "prime"). In addition, Pinto found that loans with various deficiencies such as interest only, no documentation, no or low downpayments, or were investment properties (not owner occupied) -- which Pinto called, collectively, "Alt-A" -- also had much higher rates of default than loans that were not subject to these deficiencies. Pinto then found that these kinds of loans began to increase substantially after 1992, when affordable housing requirements were imposed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and began to default in unprecedented numbers when the 1997-2007 housing bubble started to deflate. In my dissent from the majority report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, using data from Fannie Mae (Table 5, p.61), I show that both subprime and Alt-A mortgages were necessary for meeting the affordable housing goals.

In reality, then, Min is simply complaining that Pinto discovered the sources of the huge mortgage losses that caused the financial crisis. The way the data had been looked at before -- and the way Fannie and Freddie reported that data -- obscured the fact that half of all outstanding mortgages were either subprime or Alt-A just before the bubble deflated and the financial crisis began. ...

Pinto 'Trigger' memo (warning, PDF)
We’re Calling It Global Warming Again, But Only Because It’s ‘Scarier’
...Scientists typically prefer to talk about “climate change.” That’s because humans don’t “feel’ temperature on a global scale. For people to want to take action, they’ll have to notice and understand local changes, so the reasoning goes. For decades now, scientists and climate communicators have spent untold effort in demonstrating the link between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and the countless less well-known aspects of “climate change” that are much more personal than numbers on a global temperature chart. But “climate change” is a complex and nebulous term, with less vivid imagery than “global warming.”...

Don’t Let Science Be Settled with Political Intimidation
...Congressman Raul Grijalva has been writing universities, demanding financial records showing who is financing the research of dissenting scientists, and demanding their internal communications as well. Mr. Grijalva says that financial disclosure needs to be part of the public’s “right to know” who is financing those who express different views. He is not the only politician pushing the idea that scientists who do not march in lockstep with what is called the “consensus” on man-made global warming could be just hired guns for businesses resisting government regulations. Senator Edward Markey has been sending letters to fossil-fuel companies, asking them to hand over details of their financial ties to critics of the “consensus.” The head of the National Academy of Sciences has chimed in, saying: “Scientists must disclose their sources of financial support to continue to enjoy societal trust and the respect of fellow scientists.”...
Kentucky judge criticized for telling parents they fostered racist behavior in daughter
...The parents argued for a tougher sentence for the man convicted of busting into their Louisville home at gunpoint while their daughter watched "Spongebob Square Pants," according to the Courier-Journal.

Judge Olu Stevens blasted Jordan and Tommy Gray's victim impact statement at a court hearing in February and again recently in a Facebook post he later deleted....

...Stevens contends the statement played no role in his decision to sentence the robber, 27-year-old Gregory Wallace, who pleaded guilty to the March 21, 2013, crime, to only five years' probation....

Chelsea Clinton buys new $10.5 million apartment across the street from her husband's $4 million 'starter pad' bought just before they married
Most young couples could only dream of buying a luxury four-bedroom apartment in the centre of Manhattan.

But Chelsea Clinton, 33, and husband Marc Mezvinsky, 35, are about to swap their $4 million pad for a huge new $10.5 million one nearby....

...According to a Douglas Ellisman listing, the couple's 'starter pad' has a powder room, an open chef's kitchen with beautiful bluestone countertops, oak floors, Italian marble bathrooms, huge windows and scores of other luxury finishes....
Go for the Throat!
Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.

...This theory of political transformation rests on the weaponization (and slight bastardization) of the work by Yale political scientist Stephen Skowronek. Skowronek has written extensively about what distinguishes transformational presidents from caretaker presidents. In order for a president to be transformational, the old order has to fall as the orthodoxies that kept it in power exhaust themselves. Obama's gambit in 2009 was to build a new post-partisan consensus. That didn't work, but by exploiting the weaknesses of today’s Republican Party, Obama has an opportunity to hasten the demise of the old order by increasing the political cost of having the GOP coalition defined by Second Amendment absolutists, climate science deniers, supporters of “self-deportation” and the pure no-tax wing....

Who wrote this? John Dickerson, CBS News political director and new host of Face the Nation
The DEA sex party scandal just got worse
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Colombia were taking part in alleged sex parties with prostitutes funded by drug cartels years earlier than previously known, U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday.

Several DEA agents were taking part in these parties in Bogota as early as 2001, said a summary of a DEA report released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at a hearing on the misconduct....

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fundamental Concepts - Why the Left Hates Families
...And so on. They've been remarkably successful in all of these efforts, but the family has remained the hardest nut to crack, and any society that maintains a robust family structure will always be resistant to the siren song of a collectivist Utopia. A person who graduates high school and waits until after marriage to have children has a less that 10% chance of falling into poverty. That's a fact. A population where more than 90% of its members are living above the poverty line doesn't need a welfare state, private charity is more than capable of caring for those that fall through the cracks. A society where families can oversee their child's education on the local level resists ideological indoctrination. A society where parents can chose to work harder and expect to reap the rewards of that hard work and where effort is admired doesn't need unions to prop up the lazy and the corrupt. A society where strong families are able to accumulate resources over their lifetime doesn't need Social Security. In short, a society of strong families doesn't need much government at all, and Progressives know this, which is why the nuclear family must be destroyed as a cohesive social unit.

I could write about a zillion words here outlining how Progressive policies have attacked the family in the last 50 years, but I'm going to assume that most of you reading this are well aware of the statistics, how the welfare state has led to an explosion of single parent families, many of who are utterly dependent on government largess to survive. If not, there are voluminous works available online, just Bing them. I would close with one simple observation: The Progressive elite, the white upper and upper middle class, they don't practice what they preach. By and large, their lives are still structured around the traditional family. They raise their children together (even if divorced), and see that they finish school before marrying, and they make sure that all of the tradition benefits of familiar wealth accumulation, power and connection are bestowed upon their children. Abortion takes care of any nasty premarital "accidents", ensuring that their children aren't "cursed with a baby". They know that the family is the key to prosperity, they just want to ensure that these benefits are reserved for those of their class and breeding. Who cares if the hoi polloi are being condemned to a lifetime of toil and misery by excessive government, Progressives have to have someone to rule, don't they?...
Race, class issues starting to split Silicon Valley alliance of tech, progressives
The rise of today’s progressive-dominated Democratic Party stemmed from a brilliant melding of minorities, the poor, the intelligentsia and, quite surprising, the new ultrarich of Silicon Valley. For the past decade, this alliance has worked for both sides, giving the tech titans politically correct cover while suggesting their support for the progressives’ message can work with business.

Not only did tech overwhelmingly favor President Obama with campaign contributions but Obama also overwhelming won the Silicon Valley electorate, taking the once GOP-leaning Santa Clara County with 70 percent of the vote. After the 2012 election, a host of former top Obama aides – including former campaign manager David Plouffe (Uber) and press spokesman Jay Carney (Amazon) – have signed up to work for tech giants. Perhaps even more revealing was the politically inspired firing last year of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for contributing to California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage....

...The immediate response from the oligarchs, and their swelling ranks of highly paid public-relations consultants, will likely be symbolic, mouthing the politically correct stance on climate change, even as they take off in their private jets. Also expect them to put more money into charitable activities, which could turn displaced cab drivers or factory assemblers into future wards of the tech elite. In the end, it seems little different from a glossy form of the Gilded Age – or feudalism.

In the long run, rising inequality poses an existential threat to the tech industry, across California and the nation. Tech firms ultimately will not be able to address this merely with noblesse oblige, political cover or PR stunts. And the stakes are large: If the negative impacts of tech are not addressed, the population will seek to tax more of the oligarchs’ holdings and restrict their freedom of operation....
Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network
Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal’s account.

The emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, also show that Blumenthal and another close Clinton associate discussed contracting with a retired Army special operations commander to put operatives on the ground near the Libya-Tunisia border while Libya’s civil war raged in 2011.

Blumenthal’s emails to Clinton, which were directed to her private email account, include at least a dozen detailed reports on events on the deteriorating political and security climate in Libya as well as events in other nations. They came to light after a hacker broke into Blumenthal’s account and have taken on new significance in light of the disclosure that she conducted State Department and personal business exclusively over an email server that she controlled and kept secret from State Department officials and which only recently was discovered by congressional investigators....
1.5°C or 2°C: a conduit’s view from the science-policy interface at COP20 in Lima, Peru
...Less well known perhaps is a critique from feminist social scientists who interrogate what may be deemed ‘acceptable’ and what may be ‘dangerous’, and for whom, and who contest the global community as a homogeneous entity. Joni Seager, for instance, demonstrates how notions of acceptability always mirror ‘a prism of privilege, power, and geography’ [14]. She argues that those for whom a 2°C target appears to be a relatively safe bet are the richer countries in temperate latitudes, as well as politicians and economists from the global North deeply entrenched in a masculinized rationality that nature can be controlled and that in the imminent climate race with inevitable winners and losers they will be among the former....

Scientists Say New Study Is A ‘Death Blow’ To Global Warming Hysteria
...A study by scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology found that man-made aerosols had a much smaller cooling effect on the atmosphere during the 20th Century than was previously thought. Why is this big news? It means increases in carbon dioxide emissions likely cause less warming than most climate models suggest....

...The Max Planck study suggests “that aerosol radiative forcing is less negative and more certain than is commonly believed.” In layman’s terms, aerosols are offsetting less global warming than was previously thought. And if aerosols aren’t causing as much cooling, it must mean carbon dioxide must be causing less warming than climate models predict.

“Going forward we should expect less warming from future greenhouse gas emissions than climate models are projecting,” write climate scientists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger with the libertarian Cato Institute, adding that this study could be a “death blow” to global warming hysteria....

...The IPCC’s latest assessment put climate sensitivity between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius. The IPCC says that despite “the large uncertainty range, there is a high confidence that aerosols have offset a substantial portion of [greenhouse gas] global mean forcing.”

Basically, the IPCC says aerosols deflect a lot of warming — the opposite of the Max Planck study’s finding....
The Left’s new love of corporate speech
Big corporations like Walmart, Apple, Salesforce.com and General Electric and their executives have done the right thing by calling on officials in Indiana and Arkansas to reject “religious freedom” laws designed to give businesses and religious groups legal cover should they deny service to gay couples. But the business response to these laws raises a larger issue about the role companies play in the political process. If corporate leaders are serious in opposing discrimination, they should refuse to finance the campaigns of lawmakers who want to deny civil rights to gays and other minority groups....

...Another thing businesses can do is to make clear that they want lawmakers in all states to pass anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people. More than three dozen chief executives of technology companies did just that in a statement released on Wednesday....

Google controls what we buy, the news we read — and Obama’s policies
...A former Google officer is the president’s chief technology adviser. Google employees contributed more to President Obama’s re-election than did employees of any other company except Microsoft. Google lobbyists met with Obama White House officials 230 times. By comparison, lobbyists from rival Comcast have been admitted to the inner sanctum a mere 20 or so times in the same period.

Oh, and on Election Night 2012, guess where Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt was? Working for the president. In the president’s campaign office. On a voter-turnout system designed to help the president get re-elected....

...Still, all of this is easily forgiven compared to what’s coming next: politically filtered information.

Google says that in the future, its determinations about what is true and what is untrue will play a role in how search-engine rankings are configured. Google has the power to bump an article it doesn’t like off the table and under the rug. Even moving information off the first page of search results would effectively neutralize it: According to a 2013 study, 91.5 percent of Google search users click through on a first-page result....
‘Gun Letter’ Informs Pawn And Gun Shop Owner His Bank Accounts Are Being Closed
...“Oh, you got one of the gun letters,” the employee said, explaining to Champion that gun stores across the country are receiving the same correspondence.

SunTrust was in the news last year for a similar crackdown on a South Carolina pawn and gun shop owner....

...Last year, Mark Cohen, the owner of Powderhorn Outfitters, a gun retailer in Hyannis, Mass., said that an executive at his bank, TD Bank, told him directly that it would not extend a line of credit “because you sell guns.”

And in November, Mike Shuetz, the owner of Hawkins Guns in Wisconsin, recorded a conversation he had with an executive at Heritage Credit Union after he was told that his bank accounts would be closed. The executive explained that federal regulators had recently inspected the credit union and targeted Shuetz’s business because he sells guns. ...
How Deep Is This Education Official’s Involvement In The Rolling Stone Hoax?
A top-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has emerged as a potentially key figure in Rolling Stone’s false article, “A Rape on Campus.”...

...Catherine Lhamon, who heads the Department’s civil rights wing, was identified in a letter sent last month by University of Virginia Dean of Students Allen Groves to Steve Coll and Sheila Coronel, the two Columbia Journalism School deans who conducted a review of the Nov. 19 article, written by disgraced reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely....
Dave Weigel, The Self-Appointed Poster Child Of ‘Integrity,’ Urges Rolling Stone Writer To Resign
...For one thing, he was secretly conspiring with fellow liberal journalists to organize news coverage in the nation’s major publications. Ding! Ding! That’s not so kosher in the world of journalism. He wanted Matt Drudge to die in a fire. He referred to “Ron Paul fanatics” as “Paultards” and he encouraged his fellow liberal journalists not to follow up on “hot hot” scoops by Washington Examiner’s Byron York.”

This one’s not so much offensive as it was laugh until your stomach hurts. He scolded the Washington Examiner for covering his dancing at a wedding. The headline: “Weigel Likes To Waggle, Sweat.” He called for everyone in the world to block then-gossip writer Tara Palmeri for writing it.

What Weigel fails to disclose outright in his call for Erdely to quit is that after his valiant resignation, it’s not like he went off to a mountainside in Tibet to reflect on what he’d done wrong or began tirelessly volunteering at soup kitchens. He quickly went to work for Slate, which, at the time, was owned by WaPo. So his whole resignation was kind of meaningless all around.

He went on to lie about who actually broke the story of those emails, which was yours truly, followed up by more extensive coverage by my current employer....
A gun lover sees the evils of gun culture: White supremacists, Obama haters, and me
...Here before me in earnest conversation for the last two hours was the personification of gun culture: The attitude of white supremacy, the Obama hatred and all the attendant side issues. I felt strangely privileged to have seen this man in the flesh, as if I were a cub reporter who had scooped the old timers.

But I was also aghast. This guy doesn’t even have centuries of oppression to blame for his radical, oppressive views. What the hell went wrong?...
Feds Investigate Whether Union Misused ObamaCare Funds
...“Anthony alleges he was initially employed by SUN as an ACA federal navigator, visiting community events and enrolling individuals in healthcare,” the letter continued. “In addition to these duties at SUN, Anthony alleges that he was directed to recruit members for the ULU by visiting schools to register cafeteria workers for the union.”...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Greece struggles to get citizens to pay their taxes
ATHENS—Of all the challenges Greece has faced in recent years, prodding its citizens to pay their taxes has been one of the most difficult.

At the end of 2014, Greeks owed their government about €76 billion ($86 billion) in unpaid taxes accrued over decades; the government says only €9 billion of that can be recovered, with most of the rest lost to insolvency.

Billions more in taxes are owed on never-reported revenue from Greece’s vast underground economy, which was estimated before the crisis to equal more than a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product....

...Tax rates in Greece are broadly in line with those elsewhere in Europe. But Greeks have a widespread aversion to paying what they owe the state, an attitude often blamed on a combination of cultural and historical forces. During the country’s centuries-long occupation by the Ottomans, avoiding taxes was a sign of patriotism. Today, that distrust is focused on the government, which many Greeks see as corrupt, inefficient and unreliable.

“Greeks consider taxes as theft,” said Aristides Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens. “Normally taxes are considered the price you have to pay for a just state, but this is not accepted by the Greek mentality.”
'Net neutrality' rules discard bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework.
...The ultimate result of more government encroachment will be something akin to the sagging European Internet market, where investment in broadband infrastructure is only one-fourth of America's due to heavy-handed regulations. Even worse, this new power grab could trigger expanded intergovernmental powers over the Web through existing telecom treaties, jeopardizing Internet freedom.

What many in Silicon Valley don't understand is that, according to the Supreme Court's 2005 Brand X decision, nearly any "tech" company that builds a telecom-style network to deliver its content and apps has the potential to be captured by the FCC's new rules. If the agency tries to exempt some companies but not others, it will be choosing the politically favored over everyone else....
Foreign governments gave millions to foundation while Clinton was at State Dept.
...The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.

The new disclosures, provided in response to questions from The Washington Post, make clear that the 2008 agreement did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.

In one instance, foundation officials acknowledged they should have sought approval in 2010 from the State Department ethics office, as required by the agreement for new government donors, before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government.

The money was given to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti, the foundation said. At the time, Algeria, which has sought a closer relationship with Washington, was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues....
"Chilling comment on Adam Liptak's NYT piece on the South Carolina employment benefits lawyer who focused attention the statutory text that might wreck Obamacare."
...There's only that one pushback comment from NYHuguenot — which itself goes too far — and it only arrived 11 hours after Cold's chilling remark, which has 11 thumbs up. I read Cold's comment in the middle of the night and hit the "flag" icon but I couldn't bring myself to check any of the options. "Inflammatory" and "Personal Attack" seemed closest but not precisely apt. I decided to blog about it here instead. It's evil to waft the suggestion of a violent attack. It might influence someone, though it's certainly not an imminent enough incitement to support arresting Cold. It's evil, but it's also ludicrous for Cold to project her political will — her desire to preserve the legislation — onto the seriously ill, as if they'll use their waning hours on earth to go out on an attack — they've got nothing to lose — and they'll fixate on some lawyer who noticed something in a 900-page statute that was so terribly important and yet so miserably unread.

Lawless: Treasury throws unauthorized $3 billion to insurers under Obamacare, won’t say why
It’s right there in the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

Which is why this latest episode of lawlessness from the administration is so particularly galling. “The U.S. Treasury Department has rebuffed a request by House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis., to explain $3 billion in payments that were made to health insurers even though Congress never authorized the spending through annual appropriations,” The Washington Examiner’s Philp Klein reported on Thursday.

That’s right. The payments insurers receive, dubbed “cost –sharing subsidies,” are designed to offset the costs incurred when they pick up the out-of-pocket expenses for low-income individuals covered by Affordable Care Act plans. If insurers had to cover these costs themselves, Obamacare would be infeasible. So, the federal government picks up the tab for the newly insured as they go about receiving “free” health care.

There’s just one tiny, unconstitutional problem: Congress never authorized the distribution of those funds. “[B]ut the Department of Health and Human Services, with the cooperation of the U.S. Treasury, made them anyway,” Klein reported....
New Zealander: Amnesty Is Obama’s Trump Card To Transform America
...Citing a speech in 2010 by White House consultant and radical leftist, Eliseo Medina, Loudon implores Americans to wake up before it is too late in this video interview. He says, with Mitt Romney losing to Obama in 2012 by 2 and ½ million votes, if Obama can succeed in legalizing “10, 15 or 20 million more votes, almost all of whom will vote Democrat,” Obama can lock in progressive electoral victories for the foreseeable future and “make it practically impossible for the Republicans to ever elect another president.”...
Feminist Reporter: Take Away White Men’s Guns
...“Suggestion: we don’t have to vaporize all the guns. Let’s just vaporize white men’s guns,” Grimes tweeted, linking to an article about Arizona shooter Ryan Giroux.

“White guys cannot be trusted to use guns responsibly. It is time to stop giving guns to white guys,” Grimes added. ”I mean, it’s time to stop giving guns to everybody, but we can start with the white guys.”...

AUDIO: Obama Admin Is ‘Going After’ Gun Dealers [VIDEO]
...Audio obtained by the US Consumer Coalition and provided to The Daily Caller presents the latest disturbing example of Choke Point’s overreach. The audio, presented above, captures a conversation between Alex Bacon, president of the ETF Network payment processor, and Brennan Appel, owner of the Global Hookah Distributors tobacco-products company.

Appel’s hookah company had its bank account shut down by Bank of America. Bacon, Appel’s payment processor, explained that Operation Choke Point unilaterally targets certain kinds of businesses and makes business owners’ lives “miserable.”

“Have you heard of a little thing called Choke Point? You know, and the CFPB?” Bacon asked Appel. ”They’re taking aim at industries like you and others to eliminate you from business by choking off your payment processing.”

“Well, they’re doing it by fiat. They’re doing it without a legislative process. They’re just doing it on a rather, you know, directed basis of their own free will,” Bacon said.

“They’re going after clinics, they’re going after collection agencies, they’re going after guns dealers, ammunition dealers, payment processors,” Bacon continued....
The Federal Housing Administration, the next housing crisis?
...When queried by members of the committee about the January 2015 premium reduction as well as the FHA's precarious financial status, Castro was at pains to provide even basic information about the current value of the FHA portfolio. He also refused to admit that the FHA was operating outside of the law, could not say when it would achieve the 2 percent capital reserve benchmark and repeatedly delivered a series of meaningless platitudes about the benefits of homeownership. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) pointed out that the FHA has offered "pricing gimmicks" while lowering its credit standards, down payment requirements and premiums, which are tactics that have been criticized elsewhere as "predatory lending."

Ironically, on the same day that Castro testified, the FHA was once again included on the Government Accountability Office's High Risk List due to the agency's "substantial growth in its insurance portfolio and significant financial difficulties." The FHA has been on the list since 2009.

Historically, the FHA has controlled about 10 to 20 percent of the mortgage market. But after Congress increased the size of mortgages the agency could insure from $360,000 to $625,000, the FHA controlled about 60 percent of the low down-payment mortgage market from 2008 to 2010. That means the income eligible for FHA mortgage insurance went from the national average of about $64,000 to $110,000. Put another way, more than twice as many people can get FHA insurance than they could before the limit was raised.

At the same time that eligibility has exploded, FHA has faced serious solvency problems, culminating in a $1.7 billion bailout from the U.S. Treasury at the end of 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that FHA insurance cost taxpayers $15 billion from 2009 to 2012. Nonetheless, the agency's website falsely claims it "is the only government agency that operates entirely from its self-generated income and costs the taxpayers nothing."

Even with all of the taxpayer money that has been thrown at the agency, the FHA is seriously undercapitalized. The law says FHA needs to keep 2 percent cash on hand, which would be about $18 to $20 billion, but as of the beginning of 2015, it had only less than half of 1 percent, or $4.7 billion....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

His Royal Glibness
...Every society has some people who don’t respect the law. But, when it is the people in charge of the law — like the President of the United States and his attorney general — who don’t respect it, that is when we are in big trouble.

Has anyone asked the question, “How could so many people across the country spend so much time at night marching, rioting, and looting, if they had to get up and go to work the next morning?”...
OPERATION CHOKE POINT UPDATE
...Related: Operation Choke Point closes another gun store’s bank account, except this time the owner recorded the credit union telling him why.

More: “Recordings of Shuetz’s conversations with the manager and a bank teller, which were published online by the U.S. Consumer Coalition, make it clear that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) examined the credit union’s books and forced it to close Shuetz’s account — a move he blames on a Department of Justice initiative called Operation Choke Point.”...
Flashback 1989: UN Predicted Global Warming Would Destroy Entire Nations By 2000
...The San Jose Mercury News reported on June 30, 1989 that a “senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.”

Brown, who was the director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, warned that “[c]oastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.” Brown added that “governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human” ability to stop it....

Climate change’s instructive past
...In the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), from the end of the ninth century to the beginning of the 14th, the Northern Hemisphere was warmer than at any time in the past 8,000 years — for reasons concerning which there is no consensus. Warming increased the amount of arable land — there were vineyards in northern England — leading, Rosen says, to Europe’s “first sustained population increase since the fall of the Roman Empire.” The need for land on which to grow cereals drove deforestation. The MWP population explosion gave rise to towns, textile manufacturing and new wealthy classes.

Then, near the end of the MWP, came the severe winters of 1309-1312, when polar bears could walk from Greenland to Iceland on pack ice. In 1315 there was rain for perhaps 155 consecutive days, washing away topsoil. Upwards of half the arable land in much of Europe was gone; cannibalism arrived as parents ate children. Corpses hanging from gallows were devoured.

Human behavior did not cause this climate change. Instead, climate warming caused behavioral change (10 million mouths to feed became 30 million). Then climate cooling caused social changes (rebelliousness and bellicosity) that amplified the consequences of climate, a pattern repeated four centuries later.

In “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century,” Geoffrey Parker, a history professor at Ohio State University, explains how a “fatal synergy” between climatological and political factors produced turmoil from Europe to China. What he calls “the placenta of the crisis” of that century included the Little Ice Age (LIA), between the 1640s and the 1690s. Unusual weather, protracted enough to qualify as a change in climate, correlated so strongly with political upheavals as to constitute causation....

More Evidence Of Climate Data Tampering By NOAA?
When Dr. Roy Spencer looked up summer temperature data for the U.S. Corn Belt, it showed no warming trend for over a century. But that was before temperatures were “adjusted” by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientists. Now the same data shows a significant warming trend.

Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said that the National Climatic Data Center made large adjustments to past summer temperatures for the U.S. Corn Belt, lowering past temperatures to make them cooler. Adjusting past temperatures downward creates a significant warming trend in the data that didn’t exist before.

“I was updating a U.S. Corn Belt summer temperature and precipitation dataset from the NCDC website, and all of a sudden the no-warming-trend-since-1900 turned into a significant warming trend,” Spencer wrote on his blog, adding that NCDC’s “adjustments” made the warming trend for the region increase from just 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per century to 0.6 degrees per century....

...“But a variety of errors in data measurement and collection would typically have both positive and negative signs,” Spencer noted, adding that he corrects for such errors when calculating satellite temperature data even if they tend to cancel each other out.

“In contrast, the thermometer data apparently need to be adjusted in such a way that almost always leads to greater and greater warming trends,” he added....

Ooops. NASA now “38% sure” 2014 was warmest year on record
...The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true…

The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.

Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much....
Can we finally—finally!—be done with the Clintons?
...It’s easy to enforce the law on people who are inclined to be law-abiding, which means those of us in the middle, mainly: We have enough to lose that there’s a real cost to breaking the rules, but we don’t have so much that we can conduct our personal and professional lives as though we had sovereign immunity. The people in the middle cannot go about their ordinary business — working at a job, driving a car, renting or owning a home, traveling — without preemptively complying with all manner of government mandates. But millions of illegals can flout the law with impunity — and their well-off enablers in Washington can flout the law with impunity, too. When the law does not apply to the lawmakers and law-enforcers, you are not being governed: You are being ruled. And we are ruled by criminals.

If you treat IRS rules the way the IRS treats IRS rules, you go to prison; if you treat federal law the way the secretary of state does, you go to prison. If you treat immigration controls the way our immigration authorities do, you go to prison. If you’re as careless in your handling of firearms as the ATF is, you go to prison. You cook your business’s books the way the federal government cooks its books, you go to prison.

Hillary Clinton is not going to prison. She’s going to release whatever emails she feels like releasing and dare any of you peons or your elected representatives to try to make her do otherwise. You’ll take what she offers, and you’ll like it....

Bribes Disguised As Charitable Gifts: Hillary Clinton’s Possible Legal Trouble
...Other anti-corruption practitioners note that it’s a major red flag when you see a single, isolated charitable donation of the size that Algeria gave to the Clinton Foundation. Such investigators say the first thing you look for is whether the giver had any business before the government official, which clearly was the case with Algeria, which was lobbying at the time for more favorable foreign policy treatment.

If these facts were in the private sector, the Department of Justice would be all over the matter. The Clintons have had previous problems with raising funds from foreign entities seeking to influence domestic policy....

The World Fails to Follow Hillary’s Careful Script
...The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation unveiled a big foofaraw over Hillary’s “No Ceilings” campaign. What a wonderfully convenient theme for Mrs. Clinton’s massive and mysterious foundation, given that smashing the “highest glass ceiling” — i.e., the presidency — is the central rationale of her planned presidential bid. It was just a coincidence that the tax-exempt foundation with her name on it happened to be rolling out a big light show on that very subject during the rollout of her presidential campaign....
Climate Change Is "My Religion and My Dharma."
Rajendra Pachauri, head of the the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002, has stepped down amidst a sexual harassment scandal. In his letter of resignation to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Pachauri declared:

"For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma."

In Hinduism dharma is the path of righteousness....

What Would a Bad Job Look Like?
...Let us travel back to 2009. The individuals who would write the upcoming climate report hadn’t yet been selected (that didn’t happen until the following year). They hadn’t yet attended any IPCC meetings. Much of the research it would be their duty to evaluate hadn’t yet been published.

Nevertheless, the IPCC chairman knew – all those years in advance – what their conclusions would be. In September 2009, he told religious leaders in New York:

When the IPCC’s fifth assessment comes out in 2013 or 2014, there will be a major revival of interest in action that has to be taken. People are going to say, ‘My God, we are going to have to take action much faster than we had planned.’

Not only did Pachauri know the nature and direction of the IPCC report’s conclusions, he knew these conclusions would be alarming and dramatic.

This is not how a scientific body operates. This is the mark of a political organization, established to serve political ends....
Delayed divorce battle: Ecotricity founder Dale Vince's New Age traveller ex-wife wins cash fight
During the subsequent years they met up at Stonehenge, Glastonbury and elsewhere but eventually divorced in 1992. He was not required to pay maintenance because it was agreed he had no money.

But his experience of rigging up an old pylon into a wind-powered telephone at the Glastonbury Festival shortly afterwards paved the way for founding, in 1996 of his wind energy firm. It is now worth an estimated £57 million.

It was not until 2011 that Ms Wyatt lodged a claim for financial support, arguing that he had failed to provide for their son, and her daughter, whom he had effectively accepted into the family....

..."The case underlines how there is no limit on when someone can make a claim,” he said.

"It doesn't matter whether you divorce in your twenties and return with a claim when you're 80."...

Judge ‘Outraged’ At Man Ordered To Pay $30,000 For A Kid That’s Not His
...But Alexander says he was only first made aware of the false paternity claim during a 1991 traffic stop when the arresting officer told Alexander he was a “deadbeat dad.”

That came as a shock to Alexander, who knew he was not the father of anyone’s child.

Alexander’s case was bungled even further when a court document process server falsified a document showing that he refused to sign a court summons pertaining to the child support case. But Alexander was in jail at the time the document was served. (RELATED: Man Ordered To Pay Back $30,000 For Kid That Isn’t His, Or Else)

Since then, Alexander’s ex-girlfriend has admitted she lied on the welfare form in order to get benefits. And besides the DNA test, the actual father of the boy is in his life....

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Whistleblower: Pelosi Covered Up Role In Crisis
...In 2009, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed her California pal Phil Angelides, a long-time Democrat operative, to lead the commission. The fix seemed to be in, and Wallison's account of the inner workings of the 10-member body confirms it. Here's what took place during the FCIC's 18-month, $10 million probe:

• Angelides provided no staff to help Wallison and other Republicans interview witnesses, conduct research or draft the report. But commission Democrats were assigned almost 80 staffers to help formulate their single theory that bank risk-taking and greed unleashed by deregulation caused the crisis.

• Angelides never notified Wallison or other commissioners about the hundreds of witnesses he called to testify in closed-door interviews with his staff, denying them the chance to cross-examine the witnesses.

• Staffers failed to put these private witnesses under oath, even though the final report was based almost exclusively on their testimony with little or no documents or data to back up their statements, which simply validated the Democrat narrative.

• Angelides buried evidence revealing that by 2008, three in four high-risk mortgages wound up on the books of HUD-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration. A data-rich memo by former Fannie Mae chief credit officer Ed Pinto proved that government, not the private sector, drove risky lending. But Pinto's research "was never formally made available by the chair or staff to the other members of the FCIC," Wallison writes.

• Angelides withheld the final draft of the report from Wallison and other commissioners until eight days before sending it to the printer, never giving them the time they needed to go over the wording or content of the almost 900-page draft.
George Will: The harm incurred by a mushrooming welfare state
...Transfers of benefits to individuals through social welfare programs have increased from less than 1 federal dollar in 4 (24 percent) in 1963 to almost 3 out of 5 (59 percent) in 2013. In that half-century, entitlement payments were, Eberstadt says, America’s “fastest growing source of personal income,” growing twice as fast as all other real per capita personal income. It is probable that this year a majority of Americans will seek and receive payments.

This is not primarily because of Social Security and Medicare transfers to an aging population. Rather, the growth is overwhelmingly in means-tested entitlements. More than twice as many households receive “anti-poverty” benefits than receive Social Security or Medicare....

...What has changed? Not the portion of the estimated population below the poverty line (15.2 percent in 1983; 15 percent in 2012). Rather, poverty programs have become untethered from the official designation of poverty: In 2012, more than half the recipients were not classified as poor but accepted being treated as needy. Expanding dependency requires erasing Americans’ traditional distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor. This distinction was rooted in this nation’s exceptional sense that poverty is not the unalterable accident of birth and is related to traditions of generosity arising from immigrant and settler experiences....

...Causation works both ways between the rapid increase in family disintegration (from 1964 to 2012, the percentage of children born to unmarried women increased from 7 to 41) and the fact that, Eberstadt says, for many women, children and even working-age men, “the entitlement state is now the breadwinner of the household.” In the past 50 years, the fraction of civilian men ages 25 to 34 who were neither working nor looking for work approximately quadrupled....

Mother and daughter weigh a total of 43 stone and get £34k a year handouts, but refuse to diet
...A mother and daughter who get £34,000 a year in handouts because they are too fat to work say they'd rather be happy and on benefits than depressed and thin Janice and Amber Manzur weigh a total of 43 stone and are so overweight they have to use mobility scooters to get around.

But both women refuse to diet and mother-of-two Ms Manzur, 44, insists: "I'd rather my daughter live life on benefits being fat and happy than depressed and thin."

Ms Manzur lives in a three-bedroom house that has been customised by the council to accommodate her disability and drives a Fiat Quibo disability car worth around £15,000....
In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.
-- Theodore Dalrymple

Sunday, February 15, 2015

INSIDE THE GLOBAL WARMING SCANDAL
...One of the areas that Homewood has looked at is Paraguay. In a post titled All of Paraguay’s temperature record has been tampered with, he found that GISS has systematically altered temperature records to make the past look cooler and the present warmer, and to create an entirely fictitious warming trend....

Jewish Journalist Compared To Hitler For Doubting Climate Change Claims
Journalist David Rose, who critically writes about climate policies for the Daily Mail, has been compared to Hitler (ironically, he’s Jewish), has been labeled a “climate change denier,” and someone even suggested that his own children murder him.

His fault? “My article was about the ‘climategate’ scandal, where leaked emails showed university scientists were trying to cover up data that suggested their claim the world is hotter than at any time in the past 1,300 years may be wrong,” Rose wrote in an article for the Mail. He adds that he does believe that human-produced CO2 influences the climate, but he seriously doubts it’s the doom models are forecasting. For that, he earned a comment wishing for his children kill him.

He also received messages from self-proclaimed activists telling him they knew where his family lived and they furnished his personal phone numbers as proof.

Rose isn’t the only “denier” facing such vitriol. In fact, it’s rather mild compared to the beheading wish for climate journalist and science writer Matt Ridley. A comment from an article in The Guardian (since deleted but accessible through Breitbart) says, referencing to a chopped off head photo, “Should that not be Ridley’s severed head in the photo? We would actually solve a great deal of the world’s problems by chopping off everyone’s heads… Why are you deniers so touchy? Mere calls for a beheading evolve [sic] such a strong response in you people. Ask yourself a simple question: Would the world be a better place without Matt Ridley? Need I answer that question?” It was revealed that the comment was made by Blue Cloud, a.k.a Gary Evans, a well-know Greenpeace activist....
“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I'd point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn't. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.”
―― Michael Crichton

The Brian Williams scandal is an NBC News-wide scandal
...A production crew accompanied Williams on the helicopter outing. The Erik Wemple Blog has asked NBC News who and how many people were on that crew. But where have they been as Williams has gone about misremembering the episode in media appearances in recent years? Upon the 10th anniversary of the incident, the anchor visited David Letterman and couldn’t have been more unequivocal about having ridden in the ‘copter under attack: “Two of the four helicopters were hit, by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47,” Williams told the “Late Show” host.

Also in March 2013, Williams told Alec Baldwin in an interview on WNYC’s “Here’s The Thing.” Speaking of his tendency to say “I’ve got this” in sticky situations, he said, “And I’ve done some ridiculously stupid things under that banner, like being in a helicopter I had no business being in in Iraq with rounds coming into the airframe,” Williams said.

Again: Where were Williams’s crew members, who surely knew that Williams had either “conflated” his Chinook with another Chinook — his explanation — or was using the passage of time to embellish his own exploits — another explanation. And what of other NBC News employees who worked on the story? Why did they remain silent on these matters? Are they still with NBC News?

We put these questions to NBC News and haven’t heard back....

We shouldn’t believe Williams’ lie was an innocent mistake
...What Williams’ lie was about was what lies are always about: No one who actually scored the winning touchdown on the high-school football team misremembers it as sitting on the bench. The term “fish tale” does not mean you mistakenly tell people you caught a sickly ­8-ounce catfish when actually you snagged a 95-pound monster marlin....
Gun Businesses Seek Ways To Survive While Denied Basic Business Services
...The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report last month showing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) targeted gun dealers and other businesses like payday lenders and pawn shops as illegal operations, and pressured banks to halt dealing with these businesses. The administration’s program is now known as Operation Choke Point, which is run by the Departments of Justice and Treasury....

...“It’s appalling that our government is working around the law to vindictively attack businesses they find objectionable,” then-House Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa said in December.

“Internal FDIC documents confirm that Operation Choke Point is an extraordinary abuse of government power,” Issa said. “In the most egregious cases, federal bureaucrats injected personal moral judgments into the regulatory process. Such practices are totally inconsistent with basic principles of good government, transparency, and the rule of law.”...
At retreat, Dem staffers escort reporters to restroom
Reporters covering the House Democrats' retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill.

Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they've been invited by a member of Congress.

During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.

“It was a police state. It was absurd how heavy handed the capitol police and Democratic staff were in trying to control everywhere the press went,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said in an interview....

Davos’s Destructive Elites
Convening to ring the alarm about global warming, our putative betters and would-be rulers gathered in Davos, Switzerland, filling the local general-aviation hangars with some 1,700 private jets. Taking an international commercial flight is one of the most carbon-intensive things the typical person does in his life, but if you’re comparing carbon footprints between your average traveler squeezed into coach on American and Davos Man quaffing Pol Roger in his cashmere-carpeted intercontinental air limousine, you’re talking Smurfette vs. Sasquatch. The Bombardier’s Global 6000 may be a technical marvel, but it still runs on antique plankton juice. The emissions from heating all those sprawling hotel suites in the Alps in winter surely makes baby polar bears weep bitter and copious baby-polar-bear tears.

The stories add up: Jeff Greene brings multiple nannies on his private jet to Davos, and the rest of the guys gathered to talk past each other about the plight of the working man scarf down couture hot-dogs that cost forty bucks. Bill Clinton makes the case for wealth-redistribution while sporting a $60,000 platinum Rolex.

The hypocrisy of our literally (literally, Mr. Vice President!) high-flying crusaders against fossil fuels — who overlap considerably with our high-living crusaders against economic inequality — is endlessly annoying if frequently entertaining. And there is something unseemly about enduring puritanical little homilies on how we need to learn to live with less from guys wearing shoes that cost more than the typical American family earns in a quarter. ...
Gawker: Obama Secretly Partied With Bill Ayers Last Summer
...While the fact that Obama was literally partying with former advocates of violent struggle against the U.S. government will no doubt be taken by his critics as further evidence that he hates America, the most interesting thing about the wedding is the shocking proof it offers that—at long last!—Obama truly no longer gives a fuck about keeping up political appearances. It’s unthinkable that the Obama of the 2008 or 2012 campaigns would have been permitted to go anywhere near Ayers or Dohrn, for fear of fueling the unhinged right-wing narrative that he is a radical leftist....
Many progressives say that the 34 states that have passed laws requiring voters to have a government-issued photo ID are practicing "vote suppression." Does requiring a photo ID at airports constitute "travel suppression"? Visitors to the Justice Department are required to present photo IDs. Will you. . .plan to end this "visit suppression"?
-- George Will posing questions for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch

“The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”
-- Robert Conquest
What Really Happened?
...There is no doubt that private miscalculation and imprudence made matters worse for more than a few lending institutions and individual borrowers. (One can’t explain an unusual cluster of errors by citing greed, which is always around, just as one can’t explain a cluster of airplane crashes by citing gravity. Anyway, the greedy aim at profits, not losses.)...

...Second, Congress strengthened the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA had initially, from its passage in 1977, merely imposed reporting requirements on commercial banks. Amendments in 1995 empowered regulators to deny a bank with a low CRA rating permission to merge with another bank—at a time when the arrival of interstate banking made such approvals especially valuable—or even to open new branches. In response to the new CRA rules, some banks joined into partnerships with community groups to distribute millions in mortgage money to low-income borrowers previously considered non-creditworthy. Other banks took advantage of the newly authorized option to boost their CRA rating by purchasing special “CRA mortgage-backed securities,” that is, packages of disproportionately nonprime loans certified as meeting CRA criteria and securitized by Freddie Mac. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke aptly commented in a 2007 speech that “recent problems in mortgage markets illustrate that an underlying assumption of the CRA—that more lending equals better outcomes for local communities may not always hold.”[8]

Third, the Department of Housing and Urban Development pressured lenders for “affordable housing” loans. Beginning in 1993, HUD officials began bringing legal actions against mortgage bankers that declined a higher percentage of minority applicants than white ones. To avoid legal trouble, lenders began relaxing their down-payment and income qualifications.[9]...

Hidden in plain sight: What really caused the world’s worst financial crisis — and why it could happen again

Free fall: How government policies brought down the housing market
...Nevertheless, there are plentiful data on commitments by large banks to make CRA-type loans in connection with applications to the Fed for permission to merge with small and medium-sized institutions between 1997 and 2007. In a 2007 report, for example, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) reported that in this ten-year period its member organizations had induced banks that were seeking merger approvals from the Fed and other agencies to commit almost $4.5 trillion in CRA-type lending. Press releases at the time these mergers were approved (available online) backed up this claim. After this report received publicity, it was pulled from NCRC’s website, though it is now available elsewhere on the web.[13] These report loans totaling $1.3 trillion made to fulfill prior commitments,[14] but determining the delinquency rates on these loans is impossible; banks have generally refused to make these data available, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC)—established by Congress to investigate the causes of the 2008 financial crisis—did not seriously attempt to investigate this issue....

...In a market where prices are rising quickly, homeowners who cannot meet their mortgage obligations can often refinance or sell their homes without a loss. In the midst of a housing bubble, therefore, subprime loans can look like excellent risk-adjusted investments. For this reason, by 2004, private investors had become interested in PMBS backed by subprime loans; these securities were offering high yields but not showing losses commensurate with their risk. This phenomenon was helped along by the fact that the low interest rates in the early 2000s had produced a vast number of refinanced and unseasoned mortgages, which in their early years characteristically have low rates of delinquency and default. ...
This presumption of guilt is absolutely crucial to collectivism. The Left must teach its subjects to think of themselves as criminals. That's the only way law-abiding people will endure levels of coercive power that would normally require specific accusations, a fair trial, and the possibility of appeals. Social-justice "crimes" can be prosecuted without any of those things. There is no appeal from the sentence, and no statute of limitations on the crimes, as any left-winger who thinks today's American citizens need to suffer for the historical offense of slavery will be happy to explain to you. There's no evidence you can present in your defense, for the Left has read your mind, and knows better than you what demons lurk in its recesses. This is one reason the Left dislikes the trappings of constitutional law and order. The presumption of innocence is highly inconvenient for social crusades; it's the antithesis of collective political "justice."
-- John Hayward

The war on rape: the logic of the lynch mob returns
Five ways in which today’s feminist war on rape echoes the KKK’s war on rape.

...Automatic belief of rape accusations was a central principle of the KKK’s war on rape, too. This was one of the things that most shocked Ida B Wells, the early twentieth-century African-American journalist and civil-rights activist. ‘The word of the accuser is held to be true’, she said, which means that ‘the rule of law [is] reversed, and instead of proving the accused to be guilty, the [accused] must prove himself innocent’. Wells and others were startled by the level of belief in the accusers of black men, and by the damning of anyone who dared to question such accusations, which was taken as an attack on the accuser’s ‘virtue’. ...

...One of the main ways in which racists there maintained social divisions and social order was through the spectre of rape. They promoted the idea that white women were under constant threat from ‘lustful black men’. Even though the black rape of white women was not a major problem, still the idea that there was a menacing culture of rape was indulged. ...

Moral Panics Won't End Campus Rape
...The most striking moment for me: when the fraternity brothers say they knew within 24 hours that the Rolling Stone story was false -- provably false, because their internal records and bank statements showed no party on the weekend in question, and no brothers matched the description of the alleged rapist. Yet the brothers kept quiet because they thought that fighting the story in the news media "would only make things more difficult."

Think about that. They had evidence they could have shown to a reporter to demonstrate the problems with a story, and they decided not to because that might only get them into deeper trouble. ...

...When people are in the grip of a moral panic, going up against them to question the extent of a threat, even by doubting so much as a single case, can become dangerous. Questioning any expression of the panic is not seen as a logical debate over statistics or the details of a particular instance, but as somehow defending the threatening behavior. Note how careful many people who wrote skeptically about the UVA case were to say that they believe campus rape happens, and it is terrible. People who write that they think an accused murderer may be innocent rarely feel compelled to affirm that yes, they sure do believe that murder happens, and boy, are they against that. This ought to go without saying, and unless we are in the middle of a moral panic, it usually does....

At Ohio State, you may be guilty of sexual assault if…
Consent Is…

The act of knowingly, actively and voluntarily agreeing explicitly to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be freely given and can be withdrawn at any time.

Sober
Not coerced
Imaginative
Enthusiastic
Creative
Wanted
Informed
Mutual
Honest
Verbal

The absence of “no” does not mean “yes”

It must be asked every step of the way

It cannot be implied or assumed, even in the context of a relationship

False Rape Accusation Leads To Alaska Man’s Beating Death ...The woman, 31-year-old Dominique Vasquez, reportedly did not want to admit to her boyfriend, 39-year-old Abraham Stine, that she had cheated on him and so lied about the rape, according to Alaska Dispatch News....

...“Later, Vasquez admitted she lied about being raped by Lord and she had consensual sex with him,” according to the complaint. “Vasquez knew Stine has a history of assaulting people, from her personal experience.”

Both Stine and Vasquez face second-degree murder charges, according to Alaska Dispatch News. Vasquez reportedly held her hand over Lord’s mouth while he was being assaulted.
IRS commissioner: Illegals are now eligible for tax credits under Obama’s amnesty — even for years past
...“Under the new program, if you get a Social Security number and you work, you’ll be eligible to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Mr. Koskinen said.

He said that would apply even “if you did not file” taxes, as long as the illegal immigrant could demonstrate having worked off-the-books during those years.

That expands the universe of people eligible for the tax credit by millions. He said only about 700,000 illegal immigrants currently work and pay taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, but as many as 4 million illegal immigrants could get a stay of deportation and work permits under the temporary amnesty, which would mean they would be eligible to claim back-refunds if they worked those years....

Friday, January 02, 2015

Immigration activists stop pretending it’s not about more Democratic voters
...Joshua Hoyt, the executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans, said groups gathered here were laying plans to sign up at least 500,000 immigrants for the president’s program. Advocates also appealed to immigrants here illegally who cannot vote to contact people who can.

“All those children are going to be voters,” Ms. Salas said, “and those voters are going to remember who stood with their dad and their mom.”...
No matter what Jackie said, we should generally [automatically, according to the URL] believe rape claims
...In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, U-Va. should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation. This is not a legal argument about what standards we should use in the courts; it’s a moral one, about what happens outside the legal system....

Why We Believed Jackie's Rape Story
...Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake. “These events undoubtedly do occur here,” first-year Maddie Rita told me. “And while this report has clearly had factual flaws as well as rhetorical missteps, there are plenty of other fully corroborated accounts not only at this university, but at every university around the country.”...

Rolling Stone managing editor in 2006: ‘We’ll write what we believe’
...“I want to do stuff that’s biased.” He merely meant journalism driven by a worldview, as with Eric Schlosser’s 1998 Rolling Stone expose, “Fast-Food Nation” — a series that upended thinking on the world’s McDonald’s and the like. “We can become the seed pod for great things,” said Dana of such work.

Though the editor said his publication would endeavor to give both sides of a story, he said, “we’ll write what we believe,” according to the Middlebury Campus....
The Left's Unending Fascination With Scripts to Browbeat Relatives on Thanksgiving Strongly Resemble... Scripts for Religious Conversion
...These advice columns are becoming a genre unto themselves. The stock villain: crazy right-wing uncle, the jokes about stuffing. But I recognize them by what they unwittingly emulate: guides for religious evangelism. The gentle, righteous self-regard, the slightly orthogonal response guides, the implied urgency to cure your loved ones of their ignorance. Your raging uncle will know the truth, and the truth will set him free.

That's a problem. Our politics are taking on a religious shape. Increasingly we allow politics to form our moral identity and self-conception. We surround ourselves with an invisible community of the "elect" who share our convictions, and convince ourselves that even our closest and beloved relatives are not only wrong, but enemies of goodness itself. And so one of the best, least religious holidays in the calendar becomes a chance to deliver your uncle up as a sinner in the hands of an angry niece....
How to close the gender pay gap once and for all.
...Some have looked at the root cause of the earnings gap and determined that there is either no real problem, or that the problem can’t be solved. This is untrue. Equality of the sexes is a national priority and we are a wealthy nation. No matter what the cost, it will be worth it to close the earnings gap. Now that we understand the root cause of the problem, the solution is surprisingly obvious. We need to remove the incentives which are causing men to prioritize higher earnings. Men prioritize earnings under the outdated patriarchal system where men are seen as the breadwinners. Until we solve this problem, the wage gap will persist. Part of the problem is biological, but we know that there are institutional ways to circumvent these differences of biology....

...The second data point I’ll offer is more tangible. To prove that marriage is the source of the pay gap problem we need to find a community which has moved away from marriage and see if the earnings gap has actually disappeared. In the US the logical choice for this test is Blacks, as marriage has all but collapsed among Black Americans. Over 70% of Black children are now born out of wedlock, and this statistic continues to improve. At the same time, we also know that the Black gender earnings gap has all but disappeared. As Hanna Rosin explains, Black women earn 94% of the weekly earnings of Black men. Black men are leading the way here, and all we have to do is get the rest of the nation’s men to follow.

But do we know that moving away from marriage works to reduce the productivity of White men as well? Can we count on White men ceasing to disrupt our efforts at gender equality if we do something as simple as move away from marriage? We know the answer to this is yes. In just the past few years our decades long investment in weakening marriage has become undeniable, and White men have made incredible progress in closing the gender earnings gap. The charts below show the exciting nature of this progress over time, and as you can see the greatest improvements are being made for the older age brackets. White unmarried men are now nearly as likely to earn nothing as White married and unmarried women...
Feds Paid $5 Million For Monthly Government-Sponsored Hipster Raves, Featuring Lots of Anti-Conservative Political Agitprop
...Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are using taxpayer dollars to bring anti-tobacco marketing into bars by selling posters and t-shirts, including those that deride the views of neoconservatives, saying the political philosophy is as bad as world hunger.

The $4,904,466 grant was awarded in 2011, and runs through 2016.

"In our prior research, we identified a high-risk subpopulation of young adults in San Diego, CA: the 'hipster' subculture, a group focused on the alternative music scene, local artists and designers, and eclectic self-expression," the grant explained. "We developed a yearlong pilot social branding intervention to decrease smoking among this group, using social events and social leaders to promote a strong nonsmoking lifestyle."

Pamela Ling, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine, is leading the project. Ling was the "medical student who got her way" in the 1994 season of MTV's "The Real World" before becoming a doctor....

A Legacy of Liberalism
...In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.

Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the Civil Rights laws and “War on Poverty” programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.

Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black “leaders.”...

...The murder rate among blacks in 1960 was one-half of what it became 20 years later, after a legacy of liberals’ law-enforcement policies. Public-housing projects in the first half of the 20th century were clean, safe places, where people slept outside on hot summer nights, when they were too poor to afford air conditioning. That was before admissions standards for public-housing projects were lowered or abandoned, in the euphoria of liberal non-judgmental notions. And it was before the toxic message of victimhood was spread by liberals. We all know what hell holes public housing has become in our times. The same toxic message produced similar social results among lower-income people in England, despite an absence of a “legacy of slavery” there....
Fifty Years Of Government Intervention Fails To Boost Home Ownership
Despite decades of federal intervention in the housing market, home ownership rates are virtually the same today as they were in 1968, according to an brief released by the Heritage Foundation on Monday....

...The pace of government intervention was especially frenetic in the 1990s, the report says, such that, “from 1990 to 2003, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac] went from holding 5 percent of the nation’s mortgages ($136 billion) to more than 20 percent ($1.6 trillion),” all with implicit government backing....
“A rule not ultimately backed by the threat of violence is merely a suggestion. States rely on laws enforced by men ready to do violence against lawbreakers. Every tax, every code and every licensing requirement demands an escalating progression of penalties that, in the end, must result in the forcible seizure of property or imprisonment by armed men prepared to do violence in the event of resistance or non–compliance. Every time a soccer mom stands up and demands harsher penalties for drunk driving, or selling cigarettes to minors, or owning a pit bull, or not recycling, she is petitioning the state to use force to impose her will. She is no longer asking nicely.”
-- Jack Donovan | Violence is Golden
Lying to a Lover Could Become 'Rape' In New Jersey
Today in criminalize all the things: a New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it illegal to lie to someone in order to tempt them into sex. Assemblyman Troy Singleton's (D-Burlington) bill would create the new crime of "sexual assault by fraud", defined as "an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not."

"I truly believe that we have to look at the issue of rape as more than sexual contact without consent," Singleton said. "Fraud invalidates any semblance of consent just as forcible sexual contact does. This legislation is designed to provide our state's judiciary with another tool to assess situations where this occurs and potentially provide a legal remedy to those circumstances." ...

New domestic violence law will outlaw coercive control
...Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is expected to announce new powers allowing the police to prosecute those who are guilty of psychological and emotional abuse.

It means for the first time men who control their partners through threats or by restricting their personal or financial freedom, could face prison in the same way as those who are violent towards them.

Campaigners have long called for a change in the law to put psychological exploitation on a par with physical violence, in the hope it will encourage more victims to come forward and report abuse in the home....

New Jersey judge orders parents to pay estranged 21-year-old daughter’s college tuition
...The Ricci case is similar except that Ricci’s even older than Canning was. Rachel was 18; Caitlyn is 21, an adult legally any way you slice it. And yet, under Jersey court precedent, mom and dad may need to fork over a cool 16 large annually for her tuition at Temple even though, to hear them tell it, she hasn’t said a word to them outside of court in two years. ...

The College Rape Overcorrection Assertions of injustice by young men are infuriating to some. Caroline Heldman, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College and co-founder of End Rape on Campus, said of the men who are turning to the courts, “These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape.”
New term: ‘Grubering’ and how it applies to Climate Alarmism
...The late Steven Schneider puts it succinctly:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

Our critics sometimes dismiss skeptics as “conspiracy theorists” noting how unlikely it would be that thousands of scientists would collude. They miss the point. We now know that Grubering takes place — we see it laid bare in the Obamacare campaign. It was not strictly a “conspiracy”. Rather it was an arrogant belief that lying was necessary to persuade a “stupid” public to adopt the policy preferences of the politicians and the academics in their employ. Its Noble Cause Corruption, not conspiracy, that is at the root of this behavior....

Gruber Truthers Really Need to Shut The F*** Up Now
...Come. On. I hate to break it to you all, but Gruber doesn't get to be an architect of Obamacare and Romneycare when you want to use his authority and credentials to bash Republicans or spin for the law, and then radically transform into one of three Jon Grubers who just happens to live in Obama's neighborhood once Gruber becomes a massive liability for the Left....

New deception questions: Obamacare adviser warned of premium increases as Obama vowed savings
While President Obama campaigned on a promise that his universal health care plan would lower premiums, his controversial adviser and plan architect was privately warning the state of Wisconsin that Obamacare was poised to massively increase insurance costs for average residents, internal documents show.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist currently under fire for suggesting the Obama administration tried to deceive the public about the Affordable Care Act, was hired by former Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 to conduct an analysis on how the federal health-care reform would impact the state.

Mr. Gruber’s study predicted about 90 percent of individuals without employer-sponsored or public insurance would see their premiums spike by an average of 41 percent. Once tax subsidies were factored in, about 60 percent of those in the individual market were projected to see their premiums go up 31 percent, according to his analysis....''

Beyond Gruber: How HHS Flip-Flopped on Federal Exchange Subsidies ...A February 2014 congressional investigation found that the IRS initially began developing a rule to make tax credits available only on exchanges established by a state. As the findings outlined below show, HHS had a similar understanding of the law. Here, it is important to note that in order for an exchange website to offer tax credits, it must have a tax credit calculator that allows individuals to view the actual cost of their coverage after tax credits have been applied to their premiums. Official documents show that while HHS moved quickly after the ACA’s enactment to help state governments make tax credits available through state-based exchanges, for nearly two years, it developed its HealthCare.gov website without any effort to offer tax credits on the federal exchange.

The following timeline demonstrates that HHS initially set out to establish its federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, without a tax credit calculator—that is, it set up the federal exchange so that it could not provide users any information about tax credits. This strongly suggests that its original interpretation was that only residents of states that established their own exchanges were entitled to tax credits. ...
Obama Adviser Jonathan Gruber In 2009: Obamacare Will NOT Be Affordable
...“I wish that President Obama could have stood up and said, ‘You know, I don’t know if this bill is going to control costs. It might, it might not. We’re doing our best. But let me tell you what it’s going to do…” Gruber said on a San Francisco podcast in 2012.

“If he could make that speech? Instead, he says ‘I’m going to pass a bill that will lower your health care costs.’ That sells. Now, I wish the world was different. I wish people cared about the 50 million uninsured in America…But, you know, they don’t. And I think, once again, I’m amazed politically that we got this bill through.”...

Fox Anchor: CNBC ‘Silenced’ Me For Reporting On Obamacare
Fox Business Network anchor Melissa Francis said she was “silenced” by CNBC when management told her she was “disrespecting the office of the president” by reporting about Obamacare....

How the White House Used Gruber's Work to Create Appearance of Broad Consensus
...The White House is placing a giant collective bet on Gruber's "assumptions" to justify key portions of the Senate bill such as the "Cadillac tax," which they allowed people to believe was independent verification. Now that we know that Gruber's work was not that of an independent analyst but rather work performed as a contractor to the White House and paid for by taxpayers, and economists like Larry Mishel are raising serious questions about its validity, it should be made publicly available so others can judge its merits....

...On the 29th Nancy-Ann DeParle, head of the very White House Office of Health Reform that Gruber was hired to consult for, posted perhaps the most misleading column of all on the White House blog:

MIT Economist Confirms Senate Health Reform Bill Reduces Costs and Improves Coverage

She identified Gruber as an "MIT Economist who has been closely following the health insurance reform process" who had "issued a compelling new report." There was no acknowledgment that her very own White House office had commissioned Gruber's work....

...On December 28, Gruber published an Op-Ed in the Washington Post -- in which he neglected to mention his contract to consult with the White House on this very issue. He was asked point-blank if he had any contracts related to the piece for which he was being paid, and he said "no." The Post subsequently published a correction....