Monday, June 22, 2015

Emails Show MIT’s Jonathan Gruber Had Even More To Do With Obamacare’s Passage Than Previously Thought
...Gruber, an MIT professor, was hired as a consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services on Obamacare. A number of videos and recordings emerged last year showing Gruber’s disdain for the “stupidity of the American voter,” and expounding on the “huge political advantage” the administration had because Obamacare was passed with little transparency — leading the administration to distance itself from the professor. ...

...Gruber was in contact with key advisers on the health-care law, including Peter Orszag, then-director of the Office of Management and Budget; Jason Furman, then an economic adviser to the president who is now chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers; and Ezekiel Emanuel, then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.

“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” Jeanne Lambrew, a top administration official at HHS and the White House, wrote to Gruber in September 2009. In another email several months later, she hailed Gruber as “our hero.”

Far from being an independent contractor, Gruber regularly consulted with Lambrew when answering questions about his relationship with the Obama administration. Gruber went to Lambrew for advice when a Politico reporter asked why he had not disclosed his administration contract before writing about health care policy, and asked Lambrew to review his description of his own responsibilities at HHS before responding. Gruber also spoke to top HHS officials about his interviews with other reporters, including one with Ezra Klein, then at the Washington Post....

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Law student laughs as she walks free from court for hitting aspiring male model over the head with a bottle of champagne cutting his forehead to the SKULL
...Sarah McKenzie-Ayres was pictured laughing as she walked free from court after being handed a suspended sentence for striking the man in a Manchester nightclub last September.

The 19-year-old victim, who has not been named, has been left with permanent scarring that has forced him to abandon his dreams of becoming a professional model.

McKenzie-Ayres, 19, was spared jail for GBH after telling Manchester Crown Court that she believed the victim was 'making unwelcome advances'.

Neil Beckwith, prosecuting, said the victim was standing with friends in Venus nightclub in Manchester when McKenzie-Ayres accused him of bumping into her friend.

When the victim disagreed, McKenzie-Ayres ordered him to move before pushing him and grabbing the champagne bottle from his friends' table.

She then pushed him backwards and swung the champagne bottle into his face ‘like a club’.

Mr Beckwith said: 'He had a glimpse of her with the bottle of champagne in her right hand, raised overhead, and she then struck him to the forehead....
Obama Admin Making Billions In Obamacare Subsidy Payments Without Verifying Amounts
...Obamacare’s premium subsidies are paid each month directly to insurance companies, to ease the burden of health coverage to eligible customers in the health law’s government exchanges. The payments add up: the federal government doled out almost $2.8 billion to insurers in just the first four months of 2014, when Obamacare launched.

The agency tasked with making the payments hasn’t yet made sure the calculations behind the billions are accurate. An inspector general audit of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has found that the administration did not confirm the exact amount it owed each insurer before paying up, putting the billions in federal taxpayer funds at risk.

The problem lies in HealthCare.gov’s unfinished back-end system. The portions of the website which allow insurers to communicate enrollee information with the federal government hasn’t yet been completed and was even less workable in 2014, when the outlays began....

Are Obamacare’s 22 Health Insurance Co-ops Near Financial Collapse?
Ominous signs are proliferating among 22 Obamacare health insurance co-ops of imminent financial collapses that could leave more than a million Americans without coverage, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group analysis.

All but one of the federally funded co-ops are experiencing accelerating net losses. President Obama’s signature health care reform program established the co-ops to provide non-profit competition to private sector health insurance providers.

Many of the 22 co-ops could soon follow an Obamacare co-op that defaulted earlier this year, suffering $163 million in operating losses in a single year. That collapse left 120,000 customers without coverage on Christmas Eve....
Someone should have warned them.
The Daily Mail has a heart rending story* about some recent immigrants to the UK who ended up in prison because they didn’t fully understand the local laws and customs. New to the country and in dire need of money, the immigrants set out to use promises of love and commitment to con local Brits out of half of their stuff.

In the case detailed by the Mail the mark (Mrs. Hardman) had recently acquired nearly 400,000 pounds the old fashioned way, in a divorce. After buying a new home for 200,000 pounds, Hardman still had 190,000 pounds left. The new immigrants were able to con her out of 170,000 pounds with false promises of love and commitment, but failed to follow local law and custom when doing so. As a result, the men are now in prison....

NHS chief warns women not to wait until 30 to have baby as country faces a fertility timebomb
One of Britain’s top NHS fertility specialists last night issued a stark warning to women: Start trying for a baby before you’re 30 – or risk never having children.

In a strongly worded letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, consultant gynaecologist Professor Geeta Nargund has also demanded that teenagers are taught about the dangers of delaying parenthood, because of the spiralling cost to the taxpayer of IVF for women in their late 30s and 40s....
Rachel Dolezal goes birther on…herself: “There’s no biological proof Larry and Ruthanne are my parents”
She's seen the birth certificate, but "I haven't had a DNA test"

Rachel Dolezal Wanted To Boycott A Movie Because A White Actor Played Moses [AUDIO]

Rachel Dolezal In Talks For Reality Show

Shocker: Psycho Dolezal Claimed Her Father Was Black Oakland Police Officer

Rachel Dolezal in earlier interview: My black father had three attempts on his life by whites while in the Marine Corps

Nutcase Dolezal on Today Show Claims to Have Identified as Black at Age 5: “I was drawing self-portraits with the brown crayon instead of the peach crayon”

NAACP Imposter Sued School Over Race Claims
JUNE 15--The NAACP official who today resigned in the face of evidence that she masqueraded as black once sued Howard University for denying her teaching posts and a scholarship because she was a white woman, The Smoking Gun has learned....

Rachel Dolezal: There’s no proof those two white people are my biological parents

Activist: Rachel Dolezal Said White People Can't Talk About Racism
EXCLUSIVE: ‘WE’LL ALL BE DEAD BEFORE CLIMATE CHANGE ORGS ADMIT THEY’RE WRONG’ SAYS MP
...“We pinned them down on this hiatus… they were arguing that yes, there might have been a hiatus, but warming might be going into the ocean, or it could be due to volcanic activity. So we asked at what point would you begin to accept there had been no warming. If there is no warming for five years, or ten years?

“Finally they conceded they would wait fifty years.

“We asked would that be fifty years from now, or fifty years from 1997, when the hiatus started? They said they wouldn’t change their mind for fifty years from now.

“Effectively, we’re all going to be dead before the Royal Society admits they’ve got their facts wrong. There could be absolutely no warming every year for the next fifty years, and the Royal Society would still maintain that climate change is a major problem”....

Climate Wars and the Damage Done to the Credibility of Science
...The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.

What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).

But the commentators ignore all these caveats and babble on about warming of “up to” four degrees (or even more), then castigate as a “denier” anybody who says, as I do, the lower end of the scale looks much more likely given the actual data. This is a deliberate tactic. Following what the psychologist Philip Tetlock called the “psychology of taboo”, there has been a systematic and thorough campaign to rule out the middle ground as heretical: not just wrong, but mistaken, immoral and beyond the pale. That’s what the word denier with its deliberate connotations of Holocaust denial is intended to do. For reasons I do not fully understand, journalists have been shamefully happy to go along with this fundamentally religious project....

...We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour....

ABC News, 'Earth 2100': the Final Century of Civilization?, May 29, 2009
But will it be enough? In 2015, global demand for fossil fuels could be massive and growing, but experts say oil will be harder to find and far more expensive to consume.

"We have no new source of energy on the horizon that's currently capable of being developed on a large enough scale to replace the supply of oil in any near- term framework," says Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College.

If the cost of gasoline skyrockets, few may be able to afford to maintain the lifestyles to which we've grown accustomed. There may be a mass exodus from the suburbs, as driving gas-fueled cars becomes nearly impossible economically. But will that convince us to change our ways?

"Until we have a crisis of some kind, I don't think we're going to be motivated to make the really deep changes in the way we use energy, the technologies we use, the density of our cities, our travel patterns," says Thomas Homer-Dixon, a political science professor and author of "The Upside of Down."

The imagined crises in Lucy's futuristic world come in the forms of earthshaking hurricanes spawned by over-reliance on climate-damaging coal and other nonrenewable resources. What if climate change in our world is actually much closer than we think? Many experts say we have to start seriously reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, or we may pass a point of no return.

America’s Most Advanced Climate Station Data Shows US In A 10-Year Cooling Trend
...Data from America’s most advanced climate monitoring system shows the U.S. has undergone a cooling trend over the last decade, despite recent claims by government scientists that warming has accelerated worldwide during that time.

The U.S. Climate Reference Network was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide “high-quality” climate data. The network consists of 114 stations across the U.S. in areas NOAA expects no development for the next 50 to 100 years.

The climate stations use three independent measurements of temperature and precipitation to provide “continuity of record and maintenance of well-calibrated and highly accurate observations,” NOAA states on its website. “The stations are placed in pristine environments expected to be free of development for many decades.” In essence, NOAA chose locations so they don’t need to be adjusted for “biases” in the temperature record.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The existence of these billionaires proves Thomas Piketty is wrong about wealth
... 70 percent of those who show up on Forbes’ 2014 list created their own wealth. Nearly three out of every four billionaires, then, are self-made entrepreneurs and innovators, far from being born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

What’s more, this figure is actually up from 1984, when fewer than half were self-made. If Piketty’s theory held any water, we would expect to see the same powerful families dominating the Forbes 400 decade after decade—the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Vanderbilts—with few new entrants....
Stop grovelling to civil servants: Column
...As the public sector has expanded, so has the public's dissatisfaction with it. In 1964, before Lyndon Johnson instituted his Great Society programs, 77% of Americans trusted the government. In October 2013, only 12% of Americans said they were "basically content with the federal government," which was just two points higher than the percentage of Americans who trusted Pakistan. In other words, the government that killed Osama bin Laden is only slightly more popular than the country that harbored him. No wonder government employees have low self-esteem....
Brace yourself for Obamacare sticker shock.
...Health insurers are proposing to raise Obamacare rates more than in the past — some by more than 70 percent — now that they are finally equipped with all the information they need to price those plans....

...Gosh, what happened to that $2500 per year savings we were promised? Same thing that happened to the “if you like your plan/doctor, you can keep it/him.” ...
Everyone Hates Harvard
...Hedge fund manager John Paulson personally took home nearly $4 billion in 2007 after convincing banks to create securities of sub-prime mortgages he could bet against. Now Harvard, which originally passed on an opportunity to join alum Paulson in his big bet, is also reaping the rewards of the nation's financial crisis as it renames its engineering school the "Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences" after receiving a staggering $400 million donation from Paulson, the largest gift in the university's history. Quartz argues that Paulson's $400 million Harvard donation just reinforces inequality. Author Malcolm Gladwell took to Twitter to voice his distaste (sampling: 1. "It came down to helping the poor or giving the world's richest university $400 mil it doesn't need. Wise choice John!" 2. "If billionaires don't step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $30 billion." 3. "It's going to be named the John Paulson School of Financial Engineering.") And, in Everyone Hates Harvard, Philip Greenspun notes that even WSJ readers reacted with vitriol to the news. "I would have thought that Paulson would be a hero to market-following WSJ readers," remarks Greenspun, "not a villain."...
Meanwhile in the UK… be sure not to injure your rapist
...“You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.” So even in the sanctity of one’s home, the statement seems to suggest that care for violent offenders outweighs the rights of potential victims to be safe and secure against attack....
Scientists May Have Lied To Promote EPA’s Global Warming Agenda
Scientists may have lied about the EPA’s involvement in a recent study put out earlier this year claiming Obama administration regulations on carbon dioxide emissions will save thousands of lives every year.

Emails obtained by the blog JunkScience.com’s Steve Milloy show Harvard University and Syracuse University researchers involved in the study consulted with the EPA while conducting their study, contradicting their previous statements the study was done independently of the agency....

The 97% Cook Consensus – when will Environ Res Letters retract it?
...As Tol explains, the Cook et al paper used an unrepresentative sample, can’t be replicated, and leaves out many useful papers. The study was done by biased observers who disagreed with each other a third of the time, and disagree with the authors of those papers nearly two-thirds of the time. About 75% of the papers in the study were irrelevant in the first place, with nothing to say about the subject matter. Technically, we could call them “padding”. Cook himself has admitted data quality is low. He refused to release all his data, and even threatened legal action to hide it. (The university claimed it would breach a confidentiality agreement. But in reality, there was no agreement to breach.) As it happens, the data ended up being public anyhow. ...

...The hidden timestamps of raters revealed one person rated 675 abstracts in 72 hours, with much care and lots of rigor, I’m sure. It also showed that the same people collected data, analyzed results, collected more data, changed their classification system, and went on to collect even more data. This is a hopelessly unscientific process prone to subjective bias and breaches the most basic rules of experimental design. Tol found the observations changed with each round, so the changes were affecting the experiment. Normal scientists put forward a hypothesis, design an experiment, run it, and then analyze. When scientists juggle these steps, the results influence the testing. It’s a process someone might use if they wanted to tweak the experiment to get a specific outcome. We can’t know the motivations of researchers, but there is a reason good scientists don’t use this process....

@NOAA ‘s desperate new paper: Is there no global warming ‘hiatus’ after all?
...The significance level they report on their findings (.10) is hardly normative, and the use of it should prompt members of the scientific community to question the reasoning behind the use of such a lax standard.

In addition, the authors’ treatment of buoy sea-surface temperature (SST) data was guaranteed to create a warming trend. The data were adjusted upward by 0.12°C to make them “homogeneous” with the longer-running temperature records taken from engine intake channels in marine vessels.

As has been acknowledged by numerous scientists, the engine intake data are clearly contaminated by heat conduction from the structure, and as such, never intended for scientific use....
"Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman."
-- Hillary, 2000

EXCLUSIVE: Clinton charity took up to $10 MILLION donation from African church which called homosexuals 'devils' - despite Hillary's support for gay marriage
Hillary Clinton's charity accepted a substantial donation from an anti-gay African church which has likened homosexuals to the Devil, Daily Mail Online can reveal.

The 2016 Presidential candidate took money for her sprawling health nonprofit from the Cameroon Baptist Convention whose official policy is that being gay 'contradicts God's purpose for human sexuality'.

The devout Christian organization has in the past compared being gay to committing incest and human trafficking. Its leaders have also railed against US attempts to promote gay rights in Cameroon.

Despite this, the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board gave between $1million and $10million between 2010 and this year, according to the latest list of donors from the Clinton Health Access Initiative....

Charity watchdog: Clinton Foundation a ‘slush fund’
...The Clinton family’s mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.

The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends....

...On its 2013 tax forms, the most recent available, the foundation claimed it spent $30 million on payroll and employee benefits; $8.7 million in rent and office expenses; $9.2 million on “conferences, conventions and meetings”; $8 million on fundraising; and nearly $8.5 million on travel. None of the Clintons is on the payroll, but they do enjoy first-class flights paid for by the foundation....

The cash donations Hillary simply has no answer for
...While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton’s three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period....

...As just one of many examples, in its 2011 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department slammed Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association,” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption” and a “lack of judicial independence.”

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and the next year Clinton’s State Department approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The jump included authorizations for almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment.” The State Department had not authorized the export of any of such items to Algeria the year before....


Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Female Economy
Women now drive the world economy.

Globally, they control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years. Their $13 trillion in total yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion in the same period.

...Women make the decision in the purchases of 94% of home furnishings…92% of vacations…91% of homes… 60% of automobiles…51% of consumer electronics...

‘Equal Pay Day’ this year falls on April 8; the next ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’ will occur on December 20, 2023
...Using annual Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on workplace fatalities by gender for 2012 (and assuming those fatality data will be similar in 2013 – the actual data won’t be available until August) an “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” can be calculated. As in previous years, the chart above shows the significant gender disparity in workplace fatalities in 2012: 4,045 men died on the job (92.3% of the total) compared to only 338 women (7.7% of the total). The “gender occupational fatality gap” in 2012 was considerable — almost 12 men died on the job for every woman who died while working.

Based on the BLS data on occupational deaths by gender, the next “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” will occur almost ten years from now ­­– on December 20, 2023. ...

No, Women Don’t Make Less Money Than Men
...What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers. In its fact-checking column on the State of the Union, the Washington Post included the president’s mention of the wage gap in its list of dubious claims. “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.”...

...Much of the wage gap can be explained away by simply taking account of college majors. Early childhood educators and social workers can expect to earn around $36,000 and $39,000, respectively. By contrast, petroleum engineering and metallurgy degrees promise median earnings of $120,000 and $80,000. Not many aspiring early childhood educators would change course once they learn they can earn more in metallurgy or mining. The sexes, taken as a group, are somewhat different. Women, far more than men, appear to be drawn to jobs in the caring professions; and men are more likely to turn up in people-free zones. In the pursuit of happiness, men and women appear to take different paths. But here is the mystery. These and other differences in employment preferences and work-family choices have been widely studied in recent years and are now documented in a mountain of solid empirical research. By now the President and his staff must be aware that the wage gap statistic has been demolished. This is not the first time the Washington Post has alerted the White House to the error. Why continue to use it? ...

INFOGRAPHIC: Women Control The Money In America ...More women are taking the reins on their finances, holding 60 percent of all personal wealth and 51 percent of all stocks in the U.S., according to Virginia Tech. ...

...At home, the majority of women (90 percent) still control the family's purse strings, from stocking up on household items to having the final say on home and car purchases and health care. ...
Mrs. Clinton and the 1 Percenters
To be a member of the hated, reviled, filthy, wicked “1 percent,” one needs a household income of about $400,000 a year....

...Sometime National Review contributor Peter Schweizer has a book out this week bearing the straightforward title Clinton Cash, in which he documents the coincidence between the financial contributions of foreign interests to Clan Clinton and favorable treatment by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department. Mrs. Clinton has been doing a fair Elizabeth Warren impersonation of late on the issue of executive compensation, which has led a few critics to point out that at approximately $300,000 an hour, Mrs. Clinton as a maker of speeches out-earns all of the highest-earning American executives on an hourly basis or a daily basis. And we’re talking about Fortune 500 guys, there.

In reality, the average American CEO — the average chief executive — makes a little less than $200,000 a year. Paul Krugman makes more than that for a part-time gig thinking deep thoughts about . . . economic inequality. Which is to say, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton could each work an hour every year and still have an income that would place them well into the “1 percent,” while Mrs. Clinton by herself could work an hour a year and out-earn, by half-again as much, the typical American CEO....

...The city manager of my hometown — the sprawling and urbane metropolis of Lubbock, Texas — makes $235,000 a year, which seems to me much more significant than what the boss makes at IBM or Goldman Sachs. For one thing, there are only 500 Fortune 500 CEOs, but there are a hell of a lot of small-fry city managers, six-figure high-school principals and million-dollar superintendents, $300,000-a-year Philadelphia police detectives, etc. Running parks and recreation in Pawnee, Ind., doesn’t seem like all that high-paying a gig for the fictional Leslie Knope and her gang — but in the real world, it’s a pretty good jump on a 1 percenter’s income....

On the other hand, if you thought that Bell, Calif. — population 35,000 — was overpaying its city manager (at $800,000 a year!) you couldn’t sell your Bell shares or short the hell out of Bell. You had to keep paying, or the sheriff and burly men with guns would eventually come and seize your property. Say what you like about Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t have the power to withhold money from your paycheck or order you to pay up at gunpoint....

Hillary Clinton: Just an Everyday American with a $25 Million Income
Recent news of the Clintons’ $25 million jackpot in 2014 makes it tough for Hillary to push her core campaign theme with a straight face. Indeed, widespread laughter will greet her efforts to champion “everyday Americans” against those who allegedly make too much money. “The deck is stacked for those at the top,” Hillary Clinton said Tuesday, not mentioning that her household income puts her in not just the top 1 percent of tax filers but the top 0.1 percent. “There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker,” Clinton told Iowa voters last month. However, as Sean Davis noted Tuesday at TheFederalist.com, “she did not elaborate on whether there’s something wrong when non-CEOs who run tax-exempt organizations make 380 times more than the typical worker.”...

...Still, as Hillary runs around denouncing rich people, she would be less unintentionally comedic if she did not make 58 times the $434,682 scored by the lowliest 1 percenter....

...The Clintons last year made more than double the earnings of a typical CEO. Even halving their joint income to $12.5 million puts each $800,000 ahead of the AFL-CIO’s average corporate villain....

...USA Today also noted that “the Clintons appear to have put their homes in ‘residence trusts,’ a move that could reduce their estate taxes.” Here again, the Clintons seem to be cutting their tax exposure — this time for when they enter that great real-estate scheme in the sky. That is perfectly legal. However, death-tax avoidance muffles the battle cries of someone who rails against the rich. ...

Report: Big Morocco donation to Clinton foundation
A phosphate export firm owned by the Moroccan government will give the Clinton Foundation a donation of at least $1 million in advance of a May meeting the charity is to host in Morocco, Politico reported Thursday. The gift adds to the Clinton family charity's reliance on contributions from foreign nations as Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares to enter the 2016 presidential race....

How foreign donations to Clinton Foundation add up to baggage for Hillary (+video) ...The other major point of contention is the foundation’s longtime practice of accepting contributions from foreign countries. Bill and Hillary Clinton agreed to suspend most of those donations while Hillary was secretary of state, but at least one – a $500,000 check from Algeria for Haitian earthquake relief – slipped through the cracks. And the Clintons resumed taking money from foreign governments after Hillary resigned from the Obama administration in early 2013. Saudi Arabia and Norway have each given between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation since its inception, according to the organization’s records....

Foreign governments gave millions to foundation while Clinton was at State Dept
...A review of foundation disclosures shows that at least two foreign governments — Germany and the United Arab Emirates — began giving in 2013 after the funding restrictions lapsed when Clinton left the Obama administration. Some foreign governments that had been supporting the foundation before Clinton was appointed, such as Saudi Arabia, did not give while she was in office and have since resumed donating.

Foundation officials said last week that if Clinton runs, they will consider taking steps to address concerns over the role of foreign donors.

“We will continue to ensure the Foundation’s policies and practices regarding support from international partners are appropriate, just as we did when she served as Secretary of State,” the foundation said in a statement.

Foreign governments had been major donors to the foundation before President Obama nominated Clinton to become secretary of state in 2009. When the foundation released a list of its donors for the first time in 2008, as a result of the agreement with the Obama administration, it disclosed, for instance, that Saudi Arabia had given between $10 million and $25 million....

...In Algeria and Tunisia, rapists can avoid prosecution for raping minors if they marry their victims thanks to Article 326 of the Algerian Penal Code and Article 227 of the Tunisian Penal Code. And thanks to the penal code in Morocco, the severity of punishment for rape depends on whether the woman was a virgin or not. In all three countries, marital rape is not recognized as an offense, and both same-sex sexual relations and consensual extramarital relations are illegal, which can discourage survivors from reporting assaults, for fear they will be in legal trouble themselves.

These legal provisions impede justice for survivors and continue to facilitate incidents of sexual violence, leaving survivors of rape and sexual assault without justice or hope. In March 2012 in Morocco, 16 year-old Amina Filali swallowed rat poison and killed herself after she was forced to marry her rapist. No one should face a lifetime with her rapist, just as no one’s virginity “status” should determine justice.

For these reasons, Amnesty has selected the Maghreb region as a focus area in its My Body, My Rights campaign, a global campaign to help ensure everyone has access to their sexual and reproductive rights and enjoys the full spectrum of rights over their bodies.

All people have the right to live in safety. All people have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, including whether to have children, when to marry, and when and with whom to engage in sexual relations, and the governments of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia must amend discriminatory legislation that gives offenders impunity....
Why doctors quit
...As one of them wrote, “My colleagues who have already left practice all say they still love patient care, being a doctor. They just couldn’t stand everything else.” By which he meant “a never-ending attack on the profession from government, insurance companies, and lawyers . . . progressively intrusive and usually unproductive rules and regulations,” topped by an electronic health records (EHR) mandate that produces nothing more than “billing and legal documents” — and degraded medicine.

I hear this everywhere. Virtually every doctor and doctors’ group I speak to cites the same litany, with particular bitterness about the EHR mandate. As another classmate wrote, “The introduction of the electronic medical record into our office has created so much more need for documentation that I can only see about three-quarters of the patients I could before, and has prompted me to seriously consider leaving for the first time.”

You may have zero sympathy for doctors, but think about the extraordinary loss to society — and maybe to you, one day — of driving away 40 years of irreplaceable clinical experience....
The reclassification of 'poverty’ was a con-trick by the Left
...From all this it is clear that the relatively poor of today are vastly richer than the poor of 120 years ago, let alone beforehand. Indeed, at least one leading figure in the Labour Party acknowledged the fact in 1959. Barbara Castle remarked, “the poverty and unemployment which we came into existence to fight have been largely conquered”. Since she spoke, of course, average incomes have risen much higher. As recently as the 1980s people looked at the figures for how many households had inside lavatories and how many had fridges. Now virtually every household has these things, so nobody bothers with the information any more.

Given all this, how is it that so many pundits and charities talk about widespread poverty in Britain?

It dates back to 1962 and the annual conference of the British Sociological Association. Two Left-wing academics, Peter Townsend and Brian Abel-Smith, developed a new way of defining “poverty” based on the income level at which people were entitled to a payment called “supplementary benefit”. One person at the conference reported “a mood of conspiratorial excitement” about the idea of redefining poverty. These are her words, not mine, and they do seem revealing. It is as if some people on the Left were longing to find a way in which poverty had not been “conquered” as Barbara Castle had said. They had found a way in which it would always be possible to use the huge emotional power of the word...
[Nature.com] Study Predicts Decades Of Global Cooling Ahead
A new study out of the United Kingdom predicts the Earth is about to go through a major climatic shift that could mean decades of cooler temperatures and fewer hurricanes hitting the United States.

Scientists at the University of Southampton predict that a cooling of the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius and may offer a “brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures,” according to their study....

...“The stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998,” wrote J├╝rgen Lange Heine, a physicist with the German-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE).

“From 1900 to 1998, solar radiation increased by 1.3 W / m², but since 1998 it has diminished, and could reach values ​​similar to those of the early 20th century. A drop in global temperature over the next few years is predicted,” Heine wrote....
An Epidemic of False Claims
False positives and exaggerated results in peer-reviewed scientific studies have reached epidemic proportions in recent years. The problem is rampant in economics, the social sciences and even the natural sciences, but it is particularly egregious in biomedicine. Many studies that claim some drug or treatment is beneficial have turned out not to be true. We need only look to conflicting findings about beta-carotene, vitamin E, hormone treatments, Vioxx and Avandia. Even when effects are genuine, their true magnitude is often smaller than originally claimed.

The problem begins with the public’s rising expectations of science. Being human, scientists are tempted to show that they know more than they do. The number of investigators—and the number of experiments, observations and analyses they produce—has also increased exponentially in many fields, but adequate safeguards against bias are lacking. Research is fragmented, competition is fierce and emphasis is often given to single studies instead of the big picture....

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.
...We science journalists like to think of ourselves as more clever than the average hack. After all, we have to understand arcane scientific research well enough to explain it. And for reporters who don’t have science chops, as soon as they tapped outside sources for their stories—really anyone with a science degree, let alone an actual nutrition scientist—they would discover that the study was laughably flimsy. Not to mention that a Google search yielded no trace of Johannes Bohannon or his alleged institute. Reporters on the health science beat were going to smell this a mile away. But I didn’t want to sound pessimistic. “Let’s see how far we can take this,” I said....

...With the paper out, it was time to make some noise. I called a friend of a friend who works in scientific PR. She walked me through some of the dirty tricks for grabbing headlines. It was eerie to hear the other side of something I experience every day.

The key is to exploit journalists’ incredible laziness. If you lay out the information just right, you can shape the story that emerges in the media almost like you were writing those stories yourself. In fact, that’s literally what you’re doing, since many reporters just copied and pasted our text....
IRS Steals $107,000 From Convenience Store Owner, Violating Its Own 'Structuring' Policy
...As in other structuring cases, McLellan lost his money because of well-intentioned but bad advice from a bank teller. The teller told McLellan's niece, who usually handled L&M Convenience Mart's deposits, she could save the bank burdensome paperwork by keeping the deposits below $10,000, the reporting threshold. Based on the resulting pattern of deposits, the IRS cleaned out McLellan's bank account a year ago, even though there was no evidence that the money came from anything other than his perfectly legal business, which combines a store with a gas station and restaurant. The Institute for Justice, which is suing the IRS and the DOJ on McLellan's behalf, notes that "the government filed its forfeiture complaint in December 2014, two months after the IRS announced it would not forfeit money in cases like this one." ...
NYT, Boston Globe Both Report That Different Structures of the Clinton Foundation Deliberately Hid Money
...Aides to former President Bill Clinton helped start a Canadian charity that effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million that went to his foundation, despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state. The nonprofit, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), operates in parallel to a Clinton Foundation project called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which is expressly covered by an agreement Mrs. Clinton signed to make all donors public while she led the State Department. However, the foundation maintains that the Canadian partnership is not bound by that agreement and that under Canadian law contributors’ names cannot be made public.

The foundation cited that restriction last weekend in explaining why it did not disclose $2.35 million in donations from the chairman of Uranium One, the subject of an article in The New York Times last week....

"This is hardly an effort on our part to avoid transparency," said Maura Pally, acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation, as she took new efforts to avoid transparency....

...An unprecedented ethics promise that played a pivotal role in helping Hillary Rodham Clinton win confirmation as secretary of state, soothing senators' concerns about conflicts of interests with Clinton family charities, was uniformly bypassed by the biggest of the philanthropies involved.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative never submitted information on any foreign donations to State Department lawyers for review during Clinton's tenure from 2009 to 2013, Maura Daley, the organization's spokeswoman, acknowledged to the Globe this week. She said the charity deemed it unnecessary, except in one case that she described as an "oversight."

During that time, grants from foreign governments increased by tens of millions of dollars to the Boston-based organization.

Daley’s acknowledgement was the first by the charity of the broad scope of its apparent failures to fulfill the spirit of a crucial political pledge made by the Clinton family and their charities. The health initiative has previously acknowledged failing only to disclose the identity of its contributors, another requirement under the agreement....

Monday, May 25, 2015

BUSTED: Paul Krugman removed 20 years of data from a chart to show a correlation that wasn't really there
...The period in the early 1960's was removed, and so was the period from 2000 on. In other words, out of a 55-year time period, Dr. Krugman decided to remove 20 years' worth of data. For those keeping track, that's removing almost 40% of an entire data set just because the data didn't fit the narrative. And when you add those years back you get a result that shows a very weak correlation...
I SMELL A WISCONSIN RAT
Reporter M.D. Kittle at WisconsinWatchdog.org asks a very interesting question: What did the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel know, and when did it know it? The question relates to the Journal-Sentinel reporters’ knowledge of a pre-dawn paramilitary-style raid of the home of Cindy Archer, a fomer aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and one of the architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10, which reformed that State’s public sector unions.

The raid of Archer’s home occurred in the early morning hours of Wednesday, September 14, 2011. At the time of the raid, Archer saw an individual that she believed to be a reporter, standing in her lawn. But the question became: How would a reporter even know that Archer’s home was being raided? Someone had to tip the Journal-Sentinel off. But under Wisconsin law, disclosure of a search warrant’s issuance, prior to its execution, is a Class I felony and could also violate the judge’s secrecy order of the John Doe investigation itself....

Milwaukee DA John Chisholm Lets The Mask Slip. Again.
...As to defamatory remarks, I strongly suspect the Iowa criminal code, like Wisconsin's, has provisions for intentionally making false statements intended to harm the reputation of others," Chisholm said in a statement Saturday responding to Walker's comments....

GoFundMe yanks Sweet Cakes bakery campaign
...But if GoFundMe was that willing to immediately cave in on this case, what else would they bail out on? They allowed a fundraiser for Memories Pizza, but claim that the account was allowed because there weren’t charges or fines pending. By that criteria, a legal defense fund for anyone anywhere charged with any crime should not be allowed, right? Even if the defendant is somebody the Left happens to like? I’m suspicious as to how consistent they will be on this policy to say the least....

This Is Why They Hate Us
...Treating this evening as if it’s something the rest of the country should care about is, at best, tone deaf. Does anyone really care if the president tells a joke to a room filled with journalists who wish they were pretty enough to be celebrities and celebrities who wish they were smart enough to hold forth on the political issues of the day? Of course not. D.C. resembles Panem no more than it does on this weekend.

Which brings me to last night, when CNN was providing red carpet coverage (!) and interviewing president Obama’s joke writers and former body men while Baltimore—a city that’s about a half-hour away from D.C., sans traffic—burned. ...

#Ferguson Protesters Protest Not Getting Their Checks For Protesting…

There's a war on cash
...Peter Bofinger is a member of the German Council of Economic Experts – the “Five Sages on the Economy” – which in its official function advises the government and parliament on economic policy issues. These folks are taken seriously....

...And then he added the real reason for abolishing cash in such a coordinated, wide-ranging manner:

“It would be easier for central banks to impose their monetary policies. At this time, they cannot push interest rates appreciably below zero because the savers would hoard cash. If there is no cash, the zero bound is eliminated.”...
Obama Admin. Won’t Let States Ask for Proof of Citizenship … On Voter Registration Form!
Non-citizens are voting in American elections, and the federal government refuses to do anything to stop it.

Worse, the current administration seems to be doing everything they can to prevent the states from trying to stop it. First, they sued states that asked people to present ID before voting. Now, the administration will not let states even ask people to establish they are citizens when they register to vote.

That’s the underlying plot in the latest major case in election law that has just been presented to the Supreme Court. Federal law says that states must accept and use a federal form for registering voters. But the federal form doesn’t require any proof that the person submitting the form is a citizen.

The form just asks the registrant to check a box...

Military to allow undocumented immigrants to serve
A small number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will have an opportunity to join the military for the first time in decades under a new Department of Defense policy unveiled Thursday.

The new rules will expand an existing program allowing recruiters to target foreign nationals with high-demand skills, mostly rare foreign language expertise or specialized health care training....
Hillary Talks Guns In CNN Town Hall, Says Minority ‘Terrorizes’ Majority [VIDEO]
During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans....

...“We cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” said Clinton....
Airing the depth of troubles at Fannie Mae
In 2004, before Fannie Mae pushed into riskier loans, the Department of Housing and Urban Development suggested the definitions were becoming fuzzy.

"As the GSE's become more comfortable with subprime lending, the line between what today is considered a subprime loan versus a prime loan will likely deteriorate, making expansion by the GSE's look more like an increase in the prime market," the housing department said in a November 2004 report.

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Ex-CEOs Sued for Understating Loans
Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Daniel Mudd, the former chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, and Richard Syron, ex-CEO of Freddie Mac, were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for understating by hundreds of billions of dollars the subprime loans held by the firms.

The lawsuits filed today in Manhattan federal court were followed by an SEC statement that it had entered into “non-prosecution agreements” with each company. Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise which issues almost half of all mortgage-backed securities, and Freddie Mac, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company, had “agreed to accept responsibility” for their conduct, the SEC said.

The agency said in the lawsuits that Syron, Mudd and other executives understated exposure to subprime mortgage loans. From 2007 to 2008, Freddie Mac executives said the company’s exposure was from $2 billion to $6 billion when it was actually as high as $244 billion, according to one SEC complaint.

From 2006 to 2008, Washington-based Fannie Mae executives said the firm’s exposure to subprime mortgage and reduced-documentation loans was about $4.8 billion when it was almost 10 times greater, according to the regulator....
49 Former NASA Scientists Send A Letter Disputing Climate Change
Select excerpts from the letter:

“The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.”

“We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.”

“We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject.”

Former UN Lead Author: Global Warming Caused By ‘Natural Variations’ In Climate
Global temperature change observed over the last hundred years or so is well within the natural variability of the last 8,000 years, according to a new paper by a former Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) lead author.

Dr. Philip Lloyd, a South Africa-based physicist and climate researcher, examined ice core-based temperature data going back 8,000 years to gain perspective on the magnitude of global temperature changes over the 20th Century.

What Lloyd found was that the standard deviation of the temperature over the last 8,000 years was about 0.98 degrees Celsius– higher than the 0.85 degrees climate scientists say the world has warmed over the last century....

More Countries Caught Manipulating Their Climate Data
...In his latest article, Sterling wrote that Switzerland’s weather bureau adjusted its raw temperature data so that “the temperatures reported were consistently higher than those actually recorded.” For example, the cities of Sion and Zurich saw “a doubling of the temperature trend” after such adjustments were made....

...The Swiss affair, however, is not the first instance of data “homogenization” catalogued by scientists and researchers who are skeptical of man-made global warming. In January, skeptic blogger Paul Homewood documented how NASA has “homogenized” temperature data across Paraguay to create a warming trend that doesn’t exist in the raw data....

...Before that, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) was forced to admit it adjusts temperatures recorded at all weather stations across the country. Aussie journalists had been critical of ABM for being secretive about its data adjustments....

...“Downward homogenizations in recent years were rare. In some areas, downward temperature trends measured over time showed a significantly increased temperature trend after homogenization,” he added. “The difference between actually measured temperatures and homogenized temperatures topped 4 degrees Celsius over certain periods at some measuring stations.”...

Top scientists start to examine fiddled global warming figures
...But here there is a puzzle. These temperature records are not the only ones with official status. The other two, Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama (UAH), are based on a quite different method of measuring temperature data, by satellites. And these, as they have increasingly done in recent years, give a strikingly different picture. Neither shows last month as anything like the hottest March on record, any more than they showed 2014 as “the hottest year ever”....

...Careful analysts have come up with hundreds of examples of how the original data recorded by 3,000-odd weather stations has been “adjusted”, to exaggerate the degree to which the Earth has actually been warming. Figures from earlier decades have repeatedly been adjusted downwards and more recent data adjusted upwards, to show the Earth having warmed much more dramatically than the original data justified....

UN scientists warn time is running out to tackle global warming
Friday 4 May 2007 19.16 EDT

...Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more....

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Feds Consider Puerto Ricans Disabled Because They Speak Spanish
The Social Security Administration (SSA) approved disability benefits for hundreds of Puerto Ricans because they do not speak English, despite the fact that Puerto Rico is a predominantly Spanish-speaking territory....
Uncle Sam may have picked the wrong cash cow
...Based on Freedom of Information Act requests, the libertarian Institute for Justice has reported that the Internal Revenue Service has seized almost a quarter-billion dollars in such cases from 2005 to 2012, about half of which was never returned. A third of those cases, like the Sowers case, did not involve allegations of criminal activity beyond the structured deposits themselves....

...Roskam said he has told the Sowers story to senior citizens in his suburban Chicago district — and watched as their jaws dropped. “This is not a meth lab,” he said. “This is not a mafia front group. There’s no drug ring. These are people who have been in the dairy business a long time.”

Roskam has hounded the IRS not just on the issue of structuring but also on denying tax-exempt status to tea party groups and its choice of HealthCare.gov contractors....
Maryland Parents Panic When Their Kids Are Once Again Confiscated By CPS
...The police picked up the kids while they were outside again sometime Saturday afternoon, and this time the cops took them without telling their parents.

The kids, ages 10 and 6, were supposed to come home at 6:00 p.m. from playing. At 6:30 p.m, Danielle says, she and her husband Sasha were pretty worried. By 8:00 p.m., they were frantic. Only then did someone from the CPS Crisis Center call the parents and tell them that the police had picked the children up.

"It was dark!" said Danielle, her voice shaking. "You know, I'd really had a nightmare about this, but I didn't realize they would do it. I didn't think they would. The kids must be terrified."

"What did CPS tell you had happened?" I asked.

"They wouldn't tell me anything about my children."

Husband Sasha Meitiv, raised in the Soviet Union under complete state control, told his wife he was less surprised. "He said, 'You don't understand how cruel bureaucracy can be,'" said Danielle....
Is Another Financial Crisis On the Way?
...Here's the quick version. In 1992 Congress set "affordable housing" goals for Fannie Mae and its savings-and-loan counterpart, Freddie Mac (together known as the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, or GSEs). That year a manageable 30 percent of Fannie's portfolio qualified as "affordable housing." In 1997 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as authorized by Congress, increased the required fraction to 42 percent. In 2001, under President George W. Bush, HUD increased the goal to 50 percent. In 2008 it upped the goal to 56 percent.

To find enough "nontraditional mortgages" to meet these increasing requirements, Fannie and Freddie bought increasingly lower-quality mortgage paper. Mortgages with three percent down payments sufficed for a while, but by 2000 the two GSEs were buying mortgages with zero down payments, credit rating scores below 660, and debt-to-income ratios as high as 38 percent. By 2008, half of the nation's home mortgages-32 million of them-were subprime, and 76 percent of those were owned by the GSEs....
VA Sends Veterans’ Medical Info To FBI To Get Their Guns Taken Away
Documents obtained by The Daily Caller and interviews with American veterans reveal a shocking government program: The Department of Veterans Affairs is disarming America’s veterans by getting them placed on the FBI’s criminal background-check list.

The VA sends veterans’ personal medical and financial information directly to the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which can seize their guns in home raids.

Veterans deemed mentally incompetent or financially incapable are finally speaking out about the errors in the system and the fearful harassment they and their families face from the federal government. And it all starts when vets go to the VA to get medical help....

VA Scandal: 'Medical records of whistleblowers have been accessed and...used to attempt to discredit the whistleblowers'
If you really need further evidence of why it's dangerous to let government officials demand sensitive information from us, look no further than the ongoing scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Once focused on the apparently lethal mistreatment of military veterans by a system created to provide them with (usually crappy) medical care, the story now also encompasses retaliation by officials against VA employees who raise concerns about such mistreatment.

Perhaps most disturbing: "In several cases, the medical records of whistleblowers have been accessed and information in those records has apparently been used to attempt to discredit the whistleblowers," commented Carolyn Lerner from the Office of Special Counsel at a congressional hearing yesterday....
Report: Homeland Security official used improper influence in visa cases involving prominent Democrats
The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department improperly intervened on behalf of foreign investors seeking U.S. visas in three cases involving prominent Democrats, including a company run by the youngest brother of likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the agency's inspector general said Tuesday.

Investigators said Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas helped efforts to secure the visas in ways that created the appearance of favoritism and special access and caused resentment among career government employees, managers and lawyers....
Why CSI: Cyber Matters
...Members of the Army Cyber Institute at West Point discuss the upside of CSI: Cyber in an article in the Cyber Defense Review. "Children all over the country have been inspired to be law enforcement agents by shows like Criminal Minds, NCIS, Bones, and CSI." ...
State-Sponsored SWATtings in Wisconsin, Courtesy of “John Doe” Investigations
...What was their crime? Exercising their First Amendment rights. The article describes how these raids were conducted as part of “John Doe” investigations into whether conservative groups had “coordinated” with Scott Walker in violation of campaign finance laws. I believe such “coordination” is First Amendment activity. If I want to take out full-page newspaper ads about how great Ted Cruz is, and I get ideas that convince me from Cruz’s campaign, I believe that should be covered by the First Amendment. But even if my pro-speech view is not accepted (and so far it has not been), the fact remains that a judge later ruled that there was no legal basis for the investigation that justified these raids, and quashed all the subpoenas.

The investigations were conducted at the behest of a prosecutor whose offices “were festooned with the ‘blue fist’ poster of the labor-union movement.” According to one prosecutor who spoke to journalist Stuart Taylor, the wife of the lead prosecutor, John Chisholm, was “a teachers’-union shop steward who was distraught over Act 10’s union reforms” — and Chisholm “felt it was his personal duty” to stop the reforms. Pursuant to the politically motivated subpoenas lacking in probable cause, prosecutors subpoenaed electronic data such as emails and conducted these abusive raids.

It’s the type of activity you would expect to see from the Stasi in East Germany. Conservative activists in Wisconsin literally do not feel safe. They think that police could burst into their homes at any moment to punish them for their First Amendment activity....

Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents is a crime.
...But in Wisconsin, Democratic prosecutors were raiding political opponents' homes and, in a worse-than-Putin twist, they were making sure the world didn't even find out, by requiring their targets to keep quiet. As David French notes in National Review, "As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren't enough, next came ominous warnings. Don't call your lawyer. Don't tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends. ... This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform."

Is this un-American? Yes, yes it is. And the prosecutors involved — who were attacking supporters of legislation that was intended to rein in unions' power in the state — deserve to be punished. Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents, and to discourage contributions to political enemies, is a crime, and it should also be grounds for disbarment....

The Deep State Knows How to Protect Itself
...Just as the deep state can protect itself from litigation, it can also facilitate litigation when it so desires. John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky have done outstanding work exposing the DOJ’s practice of “sue and settle,” where it conspires with outside liberal legal groups to settle “friendly” lawsuits on terms that advance their shared leftist agenda–with a healthy dose of attorneys’ fees doled out to leftist legal activists. Thus, through fixed litigation, a federal agency can implement new guidelines and policies and justify them as “required” by legal settlements....

Trey Gowdy: Hillary Clinton wiped her server clean
Hillary Clinton wiped “clean” the private server housing emails from her tenure as secretary of state, the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi said Friday.

“While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement....

REPORT: HILLARY CHANGED STANCE ON TRADE DEAL AFTER DONATIONS TO CLINTON FOUNDATION
...Here’s an example. The Hill reports on allegations in the International Business Times (IBT) that, as Secretary of State, Clinton turned a blind eye to substantial allegations of human rights violation in Colombia committed against workers at an oil company owned by a major Clinton Foundation donor. Notwithstanding these allegations, which were similar to ones that had led candidate Hillary Clinton to oppose a trade deal with Colombia, Clinton’s State Department touted Colombia’s human rights record and back the trade agreement, says the IBT.

The oil company in question, Pacific Rubiales, was founded by Frank Giustra, who is described as a “friend and traveling companion” of former President Clinton. Giustra has donated more than $130 million to Clinton’s philanthropies. He’s also a Clinton Foundation board member and has participated in projects and benefits for the Foundation....

Hillary's Everyday Americans: Billionaire Frank Giustra, Vladimir Putin, and Assorted Kazakh Uranium-Sheiks
...As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One's chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
How the IRS repeatedly rewrites Obamacare tax credit provisions
...In a series of posts at “Notice & Comment,” the blog of the Yale Journal on Regulation, Professor Andy Grewal documents two additional cases in which the IRS has rewritten the PPACA’s tax credit eligibility requirements so as to expand eligibility beyond what Congress authorized. Combined with other instances of the IRS and HHS disregarding the PPACA’s plain text, it appears the federal government has little regard for what the PPACA actually says.

In his first two posts, Professor Grewall explains how IRS regulations disregard the statutory text so as to extend tax credit eligibility to some low-income aliens not lawfully residing in the U.S. In this way, the IRS regulation “casts a wider net than the statute” by expanding the number of people eligible for tax credits. Yet the IRS never provided any rationale for this change. Indeed, if one had just read the IRS explanation for what its regulations accomplish — as opposed to the regulations themselves — one would not even be aware of what the IRS did....

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals." C.S. Lewis on Tyranny “for the Good” of Its Victims
The Big Idea: California Is So Over
...But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money. ...
Why men won't get married anymore: Women complain chaps today won't settle down. Sorry, ladies, but it's all your fault, argues a wickedly provocative new book
...‘Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.

‘They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.

‘Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.’...
Homeland Security Working Overtime to Add ‘New Americans’ by 2016 Election
President Obama’s amnesty by edict has always been about adding new Democrats to the voter rolls, and recent action by the Department of Homeland Security provides further proof. Sources at the Department of Homeland Security report to PJ Media that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is reallocating significant resources away from a computer system — the “Electronic Immigration System” — to sending letters to all 9,000,000 green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election....

Labour's 'secret plan' to lure migrants
The release of a previously unseen document suggested that Labour’s migration policy over the past decade had been aimed not just at meeting the country’s economic needs, but also the Government’s “social objectives”.

The paper said migration would “enhance economic growth” and made clear that trying to halt or reverse it could be “economically damaging”. But it also stated that immigration had general “benefits” and that a new policy framework was needed to “maximise” the contribution of migration to the Government’s wider social aims. ...

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....