Archive for the ‘Waste and Fraud’ Category

Clinton Corruption Update for October 17, 2017

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

There’s a bushel of news on Hillary Clinton scandals, both old (uranium!) and new (Harvey Weinstein!):

  • Remember the Russian uranium sale scandal? It’s back!

    Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

    Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

    They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

    The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

    ADVERTISEMENT
    Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

    The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

    When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

    In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

    “The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

    The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

    That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

    The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

    But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

    So the Obama Administration knew Russia was illegally bribing American officials in relation to the uranium deal, including the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and did nothing. (Read the whole thing for more details on Russia’s kickbacks and bribery schemes.)

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise! Judicial Watch managed to unearth yet another treasure trove of emails Hillary Clinton sent from her illegal homebrew serve:

    Judicial Watch today released 1,617 new pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

    The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

  • Speaking of Judicial Watch, they also forced the discovery of “30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.” You know, notes the FBI swore didn’t exist. Judicial Watch said they want copies of the docs no later than late November.
  • “According to the FEC, Clinton received exactly $1,492,673.45 from Weinstein since 1999.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • So how much of Harvey Weinstein’s money will the Clinton Foundation be returning? Let me do a quick little calculation here…add it all up…carry the one…and the answer is…zero. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Just as Hollywood looked the other way for the sake of career advancement so too did Hillary Clinton as she rode her husband’s attained coattails to political prominence. So her recent expression of disgust over Weinstein’s activities ring hollow.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “With everyone saying that Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret, it is impossible to believe that Hillary Clinton a) didn’t know, b) that she gave any more of a flying f*** about the women Weinstein victimized than about those molested by her husband, c) and that she’s sorry for anything other than the minor humiliation this has caused her…though after November 8th’s events this is damned small potatoes.”
  • You may remember the many, many questions raised about Hillary’s health during the 2016 Presidential campaign. In London as part of her book tour for All You Losers Let Me Down, Clinton managed to fall down and break her toe. She claimed the fall stemmed from “apparently running down the stairs in heels and falling backward.” Yeah. First off, I don’t think Hillary is up for “running” these days, or anything beyond a fast waddle. Second, why would a woman who had multiple documented falls in 2016, and who frequently needed assistance to make her way up even small stairs, be walking up or down stairs in heels? Wouldn’t she be thinking “Yeah, unless it’s a formal event and I have someone to lean on, it’s flats from here on out?” Or she could, of course, be lying yet again, which seems to be her default mode.
  • If there’s a wrong side to an issue, Hillary will find it.
  • “Chelsea Clinton runs from questions about handing back Harvey Weinstein’s tainted $250,000 donations – and her father deploys security to keep the Press away.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • If I’m married to Bill Clinton, the last thing I would want to do (well, OK, behind “stay married” and “not flee to a country with no extradition treaty”) is slam President Donald Trump by saying there’s a sexual assaulter in the White House. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Also calling Hillary Clinton out: Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. “Bourdain is dating Asia Argento, who is one of the actresses who have accused Weinstein of rape.”
  • A tweet:

  • LinkSwarm for October 6, 2017

    Friday, October 6th, 2017

    Welcome to October! Enjoy your complimentary LinkSwarm:

  • Imran Awan’s lawyer said the House Democrats he worked for asked him to falsify spending reports:

    House Democrats ordered the systematic falsification of records showing how they spend their taxpayer-provided office budgets, according to lawyers for two former House information technology (IT) aides.

    It’s a remarkable accusation that pits sitting lawmakers against the former aides, Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his wife Hina Alvi. Imran was arrested in July while trying to board a flight to Pakistan, and then indicted on four counts of bank fraud involving moving money to that country. Imran and Hina, who was also indicted, face a court date Friday.

    One of Imran’s lawyers, Aaron Page, acknowledged the invoicing discrepancy Aug. 21, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation, “This is just how things have been done for forever. This is what experienced members of Congress expect: to expedite things, they adjust the pricing.”

    If members or senior staff instructed IT aides to misrepresent how budgets were spent, that could potentially explain why officials have not charged the Awans with crimes related to procurement, even a full year after House authorities gathered documentation showing invoices that claimed expensive technological items cost $499 instead of their true price: potentially an open-and-shut violation.

    Garden-variety Democratic graft is probably the least worrisome lawbreaking the Awan ring could have been up to…

  • How the NFL protests are going to get Donald Trump reelected:

    now believe that the left will re-elect Trump. The ruction over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem illustrates the point.

    The left has talked itself into believing that Trump’s alleged appeals to white racism were what put him over the top.

    More astute psephologists have pointed out that the actual difference was made by people in industrial states who previously had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but switched to Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Hard to attribute those decisions to white racism.

    Nevertheless, the left now interprets all of Trump’s actions through the prism of perceived appeals to white racism. If Trump were to tweet, “It’s a lovely day in Washington,” the left would denounce it as a dog whistle to white supremacists.

    Which brings us to the NFL ruction. Players began kneeling during the national anthem reportedly to protest what they regard as racial injustice in the United States. Trump denounced them in Trumpian fashion.

    According to the left, since the players were protesting racial injustice, Trump was endorsing racial injustice by criticizing them. There goes that dog whistle!

    o most Americans, that’s nuts.

    I’m not much of a flag waver. And I’ve never really understood why sporting events begin with the playing of the national anthem. Doesn’t seem a particularly apposite occasion for a display of patriotic fidelity.

    But it is part of American tradition. And traditions matter.

    You don’t have to be a racist to find galling the spectacle of pampered athletics, making millions of dollars playing a game, hosted in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, benefiting from an antitrust exemption, ostentatiously exempting themselves from the traditional display of fidelity to our country.

    The argument by some that the protest isn’t really about the flag and national anthem rings hollow. If you do it during the national anthem, it is about the flag and the national anthem.

    Snip.

    Generally speaking, white Middle Americans aren’t racists. They don’t long for a return to Jim Crow. They’re just sick of having identity and grievance politics thrown in their faces all the time.

    If the left continues to tell Middle Americans they are racists, Trump will be re-elected.

  • “The media and the NFL did not know what hit them. I do. They hit themselves. Hard.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Pew confirms: Democrats are the extremists.
  • “Senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced here today criminal charges against more than 3,800 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in the United States and Central America in a coordinated law enforcement action known as Operation Regional Shield.”
  • ICE nabs 498 criminal illegal aliens in “sanctuary cities.”
  • Under President Donald Trump, illegal alien deportations have roughly tripled. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How Donald Trump’s election caused the mainstream media to drop their masks of objectivity:

    The forces that brought Trump to power are alien to the experience of the men and women who populate newsrooms, his supporters unlike their colleagues, friends, and neighbors, his agenda anathema to the catechism of social liberalism, his career and business empire complex and murky and sensational. Little surprise that journalists reacted to his election with a combination of panic, fear, disgust, fascination, exhilaration, and the self-affirming belief that they remain the last line of defense against an emerging American autocracy. Who has time for dispassionate analysis, for methodical research and reporting, when the president’s very being is an assault on one’s conception of self, when nothing less than the future of the country is at stake? Especially when the depletion of veteran editors, the relative youth and inexperience of political and congressional reporters, and the proliferation of social media, with its hot takes and quips, its groupthink and instant gratification, makes the transition from inquiry to indignation all too easy.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Reason is really high on President Trump’s nomination of Justice Don Willett to the 5th Circuit court. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The media is missing the Republican takeover in New England.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Difficulties in nursing home evacuations: having to punch people.
  • Michael Totten wonders why Turkey is still in NATO.
  • Catalonia might declare independence from Spain.
  • North Korean ship carrying 30,000 rocket launchers seized in Egypt. Biggest surprise? They had been purchased by the Egyptian military in defiance of UN sanctions…
  • Houston still has not resumed jury trials since Harvey wiped out two criminal justice buildings.
  • Democrat mega-donor [Harvey] Weinstein accused of sexual harassment.” [Cue Instapundit] Why are Democrat-dominated industries like Hollywood such cesspits of sexism?
  • What do women who worked in the editorial department of Playboy think about their time there? That it was the best job they ever had.
  • Latest #BlackLivesMatter chant: “Liberalism Is White Supremacy .” Also: “The revolution will not uphold the Constitution.” Way to get ordinary Americans on your side! (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • How the Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar to to document local political corruption. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Houstonian’s rich neighbors aren’t wild about the the working Sherman tank in front of his house. I saw good for him. I also wonder why Fox declined to call it a Sherman rather than the more generic “World War II” tank.
  • Wisconsin gets court pushback in its illegal war against bakers.
  • Netcraft confirms it: Slashdot turns 20. CowboyNeal is now old enough to be Florida Man…
  • Your Tax Dollars At Work: Democrat Rep. Dawnna Dukes Spent $51,348 in Taxpayer Money on Telephone Psychics

    Thursday, September 21st, 2017

    Having been busy with Stuff and Things, Dwight beat me to the punch on the last news on the upcoming corruption trial against State Democratic Representative Dawnna Dukes. But the latest revelation is a doozy:

    As they prepare for state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ corruption trial next month, Travis County prosecutors are prepared to present evidence that she showed up to work at the Capitol impaired, hid a cellphone from investigators and spent more than $51,000 on an online psychic.

    At least with regular draft, you can understand how the corrupt pol benefits. Blowing $51 grand of taxpayer money on Miss Cleao just adds insult to idiocy.

    More of Dukes’ Greatest Hits:

    In other “extraneous acts” listed in the filing, prosecutors say Dukes:

  • Was absent for roll call 65 percent of the time during the 2017 legislative regular session, and 36 percent of the time in the special session.
  • Responded to a search warrant for her cellphone by providing investigators a phone that did not match the identification number on the phone they had requested
  • Was noticeably impaired while trying to perform legislative duties at the Capitol and showed up late to a House Appropriations Committee hearing on March 29, stating, “I know I’m talking a lot. I’m full of morphine and will be headed out of here soon.”
  • Agreed to a contract with the Austin school district for her company, DM Dukes and Associates, to provide business evaluations but subcontracted the work to a consulting firm. The district paid Dukes $514,224 from May 2015 to March 2016.
  • Arrived late to court settings on June 30 and Aug. 21. Judge Brad Urrutia threatened to hold Dukes in contempt if she does it again.
  • Failed to submit in a timely fashion both a campaign finance report before the 2016 election and a 2017 personal financial statement. She was fined $1,000.
  • It’s a veritable buffet of bad behavior, and I look forward to Dukes appearing on Most Shocking: Legislators Out of Control.

    LinkSwarm for September 1, 2017

    Friday, September 1st, 2017

    The worst of the flooding in Houston seems to have passed, and the Brazos River has crested and is falling again. But over 40 people are dead and over 6,000 homes have been destroyed, and the road to recovery for many families remains long and arduous. Consider donating time or money, if you’re able.

    Here’s the Friday LinkSwarm

  • Before and after photos of flood and hurricane damage.
  • Federal Judge: “In evaluating Plaintiffs’ claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true—that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent.” And then dismissed the the case. Because suck it, Bernie. (I should probably do another Clinton Corruption update in the near future…)
  • “[Democratic Robert] Menendez Mess Expands to Democratic Old Guard. Federal prosecutors ensnare Harry Reid in corruption probe of New Jersey senator.” In addition to his graft trial, Menendez was also accused of sleeping with under-aged prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
  • President Donald Trump rolls back costly and cumbersome ‘diversity’ regulations. “Obama’s EEOC called for businesses to provide 3,660 different data points about each employee and their pay structure.” Man, it’s like the Obama crew was upset that businesses were allowed to get any work done at all… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Oakland reporter witnesses Antifa violence firsthand.
  • Speaking of Antifa violence, here’s an account of how a half-Japanese free speech advocate who magically became a ‘white supremacist’ at the fists of Antifa. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • “New Evidence Reveals Comey Exonerated Hillary Before Key Witness Interviews.”
  • Democrats are irrelevant to the power equation in Donald Trump’s Washington.” (Hat tip: Directpr Blue.)
  • How Google rigged search rankings for companies that supported Google Plus, and then used its market power to quash media stories about it, and then memory-holed any archives…
  • Keith Olbermann loses it. At least whatever little “it” he had left to lose…
  • German nurse killed 86 patients. Surprised they didn’t just transfer him to EU euthanasia brigade. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Former spokesman for charity helping victims of Nice attack on trial for fraud.”
  • Speaking of charity fraud: “Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities.” (Hat tip: Stephen green at Instapundit.)
  • “Large diet study suggests it’s carbs, not fats, that are bad for your health.”
  • Women sentenced to 10 years in prison for making 15 false accusations of rape. One look at her picture should have raised huge flags…
  • Open carry of swords becomes legal in Texas today. God bless Texas! (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Franklin BBQ burns. Being closed by a fire makes it only slightly more difficult to get into…
  • Comedy gold:

  • Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Board sued for arresting college girls over buying water.
  • Richard “Oscar Goldman” Anderson, RIP. He also had a role in Forbidden Planet. “Austin’s overseer, Oscar Goldman, was introduced in the first TV movie, played by Darren McGavin.” I had completely forgotten McGavin (another great character actor) originally played Goldman. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Butthole Surfer Wins ‘Yard of the Month’ Award in Austin.”
  • “Antifa Organizers Announce Plans To Disrupt Neo-Nazi Rally Or Whatever Else Going On That Day.” When you’ve lost The Onion…
  • Overview of my library of science fiction, fantasy and horror first editions. In case you missed it…
  • Let’s end with a bit of good news:

  • Update:

    Linda Sarsour Tries to Scam Hurricane Harvey Relief Money

    Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

    Leftist jihad darling Linda Sarsour, who has a history of questionable to fraudulent abuse of charity dollars, is at it again, this time soliciting donations for a liberal political group masquerading as a Harvey relief fund.

    There are dozens of legitimate charities to donate Hurricane Harvey relief dollars to the Red Cross (update: maybe not) and JJ Watt’s YouCaring campaign, to name but two) without having the money diverted into the pockets of leftwing con artists.

    Another Crop of Dan Backer Scam PACs

    Thursday, August 17th, 2017

    A commenter brought this up on a previous Dan Backer thread: Committee To Defend the President is another Dan Backer scam PAC, like so many others. (For those unfamiliar with Mr. Backer’s methods, he runs dozens of scam PACs that claim to be raising money for conservative causes and candidates, but somehow the vast majority of the money raised always seems to find it’s way into his pockets, much through “consulting” fees paid to other entities he owns.) That made me wonder how many more Dan Backer scam PACs had sprung up since I last looked. The tell, as usual, is sharing the same address as other Dan Backer scam PACs (203 South Union Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA, 22314).

    And I found even more using an Open Secrets Search.

    So here’s a comprehensive round-up of all the Dan Backer scam PACs and related organizations I’ve found, with the new ones in bold. Some of these are probably defunct.

  • American Defense News
  • Bit PAC
  • The Capitol Foundation: “The Capitol Foundation operates in and around the Greater Washington, DC metro region of DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Our mailing address is: 203 South Union Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. We can be reached at 202-210-5431 or via email at info@TheCapitolFoundation.org.”
  • Citizen Revolt PAC
  • Combat Veterans for Congress PAC (Actual address is in San Diego, and they seem to have sent more money on than the usual Becker PAC, but he’s still listed as Treasurer.)
  • Committee To Defend the President
  • The Committee to Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano for President
  • Conservative Action Fund
  • Conservative America Now
  • Constitutional Rights PAC
  • DB Capitol Strategies, consultancy owned and operated by Dan Backer, and the recipient of lots of his PAC’s “expenditures.”
  • Draft Newt
  • EaglesPAC
  • EndJeb2016.com
  • Finelli PAC
  • Freedom to Carry PAC
  • Freshman Hold’em PAC
  • Gator PAC
  • George Washington Leadership Foundation
  • Grassroots Victory
  • Great America PAC
  • In Flanders Field Fund: Subsidiary of The Capitol Foundation
  • InnovationPAC
  • Liberty USA PAC
  • One Nation PAC
  • Patriots for Economic Freedom
  • Peach Tea PAC
  • Progress Action Fund PAC (PAF PAC)
  • Restore Colorado
  • Revolution PAC
  • Special Operations Speaks
  • Stand With Rand
  • Stop Hillary PAC
  • Stop Pelosi PAC
  • Stop Reckless Economic Instability Caused by Democrats (go by ‘STOP R.E.I.D.’)
  • Stark360 PAC
  • Tea Party Forward
  • The Tea Party Leadership Fund
  • Themis PAC
  • Women Warriors PAC
  • ZetePAC (another Zeta Psi PAC)
  • ZP Action PAC (“ZP Action is in no way affiliated with Zeta Psi Fraternity of N.A. or the Zeta Psi Educational Foundation”)
  • There are too many worthy conservative causes and organizations you could be donating to to ever give anything associated with Dan Backer a dime.

    LinkSwarm for August 4, 2017

    Friday, August 4th, 2017

    Friday! LinkSwarm! The day is already packed, so let’s get this puppy out the door…

  • West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice announced at a rally with President Trump that he’s switching to the Republican Party. Since Trump won West Virginia by over 40 points in 2016, that seems less “smart” than “inevitable.” West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says he’s still staying a Democrat. We’ll see…
  • Do Democrats realize how much trouble they’re in?

    By tomorrow, 164 million Americans will live in the 26 states that are wholly controlled by Republicans, 109 million will live in states where power is shared between the parties, and only 50 million will live in the six states controlled by the Democrats.

    Those who run the Democratic Party spend their time overwhelmingly in Washington, California and New York, and they read the New York Times and the Washington Post. They watch CNN and MSNBC, along with network news. As a result, I am not sure they are fully attuned to how unpopular their party has become in most of America. They may win a tactical victory against President Trump, whose inexperience and personality make him vulnerable. But I suspect that very few voters are responding to the Democrats’ daily assault on the administration by saying, In the next election I am going to change my mind and vote liberal! On the contrary, it may be that the Democrats’ hysterical, unprecedented assault on the president will prove to be a distraction that actually retards their ability to address their party’s long-term decline.

  • Lawyers in DNC Class-Action Suit ‘Perplexed’ by Media Blackout. Press ignores fraud case brought by 2016 Sanders backers against Democrat Party.” How severe a blackout? “A search on Google News for the name of the case in quotes “Wilding v. DNC” yields zero results.” Why, it’s almost as if the MSM considered itself an extension of the Democratic Party… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Trump Has Quietly Accomplished More Than It Appears.” All this liberal and #NeverTrump talk about how the Trump White House is in “chaos” is like someone talking incessantly about what the magician’s right hand is doing while completely ignoring his left… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Media keep overplaying their hand, especially with the Trump/Russia delusion. Even Democrats are getting tired of it…
  • “Trump pushes to sharply cut the number of legal immigrants and move U.S. to a ‘merit-based’ immigration system.” Expect this to be widely popular with the public and DOA with those congressional Republicans still freebasing “comprehensive immigration reform”/illegal alien amnesty…
  • Speaking of that proposal, here White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller delivers a brutal smackdown to CNN’s rude and clueless Jim Acosta, who seems painfully ignorant of the history of the Statue of Liberty.
  • And speaking of people Miller smacked down, he also corrected New York Times’ Glenn Thrush (who you may remember from such movies as I Sought Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Approval on All My Copy About the 2016 Election) that low-skilled immigrants do indeed drive down wages for native workers. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Four Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle clerks charged with making fake IDs for illegal aliens and registering them to vote. Remember: When Democrats tell you there’s no such thing as voter fraud, they’re not only lying, their party is the one committing the fraud. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Illegal alien apprehensions up almost double since President Trump took office. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • Liberals: “We can’t let ICE pick up illegal aliens just because they’re breaking the law!” Ice: “OK, then, we’ll just pick them up at the courthouse.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Putin expels 755 American diplomats in retaliation for new sanctions. If they’re Obama holdovers, that could be a net plus…
  • “Twitter’s “burn rate” has increased in the past year to the point that they’re now losing $38.8 million each month.”
  • The Twitter account of Breitbart London editor in chief Raheem Kassam has been suspended by the platform, just days after he announced the forthcoming publication of his new book on Radical Islam.” The book in question is No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You, due out August 14.
  • “Your boyfriend raped you.” “No he didn’t.” “Shut up and say you were raped. USC knows what’s best.”
  • The rise of the illiberal media:

    We aren’t dealing with a liberal media anymore, but an illiberal media. The liberal media was content to use its institutional power as a megaphone to broadcast its views. But you could debate those views. Actual conservatives were allowed to write columns, and not just as a strategic attack on some element of the GOP the way it is now, and appear on television to offer opinions, and not just as punching bags.

    The liberal media was convinced it would win the argument because it was right.

    The illiberal media isn’t interested in winning an argument, but in silencing the opposition. It doesn’t just want to shout louder than you. It wants to use its institutional power to shut you up.

    This isn’t just a media phenomenon. It’s what happened across the social spectrum when the people we used to call liberals became illiberal leftists. It’s why colleges censor controversial speakers and punish dissenting faculty. It’s why the environmental debate went from scientific discussions to calls to punish, fine and even jail those who question the left’s Luddite alarmism on Global Warming.

    It’s why the debate over gay marriage shifted to punishing Christian bakers and florists, the arguments about Israel tilted to preventing musicians from performing in Tel Aviv and civil rights turned into a call to create “safe spaces” that ban everyone else. Diversity is no longer dressed up as an expansion, but is now explicitly a contraction. Don’t read books by white authors. Don’t hire more men. Kick Jews out of the gay rights rally. Send the IRS after conservative groups. Punch a Trump supporter in the face.

    Nearly every leftist cause these days is expressed by punishing someone. Arguments are won by force. The illiberal totalitarian lurking inside the liberal, as David Horowitz described it, is out of the closet.

  • “A local council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi [Australia] because it could be a terrorist target.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Three months after inauguration, French President Emmanuel Macron is now less popular than President Trump. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Dallas: It’s another attack by a group of people on a single train rider where the racial characteristics of the attacker are clearly visible in the video, but never mentioned
  • Good: Government realizes the Internet-of-Things is deeply insecure. Bad: Trying to pass a law to fix it. That’s like trying to darn a sock with a pipe wrench…
  • “Apple Now Owns $51.5 Billion In Treasurys, More Than Mexico, Turkey Or Norway.”
  • Tam: “How to Carry Concealed In a Purse (If You Must).” (Hat tip: Shall not Be Questioned.)
  • Zero Hedge has another of those the auto industry is doomed pieces, but this time it’s about longevity surpassing demand, not the usual one about off-lease vehicles…
  • MRE reviewed. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Tweet:

  • Man, the pollen is just brutal this time of year.
  • Dukes Plea Deal Expires, Headed for Trial

    Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

    The plea deal for Austin Democratic State Rep. Dawnna Dukes on corruption charges has expired.

    The Travis County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday said its offer to drop all corruption charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, in exchange for her agreeing to resign immediately had expired.

    In a statement sent to The Texas Tribune after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said she’d had no contact from the attorneys for Dukes.

    “The offer to resolve this matter has expired and is no longer available,” Moore said in a statement. “We will be ready for trial.”

    As a part of the deal, Dukes would’ve had to also pay $3,500 in fines and restitution and agree to a drug and alcohol assessment. Dukes has previously denied charges that she had her legislative staff run personal errands and that she was compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol.

    Dukes seems awful confident of beating the rap, especially since her previous legal team bailed:

    On July 25, two of Dukes’ Houston-based lawyers filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, citing an inability to “effectively communicate with the defendant on matters essential to the representation.”

    State Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, put out a statement Tuesday night indicating he was representing Dukes, writing that the 12-term representative rejected the Travis County DA’s proposal because she “strongly reiterates her innocence,” adding that the “inexplicable request that she undergo some drug assessment is absurd.” He said neither Dukes nor her attorneys plan on commenting further.

    Oliveira has been practicing law since 1979, so presumably he knows what he’s doing.

    Maybe Dukes saw that John Wiley Price beat a federal rap and figured she could so the same for the comparatively piddling local charges. Given how quickly DA Margaret Moore was willing to sweep away the cobwebs of the Ronnie Earle/Rosemary Lehmberg era at the DA’s office, she may have miscalculated.

    The trial is currently scheduled to start October 16.

    Carlos Uresti’s Fraud Trial: Turn Down For Watt?

    Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

    Remember Democratic State Senator, the man charged with Carlos Uresti, charged with 11 federal counts of “securities fraud, wire fraud and acting as an unregistered securities broker”? There’s been an odd turn to his case:

    A federal judge disqualified San Antonio attorney Mikal Watts from defending state Sen. Carlos Uresti in a criminal fraud case, saying the lawyer was too conflicted to represent the Democratic lawmaker.

    U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad on Monday granted a request from federal prosecutors to remove Watts, saying the lawyer had a conflict of interest because he previously represented a Harlingen woman identified as a victim in the case against Uresti. Bemporad said the conflict outweighed the senator’s Sixth Amendment right to choose his own legal counsel.

    Snip:

    The lawmaker had various roles with FourWinds, including serving as its lawyer and outside general counsel for a short time in 2014. He also helped recruit investors, including Denise Cantu of Harlingen, a one-time client whom he represented in a lawsuit over the deaths of her two children. The children were killed in 2010 after a rear tire on her Ford Explorer blew out.

    Uresti referred Cantu’s civil case to Watts’ law firm in return for a cut of the legal fees if they prevailed. Watts’ law firm handled numerous defective tire cases. Uresti obtained a $200,000 loan from Watts against fees Uresti expected to receive from Cantu’s settlement, Blackwell said.

    Cantu ultimately received a substantial out-of-court settlement, the bulk of which she invested with FourWinds at Uresti’s suggestion. She lost all but $100,000 of her $900,000 investment. Uresti received a $27,000 commission on her investment. Cantu is identified as “Victim 1” in the indictment.

    Prosecutors allege Uresti had financial difficulties that drove him to to exploit and defraud Cantu, whom they described in a court filing as a “mentally and emotionally vulnerable” client.

    A “quick settlement” was “financially advantageous” for the senator, prosecutors have alleged. Uresti also borrowed $25,000 from Cantu, which he later paid back.

    How many trial lawyers borrow money from their clients? I can’t imagine that this is a normal arrangement. Then again, very few of the transactions between Uresti and Cantu described here seem “normal.”

    At a June 30 hearing, Bemporad ruled that Watts had a conflict of interest because of Watts’ prior representation of Cantu. The judge said the criminal case against Uresti is “substantially related” to Cantu’s wrongful-death case.

    Also note this interesting tidbit: “Uresti already has been billed several hundred thousand dollars for his legal defense by Watts but has not paid for those bills, Watts said.”

    Texas vs. California Update for July 11, 2017

    Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

    Long time no Texas vs. California update. I’ve been busy.

  • California’s descent into socialism:

    In the end, we are witnessing the continuation of an evolving class war, pitting the oligarchs and their political allies against the state’s diminished middle and working classes. It might work politically, as the California electorate itself becomes more dependent on government largesse, but it’s hard to see how the state makes ends meet in the longer run without confiscating the billions now held by the ruling tech oligarchs.

  • Lots of comparisons between California and the rest of the nation. Like: “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits.” And “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
  • All across California, higher pensions equal fewer government services:

    Across California, many local governments have raised taxes while cutting services. Local officials desperate for union support have made irresponsible deals with public employee unions, creating staggering employee costs. Taxpayer money meant to provide essential services to the least well-off instead goes directly to higher salaries and benefits.

    In Santa Barbara County, the 2017-2018 budget calls for laying off nearly 70 employees while dipping into reserve funds. The biggest cuts are to the Department of Social Services, which works to aid low-income families and senior citizens. Meanwhile, $546 million of needed infrastructure improvements go unfunded as Santa Barbara County struggles to pay off $700 million in unfunded pension liabilities. County officials estimate that increasing pension costs may cause hundreds of future layoffs.

    Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County is far from alone. Tuolumne County is issuing layoffs in the face of rising labor and pension costs from previous agreements. In Kern County, a budget shortfall spurred by increased pension costs has led to public safety layoffs, teacher shortages, budget cuts, and the elimination of the Parks and Recreation department, even as Kern County’s unfunded pension liability surpasses $2 billion. In the Santa Ana Unified School District, nearly 300 teachers have been laid off after years of receiving pay raises that made them unaffordable, including a 10% raise in 2015.

    In Riverside County, non-union county employees took the blow for the county’s irresponsible pension deals, as all but one of the 32 employees the county laid off this June were non-union members. This came after contract negotiations granted union employees hundreds of millions of dollars in raises. The Riverside County DA said these raises caused public safety cuts. In addition, Riverside County imposed an extra 1% sales tax to pay for these benefits. Across California, citizens suffer as local governments give away their money while cutting their services.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • That Awkward Moment When Saudi Arabia Is More Pro-American Than California:

    Don’t think I’m going soft on the Saudis. I’ve just not seen a recent image from California where there were this many American flags and none of them were on fire.

    But let’s not forget that we are dealing with a corrupt, degenerate, autocratic state where there is no free speech, where universities are run by fanatics who indoctrinate students with radical ideology; where street thugs aligned with the ruling party freely commit acts of violence against opposing views, and whose ruling elite routinely violates the basic rights of Christians and other minorities. Also, Saudi Arabia is pretty bad too.

  • A piece on California banning public employees from traveling to Texas over various social justice warrior causes. I haven’t met anyone in Texas who doesn’t count that as a win/win situation.
  • The whole thing is an example of California’s Democrat-controlled government favoring virtue signaling over actual governance.

    Whether you agree or disagree with [religious liberty] laws, they don’t seem like any of our state’s business. California passes its share of laws that might offend any number of Nebraskans or North Carolinians, but we don’t see travel bans on official visits to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Federalism is a wonderful thing. Each state gets to pass laws that reflect the values of its voters.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • There was a big, biased piece in New Yorker about Texas politics. Instead of linking to it, I’m going to link to Cahnman’s takedown of it.
  • California pension funds are going broke because math is hard:

    Unlike water deficits, pension deficits compound. As a result, years of healthy investment earnings cannot close pension deficits. Ironically, Walker herself supplies the proof with these two sentences from her op-ed:

    • “[CalPERS’s] investment returns over the last 20 years have averaged 6.7 percent.”
    • “[CalPERS’s] funded ratio [today] is at about 63 percent.”

    Yet CalPERS’s funded ratio 20 years ago was 111 percent! Ie, despite averaging a wonderful 6.7 percent annual return for 20 years, CalPERS’s funded ratio fell 48 percentage points. That’s because pension liabilities compound at high rates.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Illinois at the brink: Parallel should give Californians pause….As in Illinois, the Democrats who control California politics use their power first and foremost to protect the interests of public employee unions — not the poor and powerless. This has created an entrenched pension-protection complex.”
  • Helping Californians move to Texas isn’t just an idea, it’s a business model:

    Paul Chabot was a hard working candidate for Congress in the Redlands area. He lost twice and decided that California was no longer a decent place to raise his family—so he moved to Texas. Now he is organizing conservatives and family people to move to Texas. There is an effort to re-populate that State of New Hampshire—indeed former San Diego Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian moved to the Granite State, along with thousands of other Americas.

    “So Chabot has found a new pursuit. Last week, he launched the website Conservative Move. It’s a business aimed at helping people leave blue states like California and move places where they might be a little more comfortable — like North Texas, where Chabot and his family moved in January.

    “The purpose of this organization is to help other families create an opportunity where we didn’t have much guidance,” Chabot says.

    After the election, Chabot searched for a community that appeared to uphold the values that he and his family held dear, like safe streets and good schools. Eventually, they decided on McKinney, Texas, a city about 40 miles north of Dallas with a population around 150,000.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Missed this for the last Texas vs. California update:

    On Tuesday, May 6th, Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, who are more concerned with the needs of parents, kids and taxpayers than stoking the bureaucracy and complying with teacher union diktats, were elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Reformers are now the majority of the seven member governing body in America’s second largest city.

    Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needs a major shake-up, including a call for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, which includes a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and healthcare obligations. In December, LAUSD Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly told the school board that the district may not be able to meet its financial obligations in the future because it faces a cumulative deficit of $1.46 billion through the 2018-2019 school year. While that dollar amount has been disputed in some quarters, there’s no doubt that the district is facing a budgetary crisis. It’s also no secret that an abysmal graduation rate (pumped up with the help of fake “credit recovery” classes) and shrinking enrollment have taken a serious toll on LAUSD. Also, in 2015, only one in five 4th-grade students in Los Angeles performed at or above “proficient” in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

    Needless to say, anything that bodes well for parents and taxpayers will rankle the teachers unions, and the LA school board race was certainly no exception. Not only did the young Turks (Melvoin is 31 and Gonez 28.), defeat the unions’ candidates, they raised more money – in Melvoin’s case far more – than their opponents. This was a rare occurrence, because historically teachers unions have greatly outspent their opponents to get their candidates elected, especially in high-profile elections. But this time the unions could not compete with the likes of philanthropist Eli Broad who donated $450,000 to the campaign and former LA Mayor Richard Riordan who contributed over $2 million. Additionally, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated nearly $7 million since last September to CCSA Advocates (the political wing of the California Charter School Association), which spent almost $3 million on the board election.

    On the union side the United Teachers Los Angeles was the big spender, pitching in about $4.13 million, according to city filings. But much of this money came from the UTLA’s national partners. The American Federation of Teachers gave UTLA $1.2 million and National Education Association, $700,000.

  • More on the same subject. “Melvoin, especially, was vocal in his campaign that the school district needed a major shakeup, calling for more charter schools. He also stressed the need for fiscal reform, including a reworking of the district’s out-of-control pension and health-care obligations.”
  • California teacher who was laid off shortly after winning her school’s Teacher of the Year award takes her union to court:

    Bhavini Bhakta never intended to become an activist, but after being laid off six times in the first eight years of her career as an elementary school teacher in the Pasadena suburbs, she decided to get involved in the education reform movement. She focused first on challenging seniority-based layoffs, which in turn led her into conflict with the California Teachers Association. Now she is a plaintiff in Bain v. CTA, a case which challenges the dues structure of unions as a violation of the First Amendment. The suit seeks to restore voting rights on union matters to agency fee payers, who pay full dues for representational activities but opt out of paying for lobbying and political activities.

    “The state union forcibly takes our money and uses it to misrepresent us. They’re not serving the teachers on the ground,” she said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re using my money for their own purposes.”

  • Tenure reform is the only big education reform under debate in California this year.
  • Back in May: ICE Nabs 188 In LA During 5-Day Operation. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Soros-Linked Groups Behind California Ban on Detaining Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California uses one credit card to pay off another. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Amid Funding Shortfall, Santa Ana Raises Median Police Compensation Above $213,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California Democrats receive death threats for daring to point out that single-payer socialized medicine bill is pie-in-the-sky malarkey without a funding mechanism.
  • Let California try single payer…and deal with the consequences.
  • So how’s that minimum wage hike working out? At least 60 restaurants around the Bay Area had closed since September.
  • San Francisco has a staggering $5.8 billion pension liability, and a series of retroactive benefit increases approved by voters over a dozen years is largely to blame.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California farmer facing a $2.8 million fine for plowing his own field. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • California voters pass legislative transparency measure. California’s Democratic legislators ignore it. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Committing felonies on the job is no reason to give up your cushy pension:

    Mark Peterson, the Contra Costa district attorney forced to resign as part of a felony perjury conviction, cut a sweet plea deal with state prosecutors allowing him to keep most of his pension.

    The deal will probably let him walk away with starting annual retirement payments of about $128,000 in addition to Social Security benefits. That’s because he pleaded no contest to only the most recent of 13 felony counts stemming from his illegal tapping of campaign funds for personal use.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California Democrats Want Data on Lobbyists’ Race, Sexual Orientation.” Social justice Warriors wanting to milk the graft cash cow? Get the popcorn!
  • San Francisco to pay illegal alien $190,000 for violating their own sanctuary city policy. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • Just how big is Houston? Take a look at these overlay maps.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrates the opening of Toyota’s American headquarters in Plano:

    Today we celebrate another milestone marking the incredible momentum of Texas’ continuing economic expansion. Toyota Motor North America joins Hulu, Jacobs Engineering, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kubota, Jamba Juice, Sabre and many other innovative industry leaders who have decided to go big in Texas.

    Our greatest natural resource in the Lone Star State is the hardworking people of Texas. And that work ethic draws global leaders like Toyota to Texas every day. With the second-largest workforce in the nation at more than 13 million strong, Texas continues to be a national leader in job creation. In fact, more Texans have jobs today than ever before, even as more people are moving here every year from states that overtax and overregulate.

  • Why Texas is so attractive for business relocation:

    During his latter years in office as Texas governor, Rick Perry made it a priority to lure businesses to the state, particularly from California. Two-and-a-half years into the term of Gov. Greg Abbott, the successor to Perry, the pace of corporate relocations to the Lone Star State shows no signs of slowing down.

    Much has been written about the state’s business-friendly environment. Most businesses in Texas that aren’t sole proprietorships or partnerships pay a 1 percent or lower “franchise tax,” in lieu of a traditional corporate income tax. In addition, the state’s governing bodies tend to favor minimal regulations and sponsor research and development initiatives.

    The state’s economy is healthy, evident by strong employment growth. The Texas Workforce Commission reports a net gain of 210,000 jobs across the state in 2016, and employers are projected to add another 225,000 jobs in 2017.

    Equally important to strong job growth is the quality of life that employees are promised upon relocating.

    According to Robert Allen, president of the Texas Economic Development Corp., the lifestyle element is perhaps the most common incentive for moving to Texas among executives and employees alike.

    “When we ask executives why they’re moving to Texas, what we hear is that providing a high quality of life for their workforces is number one on their lists,” says Allen.

    “Employees back that claim up. They’re able to buy larger houses, keep more of their incomes, send their kids to good schools and live in safe neighborhoods. This makes it easier for employees to take a leap of faith,” he adds.

    Texas has no personal income tax. Its education system currently ranks 21st based on a state-by-state study by wallethub.com, a credit scoring and reporting site. The study considers factors such as average SAT/ACT score, dropout rates, student-teacher ratios, graduation rate for low-income students and remote-learning opportunities within online public schools. The Huffington Post also notes that Texas has the fourth-highest graduation rate in the country, despite its ever-growing population and high percentage of non-native-English-speaking students.

    And according to a recent study from the NYU School of Law, while violent crime rates are rising in urban areas throughout the country, they’re holding steady in Texas. The state’s murder rate falls in the middle of the pack despite it being a national leader in population growth.

  • And Californians are still flocking to Texas.
  • Los Angeles, San Francisco homeless woes worsen despite funding boosts.”
  • “Federal judge blocks California ban on high-capacity magazines.” Note that’s not just a sale ban: “The law would have barred people from possessing magazines containing more than 10 bullets.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A former Diablo Valley College professor was arrested Wednesday in connection with the use of a bike lock in the beating of three people during a rally for President Donald Trump last month, police said Thursday.” I guess that’s the “high road” liberals keep talking about… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Bonus: He was tracked down by 4Chan, who are supposedly working on a face database of Antifa members.
  • Student Agreed to Orgy, But Later Called It Sexual Assault, Lawsuit Claims. Judge says that University of California, Santa Barbara, may have denied accused male student due process.”
  • “San Francisco supervisor Norman Yee recently proposed legislation that would prohibit autonomous delivery robots – which includes those with a remote human operator – on public streets in the city.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)