Archive for the ‘Waste and Fraud’ Category

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.)
  • LinkSwarm for June 30, 2017

    Friday, June 30th, 2017

    The year is half over! Donald Trump has been the 45th President of the United States of America for over five months, and liberals still haven’t stopped freaking out about it.

  • It’s Obamacare that’s killing people, and just two classes of states are showing any immunity. Deaths from opiate overdoses are on the rise across the country, except in states that either legalized marijuana or declined Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.”
  • President Trump this morning: Repeal ObamaCare now, replace it later. Which is pretty much what Republicans have been campaigning on for the last six years
  • Ted Cruz may kill the ObamaCare mandate.
  • Lying with numbers: CBO estimates 18 million people will be covered by ObamaCare in 2017. Actual number enrolled at the end of 2016: 9.1 million. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Maxine Waters Says 700 Billion People Are About to Lose Their Healthcare.”
  • “Anthem Inc.’s decision to quit offering Obamacare plans in much of Nevada will leave large parts of the state without options on the health law’s exchanges.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The House Democrats IT scandal just keeps getting weirder:

    Multiple members of Congress hired as their information technology (IT) administrator an individual whose most recent job experience was being fired from McDonald’s, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

    Spokesmen for the members won’t say what their bosses knew at the time, but the hiring decisions highlight the role — witting or unwitting — the representatives played in what turned out to be an alleged multi-million-dollar IT scam in Congress with serious implications for national security.

    Soon after Imran Awan joined the staff of Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2005, his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina, and his brother’s wife Natalia all appeared on other members’ payrolls, supposedly as IT administrators. His best friend Rao Abbas landed on the payroll too. Most of them made salaries ordinarily only chiefs of staff earn, but they were rarely seen or heard from in Hill IT circles.

    The crew is now the target of a U.S. Capitol Police criminal information security probe with assistance from other law enforcement agencies as needed. Politico reported the “House staffers are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.”

    By my count, the unqualified members of Imran Awan’s circle (who frequently failed to even show up for work) could read the emails of the 31 different House Democrats…

  • Postscript on the Georgia 6th Congressional District special election: Jon Ossoff actually got fewer votes than the ghost candidate that ran in 2016:

    One good reason why Tom Price beat his last opponent by 23 points was that his last opponent was functionally indistinguishable from a corpse or a bag of lettuce. [Democratic candidate Rodney] Stooksbury spent precisely $0 on his campaign and has never been seen in public. Jon Ossoff had the entire national Democratic Party pulling out the stops for him, and flooded Atlanta television with ten million dollars in advertising. Drastically improving on the Stooksbury numbers should be no dazzling feat. (Although, somewhat hilariously, Stooksbury actually got more total votes than Ossoff, 124,917 to Ossoff’s 124,893. Granted, special elections have lower turnout, but good grief.)

    Ghost workers in the House, ghost candidates on the ballot. Your modern Democratic Party, ladies and gentlemen… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Speaking of the modern Democratic Party: Members of the all-Democratic City Council in White Plains, New York selected party chairwoman Elizabeth Shollenberger for a plum six-figure judicial seat. Tiny problem: She’s too morbidly obese to perform her duties. If ever there was a metaphor for Democratic-run government…
  • Democrat Seth Williams, former Philadelphia District Attorney, has resigned as part of a bribery plea deal. “In addition to accepting that he could face a maximum five-year term when he is sentenced, Williams agreed to forfeit $64,878.22.” Part of the plea deal was pleading guilty to one count of bribery so he could skate on the other 28…
  • Democrats and the national media sure put the Scalise shooting behind them quickly so they could get back to saying Republicans want to kill you:

    Less than 48 hours after a multiple assassination attempt on members of Congress, there were no media vans or cameras at the Alexandria baseball field where it occurred. Just for perspective, when Republican staffer Elizabeth Lauten committed the offense of writing something critical of President Obama’s daughters on her private Facebook page, news cameras were camped on her parents’ lawn staking her out for the better part of a week.

  • The Islamic State is close to defeat in Mosul and being driven out of Iraq:

    Col. Ryan Dillon, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said that Iraqi forces on Thursday cut a wedge in the middle of the area held by Islamic State, seizing the Nouri mosque and cornering the few hundred remaining fighters in half of Mosul’s Old City on one side, and an area around a hospital that has been a stronghold for the group on the other side.

    Col. Dillon predicted that the fighting would be over in a matter of days and that it would then take time to fully clear the areas the Islamic State holdouts.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • Also, all Islamic State escape routes from Raqqa are now blocked off. (Hat tip: Prairie Pundit.)
  • “Since Donald Trump was elected I have seen a spate of local news stories about companies building, expanding, or investing in manufacturing plants within a 50 mile radius of Chattanooga.”
  • Based on the evidence, everything the experts know seems to be wrong, at least if those “experts” are in the news media.
  • Third Project Veritas CNN video drops. Jimmy Carr, Associate Producer for CNN’s New Day, calls American voters “stupid as shit.”
  • Have those CNN videos finally gotten the MSM to give up on their Russia fantasy?
  • House passes two border control bills. “One is known as Kate’s Law that increases penalties for illegal immigrants who keep trying to re-enter the United States, especially those who have criminal records. The second denies federal grants to sanctuary cities.”
  • Three gay Jews asked leave the “2017 Dyke March Chicago” because their Jewish pride flag bore the Star of David. “If the Star of David makes you feel unsafe, there’s a word for that …”
  • More on the same theme:

    Intersectionality functions as kind of caste system, in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Victimhood, in the intersectional way of seeing the world, is akin to sainthood; power and privilege are profane.

    By that hierarchy, you might imagine that the Jewish people — enduring yet another wave of anti-Semitism here and abroad — should be registered as victims. Not quite.

    Why? Largely because of Israel, the Jewish state, which today’s progressives see only as a vehicle for oppression of the Palestinians — no matter that Israel has repeatedly sought to meet Palestinian claims with peaceful compromise, and no matter that progressives hold no other country to the same standard. China may brutalize Buddhists in Tibet and Muslims in Xinjiang, while denying basic rights to the rest of its 1.3 billion citizens, but “woke” activists pushing intersectionality keep mum on all that.

    One of the women who was asked to leave the Dyke March, an Iranian Jew named Eleanor Shoshany-Anderson, couldn’t understand why she was kicked out of an event that billed itself as intersectional. “The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional,” she said. “I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I felt that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”

    She isn’t. Because though intersectionality cloaks itself in the garb of humanism, it takes a Manichaean view of life in which there can only be oppressors and oppressed. To be a Jewish dyke, let alone one who deigns to support Israel, is a categorical impossibility, oppressor and oppressed in the same person.

  • Progressive urban policies make life harder for the working class. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • President Trump nominates former Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as the next NATO ambassador. Not my favorite Texas Republican Senator by a long shot, but I fail to see how she would be unqualified for this role.
  • 100-year-old crime boss beats the odds, is released from prison.”
  • Lawyer who committed $600 million in Social Security fraud has evidently skipped the country, claims to be broke. Sure, sport…
  • Label drops Austin band Dream Machine for WrongThink. Including a legal immigrant who was critical of illegal aliens:

    Doris Melton, who came to the United States from Bosnia told the website she was “glad they’re finally starting to work on deporting criminal illegal aliens too. It took ages for me to get my green card here legally and because there’s so many illegals coming in they make it hard for the people who do want to become part of American society the right way. They’re handing out free money to people who come here illegally, but when you want to work hard to become an American citizen to start a family they make it so hard on you, and expensive!”

    Later in the interview, Doris Melton was asked to name something that bothers her about the music industry. She responded by saying “girls have mostly become lazy jellyfish and are starting these horrible feminist bands just to try and ‘show men what they got’.”

    She went on to say, “The safe space mentality has made them weak. They don’t even know how to play their instruments! They’ll make songs about being ‘sexually assaulted’ or about how ’empowering’ abortions are or some (expletive) and it’s (expletive) retarded, they’re embarrassing themselves. If men did that they would be crucified! You see the longing for a gender supremacy under the guise of ‘equal rights.’ What happened to the incredible female singers from back in the day with real talent, singing about finding true love and wanting to be a good woman?”

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

  • Sarah Palin sues the New York Times for defamation over their claim that she “incited Jared Loughner” to murder people.
  • New York Times staffers rebel against cutbacks. Hey, when you alienate half of your potential audience, a Mexican billionaire’s largess only goes so far…
  • “Wrestling’s new villain named himself ‘Progressive Liberal.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • I have no idea how this happened:

    I don’t recall getting into a Twitter tiff with John Cusack, and I’ve liked most of the Cusack films I’ve seen (Being John Malkovich, Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity). I even had mostly kind things to say about him in 1408. I assume he must be using one of those autoblockbot things to avoid running into #WrongThink…

  • You know you suck when Phil Donahue tells you to stop being such a pussy.
  • Methhead with nine prior felony convictions given life for evidence tampering. Previous convictions include manslaughter of an Arizona State Trooper and engaging in a “deviant sex act involving a squash.” And then there’s the creepy stuff…
  • “A BBC investigation found fecal bacteria in iced drinks from Starbucks and 2 other chains.” Is this a Starbucks problem, or a UK water quality problem? (Hat tip: Todd Kincannon’s Gab feed.)
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz Just As Good at Cybersecurity as at Running the DNC

    Thursday, May 25th, 2017

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz has long been the gift that keeps giving for Republicans. Her tenure at the top of the DNC saw dramatic declines Democratic Party officeholder at a time when Obama was still (theoretically) personally popular. Now her incompetence may be endangering not just the Democratic Party, but American security.

    Remember earlier this year when three Pakistani brothers (Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan) who managed office IT for Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computer networks without permission?

    Refresher:

    Jamal handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.

    “As of 2/2, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch told TheDCNF Friday.

    Jamal also worked for Louisiana Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.

    Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, and Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Carson and Speier are members of the intelligence committee. Spokesmen for Carson and Speier did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comments. Imran also worked for the House office of Wasserman-Schultz.

    Then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, employed Abid for IT work in 2016. She was a member of House committees dealing with the armed services, oversight, and Benghazi. Duckworth was elected to the Senate in November, 2016. Abid has a prior criminal record and a bankruptcy.

    Abid also worked for Rep. Lois Frankel, a Florida Democrat who is member of the foreign affairs committee.

    Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was previously the target of a disastrous email hack when she served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

    In addition to the brothers Awam, two more staffers, Hina Alvi (Imran Awan’s wife, who worked for Rep. Gregory Meeks (Democrat, New York) and Rao Abbas, were also fired. “The five current and former House staffers are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.”

    (Though reports often list five members, Natalia Sova, another Awan wife, also worked as a staffer.)

    So when they were accused of stealing and improperly accessing information, they were fired, right? No. Because they were Muslims:

    Meeks said he was hesitant to believe the accusations against Alvi, Imran Awan and the three other staffers, saying their background as Muslim Americans, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.

    “I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is entitled to due process,” Meeks said.

    “They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.”

    [Rep. Marcia] Fudge [Democrat, Ohio] told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received “due process.”

    “He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don’t fire someone until you talk to them,” Fudge said.

    On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn’t provide details about Imran Awan’s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge’s office as of Tuesday afternoon.

    The bottom line is simple – these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism.

    Then it came to light that “House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.” Turns out that the Awan brothers were incompetent at their jobs, but House Democrats refused to fire them or consider cheaper employees.

    Also this: “Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.”

    More on that lovely individual the Awan brothers do business with:

    The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has reported that while working for Congress, the Pakistani brothers controlled a limited liability corporation called Cars International A (CIA), a car dealership with odd finances, which took–and was unable to repay–a $100,000 loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar.

    Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote that Attar “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012–shortly after the loan was made. Attar has also been accused of helping provoke the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a leader of Iraqi dissidents opposed to Saddam Hussein.

    After moving to the U.S., Attar made his money practicing medicine in Maryland and Virginia and defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies by billing for non-existent medical procedures. The FBI raided his offices in 2009 and the Department of Health and Human Services sued his business partner in 2011.

    Attar was indicted in March 2012 on separate tax fraud charges after the IRS and FBI found he used multiple bank accounts to hide income. He fled back to Iraq to avoid prison.

    “He’s a fugitive. I am not aware of any extradition treaty with Iraq,”

    Then the story of the Awan brothers’ security breech took yet another strange turn:

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for holding equipment that she says belongs to her in order to build a criminal case against a Pakistani staffer suspected of massive cybersecurity breaches involving funneling sensitive congressional data offsite.

    The Florida lawmaker used her position on the committee that sets the police force’s budget to press its chief to relinquish the piece of evidence Thursday, in what could be considered using her authority to attempt to interfere with a criminal investigation.

    The Capitol Police and outside agencies are pursuing Imran Awan, who has run technology for the Florida lawmaker since 2005 and was banned from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft.

    “My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate Members’ equipment when the Member is not under investigation,” Wasserman Schultz said in the annual police budget hearing of the House Committee On Appropriations’ Legislative Branch Subcommittee.

    “We can’t return the equipment,” Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa told the Florida Democrat.

    “I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences,” Wasserman Schultz said.

    As one of eight members of the Committee on Appropriations’ Legislative Branch subcommittee, Wasserman Schultz is in charge of the budget of the police force that is investigating her staffer and how he managed to extract so much money and information from members.

    In a highly unusual exchange, the Florida lawmaker uses a hearing on the Capitol Police’s annual budget to spend three minutes repeatedly trying to extract a promise from the chief that he will return a piece of evidence being used to build an active case.

    “If a Member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member’s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no?” she said.

    Police tell her it is important to “an ongoing investigation,” but presses for its return anyway.

    The investigation is examining members’ data leaving the network and how Awan managed to get Members to place three relatives and a friend into largely no-show positions on their payrolls, billing $4 million since 2010.

    The congresswoman characterizes the evidence as “belonging” to her and argues that therefore it cannot be seized unless Capitol Police tell her that she personally, as opposed to her staffer, is a target of the investigation.

    When TheDCNF asked Wasserman Schultz Monday if it could inquire about her strong desire for the laptop, she said “No, you may not.” After TheDCNF asked why she wouldn’t want the Capitol Police to have any evidence they may need to find and punish any hackers of government information, she abruptly turned around in the middle of a stairwell and retreated back to the office from which she had come.

    Very curious indeed.

    It seems that Wasserman Schultz (and very possibly other Democratic congressmen) would prefer to see American intelligence compromised rather than have embarrassing personal information revealed. One wonders if the dismissed staffers were conveying information to overseas jihadis, or if they had incriminating information on any of the DNC, Obama or Hillary Clinton scandals so much in the news.

    Stay tuned…

    Texas vs. California Update for May 22, 2017

    Monday, May 22nd, 2017

    We’re in the home stretch of hammering out the Texas biannual state budget, which has to be completed by May 29. Until then, enjoy another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Texas is once again ranked the best state for business, while California is ranked the worst. (Hat tip: Will Franklin’s Twitter feed.)
  • California’s big-government model eats its young:

    In this era of anti-Trump resistance, many progressives see California as a model of enlightenment. The Golden State’s post-2010 recovery has won plaudits in the progressive press from the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others. Yet if one looks at the effects of the state’s policies on key Democratic constituencies— millennials, minorities, and the poor—the picture is dismal. A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.

    California is home to 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged” cities, based on poverty and unemployment levels. The population of these cities totals more than 12 million. In his new book on the nation’s urban crisis, author Richard Florida ranks three California metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego— among the five most unequal in the nation. California, with housing prices 230 percent above the national average, is home to many of the nation’s most unaffordable urban areas, including not only the predictably expensive large metros but also smaller cities such as Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. Unsurprisingly, the state’s middle class is disappearing the fastest of any state.

    California’s young population is particularly challenged. As we spell out in our new report from Chapman University and the California Association of Realtors, California has the third-lowest percentage of people aged 25 to 34 who own their own homes—only New York and Hawaii’s are lower. In San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the 25-to-34 homeownership rates range from 19.6 percent to 22.6 percent—40 percent or more below the national average.

  • California continues to slouch toward socialized medicine. “California’s current system relies in large part on employer-sponsored insurance, which is still the source of health care coverage for tens of millions of people. That coverage would disappear under SB 562. Instead of receiving coverage financed by their employers, working Californians would see a tax increase of well over $10,000 per year for many middle-income families.” (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • “If you live in California, have a job and pay taxes Governor Jerry Brown would like you to know that you’re a freeloader and he’s tired of your complaining.”
  • “Congratulations, California. You keep electing these same Democrats over and over again. and then you act surprised when they make you one of the most heavily taxed populations in the country. And when you finally raise your voices to protest the out of control taxation and spending, the state party’s titular leader is brazen enough to come straight out and tell you what he really thinks of you.”
  • Has the Democrats latest gas tax hike created an actual tax revolt in California? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • One lawmaker is the target of a recall petition over the tax hike: “Perceived as the most vulnerable of the legislative Democrats who passed Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas and vehicle tax package by a razor-thin margin, freshman state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, faced an intensifying campaign to turn him out of office, potentially depriving his party of the two-thirds majority that allowed them to pass Brown’s infrastructure bill in the first place.”
  • Vance Ginn’s monthly summary of Texas economic data. Lot’s of data, including the fact that all major Texas cities created jobs in 2016 except Houston, which was down just a smidge.
  • San Bernardino could go bankrupt again.
  • Buying a house in Southern California is insane. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • California starts selling bonds for the doomed “high speed rail.”
  • 40-60 “youth” flash mob robs passengers on Oakland BART train. The complete absence of descriptions or pictures cues the astute modern American reader in to the ethnic makeup of the mob. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Gov. Jerry Brown and state Treasurer John Chiang have a plan to help cover the state’s soaring pension payments: Borrow money at low interest rates and invest it to make a profit. What could go wrong?” I can see it now: “Come on seven! Baby needs a new High Speed Rail!” Also this: “The problem was exacerbated because Brown’s so-called pension “reform” of 2012 failed to significantly rein in retirement costs. Statewide pension debt has increased 36 percent since his changes took effect.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Riverside utilities dispatcher triples salary to nearly $400,000 with state’s 10th largest overtime payout.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • And speaking of California public employees working overtime:

    The time cards Oakland city worker Kenny Lau turned in last year paint a stunning, if not improbable, picture of one man’s work ethic.

    Lau, a civil engineer, often started his days at 10 a.m. and clocked out at 4 a.m., only to get back to work at 10 a.m. for another marathon day. He never took a sick day. He worked every weekend and took no vacation days.

    He worked every holiday, including the most popular ones that shut down much of the nation’s businesses: 12 hours on Thanksgiving and eight hours on Christmas.

    In fact, his time cards show he worked all 366 days of the leap year, at times putting in 90-plus-hour workweeks. He worked so much that he quadrupled his salary. His regular compensation and overtime pay — including benefits, $485,275 — made him the city’s highest-paid worker and the fourth-highest overtime earner of California public employees in 2016.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District has decided it can break federal immigration laws at will. “No immigration officers will be allowed on campus without clearance from the superintendent of schools, who will consult with district lawyers. Until that happens, they won’t be let in, even if they arrive with a legally valid subpoena.” There’s no way such a genius decision could possibly backfire on them… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How California hurts the poor by jacking up traffic fines. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “San Diego using loophole to hand out large raises during pay freeze.” It’s a blatant attempt to evade Proposition B.
  • An auditor funds the University of California President’s office of Janet Napolitano had a secret slush fund:
    • The Office of the President has accumulated more than $175 million in undisclosed restricted and discretionary reserves;
      as of fiscal year 2015–16, it had $83 million in its restricted reserve and $92 million in its discretionary reserve.

    • More than one-third of its discretionary reserve, or $32 million, came from unspent funds from the campus assessment—an annual charge that the Office of the President levies on campuses to fund the majority of its discretionary operations.
    • In certain years, the Office of the President requested and received approval from the Board of Regents (regents) to
      increase the campus assessment even though it had not spent all of the funds it received from campuses in prior years.

    • The Office of the President did not disclose the reserves it had accumulated, nor did it inform the regents of the annual undisclosed budget that it created to spend some of those funds. The undisclosed budget ranged from $77 million to
      $114 million during the four years we reviewed.

    • The Office of the President was unable to provide a complete listing of the systemwide initiatives, their costs, or an assessment of their continued benefit to the university.
    • While it appears that the Office of the President’s administrative spending increased by 28 percent, or $80 million, from fiscal years 2012–13 through 2015–16, the Office of the President continues to lack consistent definitions of and methods for tracking the university’s administrative expenses.

    An Ex-Obama Administration official with a secret slush fund? What are the odds?

  • Texas continues to attract net in-migration from every region.
  • California wants to tax rockets launched from California into orbit, based on miles traveled away from California. I’m sure many of Texas own spaceflight companies will welcome any business California drives out…
  • Speaking of spaceflight, Elon Musk’s Space X, just like Telsa, is more emblematic of subsidies and special favors than the free market:

    Tesla survives on the back of hefty subsidies paid for by hard-working Americans just barely getting by so that a select few can drive flashy, expensive electric sports cars. These subsidies were originally scheduled to expire later this year, and Tesla is lobbying hard to make sure that taxpayers continue to pay $7,500 per car or more to fund their business model. Tesla even tried to force taxpayers to pay for charging stations that would primarily benefit their business. That is not what Musk’s high priced image managers will tell you, but it’s the truth.

    SpaceX is even worse — its business model isn’t to invest its money developing competing space products that meet the same safety and reliability standards as the rest of the industry. Instead, its business model is to get billions in taxpayer money and push, bend, and demand regulatory special favors. Then, it produces a rocket that is more known for failed launches, long delays, and consistently missed deadlines.

  • How California’s air emission rules went to far.
  • “California may end ban on communists in government jobs.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Bachrach Clothing Stores File for Bankruptcy Protection in Los Angeles.”
  • “California solar installer HelioPower filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada.”
  • Hudson Products relocating from Tulsa to Rosenberg, Texas.
  • “Bay Area bookseller Bill Petrocelli is filing a lawsuit against the state of California, hoping to force a repeal of the state’s controversial ‘Autograph Law.’ The law, booksellers claim, threatens to bury bookstore author signings under red tape and potential liabilities. Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, filed Passage v. Becerra in U.S. District Court for the North District of California, pitting the bookstore against California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra.” As a bookseller on the side, I can tell you that California’s law is particularly asinine and is completely ignorant of the signed book trade.
  • LinkSwarm for May 12, 2017

    Friday, May 12th, 2017

    Lots of border control news at the top of today’s LinkSwarm:

  • “According to figures released yesterday, the number of illegal aliens crossing the U.S. southwestern border has dropped by an astonishing 76% since President Trump took office.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Authorities Arrest 1,378 in ICE-Led Operation Targeting Gangs.” More: “The majority, 955, of those arrested were U.S. citizens, while 445 were foreign nationals from around the world.” Also: Three were Obama’s “Dreamers.”
  • “If the Trump administration is serious about controlling illegal immigration and illegal alien driven crime, it should begin by going after employers who hire illegal aliens. The move would not only help to prevent the exploitation of illegal immigrants, but it would also help to foster higher-paying jobs for American workers.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Maryland Democrats shocked, shocked to discover that legal immigrants who followed the rules aren’t wild about sanctuary city BS for illegal aliens. (Hat tip: Louder With Crowder via The Other McCain.)
  • “James Clapper: Still no evidence of any Russian collusion with Trump campaign.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • From the House to the Big House: Former Florida Democratic Representative Corrine Brown was found guilty on fraud and tax evasion charges.
  • Democrats had a real shot at winning the Omaha Mayor’s race…until the DNC came in and pulled all support to punish pro-life heresy.
  • “Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has announced that it will exit all Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018 after experiencing massive losses in 2016 and 2017.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • On the Democratic Party’s civil war:

    If Obama is really responsible for Democrat losses, then the party and its donors just bought first class seats on the Titanic. That’s why Democrat autopsies of the defeat remain so explosive. Blame can be apportioned to white people, to racism, Islamophobia and to Global Warming, but not to Barack Obama.

    Keith Ellison was the best messenger Sanders had to take a shot at Barry. Black loyalty to Obama is still the third rail of politics. And Ellison is one of the few black people in the Sanders inner circle. Obama’s pricey Wall Street speech offered the opportunity for a more direct attack from Bernie Sanders.

    “I just think it is distasteful,” Bernie slurred on CNN. “At a time when we have so much income and wealth inequality … it just does not look good.”

    The attack went to the heart of his differences with Obama. Unlike the Clinton era, the split is no longer between the left and the radical left. Obama and Sanders are both representatives of the radical left.

    But they don’t represent the same radical left.

    Bernie embodies the old left. Its mantra is class warfare. There is a great deal of talk about billionaires, working people and the ruling class. Obama pays lip service to that same rhetoric, but his is the program of the intersectional left. The intersectional left is far more interested in identity than class. It defines its organization around a coalition of racial, sexual and other minorities. Where Bernie wants to talk to the working class, the intersectional left wants to hear from transgender Muslim women of color.

    The differences aren’t just intellectual. They define the tactics and agenda of the Democrats.

    When Tom Perez, Obama’s DNC boss, recently read pro-life Democrats out of the party, he was following the Obama blueprint. Bernie meanwhile went on campaigning for a somewhat pro-life Dem. Bernie does not really care about abortion, gay rights, transgender bathrooms and the social issues of the intersectional left. The old Socialist follows the older slogan of the hard left. No war, but class war.

    Snip.

    Democrats and the left had long ago replaced pure class warfare with identity politics warfare. Intersectionality entirely displaced and demonized the old Dem white working class base.

    And the Dems paid the price.

    Obama’s reign torched most of the last of that white working class base. Trump’s victories would not have been possible if the Dems had not become a party of wealthy bicoastal urban and suburban elites who were out of touch with the South and the Rust Belt. And who were proud to be out of touch with a bunch of “ignorant racist, sexist homophobes” still “clinging to their guns and religion”.

    The clash between Bernie and Obama is also over the autopsy of Hillary’s defeat. Did the Dems lose because they failed to turn out the base as effectively as Obama had or because former Obama voters had come out for Trump? Should the Dems try to appeal to working class whites with a class warfare pitch or work harder to turn out the intersectional coalitions of minority voters?

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • The U.S. is arming Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State despite Turkish opposition. Good. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • 10% of French voters turn up at polls only to spoil their ballot in disgust.
  • Mark Steyn covers the French election:

    The French have voted to postpone their rendezvous with destiny. But kicking the croissant down the road means another half-decade of demographic transformation that lengthens the odds against ever winning the numbers to halt it….

    Yet the fact is that, with the arrival of President Macron in the charmed circle, the leaders of Europe’s biggest economies and of all the European members of the G7 are childless: Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May, Italy’s Paolo Gentiloni, and now France’s Macron.

    This would have been not just statistically improbable but all but impossible for most of human history. Whatever Euro-politics is about, it’s not, as Bill Clinton was wont to say, the future of all our children. Indeed, of the six founding members of the European Union – France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg – five are led by childless prime ministers: joining Merkel, Gentiloni and Macron at the no-need-for-daycare Euro-summit are the Dutch PM Mark Rutte and the Luxemburger Xavier Bettel. Mark Rutte is single and childless. Xavier Bettel of Lux is married, but gay and, hélas, for the moment without progeny….

    That’s the demographics of Western Europe writ small. The Eurocrats are a Continental version of the Shakers: They’re apparently forbidden to breed, and can only increase their numbers through conversion. From Nice to Cologne to Rosengård, a significant proportion of New Europeans seem to think that, au contraire, they’ll be the ones doing the converting.

  • Sally Yates was the real blackmailer.”
  • Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto wants choose senators based on diversity rather than all those annoying elections. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Canada arrests 104 men on child sex trafficking charges. The Other McCain notices a certain pattern to the names of those arrested that will be familiar to those that followed the Rotherham child sex trafficking scandal:

    Suresh Patel, 49; Muhammad Jaffer, 22; Muhammad Sarchami, 31; Hernando Carvajal, 29; Intekhab Shaikh, 42; Sakhi Alekozai, 29; Shamim Abowath, 54; Ruchir Shah, 34; Nima Latifpour, 25; Sanjay Ninan, 42; Jaipal Sidhu, 26; Adeniran Adekola, 33; Ming Wong, 39; Zan He, 33; Segundo Fernandez, 54; Anpalagan Kanapathipillai, 39; Navaneetharan Packianathan, 25; Rajorshi Bhaumik, 34; Miguel Feliciano, 38; Virushan Premanathan, 25; Suhayl Rajan, 24; Sivanesan Veerasingam, 50; Jamshid Jalilian, 25; Zhi Situ, 22; Tejash Patel, 33; Quang Tran, 37; Ravikumar Ghandhi, 31; Ahmad Hassan, 21; Anshu Manocha, 33; Sivaratnam Sinnappillai, 39; Naidu Matas, 54; Paramjit Sandhi, 35; Hari Bhaskar, 55; Ramy Kawar, 39; Zu Liang Xiao, 28; Ali Mansourinajand, 24; Ramiz Multani, 25

  • AC-130 gunship now comes with a 105mm Howitzer option. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Wargaming a second Korean war. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane finally lands after circling Earth for “an unprecedented 718 days.”
  • UT stabbing spree followup: The stabber “was suffering from mental illness and didn’t seem to be targeting anyone in particular during his Monday afternoon spree, police said Tuesday.”
  • “‘Chicago Is A War Zone’: Police Suicide Rate Surges To 60% Above The National Average.”
  • Gun-blogger Bob Owens dead of apparent suicide. Unlike many in the blogsphere, I didn’t know Owens personally, but we did follow each other on Twitter. RIP.
  • Windows 10 on ARM supports x86 apps, and Microsoft says your 32-bit applications should run just fine. Won’t make me use it, but for some people…
  • Behold the #BowWowChallenge.
  • Bucket-eye view of critters drinking water.
  • LinkSwarm for February 24, 2017

    Friday, February 24th, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Here in Texas, Spring has sprung, full stop.

  • The elites are revolting:

    It’s no coincidence that the most vocal outcry against President Trump’s measures have come from urban elites and the corporations that cater to them. It’s easy to spot the class divides in the scoffing at Andrew Puzder, CEO of the company behind Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, getting a cabinet position instead of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg who had been tipped for Treasury Secretary by Hillary.

    Carl’s Jr and its 4 Dollar Real Deal are a world away from Facebook’s Gehry designed Menlo Park headquarters. Or as a WWE tournament is from Conde Nast’s Manhattan skyscraper.

    It’s hard to imagine a clearer contrast between coastal elites and the heartland, and between the new economy and the old. On the one side are the glittering cities where workforces of minorities and immigrants do the dirty work behind the slick logos and buzzwords of the new economy. On the other are Rust Belt communities and Southern towns who actually used to make things.

    Facebook’s top tier geniuses enjoy the services of an executive chef, treadmill workstations and a bike repair shop walled off from East Palo Alto’s Latino population and the crime and gang violence. And who works in Facebook’s 11 restaurants or actually repairs the bikes in the back room? Or looks through the millions of pictures posted on timelines to screen out spam, pornography and racism?

    Behind the illusion of a shiny new future are Mexicans getting paid a few dollars an hour to decide if that Italian Renaissance painting you just shared violates Facebook’s content guidelines.

    If you live in the world of Facebook, Lyft, Netflix and Airbnb, crowding into airports shouting, “No Borders, No Nations, Stop The Deportations” makes sense. You don’t live in a country. You live in one of a number of interchangeable megacities or their bedroom communities. Patriotism is a foreign concept. You have no more attachment to America than you do to Friendster or MySpace. The nation state is an outdated system of social organization that is being replaced by more efficient systems of global governance. The only reason anyone would cling to nations or borders is racism.

    The demographic most opposed to President Trump is not a racial minority, but a cultural elite.

    This isn’t a revolution. The revolutions happened in June in the UK and in November in the US. Brexit and Trump were revolutions. The protests against them are a reaction.

  • In the midst of freaking out, Instapundit notes that our elites are displaying why they’re unfit to rule:

    Why all the anger over Trump?

    As I’ve pondered this, I’ve gone back to Tyler Cowen’s statement: “Occasionally the real force behind a political ideology is the subconsciously held desire that a certain group of people should not be allowed to rise in relative status.”

    I think that a lot of the elite hatred for Trump, and for his supporters, stems from just such a sentiment. For decades now, the educated meritocrats who ran America — the “Best and the Brightest,” in David Halberstam’s not-actually-complimentary term — have enjoyed tremendous status, regardless of election results.

    An election’s turn might see some moving to the private sector — say as K street lobbyists or high-priced lawyers or consultants — while a different batch of meritocrats take their positions in government. But even so, their status remained unchallenged: They were always the insiders, the elite, the winners, regardless of which team came out ahead in the elections.

    But as Nicholas Ebserstadt notes, that changed in November. To the privileged and well-educated Americans living in their “bicoastal bastions,” things seemed to be going quite well, even as the rest of the country fell farther and farther behind. But, writes Eberstadt: “It turns out that the year 2000 marks a grim historical milestone of sorts for our nation. For whatever reasons, the Great American Escalator, which had lifted successive generations of Americans to ever higher standards of living and levels of social well-being, broke down around then — and broke down very badly.

    “The warning lights have been flashing, and the klaxons sounding, for more than a decade and a half. But our pundits and prognosticators and professors and policymakers, ensconced as they generally are deep within the bubble, were for the most part too distant from the distress of the general population to see or hear it.”

    Well, now they’ve heard it, and they’ve also heard that a lot of Americans resent the meritocrats’ insulation from what’s happening elsewhere, especially as America’s unfortunate record over the past couple of decades, whether in economics, in politics, or in foreign policy, doesn’t suggest that the “meritocracy” is overflowing with, you know, actual merit.

    In the United States, the result has been Trump. In Britain, the result was Brexit. In both cases, the allegedly elite — who are supposed to be cool, considered, and above the vulgar passions of the masses — went more or less crazy. From conspiracy theories (it was the Russians!) to bizarre escape fantasies (A Brexit vote redo! A military coup to oust Trump!) the cognitive elite suddenly didn’t seem especially elite, or for that matter particularly cognitive.

    In fact, while America was losing wars abroad and jobs at home, elites seemed focused on things that were, well, faintly ridiculous. As Richard Fernandez tweeted: “The elites lost their mojo by becoming absurd. It happened on the road between cultural appropriation and transgender bathrooms.” It was fatal: “People believe from instinct. The Roman gods became ridiculous when the Roman emperors did. PC is the equivalent of Caligula’s horse.”

  • You have to read this Glenn Greenwald piece on what’s wrong with the Democratic Party. “The more alarmed one is by the Trump administration, the more one should focus on how to fix the systemic, fundamental sickness of the Democratic Party. That Hillary Clinton won the meaningless popular vote on her way to losing to Donald Trump, and that the singular charisma of Barack Obama kept him popular, have enabled many to ignore just how broken and failed the Democrats are as a national political force.” Never mind that Greenwald ignores one of the big elephants in the room (the Social Justice Warrior/victimhood identity politics brigade doing such a bang-up job alienating American voters). His description of the other elephant in the room, the party’s fundamentally corrupt and anti-Democratic nature, is fairly acute.
  • The number of Republicans passes the number of Democrats in Gallup’s Party ID tracking poll. This has happened a few times before, but the mere 25% for Democrats does appear to be the lowest rating ever.
  • All the Trump Derangement is masking the Democratic Party’s own civil war. “There is no Barack Obama among the ranks of current Democrats. He simply does not exist. That truth, and Hillary’s defeat, means the years ahead will be ones of rebuilding and rebranding. So far, it’s not going well.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Seven days in February. “Why were former Obama-administration appointees or careerist officials tapping the phone calls of an incoming Trump designate and then leaking the tapes to their pets in the press?” Also this: “The Democratic party has been absorbed by its left wing and is beginning to resemble the impotent British Labour party. Certainly it no longer is a national party.”
  • “The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number.”
  • “This is what Chuck Todd and others like him fail to accept or comprehend: The mainstream media have delegitimized themselves. Republicans and independents watched for eight long years as Todd and others of his ilk did their best to help and support the last administration; not only refusing to hold President Obama to account (the way they are imploring each other to do with Trump) but providing cover for him.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Turns out that patiently explaining to the deplorable redneck freaks of JesusLand why they’re ignorant rubes that need to be ruled for their own good doesn’t win votes.
  • MSNBC: Controlling what people thing is our job.
  • A look at the shell games played by the dark money left. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • With President Trump, America has an administration that is finally willing to name radical Islam as the enemy.
  • Women celebrate being liberated from the Islamic State. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • President Trump contemplates designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and the New York Times freaks out. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Texas preschool teacher fired for tweeting to “kill some Jews.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Marine Le Pen is winning over French women. In addition to refusing to wear a headscarf, “Le Pen again vowed to protect French women after the mass sexual assault by groups of men in Cologne, Germany, just over a year ago in an op-ed that tied together immigration and women rights.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Part of Geert Wilders’ security detail has been suspended for possibly leaking details of Wilders locations to Jihadest groups. “Secret Service chief Erik Akerboom said he could not confirm the man’s identity but confirmed media reports he has a ‘Moroccan background.'”
  • Fourth circuit court decides to just ignore Heller.
  • The AFL-CIO is is cutting staff “amid continuing declines in union membership.” Faster, please. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Paul Krugman, the Cleveland Browns of economists. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • If you’re looking for a pundit with a clear-eyed vision of where President Donald Trump is going, Ross Douthat is not your man.
  • NASA contemplates a bold leap forward to 1968.
  • Men who SWATed, sent heroin to Brian Krebs’ house sentenced.
  • Cahnman’s Musings has a roundup of what various school district Superintendents make. It’s an interesting list, though I personally would not have broken it up by Texas House committee chairman. I’m not surprised that they average a low six figures, or that the Superintendents of Houston and Dallas ISD make in excess of $300,000. Why I don’t understand is why the Superintendent for Galena Park ISD, a working class school district with 22,549 students and a single 4A high school, makes $270,531, or 90% of the what the HISD Superintendent makes…
  • Feminist derangement syndrome: “I was walking into a gas station for a bottle of water when the man behind me stepped up to open the door for me. With that act of kindness, something inside me snapped and I flew into a blind rage. I began screaming at him at the top of my lungs.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Trump Administration to Social Justice Warriors: No tranny bathrooms for you!
  • “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women” says ex-WNBA player Candice Wiggins, who says she was bullied and harassed for being straight. This is not exactly a surprise, thought that 98% number may be slightly high. I casually followed the WNBA back when the Houston Comets were dominating the league, but haven’t paid attention since they folded. Today half of the teams still lose money. But I’m sure their popularity will skyrocket any day now…

  • Vice President Mike Pence helps repair vandalism at a Jewish cemetery.
  • I have heard the bots reverting, each to each. I do not think that they will revert for me…
  • Are you smuggeling illegal butter, comrade?