Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer:

  • Disgusting Democratic Dirtbags Duck Discipline

    Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

    There’s so much news about Democrats acting like complete pervs that I decided a separate roundup was in order:

  • Disgraced ex-New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer is in the news again. Might not want to read this one right before eating…

    Disgraced “Luv Gov” Eliot Spitzer likes to take long romantic walks — at the end of a leash, new court papers claim.

    The hooker-happy former governor’s fetishes include a penchant for paying “young girls” to lead him around “on all fours” like a dog — and use kinky sex toys on him, former escort Svetlana Travis Zakharova alleged.

    Zhakharova, who last month struck a misdemeanor plea bargain after being charged with extorting $400,000 from Spitzer, filed the stunningly revealing papers in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeking to lift a gag order imposed as part of her prosecution.

    The 27-year-old Russian native says she has a First Amendment right to “discuss any and all actions or events that she participated in with Spitzer.”

    “Moreover, the fact that Spitzer was paying young girls to insert sex toys into his anal cavity and walk him around the floor on all fours with a leash is conduct that he made a conscious choice to engage in,” wrote her lawyer, Joseph Murray.

    Zakharova also accused Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark — who served as special prosecutor in her case — of seeking the Feb. 15 gag order as part of a “desperate” bid to protect Spitzer because he’s a “rich, powerful man.”

    This court appearance follows police being sent to the hotel room because Spitzer allegedly attacked and choked Zhakharova.

    Did New York police arrest Democratic bigwig Spitzer over his alleged assault? Yeah, right:

    Spitzer’s then-wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, grimly stood by her cheating hubby during that scandal.

    But she finally gave him the heave-ho in 2013 after The Post exclusively revealed his since-ended affair with Democratic political consultant Lis Smith, who at the time was a spokeswoman for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

    In addition to lifting the gag order, Zakharova’s post-conviction motion seeks to disqualify Clark, with her lawyer noting that he believes “there is evidence of corruption we want to make public.”

    Clark was special prosecutor in Zakharova’s case after Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance bowed out over his close ties to Spitzer.

    Both men are Democrats and former political allies, and some of Vance’s top aides formerly worked for Spitzer, who was New York attorney general before being elected governor.

    Zakharova claims that Spitzer “was required, under New York law, to be arrested” following the Plaza Hotel incident, and notes that Spitzer’s lawyer, Adam Kaufmann, is a former high-ranking Manhattan prosecutor.

    She also alleges that “for some unknown reasons,” the case was transferred from Manhattan’s Midtown North Precinct — where detectives “were postured to arrest Spitzer” — and transferred to the Bronx Homicide Squad.

    The Bronx DA’s Office now “has no intention [of] arresting or prosecuting Spitzer,” her filing says.

    I’m a live-and-let-live sort of guy, and my libertarian self says that if one old dude wants to pay a young woman to consensually shove a dildo up his ass and walk him around on a leash in the privacy of his expensive New York hotel room, the state shouldn’t get involved. But in addition to the (alleged) assault, remember that this is a guy who not only broke the law by hiring prostitutes while he was attorney general and governor, but also chastised Americans for not having being willing to sacrifice for the common good, so yeah, I have no problem further exposing this hypocrite’s freak fetish.

  • Even Vox says that Democrats have a sexual harassment problem.

    Al Franken (D-MN) currently stands accused of groping multiple women before and after becoming a US senator. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has stepped down as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee after reports surfaced that he’d paid a former staffer $27,000 to settle a 2014 sexual misconduct complaint.

    The problem is not, obviously, unique to Democrats.

    Over the past six weeks, it’s become clear that many of America’s most powerful and most respected institutions have housed and protected repeat sexual harassers and predators, while shutting up or shutting out their victims.

    “Has a sexual harassment problem” is a dubious distinction that the Democratic Party shares with Hollywood, Fox News, prestige television shows and networks, the restaurant industry, America’s most successful massage chain — and, of course, the Republican Party, which is currently running a Senate candidate who stands accused of assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

    But the ubiquity of the problem doesn’t make it any less real. The Democratic Party — which has for years positioned itself as the defender of gender equality and women’s rights against Republican attacks — hasn’t taken a stand by pushing out the alleged offenders. There are open ethics committee investigations in both houses, but there’s no expectation that the allegations already voiced against Franken and Conyers should be firing offenses.

    There are, as many reporters have pointed out, institutional imperatives at play here. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was reportedly wary of pushing out Conyers because she feared blowback from the Congressional Black Caucus. Democrats in both chambers are reportedly deferring to the ethics committees in part because they want to set an established pattern for how these allegations are addressed — because they know that such allegations, against Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to keep coming.

    But if the Democratic Party chooses to continue to protect its members against harassment allegations, it needs to be honest about the choice it’s not making: the choice to be an institution that actually reflects the better world it says it wants to create.

    For months, Democrats have identified themselves with the diffuse cultural energy known as “the resistance.” Now that public outrage is actually beginning to create change, by pushing serial predators out of positions of power, the Democrats — and other progressive political institutions — are facing a moment of reckoning. It can be an ally of the emergent social movement against a culture of serial harassment and “open secrets,” or it can be a partner of convenience.

    Actually, I expect the Democratic Party to do what it’s always done: Claim to be the party of reform while actually being the party of sleaze and corruption.

  • Democratic Rep. John Conyers allegedly sexually harassed a woman when she was 57.
  • More Conyers details from yet another accuser:

    Marion Brown, a former staffer under Rep. John Conyers, detailed the Michigan congressman’s alleged sexual misconduct in an exclusive interview with TODAY Thursday, saying the longtime civil rights icon “violated my body” and frequently propositioned her for sex.

    Brown is one of multiple women who have alleged of sexual harassment by Conyers, which she said occurred regularly during her 11 years working on his staff.

    It was sexual harassment, violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and propositioning for sex,” Brown told Savannah Guthrie. “He just violated my body, he’s touched me in different ways. It was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional.”

    She described a specific disturbing encounter with Conyers, 88, who has denied any wrongdoing, in a Chicago hotel room in 2005.

    “He was undressed down to his underwear,” she said. “He asked me to satisfy to him sexually. He pointed to genital areas of his body and asked me to touch him.

    “I was frozen shocked. I didn’t want to lose my job, I didn’t want to upset him. Also, he asked me to find other people that would satisfy him,” she said. “I just tried to escape. I did tell him that I was not going to do that and I did not feel comfortable.”

  • So now Conyers is hospitalized and, several days too late and several dollars short, Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats call on him to resign.

    Conyers’ attorney, however, defiantly rejected Pelosi’s calls for his client to resign.

    “It is not up to Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi did not elect Mr. Conyers,” the attorney, Arnold Reed, said at a press conference Thursday in Detroit. “And she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave.”

    Reed also criticized Pelosi for demanding the lawmaker quit while not doing the same for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who is facing a growing number of accusations of sexual misconduct. The Senate Ethics Committee announced on Thursday it had opened an investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Franken.

    Reed held another press conference Friday, saying that Conyers would “continue to defend himself until the cows come home” and added that he and the lawmaker would “discuss in the next day or so” what Conyers “plans to do.”

  • “Nancy Pelosi — Roy Moore’s Accidental Wingman.” “Nancy Pelosi’s defense of John Conyers framed the race exactly the way Moore wants it. Her belated change of heart will not erase the memory: The issue is party, not principle. ”
  • Another accuser comes forward to accuse Al Franken of groping her…and this one is an army veteran.
  • While Franken is avoiding resigning over sexual harassment charges, fellow Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is holding up a bipartisan sex trafficking bill:

    More than 100 sex trafficking victims and advocacy groups are asking Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) to stop trying to block a bipartisan bill that would give families of victims and states the ability to sue websites that allow advertisements selling sex with minors on their platforms.

  • Any other House Democrats accused harassing women in the last 24 hours? Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, come on down!

    Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has joined the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign committee in calling on a first-term Democratic Nevada congressman to resign, following a report that he sexually harassed an aide during his 2016 congressional campaign.

    In an article published by BuzzFeed Friday afternoon, Rep. Ruben Kihuen was accused of making repeated sexual advances toward his then-campaign finance director by a woman identified as “Samantha.” BuzzFeed said it is withholding her surname at her request. Samantha alleges that Kihuen propositioned her for dates and sex, and twice touched her thighs without consent.

  • “How a House Dem accused of drunken shenanigans revealed another secret ‘hush fund.'”

    Rep. Raul M. Grijalva quietly arranged a “severance package” in 2015 for one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment, revealing yet another way that lawmakers can use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior on Capitol Hill.

    While the Office of Compliance has been the focus of outrage on Capitol Hill for hush-money payouts in sexual harassment cases, the Grijalva payout points to another office that lawmakers can use to sweep accusations under the rug with taxpayer-funded settlements negotiated by the House Employment Counsel, which acts as the attorney for all House offices.

    The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.

  • Meanwhile, Weird Al Yankovic would like the media to stop using the name “Weird Al” in relation to Al Franken, or anyone else. So let’s just call Al Franken “Perv Al.” Or maybe Gropenfuhrer Franken.
  • I apologize if I’ve left out any Democrats behaving badly out of this roundup. There’s just so much sexual harassment news to keep up with…

    (And no, I’m not giving a couple of U.S. Representatives from Texas in the news a pass. I might be able to get to them Monday…)

    LinkSwarm for October 20, 2017

    Friday, October 20th, 2017

    Enjoy another complimentary Friday LinkSwarm:

  • The Imran Awan scandal could result in hundreds of federal charges. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Remember Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that came up with the ludicrously fake Trump Dossier? They were called to testify before congress…and plead the fifth. “So you have what seems to be the Democrats, and Fusion GPS and these officials — intelligence agency bureaucrats — all blocking every single attempt we’re making to get the most basic information about this document, which … may have been the single document that sparked the entire Russia investigation in the first place.”
  • Bonus: That fake dossier may have been the basis of the FISA warrants used in the Trump unmasking scandal.
  • Kurt Schlichter is unimpressed with Salon’s list of Fredocons:

    The media only hires nominal conservatives who already agree with liberals, liberals have no idea what real conservatives think or why. This is the reason they end up baffled when they lose and lose and lose again – sure, Felonia von Pantsuit was also stupid and drunk, but you get the point. As Sun Tzu observed, and I believe this is a verbatim translation from the original Chinese text, a wise general must seek to know and understand the true nature and schemes of his enemy lest he end up as forlorn and humiliated as a foxy fern in the Miramax head office.

  • DNC Chair Tom Perez purges supporters of one-time rival Keith Ellison while filling key positions with Clinton supporters.
  • Speaking of which: Heh.
  • “Ralph Northam, Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor, deleted his black running mate from his campaign fliers. His campaign says that’s not a big deal.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Plurality of Americans believe the media fabricate stories. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Try to protest by blocking roads? Welcome to a jail cell.
  • This piece on how Facebook changed the 2016 election is peppered with the usual left-wing slant (has any liberal media outlet ever been labeled “hyperpartican”?), but is also filled with nuggets of insight on how liberal complacency and conservative mastery of social media blind-sided Democrats.
  • Republicans gain in voter registration:

    In short, among the truly contested states in 2016, the only ray of hope for the Democrats is Colorado, and even there, the trends have flattened some. They have stabilized New Jersey and Delaware, but Republicans continue to gain significant ground in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and above all, Pennsylvania. If these trends continue through 2020, Florida would be have a slight Republican registration edge, North Carolina would be nearly even, and New Mexico would be close enough that it could never be taken for granted. Moreover, Pennsylvania and Iowa would be solid Trump states.

    The remarkable thing about the Republican trending states is that they have moved steadily ever since last November, in almost every case without a single break. Democrats continue to lose voters, and they are not becoming independents. All of this appears to be due to Trump and Trump alone, as the Republican Party has not offered any reasons to embrace it.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • One of Obama’s “Dreamers” murders high school girl. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Denison Whataburger fires employee for refusing to serve police officers. Good.
  • Kobe Steel, Japan’s third largest steel manufacturer, falsified quality reports, affecting over 500 manufacturers. Enjoy your flight.
  • Heh 2. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • LinkSwarm for July 7, 2017

    Friday, July 7th, 2017

    It’s Friday on CNN Self-Immolation Week! And yes, there are a few CNN items at the top of this week’s LinkSwarm:

  • 4Chan declares the Great Meme War of 2017. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Trump just schlonged the media again.

    Just before a holiday, Trump does something that amuses the rest of us but shocks the media into doing nothing but talk about it over and over again while he enjoys his time off.

    Hmm.

    When had he done that before?

    Oh yes, just before Christmas 2015, Trump said Obama schlonged Hillary.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)

  • How CNN abandoned its written standards to go after “HanAssholeSolo.”
  • Why the media has broken down in the age of Trump:

    There was a time not so long ago when journalists were trusted and admired. We were generally seen as trying to report the news in a fair and straightforward manner. Today, all that has changed. For that, we can blame the 2016 election or, more accurately, how some news organizations chose to cover it. Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale — that most of what you read, watch and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close.

    Snip.

    The behavior of much of the media, but especially the New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered.

    Snip.

    Here is a true story about how Abe Rosenthal resolved a conflict of interest. A young woman was hired by the Times from one of the Philadelphia newspapers. But soon after she arrived in New York, a story broke in Philly that she had had a romantic affair with a political figure she had covered, and that she had accepted a fur coat and other expensive gifts from him. When he saw the story, Abe called the woman into his office and asked her if it was true. When she said yes, he told her to clean out her desk — that she was finished at the Times and would never work there again. As word spread through the newsroom, some reporters took the woman’s side and rushed in to tell Abe that firing her was too harsh. He listened for about 30 seconds and said, in so many words, “I don’t care if you f–k an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.”

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • The Democratic House IT Scandal deepens:

    A Pakistani family under criminal investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police for abusing their access to the House of Representatives information technology (IT) system may have engaged in myriad other questionable schemes besides allegedly placing “ghost employees” on the congressional payroll.

    Imran Awan, his wife Hina, and brothers Abid and Jamal collectively netted more than $4 million in salary as IT administrators for House Democrats between 2009 and 2017. Yet the absence of signs of wealth displayed among them raise questions such as was the money sent overseas or did something other than paychecks motivate their actions?

    Snip.

    Official documents, court records and multiple interviews suggest the crew may have engaged in tax fraud, extortion, bankruptcy fraud and insurance fraud and the money could have been funneled overseas. Abid has hired high-profile attorney James Bacon who specializes in anti-money laundering litigation.

    The Awans share modest homes, drive unremarkable cars and report little in the way of assets on congressional disclosures. The family owns significant amounts of Virginia rental properties, which are heavily financed, with second mortgages sometimes taken out. It’s unclear where the rental income goes because the Awans insist tenants pay in odd ways.

    The Daily Caller News foundation interviewed multiple current and former tenants who said Imran insisted rent be paid in untraceable ways. Many of those TheDCNF interviewed about the Awans asked not to be identified for fear of suffering retaliation by the family, particularly renters to whose homes Imran has keys.

    “He only wants cash — for the security deposit, everything. The mortgage is probably $600, we pay $1,800 a month,” one said.

    “I would write the rent to all sorts of different people,” another claimed. While still another tenant said the family insisted on blank money orders.

    Those interviewed also were puzzled that Congress kept the Awans on the payroll full-time when the family spent months of the year in Pakistan.

    The four Awans were each making approximately $160,000 a year on Capitol Hill. Other House IT workers told TheDCNF that the Awans appeared to hold no-show jobs, with bare-bones services provided, and it appeared one person was doing the work for the rest of them.

    Cristal Perpignan, a former Awan renter, said Imran instructed her to pay the rent to Imran’s friend, Rao Abbas, who lived in the basement of the home she occupied and was also on the House payroll as an IT worker. But Perpignan said Abbas spent his days at home.

    Imran’s wife purchased the home in 2008 for $470,000. A second mortgage was taken out in 2012, and — at least on paper — it was sold to Imran’s 22-year old brother Jamal in November 2016 for $620,000 — $43,000 more than its assessed value.

  • “Phoenix dropped their sanctuary city status and started enforcing the law…and crime rates went down.”
  • “Migrant smugglers in Honduras say their business has dried up since [President] Trump took office.” Also this: “Give Trump critics credit: They predicted he would destroy jobs, and they were right; he appears to have destroyed a considerable number of positions in the previously vibrant and lucrative illicit people-smuggling industry.”
  • How liberals gave up on telling the truth about immigration:

    In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”

    The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama.

    Prominent liberals didn’t oppose immigration a decade ago. Most acknowledged its benefits to America’s economy and culture. They supported a path to citizenship for the undocumented. Still, they routinely asserted that low-skilled immigrants depressed the wages of low-skilled American workers and strained America’s welfare state.

    Snip.

    Between 2008 and 2016, Democrats became more and more confident that the country’s growing Latino population gave the party an electoral edge. To win the presidency, Democrats convinced themselves, they didn’t need to reassure white people skeptical of immigration so long as they turned out their Latino base. “The fastest-growing sector of the American electorate stampeded toward the Democrats this November,” Salon declared after Obama’s 2008 win. “If that pattern continues, the GOP is doomed to 40 years of wandering in a desert.”

    As the Democrats grew more reliant on Latino votes, they were more influenced by pro-immigrant activism. While Obama was running for reelection, immigrants’-rights advocates launched protests against the administration’s deportation practices; these protests culminated, in June 2012, in a sit-in at an Obama campaign office in Denver. Ten days later, the administration announced that it would defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and met various other criteria.

  • More on the ObamaCare expansion/opiate overdose link.
  • South African is contemplating seizing the land of white farmers without compensation. Because Zimbabwe is such a sterling model of economic success to emulate…
  • The battle for Raqqa continues, with U.S. supported forces having breached the Old City’s wall.
  • Russia hits the Islamic State with cruise missiles. Good. (Hat tip: Stephen Green.)
  • The text of President Trump’s address to Poland:

    Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity — indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity. Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit. (Applause.) Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken. (Applause.)

    And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. (Applause.) They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: “We Want God.” (Applause.)

    In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future. They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.

  • Speaking of Poland, they just agreed to buy Patriot missiles.
  • Austria deploys troops to Italy’s border to keep Muslim “refugees” out.
  • Czech Republic to enshrine right to bear arms in their constitution. Gee, why on earth would a nation situated between Germany and Russia need its citizens to own guns?
  • “Yeah, Abdul, we’re going to need to tweak your resume for this position. Instead of ‘Beheading Infidels,’ let’s put ‘Contractor.'”
  • Vladimir Putin and President Trump meet at the G20 summit.
  • Speaking of the G20 Summit, mostly peaceful protestors there commit the mostly peaceful arson for which they’ve become so well-known. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • German intelligence admits that hundreds of jihadis were among those Islamic “refugees.” Thanks again, Angela…
  • Study finds what conservatives have been saying for years: temperature readings have been systematically changed to support the global warming narrative:

    The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments,that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever – despite current claims of record setting warming.

  • “Democratic lawmakers voted 71-42 to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a $5 billion tax hike on Thursday.” Can’t possibly imagine how Illinois’ Democrats plan to tax and spend their way out of a financial hole could possibly backfire… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “From its founding in 1919 in the wake of the Russian Revolution until the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Communist Party of the United States of America was an instrument of Soviet foreign policy.” Not that anyone should be unclear on the topic after all these years, but I’m sure the piece was a shock to at least some of the New York Times dwindling readership…
  • British woman convicted of making flase rape claims against 15 different men. One look at the convicted should tell that claims of multiple rapes are highly implausible. (Hat tip: Instaundit.)
  • Democrat Beto O’Rourke has raised over $1 million for his Senate race against Ted Cruz.
  • The ratings for some network TV shows are so bad that the networks are mispelling them to game ratings. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Common sense tips to keep your home from being broken into.
  • Scenes from Central America’s vibrant pre-Colombian diversity: Archeologists find an Aztec temple tower of skulls. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • AFSCME vs. 10 goats. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • Long, long, long article about video game maker Konami, where they actually get their money (fitness clubs and gambling machines), and how they came to treat their employees so poorly.
  • Tiny house regret.
  • And a few more CNN tweets:

  • Arizona Trooper Shooting Followup

    Thursday, January 19th, 2017

    Remember the Arizona state trooper sniping mentioned in last week’s LinkSwarm? More details have emerged:

    The man who shot and severely beat an Arizona state trooper last week was a former member of the Mexican federal police who was in the country illegally, authorities said.

    He had rolled his car on Interstate 10 before he inexplicably attacked the officer who had stopped to help.

    Leonard Pennelas-Escobar opened fire on Trooper Edward Andersson early Thursday after the officer had stopped on the interstate and set up flares in a bid to get motorists to slow down. Pennelas-Escobar said something unrecognizable in Spanish before shooting the trooper, and then he started landing blows with his fists and beating the trooper’s head on the ground, Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said Monday.

    A passing motorist who witnessed the attack retrieved a handgun from his vehicle and fired two shots at Pennelas-Escobar after he refused an order to stop attacking Andersson. With Pennelas-Escobar incapacitated, the motorist tended to the wounded trooper but was later drawn back into the dispute when Pennelas-Escobar got up and resumed his assault on Andersson. The motorist then fired a fatal shot at Pennelas-Escobar.

    Snip.

    The 37-year-old Pennelas-Escobar was in the country illegally, a drug user and was believed to have once worked as a Mexican police officer, Milstead said. Still, Pennelas-Escobar had no known criminal history.

    Andersson arrived at the rollover scene about 55 miles west of downtown Phoenix to find Pennelas-Escobar holding his injured girlfriend, 23-year-old Vanessa Monique Lopez-Ruiz, on the edge of the roadway.

    She had been ejected in the high-speed rollover and was later pronounced dead. The cause of the collision hasn’t yet been determined. Pennelas-Escobar was believed to have been the vehicle’s driver.

    Andersson, a 27-year department veteran, suffered gunshot wounds to the right shoulder and chest. He underwent surgery and has since been released from the hospital.

    So an illegal alien drug user shot a cop. Another data point for why actually enforcing bordering control laws is a good idea…

    LinkSwarm for January 13, 2016

    Friday, January 13th, 2017

    Time to extract more pure wheat from chaff!

  • Glenn Greenwald says Democrats will go to any lengths to avoid blaming themselves for their debacle:

    I really haven’t experienced anything even remotely like the smear campaign that has been launched by Democrats in this really coordinated way ever since I began just expressing skepticism about the prevailing narrative over Russia and its role that it allegedly played in the election and, in particular, in helping to defeat Hillary Clinton. I mean, not even the reporting I did based on the Edward Snowden archive, which was extremely controversial in multiple countries around the world, not even that compared to the attacks now.

    And the reason is very, very obvious, which is that it has become exceptionally important to Democratic partisans to believe that the reason they lost this election is not because they chose a candidate who was corrupt and who was extremely disliked and who symbolized all of the worst failings of the Democratic Party. It’s extremely important to them not to face what is really a systemic collapse on the part of the Democratic Party as a political force in the United States, in the House, in the Senate, in state houses and governorships all over the country. And so, in order not to face any of that and have to confront their own failings, they instead want to focus everything on Vladimir Putin and Russia and insist that the reason they lost was because this big, bad dictator interfered in the election. And anyone who challenges or anyone who questions that instantly becomes not just their enemy, but now, according to their framework, someone who’s actually unpatriotic, that if you question the evidence, the sufficiency of the evidence to support this theory, that somehow your loyalties are suspect, that you’re not just a critic of the Democratic Party, you’re actually a stooge of or an agent of the Kremlin.

  • In fact, Greenwald is all over this week’s LinkSwarm, saying that the U.S. “deep state” is at war with Trump:

    For months, the CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin,” adding that Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

    It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it. Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow, while Trump wanted improved relations and greater cooperation. In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decadeslong international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump — through a still-uncertain mix of instability and extremist conviction — posed a threat to it.

    Whatever one’s views are on those debates, it is the democratic framework — the presidential election, the confirmation process, congressional leaders, judicial proceedings, citizen activism and protest, civil disobedience — that should determine how they are resolved. All of those policy disputes were debated out in the open; the public heard them; and Trump won. Nobody should crave the rule of Deep State overlords.

    Yet craving Deep State rule is exactly what prominent Democratic operatives and media figures are doing.

    One need not buy all of Greenwald’s analysis of geopolitics or Trump to conclude that his analysis of the current alliance between Democrats, the media and the intelligence community is essentially correct. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Borepatch, who is a real life computer security expert, is not impressed with the Russian hacking claims:

    My take is that several state actors certainly hacked Hillary’s email server for years and years, and silently read all her communications. Probably more than one state actor penetrated the DNC email system for several years.

    It’s plausible than an insider leaked the DNC emails – some BertieBro IT Admin type who saw how the sausage was being made and who was smart enough to cover his tracks while pointing clues towards Russia.

    Bottom line, this is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. We know that something happened, but we don’t know who did it, and what they say in the report doesn’t change that.

  • Borepatch, in turn, points to this detailed analysis of the security on both Hillary’s email server and the DNC:

    At this point, we can largely dispose of Hillary’s Hack. It was an open book to all comers and at least one was Romanian (and sharing with friends) and not Russia. However, I’d say it was almost certain that at some time a Russian intrusion happened. The name of the server was obvious. The location insecure. The operating system and protective layers a joke. Frankly, I’d expect them to be “in” the same day they first looked at it. Which means something like 8 years ago. So why didn’t things leak then?

    Because the Russians Are Not Stupid. A fundamental of spycraft is you don’t expose sources and methods, you use them to collect intel for your use, not publication. I suspect they enjoyed a near real time email feed from the Secretary Of State for years, in silence. This argues for email dump to be someone other than them. My personal muse would be an NSA guy, aghast at what was in evidence. Like a Snowden, but not willing to give up the $1/4 Million salary… He (or she…) would have all the requisite skilz to pull it off and leave no finger prints, access to PRISM, and lots of neat toys to work with. Though more likely would be the underpaid I.T. guy Hillary had set it up who was making a backup one day and dropped a load… But I digress.

    The bottom line on Hillary is we know she kept a full copy (found on Huma’s Laptop with the Wiener…) and that it was around until she had her lawyers erase it. We know it surfaced in full at the time the laptop went to the FBI, and in parts before that. We know at least one of her hackers was found (though he had likely not leaked it) and that he said he had a doomsday copy for safety. He wasn’t a very good hacker, so that shows lots of good ones walked right in and snagged copies. Assigning source of any Hillary leaks is going to be an exercise is “ME ME MEE!!! PICK MEEE!” with a dozen hands up in the room.

  • More from Guccifer 2.0 himself: “I have totally no relation to the Russian government. I’d like to tell you once again I was acting in accordance with my personal political views and beliefs. The technical evidence contained in the reports doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. This is a crude fake.” (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “The opposition research firm that hired a former British spy to dig up dirt on Donald Trump is the same shady outfit that was hired by Planned Parenthood to put a positive spin on videos showing the sale of baby parts.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Our new Secretary of Defense sounds serious about defeating the Islamic State. “We should try to shut down its recruiting, shut down its finances, and then work to fight battles of annihilation — not attrition, but annihilation — against them; so that the first time they meet the forces that we put against them, there should basically be no survivors.”
  • Speaking of which: “Islamic State publishes video of toddler executing prisoner on playground.”
  • House Republicans are already laying the groundwork to repeal ObamaCare.
  • News media buries story of Jeff Sessions bankrupting the Klu Klux Klan in Alabama because it doesn’t fit their narrative. (Hat tip: Dierctor Blue.)
  • Mexican illegal aliens are already self-deporting in advance of Trump’s inauguration. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The problem with rule by experts:

    The problem that we are faced with, and what the American people seem to be rebelling against, are the “experts” who seek to influence government policy in ways voters are either opposed to or at the very least find ineffective and expensive.

    To put it bluntly: those experts have screwed a lot of shit up. Obamacare, American foreign policy, the war on drugs, domestic environmental policy, the economy…the list of issues is seemingly endless. The American people were told for at least the last eight years that the smart set was in charge, and things would be just dandy if only we allowed the “experts” free rein. The problem is that there are a lot of things that may seem smart on paper but which just won’t work when forcibly applied to the citizens of 50 separate states, with 50 separate economies, and 50 distinct voting bases, and this assessment assumes that those implementing policy actually have America’s best interests as a free republic at heart.

    This leads us to the real heart of the matter: liberty. The Washington political and bureaucratic classes have no Constitutional right to force the “solutions” to any of these problems on their fellow citizens. The health insurance “problem” is not a national problem insofar as there is no Constitutional right to health insurance (or even healthcare), and the answer to what problems there are in healthcare in Texas are very probably not the same as the answer for New Hampshire or Oregon. The federal government institutes regulations constantly affecting the economy that have no Constitutional basis. There is no Constitutional basis whatsoever for banning or regulating any drug at the Federal level, and yet we’re told we have a national “opioid epidemic” that demands a federal solution. Foreign policy experts are undoubtedly necessary, but our foreign policy, when any logic or reason can be discerned in it at all, certainly doesn’t seem to be guided by any experts in the field. There is even a very good possibility that actually fixing any “problem” at the federal level is viewed as bad for business, because without the problem to solve there would be a lot of unemployable experts.

    In short, the American people don’t have a problem with experts or intellectuals. What they have a problem with is incompetence, and it is just a fact of life that the larger and more remote the government and bureaucracy become, the more incompetent and unaccountable they will be.

  • Thanks Obama. “93 percent of police officers are concerned about their safety on the job; 72 percent are less willing to stop suspicious characters; and 75 percent report increased tension between cops and the black community.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • U.S. troops sent on permenant deployment to Poland. Given that Poland joined NATO in 1999, it’s a surprise it took this long. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • About half the EU has been cheating on the 3% deficit ceiling fiscal discipline rule half the time. Only Finland, Estonia, Luxembourg and Sweden have never broken the rule. And Poland, France and the brexiting UK have actually violated the rule more than Italy and Ireland. Once again: Austerity hasn’t been tried and found wanting in the EU, it’s been declared difficult and left untried.
  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames “terrorist exchange rates” for attacking his country. Fun how that happens when you ruin your own country… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Social Justice Warriors already deterring people from the “Women’s March on Washington.” See, they were all set to flaunt the peacock feathers of their leftwing virtue, only to be told “they had a lot of learning to do.” Because there’s nothing more fun than being lectured about how you’re a racist when you’re not. Welcome to Red State America, liberal white women! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “DNC Chair Candidate Forum to Be Held at Anti-Israel Restaurant” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Germany court rules that an attempt to burn down a synagogue is a “justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.” You know, I think I’ve seen this movie before…
  • Heh: “Intolerance at Berkeley as Faculty Demand Gay Immigrant Stay Off Campus.”
  • More: Berkley Social Justice Warriors dox the hosts of Milo’s speech. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • 1. “CEO Raises Salaries to $70K for EVERY Employee” 2. ???? 3. Wrecked company. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Teach women not to lie about rape.
  • Social Justice Warrior drama at the Free Software Foundation. “‘Developer’ Leah Rowe has been making unhinged, outrageous claims of harassment and bullying on behalf of her anonymous friend who was let go by the FSF. She then stole the Libreroot project from the community, locked it down away from the other devs, and made a unhinged claims of wrongdoing by the FSF and two employees. She has provided no evidence of any of these claims and as she is a post-modernist, we’re supposed to substitute her feelings for any facts as being equivalent.” The amazing thing is that, for once, FSF head honcho Richard Stallman (who is somewhere on the continuum between “true software visionary” and “fanatic lunatic no one wants to deal with”) isn’t the person at fault for the drama…
  • “An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer has survived an attempt on his life after a passing motorist shot dead a highway sniper who took aim at the trooper after stopping to assist an individual in a rolled vehicle.”
  • Also from Arizona: Naked woman steals police car, goes joyriding.

  • Clockboy’s lawsuit dismissed.
  • William Peter Blatty, RIP.
  • What the hell? YouTube takes down Legal Insurrection’s channel at the behest of anti-Israeli activists.
  • Slate won’t even delete their big mistakes:

  • Texas vs. California Update for January 12, 2017

    Thursday, January 12th, 2017

    It’s been a long time since I compiled one of these, so this is going to be monstrously large. Also, just as I was finishing this up, the San Diego Chargers announced they were moving to Los Angeles. Hell, LA has proven in the past it’s incapable of adequately supporting one NFL franchise, much less two…

  • When you look at the full recession records, not just the last few years, Texas is still kicking California’s ass. “Over that time frame, Texas has grown more than THREE TIMES FASTER than California. Actually 3.4 times faster (Texas grew at a 4.1% annual rate vs. 1.2% for California).” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “A just released study calculates the total state and local government debt in California as of June 30, 2015, at over $1.3 trillion.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California faces its first budget deficit since 2012. Or at least it’s first official deficit since then. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • A second judge, this one on the California First District Court of Appeal, rules that public pensions may be modified.
  • The California Democratic Party has gone hard left, and it’s taking the rest of the state with it:

    Increasingly, inside the party, it’s been the furthest Left candidates that win. In the Democrat-only Sanchez vs. Harris race for the U.S. Senate, the more progressive candidate triumphed easily, with a more moderate Latina from Southern California decimated by the better funded lock-step, glamorous tool of the San Francisco gentry Left.

    Gradually, the key swing group — the “business Democrats” — are being decimated, hounded by ultra-green San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer and his minions. No restraint is being imposed on Gov. Brown’s increasingly obsessive climate change agenda, or on the public employee unions, whose pensions could sink the state’s finances, particularly in a downturn.

    The interior parts of California already rank near the bottom, along with Los Angeles, in terms of standard of living — by incomes, as opposed to costs — in the nation. Compared to the Bay Area, which now rules the state, the more blue-collar, Latino and African American interior, as well as much of Los Angeles, account for six of the 15 worst areas in terms of living standard out of 106 metropolitan areas, according to a recent report by Center for Opportunity Urbanism demographer Wendell Cox.

    Given the political trends here, it’s hard to see how things could get much better. The fact that most new jobs in Southern California are in lower-paying occupations is hardly promising. In contrast, generally better-paying jobs in manufacturing, home-building and warehousing face ever-growing regulatory strangulation.

    Sadly, the ascendant Latino political leadership seems determined to accelerate this process. In both Riverside and San Bernardino, pro-business candidates, including San Bernardino Democrat Cheryl Brown, lost to green-backed Latino progressives.

    For whatever reason, Latino voters and their elected officials fail to recognize that the increasingly harsh climate change agenda represents a mortal threat to their own prospects for upward mobility. Before this week’s election, California policy makers could look forward to Washington imposing such policies on the rest of the country; now our competitor regions — including Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Texas — can double down on growth. Expect to see more migration of ambitious Californians, particularly Latinos, to these areas.

    California is on the road to a bifurcated, almost feudal, society, divided by geography, race and class. As is clear from the most recent Internal Revenue Service data, it’s not just the poor and ill-educated, as Brown apologists suggest, but, rather, primarily young families and the middle-aged, who are leaving. What will be left is a state dominated by a growing, but relatively small, upper class, many of them boomers; young singles and a massive, growing, increasingly marginalized “precariat” of low wage, often occasional, workers.

  • Sanctuary cities might drive California into bankruptcy:

    California is about to face the music as Donald Trump becomes 45th President of the United States. Their Sanctuary Cities violate federal law and after Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General (and he will be), they are going to either have to knock that off or have funding to their law enforcement and their government stripped away. Sessions can’t wait and I have to say, I will enjoy watching this showdown. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that Trump pulling 37% of federal funding for their governments would cause chaos and upheaval. Yes, it will… it will also cause California to go absolutely toes up bankrupt.

    It’s simple. They can either follow the rule of law, or the free flow of money from DC gets cut off. In 2015, that amounted to about $93.6 billion. That’s a lot of money to turn away because you insist on not following the law. Let’s see how long that lasts. I love the thought of this. It’s about time Sanctuary Cities were stopped and this is an excellent way to do it. New York, Chicago and DC will all face the same choice by the way. Imagine the meltdown. Good times.

  • “California paid LESS to the feds per capita than Texas. California got MORE back per capita from the feds than Texas.” Freeloaders love the Blue State model… (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Another way of looking at California’s economy:

    California has 39 million people — 43% larger than the 2nd largest state (Texas). Such GDP comparisons don’t tell us much in terms of the PROSPERITY of a nation. Or a state.

    The proper comparison is PER CAPITA GDP. Using that more meaningful figure, CA is the 10th most prosperous state.

    But an even MORE accurate comparison is to take the per capital GDP and adjust it for COL. Because of California’s high taxes, crazy utility laws, stifling regulations (paid by consumers) and sky-high housing costs, CA in 2014 ranked WAY down in 37th place. Only 13 states were worse.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Same as it ever was:

    Governor Jerry Brown announced today that the budget was $1.4 billion in deficit. At the end of last year, the state announced that it was giving state employees a raise which would cost taxpayers over $2 billion over the next four years. Do you think there is a connection?

    A story ran locally in Southern California saying that over 105 employees in Santa Monica, a medium sized city, earn over $300,000 a year. The Governor of the state of California earns $174,000 per year. If you do the research, you will find that there are over 200 state employees that earn more than that

    When I was deciding what I wanted to do in my younger years, my mother told me I should go to work for the government, good benefits she said. I knew I would be bored and would die young if I became a government drone. My little sister listened to her. Today, my little sister is retired on a great government pension, I still fight to pay my taxes. Given the pay that even the lowest government official receives, my mother was right.

    Our government pension system is over $500 billion upside down. Retired state employee health benefits add an additional $300 billion or more to that deficit. The system is out of control. Pay and benefits to government employees at state and local levels is incomprehensible, and the government leaders still come to you and I and ask us to foot the bill for their indulgences.

    What is even more evil about the system is that government unions, led by thugs who force people to pay union dues for the privilege of having a government job, take the money from the government employees and put it into the political system to pay for the campaigns of the Governor, statewide elected officials, legislators and city councils with whom these unions then negotiate for the out-of-control pay and benefits. If anyone tries to limit them, as I once tried by tying everybody’s salaries to the Governor’s salary, they are marked for political defeat. And the system perpetuates itself, taxes to employees to unions to politicians, as it did in the Soviet Union, until the whole system collapses.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • California has stopped growing:

    Driven by rising out-migration and falling birth rates, California’s population growth has stalled, leading analysts to consider a possible forecast of a so-called “no-growth” period in the future.

    Although Americans nationwide have been flooding south and west for years, the Golden State has become an exception. Nearly 62 percent of Americans lived in the two regions, Justin Fox observed from Census figures. “That’s up from 60.4 percent in the 2010 census, 58.1 percent in 2000, 55.6 percent in 1990 — and 44 percent in 1950. The big anomaly is California, which is very much in the West, yet has lost an estimated 383,344 residents to other states since 2010.”

    “The state’s birth rate declined to 12.42 births per 1,000 population in 2016 — the lowest in California history,” the San Jose Mercury News noted, citing a state Department of Finance report. “In 2010, the last time figures were compiled, the birth rate was 13.69 per 1,000 population.”

  • California Democrats legalize child prostitution.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Some are objecting to the term “legalization”.
  • California Democrats vote to line Eric Holder’s pockets:

    Last week California’s progressive lawmakers announced that they’ve put former Attorney General Eric Holder, now a Covington & Burling partner, on retainer as the state’s outside counsel. “This is potentially the legal fight of a generation, and with Eric Holder we’ve added a world-class lawyer,’’ said Senate majority leader Kevin de León.

    This is odd. Typically states hire outside counsel for help with specific cases, but the legislature is paying Mr. Holder $25,000 a month for three months under the initial contract, apparently for 40 hours a month and the privilege of his attention if something comes up.

  • At least one California assemblyman thinks that the Holder deal is illegal. “California courts have interpreted the civil service mandate of article VII of forbidding private contracting for services that are of a kind that persons selected through civil service could perform ‘adequately and competently.'”
  • In California, robots are replacing people in warehouse work. The minimum wage is mentioned, but only in passing.
  • California is the state third most likely to enter a death spiral in a recession. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to increase their own salaries by more than $19,000 a year, despite public comment from dozens of opponents.”
  • “California state firefighters will receive substantial raises of up to 13.8 percent this year, according to newly released details from a proposed contract that their union negotiated just before Christmas.” Just the thing a state with a budget deficit needs…
  • “The evidence is clear that standards of living are substantially higher in Texas than in California, which has a model of excessive government.” More: “During the last decade, economic growth in the real private sector has increased by 29 percent in Texas compared with only 14 percent in California. Job creation increased by 1.2 million in California compared with 1.7 million in Texas, which has a labor force two-thirds of that in California. Remarkably, Texas’ job creation was roughly one-third of total civilian employment increases nationwide.”
  • Texas ranked third nationally in economic freedom for the sixth consecutive year. California ranked 49th, just ahead of New York.
  • California Democrats vow to go all-out to keep illegal aliens from being deported. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • CalPERs plans to sell $15 billion worth of equities over the next two years. Also: “CalPERS’ current portfolio is pegged to a 7.5% return and a 13% volatility rate” even though the most recent returns were “a 0.6% return for the fiscal year ended June 30 and a 2.4% return in fiscal 2015.”
  • But the shift from Fantasyland to Reality has been a slow and painful one for CalPERS:

    Overseers of the nation’s largest pension trust fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), last month reduced – albeit reluctantly – its projection of future earnings by a half-percentage point.

    With earnings on investments the last two years barely exceeding zero, CalPERS has been compelled to sell assets to make its pension payments – which far outstrip contributions from state and local governments and their employees.

    Reducing the “discount rate” to 7 percent will force employers, and perhaps employees, to kick billions of more dollars into the system to slow the growth of CalPERS’ “unfunded liabilities,” as the $150-plus billion debt is termed.

    However, the extra contributions generated by lowering the discount rate will not erase that debt, which is likely to keep growing if CalPERS’ investment earnings continue to fall short, as many economists expect. In fact, CalPERS’ own advisers see a prolonged period of relatively low earnings, and say the system shouldn’t count on more than 6.2 percent.

    Rationally, the discount rate should have been lowered by at least another full percentage point. But CalPERS has already increased its mandatory contributions by 50 percent to make up for investment losses during the Great Recession and other factors, and cutting the discount rate to 6 percent would probably mean bankruptcy for a number of local governments, especially some cities.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • And CalPERs needs to do a lot more:

    This is why the CalPERS board must do far more — starting with, on a large scale, finally embracing pension reforms and, on a smaller scale, shuttering an over-the-top corner of the CalPERS website that says it’s a myth that pension costs are crowding out “government services like police and libraries.”

    It’s no myth. The Los Angeles Times reported last month that pensions and retirement health benefits now consume 20 percent of revenue in Los Angeles and Oakland and a stunning 28 percent in San Jose. While the state government is in better shape than most local governments, it’s beginning to feel the strain as well. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that beginning in April, the state will increase vehicle registration fees from $46 to $56 to help cover the soaring cost of pensions for California Highway Patrol officers. In 2000, the state had to pay about one-eighth of annual CHP pension costs. Now it must pay about half.

  • “Home values in San Francisco have doubled in a matter of four years. Since 2012 the typical San Francisco home went from $600,000 to $1,200,000. The Bay Area is under a tech based hypnotic spell and foreign money just can’t get enough of million dollar crap shacks in San Francisco. As we all know trees do not grow to the sky with unlimited potential and at a certain point the laws of reality have to hit. Only 11 percent of households in San Francisco can actually afford to purchase the typical $1.2 million crap shack.”
  • San Francisco welcomes immigrants…unless they threaten to move next door. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “New housing data show foreclosure activity in California dropped to an 11-year low in 2016. But the state is still working through a backlog of homes purchased with bad loans during the last housing bubble.”
  • How America’s restaurant bubble is about to burst. Actually, the piece focuses mainly on the impossibility of running a profitable fine dining restaurant in San Francisco and other similarly expensive locales. (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “How the University of California exploited a visa loophole to move tech jobs to India.”
  • The Census bureau says that Texas continued to grow in 2016. “Another big gainer was Texas, whose addition of about 433,000 people accounted for 19% of the country’s growth. The state, with 27.9 million people, grew from a relatively strong flow of immigrants and people relocating there from other states.”
  • Texas was second relocation destination choice in 2015:

    Texas experienced a net gain of out-of-state residents in 2015, with 107,689 more people moving to Texas than Texas residents moving out of state. This is a 4 percent increase in the net gain of Texas residents from 2014 (103,465 residents).

    The total number of residents moving to Texas from out of state in 2015 increased 2.8 percent year-over-year to 553,032 incoming residents. The highest number of new Texans came from California (65,546), followed by Florida (33,670), Louisiana (31,044), New York (26,287) and Oklahoma (25,555).

    Texas once again ranked third in the nation for number of residents moving out of state (445,343) in 2015. The most popular out-of-state relocation destinations for Texans were California (41,713), Florida (29,706), Oklahoma (28,642), Colorado (25,268), and Louisiana (19,863).

  • Arizona and Florida managed to dethrone Texas for the relocation top spot for the first time in a dozen years.
  • Why is Austin housing more expensive comapred to other Texas cities? “The reasons vary, but boil down to Austin’s relative unwillingness–thanks to NIMBYism and regulations–to build more housing.”
  • It doesn’t help that Austin is experiencing a net influx of 3,000 Californians a year. Seems like more…
  • California ban on modern sporting rifles went into effect January 1. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Police in Kern County, California, have killed more people per capita than in any other American county in 2015.” Caveat the first: The Guardian. Caveat the second: Thanks ever so much for that full-frame background video designed to bring by computer to a screeching halt, Guardian
  • How Marfa, Texas turned itself into an art colony.
  • Students at California law schools are doing horribly on the bar exam. “Law schools are admitting less and less qualified students in an effort to bolster their bottom lines. And why do their bottom lines need to be bolstered? Because they have too many faculty relative to student demand for the schools, and are either reluctant or unable to reduce the size of the faculty to “right size” the law school relative to present demand for the JD.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Maybe they should start calling it “North American Apparel“:

    Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc. has won a bankruptcy auction for U.S. fashion retailer American Apparel LLC (curxq) after raising its offer to around $88 million, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.

    Gildan’s takeover marks the end of an era for the iconic Los Angeles-based company, which was founded in 1998 by an eccentric Canadian university drop-out and grew to become a part of U.S. popular culture thanks to its racy advertising.

    Gildan will not take any of American Apparel’s 110 stores, but will own its brand and assume some of its manufacturing operations, the source said. The deal is subject to a bankruptcy judge approving it on Thursday.

  • State of California: You can’t mention actresses ages, because Reasons. IMDB: Free speech. Bite me.
  • And if you hadn’t seen them already, two previous BattleSwarm stories that touch on the Texas vs. California issue:

  • Interview with TPPF’s James Quintero on the Texas Municipal Pension Debt Crisis
  • The Texas 85th legislative session opens with budget tightening on the agenda.
  • LinkSwarm for May 2, 2016

    Monday, May 2nd, 2016

    I expected to spend the weekend at the Levitation Music Festival here in Austin, but it got cancelled when it looked like t was going to be rained out. However, I did see a makeup show by Slowdive, which was the biggest reason I was attending anyway.

  • Scott Adams: “I give Clinton a 50% chance of making it to November with sufficiently good health to be considered a viable president.”
  • Hillary wants to make it illegal to criticize her.
  • Indiana governor Mike Pence endorses Ted Cruz.
  • Once again, Team Cruz wins the delegate selection fight, this time in Arizona, Missouri and Virginia.
  • Latest poll has Trump and Clinton tied.
  • Trump isn’t fighting the establishment, he’s part of it. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • It’s good for the sake of the world that Islamic State fighters are no-talent assclowns. Maybe they should have drilled them more on military tactics than reciting the Koran. See how many basic military squad function mistakes you can count them making in this video.
  • Obama releases Islamic terrorist who helped attack the USS Cole. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How progressives embraced eugenics with the same fervor they embrace global warming today. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Waco biker fight update, including various (inconclusive) videos.
  • “More than two decades ago, we heard the ‘misplaced fears’ and predictions of shootouts in the streets of Texas because of the CHL law. It didn’t happen — and it won’t happen because of SB 11, either.”
  • Abortion clinics are closing in blue states as well.
  • Rabid Puppies dominate the Hugo nominations again. The science fiction establishment was given the opportunity to address Sad Puppies concerns, but instead they continued to doubled down by backing the Social Justice Warriors at every turn. This has turned Sad Puppy voters into Rabid Puppy voters. The 2015 Hugos: “There are problems, but Vox Day is an odious troll.” The 2016 Hugos: “You know what? Fuck them. They deserve Vox Day.”
  • Microsoft gonna Microsoft.
  • Dyson launches a new hairdryer. I really like their vacuum cleaner, which is wonderful for picking up golden retriever hair…
  • For a brief, shining moment, something interesting actually happened at a soccer game.
  • This time of year there’s just so much pollen in the air.
  • Cruz Wins Utah, Trump Wins Arizona

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

    Ted Cruz won Utah by over 50 points, with 69.2% of the vote to John Kasich’s 16.9%, with Donald Trump pulling 14% for third place. This means that Cruz picks up all 40 of Utah’s delegates.

    Trump won Arizona by 46.9% to Ted Cruz’s 24.9%, which means he picks up all 58 of Arizona’s delegates.

    Presidential Election Update for March 22, 2016

    Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

    Another important primary day, part of what seems a never-ending stream of them. There’s a republican primary in Arizona and a Republican caucus in Utah today. Mots recent polls have Cruz with a big lead in Utah, and trump with a small er lead in Arizona.

  • “If Cruz can win Arizona and Utah before moving on to victory in Wisconsin — another winner-take-all state where voters like politicians who play nice — he’ll pick up 140 delegates, bringing Trump’s lead under 100.” The problem? John Kasich. “Kasich must be betting that the party’s donor class and insiders will be so tickled by his pro-immigration, don’t-worry-about-religious-liberty stance that they will be willing to destroy the party by nominating him.”
  • Or, as Cruz suggests, maybe Kasich is auditioning to be Trump’s VP.
  • Ted Cruz was for building a border wall back when Trump was still supporting illegal alien amnesty. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Looks like Trump, just like Bill Clinton, was a fan of “Lolita Express to Orgy Island” sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Democrats shouldn’t be so sure they can beat Trump:

    The Democrats are kidding themselves if they think they are going to be able to rely on their usual attacks on Republicans with Donald Trump at the helm. They aren’t going to be able to launch into the tired war on women or talk about how Republicans hate poor people and sick people, etc., and make that stick. Nothing even close to those charges has stuck to Donald Trump so far. On CNBC, I recently likened Donald Trump to the dark force from the movie “The Fifth Element.” He seems to absorb attacks and grow in strength rather than be wounded.

    Trump isn’t just a counter-puncher; he uses rhetorical counter-force weapons to deprive opponents of their favorite attacks. Remember how Trump stifled and silenced Hillary’s attempt to launch an attack on Trump as sexist? I would guess we will be hearing a lot more in the general election about Bill’s indiscretions and her complicit role in helping him concoct the lies and demonize his victims. But that will just be Trump getting warmed up. Trump will routinely go after Hillary Clinton in ways the Democrats have always thought would be off-limits. And he will do so to her face. The email controversies, the odd arrangements Hillary staffers had with the private sector, the coordination between the State Department and the Clinton foundation, the money that poured in from foreign and corporate sources who wanted easy access to the Clinton world, a variety of Clinton’s flaws and previous gaffes – even Chelsea’s employment – will all come roaring out of the Trump campaign. The Clinton campaign will spend a lot of time on their heels.

    Democrats try to comfort themselves with the idea that there is no such thing as an Obama voter from 2008 or 2012 who will turn around and vote for Trump in 2016. It is easy to say Trump can’t win a general election. But that is the kind of rational thinking that has been applied to Trump ever since his campaign started. And it’s the kind of thinking that has been proven wrong time and time again. I can imagine Donald Trump pulling into a predominantly poor African-American neighborhood, standing on a platform, pointing to his wealth and saying, “If you want a chance to get rich, vote for me – look around, and if you want the status quo, vote for Hillary!” It could strike a chord with some young black voters who want a shot at a better life, not promises of incrementally more dependence and servitude to the Democratic establishment. I don’t dismiss the idea that Donald Trump could find a foothold in the African-American community.

  • On the other hand, polls show Hillary leading Trump. In Utah.
  • Trump: “Hillary Clinton has been involved in corruption most of her professional life!” Cruz: “Then why did you contribute thousands of dollars to her?”
  • An amusing inside look at the dramatic collapse of Jeb Bush’s campaign from inside the confines of his Right to Rise Super-PAC. It’s a buffet of black humor. “It’s always darkest before it goes completely black.” “These people all used to have great careers in politics. Now we’re going to Kinko’s to print off some résumés. We understand there’s a job fair at Quiznos.”