Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

LinkSwarm for April 28, 2017

Friday, April 28th, 2017

It’s been a week, so enjoy an extra-late Friday LinkSwarm

  • There’s lots of meat in President Trump’s tax reform proposal:

    Individual Reform

    Tax relief for American families, especially middle-income families:

  • Reducing the 7 tax brackets to 3 tax brackets of to%, 25% and 35%
  • Doubling the standard deduction
  • Providing tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses
  • Simplification:

  • Eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers
  • Protect the home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Repeal the death tax
  • Repeal the 3.8% Obamacare tax that hits small businesses and investment income
  • Business Reform

  • 15% business tax rate
  • Territorial tax system to level the playing field for American companies
  • One-time tax on trillions of dollars held overseas
  • Eliminate tax breaks for special interests
  • Texas House passes anti-Santuary City bill that fines officials for violating federal immigration laws.
  • North Korean ballistic missile test fails. Cue the sad trombone.

  • Obama’s Iran deal was even worse than we thought. “By dropping charges against major arms targets, the administration infuriated Justice Department officials — and undermined its own counterproliferation task forces.”
  • If Democrats keep moving left, they could experience another election like 1972:

    The highest-profile Democratic-party supporters are increasingly smug Hollywood actors, rich Wall Street and Silicon Valley elitists, and embittered members of the media, along with careerist identity groups and assorted protest movements — a fossilized 1972 echo chamber.

    Democrats’ politically correct messaging derides opponents as deplorable racists, sexists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, Islamophobes, and nativists. That shrill invective only further turns off Middle America. Being merely anti-Trump is no more a successful Democratic agenda than being anti-Nixon was in 1972.

  • If the election were held today, Trump would still beat Clinton.
  • Former Mayor of Hubbard, Ohio pleads guilty to raping a four year old. Go ahead, guess which party he’s a member of.
  • The Other McCain does his part for sexual assault awareness month.
  • The media does indeed live in a bubble, both geographic and ideological, of its own making.
  • Hundreds of illegal voters in North Carolina. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Nancy Pelosi: tried, drunk or stroke? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • 107 Cancer Papers Retracted Due To Peer Review Fraud. But don’t worry: All climate science is completely on the level…
  • When Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke swore up and down he never hire any campaign consultants, what he meant was he’d hire some.
  • “Facebook and Google confirmed as victims of $100M phishing scam.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • President Trump as a systems thinking President.
  • NYPD corruption scandal. Bribes? Check. Guns? Check. Prostitutes? Check. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Marine Le Pen heads to a runoff with Emmanuel Macron on May 7. Is there a better figurehead for modern Globalism than a Socialist investment banker?
  • Dishonest medical equipment startup Theranos used a shell company to secretly buy outside lab equipment to actually run the lab tests they were faking as coming from their own equipment. And check out that picture caption: “[CEO] Elizabeth Holmes speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.” Because of course she did.
  • Liberals love denouncing the imaginary Christian theocracy of The Handmaid’s Tale (now a miniseries) because it keeps them from having to think about the real Islamic ones oppressing women all over the world right at this very moment.
  • Related: “Lesbian Couple Discover Islamic Culture During Exciting International Trip.”
  • “When God sends a Plague of Wild Boars against you, he’s done sending messages, and is now sending armored bacon.”
  • Less than half of Democrats know a gun owner.
  • Richard Gere blacklisted in Hollywood on China’s orders.
  • Sonny Bunch has some “helpful” advice for Democrats. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Nordstrom selling $425 fake muddy jeans. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • You too can own a baseball inscribed to Justice Antonin Scalia by Joe DiMaggio.
  • “My Boyfriend Ate Nothing But Pineapple For A Week And Now His Dick Is Covered In Bees.”
  • Andrew Cuomo’s Fishy Book Royalties

    Monday, April 24th, 2017

    A few days ago news broke of New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fishy book royalties:

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported his income last year more than doubled from the previous year, thanks to another round of royalty payments on a 2014 HarperCollins memoir [All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life] that saw lackluster sales.

    In all, Cuomo has made $783,000 from HarperCollins for his book. The book sold 3,200 copies since it was published in the fall of 2014, according to tracking company NPD BookScan.

    That works out to royalty payments to Cuomo of $245 per book.

    It’s not unknown for a political book to get a big advance and bomb. What is unknown is getting big royalties on such a book two years after publication, since it will not have “earned out” it’s advance and thus no royalties should be forthcoming.

    So how could a book earn royalties if it wasn’t selling enough copies to according to BookScan?

    One possibility is that HarperCollins is somehow passing money on to Cuomo for political favors. Since HarperCollins is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., this seems unlikely

    Another, far more likely possibility is that Cuomo is pulling a Jim Wright. Wright, then Democratic Speaker of the House, published a slim volume of supposedly pithy aphorisms, Reflections of a Public Man, the vast majority of copies being sold via bulk sales to Wright’s political cronies (including unions) for which he was paid an unheard of 55% royalties on the cover price. Stephen King and J. K. Rowling don’t even get remotely that much per hardback. (E-book sales are a different matter, but physical books still outsell e-books.)

    Wright Reflections

    It’s quite likely that bulk sales of Cuomo’s book to unions wouldn’t show up on BookScan, which only tracks regular book channel sales. (Amazon, for example, shows that Cuomo’s book is the 337,666 best-selling book they stock.) And, like Wright’s, those sales would likely count as an illegal campaign contribution, assuming the unions in question had already hit New York state contribution limits.

    Even by the standards of the Democratic Party, Cumo has gone out of his way to do special favors for unions.

    The book royalty mystery is just another in the long list ethical lapses and corruption swirling around Cuomo. He famously created a commission to root out state corruption, then abruptly shut it down when it got too close to his own honeypots.

    Andrew Cuomo is, of course, the son of a far more charismatic New York governor, Mario Cuomo, as well as the brother of CNN host Chris Cuomo. (He also happens to be married to a Kennedy.) If he had any more silver spoons he’d he could open a shop on Martha’s Vineyard. I would suggest that the overclass cease foisting their hellish drop as future politicians, but we all know they’re not going to stop…

    Clinton Corruption Update for April 13, 2017

    Thursday, April 13th, 2017

    With Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign due out April 18, it’s high time for a Clinton Corruption update. (And you may quibble that “Hillary being a nasty person” doesn’t qualify as “corruption,” but if I started doing separate “Hillary Clinton is a horrible human being” updates, I’d never have time to sleep…)

    The book excerpts show that Hillary was every bit as much a joy to work with as we all suspected:

    Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.

    She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. How could she have been left so vulnerable? She knew — or at least she thought she did. The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.

    “That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.

    “Really?” Hillary snapped back.

    The room fell silent.

    “Why don’t you do it?”

    The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.

    Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” Then she’d hammer him with a Bernie line.

    It wasn’t just Sullivan in her crosshairs. She let everyone on her team have it that day. “We haven’t made our case,” she fumed. “We haven’t framed the choice. We haven’t done the politics.”

    “She was visibly, unflinchingly pissed off at us as a group,” said one aide who was in the room for the humiliating scene. “And she let us know she felt that way.”

    Hillary had been up into the wee hours the night before, agitating over her loss. This is because we made poor choices about where we traveled, she thought. She emailed Robby Mook to tell him she believed she’d spent too much time in the cities of Detroit and Flint and not enough in the working-class white suburbs around them. Sensing just how angry she was, Mook responded by putting together a morning conference call so that Hillary could vent. But that didn’t settle her; if anything, it left her more perplexed and angry, as her debate-prep team witnessed firsthand.

    Her aides took the browbeating — one of several she delivered in person and on the phone that day — in silence. They had a lot of their own thoughts on what went wrong, some of which echoed Hillary’s assessment: her message was off for Michigan, and she had refused to go hard against trade; Mook had pinched pennies and failed to put organizers on the ground; the polling and analytics were a touch too rosy, meaning the campaign didn’t know Bernie was ahead; she had set up an ambiguous decisionmaking structure on the campaign; and she’d focused too heavily on black and brown voters at the expense of competing for the whites who had formed her base in 2008. The list went on and on.

    The underlying truth — the one that many didn’t want to admit to themselves — was the person ultimately responsible for these decisions, the one whose name was on the ticket, hadn’t corrected these problems, all of which had been brought to her attention before primary day. She’d stuck with the plan, and it had cost her.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    More on the same theme:

    “Hillary’s been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left her staff members in tears and unable to work,” a campaign aide told Klein in 2015, according to a New York Post report. “She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her, and she’s become shrill and, at times, even violent.”

    According to the report, Hillary blasted a low-level campaign worker who had made a scheduling mistake. When Hillary viciously berated her, the worker turned and began to walk away. That’s when Hillary reportedly grabbed her by the arm.

    In one June 2016 report, it was revealed Hillary hurled a Bible at a Secret Service agent’s head, according to former agent Gary Byrne, who said her explosions grew worse as the Clintons’ time in the White House went on.

    Byrne warned Hillary was too “erratic, uncontrollable and occasionally violent” for the presidency.

    In other Clinton corruption news:

  • RussiaGate: Hillary Clinton and John Podesta’s Troubling Ties to Russia. Much will be familiar to regular BattleSwarm readers, but there’s some nice recap for those coming in cold:

    Unlike the revelations so far concerning Russian ties in the Trump camp, the Clinton deals involved hundreds of millions of dollars and enormous favors that benefitted Russian interests.

    Bill and Hillary Clinton received large sums of money directly and indirectly from Russian officials while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Bill Clinton was paid a cool $500,000 (well above his normal fee) for a speech in Moscow in 2010. Who footed the bill? An investment firm in Moscow called Renaissance Capital, which boasts deep ties to Russian intelligence. The Clinton Foundation itself took money from Russian officials and Putin-connected oligarchs. They also took donations from:

  • Viktor Vekselberg, a Putin confidant who gave through his company, Renova Group
  • Andrey Vavilov, a former Russian government official who was Chairman of SuperOx, a research company that was part of the “nuclear Cluster” at the Russian government’s Skolkovo research facility
  • Elena Baturina, the wife of the former Mayor of Moscow, who apparently gave them money through JSC Inteco, an entity that she controls
  • (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Ditto this National Review piece on the Clintons’ Russian ties:

    The shadiest deal that the Clintons hatched with Russia is called Uranium One. This outrage should mushroom into Hillary and Bill’s radioactive Whitewater scandal.

    Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining mogul and major Clinton Foundation donor, led a group of investors in an enterprise called Uranium One. On June 8, 2010, Rosatom, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, announced plans to purchase a 51.4 percent stake in the Canadian company, whose international assets included some 20 percent of America’s uranium capacity.

    Because this active ingredient in atomic reactors and nuclear weapons is a strategic commodity, this $1.3 billion deal required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Secretary of State Clinton was one of nine federal department and agency heads on that secretive panel.

    On June 29, 2010, three weeks after Rosatom proposed to Uranium One, Bill Clinton keynoted a seminar staged by Renaissance Capital in Moscow, a reputedly Kremlin-controlled investment bank that promoted this transaction. Renaissance Capital paid Clinton $500,000 for his one-hour speech.

    While CFIUS evaluated Rosatom’s offer, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer observed, “a spontaneous outbreak of philanthropy among eight shareholders in Uranium One” began. “These Canadian mining magnates decide now would be a great time to donate tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.”

    These included Uranium One’s then-chairman, Ian Telfer, whose donations to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI) totaled $3.1 million. Giustra himself gave $131.3 million to the Clinton Foundation. Before, during, and after CFIUS’s review, Schweizer calculates, “shareholders involved in this transaction had transferred approximately $145 million to the Clinton Foundation or its initiatives.”

    Others were less enthused about this deal.

    “Russia’s record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria, is very troubling,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, wrote to CFIUS’s then-chairman, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The top Republicans on the Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Armed Services Committees also signed Ros-Lehtinen’s letter of October 5, 2010.

    “We believe that this potential takeover of U.S. nuclear resources by a Russian government–owned agency would pose great potential harm to the national security of the United States,” the letter read, “and we urge the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to block the sale.”

    As a CFIUS member, Hillary could have heeded this warning and stopped Vladimir Putin from controlling a fifth of U.S. uranium supplies. America’s chief diplomat and former first lady either welcomed this prospect or was too uncharacteristically demure to make her objections stick.

    In either case, on October 23, 2010, within three weeks of that letter, CFIUS approved Rosatom’s purchase of a majority stake in Uranium One.

    Thanks to subsequent investments, Rosatom’s share of Uranium One grew to 100 percent by January 2013. Robert Gill of Morrison Williams Investment Management told Canada’s Financial Post: “By doing this acquisition, they can continue to build the company they intended to build, but they can do so without the transparency required by the public markets.”

    Rosatom CEO Sergei Kiriyenko crowed just after taking total control of Uranium One, “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves.”

    A headline in Pravda boasted on January 22, 2013: “Russian nuclear energy conquers the world.”

    My old friend Michael Caputo performed public-relations work for Renaissance Capital in 1999–2000. He says it subsequently became “a practical arm of Vladimir Putin.” Caputo was stunned at the speed with which CFIUS approved Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One.

    “In 2010–2011, I ran acquisition communications for Safran Group, the French government–controlled defense contractor which bought the US biometrics company L-1,” Caputo wrote in PoliticsNY.net. “It took us almost two years to gain CFIUS approval for France, an historic ally, to purchase a biometrics firm, not even remotely a strategic asset.” He added, “These two CFIUS approvals were happening at precisely the same time. Safran couldn’t buy a break and was questioned at every turn. Somehow, Kremlin-controlled Rosatom’s purchase sailed through on a cool breeze.”

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Even more on John Podesta’s Russian ties:

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

    Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

    Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

  • And how did Podesta react to these charges? He hit the Daily Caller with a cease and desist letter.
  • “Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “New Huma Abedin Emails Reveal Additional Instances of Clinton Sending Classified Information through Unsecured Emails, Special Favors for Clinton Donors.”
  • “Hillary Clinton had astonishing access to top secret documents after she left state department“:

    Hillary Clinton may have resigned her secretary role at the State Department in 2013 – but her access to top secret and classified information didn’t end then.

    Under Barack Obama, she was allowed to continue to view highly sensitive intel documents for years – well past her announced run for the presidency in April 2015, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Why? Toward what possible end?

    So she could better write her memoir.

    File this in the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” folder.

    And it wasn’t just Clinton who kept the power of top secret access. It was six of her former staffers, who went by the tag of “research assistants.”

  • “Hillary has no plans to return to work at Clinton Foundation.” Yes, “work.” Because cashing checks from influence-seekers is so strenuous…
  • The hagiographers at Vanity Fair talk about Hillary coming out of the woods.
  • Bill Maher: Stay in the woods:

    The shrill, annoying woman acting as Social Justice Warrior Policer of Jokes and Defender of the Hillary Faith is evidently Neera Tanden. Every time she speaks, just imagine tiny votes flying on fairy wings from the Democratic to the Republican side of the ledger; she’s that annoying.

  • A tweet, with video:

  • Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti’s Offices Raided by FBI, IRS

    Thursday, February 16th, 2017

    Via Dwight comes word that the offices of Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti have been raided by the FBI and the IRS:

    Agents have been confiscating documents from the office of the Democratic lawmaker.

    “I can confirm the FBI and IRS are lawfully present and conducting a lawful law enforcement activity,” FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee told the Express-News.

    Lee also said no arrests have been made so far.

    Uresti is currently facing a grand jury investigation into possible public corruption charges related to his involvement with FourWinds, a San Antonio oil-field services company accused of defrauding investors.

    While Uresti is “innocent until proven guilty,” having both the FBI and IRS lawfully conducting lawful law enforcement in your office is not a good sign.

    When last we checked on Sen. Uresti, he was sharing a bathroom with a female staffer not his wife and involved in the UT admissions scandal.

    Here’s more on the FourWinds story, which I had not been previously following:

    The one-time marketing director for a bankrupt San Antonio frac-sand company with ties to state Sen. Carlos Uresti has been criminally charged in an alleged scheme to defraud investors.

    On Wednesday, Eric Nelson was charged in an information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for allegedly altering a FourWinds Logistics’ bank statement to inflate the amount of money in the account. The bank statement was then mailed by an unnamed co-conspirator to prospective investors, according to the charging document.

    Nelson has agreed to a plea deal, according to sources, but records show that it is sealed. His attorneys declined to comment.

    The San Antonio Express-News in August chronicled the demise of FourWinds, which had more than $14 million in claims against it. Investors have alleged that CEO Stan Bates wasted their money on personal expenses, expensive gifts, exotic car rentals and lavish vacation, according to a court document. Bates has denied the allegations.

    Uresti provided legal services for FourWinds and served as its outside general counsel for four or five months in 2014, he said in an interview this summer. He received FourWinds shares, as well as a $40,000 loan from the company that he failed to disclose initially. He also collected a $27,000 commission on a Harlingen woman’s $900,000 investment in a joint venture with FourWinds. The woman ended up losing about $800,000.

    Really, who of us hasn’t forgotten a $40,000 loan? “Oh yeah! That little thing! Sorry, totally slipped my mind!”

    Uncle Sam’s mills grind slowly, but exceedingly fine. One way or another, I suspect Republicans will view Uresti’s west Texas District 19 as a pickup target in 2020…if not sooner…

    Dawnna Dukes Indicted on 15 Counts, Faces 28 Years in Jail

    Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

    The shoe has landed:

    A grand jury has indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on 13 felony corruption charges and two misdemeanors, with a maximum penalty of 28 years behind bars, a courthouse source said Wednesday.

    Dukes, an Austin Democrat, faces two misdemeanor counts of abuse of official capacity and 13 felony counts of tampering with public records, a source with knowledge of the case said. Travis County prosecutors and investigators from the Texas Rangers presented the evidence to the grand jurors Tuesday, who indicted Dukes on the first day that they met to consider the case.

    The indictment comes seven days after Dukes reneged on a promise to step down and took the oath of office for a 12th two-year term representing parts of North Austin, East Austin, Pflugerville and Manor.

    Dukes posted a statement on Facebook following the indictment, which was first reported by Spectrum News: “Of course, I am disappointed but I expected that if I was sworn into office in January 10th that this indictment would follow. All I can say today is that I will be entering a plea of Not Guilty.”

    One abuse of official capacity charge deals with Dukes using her legislative staff for personal purposes. In April, the American-Statesman reported that Dukes had arranged to give a taxpayer-funded raise to an aide to cover gas money for driving Dukes’ daughter to and from school.

    With the other abuse of official capacity charge, the grand jury accused Dukes of using money raised from campaign contributors for personal purposes. Politicians may use campaign money to pay for election activities or for expenses related to carrying out their elected office, but state law forbids them from using it for personal purposes.

    Dukes has made numerous questionable expenditures from her campaign account over the years, including $13,000 in payments to family members, $30,000 on gas and $2,700 to a seamstress, a Statesman investigation in June found.

    $13,000 to family members? Yeah, that’s gonna raise red flags.

    The grand jury accused Dukes of converting to personal use campaign expenditures that were earmarked for the African-American Community Heritage Festival, an East Austin event Dukes co-founded 18 years ago but ended last year after negative attention caused by the investigation. Dukes has listed at least $17,600 in campaign expenditures for the festival, including $303 to an electronics store for “replacement of digital camera broken by staff,” $146 for Mardi Gras beads and more than $7,000 for musical performers, the Statesman investigation found.

    The 13 charges for tampering with public records concerns an allegation that Dukes collected pay from the state during the 2014 legislative interim for days that she did not travel to the Capitol, which is required under House rules. The American-Statesman in May reported that a former Dukes staffer had accused the legislator of filing requests for per diem payments for days that she never traveled to the Capitol and may not have worked at all.

    So Dukes was getting paid for not working. In other words, she was living the Democratic Party dream…

    (Previously.)

    (Hat tip: Dwight.)

    Dawnna Dukes Case Headed to Grand Jury

    Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

    In an update to the Dawnna Dukes story, her case is headed to a grand jury:

    Travis County prosecutors and Texas Rangers will present evidence to a grand jury that state Rep. Dawnna Dukes abused the power of her office, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told the American-Statesman.

    Among possible charges: abuse of official capacity and tampering with public records, Moore said.

    Dukes was sworn into office for a 12th term Tuesday after reneging on a plan to step down before the Legislature convened.

    Moore said that the grand jury proceedings will begin next Tuesday.

    Snip.

    Shortly after the Texas Rangers presented their case against Dukes to Travis County prosecutors in September, the Austin Democrat announced she would step down when her term expired, citing medical issues related to a 2013 car crash had made it impossible for her to serve.

    Days ago, however, Dukes changed her mind. She was sworn in to a 12th term on Tuesday with the rest of her House colleagues.

    The Travis County DA doesn’t have a great reputation (see also: Rosemary Lehmberg and Ronnie Earl), but the Rangers are in a different league entirely.

    (Previously.)

    Corrupt Democrat Sentenced (No, Not Her)

    Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

    Remember Philadelphia Democratic congressman Chaka Fattah, who “used millions of dollars from nonprofits, some of them taxpayer-backed, to pay ex-staffers, friends, and their relatives“?

    Well, he’s been convicted and sentenced:

    Former Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison on federal corruption charges, including fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.

    Fattah, who represented several areas of Philadelphia in Congress, was convicted in June on 23 charges of corruption. His prison sentence will begin on Jan. 25

    Snip.

    Fattah’s case primarily stems from a failed mayoral bid in 2007 during which Fattah took an illegal $1 million contribution. He was also accused of misusing campaign funds to pay off his son’s college debts, funneling money through a fake nonprofit to pay a political strategist, and taking $27,000 in bribes from a fundraiser.

    The Philadelphia Democrat was elected to Congress in 1994 and only resigned his seat after he was convicted on the corruption charges in June.

    If only he had blamed it on “Russian hackers”…

    LinkSwarm for September 16, 2016

    Friday, September 16th, 2016

    It’s Friday! Something to be thankful for!

    Its 52 days until the election! At least we can be thankful it isn’t more! (Alternate theory: We’ve all died and gone to Hell, and will be watching this Presidential race for the rest of eternity…)

  • Donald Trump widens lead in LA Times poll. “The poll shows Trump leading Clinton, 47%-41%.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Another poll puts Trump up by eight in Iowa. Downside: Same poll has Trump up by only seven in Texas. There’s no way in Hell or Terlingua that’s happening, but let’s hope Battleground Texas cons some national Democratic donors into throwing more money down that particular rathole based on that poll… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Scott Adams on Hillary’s 9/11 collapse: “The optics of a potential commander-in-chief collapsing at that holy place, and on an important anniversary, rendered her unelectable in my opinion.”
  • Hillary Clinton has stage-three Parkinson’s disease and suffers from seizures, according to three sources who have had a personal relationship with the Democratic Party presidential nominee.” Grains of salt, anonymous sources disclaimer, yadda yadda.
  • Did I miss this from 2015? “The charitable foundation run by Hillary Clinton and her family has received as much as $81m from wealthy international donors who were clients of HSBC’s controversial Swiss bank.” Including Frank Giustra. But why would you trust such a notoriously right-wing news outlet as The Guardian? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “It Was Easier To Cure Trump Of His Trumpiness Than Hillary of Her Hillaryness.” “For Hillary, the problem runs deeper. People think she’s corrupt and dishonest. That’s because she’s corrupt and dishonest.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Email leak exposes Democratic Party Pay-for-Play scheme, despite cleverly hiding their intent by actually using the phrase “pay-for-play.” Just think: This would have been a major story dominating the news for months if it were a Republican Administration. In the age of Obama and Hillary, it’s just another selection on a vast buffet of corruption. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • America’s trust in media hits all time low:

    Well, what did they expect when they went all in for Hillary? And now Trump is climbing in the polls — 6 points up in the new L.A. Times poll — and they’ve already squandered their credibility. They can’t help her now. They tried too hard before. Too bad the Democratic Party didn’t give us a democratic experience this time. They foisted a candidate on us, they rigged it, with the assistance of the media. And now the candidate we didn’t want zombie-walks and stumbles to the finish line, and there is nothing the Party or the media can do to stir up our affection. Meanwhile, the man the media loved to hate is powering through to the Presidency, looking only stronger for all the shots he took.

  • More Americans murdered in Chicago since 2001 than U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
  • The European Dream gives way to nightmare:

    Viktor Orbán, together with the prime ministers of the Visegrad countries and the Ukrainian prime minister, took part in a discussion where he highlighted: a whole generation of European politicians had a “secret dream”, that they can use the EU to achieve the weakening of the member states’ national, religious, and historic identities, and that all this would be replaced by a new European identity. But we found out there is no such identity that could replace the old ones, he said. He added: now it is proven that the only successful countries are the ones with strong identities.

    (Hat tip Director Blue.)

  • Someone is learning how to take down the Internet.

    Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services. Who would do this? It doesn’t seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It’s not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes — and especially their persistence — points to state actors. It feels like a nation’s military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar… The data I see suggests China.

  • Former Ohio mayor arrested for raping a 4-year old. Guess which party they were a member of, and guess how deeply the Washington Post buried that information.
  • Have an Android? Enjoy your Big Brother inside.
  • Happy Land Social Club arsonist dies in prison. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • The end of the Euro?
  • Austin to hire an official Social justice Warrior.
  • Local Texas school districts try to reduce or repeal Local Option Homestead Exemptions, get smacked down by Texas Attorney general Ken Paxton.
  • This Week in Clinton Corruption for September 1, 2016

    Thursday, September 1st, 2016

    Another week, another Hillary Clinton corruption roundup. Remember, this is only what I had time to compile among all my other work, blogging, writing, etc. Cataloging Clinton corruption could easily be a full time job…

  • This week brought still more evidence that Hillary lied about her emails. (Clip and save that preceding sentence, as I’m sure you’ll be able to use it again.) “Approximately 30 of the 14,900 deleted emails recovered by the FBI from Hillary Clinton’s private email server may involve the 2012 attack on Benghazi, Libya, State Department lawyers said on Tuesday.”
  • She even sent out classified emails after she left office. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • The FBI is also gong to release the report that led to the Hillary non-indictment. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • 25 questions Hillary Clinton must answer under oath by September 29. This is another outgrowth of the Judicial Watch lawsuit. It being Hillary, I’m betting she finds some way to finagle out of it, or push it back after the election.
  • Legal loophole let’s state Democratic parties launder big money from federal donors over the legal limit right back to Hillary. Hillary’s the candidate of the fat cats, by the fat cats, and for the fat cats. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Hillary Clinton doesn’t discriminate: If you’re willing to give her large sums of money, she’s willing to take it, even if you’re on the terror watch no-fly list.
  • There were also at least five felons among Clinton Foundation donors.
  • Former Clinton campaign operative dishes the dirt. “She sleeps approximately 18 hours a day.” Usual anonymous source caveats apply. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • A record number of voters dislike Hillary Clinton.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Dr. Drew Pinsky’s show on headline News cancelled right after he says he’s gravely concerned about Hillary Clinton’s health. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • More Dr. Drew on Hillary’s health.
  • “Recent search engine results indicate Google, whose CEO is a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is suppressing negative search results about the Democratic party’s presidential nominee.” Indeed, the fervor with which Hillary’s backers and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) attempt to suppress discussion of Hillary’s health issues suggests there’s something deeply damaging there…
  • Texas vs. California Update for August 30, 2016

    Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
  • A new ranking of Freedom in the 50 states is out. Texas ranked 28th (too low, IMHO) while California ranked 49th:
    • Texas:

      Texas’s fiscal policy is very good. It is a fiscally decentralized state, with local taxes at about 4.5 percent of personal income, above the national average, and state taxes at about 3.6 percent of income, well below the national average. However, Texans don’t have much choice of local government, with only 0.36 jurisdictions per 100 square miles. State and local debt is above average (with the biggest problem being local debt burdens), at 23.1 percent of income, but it has come down slightly since FY 2011. Government subsidies are below average. Public employment has fallen significantly below average, at 11.8 percent of private employment.

      Texas’s land-use freedom keeps housing prices down. It also has a regulatory taking compensation law, but it only applies to state government. The renewable portfolio standard has not been raised in years. Texas is our top state for labor-market freedom. Workers’ compensation coverage is optional for employers; most employees are covered, but not all. The state has a right-to-work law, no minimum wage, and a federally consistent anti-discrimination law. Cable and telecommunications have been liberalized. However, health insurance mandates were quite high as of 2010, the last available date. The extent of occupational licensing is high, but the state recently enacted a sunrise review requirement for new licensure proposals. Time will tell whether it is at all effective. Nurse practitioners enjoy no freedom of independent practice at all. Texas has few cronyist entry and price regulations, but it does have a price-gouging law, and Tesla’s direct sales model is still illegal. The civil liability system used to be terrible, but now it is merely below average. The state abolished joint and several liability in 2003, but it could do more to cap punitive damages and end parties’ role in judicial elections.

    • California:

      Although it has long been significantly freer on personal issues than the national average, California has also long been one of the lowest-scoring states on economic freedom.

      Despite Proposition 13, California is one of the highest-taxed states in the country. Excluding severance and motor fuel taxes, California’s combined state and local tax collections were 10.8 percent of personal income. Moreover, because of the infamous Serrano decision on school funding, California is a fiscally centralized state. Local taxes are about average nationally, while state taxes are well above average. Government debt is high, at 22.8 percent of personal income. The state subsidizes business at a high rate (0.16 percent of the state economy). However, government employment is lower than the national average.

      Regulatory policy is even more of a problem for the state than fiscal policy. California is one of the worst states on land-use freedom. Some cities have rent control, new housing supply is tightly restricted in the coastal areas, and eminent domain reform has been nugatory. Labor law is anti-employment, with no right-to-work law, high minimum wages, strict workers’ comp mandates, mandated short-term disability insurance, and a stricter-than-federal anti-discrimination law. Occupational licensing is extensive and strict, especially in construction trades. It is tied for worst in nursing practice freedom. The state’s mandatory cancer labeling law (Proposition 65) has significant economic costs. It is one of the worst states for consumer freedom of choice in homeowner’s and automobile insurance.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Texas tops yet another list as the best place to work and live.
  • “This notion of California as a land of outsiders is being turned on its head, our state’s dream repackaged – often with the approval of its ruling hegemons – as something more like a medieval city, expelling the poor and the young, while keeping the state’s blessings to the well-educated, well-heeled and generally older population”:

    California has been bleeding people to other states for more than two decades. Even after the state’s “comeback,” net domestic out-migration since 2010 has exceeded 250,000. Moreover, the latest Internal Revenue Service migration data, for 2013-2014, does not support the view that those who leave are so dominated by the flight of younger and poorer people.

    Of course, younger people tend to move more than older people, and people seeking better job opportunities are more likely to move than those who have made it. But, according to the IRS, nearly 60,000 more Californians left the state than moved in between 2013 and 2014. In each of the seven income categories and each of the five age categories, the IRS found that California lost net domestic migrants.

    Nor, viewed over the long term, is California getting smarter than its rivals. Since 2000, California’s cache of 25- to 34-year-olds with college, postgraduate and professional degrees grew by 36 percent, below the national average of 42 percent, and Texas’ 47 percent. If we look at metropolitan regions, the growth of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees since 2000 has been more than 1.5 to nearly 3 times as fast in Houston and Austin as in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Even New York, with its high costs, is doing better.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit, who also notes “I remember talking to the Investor’s Business Daily folks a few years ago — they were headquartered in Marina Del Rey, a lovely place but one where they were constantly visited by inspectors, tax people, etc., all posing problems. When they opened an office in Texas, the state and local government people were all ‘tell us if we can help you.’ Very different experience.”)

  • “IRS Data: More Americans are relocating to Texas.” Though why an article datelined El Paso, and quoting only El Paso experts, uses a photo of Austin’s skyline to illustrate the story is a mystery…
  • The California Teacher’s Association: the worst union in America:

    Seen as a national leader in the classroom during the 1950s and 1960s, the country’s largest state is today a laggard, competing with the likes of Mississippi and Washington, D.C., at the bottom of national rankings. The Golden State’s education tailspin has been blamed on everything from class sizes to the property-tax restrictions enforced by Proposition 13 to an influx of Spanish-speaking students. But no portrait of the system’s downfall would be complete without a depiction of the CTA, a political behemoth that blocks meaningful education reform, protects failing and even criminal educators, and inflates teacher pay and benefits to unsustainable levels.

    Also this:

    According to figures from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a public institution) in 2010, the CTA had spent more than $210 million over the previous decade on political campaigning—more than any other donor in the state. In fact, the CTA outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, and the tobacco industry combined.

  • California state appeals court rules unanimously that, yes, public employee pension benefits can indeed be reduced. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The court giveth, the court taketh away, as the Vergara lawsuit ends with a whimper, meaning teachers unions can screw poor kids in California for the immediate future.
  • Meanwhile, California’s Democrat-controlled legislature passes a bill to get their fingers on private retirement funds create a plan to create a pension for private employee who don’t have one. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • No, it’s just to create more opportunities for graft through taxation. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s cap-and-trade program is a colossal failure, and it may take the high speed rail boondoggle down with it:

    California concluded its most recent cap-and-trade program auction last week. Out of 44,268,323 metric tons of carbon dioxide credits offered for sale by the state Air Resources Board, only 660,560 were sold, 1.5 percent of the total, raising a paltry $8.4 million out of a hoped-for $620 million. Last May’s auction was almost as bad, raising $10 million out of an anticipated $500 million.

    California’s carbon dioxide cap-and-trade auction program was expected to bring in more than $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2017, a quarter of which is earmarked for the high-speed rail project narrowly approved by voters in a 2008 ballot initiative. As a hedge against uncertainty, a $500 million reserve was built into the cap-and-trade budget. But, with the August auction falling 98.5 percent short, the entire reserve was consumed in the first of four auctions for the fiscal year.

    It gets better:

    In the meantime, the High-Speed Rail project, currently promised to cost “only” $68 billion to run from the Bay Area some 400 miles south to Los Angeles may be looking at $50 billion in overruns. To fund the costly train, which was sold to voters as not costing a dime in new taxes, the expected revenue stream from cap-and-trade has been securitized, putting the state on the hook to Wall Street for billions in construction money advanced on the promise of future cap-and-trade revenue.

  • California spends $1.5 billion for Chinook salmon.
  • The corrupt city of Maywood, California hired an engineering firm whose employees were so hard-working they put in 27 hour days.
  • The collapse of high-end California wine merchant Premier Cru, a $45 million wine Ponzi scheme.
  • Three skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County, California to close because they can’t find enough nurses. Humboldt County is up on the Northern California coast.
  • The Inland Empire in Southern California, still reeling from its foreclosure crisis, saw the biggest jump in income inequality in the state at more than 40 percent. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Toastmasters International to move from Orange County, California to Colorado.
  • And least you think Texas is complete immune from pension worries, the Employees Retirement System of Texas is set to run out of money as well…in 2063. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • If California farmland overvalued?
  • California judge faces recall over being being too lenient to a sex offender. If the recall succeeds, liberals may very well regret setting this precedent…
  • California Governor Jerry Brown may push “green” initiatives, but he’s more than happy to take money for doing regulatory favors for Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • From 2010: California’s abandoned wind farms.