Posts Tagged ‘FBI’

Texas vs. California Update for April 18, 2016

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup, with the top news being California’s hastening their economic demise with a suicidal minimum wage hike:

  • Jerry Brown admits the minimum wage hike doesn’t make economic sense, then signs it anyway. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Who is really behind the minimum wage hike? The SEIU:

    California’s drive to hike the minimum wage has little to do with average workers and everything to do with the Golden State’s all-powerful government employee unions.

    Nationally, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is known for representing lower skilled workers. But, of the SEIU’s 2.1 million dues-paying members, half work for the government. In California, that translates to clout with much of the $50 million SEIU spent in the U.S. on political activities and lobbying spent in California. In fact, out of the 12 “yes” votes for the minimum wage bill in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on March 30, the SEIU had contributed almost $100,000 out of the three-quarters of a million contributed by public employee unions—yielding a far higher return on investment than anything Wall Street could produce.

    Unions represent about 59 percent of all government workers in California. Many union contracts are tied to the minimum wage — boost the minimum wage and government union workers reap a huge windfall, courtesy of the overworked California taxpayer.

  • “The impacts of the increase in minimum wage on workers at the very bottom of the pay scales might be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ramifications of the minimum wage increase.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Indeed, that hike will push government employee wages up all up the ladder.
  • “California minimum wage hike hits L.A. apparel industry: ‘The exodus has begun.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Texas’ job creation has helped keep the unemployment rate low at 4.3 percent, which has now been at or below the U.S. average rate for a remarkable 111 straight months.”
  • “Number of Californians Moving to Texas Hits Highest Level in Nearly a Decade”:

    “California’s taxes and regulations are crushing businesses, and there are more opportunities in Texas for people to start new companies, get good jobs, and create better lives for their families,” said Nathan Nascimento, the director of state initiatives at Freedom Partners. “When tax and regulatory climates are bad, people will move to better economic environments—this phenomenon isn’t a mystery, it’s how marketplaces work. Not only should other state governments take note of this, but so should the federal government.”

    According to Tom Gray of the Manhattan Institute, people may be leaving California for the employment opportunities, tax breaks, or less crowded living arrangements that other states offer.

    “States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average,” Gray wrote. “Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs.”

    “Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes,” Gray wrote. “States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that may cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • More on the same theme. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • It’s not just pensions: “The state paid $458 million in 2001 (0.6 percent of the general fund) for state worker retiree health care and is expected to pay $2 billion (1.7 percent of the general fund) next fiscal year — up 80 percent in just the last decade.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas border control succeeds where the Obama Administration fails. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • California and New York still lead Texas in billionaires. But for how long?
  • “The housing bubble may have collapsed, but the public-employee pension fund managers are still with us. If anything they’re bigger than ever, still insatiably seeking high returns just over the horizon line of another economic bubble.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How to fix San Francisco’s dysfunctional housing market. “Failed public policy and political leadership has resulted in a massive imbalance between how much the city’s population has grown this century versus how much housing has been built. The last thirteen years worth of new housing units built is approximately equal to the population growth of the last two years.” Also: “The city is forcing people out. Only the rich can live here because of the policies created by so-called progressives and so-called housing advocates.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • UC Berkley to cut 500 jobs over two years.
  • What does BART do faced with a $400 million projected deficit over the next decade? Dig deeper. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Stanton, California, is the latest California municipality facing bankruptcy. “One of the main reasons the city can’t pay its bills without the sales tax is that it gives outlandish salaries and benefits to its government workers.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day in Texas.
  • Politically correct investing has already cost CalPERS $3 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “A federal jury on Wednesday convicted former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka of deliberately impeding an FBI investigation, capping a jail abuse and obstruction scandal that reached to the top echelons of the Sheriff’s Department.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Top California Democratic assemblyman Roger Hernandez accused of domestic violence.
  • Calls for UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign, she of the supergenius “pay $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative postings about the pepper-spraying of students in 2011” plan.
  • California beachwear retailer Pacific Sunwear files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • California retailer Sport Chalet is also shutting down.
  • 75% of current Toyota employees are willing to move to Texas to work at Toyota’s new U.S. headquarters.
  • California isn’t the only place delusional politicians are pushing a “railroad to nowhere.” The Lone Star Rail District wants to keep getting and spending money despite the fact that Union Pacific said they couldn’t use their freight lines for a commuter train between Austin and San Antonio. The tiny little problem being that the Union Pacific line was the only one under consideration…
  • Hillary’s Server, Guccifer, and Sid

    Sunday, April 10th, 2016

    Welcome to the second half of An All Sidney Blumenthal Weekend! (I’m sure that hook is just the thing to pull all the kids in for boffo sweeps ratings…)

    First some useful background on the state of play on Hillary’s email server scandal, via Kimberly Strassel at The Wall Street Journal (usual WSJ Google hoops apply):

    Hillary Clinton is good at imagining partisan plots, and to listen to her team, no less than several inspectors general, the intelligence community, and the entire Republican ecosphere are colluding to turn her home-brew email system into a fake scandal. To this conspiracy, she must now add the federal judiciary.

    In recent weeks, not one, but two, esteemed federal judges have granted an outside group—Judicial Watch—the right to conduct discovery into the origins and handling of her private email system. It’s a reminder that Mrs. Clinton’s biggest problem this election isn’t Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Her problem is a 1966 statute known as the Freedom of Information Act, and the judges who enforce it.

    The judges have taken unprecedented steps to resolve this case. It is exceedingly rare—almost unheard of—for a judge to allow discovery in a FOIA proceeding. This is a testament to how grave Mrs. Clinton’s email problem is. In the usual course of things, an outside group demands documents, a judge requires a federal department to hand them over, and the public learns something.

    In this case—as we all know—the problem is that the State Department doesn’t have the documents. Or rather, it can’t confirm that it has them all, because State left it to Mrs. Clinton and her aides to possess them, and then to unilaterally decide what to hand over. To Judge Royce Lamberth, this is cut and dry “evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith,” and the law demands a full accounting of how this situation came to be, what records exist, and where they are now.

    Speaking of the judge’s words, they too are a testament to Mrs. Clinton’s mess. Judge Lamberth was unplugged in his order, calling the former secretary of state’s email set up “extraordinary,” and slamming “constantly shifting admissions by the government and former government officials” about the setup. Judge Emmet Sullivan, the first to allow discovery, referred in his own hearing to Mrs. Clinton’s “totally atypical system” and noted that it “boggles the mind that the State Department allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place. It’s just very, very, very troubling.”

    “Troubling” is putting it mildly…

    Fueling the judges’ suspicions has been new evidence that Mrs. Clinton didn’t turn everything over. Judicial Watch recently obtained emails showing that State Department and National Security Agency personnel had big concerns with Mrs. Clinton’s early demands that she be allowed to use a BlackBerry for secure correspondence. They wanted her to sit at a computer in a secure facility—as everyone else does. These documents include a February 2009 email from then-Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills to her boss, crowing that State was coming around to Mrs. Clinton’s demands, and a return email the same day from Mrs. Clinton saying, “That’s good news.”

    These are clearly work-related emails. They speak to the question of Mrs. Clinton’s communications while at the State Department. They aren’t about yoga routines. And yet, guess what? That email chain was not included in the 55,000 pages of documents Mrs. Clinton turned over. Perhaps it was an oversight, but far more likely, the Clinton team—knowing the firestorm over a home-brew system—chose to withhold documents showing that State and NSA considered Mrs. Clinton’s email demands unsafe and unreasonable. What else did Mrs. Clinton choose to withhold from the public?

    What else indeed?

    Judicial Watch is hoping to use discovery to interview eight current and former State Department officials, including Ms. Mills, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and former State IT employees Bryan Pagliano (who is reported to have recently been granted immunity by the FBI). And yet in a hearing this week in Judge Sullivan’s court, State Department officials were already moving to limit or shut down what questions Judicial Watch could ask—including those pertaining to how classified information was handled on the system.

    Put another way, State wants to put off-limits the questions that are at the heart of the Clinton email scandal. And no surprise. The Judicial Watch discovery holds the potential to expose the many and varied ways Mrs. Clinton may have skirted the rules, and in turn to put enormous pressure on the FBI to act. These depositions meanwhile are currently set to happen this summer, right before the Democratic convention.

    The beauty of FOIA is that it is designed to bring things to light. Mrs. Clinton has grown talented at outfoxing investigators, Congress, inspectors general, the press. But she made the error this time of playing games with a law that federal judges take seriously, and that gives outside watchdogs real leverage.

    So what role did Clinton toady Sidney Blumenthal play in this “unsafe and unreasonable” secret email server? He’s the one that helped get it exposed via a Romanian hacker:

    One of the notches on Guccifer’s cyber-crime belt was allegedly accessing the email account of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, one of Clinton’s most prolific advice-givers when she was secretary of state. It was through that hack that Clinton’s use of a personal account — clintonemail.com — first came to light.

    Former law enforcement and cyber security experts said the hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, could – now that he’s in the U.S. – help the FBI make the case that Clinton’s email server was compromised by a third party, one that did not have the formal backing and resources of a foreign intelligence service such as that of Russia, China or Iran.

    And isn’t it interesting that hacker “Guccifer” has been extradited to the U.S. “at a critical point in the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use”?

    Also this: “Guccifer has no programming skills and guessed passwords of prominent public figures after reading their biographies.”

    So Guccifer isn’t some computer criminal mastermind, he’s a lowly “script kiddie” doing password guess attacks. If he did obtained access to Hillary’s email server, then it’s a dead certainty that Russia, China and other intelligence services hacked it as well.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    LinkSwarm for March 11, 2016

    Friday, March 11th, 2016

    Here in Texas it’s rained every day this week, resulting in flooding along the Sabine. Try to stay dry and enjoy this complimentary Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Ted Cruz pegs the meter with this comment. (Hat tip: Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz.)
  • GOP squishes finally start backing Cruz as only way to stop Donald Trump.
  • Could our FBI director actually be doing his job, without fear or favor?
  • In related news: Could Hillary Clinton’s grand jury already be empaneled? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Marco Rubio is a horrible failure.”
  • There have been adultery accusations popping up on Rubio’s campaign trail, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything. However, I was surprised to read they date back to at least 2010.
  • Failed ObamaCare co-ops haven’t repaid $1.2 billion in taxpayer loans.
  • Think California is boned? Europe’s pension crisis is even worse:

    Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t have a projection for 2060.

    Also this:

    The global decline of the blue model stands to inflict even more pain on Europe than on the United States. Europeans are worse at making babies than the United States, worse at integrating immigrants, worse at saving money to pay boomer retirement bills—but no worse at making promises to voters that they will be unable to keep.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Venezuela’s accelerating economic meltdown is rapidly turning into a full-fledged humanitarian crisis. For too many in that country, the pervasive shortages of food, medicine, electricity, and other basic goods are making everyday life a nightmare.”
  • How “liberation theology” was designed and run from Moscow.
  • Differences between Christian and Islamic eschatology.
  • If you have trouble firing handguns, you may find this gripping reading. (Hat tip: Stuff from Hsoi.)
  • “UC-Berkeley Law School Dean Resigns After Being Sued For Sexual Harassment.” (Hat tip: Instapundit, who asks “Why are leftist institutions such cesspits of sexual predation?”)
  • “The San Francisco Chronicle used to give out firearms as subscription premiums.”
  • Another Adobe Flash vulnerability in the wild.
  • It begins.
  • Inside Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, the only remnant of a “Metabolist future” that failed.
  • Mr. T. says goodbye to Nancy Reagan.
  • LinkSwarm for December 18, 2015

    Friday, December 18th, 2015

    It’s a week before Christmas, and I hope everyone is having a better week than I am (I’m sick and my dog’s sick).

  • Former FBI counterterrorism agent says that we haven’t gotten squat in terrorism leads from “moderate Muslims,” and we probably won’t as long as we keep using Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR as our only go-to groups for them. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Swedes are stocking up on guns.
  • Given that the French political establishment continues to ignore widespread French desire to stem Islamic immigration, is it any wonder Marine Le Pen’s National Front did so well in early voting?
  • DNC cuts off voter info access to Bernie Sanders campaign over data breach?
  • Environmentalists are a much more serious threat to human well being than climate change—even catastrophic climate change.”
  • The Fall of Rahm Emmanual.
  • Media Matters mouthpiece David Brock says that Ted Cruz is the biggest threat to a Hillary coronation.
  • “FitzGibbon Media, a prominent progressive public relations firm, abruptly shut down on Thursday amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault by the company’s president. Trevor FitzGibbon and his team worked with some of the biggest progressive organizations, including NARAL, MoveOn, the Center for American Progress and the AFL-CIO, as well as Wikileaks, Chelsea [i.e., Bradley] Manning and The Intercept.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How The New York Times continually revised a story to help Obama look better.
  • Remember that ACLU board member that called for murdering Trump supporters? Turns out that calling for the assassination of political opponents is just a tad too extreme for the ACLU.
  • So we saved Kuwait’s bacon, and they can’t even be arsed to pretend they don’t hate Jews?
  • How Obama celebrated a deserter in the Rose Garden.
  • The cocked fist culture.
  • Nothing says “rational” and “reasonable” quite like calling Ted Cruz Satan incarnate. Thanks for proving that Hollywood celebrities aren’t overwrought drama queens, Cher…
  • The 25 most Florida things that happened in 2015.
  • Setback to FBI Case Against Leleand Yee?

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    This story came out while I was away in London, but evidently Leland Yee’s defense attorney is claiming that the FBI’s lead informat is unreliable because he has some baggage of his own:

    the attorney for former San Francisco school board President Keith Jackson, one of 29 defendants caught up in the case, said the FBI had removed an unnamed undercover agent from the probe and reprimanded him because of his own financial misconduct.

    A source familiar with the government’s case identified the agent as the man who went by the last name King when he showed up in the Bay Area in fall 2011 saying he was looking to invest in Bay Area commercial real estate projects.

    The agent paid $37,000 in consulting fees to Jackson, who was raising money for Yee’s mayoral campaign, to help him pursue the real estate opportunities, according to Thursday’s filing in federal court by Jackson attorney James Brosnahan.

    As we earlier reported, King Funding Group was the Atlanta employer listed by an undercover FBI agent who, supposedly with Jackson’s help, allegedly laundered $500 checks to Yee’s campaign in October 2011.

    “King” disappeared from the scene in mid-2012, telling targets in the case that his father had died and he was working on business interests in Panama, Brosnahan’s filing said.

    The filing by Brosnahan, however, suggests that was about the time the agent’s “financial misconduct” was landing him in trouble with the FBI.

    This may or may not be true, and may or may not hinder the FBI’s case against Yee, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and their other co-defenders. But it seemed at least worth mentioning…

    In other Yee indictment news, both defense attorneys and prosecutors agree that the massive case will be split up for separate trails, but there’s no detail yet on when and how. This is not an unusual move for a case with 29 separate defendents…

    Breaking: John Wiley Price Arrested

    Saturday, July 26th, 2014

    Dallas County Commissioner and longtime influential Dallas black politician John Wiley Price has been arrested:

    Price was under arrest, charged with eleven counts of bribery, mail fraud, and tax fraud.

    His life, and his image, had permanently changed.

    “All told, Commissioner Price took in more than $1.1 million that he did not report to the proper authorities,” said Sarah Saldana, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

    “Mr. Price allegedly defrauded the citizens of Dallas County, the state of Texas, and the federal government,” said Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Dallas.

    Kathy Nealy, a Dallas political consultant and long-time associate of Price, was prominent in the indictment. The charges allege she paid Price to sway votes before the Dallas County Commissioners.

    “At the same time, Ms. Nealy was paying bribes to Commissioner Price, she actively evaded nearly $600,000 in income tax, which she admittedly owes,” Saldana said.

    Between them, Price and Nealy face 16 counts of bribery, mail and tax fraud.

    The FBI has been investigating Price for more than three years.

    Leland Yee/Shrimp Boy Chow Update for April 21, 2014

    Monday, April 21st, 2014

    More details and repercussions from the indictment of California State Senator Leland Yee and his criminal associates on gun-trafficking and other charges:

  • Feds plan to add racketeering charges to the Yee indictment.
  • Prominent Democrat Willie Brown (former Speaker of the California House and Mayor of San Francisco) wonders what the big deal is with the Yee indictment:

    Give the guy a break. When all is said and done, his alleged crimes come down to taking campaign contributions in return for issuing proclamations, using campaign funds to set up a meeting and taking campaign funds for writing a letter.

    Never did he sell his vote, steal public money or actually put money in his own pocket, as far as I can tell.

    None of Yee’s decisions affected the public.

    I’ve gone over the FBI’s criminal complaint and, from what I can see, the biggest crime he was accused of was trying hustle some undercover FBI agents who were out to get alleged Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.

    First, I don’t think Brown has read that indictment carefully enough. Second, notice how prominent Democrats seem to think that some felonies are just no big deal…

  • “Leland Yee symbolizes the pay-to-play virus that has infected our entire body politic.”
  • But don’t worry, Californians! Your Democratic Party-controlled government has the solution to all this slime and corruption: “intensive ethics training for senators and staffers.” Because ordinarily people just wouldn’t know that engaging in illegal arms trafficking to Islamic rebels was wrong. “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?”
  • Alleged money laundering co-conspirators Leslie Yun and James Pau granted bail. They’re also accused of stolen stolen cigarette smuggling, marijuana distribution, and owning “a massage parlor that provides sexual services for its customers.”
  • Back when Yee was a mere school board President, someone once sent him a message in the form of a pig’s head with a clever embedded in its skull.
  • Yee’s defense team accuses FBI of entrapment.
  • Chow’s lawyers also accuse the FBI of entrapment, saying that the FBI threw millions of dollars at him. His lawyer also says that “the $58,000 Chow received from undercover agents were legal gratuities, not kickbacks for illegal activity.” Yeah, good luck pushing that theory…
  • Political Correctness Trumps Fighting Terrorism Yet Again

    Thursday, June 13th, 2013

    Want to keep the FBI from keeping tabs on you? Then operate out of the one place they’re not monitoring: Mosques. Because there’s no chance Islamic terrorists could be operating out of there.

    So the NSA needs to monitor the phone records of every American, but the FBI won’t look in one obvious place terrorists might actual be found?

    If you needed any more evidence the Obama Administration values political correctness over actually fighting terrorism, there it is.

    In related news Austin police announced that the only place off limits for prostitution stings was massage parlors.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)

    Firearm Releated Homicides Have Declined for Five Straight Years

    Saturday, December 15th, 2012

    So sayeth the FBI.

  • 2007: 10,129 Firearm Homicides
  • 2008: 9,528 Firearm Homicides
  • 2009: 9,199 Firearm Homicides
  • 2010: 8,874 Firearm Homicides
  • 2011: 8,583 Firearm Homicides
  • They may have declined for longer than that, but the table only goes back to 2007, and the 2012 data period obviously hasn’t ended yet.

    Between concealed carry laws and DC. vs. Heller, more law-abiding citizens are carrying guns than ever before, but gun violence isn’t up, it’s down.

    I guess John Lott was right.

    NEWSFLASH: FBI Confirms Anson Chi as Plano Bombing Suspect

    Thursday, June 21st, 2012

    “In a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Wednesday, the FBI identified Anson Chi as the suspect accused of setting off a bomb while tampering with a gas main earlier this week.”

    But the MSM is only reporting what I concluded on Tuesday .