Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Oregon's Bold Plan To Fund Higher Education

The great advantage of the federal system is it provides 50 models for success. While the federal student loan program has lead to drastic increases in college tuition, bloated college bureaucracies and aggregate student loan debt approaching $1 trillion states have been casting about for better ideas. It may not be the perfect model but give Oregon credit for the sort of out-of-the-box type thinking that has always come from the states. Oregon wants to do away with the entire student loan program-no up front money required. Once students graduate they would be obligated to pay 3% of their gross income for the next 24 years. The Wall Street Journal spells out.
Using 2010 census data not adjusted for inflation…students would pay an average of about $800 back into the program the first year after graduation. As their incomes grow, that would increase to about $2,000 in year 20, by which time they would have paid off the cost of their educations. Over the next four years they would contribute an additional $7,400, which constitutes the pay-it-forward aspect of the program—a sort of finance cost. Students would pay more or less depending on how much money they earned.
Under the program called "Pay it Forward, Pay it Back," Oregon would create a fund that students would draw from and eventually pay into—potentially bypassing traditional education lenders and the interest rates they charge. The state would likely borrow for the fund's seed money, which could exceed $9 billion, but the program's designers intend it to become self-sustaining. The plan is clever as it incentivizes colleges to steer students into the areas that will maximize their lifetime earnings. Under the Oregon plan, students who don't graduate would still pay a fraction of their incomes into the fund; the amount would depend on how long they were in school.
Oregon’s Senate unanimously passed a bill on Monday arming a committee to develop a pilot program, though the legislature won’t decide until 2015 whether to implement it. The proposal has a few questionable aspects, most notably the $9 billion start up cost. Details aside, the idea is intriguing.

Paula Deen Tops in PPP Poll

Public Policy Polling has a new poll on Texas. It show Hillary Clinton beating Rick Perry 48/44 but losing to George Bush 46/43. The most popular Republicans for the 2016 nomination in are; Cruz 27, Bush 15, Paul & Christie 11, Ryan 9, Perry 7, Rubio 6, Santorum 4, Jindal 3. So who polled best overall? Paula Deen, of course.
Despite the recent controversy about Paula Deen she's actually the most popular person we asked about in our entire poll with a +25 net favorability rating- 46% of voters see her positively to 21% with a negative opinion.

State Department Spends $630,000 for Facebook "Likes"

Cerebral bureaucrats at the State Department have pissed away $630,000 to earn more Facebook "likes," in an effort that struggled to reach its target audience. According to a sizzling Inspector General's report State did increase its "likes" from 100,000 to over 2 million but the report notes that it failed to reach the more mature and serious target instead getting " the kind of people who spend hours online liking government Facebook pages."
I presume you can't have too many Farsi speaking followers. State has two Farsi speaking Facebook and Twitter accounts. The report also mentions a "pervasive perception of cronyism" exacerbating its already "serious morale problem." Imagine that!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Snowden May Have Been Aided by Richard Windsor

NSA director General Keith B. Alexander told reporters that intercepted emails indicate that a former EPA employee named Richard Windsor may have aided and abetted Edward Snowden in collecting some of the classified data he has released. Sources within the FBI confirm that Windsor has been the target of a nationwide manhunt and he is now believed to be living in the San Francisco area under an assumed name. One FBI supervisor labeled Windsor as the "most elusive personality the FBI has ever encountered".
Commenting on other matters the loquacious general said he could not confirm that the IRS had deliberately targeted conservative groups but NSA had uncovered an astounding 5401 extramarital affairs within the agency. "Yes, it is an agency in crisis but considering the number of people over there who have been run through drug rehab I'd say they are doing pretty well. You have to realize, that for some reason we have yet to determine, the IRS has a huge number of people with Oedipal conflicts. Several hundred of them call a crisis hotline every Mothers Day."
Asked if any other governmental agencies had troubled employees Alexander replied; "I could tell you stories about the TSA that would make you wet all over yourself. I mean these guys, and women too, well talk about the inmates running the asylum. Never mind I can't get into that too deeply but the money these people spend on kiddy porn would blow your mind. One time just for fun we mined Victoria's Secret's online orders and you would not believe the all the sexy lingerie these guys buy. For their wives? Don't make me laugh. Not unless they're all married to Amazons. All those double large and triple large sizes? I mean these people are kinky!"
General Alexander explained that member of Senate and Congressional Intelligence Committees had suggested that he should try to be a bit more open with the press and had encouraged him to speak openly about NSA activities as long as he did not reveal any classified information.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Case Against Amnesty For Illegal Aliens: VI

Warning: The following video contains a graphic beheading by a people John McCain wants to arm and The Organizer-in-Chief wants to relocate to the US! Seriously!

I hereby state the obvious:







Mysterious Witness in Ibragim Todashev Shooting Mysteriously Deported

Today in Boston at the trial of Whitey Bulger a former FBI agent who admitted taking payoffs from Bulger offered a tearful apology to the family of one of Bulger's alleged murder victims. Earlier former FBI Special Agent John Morris had testified that he had no direct involvement in the murder which must have been a source of great comfort to the family. By no direct involvement Morris meant he didn't pull the trigger he had only told fellow FBI agent John Connolly that Edward "Brian" Halloran had given authorities information about a murder Bulger's gang was suspected of committing. Prosecutors say Halloran and Michael Donahue - an innocent bystander who had offered Halloran a ride home - were killed in 1982 after Connolly leaked the information to Bulger. Bulger is accused of opening fire on the car as the two men left a Boston restaurant. To its credit the FBI has done a commendable job of keeping accounts of one of the worst cases of criminal corruption in its history from national scrutiny for decades.
This set me to wondering how the FBI's investigation of the shooting of the unarmed Ibragim Todashev was progressing since the FBI has also done a commendable job of keeping that story out of the media. Todashev, you will remember, was shot to death while being questioned by the FBI. It's seldom that I see things from the Council on American-Islamic Relations' point of view but this is one of those times. The FBI is still working diligently on its investigation and of course cannot comment publicly but it has, or someone else has, managed to get an immigration judge to order the deportation of a potential witness. In fact the witness may have already left the country.
Officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, which is conducting its own review of the shooting, said they wanted to talk to Gruzdeva about the FBI’s actions in the days and weeks leading to Todashev’s death. Council leaders are concerned that federal officials are sweeping her out of the country before she could provide information to them and law enforcement officials.

“We’re extremely interested in speaking to her and seeing what she has to say,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of the council in Florida. “We’re very curious as to why the government’s put so many impediments, in trying to get her out of the country as soon as possible. There’s a very good likelihood that she has important information.”
The FBI has refused to release details of the May 22 shooting of Todashev and media reports have provided conflicting accounts. Some said he attacked the agent with a blade during an interrogation, while others reported that he was unarmed or that he had lunged at the agent with a metal pole or a broomstick. Todashev, according to the media reports, was about to sign a confession implicating himself and his friend, suspected Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is now dead, in the 2011 slayings of three men in Waltham.
Federal immigration officials arrested Tatiana Igorevna Gruzdeva, a 19-year-old aspiring foreign language teacher from Russia, on May 16 for overstaying her visa. Her connection to Todashev is unclear because the judge ordered her to leave the country no later than July 1 and ordered her to remain in jail until her departure. Immigration court officials under the Department of Justice, the same agency that oversees the FBI, refused to disclose details about her case, citing their controversial privacy rules. One hopes the FBI can now wrap up this investigation and resume the stellar work it has been doing investigating the Benghazi raid and the IRS scandal.

Egyptian Military Sends Morsi Ultimatum; Obama Cracks Down on Ivory Poaching

The Egyptian military has given President Morsi and his supporters 48 hours to answer the demands made by thousands of anti-government protesters calling for his ouster, or it would intervene to force a political transition. In essence the military has told the President and the rest of Egypt who is the boss and it isn't Morsi. The Obama administration has once again proven that its Smart Diplomacy is positively stupid, as it has backed Morsi since before his election.
Meanwhile President Small Ball has reacted to to the impending ouster of his dear friend by announcing his new war on poaching. Obama issued an executive order that sets up a task force to craft a national strategy to combat criminal trafficking and an outside advisory panel to inform the effort.
“Poaching and trafficking is threatening Africa’s wildlife,” Obama said

Green cards si, citizenship no

The Republican controlled House is mapping out its own version of immigration reform. Although it will probably be anathema to supporters of the Gang of Eight bill, Democrats, RHINO Republicans, and of course the community organizer in chief it will probably be a hit with the majority of the American public. Instead of a path to citizenship it offers green cards to those who are here illegally.
Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who is playing a major role in the chamber’s consideration of immigration reform, on Sunday addressed what is perhaps at the heart of the impasse.
He said the House, which is drafting its own plan, cannot agree to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Rather, he wants a “pathway to legalization” — in other words, allow some illegal immigrants a shot at a green card, but not full-fledged citizenship.
The pathway to citizenship, though, is a cornerstone of the Senate-passed bill, and any Democrat-backed plan.

Sign Electronic Frontier Foundation's Petition to End NSA Snooping

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has collected over 500,000 signature in opposition to the NSA's dragnet surveillance programs. One of the latest signatory is Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. To enter your signature just go to Stop Watching Us and enter your name, address and zip code.
Every time a person signs onto the site, emails opposing dragnet surveillance are sent to that individual’s elected officials. These emails call for a full investigation and public accounting of the National Security Agency’s spying practices, reform to the law to prevent such surveillance, and holding public officials accountable for the role they played.

The Latest Snowden Leak Has Made The US A Moral Outcast

The latest document leak from Edward Snowden is a stunner. While the whistleblower may not be invited to speak at Brandenburg Gate watch sympathies throughout the world turn on Obama. America's image abroad has hit a historic low and many Americans, not just those on the loony left but middle America, will soon express shame for their country. We have hit rock bottom. The community organizer has radically transformed Reagan's shiny city on a hill into a pariah state.
For starters the United States has been aggressively spying on 38 embassies and missions of its close allies. The list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey.
One of the more the most egregious affronts to international decency is the spying on the EU mission in Manhattan code named "Perdido". Just to make sure the point was well taken Snowden provided a map of the facility. The methods used against the mission include the collection of data transmitted by implants, or bugs, placed inside electronic devices, and another covert operation that appears to provide a copy of everything on a targeted computer's hard drive. In Brussels targeting the EU's Justus Lipsius building – a venue for summit and ministerial meetings in the Belgian capital – were directed from within Nato headquarters nearby.
It seems each nation has a code spy name. The operation against the French mission to the UN had the code name "Blackfoot" and the one against its embassy in Washington was "Wabash". The Italian embassy in Washington was known to the NSA as both "Bruneau" and "Hemlock". The Greek UN mission was known as "Powell" and the operation against its embassy was referred to as "Klondyke.
Whatever happened to our great country? It has lost all moral credibility. Read more here.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

No, We Don't Trust The CFPB With Our Credit Cards

Up until now Americans have been told that yes, the government has been spying on them, but there is an overriding national security concern and there is a tradeoff between freedom and security and besides that there is congressional and judicial oversight. Now it looks as if Americans can expect more spying but this time without any overriding national security concern and no congressional or judicial oversight and the agency that will be doing the spying will be sharing their credit card data with other federal agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intends to start collecting credit card data on 10 million Americans. Of course, like the NSA, the CFPB claims that the data will be "anonymized", containing no names or social security numbers. It seems the agency just wants some data to mine. CFPB Director Richard Cordray explains "big data is the cutting edge of analysis in research right now in every field that involves analytics in -- in this country. You know, IBM, the big banks, every -- every company that deals with the public is gathering and crunching as much data as they can."
I does not follow that if the public is concerned about business data mining it will be any happier to know the federal government is doing it on a larger scale. Furthermore unlike the NSA, the CFPB has yet to create rules governing the collection and use of the data. Yes, the data will be confidential but is an agency employee free to do a backward search from the account of a 501(c)(4) and compile its donor list? What prevents an employee from going on an internet shopping spree other than trust?
The CFPB doesn't see the need to obtain anything resembling a warrant to force banks and credit card companies to furnish the demanded data. It simply intends to bully the institutions into providing it.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
What the hell does the CFPB think " The right of the people to be secure in their ... papers refers to? Their EZ Widers?
Judicial Watch has secured by a FOIA request "records revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans’ financial transactions". The US Chamber of Commerce has accused the CFPB of breaking the law by demanding the account-level data without a warrant or National Security Letter.
Whose data is it? The CFPB would argue that the data belong to the banks and credit card companies just as the NSA argues that phone logs belong to the telecommunication companies and the government is free to view said records at its pleasure. That assumption is based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision that allowed that a police department could look at a single account once not everyone's account all the time. With the adaptation of electronic transfers and computer databases the financial institutions of 1975 more resemble the those of Wilson administration than the Obama administration. Everyone's papers to which the people have a right to be secure in are on computers.
Richard Cordray was never confirmed by the Senate. He was appointed during what Obama deemed a recess. The appointment of three NLRB board members appointed at same time has been challenged and found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Supreme Court will hear the appeal in its next session but Cordray's appointment has never been challenged and his grip on his office is at best questionable. Question; What civil immunities accrue to an officeholder who was not legally appointed to that office? Question; Why has no member of the Ohio Bar Association sought his disbarment for ignoring the constitution? Following the panic of 9/11 several telecom companies were sued for providing assistance to law enforcement without requiring the agencies to obtain search warrants. Congress later provided them ex post facto immunity. Question; Should the banks and credit card companies that abet the CFPB in warrantless seizures be subject to a class action lawsuit? If $10,000 per violation too little what is just recompense? Could this data be shared with Obama's PAC, Organizing for America?
There is precious little trust in government. The days of "trust us" are long passed. Congress needs to fix this problem now!

TYT Takes On Michael Hastings' Untimely Death

Cenk Uygur is a kiss ass and a cheerleader. He might not like those labels and he does videos where he portrays himself as some sort of independent progressive reporter who gets put down by the man because he won't tone it down. He might still be whoring out for MSNBC and their government contractor parent corporation if his ratings had been better. Put Uygur in a room with an Obama cutout and I bet immoral actions would consummate.

I am not believing that Uygur has undergone a crisis of integrity and is now sadder and wiser. He is probably looking for the next Obama to get all tingly with. But for the time being, Uygur is actually criticizing the surveillance state, if not the Obama Administration.


Sarah Palin Talks About Leaving The GOP

I can hear it now. "It would be a disaster." But the status quo is a disaster. Maybe we should let Jeb and Karl and Marco and Lindsey have their precious GOP. What have we got to lose?