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Veterans Affairs has 346 workers who do only union work

May 15, 2017

Sean Higgins

4/27/2017

Source …..

An estimated 346 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs do no actual work for taxpayers. Instead, they spend all of their time doing work on behalf of their union while drawing a federal salary, a practice known as “official time.”

That’s according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. But exactly what those VA workers are doing and why so many are doing it is not clear. The VA doesn’t track that, and the GAO report offers no clue.

Rep. Jody Arrington, R-Texas, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, thinks the number on 100 percent official time may be much higher. He also notes that the 346 workers don’t include those who spend most, not all, of their time doing union work.

“The lack of accountability at the VA when it comes to monitoring official time suggests it might be worse,” said Arrington, who has introduced legislation that would require the department to track the use of official time, among other reforms.

Pointing to the waiting list scandals at the department, Arrington said the official time situation is reflective of the “broken culture at the heart of the VA” and adds, “I haven’t heard one good, acceptable reason why the practice has continued.”

The VA was not eager to discuss the matter with the Washington Examiner. After several days of inquiries, it responded with the following statement: “VA believes that the appropriate use of official time can be beneficial and in the public interest as stated in the Federal Service Labor-Relations Statute, which governs how executive branch agencies treat official time. VA takes the position that labor and management have a shared responsibility to ensure that official time is authorized and used appropriately. VA practices are in compliance with the Federal Service Labor-Relations Statute.”

Official time is allowed under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act. The idea behind it is to ensure that a federal employee who is also a union official won’t be penalized for being away from work if he or she is negotiating a contract or addressing a worker grievance, for example. It is essentially a trade-off for the limitations put on federal unions, such as prohibitions on striking.

At least 700 federal workers do nothing but work on official time, according to the GAO and data obtained from various Freedom of Information Act requests. The VA uses official time far more than any other agency.

“Employees spent approximately 1,057,00 hours on official time for union representation activities … In addition, the data show that 346 employees spent 100 percent of their time on official time,” the GAO found in a January report.

It is possible that even those figures are conservative. The GAO said the said the VA’s poor monitoring meant the data was “inconsistent and not reliable.”

The GAO didn’t know what the employees are doing with all of that time. “We just didn’t get into that in that particular study,” said Cindy Barnes, the GAO’s director of education, workforce and income security issues and author of the report.

Part of the explanation is that the VA is one of the largest federal agencies with 373,000 workers, making it second only to the Pentagon in the sheer size of its workforce. About 250,000 VA workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements, according to the GAO, citing 2012 data. Arrington puts the covered figure at 285,000.

By comparison, the Department of Homeland Security has 240,000 workers and the Department of Commerce has just under 44,000 workers. But those departments get by with proportionately far fewer people working exclusively on official time. DHS has 39, while Commerce has just four.

Another factor is that the VA’s workforce is represented by no less than five unions: The American Federation of Government Employees, the National Association of Government Employees, National Nurses United, the National Federation of Federal Employees and the Service Employees International Union.

National Nurses United representative Irma Westmoreland was the only union official willing to talk about the practice with the Washington Examiner. She is one of five nurses union members who work exclusively on union time at the VA. The union has another nine who spent 80 percent of their time at the VA on official time, she said.

Westmoreland said her work was necessary because nurses can’t simply stop taking care of a patient to do something like address a worker grievance. People such as her do the union work and make it possible for the other nurses to focus on providing care.

“I have to travel across the country working with 23 VA facilities in four time zones,” she said. “The management teams want somebody at 100 percent official time so they don’t have to pull somebody out of care.”

But not everyone at the VA is involved in care. So what are the other 341 exclusive official time workers doing? Westmoreland had no insight.

“I don’t know how the other people do it,” she said.

American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox told Arrington’s subcommittee in February that official time involved activities such as “designing and delivering joint training of employees on work-related subjects and introduction of new programs and work methods that are initiated by the agency or by the union.”

He added that “in no way did the [February GAO] report suggest that the use of official time presents problems for the department.” The report sought only to quantify the amount of time used.

Arrington argues that the practice has to change if the VA is ever to be truly reformed. He has sponsored the Veterans, Employees and Taxpayer Protection Act, which would require the VA to track the use of official time. It also would prohibit employees involved with direct patient care from spending more than a quarter of their work hours on union activities and bar any VA employee from spending more than half of their time on official time.

The legislation would effectively put VA employees under right-to-work protection. The VA would be prohibited from agreeing to union contracts that force workers to join or otherwise support a union as a condition of employment.

Westmoreland said she has no trouble with better tracking the use of official time but warns against putting any limitations on its use.

“It makes it very difficult if you cannot have set official time,” she said.

 

Democrats erasing history in American South

May 15, 2017

World Net Daily

5/13/2017

Source …..

Under cover of darkness and with construction crews wearing masks, they drove Old Dixie down in New Orleans.

A statue of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis was removed from its podium early Thursday morning, one of four Confederate memorials Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu has vowed to banish from the city in the name of “diversity, inclusion and tolerance” in the crime-ridden Louisiana city.

Though the removal of the statue was greeted with a cheer, The Lost Cause was not without its supporters, many of whom waved Confederate battle flags and called for the mayor to be imprisoned.

David Barton, a historian and author of “The Jefferson Lies,” said the crusade against Confederate monuments is simply an attempt by the left to erase history. He said even monuments that some might think are offensive can be used for a good purpose.

“Confederate Memorials would not need to be taken down if we still truly taught American history,” he told WND. “I can stand below the statue of Jefferson Davis, and although there were many good things that he did do, particularly before he joined the Confederacy, I can make his statue a positive helpful lesson by telling what we can learn from his life, including the bad that he did.

“I could explain the devastation, humiliation and tyranny that results from him having a philosophy that sees people not as individuals but only as part of groups, and that tries to interpret the Constitution apart from the values of the Declaration of Independence. Of course, progressives, liberals and the courts are doing that now! I wonder where that will lead? History clearly tells us – if only we still knew that history.”

Barton also believes the Democrats cheering the statues being taken down would be shocked if they knew the history of their own party.

“The city plans to pull down four statues, those of Jefferson Davis, PGT Beauregard, the Crescent City White League and Robert E. Lee,” he noted. “I hope they tell the folks in New Orleans that all of these monuments honor Democrats, and that the Confederacy was led solely by Southern leaders of the Democrat Party. In a Democrat city like New Orleans, I can’t understand why Democrat leaders want old venerated Democrat heroes taken down!”

Scott Greer, author of “No Campus For White Men,” says the answer is obvious. While he agrees with Barton the destruction of the statues is an attempt by the left to erase history, he argues what is happening has nothing to do with political parties but is something more primal.

“It’s an attempt to wipe out any pride Southerners should have in their heritage,” said Greer. “It’s the same kind of process we see on college campuses, where anything white people did in the past tends to be demonized. The left is driven by a desire to interpret all of history through the eyes of 21st century progressive dogma. In their eyes, everything about the American past is bad and shameful and must be driven into the dirt.”

Barton agrees the intolerant atmosphere on leftist dominated college campuses has spread to the larger society. He believes the left’s militancy will eventually backfire.

“We have created a snowflake environment that demands safe spaces for things that challenge the politically correct bias of the month,” he said.

“Soon we’ll have to take down Susan B. Anthony statues because even though she fought for women’s suffrage, she was openly pro-life; and, in today’s women’s movement, no one can be a true woman unless she supports Planned Parenthood and abortion. And of course Harriet Tubman statues will be taken down, for even though she was a leading conductor on the Underground Railroad bringing slaves to freedom, she was also a huge advocate for the right to keep and bear arms. For modern civil rights advocates, guns are anathema, and no true civil rights advocate can be for guns!

“We no longer look at heroes as people or as complex individuals; rather we now judge them solely by one issue, whatever that issue happens to be at the time. We are creating a culture where we believe we have a right not to be offended or even have our misconceptions challenged; and we’re willing to use coercion to keep ‘me’ from being offended, even if that offends ‘you.’ What offends us now is so routinely redefined that probably no statue now will survive more than a generation before it becomes offensive to someone who will demand its removal.”

Barton is no fan of the Confederacy or of certain American leaders such as Andrew Jackson, whom he faulted for being “pro-slavery” and “forcibly taking American lands.” But Barton believes statues should remain to teach students about the American past. He also believes American Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson can be defended because their work ultimately led to the abolition of slavery.

“Washington and Jefferson both owned slaves, but their state laws made it difficult if not impossible for them to free all their slaves,” said Barton. “Yet there were few Virginia voices more anti-slavery than those two. Both worked to advance abolition laws in their state and both signed federal anti-slavery laws. There is a reason that black civil rights leaders for generations praised both Washington and Jefferson.”

But Greer believes conservatives are underestimating the ferocity of what they are facing.

“Too many conservatives think they will be able to draw this distinction between figures such as Robert E. Lee, or Andrew Jackson or George Washington,” he said. “But to the left, there is no distinction between any of these figures, any of these dead white men they so hate. Conservatives cannot support taking down Confederate monuments and think somehow the statues and monuments to the slave-owning Founding Fathers will still remain up. Nor will it stop there. The anti-Confederate push will eventually swell to consume all of American history. Look what’s happening on college campuses.”

Indeed, Malcolm Suber, an organizer of one of the groups agitating to take down the statues, the Take ‘Em Down NOLA Coalition, is a professor of political science at a historically black college and was casually identified by the New York Times as “an avowed Marxist-Leninist.”

Suber has previously been a part of activist efforts that successfully renamed a school that originally honored George Washington. He also told the Times he wanted to see the statue of Washington by the New Orleans Public Library be taken down.

Greer pointed out reports the statue dedicated to Joan of Arc had been recently defaced by unknown protesters, though it would be hard to blame Joan of Arc for slavery. He also noted Lee Circle, now being targeted for removal, had been vandalized soon after President Donald Trump’s election by spray-painted slogans including “die whites die” and “black power.”

Furthermore, said Greer, monuments and statues to Thomas Jefferson are also habitually attacked, even at his own alma mater. After Confederate monuments are removed nationwide, suggested Greer, it seems likely Jefferson is next.

“It’s not about politics or ‘limited government’ or Republicans versus Democrats,” said Greer. “Just listen to the words of those agitating for this. They always want more and they aren’t going to stop with the Confederate flag. They aren’t going to stop with George Washington or Thomas Jefferson either. They want to take away our entire history. And unless conservatives stop apologizing and actually start pushing back, they’re probably going to win. The whole country will look like one far-left college campus.”

We’re All Tenant Farmers: Oregon Plans to Douse Azure Standard Organic Farm in Pesticide

May 15, 2017

Daisy Luther

5/12/2017

Source …..

If you buy organic products, chances are you have heard of Azure Standard, which is sort of like a mobile co-op that delivers well-priced organic food and products in bulk to drop-off points around the country.

Now that idyllic 2000-acre organic farm, which has produced reasonably priced organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for thousands of people across the country, is about to be sprayed against their will with Roundup and other harmful pesticides, due to a ruling from their local municipality about invasive plants.

Oregon state law requires farms to control noxious weeds. In this case, the weed in question is the Canadian Thistle. Sherman County appears to be concerned that Azure has not taken enough steps to eradicate the weed and decided they’ll do it themselves, to the detriment of Azure’s long-standing, 18-year organic certification and their livelihood as organic farmers.

Just in case you were under the misconception that we actually own our land and can decide what happens to it in this country, it appears that we’re tenant farmers with no options if the local government decides to wipe us out:

Sherman County may be issuing a Court Order on May 22, 2017, to quarantine Azure Farms and possibly to spray the whole farm with poisonous herbicides, contaminating them with Milestone, Escort and Roundup herbicides.

This will destroy all the efforts Azure Farms has made for years to produce the very cleanest and healthiest food humanly possible. About 2,000 organic acres would be impacted; that is about 1.5 times the size of the city center of Philadelphia that is about to be sprayed with noxious, toxic, polluting herbicides.

The county would then put a lien on the farm to pay for the expense of the labor and chemicals used. (source)

So not only will they poison the crops and kill off Azure’s livelihood, they’ll charge them for it. That’s a brazen insult on top of the injury.

Here’s how you can help Azure Standard.

There is just under a week before this would occur. Here’s what WE can all do.

If you are concerned about where your food comes from, enjoy Organic and non-GMO food grown in the United States, and support organic farmers, contact Sherman County Court before May 22, 2017 (and preferably before May 17 when the next court discussion will be held).

Contact info:

  1. Via email at lhernandez@co.sherman.or.us or…
  2. Call Lauren at 541-565-3416.

Raise your voice and speak up for you and your families and communities.

This proposed action is completely unreasonable and would destroy an organic farm and pollute a massive area. If enough voices that benefit from organic produce speak up, the county will understand that there are people that care about their food NOT containing toxic chemicals. And if the supporters of healthy food can have a louder voice than the supporters of toxic chemicals, every politician will listen. PLEASE take action today and share this message. Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voice. (source)

I’ve already sent my email and will be making a call later today. Get on board and do the same. And share this article with everyone you know so that we can make our voices heard.

It’s bad enough that everything in the grocery store is already tainted. Actions like this take away our choice to avoid toxic pesticides and poisons in our food. We should have the right to buy organic, but if local governments take away the right to grow organic, we’ll have nothing left to eat than the standard fare.

If we stand by and do nothing but shake our heads sadly, we’ll soon be stuck without dietary options.

 

The House of Representatives Endorses Obamacare

May 11, 2017

Andrew P. Napolitano

5/11/2017

Source …..

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives crafted a partisan compromise bill that endorsed and reinforced the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This was done notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership, who want us to believe that this bill, if it becomes law, will effectively repeal and replace Obamacare.

Obamacare is a stool with four problematic legs. The constitutional leg is the premise that the federal government has the lawful power to regulate the delivery of health care. The legal leg is the premise that the federal government is obliged to provide health insurance to everyone in America. The economic leg commands that everyone in the U.S. purchase and maintain health insurance. And the Orwellian leg says that every physician in the U.S. shall retain all patient records digitally and that federal bureaucrats shall have access to all those records.

None of that is changed in the House-passed bill. Here is the back story.

The original Obamacare proposal had the taxpayers foot everyone’s medical bills through a series of taxes, regulations and controls. That is the so-called single-payer system that former President Barack Obama dreamed of. It would have been much like the systems in place today in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, where one waits for months to see government-employed physicians who are stingy with government-owned medications and mired in red tape and long lines over government-financed medical procedures.

Even many of the Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress during Obama’s first two years in office were unable to accept that idea. In its place, they produced a 2,700-page piece of legislation, which candidate Trump vowed to dismantle — saying he favored a market-based, state-regulated system with no federal involvement, the kind we knew in the pre-Obamacare era.

None of those goals is reached by the House-passed bill.

Obamacare’s imposition of the federal government between all patients and their physicians was a radical departure from the traditional delivery of medical services in America. This was done with utter disregard to the constitutional constraints imposed upon Congress — whereby the regulation of health, safety and welfare was retained by the states — and by radically expanding federal power derived from the Constitution.

Congress’ favorite constitutional hook upon which to hang its regulatory hat has been the commerce clause. After more than a half-century of letting Congress characterize nearly any human activity as commerce — and thus regulable federally — the Supreme Court in 1995 required that only those behaviors that constitute or support a truly commercial transaction can be reached by the feds. The professions — medicine, law, architecture, engineering, university teaching, for example — though one pays for them, had never been considered to be commercial in the sense that they could be federally regulable, until Obamacare came along.

None of this is changed in the House-passed bill.

Under Obamacare, the federal government took over the regulation of health care from the states with a one-size-fits-all metric administered by faceless bureaucrats. I say faceless because when you go to your doctor today, she or he may need the approval of a federal bureaucrat to perform a procedure for you — a bureaucrat the doctor will never see, only read via a laptop.

None of this is changed in the House-passed bill.

Obamacare also established the duty of the federal government to provide health insurance for every American. No law before Obamacare ever attempted that ambitious unconstitutional improbability. When the Supreme Court accepted a constitutional challenge to the Social Security system, it ruled that the system consisted of taxing and spending — but created no legally binding obligation on the part of the federal government to spend in the future. Stated differently, under Obamacare, the feds can take your money that they have promised you they will spend on your health care and spend it as they see fit.

None of this is changed in the House-passed bill.

The individual mandate in Obamacare requires that every person in America have health insurance. It also requires employers of more than 50 people to provide health insurance for all employees who work for those employers for more than 30 hours a week. The failure to provide or maintain a health insurance policy by employers or individuals triggers the imposition of a tax by the IRS.

Under the House-passed bill, your employer no longer has to provide you with health insurance, but you must still maintain your own health insurance. Instead of paying the IRS if you let your coverage lapse, you have to pay a $3,000 annual penalty to your insurance carrier — once you do sign up — for every year you lacked coverage.

What kind of a repeal is that?

And the faceless bureaucrats still reign. The House-passed bill permits the feds to decide whether your doctor is treating you in a manner consistent with the availability of government resources and to administer Obamacare’s thousands of minute politically driven regulations.

By definition, Obamacare will soon be a failure because it causes the expenditure of more money than it takes in. Eventually, it will have no cash. But Barack Obama may have subtly succeeded in changing the landscape of thinking about federal involvement in health care. For those who believe that the Constitution means what it says, it was disheartening to see President Trump and so many Republicans in Congress who once defended the free market now assume that all Americans want the feds to care for them and that somehow the Constitution permits it.

Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton rarely agreed on principles of government. But they did agree that when the public treasury becomes a public trough and the people recognize that, the people will send to the federal government only those who will bring home the biggest piece of the federal pie. The House-passed bill was produced by federal government representatives who manifest that.

That’s the same federal government that can’t deliver the mail.

 

International tribunal finds Monsanto guilty of crimes against humanity

May 11, 2017

5/5/2017

Source …..

Is Monsanto, the corporate scourge of the Earth, finally going to pay for its crimes? If the International Monsanto Tribunal has any say in the matter, the answer to that question appears to be an emphatic “Yes.” The tribunal, based in Hague, Netherlands, describes itself as “an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity, and for ecocide.”

Five internationally acclaimed judges heard the testimonies of 30 witnesses and experts from five continents, and their goal was to deliver their legal opinion on the deplorable actions, environmental and health damages perpetrated by Monsanto.

And after much deliberation, the tribunal has finally come to a conclusion: Monsanto is guilty on all three counts. The judges who preside over the initiative have declared that the biotech behemoth’s activities do not just adversely affect the world’s access to food, but also negatively affect the human right to health — and that the company is also guilty of “perverting scientific freedom.”

As reported by ANH USA:

The tribunal stated that the company’s seed empire adversely affects the world’s access to food, and that by manufacturing and distributing substances such as PCBs(polychlorinated biphenyls) and glyphosate, Monsanto has infringed on our right to high standards of health. Additionally, the tribunal found that Monsanto perverts scientific freedom by practicing forms of intimidation, pressuring governments, and discrediting legitimate scientific research that supports public health and environmental protection.

As the tribunal explains, Monsanto has been profiting from their creation of destructive and harmful compounds since the early 20th century. These toxic products, like PCBs, Agent Orange, Lasso and Roundup, have created untold damage to the environment and made thousands upon thousands of people sick. In addition to spreading poisonous chemicals around the globe, Monsanto also advocates and promotes deleterious and unsustainable farming practices that contribute to the following problems: Soil degradation, depletion of water resources, species extinction, reduced biodiversity and the displacement of small farms. On top of all that, Monsanto’s business of seed patenting threatens food freedom and sovereignty.

You’d think that alone would be enough to bring the corporate giant to its knees, but as we all know, Monsanto’s controversies don’t end with their actions that have destroyed the environment and wreaked havoc on the food supply. And as critics point out, the biotech company has spent enormous amounts of money to defend itself against lawsuits brought by their victims but legal action has not yet inspired the company to change their ways.

Monsanto is also guilty of lobbying governments and regulatory agencies to keep their products on the market, and to keep scrutinizing eyes at bay. The company has even colluded with US government agencies to keep the toxic nature of their products hidden. Their strategy to stay afloat seems to be one of concealment; in addition to lobbying, the company has also reportedly funded fraudulent studies on product safety and has coerced independent scientists and manipulated the media into standing behind their wrongdoings.

One way or another, it seems that Monsanto’s judgment day is coming. In addition to the tribunal, lawsuits against the corporation for their lies — particularly regarding the glyphosate-cancer connection — continue to pile up.

While the ruling from the International Monsanto Tribunal is not legally binding, there is hope that their verdict will inspire other governments and agencies to get on board. The fact that an international body has found Monsanto guilty of crimes against humanity, violations of human rights and for ecocide is a tremendous step forward towards the goal of ending the corporation’s reign of terror. Whether or not further action will be taken remains to be seen, but it seems that the global condemnation of Monsanto is well underway.

Sources:

 

“White Devils”—FBI Records Show Muhammad Ali’s Racist Mosque Tirades as Family Uses his Fame to End Racial, Religious Profiling

May 5, 2017

Judicial Watch

5/2/2017

Source …..

As a Nation of Islam heavyweight, boxing legend Muhammad Ali referred to Caucasians as “white devils” and “crackers” and told mosque worshipers that “black women have the best sons and daughters in the world,” according to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records obtained by Judicial Watch. Known as Cassius Clay before converting to Islam, Ali also said “programs of integration are useless,” that blacks want separation not integration and that the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a “swindle.” The three-time heavyweight champion also told Muslims during a mosque delivery that “the so-called Negro is the original man and is superior to the white devil” and that he’d rather be with his own people than “blue-eyed devil white people.”

The FBI files present a picture of the late heavyweight champion that is clearly at odds with much of the image portrayed at the time of his death last year. His deep involvement with the Nation of Islam and its racially divisive rhetoric and behavior is part of a record that deserves to be revealed and contradicts Ali’s image as a civil rights icon. The hundreds of pages of documents are related to the FBI’s investigation of Ali for evading the draft and the government’s monitoring of the Nation of Islam, which is described by the agency as an “all-Negro, quasi-religious organization which espouses a line of violent hatred of the white race, Government, law and law enforcement.” The federal surveillance files show that Ali told a Washington D.C. mosque crowd that he preferred “dying outright” or going to jail than going into the Army and at a Cleveland mosque the boxer said the American flag “represented death and destruction” but the “Muslim flag” represents “life and prosperity, justice for all black men.”

The records reveal the great threat the FBI perceived the Nation of Islam to be in the 1960s and that Ali was closely monitored by the agency as a “security matter” due to his associations with Nation of Islam leaders Elijah Mohammad and Malcom X. The Nation of Islam followed Mohammad’s interpretation of the “Koran,” the FBI records say, which taught that white people are “white devils” to be destroyed in a coming “War of Armageddon.” In April 1964, Ali’s plans to travel to Muslim countries alarmed the FBI and the agency searched his passport files and recorded that while in Accra, Ghana, Ali said he planned to bring four wives back to the US. Ali’s ex-wife, Sonji Roi, informed the FBI that the Nation of Islam received 80% of the boxer’s earnings while he only got 20%. The records also state that Ali was arrested for assault and battery in July 1960 at his parents’ home in Louisville, Kentucky and that his mother witnessed the crime.

Judicial Watch had to sue the government to get the records, which are decades old but come to light as Ali’s family ironically uses his name and legacy to launch a national campaign to end racial and religious profiling. Just weeks ago, Ali’s second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, and son, Muhammad Ali Jr, announced that they’re launching an anti-discrimination initiative called “Step into the Ring.” The inspiration came from getting detained and questioned at a south Florida airport where mother and son claim they were racially and religiously profiled. The Alis were returning from a Jamaican Black History month event in February and assert that federal immigration officers harassed them. As part of their “Step into the Ring” campaign they traveled to Capitol Hill in March to make a plea to end racial and religious profiling. During congressional testimony Camacho-Ali said this: “Somebody needs to turn this ‘humanity’ switch on because we’re not going to go back to Robert E. Lee,” referring to the Civil War Confederate Army commander. “We must step into the ring and fight this thing and keep fighting it until it’s done because it will be done,” she continued.

When Muhammad Ali died in Phoenix, Arizona last June hordes of media outlets published obituaries rehashing his spectacular boxing career and accomplishments as a civil rights idol. One mainstream news outlet called Ali a “civil rights champion” and “an emblem of strength, eloquence, conscience and courage.” Another wrote that, along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance. Then President Barack Obama issued a statement saying that Ali fought for everyone. “He stood with King and Mandela,” Obama said, adding that the boxer “stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today,” the former president said in a White House statement that was published worldwide. Ali’s FBI files certainly paint a vastly different portrait of the boxer.

 

How Berkeley Birthed the Right

May 5, 2017

Patrick J. Buchanan

5/4/2017

Source …..

In December 1964, a Silver Age of American liberalism, to rival the Golden Age of FDR and the New Deal, seemed to be upon us.

Barry Goldwater had been crushed in a 44-state landslide and the GOP reduced to half the size of the Democratic Party, with but 140 seats in the House and 32 in the Senate.

The Supreme Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the most liberal in history, was on a roll, and LBJ was virtually unopposed as he went about ramming his Great Society through Congress.

The left had it all. But then they blew it, beginning at Berkeley.

Protests, sit-ins, the holding of cops hostage in patrol cars — went on for weeks to force the University of California, Berkeley, to grant “free speech,” and then “filthy speech” rights everywhere on campus.

Students postured as revolutionaries at the barricades, and the Academic Senate, consisting of all tenured faculty, voted 824-115 to support all Free Speech Movement demands, while cravenly declining to vote to condemn the tactics used.

Middle America saw the students differently — as overprivileged children engaged in a tantrum at the most prestigious school in the finest university system in the freest nation on earth.

Here is how their leader Mario Savio described the prison-like conditions his fellow students had to endure on the Berkeley campus in 1964:

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

To borrow from Oscar Wilde, it takes a heart of stone to read Mario’s wailing — without laughing.

As I wondered in an editorial in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that week, “If there is so much restriction of speech on the campus, how it is that a few yards from Sproul Hall there is a Young Socialist League poster complaining of ‘American Aggression in the Congo’ and calling on students to support ‘the Congolese rebels.’”

Yet Berkeley proved a godsend to a dispirited right.

In 1966, Ronald Reagan would beat Berkeley like a drum in his run for governor, calling the campus, “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters and sex deviants.”

Reagan relished entertaining his populist following by mocking San Francisco Democrats. “A hippie,” said the Gipper, “looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah.”

More seriously, the radicalism, intolerance, arrogance and fanaticism of the far left in the ’60s and ’70s helped to revive the Republican Party and bring it victories in five of the next six presidential elections.

In 1964, neither Nixon nor Reagan appeared to have a bright future. But after Berkeley, both captured the presidency twice. And both benefited mightily from denouncing rioting students, even as liberalism suffered from its perceived association with them.

Which brings us to Berkeley today.

Last week, columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter was forced to cancel her speech at Berkeley. Her security could not be guaranteed by the university.

In February, a speech of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos also was canceled out of safety concerns after campus protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire. The decision was made two hours before the event, as a crowd of 1,500 had gathered outside the venue.

The recent attacks on Charles Murray at Middlebury College and Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna call to mind an event from three decades before Berkeley ’64.

On Dec. 5, 1930, German moviegoers flocked to Berlin’s Mozart Hall to see the Hollywood film, “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Some 150 Brownshirts, led by Joseph Goebbels, entered the theater, tossed stink bombs from the balcony, threw sneezing powder in the air and released mice. Theaters pulled that classic anti-war movie.

That same sense of moral certitude that cannot abide dissent to its dogmatic truths is on display in America today, as it was in Germany in the early 1930s. We are on a familiar slippery slope.

First come the marches and demonstrations. Then the assertion of the right to civil disobedience, to break the law for a higher cause by blocking streets and highways. Then comes the confronting of cops, the smashing of windows, the fistfights, the throwing of stones – as in Portland on May Day.

And, now, the shouting down of campus speakers.

The rage and resentment of the left at its rejection in 2016 are palpable. Sometimes this fever passes peacefully, as in the “Cooling of America” in the 1970s. And sometimes it doesn’t.

But to have crowds of left and right coming out to confront one another violently, in a country whose citizens possess 300 million guns, is probably not a good idea.

 

State Prosecutors Go Easy on Alien Criminals to Avert “Collateral Immigration Consequences”

May 5, 2017

Judicial Watch

5/4/2017

Source …..

In the last few weeks prosecutors in two major U.S. cities have ordered staff not to charge illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes because it could get the offenders deported. You can’t make this stuff up. Officials elected by law-abiding citizens to protect, defend, uphold and enforce criminal laws are bending the rules to protect those in the country illegally. This is a huge step beyond offering illegal aliens sanctuary and constitutes a violation of the oath these public officials have taken.

Brooklyn, New York District Attorney Eric Gonzalez was the first to issue the order creating two sets of rules involving local crimes. The goal, according to a statement issued by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, is “minimizing collateral immigration consequences of criminal convictions.” Taxpayers in the busy New York City borough are also paying for two immigration attorneys to train all staff on immigration issues and advise prosecutors when making plea offers and sentencing recommendations. The idea is to avoid “disproportionate collateral consequences, such as deportation, while maintaining public safety.” Gonzalez, the Brooklyn District Attorney, says he’s committed to equal and fair justice for all Brooklyn residents—citizens, lawful residents and undocumented immigrants alike.

Brooklyn’s chief prosecutor insists that this outrageous new policy doesn’t compromise but rather compliments his agency’s goal of enhancing public safety and fairness in the criminal justice system. Under the old system in which all violators of state crimes were treated equally undocumented immigrants faced harsh immigration penalties as a result of criminal convictions, Gonzalez said, even for minor offenses. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that a conviction, especially for a minor offense, does not lead to unintended and severe consequences like deportation, which can be unfair, tear families apart and destabilize our communities and businesses,” Gonzalez said. “In Brooklyn, we have been proactive in protecting immigrants from fraud and hate crimes and now, with the unprecedented hiring of immigration attorneys and the implementation of this policy, we continue to lead on this important issue.” The head of a local open borders group celebrated the new rules, asserting that “misdemeanors and low-level offenses often trap immigrants who are unfamiliar with the legal process and potentially expose them to harsh double punishment of being deported and ripped from their families.”

Under Brooklyn’s new policy lawyers in the prosecutor’s office may consider “alternative offenses the defendant can plead to as well as reasonable modifications to the sentence recommendation.” As an example, the District Attorney’s directive says that a plea to a misdemeanor trespass may be offered instead of a misdemeanor drug offense. Illegal aliens may also be offered a plea for a lesser offense “in light of the disproportionate immigration consequences a higher level offense may result in,” according to the new rules. The District Attorney’s office recognizes however, that there “may be times when crafting an immigration-neutral disposition would be very difficult and there may be stumbling blocks that cannot be overcome in certain cases.” At the end of the new policy document, the office charged with investigating and prosecuting crimes to improve public safety recognizes that many violent felonies come attached with “inevitable” collateral immigration consequences.

A few weeks after Brooklyn proudly disclosed its policy, prosecutors in Maryland’s largest city joined the bandwagon, albeit more quietly. There was no public announcement or celebratory press conference but a local newspaper got ahold of an internal memo sent by Baltimore’s Chief Deputy State’s Attorney instructing prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes. The chief deputy, Michael Schatzow, used similar language in the memo, writing that the Trump administration’s deportation efforts “have increased the potential collateral consequences to certain immigrants of minor, non-violent criminal conduct.” Schatzow is second-in-command to Baltimore’s top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, and oversees major crimes at the state agency. “In considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case, please be certain to consider those potential consequences to the victim, witnesses, and the defendant,” Schatzow wrote to his staff.

Besides Baltimore, two Maryland counties—Montgomery and Prince George’s—offer illegal immigrants sanctuary. Earlier this year, in response to the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh reiterated that police and other public agencies in her city never ask about immigration status. “We are a welcoming city,” the mayor said in a local news report “We want everyone here. We want to be able to provide opportunities and jobs and careers for folks. That’s where we are in Baltimore.” This year Maryland legislators tried to pass a measure to make the state an official illegal alien sanctuary but the bill, known as the Trust Act, hit a roadblock in a Senate committee after passing in the House of Delegates and the governor has vowed to veto it even if it survives.

 

Was the Civil War Necessary?

May 3, 2017

Brion McClanahan

5/3/2017

Source …..

Trump supposedly stepped in it. Again.

In an interview that aired Monday with Salena Zito, he wondered aloud that if better leadership could have prevented the Civil War [sic].

Trump thought that Andrew Jackson would have prevailed in a showdown between the North and the South. After all, he did it before in the 1830s. Trump then said this: “He [Jackson] was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’”

Trump followed up by committing the most heinous of all heinous acts. He questioned if the Civil War [sic] was necessary!

The leftist media immediately pounced, with several openly mocking Trump for believing that Andrew Jackson was alive in 1861.

A USA Today headline read: “Note to Donald Trump: Andrew Jackson wasn’t alive for the Civil War.”

The LA Times: “Trump makes puzzling claim about Andrew Jackson, Civil War.” The Chicago Tribune ran the same headline (groupthink) as did a number of other “news” outlets.

Social media trolls ran post after post criticizing Trump’s “revisionist” history, lambasting him for not knowing when Jackson was alive, or that he dared to buck modern historical interpretation. The snarky liberal establishment dimwit historian Kevin Kruse Tweeted “When the Civil War came, Andrew Jackson had been dead fifteen years.”

Zing! You nailed him Dr. Kevin. How bright! How engaging! Only a Princeton prof could have come up with that one.

The congratulatory remarks rolled in from his “esteemed” colleagues.

And then The Atlantic staff lowered the boom. At least that is what they thought.

In only a matter of hours, this “news” magazine published two pieces on Trump’s supposed gaffe.

Young leftist twit David Graham published a piece titled “Trump’s Peculiar Understanding of the Civil War” in which he made a number of “peculiar” claims himself.

Graham suggested that: 1) “nullification” is unconstitutional because the federal courts say so. 2) “The Civil War [sic] was fought over slavery, and the insistence of Southern states that they be allowed to keep it.” 3) The Civil War [sic] wasn’t tragic because the “great thinker” Ta-Nehisi Coates said so in 2011. 4) War was inevitable because of the “Confederate states’ commitment to slavery.” 5) If Trump had read great history like Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Lincoln biography Team of Rivals, he would have a different position on the War—this position is hysterical.

Graham also dusted off the “Dunning school” pejorative in order to show his supposed intellectual superiority to the sitting president. After all, Graham insisted that Trump can’t be blamed for being such a dunderhead because even though he attended great schools, “Many Americans are still taught, incorrectly, that the war was essentially a conflict over state’s rights, with abolition as a byproduct of the war. This revisionist view flourished after the war, and though gradually being displaced, is common across the country.”

This is the revisionist calling traditional history revisionism.

The Atlantic followed up just over an hour later with a piece by Yoni Applebaum titled “Why There Was a Civil War.” The revisionist hits just kept coming.

Applebaum didn’t berate Trump for suggesting that historians don’t ask if the Civil War [sic] could have been avoided—he proved that this has been done for years by going through about a century of American historiography on the issue—but for claiming that the War could have been avoided and by “the omission of a critical word: slavery.” To Applebaum, the question of the War begins and ends with slavery and nothing but slavery. He provided one quote from Lincoln to prove his point and as most shallow Lincoln apologists do today, several quotes from the Southern States’ declaration of causes that seem to prove unequivocally that slavery and only slavery led to the War.

He concluded his article with a strange application of moral causation to the War, a moral causation that the vast majority of Americans missed in both 1860 and 1861 when the question of war or peace was still on the table. “There are some conflicts,” he wrote, “that a leader cannot suppress, no matter how strong he may be; some deals that should not be struck, no matter how alluring they may seem. This was the great moral truth on which the Republican Party was founded.”

If only it were that simple. And if only Lincoln was the great leader that both Graham and Applebaum believe him to be.

It seems both Graham and Applebaum fell asleep in class or at the very least have swallowed the Lincoln myth so thoroughly that no evidence to the contrary could persuade them of their folly or their revisionism.

Certainly, Trump is no scholar and his reverence for Jackson is troubling, for it was Jackson who provided the blueprint for Lincoln’s heavy handed tactics toward the South in 1861. To suggest that he would have worked out a compromise is a stretch, though he did support the deal Henry Clay brokered with South Carolina in 1832, a deal that resulted in the people of South Carolina nullifying the Force Bill and then heading home.

That is often lost in the story. Nullification worked and contrary to what Graham suggested, the federal court system has never had the final say on the constitutionality of nullification. That was always the point. States don’t ask permission from the federal courts to nullify unconstitutional legislation, and as every proponent of the Constitution swore in 1787 and 1788, including Alexander Hamilton and James Wilson, laws contrary to the Constitution would be void. Jefferson and Madison made it clear the States could void them.

The real problem with both pieces in The Atlantic, however, is the insistence that the War was inevitable and some moral conflict over slavery caused the shooting.

Applebaum understood that the entire fabric of early American history was built on compromise, but Graham seemed to miss that.

Based on the history of the United States, there was never an “irrepressible conflict” until the North decided to fabricate one.

The South, in fact, was willing to compromise in 1860 and 1861, as it had been for the eighty years prior. Jefferson Davis insisted that any compromise placed before the special Committee of 13 established to handle the crisis needed the support of both Republican and Democratic members. He could get the Democrats to support several. But the Republicans, at the insistence of president-elect Lincoln, said no to every single one. Is that the work of a leader?

That led six other Southern States out of the Union in early 1861. Lincoln could still have saved the Union through compromise at this juncture, but chose not to do so. As Senator James Bayard of Delaware stated in 1861, the Union still existed even with seven States missing. The government, banking houses, and infrastructure remained. It seems that the “Confederate States insistence on slavery” had nothing to do with War. War and secession are separate issues. Secession didn’t mean war was inevitable. Most Americans hoped otherwise, even in the South where President Davis insisted that the South simply wanted to be left alone. To think the opposite is to assume the posture of the British in 1776. That is un-American.

There were still six other slave States in the Union as late as April 1861, over a month after Lincoln took office, six slave States that had already rejected secession. Lincoln was not worried about slavery at this point. He supported a proposed thirteenth amendment which would have protected slavery indefinitely in the States where it already existed. He promised never to interfere with the institution in the South. Lincoln’s objective in March 1861 was to “preserve the Union” at all costs, and by “preserving the Union” Lincoln meant preserving the Republican Party and his fledgling administration. Letting the South go would have certainly made him a one term president. He received less than forty percent of the popular vote in 1860.

Applebaum is correct that letting the South go would have ensured the existence of slavery both within the Union and out for the near future (every other power abolished slavery by 1880), but this was not a moral question for most Americans. Lincoln received thunderous applause across the North in 1860 when he made promises to leave the institution alone. Racism was an American institution and Lincoln never challenged the prevailing attitudes on blacks. He embraced them. The Republican Party didn’t dabble in “moral truths.” Their objective was always political. Bottle the South up, ensure that the Whig economic agenda could be ascendant, and control the spoils.

This still doesn’t take away from the tragedy of the War. Contrary to what the “great scholar” Coates had to say—and he has as much claim to being a great scholar as David Barton, which isn’t much—the loss of one million men, the best blood in America, to a war for Union as Lincoln insisted was unnecessary at best and diabolical at worst. The elimination of slavery was for much of the war an afterthought. Lincoln considered it nothing more than a war measure to “best subdue the enemy.”

The simple fact is that Lincoln wanted war. He had the chance to save the Union without war before he took office. He had the chance to save the Union without war in March 1861. He rejected attempts to peacefully purchase federal property and began polling his cabinet about provisioning Sumter less than a week after taking office knowing full well it would cause war. As he later told a political ally, his decision to provision Fort Sumter had the desired outcome, meaning armed conflict. Nothing can sugarcoat Lincoln’s headlong rush into the bloodiest war in American history.

Trump may have been on to something here. Better leadership could have avoided the carnage. But saying that is now considered sacrilege. How closed minded of the “liberal” historical profession and establishment gatekeepers of acceptable truth.

But who cares. No one really reads The Atlantic anymore, anyway.

 

Illegal Alien Flees to Avoid Trial on Food Stamp Scam

May 3, 2017

Bob Price

4/30/2017

Source …..

Law enforcement authorities are searching for a foreign national who they say cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet right before he was set to go to trial. The Dominican national allegedly fled to avoid charges involving a fraudulent $1.5 million food stamp racket.

Martin B. Santiago, a 49-year-old from the Dominican Republic did not show up for his criminal trial in Essex Superior Court on Thursday. He faces charges of fraudulently selling food stamps and laundering money out of his three stores in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the Boston Herald reportedThe local newspaper reported Santiago to be an “illegal immigrant.”

When Santiago did not come to court, state investigators found that he “forcibly removed” the GPS monitoring apparatus about 6 a.m. that morning, the Boston newspaper reported. Despite being an illegal immigrant, court officials released the Dominican national on a $75,000 cash bond.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigators became suspicious of Santiago, and his co-conspirators, after his stores reported counter sales they said were unusually high for a convenience store. The USDA oversees the food stamp program. Investigators found the majority of their individual sales in amounts greater than $100, the Eagle Tribune reported following Santiago’s arrest in 2015.

“These are small convenience stores with no (grocery) carriages and a small checkout area,” Assistant District Attorney Philip Mallard told the Eagle Tribune. “It’s hard to get to $100 in groceries without a carriage.”

The stores also had unusual sales-to-expense ratios, investigators said. The USDA reported Santiago’s businesses ran $2.19 million in food stamp sales over a three-year period. However, their expenses for inventory costs only totaled $300,000.

“It’s an astronomical rate of return for a convenience store,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement reported by the Eagle Tribune.

The Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section of the Massachusetts State Police Department has issued a “Wanted” notice for Santiago. The 5-foot-11 inch Hispanic male weighs about 190 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. Santiago speaks Spanish and has used the names Mark Santiago and Martin Billone Santiago.

Anyone having information about Santiago’s location can call the state police in Massachusetts at (800) 527-8873. Santiago reportedly has connections to the city of Methuen, as well as Lawrence. These municipalities are both located in Essex County.

Santiago faces charges of money laundering, three counts of food stamp trafficking, and three counts of larceny over $250.

Food stamp fraud can be a big business for unscrupulous store owners.

In late February, a federal judge sentenced George Rafidi, 62, to 33 months in prison for his $2.8 million food stamp fraud scheme. Breitbart News reported that authorities investigated him after store audits revealed that his establishment redeemed more than ten times the amount of food stamps than larger stores in his area took in. Agents found that Rafidi would exchange food stamps for cash and allow food stamp recipients to use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to purchase tobacco and alcohol. A federal grand jury also indicted a store clerk and approximately 30 food stamp recipients. Rafidi is also serving an additional 94-months for brandishing a firearm at federal agents who were investigating him

In early April, a Mexican citizen in Hartford, Connecticut, was found guilty of food stamp fraud and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. He also allowed customers to redeem food stamps for cash. He collected over $3.2 million during an 18-month period. He was ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution.

A New Jersey man, Miguel Antonio Azcona, pleaded guilty in late January to defrauding the federal government of more than $800,000 in a food stamp-for-cash scam.

 

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