Tag Archives: bankruptcy

TMT legal case in Hawaii gets messier

The permit process in Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope has gotten far messier, with the telescope’s opponents appealing to the state’s Supreme Court, complaining about witness procedures and the lawyers who are working for the state, while the land board running the procedures has asked the court to dismiss this appeal.

Essentially, the opponents are using every trick in the book to delay the permit process, and it appears that the law in Hawaii, including one just passed in August, is designed to aid them in this tactic.

TMT will not be built in Hawaii.The consortium that is building it needs a decision by early next year at the latest. They ain’t gonna get it. The luddites going to win, and Hawaii will be far poorer because of it.

House passes new tax on concrete companies

The swamp is winning! The Republican House today passed a new law that not only imposes a new tax on concrete industry, it creates a crony Concrete Masonry Products Board to help keep its buddies in that industry in charge.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky. (F, 45%), would create a Concrete Masonry Products Board composed of 15-25 members appointed by the Department of Commerce after a referendum approval by producers of concrete masonry products. This board will have the power to establish, finance, and carry out a “coordinated research and education program,” ostensibly to “promote masonry products in the domestic market,” according to a legislative bulletin email from the Republican Study Committee. This program will be paid for by a “federally administered assessment.”

This is corruption, pure and simple. We don’t need this. All it accomplishes is to force the public to pay for this fake board whose only real purpose, when you strip it down to its essentials, will be to favor the already established U.S. concrete companies.

House Republicans to vote on ending ban on earmarks

The swamp is winning! A group of House Republicans have put forth a proposal, to be voted on tomorrow, to partly lift the ban on earmarks imposed in 2010.

Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, and Tom Rooney of Florida are listed as sponsors of the amendment, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Signal. The amendment would bring back legislative earmarks for some government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Reclamation. It also would allow lawmakers to provide earmarks for state and local governments, except for recreational facilities, museums, or parks. If the amendment is adopted by a secret-ballot vote Wednesday, lawmakers would be able to request earmarks once again as long as the sponsoring member is identified, the earmarks initiate in committee, and they don’t increase spending.

A senior House aide told The Daily Signal this was the first step to completely ending the earmark ban by slowly peeling it away.

The earmark explosion that occurred under Republican control during the first six years of the second Bush administration was one of the main reasons they lost Congress in 2006. It showed that their claims that they were fiscal hawks was hogwash. And now it appears that some Republicans are trying to pull the same crap, all over again.

Will Republicans and Trump reduce the budget? Maybe not!

Hypocrites and liars: Less than two days after winning the Presidency and retaining control of both houses of Congress, Republican budget cutters are already signaling that they are now more willing to considering big spending projects, now that they are no longer opposing a Democratic president.

Sen. David Perdue (R-.Ga) stood on the Senate floor a little more than one month ago and declared that “we have a budget crisis. We have a debt crisis.” Two weeks ago, he wrote in an op-ed that “President Obama’s budgets ignored fiscally responsible principles, instead leaving an ever-growing mountain of debt for taxpayers down the road,” and he urged the United States to pass a balanced-budget amendment ensuring that the government can’t spend more than it takes in.

But asked about President-elect Donald Trump’s fiscal plans on Wednesday morning, Perdue sounded much less of an urgent note. “Well, I think there’s a short-term view and a long-term view. What we need is a long-term strategy, and by long-term, I’m talking, you’re going to say, 30 to 40 years to solve this debt crisis eventually,” Perdue said in an interview on CNBC.

,,,Perdue’s comments on CNBC could be one sign of how the politics of debt in Washington may shift when Trump takes office Jan. 20. Under George W. Bush, the nation’s debt exploded with federal spending and tax cuts, often with the consent of Republicans in Congress. But over the past eight years, the Republican establishment has repeatedly excoriated President Obama for plans that don’t immediately balance the budget.

Trump’s liberal roots had him immediately propose a variety of big government spending projects in his acceptance speech, and it appears that the Republican leadership is eager to go along, as they did with Obama, to put those big spending plans in place. Unfortunately, it also appears that that leadership might not get much resistance for bigger spending from its rank and file, who will no longer be fighting a Democratic administration and thus can jump on the bandwagon for more pork in their districts.

Modern college students think America invented slavery

The coming dark age: Modern college students not only think America invented slavery, they know even less about American history.

Before even distributing the syllabus for his courses, Pesta administered his short quizzes with basic questions about American history, economics and Western culture. For instance, the questions asked students to circle which of three historical figures was a president of the United States, or to name three slave-holding countries over the last 2,000 years, or define “capitalism” and “socialism” in one sentence each.

Often, more students connected Thomas Jefferson to slavery then could identify him as president, according to Pesta. On one quiz, 29 out of 32 students responding knew that Jefferson owned slaves, but only three out of the 32 correctly identified him as president. Interestingly, more students— six of 32—actually believed Ben Franklin had been president.

The biggest irony of all is that it was in the United States that the abolition movement was born. Until that happened, the idea of slavery had been considered morally acceptable by all nations in all previous human history.

“Academic freedom: It’s great, as long as you don’t use it.”

Academic fascism: An New York University professor who created an anonymous Twitter account so that he could express conservative opinions without risking his teaching career has been forced to take paid leave for the rest of the semester.

A 12-person committee calling itself the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group, including two deans, published a letter to the editor in the same paper. “As long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas,” they wrote. “We seek to create a dynamic community that values full participation. Such efforts are not the ‘destruction of academic integrity’ Professor Rectenwald suggests, but rather what make possible our program’s approach to global studies,” they argued.

Rectenwald likened the attack to “a Salem witch trial. They took my views personally. I never even mentioned them and I never even said NYU liberal studies program. I was talking about academia at large.”

The same day that letter was published, Rectenwald was summoned to a meeting with his department dean and an HR representative, he says. “They claimed they were worried about me and a couple people had expressed concern about my mental health,” Rectenwald told The Post. The leave has “absolutely zero to do with his Twitter account or his opinions on issues of the day,” said NYU spokesman Matt Nagel, refusing to elaborate on the reason.

Rectenwald’s real crime? He had criticized the intolerance that is poisoning the academic community.

More madness from our intellectual betters

Below is another collection of links I have been gathering since last week, illustrating the intellectual bankruptcy that presently dominates American society and the so-called elite culture that is supposed to lead us.

I wish I could say that these stories are the exceptions that prove freedom and the demand from western civilization that we always seek the truth is still thriving in America, but if I did I’d be lying. These stories reflect the close-minded and oppressive attitude that is permeating our intellectual climate and is acting to squelch freedom and the ability of people to express alternative points of view.

The first three stories illustrate the hate of western civilization that dominates modern intellectual culture. The last three stories illustrate its close-mindedness. For example, consider the James Madison University speech guide:

Student leaders of this year’s freshman orientation at James Madison University were given a list of 35 things they should avoid saying, including phrases such as “you have such a pretty face,” “love the sinner, hate the sin,” “we’re all part of the human race,” “I treat all people the same,” “it was only a joke,” “I never owned slaves,” and “people just need to pick themselves up by their bootstraps,” among other expressions.

Meanwhile, a police chief (who happens to be black) is banned from speaking about the use of forensics in police work because he has had the nerve to publicly criticize the racist Black Lives Movement. We can’t have that!

The worst aspect of these stories is the lack of resistance to these totalitarian measures. If I was attending James Madison University, my response to that speech guide would be to start wearing t-shirts with those banned phrases blazoned across the front, while chalking those phrases everywhere on sidewalks. I do not get the sense that today’s students have the same courage. In fact, the story on trigger warnings suggests that today’s students are wholly in favor of this oppression, and get upset if anyone dares express a dissenting view to them.

Space letter wars in Congress!

Turf war! A bi-partisan group of Congressmen, in response to an earlier letter by ten Republican senators questioning SpaceX’s ability to complete a thorough investigation of its September 1st launchpad explosion, have issued their own letter of support for the company.

In a letter to the heads of the Air Force, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration, 24 members of Congress said that it was proper that SpaceX was leading the investigation. “Accidents are unfortunate events, and accident investigations should not be politicized,” wrote the bipartisan group led by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.). “We encourage you to reject calls for your organizations to abandon established, well-considered and long-standing procedures.”

Ain’t democracy wonderful? It seems that SpaceX might have rounded up its own crony Congressmen to battle ULA’s crony Congressmen.

Republican budget deal backed by more House Democrats than Republicans

Betrayal: The just passed budget deal worked out by the Republican establishment got more Democrats to vote for it than Republicans.

The continuing resolution spending deal that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed at 9:56 p.m. on Wednesday night, won more votes from Democratic members than from Republican members. 172 House Democrats and 170 Republicans voted for the spending deal, according to the roll call published by the Clerk of the House. 75 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted against it. 5 members did not vote.

More betrayal: The continuing resolution is set to expire on December 9, 2016, thereby allowing a lame duck Congress and President to negotiate a new budget, after the election, when they will be able to spend money any which way they want, for their crony friends.

What good is a Republican majority if its leadership is going to work hand-in-glove with the Democrats to pass Democratic Party proposals, while also working to make corrupt backroom deals that bust the budget? No wonder the outsiders cleaned the floor with the Republican establishment’s favorite son, Jeb Bush. No wonder Donald Trump became the Republican party’s presidential candidate.

The end of freedom

Below is only a small sampling of the many stories I have been reading in the past two weeks that clearly signal the end of freedom and western civilization. Tolerance for opposing viewpoints is dying, even as our academic community descends into insanity.

The last story is especially depressing. The head of a university advocates the idea that students shouldn’t be forced to hear ideas they don’t like, that they shouldn’t be exposed to any thoughts or statements that might offend them. He then proceeds to insult and denigrate anyone who disagrees with him. This is a man in charge of a university! I read this, as well as the other stories, and realize that the coming dark age is coming far sooner than anyone imagines.

Republican leadership pushes Democrat-approved budget deal

Betrayal: Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has finally released the language of the next short term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government through December 9, 2016, and it appears it was written by the Democratic leadership in the Senate.

As far as conservative priorities go, the bill is a failure. Among its many obvious flaws, it funds the government through Dec. 9—setting up a lame-duck session of Congress. In the lame-duck session, which occurs after the election but before new lawmakers are sworn in, unaccountable legislators are likely to pass a bevy of backroom deals, to the detriment of representative democracy (and, we can assume, to the wallets of the taxpayer).

Even though it only funds the government for a scant 69 days, the McConnell continuing resolution manages to do it at the bloated Boehner-Obama spending levels that were jammed down the throats of conservatives in 2015. In doing so, the continuing resolution sets up yet another spending cliff that will spawn a false panic in the lame-duck session, and lay the groundwork for more “must-pass” terrible deals. In other words, in December, lawmakers will once more have to pass yet another spending bill in order to ensure the government continues normal operations.

There’s more. Read it all. The bottom line is that McConnell has forged a deal that allows Democrats to gloat and Republican conservatives to tear their hair out in horror. No wonder outsiders like Trump and Cruz did so well in the primary season, and why Trump is now their Presidential candidate. The Republican leadership, which still doesn’t comprehend why this happened, also has no idea why the public gave them strong House and Senate majorities in 2010 and 2014. Maybe they don’t care and simply want to cash in quickly even if it destroys the country. Either way, they continue to betray the very people that voted them into power.

Putin to revive the KGB

The coming dark age: One day after Putin’s party won an easy election victory it has announced that they plan on reviving the secret security force known previously as the KGB.

“The KGB was one of the strongest special services in the world – everyone recognised this,” Sergei Goncharov, who served in Russia’s now disbanded Alpha counter-terror unit in the 1990s, told state media. Mr Goncharov also said the creation of the MGB would provide Russia with a “strong fist” overseen by a unified leadership.

Kremlin critics were horrified by the possible rebirth of an organisation synonymous in Russia with political oppression. “It’s time to get out [of the country],” wrote Elshad Babaev, a Twitter user. “Anyone who can should take the opportunity.”

Unlike the 20th century, however, the west can no longer be called “the free world”, as it was then. Instead, we are lumbering toward the same evils, and thus do not necessarily provide a safe haven for real political refugees that we were then. Instead, our bankrupt intellectual leadership has been rushing to bring in fifth columnists from the Middle East while leaving the real refugees there to suffer persecution by Islamic radicals.

The powerless GOP

Obama is imposing an unprecedented number of new regulations in his final months in office, and the Republican leadership says it is helpless to do anything about it.

Data compiled by the Heritage Foundation found that the Obama administration issued 184 major rules during its first six years. The conservative organization, citing regulators’ estimates, says those could come with a price tag of almost $80 billion a year. The American Action Forum, which dubs itself as a “center-right” think tank, concludes that since Jan. 1 of this year, the administration has picked up the pace, finalizing 60 new rules and proposing 60 more at a potential cost of $16.5 billion next year alone.

Republican lawmakers and independent experts expect more to come. But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas told Roll Call that his party cannot do much because “the framers of the Constitution didn’t give us a lot of tools that didn’t involve a presidential signature to overturn them.” [emphasis mine]

Excuse me, Senator Cornyn, but the framers of the Constitution gave Congress all the power. All you have to do is read the Constitution, a document only 16 pages long (excluding amendments), to find out. One would think a sitting Senator might do that once in awhile.

The problem is that Congress for decades has abdicated its responsibilities to the bureaucratic wing of the executive branch, and in the recent years the Republican leadership has further chickened out when voters demanded that they take some of those responsibilities back. The Republicans could very easily shut the whole shebang down, which might finally force some compromise from the Democrats. Until they do, however, expect no compromise from the left, which keeps getting exactly what it wants.

Feds mistakenly grant citizenship to more than 800 potentially dangerous immigrants

Does this make you feel safer? The federal government has mistakenly granted citizenship to more than 800 immigrants who for many reasons are considered security risks.

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and such discrepancies weren’t caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases. DHS said in an emailed statement that an initial review of these cases suggest that some of the individuals may have ultimately qualified for citizenship, and that the lack of digital fingerprint records does not necessarily mean they committed fraud.

The report does not identify any of the immigrants by name, but Inspector General John Roth’s auditors said they were all from “special interest countries” — those that present a national security concern for the United States — or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud. The report did not identify those countries.

As I’ve noted many times, the federal government is not only bankrupt, it is today totally incapable of doing any job right. We should stop depending on it for anything. And we should certainly shut the faucet of tax dollars we are presently pouring into it. The discussion should not be what is the right tax scheme is for providing funds to the federal government, but how quickly can we shut as many of its corrupt and incompetent agencies down and fire as many of its corrupt workers as possible.

Federal agencies question establishment of SpaceX spaceport and three liquefied natural gas plants in Brownsville

Two federal agencies are questioning the safety of establishing three liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants near SpaceX’s new spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing the applications for the LNG export terminals, which plan to take natural gas from the Eagle Ford south of San Antonio, liquefy it and export the LNG to overseas customers.

The Federal Aviation Administration hosted an Aug. 18 meeting to discuss space launch activities near the proposed LNG facilities, according to a FERC filing released on Thursday. During the meeting, FAA officials discussed their role and regulations regarding commercial space launches, as well as the agency’s licensing and public safety requirements prior to the launch of any future mission.

While it makes perfect sense to keep a rocket launchpad safely away from large amounts of liquefied natural gas, I found the article’s concluding paragraphs to be most revealing:

Meanwhile, environmentalists, who were critical of the SpaceX project and oppose the LNG plants, said the launch site is too close to the proposed export terminals. “This announcement should be a wake-up call and warning that putting LNG terminals within six miles of the SpaceX launch site is a bad idea,” Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club Chair Jim Chapman told the Business Journal. “Furthermore, Annova LNG wants to put its facility within the SpaceX launch closure area. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that idea won’t fly.” [emphasis mine]

Note how the environmentalists are essentially against everything. They really aren’t opposed to having these two facilities being placed too close to each other, what they really want is that nothing gets built at all. Most instructive.

Russian government going broke

The Russian government, faced with low oil prices, a weak ruble, and a big budget, has been depleting its cash reserves and could run out of money within a year.

The government’s reserve fund is designed to cover shortfalls in the national budget at times of low oil and gas revenues.

Russia’s 2016 budget is based on the assumption the country would be able to sell its oil for $50 per barrel. But the average oil price in the first eight months of the year was less than $43 per barrel. Oil now makes up just 37% of all government revenues, compared to roughly 50% just two years ago.

When their reserve funds run out, they will then dip into another fund reserved for pensions and investment projects. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Kind of like the approach the big Democratically controlled U.S. cities like New York have used to continue to spend money they didn’t have.

It is interesting to compare Russia and China these days, especially considering the state of both of their space programs. Despite the fact that many say that China’s success is hollow, they have still been able to fund and build what is now a very vibrant and new manned and planetary space effort. Russia however cannot build anything new, and is now faced with reducing its ISS crew complement because it can’t afford to launch the supplies required for three people.

It will be very interesting to watch this story in Russia unfold.

Republican leadership avoids vote on IRS head impeachment

More failure theater: The Congressional Republican leadership has worked out a deal that will avoid a vote on the impeachment of IRS head John Koskinen, thus protecting the Democrats from any embarrassing votes in favor of the IRS prior to the November elections.

The agreement makes it unlikely that any vote by the full House to impeach Koskinen will happen until after the November election, if at all. House Republican leadership had balked on moving forward on impeachment proceedings during an election season, arguing that an impeachment vote risked irritating voters. Others said Koskinen deserved a full House Judiciary Committee probe before embarking on the seldom-used impeachment process.

And the Republican leadership wonders why they are now stuck with outsider Donald Trump as their presidential candidate. The public sees their impotent and weak leadership, and wants something different.

Social Security paid $1.7 million to dead federal workers

Government in action! An audit of Social Security has discovered that the agency paid $1.7 million to dead federal workers.

An audit released by the agency’s inspector general Monday revealed that the Social Security Administration had not crosschecked beneficiaries’ deaths with the Office of Personnel Management, which manages federal employees. Missing just 35 deaths cost taxpayers $1.7 million.

“OPM’s annuitant file contained deaths that were not recorded in SSA’s systems,” the inspector general said. “SSA paid $1.7 million in [Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance] OASDI benefits to 35 deceased beneficiaries. The average payment after death was $49,156 for an average of 84 months. …Additionally, we estimate SSA would have continued paying these beneficiaries approximately $258,000 over the next year had the deaths not been identified,” the inspector general said. Another six deceased individuals received $56,695 after their benefits were terminated by the agency.

The response by Social Security? The agency called the $1.7 million payments to dead government workers an “extremely small number.”

Russian hackers attack US election systems

What, me worry? Russian hackers attempted and were partly successful in June in accessing the election databases of Arizona and Illinois.

Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state. The bureau described the threat as “credible” and significant, “an eight on a scale of one to 10,” Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R), said Monday. As a result, Reagan shut down the state’s voter registration system for nearly a week.

It turned out that the hackers had not compromised the state system or even any county system. They had, however, stolen the username and password of a single election official in Gila County.

The article describes in detail the overall bad situation, including a number of additional attacks as well as the poor security surrounding the online voting option that more than 30 states use.

As usual, we are being told not to worry by the responsible government officials:

Tom Hicks, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, an agency set up by Congress after the 2000 Florida recount to maintain election integrity, said he is confident that states have sufficient safeguards in place to ward off attempts to ma­nipu­la­te data. For example, if a voter’s name were deleted and did not show up on the precinct list, the individual could still cast a provisional ballot, Hicks said. Once the voter’s status was confirmed, the ballot would be counted. Hicks also said the actual systems used to cast votes “are not hooked up to the Internet” and so “there’s not going to be any ma­nipu­la­tion of data.” However, more than 30 states have some provisions for online voting, primarily for voters living overseas or serving in the military.

Hicks has made me feel so much better!

Federal debt to rise to $28 trillion

What, me worry? A new Congressional Budget Office report today predicts the federal debt will grow to $28 trillion in the next decade.

Government spending is projected to increase by 5 percent, or $178 billion, while government revenue is projected to increase by less than 1 percent, or $26 billion. The rise in government spending is attributed to a 6 percent increase in outlays for Social Security and Medicare, a 1 percent increase in discretionary spending, and an 11 percent increase in net interest.

With the American people apparently favoring candidates who want to increase that debt, I suspect this prediction is seriously understated.

3rd largest insurer begins retreat from Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it: Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer and faced with $300 million in loses, has decided against expanding its participation in the Obamacare exchanges.

They also announced that they are re-evaluating their entire participation in the remaining exchanges.

In related news, Obamacare rates are likely to go up from 23% to 45% in Illinois, and 17.3% in Michigan.

But don’t worry, we’ve got the situation covered. We’re going to vote for Hillary Clinton and Democrats, the people that gave us this failed law. They’ll surely fix it!

The Lie that is Orion

Several weeks ago NASA put out one of its periodic press releases touting the wonders of the engineering the agency is doing to prepare for its future missions to Mars. In this case the press release described a new exercise device, dubbed ROCKY (for Resistive Overload Combined with Kinetic Yo-Yo), for use in the Orion capsule.

“ROCKY is an ultra-compact, lightweight exercise device that meets the exercise and medical requirements that we have for Orion missions,” said Gail Perusek, deputy project manager for NASA’s Human Research Program’s Exploration Exercise Equipment project. “The International Space Station’s exercise devices are effective but are too big for Orion, so we had to find a way to make exercising in Orion feasible.

As is their habit these days in their effort to drum up support for funding for SLS and Orion, the press release was filled with phrases and statements that implied or claimed that Orion was going to be the spacecraft that Americans will use to explore the solar system.

…engineers across NASA and industry are working to build the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket that will venture to deep space for the first time together…

…Over the next several years, NASA’s Human Research Program will be refining the device to optimize it not only for near-term Orion missions with crew, but for potential uses on future long-duration missions in Orion…

These are only two examples. I have clipped them because both were very carefully phrased to allow NASA deniablity should anyone question these claims. For example, in the first quote they qualify “deep space” as specifically the 2018 unmanned lunar test flight. And the second quote is qualified as referring to missions to lunar space. Nonetheless, the implied intent of this wording is to sell Orion as America’s interplanetary spaceship, destined to take us to the stars!

Don’t believe me? Then take a look at NASA’s own Orion webpages, starting with the very first words on their Orion Overivew page.
» Read more

More speculations about Trump’s cabinet

This article gives a nice overview of the people who it appears are being considered for positions in a Trump presidency, should he win.

Unfortunately, it does not give a lot of background about the people mentioned. Many, like Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, Rudy Giuliani, and Newt Gingrich, are well known. Others, like businessman Donald McGahn, are unknown. Some, like Senator Bob Corker, suggested as potential Secretary of State, would be a disaster, based on his past history of getting the Iran deal approved.
Some. like Harold Hamm and Steve Mnuchin, have been described here at BtB at the links behind their names, Hamm positively and Mnuchin negatively..

There is more at the link. Read it all. This list is a start. It will require vetting to get a sense of what we can expect from a Trump administration.

Note that there is a reason I am so focused on Trump and not Clinton. Trump remains an unknown, who might be worth voting for if it appears his plans as President are reasonable, something that might still be possible, despite all the negative reports I’ve given him. Moreover, there is a chance that Trump can be positively influenced. Learning as much about him as possible increases that possibility.

Clinton however is not an unknown. She is corrupt, a liar, and an avowed socialist who believes strongly in increasing the size and power of the federal government, as does the entire political party that supports her. To deny any of this is to live with your head in the sand. She thus needs no vetting.

Half of TSA employees cited for misconduct

Does this make you feel safer? Almost half of all TSA employees have been cited for misconduct, and the citations have increased by almost 30 percent since 2013.

Of the total allegations filed, 90.8 percent were against TSA officers, while 4.8 percent were filed against managers or administrators. Of the areas of misconduct, “Attendance & Leave” sees the highest number of offenders, while “Failure to Follow Instructions,” “Screening & Security,” “Neglect of Duty,” and “Disruptive Behavior” round out the top five.

It also appears that the TSA has been reducing the sanctions it has been giving out for this bad behavior.

EPA’s gasoline efficiency tests are garbage

Our government in action: The tests the EPA uses to establish the fuel efficiency of cars are unreliable, and likely provide no valid information at all about the fuel efficiency of the cars tested.

The law requiring cars to meet these fuel efficiency tests was written in the 1970s, and specifically sets standards based on the technology then. Worse,

[T]he EPA doesn’t know exactly how its CAFE testing correlates with actual results, because it has never done a comprehensive study of real-world fuel economy. Nor does anyone else. The best available data comes from consumers who report it to the DOT—hardly a scientific sampling.

Other than that, everything is fine. Companies are forced to spend billions on this regulation, the costs of which they immediately pass on to consumers, all based on fantasy and a badly-written law. Gee, I’m sure glad we never tried this with healthcare!

A blunt honest appraisal of America today

The coming dark age: This op-ed encapsulates perfectly my despairing sense of today’s American culture, and what it will bring to the future.

After noting the effort by Obama and the Democrats these past eight years to divide Americans by race, party, gender, religion, and creed, he then adds:

Into this, Republicans are responding not with a candidate who will rise above the fray and try to unite us all back into common culture, but a man with no temperament to do anything other than divide. His loudest supporters embrace a “convert or die” mentality. We are either with him or against him.

Republicans have embraced a man who takes tribalism to new levels and, in the process, have put on blinders and willfully ignored how much he excites white nationalists and the race baiters of the right. For every New Black Panther in love with Barack Obama there are two white nationalists willing to march through hell for Donald Trump.

In his conclusion he adds

I’m afraid 2016 is the beginning of a chaotic time and not a one off occasion. We may look back on 2016 as the calm before the storm. What is most galling to me is that my party, the party I once served as an elected official, has turned to a man who has no intention of uniting the nation, who brings out the worst in absolutely everybody, and with so much on the line has so little a chance of even winning. But to point this out is to be accused of being a traitor and helping a woman I find equally offensive.

All of this is to say we get the government and national character that reflects us and right now it is all a damning indictment of our American character. How many more will die? How many more Americans will turn against each other? How many will seek blame instead of reconciliation?

Meanwhile, I am reminded of how, during the primary campaign, Ted Cruz was always willing to graciously reach out to protesters and debate the issues with them politely, face-to-face. That behavior, in modern America, has now been called “creepy” and the act of a liar.

We get the government we deserve. Be prepared for bad things in the future.

Most of America’s elite universities do not require history majors to study U.S. history

The coming dark age: More than fifty American universities do not require history majors to take a course in United States history.

This bears repeating: The universities allow history majors to get a degree in history without having to study American history. The article also includes lots of interviews from lots of academic types, all making excuses for this dismal policy.

No wonder no one seems to know what the Bill of Rights is. Our universities, run almost exclusively by leftwing hacks, have sent it down the memory hole to be forgotten and ignored.

Obama illegally funding Obamacare, stonewalling Congress

The law is such an inconvenient thing: According to a new report, the Obama administration has been illegally funding Obamacare, and stonewalling Congress when it tries to exercise its constitutional required fiscal responsibility.

Among the report’s seemingly endless list of bad behavior by the Obama administration, it noted that multiple federal agencies withheld or redacted documents from Congress, “without any valid legal basis to do so.”

Hey, who cares about the law? That’s just some silly piece of paper that some old white guys wrote some 240 years ago. We are liberal, we are Democrats, and we know best. Now shut up and do as you are told!

Republicans and Democrats fight to restrict freedoms

Ugh: House Republicans move to introduce new gun control law, House Democrats vow to fight it because it will allow for due process.

From the second link:

A Democratic source said the more controversial gun-purchase provision may be similar to a bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that’s backed by the National Rifle Association. Democrats say the Cornyn bill doesn’t go far enough since it includes a “probable cause” standard that would require law enforcement officials to prove that a gun buyer is an actual terrorist rather than a suspected terrorist. Instead, Democrats want a vote on legislation that would bar firearm sales to anyone on a terrorism watch list or no-fly list.

Without a vote on their own legislation, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other Democrats have threatened to take control of the House floor once again after they return from the Fourth of July recess. On Wednesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and dozens of other Democrats held events around the country demanding action to stop gun violence.

It is disgusting how Democrats no longer support the idea of due process, that they are cool with the idea of secret lists that can deny any American his or her constitutional rights. Boy will they squeal when those lists are used to deny them their rights!

However, it is just as disgusting that the Republicans are playing into the Democrats hands here by introducing any gun control legislation. This is not how you fight Islamic terrorism, by denying Americans access to guns. You fight Islamic terrorism by standing up for our rights while aggressively going after the terrorists who commit those acts of violence.

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