Coburn Channels Failed Tenther Candidates Who Claim Department of Education Is Unconstitutional

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Last month’s election was unquestionably a good day for the right, but tenther Senate candidates — those who believe that pretty much everything the federal government does is unconstitutional — massively underperformed. As it turns out, even November’s disgruntled electorate wasn’t interested in radical tenthers like Sharron Angle (R-NV) or Ken Buck (R-CO) who think that Pell Grants, student loan assistance and other federal support for education somehow violates the Constitution. Yet, despite the thumping delivered to the right’s tenther wing last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is apparently eager to pick up where Angle and Buck left off. In an interview with right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham, Coburn endorses the radical view that federal education programs violate the Constitution:

I don’t even think [education] is a role for the federal government, if you read the Constitution. Matter of fact, Thomas Jefferson said “I believe in the federal government having a role for education but the only way you can do that is change the Constitution.” That’s a direct quote from him. In other words, he recognized that it wasn’t in the Constitution for the federal government to have a role in education. And now we have more debt for student loans than we have credit card debt in this country.

Listen:

Sen. Coburn might want to try actually read the Constitution before he pretends to know what it allows. Article I provides that “[t]he Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” a grant of power that unambiguously empowers Congress to raise funds and spend them on programs that are broadly beneficial to American welfare — such as education.

Moreover, while Coburn’s reference to Thomas Jefferson is true in the narrowest sense of the term, it also betrays Coburn’s ignorance of constitutional history. During the Washington Administration, Jefferson and James Madison led a minority coalition which believed that Congress’ constitutional power to spend money was too narrow to support spending programs such as the First Bank of the United States. President Washington, however, rejected their arguments. Moreover, while Coburn is correct that President Jefferson briefly referenced his narrow view of the Constitution in his 1806 State of the Union, Jefferson was an extreme outlier by this point in American history. Even Madison parted ways with Jefferson by the time Madison became president in 1809.

Nor is Coburn’s command of basic economics any better than his grasp on the Constitution and its history. Coburn is right to be upset that “debt for student loans” has skyrocketed in recent years, but his prescription for addressing this problem — eliminating Pell Grants and low-interest government loans — would obviously make the problem even worse.

ThinkProgress

Meet Mike Espy: From Secretary of the Department of Agriculture to Suer of the Department of Agriculture

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

In the pantheon of civic behavior, ex-politicians leaving DC to become lobbyists to advocate on behalf of private interests against taxpayer interests is right up there among the most undesirable.

What’s even worse?  When a former Secretary of Agriculture – who is African-American – leaves his post and now spends his time trolling for and representing litigants suing the USDA citing discrimination against African-Americans during the time he was in charge of the agency.

Why isn’t he suing himself, and paying the claims out of his own pocket? Instead, the USDA has admitted “no wrongdoing” (i.e. no one has been fired for the wholesale discrimination) and the taxpayer is completely and exclusively on the hook.

As Big Government will continue to show over the next few weeks, Pigford is a universe of its own filled with crooked politicians, cover-ups, greedy attorneys, and crime rings. And one of the brightest stars in the Pigford universe is Mike Espy:

MIKE ESPY (Alphonso Michael Espy) is the former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi. He currently works as a private sector attorney, counselor, and agricultural advisor, having his own law and consulting firms: Mike Espy, PLLC, and AE Agritrade, Inc.

Prior to his appointment as USDA Secretary, Mike Espy served for seven years as a Member of Congress. While there, he served his bi-racial district as a member of the Budget and Agriculture Committees.

Before his election to Congress, Mike worked as a trial lawyer and served as Assistant Attorney General.

In 1997, Espy was indicted on 30 criminal charges of receiving gifts from food companies. Tyson Foods, the largest poultry producer in the U.S., was found guilty of paying Espy more than $ 12,000 in illegal gifts and was fined $ 6 million for the transgression. In another case, Sun Diamond was fined $ 1.5 million for giving Espy $ 6,000 in illegal gifts.

Espy, however, was cleared of all 30 charges, as the prosecutors were unable to prove that the gifts were linked to any official action.

Regardless of his indictment and acquittal, Mike Espy had an incredible record of accomplishment: a seven-year congressman and the highest-ranking African-American in Bill Clinton’s cabinet.

What is most interesting about Espy is that his two-year tenure as the Secretary of Agriculture spanned from 1993-1994. Why? Because the Pigford lawsuit covers a period of discrimination within the agency from 1983-1997, over 13 percent of that period Espy was responsible for that agency, which puts Espy’s liability at about $ 366,665,750 (given that the total price tag for Pigford I and II is at $ 2.75 billion.)

So how does civilian Mike Espy spend his days now? He owns a law firm that specializes in representing and rounding up Pigford litigants. In effect, he is suing the very agency he ran, with charges of discrimination, and making a bundle off it.

Excerpted from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, February 4, 1998:

Espy is a member of the Jackson, Miss. law firm Crosthwait Terney PLLC, which is one of seven legal groups representing about 330 black farmers now suing Glickman and USDA for $ 2 billion.

Espy spoke to the group about their role in the lawsuit and periodically answered their questions through out the four-hour meeting. But as a whole he offered them little optimism about their future in agriculture.

“You have to fight now!,” said Espy, urging the group to join the legal effort and at least the potential for a financial settlement. “You can’t afford to wait another 5, 6 or 7 years.”

The farmers may have valid claims against several different USDA agencies that date as far back as 1983, Washington attorney Alex Pires told the group. Pires filed the original lawsuit in behalf of the 14-black farmers alleging discrimination.

And to the Washington Post, March 03, 1999:

Although he did not speak at the hearing, Espy, who has worked with some of the lawyers in the case, said the settlement should have included provisions to pay back the privately held loans of black farmers who struggled due to USDA rejections.

There are some farmers who have been terribly discriminated against by the USDA. They’ve suffered tremendous losses and pain and anguish, and they deserve to be compensated…. Whether the $ 50,000 is enough or not depends on individual circumstances,” said Espy, who was the first black agriculture secretary. He headed USDA in 1993 and 1994.

To help funnel clients to his lucrative Pigford class action mill, Espy has joined forces with the Black Farmers and Agriculturist Association (BFAA) who we detail in our Pigford report. They are advocates for black farmers, rounding up claimants in dozens of states, and who were crucial in getting the Pigford lawsuit moved forward and funded.

Mike Espy, Esquire and Morgan & Morgan, P.A. are currently working in conjunction with a Black Farmers advocacy group, The Black Farmers and Agriculturist Association, to represent those farmers who were denied justice by having their claims rejected in the previous litigation. We are accepting all potential cases for evaluation; please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-667-4265 or complete an on-line case evaluation.

And apparently, Espy’s trolling work, along with the BFAA which funnels clients his way, is a winning combination to deliver Espy thousands and thousands of clients:

“You are involved in the second coming of the Pigford lawsuit,” Espy said. “I hope to have all of you as clients come January.”

“This is your 40 acres and a mule,” Espy said. “We’re already at 15,000 clients and we’re going to get more.”

So there you have it, in his own words. Mike Espy has at least 15,000 clients, all in the Pigford class action suit with a minimum payout of $ 50,000 of taxpayer dollars, against the very USDA he headed for two years, during which time those under his leadership discriminated against every black farmer they encountered.

Big Government has put a call into Mr. Espy’s law office to get comment on his Pigford work, but we have yet to hear back.


Big Government

Meet Mike Espy: From Secretary of the Department of Agriculture to Suer of the Department of Agriculture

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

In the pantheon of civic behavior, ex-politicians leaving DC to become lobbyists to advocate on behalf of private interests against taxpayer interests is right up there among the most undesirable.

What’s even worse?  When a former Secretary of Agriculture – who is African-American – leaves his post and now spends his time trolling for and representing litigants suing the USDA citing discrimination against African-Americans during the time he was in charge of the agency.

Why isn’t he suing himself, and paying the claims out of his own pocket? Instead, the USDA has admitted “no wrongdoing” (i.e. no one has been fired for the wholesale discrimination) and the taxpayer is completely and exclusively on the hook.

As Big Government will continue to show over the next few weeks, Pigford is a universe of its own filled with crooked politicians, cover-ups, greedy attorneys, and crime rings. And one of the brightest stars in the Pigford universe is Mike Espy:

MIKE ESPY (Alphonso Michael Espy) is the former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi. He currently works as a private sector attorney, counselor, and agricultural advisor, having his own law and consulting firms: Mike Espy, PLLC, and AE Agritrade, Inc.

Prior to his appointment as USDA Secretary, Mike Espy served for seven years as a Member of Congress. While there, he served his bi-racial district as a member of the Budget and Agriculture Committees.

Before his election to Congress, Mike worked as a trial lawyer and served as Assistant Attorney General.

In 1997, Espy was indicted on 30 criminal charges of receiving gifts from food companies. Tyson Foods, the largest poultry producer in the U.S., was found guilty of paying Espy more than $ 12,000 in illegal gifts and was fined $ 6 million for the transgression. In another case, Sun Diamond was fined $ 1.5 million for giving Espy $ 6,000 in illegal gifts.

Espy, however, was cleared of all 30 charges, as the prosecutors were unable to prove that the gifts were linked to any official action.

Regardless of his indictment and acquittal, Mike Espy had an incredible record of accomplishment: a seven-year congressman and the highest-ranking African-American in Bill Clinton’s cabinet.

What is most interesting about Espy is that his two-year tenure as the Secretary of Agriculture spanned from 1993-1994. Why? Because the Pigford lawsuit covers a period of discrimination within the agency from 1983-1997, over 13 percent of that period Espy was responsible for that agency, which puts Espy’s liability at about $ 366,665,750 (given that the total price tag for Pigford I and II is at $ 2.75 billion.)

So how does civilian Mike Espy spend his days now? He owns a law firm that specializes in representing and rounding up Pigford litigants. In effect, he is suing the very agency he ran, with charges of discrimination, and making a bundle off it.

Excerpted from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, February 4, 1998:

Espy is a member of the Jackson, Miss. law firm Crosthwait Terney PLLC, which is one of seven legal groups representing about 330 black farmers now suing Glickman and USDA for $ 2 billion.

Espy spoke to the group about their role in the lawsuit and periodically answered their questions through out the four-hour meeting. But as a whole he offered them little optimism about their future in agriculture.

“You have to fight now!,” said Espy, urging the group to join the legal effort and at least the potential for a financial settlement. “You can’t afford to wait another 5, 6 or 7 years.”

The farmers may have valid claims against several different USDA agencies that date as far back as 1983, Washington attorney Alex Pires told the group. Pires filed the original lawsuit in behalf of the 14-black farmers alleging discrimination.

And to the Washington Post, March 03, 1999:

Although he did not speak at the hearing, Espy, who has worked with some of the lawyers in the case, said the settlement should have included provisions to pay back the privately held loans of black farmers who struggled due to USDA rejections.

There are some farmers who have been terribly discriminated against by the USDA. They’ve suffered tremendous losses and pain and anguish, and they deserve to be compensated…. Whether the $ 50,000 is enough or not depends on individual circumstances,” said Espy, who was the first black agriculture secretary. He headed USDA in 1993 and 1994.

To help funnel clients to his lucrative Pigford class action mill, Espy has joined forces with the Black Farmers and Agriculturist Association (BFAA) who we detail in our Pigford report. They are advocates for black farmers, rounding up claimants in dozens of states, and who were crucial in getting the Pigford lawsuit moved forward and funded.

Mike Espy, Esquire and Morgan & Morgan, P.A. are currently working in conjunction with a Black Farmers advocacy group, The Black Farmers and Agriculturist Association, to represent those farmers who were denied justice by having their claims rejected in the previous litigation. We are accepting all potential cases for evaluation; please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-667-4265 or complete an on-line case evaluation.

And apparently, Espy’s trolling work, along with the BFAA which funnels clients his way, is a winning combination to deliver Espy thousands and thousands of clients:

“You are involved in the second coming of the Pigford lawsuit,” Espy said. “I hope to have all of you as clients come January.”

“This is your 40 acres and a mule,” Espy said. “We’re already at 15,000 clients and we’re going to get more.”

So there you have it, in his own words. Mike Espy has at least 15,000 clients, all in the Pigford class action suit with a minimum payout of $ 50,000 of taxpayer dollars, against the very USDA he headed for two years, during which time those under his leadership discriminated against every black farmer they encountered.

Big Government has put a call into Mr. Espy’s law office to get comment on his Pigford work, but we have yet to hear back.


Big Government

Lieberman: ‘I Don’t Understand’ Why The Department Of Justice Hasn’t Charged Australian Assange With Treason

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

This past weekend, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks began leaking hundreds of diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies and diplomatic staff across the world. The cables contain all sorts of information, from gossip from embassy staff poking fun at world leaders to details of high-level meetings between world leaders to revelations of sensitive national security sites.

Since the release of the cables, numerous pundits and politicians have called for the prosecution of WikiLeaks and related media outlets for publishing the leaked cables. Conservative commentator Bill Kristol even called for assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

This afternoon, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) appeared on Fox News to discuss WikiLeaks and other political topics of the day. At one point, the Fox News anchor asked Lieberman what he thinks “of the Justice Department’s actions so far not to charge Julian Assange with treason.” Lieberman responded by saying he doesn’t “understand why that hasn’t happened yet”:

ANCHOR: What do you think of the Justice Department’s actions so far to not charge Julian Assange with treason?

LIEBERMAN: I don’t understand why that hasn’t happened yet. We can go back to the earlier dump of classified documents mostly related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that occured in July, and to me that was a violation of espionage as well.

Watch it:

While the Justice Department and other government agencies are apparently searching for ways to bring criminal charges against WikiLeaks and those who leaked information to them, it is easy to understand why they have not brought charges of treason against Assange. For one, he isn’t American. The doctrine of treason within U.S. law applies to people who have allegiance to the U.S. government, meaning U.S. citizens — they can be charged with treason for betraying their country. Julian Assange currently holds citizenship with the government of Australia and has never even been a U.S. resident, meaning that he cannot be charged with treason against the U.S. government.

Although there have been numerous calls from public officials for prosecuting WikiLeaks, it has also earned praise from a handful of policymakers. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said that the leaks help us “draw some important conclusions” about U.S. foreign policy, earning him the label “Al Qaeda’s Favorite Member of Congress” from a Redstate blogger. And Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) said that it “doesn’t make sense” to try to criminalize WikiLeaks or other whistleblowing organizations.

On Fox, Lieberman also said that the New York Times “has committed at least an act of, at best, bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the Justice Department.”

ThinkProgress

The Injustice Department

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Stonewalling when whites are vitcims of civil rights violations.
American Thinker Blog

The Ulsterman Report: Obama Justice Department Rocked by Investigation Findings

December 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The implications found within the 144 page report issued by the non-partisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the investigations into the New Black Panther voter intimidation case from 2008 appears to strongly indicate a cover up initiated by figures within the Obama Department of Justice, and quite possibly the White House itself.  Within the context of this cover up, are found accusations of intimidation and non compliance within the Department of Justice throughout the comprehensive investigation.

At the heart of the investigation are allegations the Department of Justice aggressively prevented some within its own department from fully and fairly investigating the Black Panther voter intimidation case filed shortly after the 2008 presidential election.  Page 85 of the report indicates members of the Obama administration felt the DOJ should primarily focus on charges brought on behalfof minorities, not against them - in essence, an institutionally approved and promoted form of reverse racism.  When some DOJ officials raised concerns over this, they were, according to the details of the report, subjected to intimidation and marginalization by their superiors within the Obama Justice Department.  Primary among these examples was former Department attorney Christopher Coates, who testified to the commission that the DOJ had, “deep seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of white voters who had been discriminated against.”  Shortly after raising concerns over the New Black Panther case having been dropped by the Department, Coates testified to the commission that his authority was systematically reduced and his concerns over the handling of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case ignored, ultimately leading to his resignation from the DOJ.

As the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation proceeded, another member of the Department of Justice, J. Christian Adams, resigned due in part to what he felt to be incorrect and or misleading testimony by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.  This reasoning for this resignation was given by Adams under oath to the commission on July 6th, 2010.  In this testimony, Adams indicated that he had being instructed by the Department not to comply with the requests of the commission’s investigation - in essence, ordering him to participate in a cover-up.  The Civil Rights Commission itself lends significant credibility to the possibility of a Department of Justice cover-up, stating within page 104 of the report, “…a serious question exists as to whether the Department’s attempt to prevent Mr. Coates and Mr. Adams from testifying was based on concerns other than protecting legitimate institutional privileges.”  (emphasis added)

The commission report goes on to outline a consistent pattern of non-compliance from the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, with to date, no direct explanation as to why the DOJ has yet to adequately respond to the investigation’s requests for further information and/or explanation regarding the apparent irregularities associated with the Black Panther voter intimidation case.  Page 105 of the report then opens the possibility of direct White House involvement in the ongoing non-compliance, stating, “The Department simply ignored the question of whether the President, or Department official on his behalf, had invoked executive privilege.”

In May of 2010 the Justice Department stated that President Obama had not and would not assert executive privilege.  When pressed by the commission to then explain what privilege the DOJ was utilizing to not comply with the commission’s request for information, Assistant Attorney General Perez  answer was, according to the commission, “largely non-responsive”.  The commission then goes on to denounce the DOJ’s refusal to provide requested information in the following scathing terms that again point to the strong possibility of a cover-up, “…vague and unexplained assertions of privilege by the Department raise serious questions as to the Department’s degree of cooperation and whether its explanations serve the legitimate concerns of the agency.”

At the time of publication, the commission report listed the following requests that remain unanswered by the Obama Department of Justice: 

 

1. The Department refused to authorize Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams to

testify before the Commission. These individuals appeared over the objections of the

Department. Even then, Mr. Coates and Mr. Adams felt obligated to honor the

Department’s privilege claims that some on the Commission believe are not valid in

the absence of an invocation of executive privilege.

2. With regard to documents withheld, the Department has not specified the privileges

being invoked, other than implying in its May 13, 2010 letter that the Department’s

“well-established command that “[a]ll federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the Commission.”

confidentiality interests” (emphasis added) override the statutory   In addition, as discussed above, the Department has refused to provide a privilege log as requested by the Commission.

3. The Department refused to provide witness statements from poll watchers Mike

Mauro, Chris Hill, Steve Morse, Wayne Byman, Joe Fischetti, Larry Counts, Angela

 

Counts, and Harry Lewis; defendant Malik Zulu Shabazz; police officer Richard

Alexander; and Republican Party officials Joe DeFelice and John Giordano.

4. The Department heavily redacted the FBI incident reports that have been produced.

5. The Department refused to provide the draft pleadings that were the subject of the

dispute between the trial team and the management team of Loretta King and Steve

Rosenbaum.

6. The Department refused to provide documents constituting and concerning the

communications between the trial team and Loretta King and Steve Rosenbaum,

including an April 2009 memorandum referenced in a press report, prepared by the

trial team in response to Mr. Rosenbaum’s concerns.

7. The Department refused to provide e-mails between Civil Rights Division officials,

such as Loretta King and Steven Rosenbaum, and other Department officials, such as

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sam

Hirsch, and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, relating to the NBPP case.

8. There are several documents referred to in the Appellate Section memo that have not

been produced: an e-mail from the Voting Section to the Civil Rights Division of

May 1, 2009; a Draft Motion for Default Judgment (dated April 30, 2009); a Draft

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Default Judgment (dated April 30,

2009); and a Draft Proposed Order (dated May 6, 2009)

FULL REPORT HERE:

http://www.usccr.gov/NBPH/CommissionInterimReport_11-23-2010.pdf

 

JOIN THE ULSTERMAN FACEBOOK ARMY!!  HELP TO REVEAL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE!

facebook.com/Ulsterman1


Newsflavor

Obama State Department Tells Columbia University Students, DO NOT Discuss WikiLeaks On Facebook, Twitter OR ELSE!

December 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

And the LEFT used to call GWB’s policies Nazi-like, check out the “Hope & Change” from the Obama State Department …

The Obama State Department warned Columbia University students not to discuss WikiLeaksOn Facebook, Twitter or post links to WikiLeaks and the classified 250,000 documents. If they do, it could endanger their future job prospects. So from the Obama government comes the following, do not even discuss WikiLeaks content or else?  Talk about a blatant government threat and a violation of the First Amendment.

Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects, a State Department official warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs this week.

An email from SIPA’s Office of Career Services went out Tuesday afternoon with a caution from the official, an alumnus of the school. Students who will be applying for jobs in the federal government could jeopardize their prospects by posting links to WikiLeaks online, or even by discussing the leaked documents on social networking sites, the official was quoted as saying.

“[The alumnus] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter,” the Office of Career Services advised students. “Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”

Welcome to hope, change and Freedom of Speech under Barack Hussein Obama. Can you imagine what the outrage would be from college students and the LEFT if something like this was done under George W. Bush? To tell people that they cannot even discuss WikiLeaks or else, is way over the top.

Now, however,it appears the federal government has moved beyond staunching the flow of leaked information, to suppressing even the very mention of WikiLeaks online by prospective employees.

While republishing the leaked documents could indeed raise legal issues for students, it was the admonition against social media chatter that riled some at Columbia.

“They seem to be unable to make the distinction between having an opinion and having a contractual obligation to keep a secret,” said Hugh Sansom, a masters student from New York.

Students were taken aback by the email, said Sansom, who described his non-American classmates — nearly half of this year’s incoming class at Columbia speaks a native language other than English — as “amused and surprised.”

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Scared Monkeys

Department of unwanted endorsements

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Brown Lloyd James,  a PR agency that represents the Libyan government, just sent out a press release about Muammar Qaddafi’s speech via satellite to students at the London School of Economics today. (Incidentally, his son Saif is in LSE grad.) Qaddafi has some surprisingly positive things to say about President Obama:

Commenting on Libyan-American relations, Mr. Gaddafi denounced the United States
international adventurism in recent years and the war in Iraq, but added that he believes
America had changed since the election of Barack Obama as President.  "He doesn’t want to maintain American colonialism in Iraq or Afghanistan," the Libyan Leader said.  "Now America is wise and reasonable and I support Obama—I hope he stays for 8 years."

Don’t think we’ll be seeing that one in a 2012 campaign ad. I also wonder if Qaddafi might be trying to do some damage control after a WikiLeaked U.S. cable described his eccentric behavior, particularly a flip-out at this treatment while attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York last month. 

FP Passport

The Department of Education’s war on career colleges

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Our professor-president likes other professors-notice the proliferation of eggheads-from not-for-profit colleges-within his administration.

As I noted last month, for-profit colleges, such as the University of Phoenix, have more market-oriented courses that offer students training in emerging professions.

That’s not all. Students at for-profit schools, often dubbed career colleges, tend to be older, poorer, more likely to be minority or female, and often are the first in their families to attend any college. And they are more likely to depend upon student loans and Pell Grants to pay for their schooling than students at state or private not-for-profit schools.

But the default rate on student loans is higher at career colleges, so the Department of Education last month tightened the screws on them-it vows to cut off student loan funding for schools who fail to meet “gainful employment” standards. This rule only applies to the for-profits.

Of course, the not-for-profits are far from perfect. When I went to college in the 1980s at a big state school, graduating in four years was the norm, now just 43 percent of students in bachelor’s degree programs earn their parchment in four years. If students go to college for five years, the school “earns” an extra year of tuition. What a racket.

Meanwhile, career college students are busy just eking out a living; they are not misbehaving in the fashion of their more wordly not-for-profit counterparts as the American Spectator tells us:

• Police find drug lab in Georgetown [University] dorm room.

• Fraternity pledge’s chant [trivializing rape] raises concerns at Yale.

• 4 sought in armed robbery on [University Maryland-Eastern Shore] campus.

• Calif police investigate forcible [Sacramento State University] campus rape.

• Reports: Alcohol played key role in UW-Stout student’s death.

• Student robbed on College Park [University of Maryland] campus.

• Ypsilanti police seek more information on rape of woman just off [EMU] campus.

• Northern Illinois University locks down dorms amid probe of student death.

• Police release [Cal State University-Bakersfield] murder suspects.

• [University of Cincinnati] student dies in Clifton Heights fall.

• Duke student dies after accidental fall.

• Hall pleads guilty to manslaughter [of Frostburg State student].

• [Arizona State] students on edge after student dies.

• St. Ambrose [University] student dies in accident.

• Fraternity at Radford University has troubled past with alcohol.

The Cato Institute had a lot to say last week about this issue:

First, when you look just at six-year graduation rates for bachelor’s seekers at four-year schools, the rates are indeed 55 percent, 65 percent, and 22 percent for public, private nonprofit, and for-profit schools, respectively. Look at African-American graduation rates, however, and, while they drop for all sectors, they drop by the smallest amount at for-profits. For African Americans, publics have just a 39 percent graduation rate, private nonprofits 45 percent, and for-profits 16 percent. Look next at Hispanic or Latino students and you’ll see something more dramatic: While Hispanic and Latino students’ graduation rates are lower than the overall rates in public and nonprofit privates, they are actually above the overall rate at for-profits.

How about two-year schools? Here for-profits appear to do much better than their competitors, both with overall and minority graduation rates. Indeed, while public schools graduate just 22 percent of their students overall, 14 percent of their African Americans, and 17 percent of their Hispanic and Latino students, for-profits graduate 60 percent, 49 percent, and 63 percent of those students, respectively. That’s really a crushing difference in the favor of for-profits, but the Education Trust authors can’t make themselves applaud the profit-makers for it. Instead, they complain that for-profit students have to go into debt to get those results. Needless to say, the fact that especially public schools are much cheaper to students because they get huge taxpayer subsidies right off the bat is not a point of emphasis for the Education Trust crusaders.

So is it the case that for-profit schools are actually really good? Hardly. While most of the data that’s been reported in the war on profits has been distorted to demonize for-profit institutions, there are lots of problems with using extent data to defend those schools. As Education Sector’s Ben Miller — who [was one our panelists last week] — has rightly pointed out, federal graduation data is terrible for controlling for transfer rates and other important wrinkles. Moreover, almost no one — save, perhaps, yours truly – has pointed out what seems to be the real problem here: Not that one sector of higher education is worse than another, but that they all bring in students with thousands of ever-growing federal dollars — taxpayer dollars — attached to them, killing students’ incentives to economize and schools’ incentives to keep prices under control. In other words, almost every college and university is getting rich off of unprepared and/or overschooled students because you, not students or schools, are paying so much of the bill.

Reform of the career colleges is in order, but let’s not have the not-for-profits enjoy an education monopoly.

And why isn’t the Department of Education exploring the annual higher-than-the-rate-of-inflation tuition hikes at the not-for-profits? Or their five-year plans. Often students have trouble lining up purposely staggered required courses within four.

Related post:

Idiotic edu-crats attacking for-profit colleges

Technorati tags: 

Marathon Pundit

Introducing WikiLeaked, FP’s New Blog on the State Department Cables

December 1, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off 

Foreign Policy

Justice Department Ends Ensign Investigation

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Justice Department is no longer investigating Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) for an affair with the wife of one of his former top aides.

“The Justice Department probe could have landed Ensign in prison. The Nevada Republican still faces a fast-moving Senate Ethics Committee investigation, which could lead to sanctions and even his expulsion from Congress.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

State Department praises jihadist for helping US with Gitmo resettlement

December 1, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A slight problem with “enemy identification.”
American Thinker Blog

State Department Cables, Wikileaks, and Classification

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Let’s talk about this Wikileaks issue.  The State Department cables leaked this week represent, we are told, the greatest diplomatic disaster in the current era.  So, considering the list of bombshells disclosed by these documents:  was there anything in them you didn’t already pretty much know?

I’d say the biggest bombshell of the report is realizing that Hillary Clinton would have made a fantastic President of the United States.  I have to admit that I voted for her in 2008, in the primaries, mostly on a triage basis.  Look at her squarely today, though:  that’s exactly the combination of guts and devotion to American interests I want to see in a President.  We made a terrible mistake as a nation in not putting her forward as the Democratic candidate in 2008.

Let’s review the other great revelations; I’ll use Drudge’s list for ease of reference:

Iran smuggled arms to Hezbollah!  C’mon, everyone knows that.  

Iran obtained missiles from the DPRK!  Surprised?  Of course not — there have been regular reports in the press about such efforts for years.

China is conducting computer sabotage!  Their interest in cyber warfare as an asymmetric lever is very well known.

Saudis urge US attack on Iran!  Anyone surprised by this?

How about those assessments of foreign leaders?  Putin is the real power in Russia!  Karzai is weak and paranoid!  Kim Jong-Il is a basket case!

It’s important to keep diplomatic secrets, but it’s also important to recognize how little most of them are secrets.  The United States — and every other nation — has well known, established interests.  Foreign leaders aren’t, in general, black boxes.  Nobody’s really surprised by any of this.

What’s the point of this?  Diplomatic cables’ inclusion in SIPRnet is of real benefit to interagency operations.  It would be a mistake to restrict them.  I used to read the things every morning in Iraq, to keep visibility on what was happening at the top that might filter its way down to our level.  Those ‘secrets’ won’t ever appear in the newspaper because they aren’t important to the world, but they were sometimes important to us.  

A cable treating, say, the probability of Iraq’s federal government enacting new agriculture protections would be of tremendous interest to tribal leaders in the agricultural regions.  Knowing about it gave us advance notice and leverage, and the ability to be clued-in when we went out to talk with folks.

About six years ago the JASON panel put forward a suggestion that we needed to push information classification down to much lower levels than previously.  

Among the first steps, the authors say, is to define an acceptable level of risk.

 ”As a nation we can afford to lose X secret and Y top secret documents per year. We can afford a Z probability that a particular technical capability or HUMINT source is compromised.”

 Clearly, X, Y, and Z must be more than zero. Otherwise, “all operations stop, because all operations entail some nonzero risk.”

 The next step is to *increase* information distribution “all the way up to the acceptable risk level.”

They were, I submit, absolutely right about that.  This Wikileaks thing is the logical consequence of following that policy.  We’re going to lose a certain number of classified documents every year; but we’re also going to benefit from information sharing between State and the military.  We’re going to benefit tremendously from pushing information down to the lowest possible level in the military — to the platoon leaders, the company commanders, the battalion commander and his staff, to the TPTs and Civil Affairs teams going outside the wire.  

The more people who see this stuff, the more likely we’ll lose some of it.  We have to be smart about deciding how to manage that risk.  Pushing things to higher levels of classification isn’t the answer.  Part of the answer is probably better counterintelligence:  Manning should have been seen for the obvious security risk that he was.  He should not have had the access that he had, but that doesn’t mean that soldiers in general shouldn’t have access.  It means we should be looking for people who have personal reasons to betray our trust.  Just as we should be looking for bombers and not bombs in counterterror efforts, we should be looking for traitors in CI, not taking steps that would keep people who need to know this information from having access to it.

The loss of these cables is regrettable, and the traitor who passed them ought to be punished.  However, it was the right call to put these things out on SIPRnet:  the benefit of having that information available to our forces in the field outweighs the damage done by the release.



BLACKFIVE

U.S. Court Exposes ISNA as ‘Apparatus’ of the Muslim Brotherhood (and Hamas): Questions Remain About the Department of Defense Continuing to Rely Upon ISNA to Endorse Chaplains

November 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The October 20, 2010, decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in United States v. Holy Land Foundation et al. (No. 09-10875), involving what is reportedly the biggest terrorism funding criminal conviction in the history of the United States, is a Pyrrhic victory for the North American Islamic Trust (“NAIT”) and for its fellow Holy Land Foundation (“HLF”) co-conspirators and/or joint-venturers, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”), and the Islamic Society of North America (“ISNA”).  In November 2008, a federal trial court in Texas found that the Holy Land Foundation was a front for Hamas, which is on the State Department’s list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” described as, “an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The new opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, as explained below, suggests the need for the Department of Defense to review its list of “Ecclesiastical Endorsing Agents” which currently includes the same ISNA that the Court of Appeals just acknowledged — and the District Court acknowledged in its now unsealed July 2007 Order — is on the “list of Unindicted Coconspirators and/or Joint Venturers.”  ISNA is still listed by the Department of Defense as one of its two Endorsing Agents for Muslim chaplains serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Although the recent ruling of the Court of Appeals in the Holy Land Foundation case means that the “list of Unindicted Coconspirators and/or Joint Venturers” will remained sealed by the District Court, both the District Court’s July 1, 2007, Memorandum Opinion Order and the 5th Circuit’s October 20, 2010, Memorandum Opinion, memorialize publicly that:

  • The United States Government had “produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (‘IAP’), and with Hamas”;
  • One of the Government’s trial exhibits, “‘An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,’ authored by Mohamed Akram of the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood and dated May 22, 1991[,] includes a section titled ‘Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America,’ which states that the work of the Ikhwan [i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood] in the United States is ‘a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions’”;
  • “The Muslim Brotherhood supervised the creation of the ‘Palestine Committee,’ which was put in charge of other organizations, such as HLF . . . and ISNA”; and
  • “During the [1993 Philadelphia] conference, [‘where leaders of the organizations under the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella met to discuss the future of the Brotherhood in the United States.,’] Palestine Committee members discussed using ISNA as official cover for their activities.”

The Court of Appeals, “REVERSE[D] the district court’s order only insofar as it requires that the opinion and order be sealed.  All other requests for relief are DENIED” (Circuit Slip Opinion at page 13).  Among the requests for relief that the 5th Circuit DENIED were NAIT’s requests that the 5th Circuit:

  • direct the District Court to “expunge its name from inclusion in Attachment A.” i.e., from what the 5th Circuit identified as the “List of Unindicted Coconspirators and/or Joint Venturers” that the Government had attached to its May 2007 “pre-trial brief for the purpose of setting forth ‘an overview of the case, the scope of the conspiracy, and the different kinds of evidence that the government will seek to admit at trial and the evidentiary bases for the admission of that evidence’”;
  • “‘vacate’ the analysis of the [District Court] opinion and order”; and
  • “‘publicly affirm’ the district court’s conclusion that its [Fifth Amendment] rights were violated” and “order that the district court make a public declaration that NAIT’s rights were violated.”

The Court of Appeals, by finding that, “the district court’s decision to seal its opinion and order finding that NAIT’s rights were violated constituted an abuse of its discretion” while denying all other relief, left standing the following analyses and holdings of the District Court:

  • “the Court grants CAIR’s motion to seal the list [‘of Unindicted Coconspirators’]”;
  • “While it is clear from the Briggs line of cases that the Government should have originally filed the unindicted co-conspirators’ names under seal, the Court declines to strike CAIR, ISNA and NAIT’s names from those documents”;
  • “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (‘IAP’), and with Hamas.  While the Court recognizes that the evidence produced by the Government largely predates the HLF designation date, the evidence is nonetheless sufficient to show the association of these entities with HLF, IAP, and Hamas.  See U.S. v. Ladd, 218 F.3d [ 701,] 704-05 [(7th Cir. 2000)] (‘the Government must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a conspiracy existed’).  Thus, maintaining the names of the entities on the List is appropriate in light of the evidence proffered by the Government”;
  • In the “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” described above, which the District Court indicated was “authored by Mohamed Akram of the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood and dated May 22, 1991 . . . is a list of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘organizations and the organizations of our friends,’ which includes ISNA, NAIT, the Occupied Land Fund (‘OLF’) (HLF’s former name), and the United Association for Studies and Research (‘UASR’).  Government Exhibit 3-64, titled ‘Preliminary vision for preparing future leadership’ and dated December 18, 1988, further ties ISNA to the Muslim Brotherhood by listing it as an ‘apparatus’ of the Brotherhood” (internal citations omitted); and
  • “the Court finds it appropriate to seal the entire list of unindicted coconspirators but stops short of ordering CAIR, ISNA and NAIT’s names expunged from any documents filed or produced by the government.”

While ISNA may be entitled  to notice and an opportunity to be heard under the Fifth Amendment, now that the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case has publicly acknowledged ISNA’s ties to Hamas through the Muslim Brotherhood, the American People are entitled to know why their Department of Defense continues to rely on a “co-conspirator and/or joint-venturer” in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose stated goal is “destroying the Western civilization,” and Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.


Big Peace

The Ulsterman Report: Obama Justice Department Rocked by Investigation Findings

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The implications found within the 144 page report issued by the non-partisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the investigations into the New Black Panther voter intimidation case from 2008 appears to strongly indicate a cover up initiated by figures within the Obama Department of Justice, and quite possibly the White House itself.  Within the context of this cover up, are found accusations of intimidation and non compliance within the Department of Justice throughout the comprehensive investigation.

At the heart of the investigation are allegations the Department of Justice aggressively prevented some within its own department from fully and fairly investigating the Black Panther voter intimidation case filed shortly after the 2008 presidential election.  Page 85 of the report indicates members of the Obama administration felt the DOJ should primarily focus on charges brought on behalfof minorities, not against them - in essence, an institutionally approved and promoted form of reverse racism.  When some DOJ officials raised concerns over this, they were, according to the details of the report, subjected to intimidation and marginalization by their superiors within the Obama Justice Department.  Primary among these examples was former Department attorney Christopher Coates, who testified to the commission that the DOJ had, “deep seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act against racial minorities and for the protection of white voters who had been discriminated against.”  Shortly after raising concerns over the New Black Panther case having been dropped by the Department, Coates testified to the commission that his authority was systematically reduced and his concerns over the handling of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case ignored, ultimately leading to his resignation from the DOJ.

As the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation proceeded, another member of the Department of Justice, J. Christian Adams, resigned due in part to what he felt to be incorrect and or misleading testimony by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez.  This reasoning for this resignation was given by Adams under oath to the commission on July 6th, 2010.  In this testimony, Adams indicated that he had being instructed by the Department not to comply with the requests of the commission’s investigation - in essence, ordering him to participate in a cover-up.  The Civil Rights Commission itself lends significant credibility to the possibility of a Department of Justice cover-up, stating within page 104 of the report, “…a serious question exists as to whether the Department’s attempt to prevent Mr. Coates and Mr. Adams from testifying was based on concerns other than protecting legitimate institutional privileges.”  (emphasis added)

The commission report goes on to outline a consistent pattern of non-compliance from the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, with to date, no direct explanation as to why the DOJ has yet to adequately respond to the investigation’s requests for further information and/or explanation regarding the apparent irregularities associated with the Black Panther voter intimidation case.  Page 105 of the report then opens the possibility of direct White House involvement in the ongoing non-compliance, stating, “The Department simply ignored the question of whether the President, or Department official on his behalf, had invoked executive privilege.”

In May of 2010 the Justice Department stated that President Obama had not and would not assert executive privilege.  When pressed by the commission to then explain what privilege the DOJ was utilizing to not comply with the commission’s request for information, Assistant Attorney General Perez  answer was, according to the commission, “largely non-responsive”.  The commission then goes on to denounce the DOJ’s refusal to provide requested information in the following scathing terms that again point to the strong possibility of a cover-up, “…vague and unexplained assertions of privilege by the Department raise serious questions as to the Department’s degree of cooperation and whether its explanations serve the legitimate concerns of the agency.”

At the time of publication, the commission report listed the following requests that remain unanswered by the Obama Department of Justice: 

 

1. The Department refused to authorize Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams to

testify before the Commission. These individuals appeared over the objections of the

Department. Even then, Mr. Coates and Mr. Adams felt obligated to honor the

Department’s privilege claims that some on the Commission believe are not valid in

the absence of an invocation of executive privilege.

2. With regard to documents withheld, the Department has not specified the privileges

being invoked, other than implying in its May 13, 2010 letter that the Department’s

“well-established command that “[a]ll federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the Commission.”

confidentiality interests” (emphasis added) override the statutory   In addition, as discussed above, the Department has refused to provide a privilege log as requested by the Commission.

3. The Department refused to provide witness statements from poll watchers Mike

Mauro, Chris Hill, Steve Morse, Wayne Byman, Joe Fischetti, Larry Counts, Angela

 

Counts, and Harry Lewis; defendant Malik Zulu Shabazz; police officer Richard

Alexander; and Republican Party officials Joe DeFelice and John Giordano.

4. The Department heavily redacted the FBI incident reports that have been produced.

5. The Department refused to provide the draft pleadings that were the subject of the

dispute between the trial team and the management team of Loretta King and Steve

Rosenbaum.

6. The Department refused to provide documents constituting and concerning the

communications between the trial team and Loretta King and Steve Rosenbaum,

including an April 2009 memorandum referenced in a press report, prepared by the

trial team in response to Mr. Rosenbaum’s concerns.

7. The Department refused to provide e-mails between Civil Rights Division officials,

such as Loretta King and Steven Rosenbaum, and other Department officials, such as

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sam

Hirsch, and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, relating to the NBPP case.

8. There are several documents referred to in the Appellate Section memo that have not

been produced: an e-mail from the Voting Section to the Civil Rights Division of

May 1, 2009; a Draft Motion for Default Judgment (dated April 30, 2009); a Draft

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Default Judgment (dated April 30,

2009); and a Draft Proposed Order (dated May 6, 2009)

FULL REPORT HERE:

http://www.usccr.gov/NBPH/CommissionInterimReport_11-23-2010.pdf

 

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