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A New Year’s Message for Interventionists: Workers Do Best in Unregulated Labor Markets

Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CF&P) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 12:03pm

It’s time to channel the wisdom of Frederic Bastiat.

There are many well-meaning people who understandably want to help workers by protecting them from bad outcomes such as pay reductions, layoffs, and discrimination.

My normal response is to remind them that the best thing for workers is a vibrant and growing economy. That’s the kind of environment that produces tight labor markets and more investment, both of which then lead to higher pay.

Even statists sort of understand that this is true, but it’s sometimes difficult to get them to grasp the implications. They oftentimes are drawn to specific forms of government intervention, even if you explain that there are adverse unintended consequences.

Let’s explore this issue further.

In a column for the New York Times, Megan McGrath writes about a big new mining project in a remote part of Australia that “has the potential to create 10,000 jobs.” While that’s obviously good news, she worries that the company “will repeat the mistakes made by companies during the last mining boom by using workplace practices that hurt workers and their families.”

And what are these mistaken “workplace practices”? Apparently, she thinks it is terrible that workers don’t want to move to the outback and instead prefer to continue living in cities and suburbs. So she thinks it is bad that they fly in for multi-week shifts, stay in temporary housing, and then fly back (at company expense) to their homes.

Employees…fly to remote mines from major cities to work weeks at a time, and fly home for several days off before starting the cycle again. These so-called fly-in, fly-out jobs, which offer hefty pay, are widely known here as “fifo.” At the peak of the boom in 2012, …more than 100,000 of these held fifo positions.

Though it seems these workers are making very rational decisions on how to maximize the net benefits of these positions.

…fifo workers in the last boom were young, undereducated men lured by salaries that far surpassed what they could earn for similar work outside the industry — up to $100,000 a year to shift earth and drive trucks. The average full-time mining employee in 2016 earned $1,000 more per week than other Australians.

So what’s the downside? Why are workers supposedly being exploited by these lucrative jobs?

According to McGrath, the mining camps don’t have a lot of amenities.

…fifo life comes at a steep price. The management in many mines controls the transient workers’ schedules — setting times for meals, showers and sleep. The workers often can’t visit nearby towns and recreational facilities such as gyms and swimming pools because of a lack of transportation. Many employees have to share beds. They work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, up to three weeks at a time.

That doesn’t sound great, but this also explains why the mining companies have to pay a boatload of money to attract workers. This is a well-established pattern that is familiar to labor economists. If working conditions are unpalatable, then employers have to compensate with more remuneration.

But Ms. McGrath doesn’t think workers should get extra cash. She would rather the mining company compensate workers indirectly.

A lot can be done to improve life in the camps. Shorter swings would help workers maintain bonds with their families. More stable living situations, with less sharing of living spaces, would increase a sense of value and belonging. Workers should be encouraged to visit nearby towns to reduce their isolation. The Adani megamine could be in operation for 60 years, experts say. Roads for the mine and the region should be improved so employees can move with their families to existing townships and drive to work.

Of course, she doesn’t admit that she wants workers to get less cash compensation, but that would be the real-world impact of her proposed policies.

She says that the mining companies should “put people ahead of profits.” But that’s a vacuous statement. Projects like this new mine only exist because investors expect to earn a return. Otherwise, they wouldn’t take the enormous risk of sinking so much capital into such endeavors.

All this new investment is good news for unemployed or under-employed Australians since they’ll now have an opportunity to compete for jobs that pay very well, particularly for workers without a lot of education.

By the way, if workers really valued all the things that are on Ms. McGrath’s list, the company would offer those fringe benefits instead of higher wages. But that’s obviously not the case. The market has spoken.

By the way, I can’t resist pointing out that she also does not understand tax policy. In a sensible system, companies calculate their taxable profit by adding up their total revenue and then subtracting all their costs. What’s left is profit, a slice of which is then grabbed by the government.

But that’s not enough for Ms. McGrath. She apparently believes that mining companies shouldn’t be allowed to subtract many of the costs associated with so-called fifo workers when calculating their annual profit. I’m not joking.

Mining companies are encouraged through tax incentives to use the transient workers. Some costs associated with a fifo worker — meals, transportation and airline tickets — can be claimed as production expenses, helping to lower a company’s tax bill.

I hope the Australian government isn’t dumb enough to buy this argument. Allowing a firm to subtract costs when calculating profit is simply common sense. And if doesn’t matter if those costs reflect fifo costs, investment expenditures, luxury travel, or band costumes.

For what it’s worth, if the government does get pressured into forcing companies to pay tax on these various business expenses, one very safe prediction is that the net effect will be to lower the wages offered to workers. Or, if the mandates, taxes, and regulations reach a certain level, the business will simply close down or new projects will be abandoned.

And those options obviously are not good news for workers.

Let’s now shift from the specific example of fifo workers to the broader issue of labor regulation. What happens if governments listen to people like Ms. McGrath and impose all sorts of rules that prevent flexible labor markets? According to recent scholarly research from three European economists, the consequence is more unemployment.

They start by pointing out that European nations with mandates and red tape have a lot more unemployment (particularly when the economy is weak) than countries with lightly regulated labor markets.

The Great Recession has brought a substantial increase in unemployment in Europe. Overall, unemployment rate in the euro area has grown from 8 percent in 2008 to 12 percent in 2014. The change in unemployment has been very heterogenous. In northern Europe, unemployment did not grow substantially or even fell: in Germany, for example, unemployment rate has actually declined from 7 to 5 percent. At the same time, in Greece unemployment has grown from 8 to 26 percent, in Spain — from 8 to 24 percent, and in Italy — from 6 to 13 percent. Why has unemployment dynamics been so different in European countries? The most common explanation is the difference in labor market institutions that prevents wages from adjusting downward. If wages cannot decline, negative aggregate demand shocks (such as the Great Recession) result in growth of unemployment.

The three economists wanted some way to test the impact of regulation, so they looked at the labor market for immigrants in Italy since some of them work in the formal (regulated) economy and some of them work in the shadow (unregulated) economy.

While this argument is straightforward, it is not easy to test empirically. Cross-country studies of labor markets are subject to comparability concerns. The same problems arise in comparing labor markets in different industries within the same country. In order to construct a convincing counterfactual for a regulated labor market, one needs to study a non-regulated labor market in the same sector within the same country. This is precisely what we do in this paper through comparing formal and informal markets in Italy over the course of 2004-12. We use a unique dataset, a large annual survey of immigrants working in Lombardy carried out by ISMU Foundation since 2004. …Our data cover 4000 full-time workers every year; one fifth of them works in the informal sector. The dataset is therefore sufficiently large to allow us comparing the evolution of wages in the formal and in the informal sector controlling for occupation, skills and other individual characteristics.

And what did they find?

In the absence of regulation, labor markets can adjust. The bad news for workers is that they get less pay. But the good news is that they’re more likely to still have jobs.

Our main result is presented in Figure 1. We do find that the wage differential between formal and informal sector has increased after 2008. Moreover, while the wages in the informal sector decreased by about 20 percent in 2008-12, the wages in the formal sector virtually did not fall at all. This is consistent with the view that there is substantial downward stickiness of wages in the regulated labor markets. …we find that both before and during the crisis, undocumented immigrants (those without a regular residence permit) are 9 percentage points more likely than documented immigrants to be in the labor force

Here’s the relevant chart from the study.

And here are some concluding thoughts from the study.

…despite the substantial growth of unemployment in 2008-12, the wages in the formal labor market have not adjusted. In the meanwhile, the wages in the unregulated informal labor market have declined substantially. The wage differential between formal and informal market that has been constant in 2004-08 has grown rapidly in 2008-12 from 18 to 35 percentage points. …These results are consistent with the view that regulation is responsible for lack of wage adjustment and increase in unemployment during the recessions.

For what it’s worth (and this is an important point), this helps explain why the Great Depression was so awful. Hoover and Roosevelt engaged in all sorts of interventions designed to “help” workers. But the net effect of these policies was to prevent markets from adjusting. So what presumably would have been a typical recession turned into a decade-long depression.

So what’s the moral of the story? Good intentions aren’t good if they lead to bad results. Which brings me back to my original point about helping workers by minimizing government intervention.

University Flies ‘Black Lives Matter’ Banner – Completely IGNORES What’s Going On An Hour Away

Tea Party News Network (TPNN) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:56am

As gestures go, it’s worse than useless…and given the breathtaking brutality of the livestreamed black-on-white torture in the bloody Windy City, it’s even more shocking.

Less than an hour away from the black-on-black killing ground of Chicago, university students and administrators have hoisted a banner proudly proclaiming how utterly ignorant and politically driven higher education remains in the United States.

And they sound proud of themselves for it.

Beginning this week, and for the next two weeks, a Black Lives Matter banner will be flying over the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, a scant 20 miles from the city where more than 760 people were murdered in 2016 — its bloodiest year since 1996, according to the Chicago Tribune.

More than 600 of those dead were blacks, virtually all of them killed by other blacks, but the students at Northwestern apparently see fit to launch a flag to celebrate a movement dedicated to propagating the lie that racist American police officers are the real danger to “Black Lives” in 2017.

Maybe the fact that only about 6 percent of Northwestern’s students are actually black has something to do with it.

Danielle Harris, a communications senior — supervisor at the school’s student center and part of the 6 percent population — was the driving force behind the red, black and green banner with the words “Black Lives Matter” stacked from top to bottom.

She told The Daily Northwestern, the student newspaper, that she got the idea when another hotbed of racial diversity, the University of Vermont (student population about 1 percent black) decided to hoist its own Black Lives Matter banner in the name of solidarity oppressed.

“After seeing that … the immediate question is, ‘If the University of Vermont can do that, then how come Northwestern can’t do that?’” Harris said.

Well, one reason was that it makes a lot of people angry to see a publicly supported institution like a university literally flying the flag for a movement that is arguably as inherently racist as any white-hooded Ku Klux Klansmen burning a cross in the backwoods.

Does anyone doubt the four Chicago teens apprehended for torturing a disabled white man on video while shouting “F*** Trump” and “F*** white people” are sympathetic to the dangerous racial stereotyping promoted by Black Lives Matter?

The imprimatur of MSNBC and The New York Times doesn’t make a group that inspired chanting during a moment of silence for slain police officers at the Democratic National Convention or that insists on eliminating the phrase “all lives matter” from the public lexicon any less racist.

(It’s a lesson the University of Vermont learned when it sparked its own controversy in the lily-white Green Mountain State, as The Washington Post reported.)

But undaunted by the reality of the real causes of violent death among blacks, willfully blind to the facts of America in 2017, Northwestern flies its Black Lives Matter banner to mark a two-week university program – apparently heralded by spineless administrators – called “Black Lives Matter: A Northwestern dialogue.”

The “dialogue’s” Facebook program is full of “Black Lives Matter”-oriented material, but not one of the events seems to focus on the real issue of life and death among blacks in America, and particularly in that sprawling metropolis to the south where black Americans lose their lives so cheaply – at the hands of other black Americans.

To the Black Lives Matter gang, though, the “problem” is white racism, and cops whom they smear with a broad brush of ignorance?

The banner might look lovely and liberal flying over the overwhelmingly white campus of Northwestern University, but as far as gestures go, it’s really worse than useless.

TX governor pledges to sign anti-sanctuary city bill

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:50am

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he expects the Legislature to pass an anti-sanctuary city bill this year, opening a new front in the battle over “local control.”

Weighing in on the intensifying national immigration debate, the Republican governor pledged to sign Senate Bill 4, which would require municipalities to enforce migrant detainers at local jails and withhold state grants if they don’t comply.

“I will work with the Legislature to compel government bodies and employees to live up to their oath of office,” Abbott declared.

Cities, counties, or universities that violate the law will face a “multitude of consequence, ranging from financial penalties to removal from office,” the former state attorney general said.

Abbott, who has clashed with Sheriff Lupe Valdez over sanctuary policies in Dallas County, took aim at newly elected Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who vowed to remove Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from the Austin jail.

“It’s erroneous to have an attitude that laws are like some big buffet where you can choose one item and ignore other items,” Abbott said, referring to sanctuary cities and campuses.

Federal law states:

A federal, state or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity of official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service [now ICE] information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any citizen.

Responding to reports of crimes committed by illegal immigrants — some of them after multiple deportation — Hernandez told the Texas Tribune:

I just don’t think you solve the criminal justice process by deporting them. We talk about being progressive. I believe we need to lead the way.

Larry Korkmas, president of Texans for Immigration Reduction and Enforcement, said sanctuary policies punish taxpayers while municipal and school officials complain about chronic funding shortages. “If we enforced [immigration] laws, we would reduce our medical welfare and education costs,” Korkmas told Watchdog.org.

In introducing SB 4, state Sen. Charles Perry, R, cited the election of Donald Trump, saying:

The American people made it clear that solving our illegal immigration crisis must be a priority. We cannot sit idly by and allow local policies to undercut efforts made at the federal and state level.

Bob Dane, executive director of the nonpartisan Federation for American Immigration Reform, said:

Local politicians who support sanctuary policies are, in effect, giving the middle finger to federal law enforcement and, in so doing, giving it to every law-abiding, taxpaying resident.

Those days are over. Since there is no longer fear of recrimination by Barack Obama’s iron-fisted Department of Justice, Texas should pass [SB 4] and Abbott should sign it. The rule of law will be restored and Texas will be a safer place.

Jeff Judson, a policy fellow with the market-oriented Heartland Institute, agreed.

I think Abbott is smart enough to know how [antithetical] sanctuary cities are to voters. It fits with his belief that cities have abused their home-rule ‘local control’ and are violating freedoms the state is pledged to uphold.

Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.

Obama receives another medal: Wait till you hear who awarded it to him

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:22am

Here’s a hint: it wasn’t the Nobel Committee. In fact, the secretary of that august organization divulged last December that he had regrets over awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama in 2009.

Give up? It was a man Obama greatly admires: himself. On Wednesday, he had Defense Secretary Ash Carter pin the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service on his chest.

Secretary Carter awarded his boss with the medal on January 4 during the Armed Forces Full Honor Farewell Review for the President held at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

Carter insisted that the medal was a token of appreciation for Obama’s service as commander in chief, the Associated Press reported.

After spending the last few weeks throwing roadblocks in the path of President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team, Obama nonetheless claimed in his remarks to the members of the military in attendance that “We’ve got to make sure that during this transition period that there is a seamless passing of the baton, that there’s continuity.”

“Ouch! Watch the pin!” (Image: YouTube screen grab via)

“Thus, President Obama officially declared himself the greatest public servant during his own tenure,” a post at Conservative Treehouse said.

Needless to say, the very egotistical act was met with some derision on Twitter:

@markknoller @redsteeze Now he can wear it with that tan suit like any other aging 3rd world dictator.

Just needs the sash & epaulettes.

— Grant Naylor (@Breach_Clear) January 4, 2017

@markknoller wonder if it has the ISIS emblem on it???

— Drema White (@DremaWhite) January 4, 2017

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‘I tried to kill him’: Pistol-packing granny takes on armed burglar

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:03am

A 74-year-old grandmother from Texas shot at a burglar after the intruder broke into her home and pointed a gun at her face.

Before Rebbie Roberson even had to time to react, the gunman was in her living room.

“And when I started to get up, he was in here on me with a gun facing me right to my face,” Roberson told Shreveport, La., station KSLA. “So I had to walk right out in front of him. I didn’t know if he was going to kill me or what.”

Fortunately for Roberson, she always keeps her firearm close by.

“I reached over there and grabbed this gun. And when I swerved around, I pointed it at him and he ran,” Roberson explained, referencing her .38-caliber pistol.

KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Immediately after pivoting toward her target, Roberson fired several shots.

“I tried to kill him. Anybody break in on me, I’m going to kill them. He’s going to kill me or I’m going to kill him,” Roberson said, according to KSLA.

Authorities reportedly believe the burglar was unharmed.

“It could have been worse for both individuals, both the victim and the suspect,” Chief Deputy of Bowie County Sheriff’s Office Jeff Neal said, according to KSLA.

“Every citizen, according to the Texas penal code, has the right to defend themselves and their family.”

This report, by Eric Lieberman, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

FBI never examined DNC servers agency says were hacked by Russia

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 10:47am

The FBI did not examine the servers of the Democratic National Committee before issuing a report attributing the sweeping cyberintrusion to Russia-backed hackers, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Six months after the FBI first said it was investigating the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, the bureau has still not requested access to the hacked servers, a DNC spokesman said. No US government entity has run an independent forensic analysis on the system, one US intelligence official told BuzzFeed News.

“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (DC) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers,” Eric Walker, the DNC’s deputy communications director, told BuzzFeed News in an email.

The FBI has instead relied on computer forensics from a third-party tech security company, CrowdStrike, which first determined in May of last year that the DNC’s servers had been infiltrated by Russia-linked hackers, the U.S. intelligence official told BuzzFeed News.

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NYT writer falsely claims Ivanka Trump and husband bought home from Russians

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 10:40am

It seems that Russians are living rent-free in the alleged minds of the Borg-like collective known here as the Democrat-media complex.  On Wednesday, Red Alert Politics reported that Maggie Haberman, a writer with the New York Times, issued a tweet falsely claiming that Ivanka Trump and her husband bought a home once owned by Russians, no doubt an apparent effort to tie the Trump administration to the Kremlin.  But it turns out that’s not the case.

Here’s what she tweeted:

Via the great @juliehdavis, Ivanka Trump and her husband find a new home…that was owned by Russians https://t.co/KjQ1dyCHkI

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 4, 2017

Ryan Girdusky wrote:

According to the The New York Times story Haberman was citing, the home did not belong to Russians. It had previously been owned by a financier named Dan K. Rapoport and his wife, Irina who was born in Latvia, not Russia.

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Attack on mentally challenged white man too horrific for MSM to ignore … almost

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 10:27am

There was no way all the usual media suspects were going to avoid mentioning the racial angle of the unspeakably brutal attack on a mentally challenged man in Chicago. That’s because the four black geniuses who held the man (who was white) hostage and tortured him for nearly 24 hours live-streamed their demented actions on Facebook.

The video was promptly deleted from the social media site, which hastily posted this clearly unrelated boilerplate in its place:

But enough snippets of the original remain in circulation, many embedded within news reports, to give readers a vivid sense of what went down. Here’s Chicago “virtual channel” WGN:


What did go down, as noted at the outset, was inescapably racist. The tormenters are said to have repeatedly shouted “F*ck white people” and “F*ck Donald Trump” throughout the video, while inflicting bodily harm on their hostage. CNN retains on its website one of the most complete, though heavily edited collection of clips, which shows one of the assailants grinning and laughing:

With a crime this blatant, the story was too explosive for even the Washington Post and NPR to sidestep, although the WaPo withheld mention of the race of the victim and perpetrators until nine paragraphs in, NPR four paragraphs.

The story was also picked up by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which reported in an update a short time ago that Chicago Police “say race was not a motive”:

Chicago police don’t believe a man beaten in an assault broadcast live on Facebook was targeted because he was white despite profanities made by the accused assailants about white people and President-elect Donald Trump, a police spokesman said Thursday.

So what was the motive? From the same report:

[I]nvestigators believe the victim was targeted because he has “special needs,” not because of his race.

Much better.

BOOM: Democrats In Uproar As GOP Makes MASSIVE Move Against Obama Even Before Trump Is In

Tea Party News Network (TPNN) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 9:51am

In the waning days of his administration, President Obama has been cheered on by activists as he packed in as many midnight rules and regulations as his pen and phone would allow.

It was one last chance to try to secure his legacy.

So, imagine the irony when the men and women of the left chastised congressional Republicans for — get this — moving with equal swiftness to undo those actions.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday, where congressional Democrats took to the floor of the House of Representatives to complain bitterly about the Midnight Rule Relief Act — a bill designed to expedite the process of repealing Obama’s lame-duck regulations once he leaves office.

According to The Hill, the Midnight Rule Relief Act — one of the first actions of the Republican-controlled 115th Congress — would expedite the consideration of swiftly imposed rules and regulations under the Congressional Review Act. It passed by a party-line vote of 238-184, moving it on to the Senate, also under GOP control.

“All this legislation does is allow for us to dispose of one or more regulations in an expedited fashion in this body and have it seen in the same form in the Senate,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said. “It doesn’t change the underlying law.”

The Congressional Review Act, enacted in 1996 as the part of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” allows for the repeal of any rule by Congress within 60 congressional session days of it being enacted.

However, Issa pointed to the fact that only one rule has been successfully repealed by the Congressional Review Act, back in 2001; the new framework would make it significantly easier for such repeals to happen under the 115th Congress.

Which is why the Democrats were so furious over its passage.

“I’m surprised that without hearings, without opportunity for amendment, we are now considering a measure that has this much opposition,” Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) said.

That same disdain for actions being taken without hearings or without opportunity for amendment remained unsurprisingly unexpressed by Rep. Conyers for the hastily-assembled midnight rules currently being shoved down the maw of the federal regulatory infrastructure by a president determined to cement a legacy that is quickly coming undone.

At least this time, the representatives of the people were the ones weighing in on it, as opposed to a lame-duck president and a coterie of technocrats, none of whom have any accountability to the American electorate at this moment.

The Hill also managed to find something called the American Sustainable Business Council to weigh in against the act (as opposed to the 29 relatively well-known organizations who signed a letter opposing the midnight regulations, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform and the Campaign for Freedom).

“This would be like taking a chainsaw into surgery,” David Levine, CEO of the ASBC, said. “Businesses depend on good regulations to set clear boundaries and rules for fair competition on a level playing field.”

Yes, certain businesses do love regulations — especially when they solidify their competitive advantage in the marketplace. Most businesses, however, tend to be a bit less psyched about cutting through a new ream of government red tape, especially since those regulations kill jobs and hurt their bottom lines.

Levine also complained about Congress being able to “undo batches of rules without any consideration of their individual merits,” according to The Hill. But if these rules have such great “individual merits,” why are they being enacted under the cover of night in the death throes of a lame-duck Democrat presidency?

The generally onerous nature of the Obama administration’s last-minute power grabs can be glimpsed by the fact that this flurry of rules and regulations did not come during the eight years the president has been in office, or in the fact that he refused to propose them before the election.

Those who cheered on Obama as he flaunted the advise-and-consent role of Congress shouldn’t be alarmed or surprised when that Congress makes moves to quash his eleventh-hour agenda.

For American businesses and taxpayers alike, what happened Wednesday is an enormous victory. It proves what we had all hoped — that Barack Obama’s pen has run out of ink, and his phone has run out of battery.

Obama: No foreign terror organization has attacked U.S. on my watch

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 9:16am

President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday at Joint Base Myer in Arlington, Va., for a military farewell ceremony.

While speaking, he touted the fact that “no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years.”

In response, people immediately pushed back against this statement on Twitter, mentioning attacks at Fort Hood, Texas, in San Bernardino, Orlando and Boston.

President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday at Joint Base Myer in Arlington, Va., for a military farewell ceremony.

While speaking, he touted the fact that “no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years.”

In response, people immediately pushed back against this statement on Twitter, mentioning attacks at Fort Hood, Texas, in San Bernardino, Orlando and Boston.

Obama made the same statement last month in a speech described as a “victory lap” for his anti-terror policies. The Washington Examiner reported that the claim is technically accurate, but is laden with caveats.

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Julian Assange: A ’14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta’ emails

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 9:11am

A technology-savvy teenager could have easily hacked into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who cited a handful of ways Podesta allegedly failed to safeguard his emails.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Tuesday, Assange repeated his claim that Russia was not behind the email hack that plagued the 2016 U.S. presidential election and suggested it would have been easy to break into Podesta’s emails.

“We published several … emails which show Podesta responding to a phishing email,” Assange said. “Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password.’ His own staff said this email that you’ve received, this is totally legitimate. So, this is something … a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta that way.”

Assange also said he was completely sure the emails did not come from Russia, despite information from U.S. intelligence officials that says Russian purposely interfered with the presidential election. The WikiLeaks founder said his source is neither the Russian government or a state party.

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EPA asks employees if they’re straight, gay, or ‘something else’

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 9:07am

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking all its employees whether they are straight, gay, or “something else” in an effort to create a more “inclusive” workplace.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the agency’s Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) survey, which is part of a pilot program to voluntarily collect information on its employees.

The survey first asks the employee’s pay grade, supervisory status, education, age, marital status, and race, before inquiring, “What sex were you assigned at birth?”

The EPA wants to know how many of its employees are “Straight, that is, not Lesbian or Gay,” lesbian or gay, bisexual, or “Something else.”

The EPA only gave its employees three gender options, instead of 37.

After asking employees if they describe themselves as male, female, transgender, or none of the above, the EPA asks what they “think of when answering the last question.” Choices are “My biological anatomy,” “Characteristics of my personality,” “How others view me/societal expectations of me,” “How I see myself,” and “Other.”

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Thousands of women to protest Trump by wearing pink, knitted ‘pussyhats’

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 8:50am

Women all across America are planning to festoon themselves with knitted, pink “pussy power hats” during a march on Washington, D.C. — and other cities — scheduled for January 21, the day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

The organizers of the Pussyhat Project hope to make “a powerful visual statement” at the Women’s March on Washington by having a large number of women show up wearing the hats.

The “pussy power hats,” which feature perky cat-like ears, are a cinch to make, organizers say. “Knitters, crocheters and sewers of all levels” can make the hats at home — preferably with neon pink yarn.

The ribald name of the hats is an obvious reference to Trump’s notorious “grab them by the pussy” statements.

“If everyone at the march wears a pink hat, the crowd will be a sea of pink, showing that we stand together, united,” a mission statement at the Pussyhat Project website explains.

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Study: CNN least trusted among likely voters

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 8:45am

[Ed. – Surprise!]

CNN is less trusted by likely voters than its competitors at MSNBC and Fox News, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, said that 75 percent of likely voters tend to watch at least some cable news per week to keep up with politics. Among that group, 42 percent watch Fox News, 35 percent watch CNN, and 19 percent watch MSNBC.

However, the poll said a larger portion of Fox News and MSNBC viewers trust those networks.

Just 33 percent of those who watch CNN said they trusted the information they’re getting….

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California hires Eric Holder to represent state in legal fights with Donald Trump

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 8:42am

Girding for four years of potential battles with President-elect Donald J. Trump, Democratic leaders of the California Legislature announced Wednesday that they had hired Eric H. Holder Jr., who was attorney general under President Obama, to represent them in any legal fights against the new Republican White House.

The decision by the Legislature to retain Mr. Holder, who is now a prominent Washington lawyer, is the latest sign of the ideological battle that may play out over the next four years between this predominantly Democratic state and Washington. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, defeated Mr. Trump by more than four million votes here.

“Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California,” Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the Senate, said in an interview. “This means we are very, very serious.”

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Obamas sign a $40 book deal, half to Michelle to dish about her hatred of Hillary

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 8:37am

President Obama has made more than a tidy $15 million from his books since he published his first – Dreams from My Father – in 1995, and now he’s set to earn another $15 to $20 million – or even more – from his forthcoming presidential memoir, top publishing insiders tell DailyMail.com.

And high-ranking publishing insiders are talking at least another ‘$20 million’ in an advance paycheck for First Lady Michelle Obama‘s long-awaited – and highly anticipated – memoir about her eight White House years.

A source claims she’s been quietly working on her book already.

‘Michelle’s more popular and likable than Barack – and definitely more salable,’ one top acquisition editor tells DailyMail.com, ‘so she’s likely to garner an even bigger advance than the president.

‘If I jump into the bidding, I’d definitely offer more for her story than his.

‘He’s a known quantity, she’s the golden goose with the best dishy stories about her White House life. And I think she can be very catty.’

As The Wall Street Journal points out, ‘Michelle Obama’s talents as a memoirist are so far untested, but with a 59 percent approval rating … she is one of the most well-liked figures in American public life.

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Sign of the apocalypse? Dan Rather teaching course in finding the truth in the news

Liberty Unyielding - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 8:28am

REPENT! The End is Near…or at least pretty close.

How can I be so sure? Well, UDEMY.com one of the largest and most famous online education platforms is hosting a class on Journalism & Finding the Truth in the News. And who is teaching the class? Dan Rather [sic] a man who lost his job for reporting a fake story.

According to the course catalog:

A leader in the industry to this day, Dan Rather explains how objective truth is in peril more than ever before. Moreover, he provides actions you can take now to help ensure that journalism continues to serve its key role in a well-functioning democracy.

HUH? Dan Rather? Objective truth in peril? Leader to this day? Maybe they are describing a different Dan Rather. Perhaps the UDEMY people never heard of the scandal that cost Rather his career. Or maybe they didn’t read a newspaper during the 2004 election season. Those are the only excuses I can think of to rationalize them using rather for such a course, and calling him a leader in the industry.

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