By Katie Pavlich
Last night Bill O'Reilly aired part two of his pre-Superbowl interview with President Obama (see part one here). In the first round of questioning, O'Reilly asked about Benghazi, Obamacare and the IRS. In the second round, O'Reilly asked the President if he thinks The Factor, and Fox News in general, are unfair to him and if so, how? After being repeatedly pressed for an answer, Obama cited questions about Obamacare, the IRS scandal and Benghazi as "unfair."
Obama: We just went through an interview in which you asked about Healthcare not working, the IRS being wholly corrupt and Benghazi, right, so the list of issues you like to talk about...
O'Reilly: But these are unanswered questions.
Obama: But they are defined by you guys in a certain way.By John Hawkins
"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." -- Ian FlemingIt's not happenstance or coincidence that Obama and his administration are illegally using neutral government agencies to go after their political adversaries. If it were, they wouldn't be taking the 5th, stonewalling Congress and putting political hacks in charge of their internal investigations. The most important remaining questions about the Obama Administration's attacks on its foes are how far up the ladder they go and whether any impeachable offenses were committed in the process. Given that the mainstream media is essentially an arm of the Democrat Party and that the House Republicans have been about as aggressive as a baby fawn in investigating them, we may never know the full truth. Obama and his administration seem to think they’re above the law and after seeing how conservatives are being illegally mistreated by the government without consequence, they may be right
By Bernie Becker
The Internal Revenue Service has given the green light to tens of millions of dollars in employee bonuses, a decision that congressional Republicans immediately rebuked.
IRS employees will receive around $43 million in bonuses this spring under an agreement reached with the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents some agency employees.
Union officials said that total was well short of the $75 million that the employees were owed under their labor agreement. But in the wake of last year’s targeting controversy, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) quickly and sharply criticized the decision to give bonuses at all.
...The new commissioner is likely to be questioned about that decision on Wednesday, when he appears before a House Ways and Means subcommittee for his first testimony after being sworn in.
Colleen Kelley, the NTEU president, said the union believed it would have won a court challenge if it sought the full amount of bonus money.
But in the end, Kelley said, the union thought it best to avoid “protracted litigation.”
By Bill Gertz
U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.
The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.
The software links the millions of Americans who signed up for Obamacare to the federal government and more than 300 medical institutions and healthcare providers.
“The U.S. Affordable Care Act software was written in part in Belarus by software developers under state control, and that makes the software a potential target for cyber attacks,” one official said.
Cyber security officials said the potential threat to the U.S. healthcare data is compounded by what they said was an Internet data “hijacking” last year involving Belarusian state-controlled networks. The month-long diversion covertly rerouted massive amounts of U.S. Internet traffic to Belarus—a repressive dictatorship located between Russia, Poland, and Ukraine.
“Belarusian President [Alexander] Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime is closely allied with Russia and is adversarial toward the United States,” the official added.
By Joel B Pollak
White House spokesperson Jay Carney is not known for his honesty or command of the facts. So it is hardly a surprise that he would use misleading statistics in an attempt to dismiss a Washington Post report that the federal government's healthcare.gov system cannot handle the appeals filed by tens of thousands of Americans whose applications have errors, many of whom are being overcharged for health insurance as a result.
Carney argued that the 22,000 people who filed appeals are a small percentage of the millions who have signed up for Obamacare, and promised that those 22,000 would get help. Aside from the usual inflated enrollment numbers, Carney's defense makes the false assumption that the number of people filing appeals is the same as the number of people--probably far larger, statistically--who have experienced errors with the system.
Moreover, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out yesterday on Fox News' Special Report, the actual appeals system does not exist and has not been built. It is yet one more aspect of a system so poorly designed that it almost seems to have been set up to fail. Carney's attempt to reassure the public does not answer the question of when those 22,000 appeals will be processed, and how many more will struggle with new errors--or why.
KATU-OR has discovered serious mismanagement of millions of dollars by the heads of Cover Oregon, the state’s Obamacare health exchange.
Cover Oregon is the state’s most expensive IT project in state history.
Federal grant money initially funded the health exchange with $48 million in 2010. Taxpayer money funded the project with $172 million in 2014.
The website is still riddled with problems: more than a dozen critical coding errors and it has not been able to enroll one Oregonian in a private health insurance plan.
By Lachlan Markay
Obamacare got a boost from current and former National Football League players on Super Bowl Sunday after the White House sent suggested language for laudatory tweets to a representative of the league’s players union.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo earned a retweet from the White House after telling his followers, “don’t forget you can affordable [sic] healthcare at healthcare.gov.”
That was the last in a series of tweets composed by Ayanbadejo about Healthcare.gov. Other messages were more grammatical, containing language copied directly from an email sent by Kyle Lierman, a liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement, that encouraged players to promote Obamacare in the runup to the big game.
...The Ravens received a $130,000 contract from Maryland Health Connection, the state’s Obamacare exchange, last year to promote Obamacare. The NFL decided to forego an agreement with officials in charge of the Obamacare rollout.
...Ayanbadejo’s tweet was the only one to be amplified by the official White House twitter account, but other players also repeated, verbatim or nearly so, Lierman’s suggested language.
Unreported loopholes, exceptions leave gaps in answer to flood of illegals
By Aaron Klein
PK'S NOTE: He just told you what the motivation is to promote "global warming" aka "climate change" -- the money that is at stake and that can be exploited.
Just as computer technology greatly expanded Americans' wealth in the 1990s, the clean energy market could do the same thing in the years ahead, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday.
He touted climate change as a societal challenge and an economic opportunity:
..."The energy market that we are staring at--that is the solution to the climate change," Kerry continued. "Energy policy is the solution to climate change. That market, my friends, is a $6-trillion market today with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it will grow to some 9 billion users over the course of the next 20 to 30 years.
By Elizabeth Harrington
The National Institutes of Health has spent millions of dollars studying male sex workers in Peru, including more than $400,000 to determine why gay men get syphilis in the South American country.
...The funding has gone to researchers at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, a private university in Lima, Peru. The school has two other active studies from the NIH devoted to male sex workers.
A $160,920 study is sending “motivational messages” via “mobile-phone text messaging, email, or instant messaging robots” to encourage gay men to get tested for HIV in Peru.
Messages include information on HIV testing, not “stigmatizing and stereotyping messages or images about ‘being gay.’”
Another HIV prevention intervention study by the university is focusing on “MSM/transwomen,” at a cost of $146,524.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is conducting numerous studies on male sex workers in Peru, as well.
UCLA researchers are examining how community “skills building” can help “Fletes,” a term for bisexual male sex workers who engage in survival sex work for very low wages. The project cost $168,197 in 2013.
The university also received $323,360 to give “partner therapy” to Peruvian male sex workers who have gonorrhea or chlamydia for another study beginning in 2011.
Public health interventions ($272,160) and “partner notification strategies” ($754,901) are also being researched by UCLA to reduce HIV and sexually transmitted infections, specifically targeted at Peruvian male sex workers.
In all, the listed studies have cost U.S. taxpayers $2,122,137.
By Chet Richards
...What about Equality of Opportunity -- the darling of the Left? Why do I think that nice sounding expression, unlike its true reality, is pernicious nonsense? Let us start with good parenting. Do you have kids? If you do you will instantly understand what I am driving at. Any decent parent will do whatever can be done to give their children the best possible start in life. "Best possible start" means, of course, a competitive advantage -- not an equal opportunity. What form this advantage takes will depend on the parents' own experience and ability. It is true that good parents may fail in this, but the good intentions are there. This provides a practical experimental demonstration that good parents inherently do not believe in Equality of Opportunity.
...Then, too, there is the fact that different people have different intelligences, talents and skills. Intelligence and native talent are something we are born with, we have no choice in the matter. And, some people are inherently bigger and stronger and swifter than others. There can be no Equality of Opportunity in these cases. And, wishing will not make it so. Neither will social engineering.
Skills, on the other hand, are mostly the result of our own dedication to developing our native talents. It would be nice if everyone had the opportunity, and inclination, to fully develop their talents. Maybe someday, but right now our society simply doesn't have the wealth needed to make that possible. And, our wealth is rapidly diminishing because of the policies of those who promote Equality of Opportunity.
If we step back from the feel good propaganda, we see that Equality of Opportunity doesn't mean what most people think it means. As a political proposition, what Equality of Opportunity really means is that everyone should be treated like the lowest common denominator. This means that parents should be made to give control of their children to the state (it takes a village), that no school should be better than the worst (no charter schools, no vouchers), that home schooling in any form should be outlawed (as it is in Germany), that no amount of effort should be differentially rewarded (participation awards only), that individual excellence and talent should be punished (no winners). It is of interest that Karl Marx was an advocate of just such a program.
By Todd Starnes
Students and parents at a Colorado high school are outraged after administrators turned down their request for a spirit week day honoring America because it might offend non-Americans.
“They said they didn’t want to offend anyone from other countries or immigrants,” a 16-year-old member of the student council told me. “They just really did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
The student council at Fort Collins High School had proposed having a day to celebrate the United States during next week’s Winter Spirit Week. The young people pitched “’Merica Monday” – and invited their classmates to dress in patriotic colors. Their proposal was promptly shot down by administrators.
...After the administrators rejected the day to celebrate America, the teenagers offered a compromise – “My Country Monday.”
“We opened it up to everyone – no matter what country you are from,” the 17-year-old student told me. “That got declined, too.”
The school’s decision left students frustrated, confused and angry.
“It’s shocking,” the 16-year-old said. “There are men and women fighting for our country and we should be able to celebrate that and be proud that we live in a country where we are allowed to vote – the right to free speech. They won’t even let us celebrate it.”
The irony, said the students, is that they are required to participate in Cinco de Mayo celebrations. One member of the student council pointed out the hypocrisy – and noted that students were not being forced to dress in red, white and blue for “’Merica Day.”
By Eric Owens
An eighth grade English teacher in South Florida has been suspended for assigning the lyrics of a raunchy, f-bomb-filled song by rapper Lil Wayne as required homework.
The unidentified Charter School of Boynton Beach teacher printed out the lyrics of the song “Six Foot Seven Foot” on sheets of paper for the eighth graders, asking students to underline instances of figurative language, reports local NBC affiliate WPTV.
“Students were having trouble grasping the concepts of literary devices such as: pun, simile, metaphor,” explained the school’s principal, Wayne Owens (who likes to call himself the “headmaster”).
Owens notes that the teacher had previously introduced Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare. And when that didn’t work, it was time to turn to the poetry of Lil Wayne, the rapper behind such tunes as “Blunt Blowin,” “Fuck tha World” and “Pussy Monster.”
Here’s a sample stanza from “6 Foot 7 Foot”:
Here’s another:So misunderstood but what’s a world without enigma?Two bitches at the same time, synchronized swimmersGot the girl twisted ’cause she open when you twist herNever met the bitch but I fuck her like I missed her
Bitch, stop playing, I do it like a king doNear the end of the song, it must be said, Lil Wayne does mention that he “got through that sentence like a subject and a predicate.”
If these niggas animals then I’ma have a mink soon
Tell ‘em bitches I say put my name on the wall
I speak the truth but I guess that’s a foreign language to y’all
“This is crazy. They shouldn’t be giving this to kids in school,” the mad mom told WPTV.
“I’m uncomfortable reading any of this,” she added as she looked at the lyrics. “Who in their right mind would give kids something like this?”
School administrators stressed that the school did not approve the assignment and that the teacher has been suspended for three days.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday confirmed that it has allowed the transfer of $550 million in Iran’s frozen oil revenues to the country under an interim nuclear deal.
A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman said the transfer began Jan. 31 and would be complete early this week but declined to specify which foreign banks were involved.
No U.S. banks were involved in the transactions, but the United States, which has extensive sanctions on Iran tied to its disputed nuclear program, helped facilitate the transfer of funds, the spokeswoman said.
The money is the first installment of $4.2 billion in blocked oil funds that were to be made available to Iran under the nuclear deal signed in November. Iran received limited sanctions relief in exchange for agreeing to curb its nuclear activities.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif vehemently denied on Monday reports that he is opposed to a second Holocaust of Jewish people, according to Iranian media reports.
Some media outlets reported over the weekend that Zarif had stated, the “Holocaust should not happen again” and that “the extermination of Jews by the Nazi regime was tragically cruel and should not happen again.”
However, Zarif maintains that this is not the case, according to top Iranian lawmakers who have spoken to the foreign minister about his remarks.
This is just the latest example of a top Iranian political figure being forced to clarify their controversial position on the Holocaust. Many Iranian leaders have denied the Holocaust and have called for the destruction of Israel.
“Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi rejected the media reports about Zarif’s statements as untrue,” Iran’s state run Fars News Agency reported on Monday.
“In a phone conversation that I had with Mr. Zarif, he completely rejected the remarks attributed to him and declared that the Islamic Republic’s stance about the (Zionist) regime is what has been repeatedly announced by the country’s diplomacy apparatus and this stance has not changed,” Fars quoted Qashqavi as saying.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has stated in the past that Iran will “support and help everyone who opposes the Zionist regime.”
PK'S NOTE: This is long but good to know...
By Merrill Hope
Outraged parents. Fleeing teachers. Anxiety-ridden and medicated students. Fuzzy math. Crazy history assignments posted on Facebook. Longitudinal databases. Silenced community members at school board meetings in YouTube footage. Newfangled public school pathways of college and career readiness under the banner of "STEM" (science, technology, engineering and math) on a wild, 21st-century, technocentric highway that's littered with stakeholders who are up in arms over federally mandated testing, national curricula alignment, data collection, and questionable content packaged into one-size-fits-all education.
...So what is Common Core?
Common Core is federally-led education introduced in the Obama administration's 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("stimulus package") through a contest called Race to the Top (RTTT). States could apply and compete for federal grant money. Four billion in federal taxpayer dollars were offered with a catch:
Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.Out with the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind (NCLB)," criticized for its "high-stakes" strategy of always teaching to the test. In with the Common Core, a uniform set of standards and curricula that, according to their critics, ratchet up the role of government in education, as well as student data collection, teacher evaluations, and NCLB "empathetic" learning. The result is a Fed-led ed cocktail constructed on the premise that our public schools are low performing, broken, and lacking the kind of rigor necessary for students to compete in the global marketplace.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia jumped onboard with CCSSI, intent to raise the roof beam high on rigor to meet international benchmarks.
...Duncan's not the only target of CCSSI critics. Robert Holland, senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, suggested in a Baltimore Sun interview that one reason Common Core "[has] attracted so much opposition from both the right and left is that it was developed in elitist fashion, bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presented as a fait accompli without public hearings and then pushed hard by the Obama administration..."
Back in June 2010, CCSSI released the English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics standards with promises of next-generation Science standards by 2013 and Social Studies standards by 2017. Esteemed educators handpicked to sit on the ELA and math validation committees, Drs. Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, didn't sign off on the standards, labeling them as inferior.
Stotsky, who developed one of the nation's strongest sets of K-12 academic standards and licensing tests for prospective teachers, is now an outspoken staple on the "Stop CCSSI" circuit. Recently, in a Breitbart News interview, she discussed the spin machine surrounding the standards, saying, "Everyone was willing to believe that the Common Core standards are ‘rigorous,’ ‘competitive,’ ‘internationally benchmarked,’ and ‘research-based.’ They are not."
Common Core is like the convoluted plotline of a daytime drama, impossible to explain in 25 words or less. That's why so many bloggers, news organizations, and talk radio personalities cover it in manageable bites. Ultimately, it lives up to the unfortunate axiom coined by Nancy Pelosi when speaking about Obamacare in 2010: "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it." We have, one worksheet at a time.
In school work that comes home, we see how foundational math, taught in a spiral fashion to build on concepts from grade to grade, is gone. This is replaced by math lattices, ladders, and linguistics-based long-winded division and distributive property word problems loaded up with social issues, like the "heroin habit" high school math homework that made the rounds. This is only the tip of the iceberg and one reason that critics like Michelle Malkin call it "Rotten to the Core."
When Common Core was originally introduced, the National Governor's Association (NGA) was its "front man," only these governors weren't governors of any states. NGA is a private non-profit with the Center for Best Practices that co-owns the Common Core State Standards copyright with another non-profit, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Yes, CCSS is copyrighted; its content cannot be changed. Teachers cannot write their own content. Proponents say there is no content, but there are assessments. These must be testing something, and it stands to reason that whoever controls the tests controls the curricula, and whoever controls the curricula, one fine day, controls the country.
...Big business and big bucks abound in Big Ed, though. CCSSO boasts a wow-list of corporate partners on its website topped off by Microsoft, Prometrean, Scantron, K12, Metametrics a.k.a. Lexile, Scholastic, Pearson Education, Apple, and Amplify. Also on the list are the familiar philanthropic and educratic faces: Bill & Melissa Gates (Foundation), Eli Broad, Jeb Bush, Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, Achieve, Microsoft, SmarterBalanced Assessment Consortium, PARCC (Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers), Pearson, InBloom, and the Annenberg Foundation. There was Mike Huckabee. He was for the Core, but now no more, he says.
One on NGA's massive corporate fellows list is McKinsey & Co., whom David Coleman, president of the College Board, consulted prior to creating think tank Student Achievement Partners, LLC. Although Coleman's never taught a class K-20, he's busy aligning every high school assessment for college (including high school equivalency GED) to CCSSI, with SAT alignment to follow in 2016. Coleman's credited as CCSSI architect along with cronies math professor Jason Zimba and Education Analyst/Curriculum Specialist Susan Pimentel.
They say nothing comes from nowhere. Common Core's no exception.
Flashback to November 11, 1992, before the Clinton Administration's Y2K "Improving America's Schools Act," to an 18-page "Dear Hillary" letter that resides in the Congressional Record. Penned by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) to then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, this letter may well be the blueprint for the Common Core.
The letter was written one week after Bill Clinton was elected president. Hillary served with Tucker on the NCEE board. In it, Tucker outlined to Hillary the transformation of the entire American system into "a seamless web that extends from cradle to grave" and is the "same system for everyone," coordinated by a "system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels" where curriculum and job matching will be handled by counselors "accessing the integrated computer-based program." The mission of schools would change from "teaching children academic basics and knowledge to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards" in an outcome-based system "guided by clear national standards of performance," set to "international benchmarks" that "define the stages of the system for the people who progress through it." In this "new system of linked standards, curriculum and pedagogy will abandon the American tracking system." Best of all, college loans debt will be forgiven for "public service." Sound familiar?
Tucker understood the need for community buy-in to sell the plan. He recommended to Hillary that "...legislation would require the executive branch to establish a competitive grant program for these states and cities and to engage a group of organizations to offer technical assistance to the expanding set of states and cities engaged in designing and implementing the new system." Can you say Race to the Top?
Tucker described the roll-out plan: "[As] soon as the first set of states is engaged, another set would be invited to participate, until most or all the states are involved. It is a collaborative design, rollout and scale-up program." The endgame was to "parallel the work of the National Board for College Professional and Technical Standards, so that the states and cities (and all their partners) would be able to implement the new standards as soon as they become available..." The result was that the whole apparatus would be operational in the majority of states within three years from "the passage of the initial legislation." Common Core implementation began in 2010.
In the "Elementary and Secondary Education Program" portion of the letter, Tucker speaks directly to Hillary: "so we confine ourselves here to describing some of those activities [to restructure schools] that can be used to launch the Clinton education program," noting that early childhood education "should be combined with quality day care to provide wrap-around programs that enable working parents to drop off their children at the beginning of the workday and pick them up at the end." Universal daycare, preschool to pre-kindergarten?
Congress passed every one of the "Dear Hillary" letter ideas. Signed by President Clinton in 1994, the Goals 2000 Act, School-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) were all funded through federal taxpayer dollars and according to many are the very legislation that drives the education machine's mandates at a federal level today.
Goodbye 3R's. Hello socially engineered education.
Very long story short, this is the Common Core.