This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Linfield University officials didn't like the fact that a professor was critical of their president.
So they fired him.
Now they'll be paying him more than $1 million.
According to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Linfield 2022 had the "dishonorable distinction" of being on the organization's "10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech."
In 2023, the Oregonian institution will start the year by paying out a total of $1,037,500 to Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a former English professor abruptly fired in April 2021, the FIRE reported.
"His offenses? Taking issue with remarks about 'Jewish noses' by Linfield’s president and raising concerns about student and faculty allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate contact by board trustees."
The payment is the result of Pollack-Pelzner's lawsuit against the school.
He had learned of his firing when he tried to send an email from a personal address to his Linfield email and got an automated response telling him he was no longer employed.
Linfield officials still contest some of the former professor's claims, but nonetheless have agreed to the huge settlement.
"Everyone should be able to work and study without fear of discrimination or harassment, and everyone should be able to report their safety concerns without fear of retaliation," Pollack-Pelzner said, in a statement released through the FIRE. "I’m grateful for the many students, alumni, and colleagues who joined me in demanding change and refused to be silenced when Linfield failed to uphold these essential principles."
The foundation charged that the university's president, Miles K. Davis, and others, "advanced a series of contradictory excuses, feigning ignorance regarding the rights of tenured faculty members" and more.
The foundation explained, "If ignorance is bliss, shelling out over $1 million as a result of your own misconduct must be more akin to a gut punch."
The foundation had submitted a letter of support on behalf of Pollack-Pelzner in 2021, and the school lost a longtime donor and trustee who quit saying she no longer could serve "in good conscience."
The professor's lawyer, Dana Sullivan, said, "Ultimately, we hope his case sends a clear message that sexual harassment must not be tolerated on any campus and that institutions that seek to silence whistleblowers will be held to account."
This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A $410,000 fine has been announced for a man and the 16 companies he ran that produced and sold spyware and stalker ware to customers.
It is the Electronic Frontier Foundation that reported as a result of work by prosecutors in New York State, Patrick Hinchy and his companies also must notify victims.
"This sends a clear message to app developers who make their money by surreptitiously installing software to spy on the devices of others: the State of New York will not tolerate your actions," the report said.
EFF said it long has championed the fight against stalker ware and its director of cybersecurity, Eva Galperin, helped found the Coalition Against Stalkerware several years back.
During this time, the organization has "urged legislators and rule-makers to take the threat stalkerware poses to the safety and privacy of its victims just as seriously as other forms of malware."
The surveillance software is installed on phones – without the users' knowledge or consent, the organization reported.
"The apps track victims’ locations and allow abusers to read their text messages, monitor phone calls, see photos, videos, and web browsing, and much more. It’s being used all over the world to intimidate, harass, and harm victims, and is a favorite tool for stalkers and abusive spouses or ex-partners," the EFF explained.
New York prosecutors, in announcing the result, confirmed, "These apps and products put New Yorkers at risk of stalking and domestic abuse, and were aggressively promoted by Patrick Hinchy through 16 different companies. Today’s agreement will block these companies from allowing New Yorkers to be monitored without their awareness, and will continue our ongoing fight to protect New Yorkers’ rights, safety, and privacy."
The EFF said the awareness of the problem has been increasing.
"In a groundbreaking ruling in September 2021, the Federal Trade Commission banned the Android app company Support King and its CEO Scott Zuckerman, developers of SpyFone, from the surveillance business. Almost a year ago, Maryland’s legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to learn to recognize the common tactics of electronic surveillance and the laws around such activities. The double penalty imposed in New York is a welcome way not only to disincentivize would-be stalker ware developers but also to start to redress some of the damages caused by this shady industry."
This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
The American military continues to be busy Sunday as it shot down another another unidentified flying object, this time over one of the Great Lakes in Michigan.
U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., says the "object" was "decommissioned" over Lake Huron.
"I've been in contact with DOD regarding operations across the Great Lakes region today," Bergman tweeted. "The US military has decommissioned another 'object' over Lake Huron. I appreciate the decisive action by our fighter pilots. The American people deserve far more answers than we have."
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., tweeted: "The object has been downed by pilots from the US Air Force and National Guard.
"Great work by all who carried out this mission both in the air and back at headquarters. We're all interested in exactly what this object was and [its] purpose."
"We'll know more about what this was in the coming days, but for now, be assured that all parties have been laser-focused on it from the moment it traversed our waters," she added.
This is the fourth time in recent days a high-altitude object was shot by the military over U.S. or Canadian territory.
The first incident was Feb. 4, as a Chinese spy balloon was downed off South Carolina's coast by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet.
The military did not immediately shoot down the balloon out of concern its debris could possibly injure people on the ground.
The delay sparked fierce criticism from from Republicans and some Democrats that officials including President Joe Biden and the Pentagon waited too long.
Since then, U.S. F-22 jets shot down two more objects before Sunday, one over Alaska and one over Canada.
One U.S. official attributed the rise in the sightings to boosted military surveillance capabilities, and not a rush of new foreign objects flying over American airspace, according to ABC News.
"Northern Command has adjusted the parameters of their radar capabilities in a way that they can see more than they could before," the official said.
"That's not to say they were blissfully ignorant before," the official said, "but there are lots of things floating around and now we are more finely attuned to it."
President Joe Biden's classified documents scandal seems to grow worse every few days with new reports of previously undisclosed information that further undermine the repeated fraudulent claims of "transparency" from the White House.
The latest revelation is an email chain in November around the time of the midterm elections between Biden's personal attorneys and the National Archives to secretly coordinated arrangements for boxes of recently discovered classified documents and government records to be picked up, Breitbart reported.
Additionally, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) has now also asserted that the National Archives were secretly instructed by either the Biden White House or Justice Department to keep quiet about the matter and not issue any public press releases -- contrary to the multiple statements and releases from the Archives in relation to former President Donald Trump's classified documents issue.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request from Bloomberg News, 74 pages of emails dated Nov. 7-10, 2022, between President Biden's personal attorneys and top officials at the National Archives have now been released that reveal close coordination in arranging for the Archives to take custody of the classified materials allegedly found about a week earlier in Biden's old office at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington D.C.
Those arrangements included scheduling a time frame for Archives personnel to retrieve the documents, ensuring that someone from Biden's legal team was on hand to guarantee "unfettered access" and facilitate the transfer, and securing parking for a "US Gov van" to make loading of the materials more convenient.
There was also mention of a possible Penn Biden Center office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where more classified materials might be found, though it was later determined there was no office or documents in Philadelphia.
Also discussed were similar arrangements to pick up "boxes" of materials found in an office in Boston, Massachusetts -- which has never been reported on before -- that was to be transferred to the JFK Library.
It must be pointed out that all of this discussion took place quietly about two months before the public first became aware that President Biden had been in possession of classified documents that dated to his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration thanks only to an initial Jan. 9 CBS News report based on anonymous leaks that then prompted the slow-roll release of admissions and information.
In fact, it increasingly appears that, had it not been for the leaks that prompted the initial CBS report, the entire ordeal may well have been forever kept secret and undisclosed to the public.
And, furthermore, it has now been alleged by House Oversight Chair Comer that the secrecy of the Archives with regard to Biden's documents -- in direct contrast to the numerous public announcements about former President Trump's documents -- had been demanded by the administration, according to the New York Post.
Comer's assertion was based on what he learned from a closed-door interview with Archives General Counsel Gary Stern, who is featured prominently throughout the above email chain with Biden's personal attorneys.
"There are only two people that could have given those orders, and that’s either the Department of Justice with [Attorney General] Merrick Garland or the White House with Joe Biden," Comer said recently on Fox News. "So it shows right there that this Department of Justice and this White House is interfering with this."
Rep. Comer went on to say that the White House and DOJ "continue to conceal information from Congress and the American people," and revealed that Stern and the Archives "admitted the Biden Administration prohibited them from releasing a public statement on the Penn-Biden Center classified documents and limited NARA’s ability to testify about all facts related to President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents."
"The ongoing secrecy of President Biden’s classified material is unacceptable and Oversight Republicans will continue to demand transparency for the American people," the committee chairman added.
A rather key and prominent member of President Joe Biden's team is set to depart the White House in a matter of weeks and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the White House used that as an opportunity to both highlight its quest for diversity and to take a shot at former President Donald Trump, the Conservative Brief reported.
That would be White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, who will resign by the end of the month, and who will be replaced by veteran communications staffer Ben LaBolt.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, in sharing that news with reporters, focused on the fact that LaBolt would be the first openly gay communications director at the White House and also highlighted how Bedingfield had embraced a nickname derived from an alleged quote about Biden's 2020 campaign team from then-President Trump.
The White House announced on Friday that "Kate Bedingfield, who has served as White House Communications Director since President Biden’s inauguration, will leave the White House at the end of February and will be replaced as White House Communications Director by Ben LaBolt."
The statement noted how Bedingfield had first started working for then-Vice President Biden as his communications director in 2015 and then served as deputy campaign manager for Biden's 2020 effort before settling in as head of his communications team in the White House once he fully assumed office.
As for LaBolt, who also worked with Biden during the Obama administration, he was credited with helping get Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed and for providing advice on personnel appointments and nominations during the transition period between the Trump and Biden administrations.
"Since my time as Vice President, Kate has been a loyal and trusted adviser, through thick and thin," Biden said in the statement. "She was a critical strategic voice from the very first day of my presidential campaign in 2019 and has been a key part of advancing my agenda in the White House."
"Ben has big shoes to fill. I look forward to welcoming him back as a first-rate communicator who’s shown his commitment to public service again and again, and who has a cutting-edge understanding of how Americans consume information," he added of LaBolt. "I saw him fight for Justice Jackson, and he put his all into helping us make history confirming our cabinet and subcabinet nominees. I’m proud to have him rejoin this team."
During Friday's press briefing, White House press secretary Jean-Pierre lamented how "bittersweet" it was to announce the sad news of the impending resignation of Bedingfield paired with her joy in regard to LaBolt being her replacement, both of whom she considered to be dear friends.
With regard to Bedingfield, Jean-Pierre said, "I understand that after a certain previous occupant of this White House, whose name will be nameless, but -- as you know who this person is -- he got angry and yelled and said, quote, 'Biden has a team of killers. All I’ve got -- all I’ve got is a defense,'" in reference to an alleged quote from then-President Trump in a June 2020 New York Times article.
"Okay, that was in the campaign. That was -- the campaign communications team started calling Kate and the captain -- the captain of the Team [of] Killers," she added. "That doesn’t surprise me at all because if there’s one thing Kate is, is she is a leader."
As for LaBolt, Jean-Pierre noted her personal experience with him over the years and said, "I also knew -- I also know that Ben is making history -- as you know, we believe, here in the Biden-Haris White House, that representation matters. He will be the first openly gay Communications Director, which is very, very important indeed."
Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time that the White House has announced Bedingfield's imminent resignation, as ABC News reported in July 2022 that the communications director had planned to leave that job but had been talked into staying longer by President Biden himself and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
In sharing her change of plans with staffers at that time, Bedingfield said that she had realized that "I'm not done here and there is so much more good work to do," and that the remaining work was "too important and too energizing" to leave unfinished while she still had "a lot of gas left in the tank."
The Department of Homeland Security recently hired impeachment attorneys to defend DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas against impeachment efforts by Republicans in the House, according to CNN.
The move was confirmed by a DHS spokesperson, who said, “The Department of Homeland Security has retained outside counsel to help ensure the Department’s vital mission is not interrupted by the unprecedented, unjustified, and partisan impeachment efforts by some Members of Congress, who have already taken steps to initiate proceedings.”
Politico reported that New York-based firm Debevoise & Plimpton was retained to give the department advice on how to respond to document requests and questions from investigators, and to defend DHS and Mayorkas if the impeachment is approved by the whole House.
It is rare to impeach a cabinet member, but Republicans hold Mayorkas responsible for the border crisis that has seen record numbers of migrants streaming illegally across the border, and the administration doing little if anything to stop them from coming into the U.S. and staying there.
Fallon said last week,
Since day one, Secretary Mayorkas’ policies have undermined law enforcement activities at our southern border. From perjuring himself before Congress about maintaining operational control of the border to the infamous ‘whip-gate’ slander against our border patrol agents, Secretary Mayorkas has proven time and time again that he is unfit to lead the Department of Homeland Security. His willful actions have eroded our immigration system, undermined border patrol morale, and jeopardized American national security. He has violated the law and it is time for him to go.
There are two articles of impeachment under consideration against Mayorkas. The first accuses him of violating the "Secure the Fence Act" of 2006, a law that requires the DHS secretary to “maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.”
The second article accuses Mayorkas of lying in Congressional testimony, saying that he “in violation of his constitutional oath, willfully provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to Congress.”
Of course, impeachment of Mayorkas is bound to ultimately fail, because a Democrat-majority Senate won't vote to convict him in the trial, but impeachment is a way to expose Mayorkas's failures at the border, and by extension, Biden's failures there.
Mayorkas knows this, and has refused calls to resign over the failed policies.
“I’m joining the president at the North Mexican Leader’s Summit in Mexico City to work with our partners in Mexico and Canada to address the security of the homeland. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m proud to do it, alongside 250,000 incredibly dedicated and talented individuals in the Department of Homeland Security and I’m going to continue to do my work,” he said Sunday on ABC's This Week.
Biden reflexively got rid of every Trump-era policy that had curbed illegal immigration and sent out a message, wittingly or unwittingly, that migrants would be more likely to get into the country under Biden.
The flood of illegal immigrants that resulted has dwarfed all previous numbers and remains at record levels. Under Biden there have been nearly 5-and-a-half million migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border, with fiscal 2022 showing over 2.7 million encounters.
Biden unveiled a plan last month that he claims will "handle" illegal immigration, but is really only designed to let more migrants in legally, with work visas and a hope of permanent residency if they have an American sponsor.
It's Congress's job to decide how many people can come into the country legally, not Biden's, but he will do anything to get what he wants. Which is apparently open borders and a flood of people he thinks are going to become Democrat voters one day.
According to the New York Post, The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has accused the administration of President Joe Biden of violating federal law by allowing several officials to remain in their positions without obtaining confirmation from the U.S. Senate.
For those unfamiliar with the GAO, it is a nonpartisan government watchdog group.
According to its website, "GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars."
The GAO alleges that the Biden administration has committed five violations of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
According to GAO, the Vacancies Act "establishes requirements for temporarily filling vacant positions in Executive Branch agencies that require presidential appointment and Senate confirmation."
Under the act, a new president, once he takes office, can appoint someone as an "acting" official for a period of 210 days without obtaining the necessary Senate confirmation. The act also allows for an extension of 90 days.
The GAO maintains that Biden has violated this law at least five times.
This includes Deidre Harrison, acting controller of the Office of Management and Budget; Allison Randall, acting director of the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women; Charlotte Dye, acting general counsel of the Federal Labor relations Authority; and Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to the GAO, the violations also include the assistant administration position of the Asia bureau in the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has been filled by Karen Freeman, Craig Hart, and Ann Marie Yastishock.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is one agency that is pushing back against the GAO's claims.
"DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded in a recent public opinion that, under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a change in administrations restarts the timing sequence for acting service in a position that was vacant on inauguration date," the OMB said.
The GAO, however, has argued that the OMB is misinterpreting the Vacancies Act.
GAO has notified both Biden and the U.S. Congress of these alleged violations. It is unclear what, if anything, will be done.
The question is: if the position requires Senate confirmation, then why doesn't Biden put these acting officials before Congress to be confirmed? One could only surmise that Biden hasn't done so because he knows that the acting officials wouldn't be able to pass the confirmation process.
According to the New York Times, former President Donald Trump has conditionally agreed to provide a sample of his DNA to prosecutors in the sexual assault case that he is facing.
This is the case that involves former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll. Carroll accuses Trump of raping her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room back in the 1990s. Trump denies this.
Carroll has been allowed to bring this lawsuit, despite the incident happening many decades ago, under New York's Adult Survivors Act, which temporarily lifts the statute of limitations for sexual assault claims.
Carroll has also brought a lawsuit against Trump for defamation. This came after Trump denied the sexual assault allegation and described Carroll as "not my type."
In the sexual assault case, Trump has agreed to provide prosecutors with a sample of his DNA.
Joseph Tacopina, Trump's lawyer, told U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that Trump "is indeed willing to provide a DNA sample for the sole purpose of comparing it to the DNA found on the dress at issue." But, Tacopina said that Trump would only do so on one condition, namely, the prompt production of "missing pages of a DNA report."
Tacopina maintains that Carroll's legal team has refused to hand over 12 pages of a 37-page DNA report compiled by a crime lab at Carroll's request. The report, thus far, shows that DNA from several individuals was found on a coat dress that she kept after the alleged incident in Bergdorf Goodman.
Tacopina says that Carroll, due to this DNA test, already knew that Trump was not one of these several individuals.
Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, has denied Trump's conditional agreement to provide his DNA.
Kaplan claims that "there is no DNA evidence in this case" and that none would be introduced as evidence at trial. Accordingly, Kaplan accused Trump of using "another bad faith and legally frivolous delay tactic."
Trump's legal team denies this, insisting that they would not use the situation to try to get the date for the trial postponed.
Reports indicate that Trump is planning to testify in the defamation case. He has placed himself on the witness list.
It is also possible that Carroll, herself, will testify, although, at the moment, it appears that Carroll and her legal team are still contemplating whether or not to do so.
The trial is currently set to begin in April.