Posts Tagged ‘entitlement’

Will the South China Sea Become a Chinese Lake?

July 4, 2018

Twelve days at sea on a French warship provide occasion to ponder what lies ahead for the disputed waterway.

Published on: July 3, 2018
Jonas Parello-Plesner is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
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https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/07/03/will-the-south-china-sea-become-a-chinese-lake/
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Chinese military assets in the South China Sea. 

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Vietnamese Anti-China protesters hold placards which read ‘The country will not forget – Johnson South Reef – 14th March, 1988’ during a gathering to mark the 28th anniversary of the Spratly Islands clashes between Vietnam and China at a public park in Hanoi March 14, 2016.

REUTERS/KHAM

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Fury as US hunter shares photo with dead rare black giraffe

June 30, 2018

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A U.S. trophy hunter sparked waves of outrage on social media after killing a rare black giraffe and sharing photos of herself posing with its corpse.

The hunter, identified as Tess Thompson Talley, shot the rare animal during her trip to South Africa.

As her social media posts suggest, the woman is a veteran trophy hunter who has killed several exotic animals, including kangaroos, antelopes and monkeys.

She shared pictures with the killed giraffe, saying her “once in a lifetime dream hunt came true.”

“Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite awhile [sic]. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him,” her caption added.

After her photos landed on Twitter, she quickly drew a spate of widespread condemnation with many commenters voicing their disgust with the hunter.

Trophy hunting is a legal practice in several southern African countries, including Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

https://www.dailysabah.com/environment/2018/06/29/fury-as-us-hunter-shares-photo-with-dead-rare-black-giraffe

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A Movement Rises to Take Back Higher Education

June 18, 2018

Heterodox Academy, now more than 2,000 strong, stands against censorship and for free inquiry.

A Movement Rises to Take Back Higher Education
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

New York

Debra Mashek, a psychology professor at Harvey Mudd College, was leading a class discussion about intellectual humility this past semester when the conversation came to a halt. Ms. Mashek asked the students to think of ways in which, during an argument, they could signal intellectual humility—that is, admit they don’t have all the answers and are open to other perspectives. A white woman suggested prefacing statements with something like: “I could be crazy, but . . .” A black student then objected to the word “crazy.” He said it marginalizes people with mental illness, especially incarcerated black men.

A few months later, Ms. Mashek was advising a student about which classes he should take when he said: “With this class, I could kill two birds—” He stammered and then abandoned the idiom: “I could complete two requirements with one course.” Ms. Mashek asked why he had censored himself. “I didn’t want to offend you,” she recalls him saying, “because it’s a violent statement and we are not supposed to talk about violent things.”

The censorious climate of higher education has predictably created a culture of self-censorship. Two-thirds of this year’s graduating seniors at Harvard said “they had at some point chosen not to express an opinion in an academic setting during their time at Harvard out of fear that it would offend others,” according to a Harvard Crimson poll.

But some students and professors are standing up against the new culture of safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions and bias response teams. Ms. Mashek took a leave of absence from Harvey Mudd to become executive director of Heterodox Academy, an organization founded in 2015 to promote viewpoint diversity on campus. Its members, more than 2,000 professors and graduate students in the U.S. and beyond, are leading a movement in favor of free speech and inquiry. They held their first-ever conference Friday in New York.

Heterodox Academy is a politically diverse group—from Princeton legal scholar Robert P. George and Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker to Columbia linguist John McWhorter and former American Civil Liberties Union president Nadine Strossen. Their common belief: that the purpose of a university is to teach students how to think, which entails disturbing their psychological equilibrium from time to time by exposing them to ideas that contradict their current beliefs. The pursuit of truth, not social justice, is the purpose of a university. If everyone on campus thinks alike—or pretends to, for fear of giving offense or being ostracized—then an open exchange of ideas is impossible, and so is learning.

Speech codes on college campuses have been around at least since the 1980s. But what has changed, according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt of New York University, is the attitude of the students. Mr. Haidt, who co-founded Heterodox Academy, believes that today’s collegians are more apt than earlier generations to feel threatened by words and ideas. The members of what psychologist Jean Twenge calls “iGen”—the internet generation, born since 1995—have far higher rates of anxiety and depression than did older millennials. Research suggests that iGen’s steady diet of social media may be partly to blame. These students, many of whose parents protected them from the ordinary adversities of daily life, began arriving to campus in 2013, psychologically fragile and unprepared for the challenges of a college education.

They started insisting on “trigger warnings” and demanding that controversial speakers be disinvited from campus. In fall 2015 a wave of highly publicized protests over racial issues hit Yale and the University of Missouri. In 2016 the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education recorded 43 attempts to disinvite speakers from campus. Then in 2017, mobs at Berkeley and Middlebury rioted against provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and social scientist Charles Murray.

Data back up these anecdotes. A 2017 survey by FIRE and YouGov found that 58% of students said it was “important to be part of a campus community where they are not exposed to intolerant or offensive ideas.” In a Brookings Institution survey from the same year, 1 in 5 students said using violence to stop a speaker was sometimes acceptable.

But we may be turning a corner. According to FIRE, disinvitation demands dropped to 36 in 2017, and only nine have been issued so far this year. At the same time, academics and administrators—some of whom spoke at the Heterodox Academy conference—have taken steps to increase viewpoint diversity on their campuses.

In 2015 the University of Chicago issued a statement validating the importance of free speech in education. To date 42 schools, from Columbia to the University of Minnesota, have adopted the Chicago principles or a statement like it. Last year Mr. George, the Princeton conservative, authored a statement with Cornel West, a Harvard leftist, asserting that “all of us should seek respectfully to engage with people who challenge our views.” It has thousands of signatories, inside and outside academia.

Michael Roth, the progressive president of Wesleyan University, last year announced an “affirmative action” program to bring conservative faculty and ideas to campus. Heterodox Academy has created an educational app called OpenMind to help students learn virtues like intellectual humility and empathy so that they can speak to one another across the divide. So far it has been used in over 100 classrooms.

As encouraging as these initiatives are, there’s a more fundamental shift that needs to take place—a rethinking of identity politics. Rather than promoting a “common-enemy identity politics” that admonishes white people and others with “privilege,” Mr. Haidt said Friday, professors and administrators should embrace a “common-humanity identity politics.” Isn’t that what liberal education is all about?

Ms. Smith, an editor at the Hoover Institution, is author of “The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness.”

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A President Clinton would have made things much worse

May 27, 2018

To put the roller-coaster presidency of Donald Trump in perspective, it helps on occasion to imagine that Hillary Clinton won the election. My experience is that the exercise leads to greater appreciation of the president we have, warts and all.

Start with Clinton herself. She has spent the last 18 months in a perpetual snit. “No, I’m not over it,” she confessed while turning Yale’s commencement into a self-pity party.

Anyone who has dealt with her knows the “I’m a victim” schtick didn’t start with November of 2016, and would not have ended if she won. She’s been a blamer and finger-pointer her entire public life and would have taken her woe-is-me attitude to the Oval Office.

Commentary
By Michael Goodwin
New York Post
May 26, 2018

Coupled with her breathtaking sense of entitlement, it is hard to see her presidency lifting the nation’s self-confidence, at home or abroad.

In economic terms, how much higher would unemployment be? How about the stock market and median family incomes — how much lower would they be?

Remember, Clinton promised — promised! — to put coal miners out of work. That’s a promise she probably would have kept.

She wanted to raise taxes instead of cutting them and loosen already lax immigration policies instead of tightening them.

She was part of President Obama’s team that tried to force Israel to make concessions its leaders believed were dangerous to the Jewish state’s security. It’s a cinch the US embassy still would be in Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem and Palestinians would have kept a veto over our policy.

The Iran deal would be unmolested by a Clinton presidency, leaving the mullahs free to be ever more aggressive in their pursuit of regional power.

It’s true a President Clinton would be more popular in Western Europe than Trump is, but that’s because there would be no America First agenda. Allowing Europe to call the global shots would make appeasement the default position.

Then there are the aggressions of China and North Korea. Breathes there a soul who believes Clinton would have pushed back harder than Trump?

Of course, Stormy Daniels wouldn’t be famous, but perhaps Clinton’s friend and donor Harvey Weinstein would still be on the prowl and the #MeToo movement would not exist.

Among other consequences, consider the extraordinary political and legal aftermath of the election, ranging from the resistance to Robert Mueller’s investigation to the emerging evidence that the FBI and CIA conspired to spy on the Trump campaign.

My first impulse is to assume Clinton would have fired FBI boss James Comey faster than Trump did. Then I wonder because of what Comey had on her.

It’s not just that he let her skip on having classified emails on her homebrew server. There were also the aborted FBI probes into the pay-to-play evidence involving the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s enormous speaking fees while Hillary was Secretary of State. Somewhere, Comey surely has a secret file on Clinton’s legal and political vulnerabilities.

Suppose then, in true J. Edgar Hoover fashion, Comey signaled he would spill the beans if he lost his job. It’s legal blackmail, and it’s possible that’s what Comey tried to do with Trump by telling him about the Russian dossier — using unverified allegations as personal leverage.

A victorious Clinton would have remained furious at Comey for re-opening the email investigation in October. But, having realized her dream of sitting in the Oval Office, her anger could have been reduced to a footnote and she might have decided she was best served by letting Comey keep his job — and his secrets.

Of all the possible scenarios, there is one about which we can be certain: a Clinton victory would have kept the public from learning about the Obama administration’s extensive abuse of its powers to help her.

Her victory would mean Stefan HalperCarter Page and George Papadopoulos would remain anonymous private citizens, and key players involved in the scheme would still have their reputations intact.

Loretta Lynch, for helping to minimize the various probes, might be Clinton’s Attorney General. John Brennan, James Clapper, Susan Rice and Samantha Power might have important government jobs instead of having to fight to keep their dirty tricks buried.

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Mueller would be in private law practice, the highlight of his bio being that he was the longest-serving FBI director since Hoover. Instead, his legacy is now tied to his drawn-out investigation of the president that is falling out of public favor.

As for Trump, a Clinton victory would have been devastating, but he probably would have started a new media company and created his own form of a resistance. Given his Midas touch, a loss could have been the most profitable deal of his life.

But fate and voters had other ideas, and the truly remarkable fact is that Trump’s stunning Electoral College victory came despite the alliance of the White House, law enforcement, the intelligence agencies and the media against him.

In coming days, we will learn more about that squalid alliance, giving us more reason to marvel at the resiliency of our republic. And even when it looks as if Trump is running off the rails, consider the alternative and remember this: It could have been worse. Much worse.

https://nypost.com/2018/05/26/a-president-clinton-would-have-made-things-much-worse/

After Push on Taxes, Republicans Line Up Welfare Revamp Next — Smaller Government, Smaller Social Safety Net

December 5, 2017

Trump and GOP lawmakers ready to kick off fight to overhaul social programs

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WASHINGTON—As Republicans near the finish line on a long-sought tax overhaul, President Donald Trump has committed them to taking up a welfare-revamp fight next.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he is interested in kick-starting a debate around means-tested social programs, with allies seeing significant political rewards from taking up the issue even without a clear-cut goal.

“Does anyone want welfare reform?” Mr. Trump asked, to applause, at a speech in Missouri last week. “And infrastructure. But welfare reform, I see it, and I’ve talked to people. I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all.”

He added: “And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her ass off… So we’re going to go into welfare reform.”

The president didn’t offer specifics about which of the dozens of welfare programs he was seeking to change, or how. But congressional Republicans who have been pushing him for months to pursue the issue have proposed layering tougher work requirements on beneficiaries of programs such as food stamps, which are used by around 43 million Americans, and the cash benefit known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which is received by around 3.5 million people.

Such proposals have been floated in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” plan, which included a broader call to review the ways in which welfare programs interact, as well as bills from lawmakers such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), who also has proposed tallying spending on all welfare programs.

A spokesman for Mr. Ryan said the goals for 2018 would be set at a conference retreat in January. But Mr. Jordan, a head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who often has the ear of the president, has argued in recent weeks that the issue is one of the most winning ones with Mr. Trump’s voters and should take center stage next year.

He said he and fellow conservative Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) had made a pitch to the president to pursue welfare as an issue in a meeting in the early summer.

“He gets it,” Mr. Jordan said. “I think there are lots of folks across the country who get it, but particularly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, folks understand that they’re working hard, doing what’s right for their family, and there are folks who can work, and won’t work, and they’re getting their money.”

Democratic lawmakers have indicated they are ready for a fight, in which they will argue proposals to change assistance programs are a sign of misplaced priorities by Republicans who favored the rich in the tax overhaul.

“Republicans are already saying ‘entitlement reform’ and ‘welfare reform’ are next up on the docket,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) in a Senate floor speech. “But nobody should be fooled—that’s just code for attacks on Medicaid, on Medicare, on Social Security, on anti-hunger programs. The story will be that America can’t afford these programs.”

Mr. Trump also has signaled his intention to simultaneously pursue infrastructure and a renewed effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act after any tax overhaul is complete. His advisers have made clear in unusually public ways that they are ready to move ahead on welfare.

A draft executive order has been prepared during the past two months for Mr. Trump to sign, at the president’s request, said Paul Winfree, Mr. Trump’s domestic policy council deputy at a November forum of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

“It’s something that excites” Mr. Trump, who often changes the topic to discuss it in meetings, said Mr. Winfree, who worked for the foundation before he went to the White House. “We will end up pivoting to welfare very quickly.”

The order is expected to lay out broad principles for an overhaul of some or all of the dozens of federal programs that provide government aid to low-income people, with the aim of sending a clear message to Capitol Hill that changes are in order, Mr. Winfree said. The order also would include instructions for federal agencies to propose changes to the particular programs they oversee and craft new regulations, if necessary.

Such an order would be in keeping with many of the president’s policy moves in his first year in office—a broad-ranging order to initiate future action, or memos that simply preserve options down the line. Congressional leaders have been informed of the drive, Mr. Winfree said.

The president’s budget, expected in February, could include further details about his aims on a welfare overhaul and outline a cross-government approach, a senior administration official said. From there, the president would likely support any bill the GOP caucus in the House could agree to, the official indicated, and hope that the Senate was willing to pursue it.

In looking afresh at safety-net programs, the administration would face big questions, including which programs to deem as “welfare” and which beneficiaries to target for cuts or additional requirements.

Some of the programs with the smallest political constituencies, such as state grants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs, present few official savings in government spending because they are already capped. By contrast, large programs, such as unemployment compensation or food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, could trigger bigger political fights.

Democrats, in particular, are expected to quickly counter that much of what is considered welfare already comes with steep requirements, especially in the aftermath of the 1990s welfare-overhaul legislation, and that the beneficiaries to whom the requirements don’t apply are typically the elderly, disabled, or children. They have already challenged the Trump administration’s decision to allow states to add work requirements to Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, arguing they will be counterproductive.

Advocates say they are heartened by the response of voters in 2017 elections, including in Maine where voters backed a referendum on a federally funded expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.

“The Republican desire to take up ‘welfare reform’ is based on grossly inaccurate stereotypes about the workers, children, parents, and seniors who are helped by key programs such as SNAP and Medicaid and a complete misunderstanding of the realities of today’s labor market,” said Olivia Golden, executive director of the left-leaning Center for Law and Social Policy, and a Health and Human Services official during the Clinton administration.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-push-on-taxes-republicans-line-up-welfare-revamp-next-1512469801

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Republican tax cuts could give Speaker Paul D. Ryan a chance to pursue what he has long wanted: a smaller government with a skimpier social safety net. CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

As the tax cut legislation passed by the Senate early Saturday hurtles toward final approval, Republicans are preparing to use the swelling deficits made worse by the package as a rationale to pursue their long-held vision: undoing the entitlements of the New Deal and Great Society, leaving government leaner and the safety net skimpier for millions of Americans.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other Republicans are beginning to express their big dreams publicly, vowing that next year they will move on to changes in Medicare and Social Security. President Trump told a Missouri rally last week, “We’re going to go into welfare reform.”

Their nearly $1.5 trillion package of tax cuts, a plan likely to win final approval in the coming days, could be the first step. But their strategy poses enormous risks, not only for millions of Americans who rely on entitlement programs, but also for Republicans who would wade into politically difficult waters, cutting popular benefits for the elderly and working poor just after cutting taxes for profitable corporations.

“The way to get at fixing the debt is to feel like everybody is willing to put something on the table,” said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan group. “Once you have one side grab all it could, you’re never going to have the other side show up.”

Even if the tax cut sparks the kind of economic growth that Republicans advertise, the tax bill will increase the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years, the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation said.

And it was passed along sharply partisan lines, offering nothing to Democrats, and leaving them with no obligation or incentive to negotiate cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the entitlement programs that are driving up spending, but are also the pride of the Democratic Party.

For his part, Mr. Trump spent his campaign promising not to cut Medicare and Social Security. And Republicans will probably find, as they did when they failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that the public rises up to defend the programs they are trying to cut. Whatever political boost the Republicans could get for passing a tax cut could evaporate fast.

“Republicans are going to find that Democrats treat this tax bill the way Republicans treated Obamacare — it’s not trusted by people on the other side of the aisle,” said former Senator Judd Gregg, who was chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and budget experts that produced a deficit reduction plan in 2010. “It will become a target, a rallying cry, which is unfortunate, because good tax reform, when done right, is not only good for the economy, it’s good for the parties.”

Many of the Republicans’ natural allies have criticized the bill for adding to the deficit and not dealing with the costs that were already driving up the government’s red ink. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, the leaders of that 2010 commission, former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, a Republican, and Erskine Bowles, a Democrat who is a former White House chief of staff, accused the Republicans of “deficit denial,” saying the bill incorporated only “goodies” and virtually no “hard choices.”

“Republicans have been telling themselves for years that they wanted to get into power so they could balance the budget, reduce the debt, cut spending and fix entitlements,” Ms. MacGuineas said. “They’ve just made it harder, not easier.”

For weeks, Democrats and their allies have been accusing Republicans of a “two-step” deceit, warning that they would cut taxes now and then use the increase in the deficit they caused to demand entitlement cuts later.

“When you run up the deficit, your next argument will be, ‘Gee, you’ve got a large deficit,’” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said in an interview.

Now Republicans are beginning to acknowledge as much. Mr. Ryan said at a town hall-style meeting last month that Congress had to spur growth and cut entitlements to reduce the national debt.

Read the rest:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/us/politics/tax-cuts-republicans-entitlements-medicare-social-security.html

Traveling in style: Trump’s White House wrestles with Cabinet costs

October 9, 2017
Image result for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and wife Louise Linton exit Marine One in July, jonathan ernst/Reuters
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and wife Louise Linton exit Marine One in July. Mnuchin and other Cabinet officials have come under scrutiny for their use of private and military jets. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
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The washington Post
October 8 at 7:27 PM
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The Trump administration, one of the wealthiest in modern U.S. history, is facing widening criticism over travel expenditures among some of the billionaires, budget hawks and business executives who head federal agencies.Inspectors general have opened at least five investigations into charter or military flights by Cabinet officials amounting to millions in federal spending. Their decisions to veer away from cheaper commercial flights have led to criticism from Democrats in Congress and government accountability groups about a culture of entitlement in Trump’s administration.New examples of questioned expenditures include those of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who on Friday turned over his travel records under pressure from House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.). Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faces an expanding investigation into his travel by private jet.The drumbeat of controversy over Cabinet travel threatens to undermine a core pillar of Trump’s relationship with his base — his promise to “drain the swamp” of elite Washington, rein in waste and represent the working class.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin last week backed out of a congressional trip to Europe, The Washington Post learned, after criticism about another international outing, which combined official travel with sightseeing and a Wimbledon tennis event. And Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke faced new criticism about his travel — often accompanied by his wife, who is managing a Republican campaign in Montana — which included stops at political fundraisers and donor events.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been questioned over his travel, often accompanied by his wife. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Adding to the costs are travel accommodations for Cabinet aides, guests and security details, who accompany secretaries on all trips. Thus far, officials have assumed no financial responsibility for passengers on their flights. Tom Price, a wealthy Georgia physician who resigned at the end of last month as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, ran up charter costs of more than $500,000 but pledged a$51,887 check to reimburse the government for his seats. An HHS spokesman told The Post that Price “was under no obligation” to pay but that this was “him wanting to make a gesture.”

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who traveled with Price several times, is unlikely to repay the government for her travel cost, the White House said, because she was a guest.

To deal with fallout, the White House has imposed a new approval process for charter jet travel by non-national-security Cabinet members. The protocol will be supervised by Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

White House approval for military flights, which have long required special permission, came under question when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ran up at least $800,000 on such trips, including a flight with his wife to visit the nation’s gold stash at Fort Knox. A report last week by the Treasury watchdog said the flights were legal based on Mnuchin’s schedule and need for secure communications, but poorly justified.

White House spokesman Raj Shah on Friday called the use of military planes for Cabinet and other essential travelers “sometimes an appropriate and necessary use of resources.” One indicator of how the administration has tried to curb expenditures, he said, is the sharp reduction of what are known as military air White House support missions — travel the president must request.

The White House said Trump officials took 77 military flights through Sept. 19, compared with 94 flights taken during the first eight months of President Barack Obama’s administration.

Some government accountability groups argue that the Cabinet behavior reflects the president’s own disconnect with government frugality, evidenced by his weekend trips to his private golf clubs and Mar-a-Lago, as well as the costly travels by Trump family members that must be monitored by government employees and Secret Service agents.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faces an expanding investigation into his travel by private jet. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

“The tone is set at the top,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that recently called for an investigation into Trump appointees’ travel. “When you have a president who is visiting his private resorts every weekend at great cost to taxpayers, it is not surprising that Cabinet members are using private jets to get to standard meetings.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has defended Trump’s trips as decision-making tools.

“Every weekend that he’s traveling, no matter where he is, the president is working,” Sanders said Thursday. “This is a president that is committed to helping move his agenda forward. And certainly I think that those weekends have been very successful in doing that.”

‘Drain the swamp’

Cabinet leaders have historically been background players, pushing their boss’s agenda. Trump’s appointees have joined in his vow to control spending by imposing employee travel restrictions, cutting programs and leaving positions open.

Read the rest:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/traveling-in-style-trumps-white-house-wrestles-with-cabinet-costs/2017/10/08/8e6debaa-a953-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_swamp-923pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.a7eda0319f67

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Benjamin Netanyahu — and his son — under fire in Israel

August 4, 2017

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Since becoming an adult, the eldest son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly drawn media criticism for what has been portrayed as a life of privilege at taxpayers’ expense.

Yair Netanyahu, 26, has been described as someone who hobnobs with world leaders and enjoys a state-funded bodyguard, while living at the prime minister’s official residence.

But his recent behavior, including a crude social media post, has now drawn public rebuke from the children of a former Israeli leader, along with threats of a libel suit. It has also revived criticism of the Netanyahu family’s perceived hedonism and sense of entitlement, at a time when the prime minister faces multiple corruption allegations.

Israeli police on Thursday disclosed that Netanyahu is suspected of fraud, breach of trust and bribes in a pair of cases, just as his son was being pilloried in the press.

The younger Netanyahu hit the tabloids last weekend when a neighbor posted an account of how he refused to pick up after the Netanyahu family dog at a public park and then, when confronted, gave the neighbor the finger.

Yair Netanyahu then lashed out on Facebook at a website run by a liberal think tank that detailed what it said was his lavish lifestyle at taxpayers’ expense.

In the post, Netanyahu alleged the site is funded by what he claimed are foreign interests, referring indirectly to the dovish New Israel Fund, which he renamed the “Israel Destruction Fund.” He signed the post with emojis of a middle finger and a pile of excrement.

The Times of Israel said Thursday that the Molad organization which runs the site served the younger Netanyahu with a notice of intent to sue. The notice reportedly said that his posts “had no iota of truth to them” and that Molad stopped receiving money from the NIF last year.

Representatives of Molad could not be reached for comment.

The New Israel Fund noted that Yair Netanyahu made the comments on Tisha B’Av, the day Jews mourn the destruction of their biblical Temples, brought upon by internal divisions and hatred.

“On this day … it would be appropriate for the prime minister to educate his son to spread the love of Israel,” the fund said in a statement.

But perhaps the harshest reactions came from some of the other targets of his post, in which he claimed the children of former Israeli leaders Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert did not come under such scrutiny.

It included an insinuation that one of Olmert’s sons had an “interesting relationship with a Palestinian man” that affected national security.

Olmert’s son Ariel fired back on Facebook, denying he was gay, dismissing the claims as a fabrication and accusing the younger Netanyahu of “racism and homophobia.”

“I’ve ignored that until now, maybe because in my opinion there’s nothing negative about being either gay or Palestinian,” he wrote. “Your attempts to drag me into your twisted reality are doomed to fail.”

Ariel Olmert added that he works for a living, never slept in the prime minister’s residence and “on principle, try to pick up my dog’s doody.”

His older brother Shaul then chimed in, calling Yair Netanyahu a fascist thug.

Their sister Dana Olmert declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press.

The online exchanges highlighted Yair Netanyahu’s pronounced presence of late around his father.

In May, he was on hand to welcome President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the official Netanyahu residence and was heard telling Mrs. Trump how he related to their youngest son Barron’s struggle with the spotlight.

He has also reportedly taken a leading role in his father’s social media platform.

Yair Netanyahu has also been questioned — though not as a suspect — about a corruption scandal in which his father was asked by police “under caution” about ties to executives in media, international business and Hollywood.

Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are said to have received more than $100,000 worth of cigars and liquor from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who reportedly asked Netanyahu to press the U.S. secretary of state in a visa matter.

Australian billionaire James Packer has reportedly lavished Yair with gifts that included extended stays at luxury hotels in Tel Aviv, New York and Aspen, Colorado, as well as the use of his private jet and dozens of tickets for concerts by Packer’s former fiancee, Mariah Carey.

Police are trying to determine whether these constitute bribes, since Packer is reportedly seeking Israeli residency status for tax purposes.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media.

His office declined comment Thursday on the latest affair.

David Bitan, the coalition whip from Netanyahu’s Likud party, said Netanyahu’s son was not involved in policy and dismissed the chatter as kid’s stuff on Facebook.

“He’s a private person and that is how it should be treated,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.

Others disagreed.

Columnist Sima Kadmon wrote in a front-page piece in the Yediot Ahronot daily Thursday that the prime minister’s plea to the media to leave his family alone had no merit once his son had written “one of the nastiest and most vile posts ever.”

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Follow Heller on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aronhellerap

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New Challenge to U.S. Power: Chinese Exceptionalism

July 25, 2017

Once-reticent citizens now see their country as ascendant—and America in decline

Image result for china military, photos

July 25, 2017 10:40 a.m. ET

BEIJING—Li Xiaopeng once idolized the West. While a student, he broke through China’s internet firewall to read news from abroad, revered the U.S. Constitution and saw the authoritarian Chinese government as destined to fade away.

Now the 34-year-old urban consultant, who studied at both Cambridge and Harvard, thinks it’s China that is ascendant and the U.S. that is terminally weakened by income inequality, divided government and a polarized society. He says so volubly to his more than 80,000 followers on social media.

“In the end, China will supplant America to be the world’s No. 1 strong country,” he wrote on Weibo, China’s homegrown version of Twitter .

President Xi Jinping is holding up China as a confident global power at a time when U.S. leadership seems uncertain. Increasingly, his government can count on swelling national pride among its own citizens.

A generation after China’s late reformist leader Deng Xiaoping exhorted his fellow citizens to “keep our light hidden and bide our time,” Chinese exceptionalism is on the rise. While some Chinese still believe the country will need to embrace democracy to reach its full potential, many others are convinced the country has reached this point, not in spite of the government’s crushing of pro-democracy protests in 1989, but because of it.

Annual surveys by the Pew Research Center since 2010 show more than 80% of Chinese are satisfied with the direction of their country. Three-quarters of the Chinese surveyed by Pew last year see China playing a bigger role in global affairs than 10 years ago, and 60% view China’s involvement in the global economy as positive.

As Xi Jinping moves China in new directions, national pride among 20- and 30-year-olds is growing. Li Xiapeng once idolized the West. Now his world view has changed. Photo: Menglin Huang/The Wall Street Journal

On his blog, between digressions on Socrates and Ming Dynasty economic policy, Mr. Li writes at length on the superiority of the Chinese political system. Unlike the U.S., where he says charisma is prized over professionalism and money is needed to win office, he argues that China promotes officials based on their performance in spurring economic growth and managing large cities and bureaucracies.

“Among people in my generation, there aren’t many of us now who think we should totally study the West,” says Mr. Li. “To them, China is already a great country.”

The sense that China is on the right track challenges a decades-old tenet of U.S. foreign policy, one that argued exposure to the West would lead Chinese to embrace Western values.

In the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election, and amid global fears about terrorism, a generation of Chinese patriots like Mr. Li are projecting an assurance about China as a beacon of strength and stability in an uncertain world.

President Xi’s signature slogan, the “China Dream,” appeals to Chinese who aspire to a middle-class lifestyle and cheer China’s return to international prominence. On the global stage, Mr. Xi has portrayed China as an alternative to the West, with a unique political system and culture, and as a leader in areas including trade, inequality and climate change.

“What people are starting to feel is pride. It’s the pride of being listened to, or forcing people to listen to you,” says Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society. “The idea of greatness for China—because they’ve experienced weakness—gravitates around the idea of power.”

China’s government exercises near-absolute authority over education, media and the internet. That, along with determined campaigns to quash dissent, give the Communist Party unparalleled power to frame public debate. As a result, patriotism and pro-government views are amplified. Criticisms tend to get drowned out.

After communications professor Deng Xiangchao posted messages on Weibo in December lamenting the millions who died in Mao Zedong’s political campaigns, he was hounded online as a “public enemy,” saw his account deleted and was fired by Shandong Jianzhu University for “erroneous remarks.”

Writer Lu Yang protested the professor’s treatment at the hands of “a gang of ignorant internet goons” in online posts. His Weibo account was also expunged. “The space for free speech in China grows smaller by the day,” says Mr. Lu.

A spokesman for Weibo said he wasn’t clear on the circumstances surrounding the closure of accounts belonging to Deng Xiangchao and Lu Yang.

China’s meteoric rise in prosperity has instilled confidence in many Chinese, especially younger ones who have only experienced good times.Photo: Gilles Sabrié for The Wall Street Journal

More-aggressive forms of nationalism are usually directed at foreign countries seen as standing in China’s way. After South Korea agreed to deploy a U.S. antimissile system as protection against North Korea, Beijing condemned the move as endangering Chinese security. Soon some Chinese began posting videos online showing themselves trampling goods from South Korean stores in China. A beef-noodle shop in Beijing advertised that it wouldn’t serve South Koreans.

Chinese businesses, students and tourists crisscross the globe in record numbers, and international news features prominently in the media. More than anything, Chinese say, their current patriotic sentiment is built on pride about how rapidly the country has emerged from poverty and how well its economy compares with others.

In seven out of 10 European countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center, including the U.K. and Germany, China is now considered the world’s leading economic power, according to data released in July. The gap in global popularity between the U.S. and China has also narrowed dramatically in recent years, with 47% of people now expressing a positive view of China, compared to 49% for the U.S., according to Pew.

A record 328,547 Chinese students were enrolled in the U.S. in the 2015-2016 academic year, up 160% from six years prior, drawn to the quality of the higher education system and eager to bypass China’s grueling college-entrance exams. In the past, most would stay on after graduating. Now around 80% choose to return home, where, many say, better job prospects await.

A small survey of 131 Chinese students studying in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan and South Korea published in 2014 in the journal China Youth Study found that while most weren’t markedly patriotic before leaving China, close to 80% reported feeling more patriotic after going abroad. Roughly two-thirds said they agreed with Mr. Xi’s “China Dream.”

Chen Hesheng, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, spent a month in a summer study program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 2014. Two Chinese graduate students were gunned down while sitting in a BMW near campus in 2012. He felt scared to go out at night and shocked at the U.S.’s poor public safety.

Mr. Chen resents the preaching from the U.S. and other Western governments about democracy and human rights: “Young people aren’t convinced that the West is better. Who are you to tell us that it is?”

These days, Mr. Chen is part of a generation of patriotic online activists known as “little pinks”—named for the background color of a website known for passionate, patriotic political discussions.

Like others in this mostly millennial cohort, Mr. Chen says the internet and travel enable them to see China more accurately. He leaps internet barriers mostly to watch uncensored videos on YouTube and occasionally to counter what he sees as inaccurate views about China on Facebook .

In 2016 he twice joined swarms of mainland activists in posting tens of thousands of pro-China comments on the Facebook pages of Taiwan’s president and media outlets seen as favoring the democratically ruled island’s formal independence from China—long a hot-button issue for patriotic Chinese.

For Chinese students in the West who take positions that offend their fellow citizens, blowback can be swift. In May, a Chinese graduate at the University of Maryland sparked a furor of online criticism after she praised free speech and America’s air quality in a commencement address. Even the country’s Foreign Ministry weighed in on the controversy, declaring that “any Chinese citizen should be responsible for the remarks he or she makes.” The student later publicly apologized, saying she hadn’t meant to belittle her home country.

For Mr. Li, the urban consultant, his experience overseas was formative.

A childhood picture of blogger Li Xiaopeng with his father, a teacher in rural Sichuan. Photo: Li Family

As a child in rural Sichuan, he lived in a home without running water. Rice was rationed. School closed so students could help with the harvests. Visiting relatives meant walking for hours through fields.

Still, he was raised to be grateful to the Communist Party. His parents, a schoolteacher and a shop worker, gave him Mao’s collected writings to inspire him.

After his high score on the politics portion on the college entrance exam landed him a spot studying law at one of the nation’s top schools, Beijing’s Renmin University, his world view began to change.

His more liberal teachers brought their ideas into classroom discussions. “They’d say China has no rule of law, no human rights,” he recalls. He had internet access in his dorm room and used circumvention software to reach sites outside China to read uncensored news and commentary. “They said that Mao Zedong was a despot, and that China’s ancient history was one of autocratic rule,” he said.

The more Mr. Li learned, the more his certainties about his society crumbled and the more he came to admire the West, with its wealth, its respect for civil liberties and its political checks and balances. He devoured works on the U.S. legal system. The Watergate scandal’s toppling of Richard Nixon impressed him.

“We thought the West’s political system was really good, and that we should use it to change China,” he says. That change would surely come, he says: “We thought it was just a question of time.”

Doubts about the West crept in when he spent a half-year at the University of Cambridge as part of his doctorate in economics. Compared with China’s brand-new infrastructure, the buildings in most British cities looked shabby. Getting a bank card took days.

A year at Harvard University’s Kennedy School as a visiting fellow starting in 2010 accelerated his change in thinking. He was appalled at the number of panhandlers in subway stations and how unsafe he felt.

Li Xiaopeng at the University of Cambridge in 2009.Photo: Li Xiaopeng

The U.S. was just emerging from a financial crisis that left China largely unscathed. Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” which extolled the benefits of hard-line Chinese parenting, became a best seller. “If Americans admire China so much, maybe the way we saw China before wasn’t so accurate,” he thought.

He sifted through U.S. census data found online and concluded inequality was weakening America. He saw its divided political system as too in thrall to special interests to serve the broader public.

“For decades, America’s politicians have come and gone, and put forward pleasant-sounding slogans about how they’ll promote the middle class and social equality. But basically, it’s a bad check,” he wrote on his blog in December. In a separate posting, he extolled China’s scientific achievements, including its No. 1 spot in supercomputing, as evidence of the country’s burgeoning strength. “It’s astonishing the world!” he wrote.

Seeing the West up close, Mr. Li says, was a defining experience for him. He’s fond of citing an expression now common among Chinese youth: Once you leave your country, you love your country. “If you don’t go abroad, you don’t actually know how great China is,” says Mr. Li.

Write to Te-Ping Chen at te-ping.chen@wsj.com and Josh Chin at josh.chin@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-challenge-to-u-s-power-chinese-exceptionalism-1500993643

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Spring Break: Fort Lauderdale is bracing for the next seven weeks as revelers seen passing out drunk on the beach way before sunset

March 12, 2017

Fort Lauderdale hit with Spring Break college students

Fort Lauderdale descended into chaos on Saturday with four fights in the space of 20 minutes and Spring Break revelers seen passing out drunk on the beach way before sunset. Students were also witnessed smoking drugs, playing raucous games of beer pong on the beach and twerking in full view of families further along the sand. The south Florida city, which is home to just 179,000 people, sees an influx of approximately 100,000 partygoers each week of the eight week marathon during Spring Break – a boon for businesses profiting from the $1bn industry. For the local police department, it means a spike in crime – and having to lay on extra officers to enforce the law. Arrest figures for Broward County, in which Fort Lauderdale sits, show that 108 people were arrested on Friday alone and 113 on Thursday – most for public intoxication and disorderly conduct

EXCLUSIVE: Fort Lauderdale is slammed with wild Spring Breakers as explosive brawls break out and drunken students pass out on the sand 

  • Fort Lauderdale is bracing for the next seven weeks after it was hit with a storm of college students this week
  • Wild twenty-somethings stormed the Florida beach for drinking, fighting, twerking and partying on Saturday
  • In a span of 20 minutes four explosive fights broke out, leading police to tackle the revelers to the ground
  • Arrest figures show 108 people were arrested on Friday and 113 on Thursday – most for public intoxication 
  • Girls shotgunned cans of beer, played raucous games of giant beer pong and had Miller Lite poured on them 
  • Drunk partiers stumbled off the beach with help from friends before 3pm and others passed out on the beach  

Fort Lauderdale descended into chaos on Saturday with four fights in the space of 20 minutes and Spring Break revelers seen passing out drunk on the beach.

DailyMail.com also witnessed students smoking drugs, playing raucous games of beer pong on the beach and twerking in full view of families further along the sand.

The south Florida city, which is home to just 179,000 people, sees an influx of approximately 100,000 partygoers each week during Spring Break – a boon for businesses profiting from the $1bn industry.

Last week saw 1.3 million students head out on Spring Break, with the largest group of 2.5 million following on Friday.

But for the local police department, it means a spike in crime – and having to lay on extra officers to enforce the law.

Arrest figures for Broward County, in which Fort Lauderdale sits, show that 108 people were arrested on Friday alone and 113 on Thursday – most for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

The city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is bracing for the next seven weeks after it was hit with a storm of college students this week after the first wave of Spring Break revelers closed out the first week of the holiday on Saturday 

The city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is bracing for the next seven weeks after it was hit with a storm of college students this week after the first wave of Spring Break revelers closed out the first week of the holiday on Saturday

Spring Break is known for obscene amounts of drinking, for both men and women, and these ladies held their own as they shot gunned cans of Natural Light or 'Natty Light' 

Spring Break is known for obscene amounts of drinking, for both men and women, and these ladies held their own as they shot gunned cans of Natural Light or ‘Natty Light’

Not all college students can handle the all day and night partying, and this man couldn't last the whole day. He needed the help of his friends to escort him off the beach for a much needed nap

Not all college students can handle the all day and night partying, and this man couldn’t last the whole day. He needed the help of his friends to escort him off the beach for a much needed nap

In a chaotic day, four explosive brawls broke out in a span of just 20 minutes, leading to some men having cuffs put on them 

In a chaotic day, four explosive brawls broke out in a span of just 20 minutes, leading to some men having cuffs put on them

These women played an enlarged version of peer bong, using paint buckets instead of red solo cups and a softball instead of a ping pong ball on the beach

These women played an enlarged version of peer bong, using paint buckets instead of red solo cups and a softball instead of a ping pong ball on the beach

Instead of hopping in the nearby clear water, this woman chose to cool off by having a can of Miller Lite poured on her face, running into her mouth, hair and ears 

Instead of hopping in the nearby clear water, this woman chose to cool off by having a can of Miller Lite poured on her face, running into her mouth, hair and ears

Last week saw 1.3 million students head out on Spring Break, with the largest group of 2.5 million following on Friday. But for the local police department, it means a spike in crime - and having to lay on extra officers to enforce the law 

Last week saw 1.3 million students head out on Spring Break, with the largest group of 2.5 million following on Friday. But for the local police department, it means a spike in crime – and having to lay on extra officers to enforce the law

Women took the day on the beach to dance and twerk on Fort Lauderdale's sandy shores, much to the delight of nearby men

Women took the day on the beach to dance and twerk on Fort Lauderdale’s sandy shores, much to the delight of nearby men

Figures for this weekend are not yet available but will include the two students arrested during an mass brawl witnessed by DailyMail.com on the beach on Saturday.

The altercation, one of five to take place between 4.39pm and 6.11pm, saw a vicious fight break out as students left the beach.

Police horses had to be drafted in to break up the fighting – and did their work to chants of ‘fight, fight, fight’ from surrounding men.

Cops also had to endure obscenities aimed at them by students, with one yelling ‘F*** you, f*** you, it’s the f***ing sidewalk’ as police attempted to clear the area.

One cop who asked not to be named told DailyMail.com: ‘I’m not sick of [Spring Break] yet because it’s still early but I will be.

‘Some of the craziness happens at the beach but most of it is around the bars.

‘We do a lot of overtime right now – there are cops all over the beach and all around. They have to be.’

DailyMail.com also witnessed students smoking drugs, drinking loads and twerking in full view of families 

DailyMail.com also witnessed students smoking drugs, drinking loads and twerking in full view of families

Others decided instead of heading home they would take naps on the beach and chose to pass out under the sun, much like this young man resting his eyes in an inflatable bed

Others decided instead of heading home they would take naps on the beach and chose to pass out under the sun, much like this young man resting his eyes in an inflatable bed

Arrest figures for Broward County, in which Fort Lauderdale sits, show that 108 people were arrested on Friday alone and 113 on Thursday - most for public intoxication and disorderly conduct 

Arrest figures for Broward County, in which Fort Lauderdale sits, show that 108 people were arrested on Friday alone and 113 on Thursday – most for public intoxication and disorderly conduct

Many were underage - and not ashamed to admit it - with one telling DailyMail.com: 'I'm going to get f***ed up later. I know I'm underage but I do it anyway' 

Many were underage – and not ashamed to admit it – with one telling DailyMail.com: ‘I’m going to get f***ed up later. I know I’m underage but I do it anyway’

Student Aaron Miller, 25, of the University of New Hampshire, added: 'It's been crazy, it's been wild - all this energy. 'I've been partying everywhere - music, women and beer is what makes a party'

Student Aaron Miller, 25, of the University of New Hampshire, added: ‘It’s been crazy, it’s been wild – all this energy. ‘I’ve been partying everywhere – music, women and beer is what makes a party’

In a span of two hours there were five fights that broke out. The altercation broke out as students left the beach, knocking a nearby woman to the ground on Saturday 

In a span of two hours there were five fights that broke out. The altercation broke out as students left the beach, knocking a nearby woman to the ground on Saturday

Police horses were brought in to break up the fight - and did their work to chants of 'fight, fight, fight' from surrounding men

This man was detained by an officer after a fight

Police horses were brought in to break up the fight – and did their work to chants of ‘fight, fight, fight’ from surrounding men

Cops also had to endure obscenities aimed at them by students, with one yelling 'F*** you, f*** you, it's the f***ing sidewalk' as police attempted to clear the area 

Cops also had to endure obscenities aimed at them by students, with one yelling ‘F*** you, f*** you, it’s the f***ing sidewalk’ as police attempted to clear the area

A college student said: 'Beer and people are not scarce. The craziest thing is seeing people drinking so much they pass out' 

A college student said: ‘Beer and people are not scarce. The craziest thing is seeing people drinking so much they pass out’

The wild partiers often had a drink in one hand and a phone in the other, taking videos and pictures of their day on the beach

The wild partiers often had a drink in one hand and a phone in the other, taking videos and pictures of their day on the beach

One cop who asked not to be named told DailyMail.com: 'I'm not sick of [Spring Break] yet because it's still early but I will be' 

One cop who asked not to be named told DailyMail.com: ‘I’m not sick of [Spring Break] yet because it’s still early but I will be’

Despite the police presence, students spoken to by DailyMail.com said they planned to party on regardless and were seen openly smoking weed in full view of the police.

Others opted for drinking games, with several seen playing beer pong, downing booze through funnels and swigging from bottles of hard liquor such as cognac and whisky.

Many were underage – and not ashamed to admit it – with one telling DailyMail.com: ‘I’m going to get f***ed up later’.

Peyton Mayer, 18, from Evansville, Illinois, said: ‘I love it here – it’s so much fun. I plan to just eat, drink and party.

‘I’m going to get f***ed up later. I know I’m underage but I do it anyway.’

Aaron Miller, 25, of the University of New Hampshire, added: ‘It’s been crazy, it’s been wild – all this energy.

‘I’ve been partying everywhere – music, women and beer is what makes a party.

He continued: ‘Beer and people are not scarce. The craziest thing is seeing people drinking so much they pass out.’

Beach goers also brought along funnels to quickly guzzle down booze into their systems, disregarding cautions warning against public consumption of drinking on the beach 

Beach goers also brought along funnels to quickly guzzle down booze into their systems, disregarding cautions warning against public consumption of drinking on the beach

Despite the police presence, students spoken to by DailyMail.com said they planned to party on regardless and were seen openly smoking weed in full view of the police

Despite the police presence, students spoken to by DailyMail.com said they planned to party on regardless and were seen openly smoking weed in full view of the police

DailyMail.com saw several revelers having to be helped by friends off the beach after too much drinking, many before 3pm

DailyMail.com saw several revelers having to be helped by friends off the beach after too much drinking, many before 3pm

Rowdy college students often attempted to hide what alcoholic beverages they were drinking in plastic bottles, such as Gatorade and generic water bottles. Others made no attempt to hide their large liquor bottles 

Rowdy college students often attempted to hide what alcoholic beverages they were drinking in plastic bottles, such as Gatorade and generic water bottles. Others made no attempt to hide their large liquor bottles

Saturday's party in Fort Lauderdale follows similar antics witnessed by DailyMail.com in Miami and Panama City Beach, both located in Florida

Saturday’s party in Fort Lauderdale follows similar antics witnessed by DailyMail.com in Miami and Panama City Beach, both located in Florida

One man had trouble making his way from the sand to the pavement as passerby try to help him up

One man had trouble making his way from the sand to the pavement as passerby try to help him up

His words proved prophetic – by 3pm many of the students had become so intoxicated, they were having to be helped off the sand by friends.

One man seen by DailyMail.com was so drunk, he was unable to lift his head while a girl was seen being carried down the stairs in a nearby shopping center by two friends.

Saturday’s party in Fort Lauderdale follows similar antics witnessed by DailyMail.com in Miami and Panama City Beach, both in Florida.

On Friday alone, 35 arrests were made in Miami while in the much smaller Panama City Beach, 18 arrests were made over the weekend of 3-5 March. Seven more were arrested the following day – most for public intoxication and underage drinking.

Students in Panama City Beach were also seen indulging in twerking contests, urinating in beach huts and, in one case, appearing to have sex in a nightclub.

One man seen by DailyMail.com was so drunk, he was unable to lift his head while a girl was seen being carried down the stairs in a nearby shopping center by two friends

One man seen by DailyMail.com was so drunk, he was unable to lift his head while a girl was seen being carried down the stairs in a nearby shopping center by two friends

The first weekend is expected to be the busiest of all of the eight weeks in Miami for this year's Spring Break season because most of Florida and Georgia schools are on their holiday break

The first weekend is expected to be the busiest of all of the eight weeks in Miami for this year’s Spring Break season because most of Florida and Georgia schools are on their holiday break

Several other beaches in Florida have put a ban on drinking and allowing glass containers on its beach. Fort Lauderdale officials said arrests or notices to appear before a judge can follow if a person is sleeping or drinking on the beach

Several other beaches in Florida have put a ban on drinking and allowing glass containers on its beach. Fort Lauderdale officials said arrests or notices to appear before a judge can follow if a person is sleeping or drinking on the beach

Students in Panama City Beach were also seen indulging in twerking contests, urinating in beach huts and, in one case, appearing to have sex in a nightclub. Pictured: Fort Lauderdale Spring Break students 

Students in Panama City Beach were also seen indulging in twerking contests, urinating in beach huts and, in one case, appearing to have sex in a nightclub. Pictured: Fort Lauderdale Spring Break students

On Friday alone, 35 arrests were made in Miami while in the much smaller Panama City Beach, 18 arrests were made over the weekend of 3-5 March. Fort Lauderdale has seen 221 arrests in the county it is located in just two days 

On Friday alone, 35 arrests were made in Miami while in the much smaller Panama City Beach, 18 arrests were made over the weekend of 3-5 March. Fort Lauderdale has seen 221 arrests in the county it is located in just two days

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4305538/Fort-Lauderdale-hit-Spring-Break-college-students.html#ixzz4b6IDdr00
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Related (From Previous “Spring Breaks”)

Top European footballers accused of ‘mass tax evasion’

December 3, 2016

AFP and The Associated Press

© Gerard Julien, AFP | Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the official presentation of his contract renewal, at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 7, 2016.

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-12-03

A group of European media outlets on Friday published what it claims are details of tax arrangements made by several top football players and coaches, including Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

The news outlets, which include German weekly Der Spiegel and Spanish daily El Mundo, cited documents provided by the website Football Leaks, which has in the past claimed that some players and coaches made transactions that could suggest financial impropriety.

The group, which goes by the name European Investigative Collaborations, said it plans to release further reports in the coming days and weeks.

“The [Football Leaks] documents show how the Real Madrid star has discreetly deposited 149.5 million euros of sponsorship earnings in tax havens. The forward paid only 5.6 million euros in tax – about 4 percent of this fortune”, writes the French investigative website Mediapart.

Ronaldo and Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, released a statement denying any wrongdoing by his clients.

“Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are in compliance with their fiscal obligations in Spain and in the United Kingdom,” said the statement by Mendes’ company Gestifute, which was released Thursday after a Spanish report accused Ronaldo of wrongdoing. “Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho have never been involved in any legal process related to any fiscal crime.”

Gestifute added that it would take legal action against “any insinuation or accusation of that nature related” to Ronaldo or Mourinho.

El Mundo reported that Spain’s tax service has been investigating some of Mendes’ clients for some time.

Many top players in Spain have recently had to deal with local tax authorities, including Barcelona stars Neymar and Lionel Messi.

In July, Messi and his father were sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud, although they were not sent to jail because sentences of less than two years for first offences are usually suspended in Spain.

Neymar and his father recently found out that they are each facing a two-year prison sentence and a $10.6 million fine on corruption charges related to alleged irregularities during Neymar’s transfer from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona in 2013. They have denied wrongdoing.

In June, Barcelona paid a fine of $5.8 million in a separate case after acknowledging to the local tax service that it had made “an error in the fiscal planning of the player’s transfer.”

Last month, Spanish prosecutors said they were seeking a prison term of more than 10 years for former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o for alleged tax crimes committed when he played for the Catalan club.

Also this year, Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano was handed a suspended one-year sentence for tax fraud while former defender Adriano was charged with “tax irregularities.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP)