Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 91 125_wotd_wk_91

November 11, 2022 12:50 PM



U.S. Gives $2.9M to Universities That Promote Anti-West Ideologies

November 7, 2022


Eleven Middle East Studies Centers at American universities funded by the U.S. are pushing overtly anti-West ideologies, according to a new report.

While there are more than 50 Middle East Studies Centers at American universities, training students in the culture and languages of the region, 11 are designated National Resource Centers, which provides federal funds.

According to a new report by the National Association of Scholars, the 11 centers each get $260,000 in Title VI funding through the Department of Education to the tune of $2.9 million a year.

They are at Columbia University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Indiana University, New York University, University of Arizona, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, UNC/Duke University partnership.

The report, Hijacked: The Capture of America’s Middle East Studies Centers, says the centers have veered from their purpose, now pushing overtly anti-West ideologies focusing on social issues such as Islamophobia and immigration at the university level, and even pushing critical race theory to K–12 educators.

This investigation by Neetu Arnold, National Association of Scholars senior research associate, was initiated as part of the organization’s continued effort to uncover foreign influence in American higher education.

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal she wrote, “My research found that National Resource Centers in the Middle East often back efforts that promote sympathy for illegal immigration and portray borders as inherently immoral.”

Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Robert King called out a Duke University-UNC partnership for using its program to “advance narrow, particularized views of American social issues rather than focusing on language development or the geography, geopolitical issues or history of the Middle East,” the original purpose of the centers, Inside Higher Education reported.

Yale University courses are frequently rife with progressive dogmas, such as “Islam Today: Jihad and Fundamentalism,” which attempts to reframe the most dangerous aspects of Islam as a “reactive force to Western colonialism,” according to the report.

“By only presenting students with books that advance a pro-immigration agenda, educators sidestep meaningful debate on the issue and bias students toward their own progressive views,” Arnold wrote in the report. “The bias of these centers has been documented for years. It’s time for taxpayers to be taken off the hook for these activist centers.”


Biden Admin Gives $41M to Fight Deportation

November 8, 2022


Who hasn’t fantasized about what they’d do with a lottery jackpot, or other unexpected windfall? The $350 billion American Rescue Plan Act funds are distributed to states and localities throughout the U.S. like manna from heaven.

The City of Alexandria, Va. is allocating $2 million of its share of ARPA funds to test run a guaranteed income pilot where randomly selected participants will receive $500 each month for 24 months according to a WTOP News report.

Coordinated through the Department of Community and Human Services, the program dubbed Alexandria’s Recurring Income for Success and Equity will randomly select 170 applicants to receive the payments, to be spent however they choose, with no strings attached. The payments will not be taxable, but may affect other public benefits.

“ARISE will help the city test a bold, new way to ensure people have what they need to make decisions to support their well-being,” the city said in its announcement.

Alexandria’s share of the $350 billion ARPA was $59.4 million, given in two payments, one in May 2021, and the next in May 2022. The money must be spent by 2024.

The intent of this one-time ARPA funding is for the city to improve quality of life in Alexandria, for the city’s immediate recovery needs, and as a long-term investment.

There are no citizenship or work requirements for the guaranteed income pilot. Applicants need only be City of Alexandria residents, 18 years or older, and earn below 50 percent of Alexandria’s area median income.

“We are providing financial resources to individuals and families so they are empowered to decide how to best meet the needs in their lives,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “We are creating this unique program to evolve the ways that we assist our neighbors in need of extra support.

According to the program’s frequently asked questions page, if a participant’s income exceed guidelines during the 24 month period, the cash payment would remain the same. Once selected, the cash is unconditional.



Biden Admin Gives $41M to Fight Deportation

November 9, 2022


As the country faces a border crisis, with millions of undocumented immigrants pouring over the southern border this year alone, the Justice Department awarded $41 million in contracts to a nonprofit to help immigrants fight deportation.

The Acacia Center for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit created as a collaboration between Vera Institute of Justice and Capital Area Immigrants' Rights, received six legal services contracts from the DOJ beginning Sept. 1, Fox News reported.

“The objective of the Acacia Center for Justice … is to expand on Vera’s work over the past twenty years in providing legal support and representation to immigrants facing deportation through the development, coordination and management of national networks of legal services providers serving immigrants across the country,” the group's website states.

The Vera Institute, which views immigration enforcement agencies as a “threat” to civil liberties, hauled in a massive $171 million government contract in March to help unaccompanied minors avoid deportation,” Fox News also reported.

Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy Betsy McCaughey pointed out in a recent column in the New York Post that non-profits get federal funds to facilitate illegal activity by supporting border crossings.

“Democratic politicians want to maximize illegal immigration, but they don’t want their fingerprints on it,” she wrote. “The remedy: pay so-called charities that will do the work for them.”

She said migrants still in Mexico are given debit cards — with $800 a month to pay for necessities — distributed by the non-profit Organization for Migration, paid for with funds from the U.S. State Department.

"The money isn’t coming from the Sunday collection basket," McCaughey writes. “Sister Pimentel [executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley] admits her organization is reimbursed by the federal government. It’s coming from taxpayers, who have no clue they’re supporting this operation.”



Throwback Thursday: In 1979, Parks Spent $175K Slush Fund

November 10, 2022


Throwback Thursday! 

In 1979, the National Park Service spent $175,000 — $796,647 in 2022 — from a slush fund over three years on entertainment, travel, and other non-budgeted expenses, earning it a Golden Fleece Award from Sen. William Proxmire.

Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave awards to wasteful and nonsensical spending, eventually handing out 168 Golden Fleece Awards between 1975 and 1988.

The $175,000, used 1975 through 1978, paid for a $1,625 reception for the interior secretary, $1,095 for a tent for a congressional breakfast, and almost $5,000 for the president’s visit to Yellowstone National Park (including $317.88 for chicken wire to fence in the Old Faithful geyser, and $172 for box lunches and rooms for White House staff).

The slush fund, called the Director’s Discretionary Fund, was opened in February 1960, and used over the course of six administrations.

The money comes from a .5 percent of sales at vendors in national parks that sell things like literature and maps, something Proxmire took issue with, especially the National Park Service director’s comment that contributions were voluntary.

“It is not a ‘voluntary’ fund,” the senator said. “Contributions are clearly required by the Park Service of its non-profit concessionaires. It’s an assessment or shakedown, not a ‘donation.’”

The fund “is a method of circumventing the official limitations on travel and entertainment imposed by both the Office of Management and Budget and Congress,” Proxmire said. “For example, the official entertainment allowance for the secretary of interior is only $5,000.”

The senator suggested giving the funds from vendors directly to the Treasury, to be dispersed by Congress, instead of allocating the funds outside the federal budget.


HHS Gives $1M to Researchers to Predict Vaccine Misinformation

November 11, 2022


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is giving $1 million to researchers who can predict what misinformation about vaccines might be spread on social media and how it can impact people’s trust in vaccines.

The grant opportunity, "Developing a Public Health Tool to Predict the Virality of Vaccine Misinformation Narratives," will go to a single applicant to predict how “vaccine misinformation” can affect people’s trust in vaccines, Fox News reported.

The purpose of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant is “to develop a predictive forecasting model that identifies new or reemerging misinformation narratives that are likely to disseminate widely and have a high potential for impact on vaccine confidence.”

Further explained in Fox News, "The information from this model will then be used to develop a tool that public health agencies could use to predict misinformation trends in the populations served."

Rep. Chip Roy, R.-Texas, pushed back, telling Fox News, “It's dangerous for a health agency to focus its resources on combating misinformation. The CDC has no business trying to predict future 'thought crimes' nor, as they've done in the past, leverage their power to collude with big tech companies against the American people.”

The CDC has a history of trying to combat what it deemed “misinformation,” including coordinating with Facebook, Twitter, and Google to counter online content it deemed to be misinformation.

This also comes after the Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board ended in May after just three weeks.

The board “was doomed from the moment it was named,” said Forbes columnist Jill Goldenziel, a professor the U.S. National Defense University-College of Information and Cyberspace and a consultant on business threat, security, law and leadership. “The name itself suggests illegal government activity that the American people would never tolerate, regardless of their partisan affiliation.”

"This latest revelation proves the CDC is rolling full steam ahead with their censorship campaign against citizens who speak up," Roy said to Fox News. "This new scheme to use taxpayer money – intended to further scientific inquiry – to instead stifle researchers and anyone who dares dissent from the Biden administration's ever-changing COVID narrative is unsurprising and unacceptable."

It’s not clear how the model will determine what constitutes “misinformation.”


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