Ronald Reagan Tells A Joke About Democrats
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato
President Obama’s “corporate jet” line from his press conference Wednesday is crashing along with a host of other claims that fact-checkers dismissed in the hours after his speech.
Obama referred to private jets six times in his remarks, essentially describing the Republican position on how to decrease rampant deficits as being “willing to compromise their kids’ safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break.”
The tax incentive at issue was enacted to counteract the airplane industry’s woes in 2001 after 9/11 and reauthorized in, drum roll, Obama’s stimulus package, signed into law by the president himself.
More fundamentally, eliminating that tax break would bring in $3 billion in new taxes over ten years.
That is less than 1 percent of the $400 billion in tax increases the Obama administration is proposing behind the scenes. It is about .15 percent of the spending cuts Republicans would like to see enacted.
"I've said to some of the Republican leaders, 'You go talk to your constituents -- the Republican constituents -- and ask them," Obama said, "are they willing to compromise their kids' safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break? And I'm pretty sure what the answer would be."
But how are corporate jets preventing Washington from keeping children safe?
Politics, of course. A few years ago, we had a president who wanted to pass some tax breaks in the name of stimulating the economy. He thought it would be a great idea to let corporations depreciate the cost of their company jets more quickly. Allowing a faster depreciation would help the companies as well as aircraft manufacturers, who were hurting for business. That president's name was Barack Obama.
In 2009, as part of the stimulus, Obama supported accelerated depreciation for many corporate assets, including jet aircraft. The Associated Press reported in 2009 that the accelerated depreciation for corporate jets was first used after 9/11 and, according to an industry study, increased sales by 43 percent. It was widely viewed two years ago, including by the administration, as a proven way to help the economy by stimulating purchases of American-made jets.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped just 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 428,000, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dropping to 420,000. The prior week's figure was unrevised at 429,000.
He went on to complain about Congressional Republicans' calls for him to get more involved in the negotiations, saying that he "met with every single caucus for an hour to an hour and a half each" and "met with the leaders multiple times."
"They need to do their job," he said. "Now's the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That's why they're called leaders."
For the first family, their Vineyard haven is taking on the flavor of a summer White House. President Obama, for the third straight year, is planning to return to Martha's Vineyard for vacation this summer, according to a White House official.
The Obamas are scheduled to spend seven to 10 days on the island in mid- to late August, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.
Arrangements for White House staff members and Secret Service personnel who travel with the Obamas have been made.
In 2010, in the city of Oslo, every single sexual assault leading to rape in which the perpetrator was identified was committed by a person of "non-western origin". Every single one. All 83 cases.
In Norway, persons of "non-western origin" are Muslim - there aren't a lot of Hindus or Pacific Cargo Cultists. In that sense, the term itself is a euphemism, like "Asian", the designation with which the British media obscure the reality of sexual violence in their own cities, happy to slander Sikhs or Buddhists in the greater cause of obfuscating about Islam. So child-sex gangs in which every member's first, last or middle name is Mohammed can only be identified as "Asian".
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) denounced President Obama for refusing to comment on a controversial gun-tracking program that is under investigation.
Issa, who is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Obama did not express the necessary “urgency” that is called for in investigating who approved of the “Fast and Furious” operation, which may have contributed to the death of at least one federal agent.
Why is Goldman Sachs pre paring to outsource traders, salespeople and investment bankers from here in America, where it has made untold billions over the years as Wall Street's premier trading firm, to places like Singapore and India?
The answer can be found largely in the 2,000-plus pages of last year's Dodd-Frank financial "reform" law -- which will eventually translate into some 40,000 pages of regulations. The financial industry is still frozen, waiting to find out how bad these regs will turn out; but what all the CEOs of the big banks know for sure is that it's about to get a lot more expensive to do business here.
The only real question is by how much more expensive. And the banks aren't sitting around to find out.
Amazon.com today said it will sever ties with some 10,000 affiliates in California to protest the Internet sales-tax law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday.
The big online retailer has been threatening to cut those ties since February. In emails today to its California affiliates, Amazon called the bill "unconstitutional and counterproductive. " The bill is part of the budget package passed by the Legislature.
The affiliates are businesses and nonprofits that have Amazon links on their websites. When someone clicks through that link and buys something from Amazon, the affiliate gets a fee.
Under the bill, Amazon will have to collect sales tax on all sales to Californians.
Ginsburg thinks the only fair way to run a large organization is the way government runs civil service.
All jobs should be numerically classified to eliminate "arbitrary and subjective criteria." Promotions should be determined by written tests or seniority, not by managers choosing "on the basis of their own subjective interpretations."
Managers should understand that they will face harsh scrutiny if they don't hire and promote equal numbers of men and women and pay them all the same. Better just to figure out how to make your gender quotas and avoid any trouble.
Of course anyone with experience in the real world can tell you that an organization run this way wouldn't be as efficient as Walmart. It wouldn't do as good a job of satisfying consumers' wants. Its employees would probably not be as friendly and helpful.
"When we stayed in Pyongyang during training our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalised," said coach Kim.
"Some stayed in hospital and then came to Germany later than the rest of us. The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well. The physicians said the players were not capable of participating in the tournament.
"But World Cup football is the most important and significant event for a footballer, so they don't want to think about anything but football.
"The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will."Well, last year, the reason that the North Koreans got the asses kicked in the World Cup was because the coach didn't listen closely enough to Dear Leader.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is surging in the GOP presidential polls and barnstorming Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, but as she sprints toward the front of the Republican pack, there’s a major hole in her political résumé: legislation.
Now in her third House term, Bachmann has never had a bill or resolution she’s sponsored signed into law, and she’s never wielded a committee gavel, either at the full or subcommittee level. Bachmann’s amendments and bills have rarely been considered by any committee, even with the House under GOP control. In a chamber that rewards substantive policy work and insider maneuvering, Bachmann has shunned the inside game, choosing to be more of a bomb thrower than a legislator.
No one in mainstream media seems inclined to mention Barack Obama’s horrifying mistake last Thursday when, speaking at Fort Drum, he said that SFC Jared Monti was “the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.” Alas, he was mistaken. He awarded the Medal of Honor to Jared Monti posthumously in 2009 and awarded the Medal of Honor in person to SSG Sal Giunta in person in 2011. Obama later apologized for this mistake, but it’s really dismaying that a president who spoke movingly and even eloquently in awarding the Medal of Honor made a mistake of this magnitude.
“It shouldn’t take a teleprompter for the C-in-C to get it right,” writes military blogger Black Five. It’s interesting that mainstream media journalists who are so eager to zing Michele Bachmann for getting John Wayne’s birthplace wrong, have not been interested in asking whether this was a mistake Obama made in ad libbing or whether the White House speechwriters and fact-checkers fell down on the job. You might think that their chief motive is to make Obama look good and to suppress facts that make him look bad.
One study, for example, found that children who had just finished playing violent video games were more likely to fill in the blank letter in “explo_e” with a “d” (so that it reads “explode”) than with an “r” (“explore”). App. 496, 506 (internal quotation marks omitted). The prevention of this phenomenon, which might have been anticipated with common sense, is not a compelling state interest.
. . . those effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media.In his testimony in a similar lawsuit, Dr. Anderson admitted that the “effect sizes” of children’s exposure to violent video games are “about the same” as that produced by their exposure to violence on television. App. 1263. And he admits that the same effects have been found when children watch cartoons starring Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner, id., at 1304, or when they play video games like Sonic the Hedgehog that are rated “E” (appropriate for all ages), id., at 1270, or even when they “vie[w] a picture of a gun,” id., at 1315–1316.
Late last week, I fisked Richard Stengel’s Time Magazine cover story “One Document, Under Seige” (update: click here for the one page version) but it deserves more discussion. I consider it nothing less than a journalistic scandal that this piece was (1) a cover story, (2) written by their Managing Editor, (3) who serves in an organization dedicated to teaching other journalists about the Constitution, and yet it is rife with factual errors, including many that are obvious simply by reading the Constitution.
My mistake in the last post on the subject was trying to catalogue everything wrong with it, leading me to take issue with his philosophy, too and thus what got lost for some was the simple fact that Stengel was clearly factually wrong on many points, often when the facts could be determined by doing nothing more than reading the Constitution.
So this time, we are going to focus solely on the factual errors. There are thirteen of them and like the lawyer that I am, I will start off with his most egregious error and end with the least egregious. Here are the thirteen errors, in short:
- The Constitution does not limit the Federal Government.
- The Constitution is not law.
- The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment emancipated the slaves.
- The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment granted the right to vote to African Americans.
- The original Constitution declared that black people were to be counted as three-fifths of a person.
- That the original, unamended Constitution prohibited women from voting.
- Inter arma enim silent leges translates as “in time of war, the Constitution is silent.”
- The War Powers Act allows the president to unilaterally wage war for sixty days.
- We have only declared war five times.
- Alexander Hamilton wanted a king for America.
- Social Security is a debt within the meaning of Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment.
- Naturalization depends on your birth.
- The Obamacare mandate is a tax.
"BIAS WATCH finds no prima facie evidence of media bias in the instant case. Should the complainant wish to appeal the ruling, the BIAS WATCH Review Panel will be disposed to consider it."
It is said there are no atheists in foxholes. In that context, the recent rise in oil prices seems to have turned the Obama administration into true believers (at least rhetorically) when it comes to the best method to keep gas prices down and the American economy growing.
With oil costing more than $100 a barrel, the White House announced last week that it was going to increase oil supply by withdrawing 30 million barrels from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and putting that oil into the world market.
As Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner usefully explained last week, “[C]ostlier energy and less vigorous worldwide growth would keep U.S. economic growth to around a 2 percent annual rate in the first half this year. These reserves exist to help mitigate those kinds of disruption.” Putting additional oil supplies on the market, he said, was a “sensible policy” that should give a lift to a slowly expanding economy.
This has not been the analysis the Obama administration, until now, has brought to the issue. Over the past few years, the administration has argued that gas is too cheap. The president’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, has said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” When gas went up to $4 a gallon, the president was asked on CNBC whether $4-a-gallon gas prices were good for the American economy. He replied: “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.” In other words, he wants the price of gasoline in America to go higher, but he would prefer that it go up gradually (presumably so that the new grim reality could sneak up on the public slowly and with little attention paid to the steady increase.) One has to commend the president for that remarkably frank statement.
On Sunday, the Washington Post editorial board made another run at deflecting the administration’s blame in a new editorial, in a dual-pronged assault that sought to make the National Rifle Association (NRA) the villain while limiting the scope of the problem to being issues within the ATF:
Concerned to the point of paranoia about the erosion of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, the National Rifle Association and far too many lawmakers have fought against virtually every proposal to empower the bureau to better track and crack down on illegal firearms. They have won reductions in the ATF’s already meager budget. They have restricted the bureau’s ability to share information with other law enforcement agencies. They have kept the bureau rudderless for the past six years by blocking confirmation of new directors. And they continue to fight new rules that would allow the bureau to track bulk sales of long guns that have played a major role in the drug-fueled violence in Mexico.One could very reasonably conclude — as many Americans have — that we are a nation awash in overly restrictive laws that affect only the law-abiding. State legislatures across the country have agreed with this premise in recent years, leading to a raft of legislation to enable law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in more places, openly or concealed.
But the Post isn’t interested in debating current trends in gun law or the success these laws have had in decreasing violent crime in those areas in which the laws have been implemented. Their goal is to attack the gun lobby with grim and unsupportable generalities — and to obfuscate the depth of the Gunwalker scandal:
Ever since Mitt Romney's unsuccessful run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, there's been much discussion of whether GOP voters would accept a Mormon candidate. Would evangelical conservatives, in particular, look past the former Massachusetts governor's faith to vote for him? The underlying assumption was that the more conservative the views, the more intolerant the voter.
Now, it turns out a better question might be whether Democratic voters would accept a Mormon candidate. In a survey that cuts against the media stereotype, a new Gallup Poll has found that more Democrats than Republicans say they would not vote for a Mormon for president. Twenty-seven percent of Democrats say they wouldn't vote for a Mormon, while 18 percent of Republicans say the same. For independents, the figure is 19 percent.
ATF has acknowledged it knowingly allowed more than 1,700 weapons—most of them semiautomatic assault weapons like AK-47s—to be sold by cooperating U.S. gun dealers to suspected straw buyers for the Mexican cartels during a 15-month sting in Arizona known as Operation Fast and Furious. Melson is the highest-known official to date to acknowledge approving a strategy to build criminal cases against Mexican drug cartels by allowing assault weapons to flow from U.S. gun stores through straw buyers and across the border. Officials said his testimony is considered a key piece of evidence, and Grassley’s investigators plan to interview him by the middle or end of July.
The revelation of the botched sting has generated outrage in both the United States and Mexico. Nearly half the weapons were later recovered at crime scenes on both sides of the border, including two at the murder of U.S. border agent Brian Terry last December and more than 300 at Mexican crime scenes. In recent days, evidence has emerged in the investigations conducted by Grassley and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that the deputy attorney general’s office inside the Justice Department encouraged a new gun-fighting strategy in October 2009, just days before ATF started the Fast and Furious operation.Holder, the attorney general, has denied knowing about the controversial ATF sting, which ran from November 2009 to February 2011, and he has ordered an internal investigation. President Obama has said he believes serious mistakes may have been made. Since the controversy erupted this spring, ATF and federal prosecutors have been ordered to stop all guns flowing to straw buyers. Frontline ATF agents have testified they strongly objected to the agency’s decision to “let guns walk,” meaning allowing straw buyers to buy guns with ATF’s knowledge and letting the weapons leave federal monitoring without being interdicted, the normal practice. Cooperating gun dealers also expressed concerns about the tactic.
Obama's ideology blinds him to relevant variables. Incentives, institutional frameworks, profit and loss, individual initiative, saving and investment, hard work, etc. have no role in his simplistic world. He is a political creation with no experience in relevant matters. He does not understand markets, business, meeting a payroll, or managing an organization. This vacuum in knowledge produces failed economic results because policies do not consider the relevant variables for economic success.
In Obama's world, success and failure are moral rather than economic outcomes. Success is a marker for evil. Failure is due to someone else's success rather than personal shortcomings. Failure represents passivity, the choice to not exploit others. Proper moral behavior produces failure.
For Obama, economics itself is inconsistent with morality. Hence economics itself must be evil. This view of the world is both simple and ignorant. No, it is beyond that. It is a sign of stupidity! Recognition of this stupidity is the key to understanding Obama's behavior and policies.
President Obama promotes a "Dinner With Barack" raffle. To participate in the contest you need to donate at least $5 to the president's re-election campaign and your name will be raffled off to enjoy a dinner with the President, airfare and accommodations included. In a new web video, Obama announced Vice President Joe Biden will also be attending the dinner.
There is one problem, however. This campaign ad was most likely recorded in the White House, which may have violated FEC campaign finance laws.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the State Department played an instrumental role in “sealing the deal” for pop-rock star Lady Gaga to perform at a gay pride rally in Rome, Italy.
Clinton specifically pointed to a letter that David Thorne, the U.S. ambassador to Italy, sent to Lady Gaga urging her to participate in the event.
“And then there is the work that our embassy team in Rome has been doing,” Clinton said. “Two weeks ago they played an instrumental role in bringing Lady Gaga to Italy for a Euro Pride concert.
“Now as many of you know Lady Gaga is Italian American and a strong supporter of LGBT rights,” said Clinton. “And the organizers of the Euro Pride event desperately wanted her to perform and a letter to her from Ambassador Thorne was instrumental in sealing the deal.”
Desertification, drought, and despair—that's what global warming has in store for much of Africa. Or so we hear.
Emerging evidence is painting a very different scenario, one in which rising temperatures could benefit millions of Africans in the driest parts of the continent.
Scientists are now seeing signals that the Sahara desert and surrounding regions are greening due to increasing rainfall.
If sustained, these rains could revitalize drought-ravaged regions, reclaiming them for farming communities.
This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago.
The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).
Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.
The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.
The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, who was not involved in the new study.
"The water-holding capacity of the air is the main driving force," Claussen said.
(See a map of global warming's impacts.)
Not a Single Scorpion
While satellite images can't distinguish temporary plants like grasses that come and go with the rains, ground surveys suggest recent vegetation change is firmly rooted.
In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne's Africa Research Unit in Germany.
"Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass," said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades.
In 2008 Kröpelin—not involved in the new satellite research—visited Western Sahara, a disputed territory controlled by Morocco.
"The nomads there told me there was never as much rainfall as in the past few years," Kröpelin said. "They have never seen so much grazing land."
"Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass," he said.
"Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back," he said.
"The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable."
Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.
The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.
Federal officials predict that more than 30 million Americans will gain coverage under the health care law passed last year. “These newly insured Americans will need to seek out new primary care physicians, further exacerbating the already growing problem” of a shortage of such physicians in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a description of the project prepared for the White House.
Plans for the survey have riled many doctors because the secret shoppers will not identify themselves as working for the government.
“I don’t like the idea of the government snooping,” said Dr. Raymond Scalettar, an internist in Washington. “It’s a pernicious practice — Big Brother tactics, which should be opposed.”
Last year, the U.S. Navy bought 59,000 microchips for use in everything from missiles to transponders that turned out to be counterfeits from China.
Wired reports the chips weren't only low-quality fakes, they had been made with a "back-door" and could have been remotely shut down at any time.
If left undiscovered the result could have rendered useless U.S. missiles and killed the signal from aircraft that tells everyone whether it's friend or foe.
Apparently foreign chip makers are often better at making cheap microchips and U.S. defense contractors are loathe to pass up the better deal.
The problem remains with these "trojan-horse" circuits that can be built into the chip and are almost impossible to detect -- especially without the original plans to compare them to.
Americans spent at the weakest pace in 20 months, a sign that gas prices are taking a toll on the economy.
Consumer spending was unchanged in May, the Commerce Department said Monday. That was the worst result since September 2009. And when adjusted for inflation, spending actually dropped 0.1 percent.
April's consumer spending figures were revised to show a similar decline when adjusting for inflation. That marked the first declines in inflation-adjusted spending since January 2010.
Let’s excuse our intrepid “watchdog” MSM. They’re too busy rummaging through Sarah Palin’s garbage to report on the actual sayings and doings by our actual government officials. So here’s a report from Britain’s Guardian on a speech by Alec Ross, the U.S. State Department’s senior advisor on innovation: “Dictatorships are now more vulnerable than they have ever been before,” he proclaimed at the Innovate Conference in London this week. “One thesis statement I want to emphasize is how networks [the Internet] disrupt the exercise of power … because of the devolution of power from the nation state to the individual…the Internet has become the Che Guevara of 21st century.”
Imagine the MSM snarkiness and uproar if somewhere in Sarah Palin’s e-mail garbage bins they scrounged up an item where she equates Internet freedom with the co-founder of the regime that Freedom House rates as among the three most repressive on Earth against the Internet, where bloggers were being jailed and tortured for the crime of blogging while she wrote the message. Because, in fact, Cubans were being jailed and tortured for blogging while the U.S. State Department’s senior advisor on “Internet freedom” hailed the Cuban regime’s co-founder as the emblem of Internet freedom.
Imagine the media snarkiness and uproar if Sarah Palin claimed that “dictatorships are now more vulnerable” then equated the co-founder of the most enduring Stalinist dictatorship in modern history with the enemy of dictatorships.
Bates could have taken out “paranoid,” “psychopath,” “Machiavellian,” “pathological,” “conscienceless,” “dangerous,” “fanatic,” “narcissistic,” “hysterical,” “campy,” “bizarre,” “freakouts,” “grandiose,” “lunacy,” and “insane,” along with a couple of “Stepfords” and several instances of “crazy” (five of which appear in the same sentence). That would have provided plenty of room for attributions, although there wouldn’t have been much else left in the piece.
Prop 65 requires warning labels on products containing chemicals “known to the State of California to cause cancer.” Violations are enforceable by private citizens who can reap a hefty bounty for successfully suing (or even for negotiating settlements).
A former California Department of Consumer Affairs director recently noted how “bounty hunter shakedowns of businesses have become the norm.” This spring a snack vending company received a $60,000 legal shakedown warning over the potato chips it sells.
The whole idea of “known … to cause cancer” has become vague and watered-down. For the overzealous (who stand to make just as much money as a principled lawyer), “known” could be as wishy-washy as a single poorly designed study howing a vague link.
A chemical called acrylamide, for example, has long been in Prop 65’s crosshairs. Regulators added it to the law’s initial hit list in 1986 because it sometimes turned up in drinking water. Twenty years later, scientists identified it in cooked vegetables, French fries, potato chips, and even roasted coffee beans.
It’s present in incredibly small amounts, of course. A person of average weight would have to eat 62 pounds of chips every day, for an entire lifetime, to reach the acrylamide dose that causes cancer in lab rats. Still, warning labels are warning labels.
On Sunday’s This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour repeatedly hit Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with the White House’s plea for “revenue raising” measures, often the new euphemism for tax hikes, but when she talked to Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn, the Assistant Minority Leader in the House, she failed to press him about agreeing to GOP spending cut proposals and instead only asked him about prospects for a deal.
Amanpour began with how reasonable President Obama and Democrats, who “need revenue,” are acting: “Democrats are saying they’re not putting, for the moment, tax hikes on the table, but they need revenue, they’re talking about closing loopholes, subsidies for wealthy corporations. Is that out of the question for you, or are you willing to entertain that?”
With North Carolina Republicans slated to unveil a new congressional map this week, Democrats are bracing for a buzzsaw. Party officials sullenly concede that as many as three Democratic incumbents could be imperiled and that there is little they can do to stop it.“I don’t think there will be anything subtle about it,” said Mike Davis, a longtime Democratic consultant in the state. “It will be more like a bulldozer.”
Democrats believe they are in store for two incumbent vs. incumbent races — with Democratic Reps. Brad Miller and David Price likely to compete for one seat and Democratic Reps. Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre vying for another. Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler could see his western North Carolina district take on an increasingly GOP orientation.
“It’s going to be brutal,” said Brad Crone, a Raleigh-based Democratic strategist.
"Our role is not to build the power of a political party or a candidate," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters on May 20 after delivering a speech at the National Press Club. Trumka's speech was widely viewed as a warning to President Obama that he was not doing enough to earn Big Labor's support for re-election in the 2012 campaign.
The White House signaled they received the message loud and clear on Monday when the Department of Labor, led by Obama appointee Hilda Solis, issued proposed regulations making it even harder for small businesses to counter union organizing elections. Claiming it wanted to increase transparency, the Labor Department would change the definition of "advice" under the 1959 Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. The law requires employers to report all payments to third parties hired to influence employees during a union organizing election. At present, employers are not burdened with reporting payments to consultants who just give advice on how to deal with unions.
The widening of the Panama Canal, scheduled to be completed by 2014, will probably result in a decline of the business-unfriendly port of Los Angeles/Long Beach in favor of the equally man-made but business-friendly port of Houston. And if you look at the map, Houston and Atlantic ports like Jacksonville and Charleston are located far closer to the bulk of America’s population than Los Angeles/Long Beach. In the 2000-10 decade, the population of the three West Coast states, the one area where cargo landed at the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach has a land-freight cost advantage over cargo landed at Houston, increased just 11% to 47.8 million. In contrast, the population of Texas increased 21% to 25.1 million, that of the South Atlantic states from Virginia to Florida 17% to 50.7 million and that of the Southern states in between by 7% to 31.5 million.
Some of the obvious and not-so-obvious political issues that need deeper coverage are: the general climate of fear on Beacon Hill during the height of the Bulgers era; how the city was still reeling from the forced-busing crisis as the Bulgers rose to power, and how many of their supporters/critics eerily lined up along those old forced-busing fault lines; the mysterious state agency budget cuts and demotions of anyone who dared cross the Bulgers; the cushy government and industry jobs landed by mobsters, their relatives and ex-FBI agents; the politically wired rise of FBI agent Zip Connelly and his gross FBI retirement party; the alleged push to make Zip chief of Boston police; the former governor of Massachusetts who effectively handed over the keys to state government to Billy while he ran for president in ’88; the once crusading U.S. Attorney-turned-governor who ended up cynically playing footsie with the younger Bulger. Etc., etc...
...Most of the Bulgers drama played out within the confines and context of a one-party Democratic state during the ‘80s – and a lot of liberals looked the other way (and still look the other way) at the hack antics of their more “old school” Democratic brethren, as long as they got the liberal-agenda goods in return. One simple question: Where was Ted Kennedy during this entire mess? Bottom line: There was more than a little intentional and unintentional “enabling” going on in this city. No wonder they want to put the entire Bulger era behind them...
...To be fair to Democrats, three straight Republican governors in the ‘90s wouldn’t or couldn’t do anything about the political Gordian Knot strangling this state – and one of them even appointed Billy Bulger as head of UMass. A fourth GOP governor finally took Billy down in the mid-2000s, but Billy ultimately slit his own political throat during televised congressional hearings last decade.
Two months ago, Goldman Sachs projected that the economy would grow at a 4 percent annual rate in the quarter ending in June. The company now expects the government to report no more than 2 percent growth when data for the second quarter is released in a few weeks.
Macroeconomic Advisers, a research firm, projected 3.5 percent growth back in April and is now down to just 2.1 percent for this quarter.
Both these firms, well respected in their analysis, have cut their forecasts for the second half of the year as well. Then this week, the Federal Reserve downgraded its projections for the full year, to under 3 percent growth. It started the year with guidance as high as 3.9 percent.
Two years into the official recovery, the economy is still behaving like a plane taxiing indefinitely on the runway. Few economists are predicting an out-and-out return to recession, but the risk has increased, with the health of the American economy depending in part on what is really “transitory.”
Which past leader does Barack Obama most closely resemble? His admirers, not all of them liberals, used to compare him with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.
Well, Obama announced his candidacy in Lincoln's hometown two days before Abe's birthday, and he did expand the size and scope of government. But no one seriously compares him with Lincoln or FDR any more.
Conservative critics have taken to comparing him, as you might imagine, with Jimmy Carter. The more cruel among them, like the Weekly Standard's Jay Cost, say the comparison is not to Obama's advantage.
But there is another comparison I think more appropriate for a president who, according to one of his foreign-policy staffers, prefers to "lead from behind." The man I have in mind is Chauncey Gardiner, the character played by Peter Sellers in the 1979 movie "Being There."
A detective assembles a crime’s “history” by collecting and examining evidence, which eventually leads him to the perpetrator. When sufficient evidence points to a reasoned conclusion, perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted in court. Crimes consist of means, motive, and opportunity. So it is with ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, also known as “Gunwalker.”
Violent crimes committed with Gunwalker firearms
Besides Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder, “Mexican officials estimate 150 of their people have been shot by Fast and Furious guns.” This indicates at least 150 incidents of murder or attempted murder.
While Holder didn’t pull any triggers, the Department of Justice was involved in Gunwalker from the beginning. The Washington Post notes: “The ATF became part of the Justice Department after Sept. 11, 2001….”
From the recent congressional report on Fast and Furious:
In the fall of 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) developed a risky new strategy to combat gun trafficking along the Southwest Border.…The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented that strategy using a reckless investigative technique that street agents call “gunwalking.” ATF’s Phoenix Field Division began allowing suspects to walk away with illegally purchased guns.
This shift in strategy was known and authorized at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Through both the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona and “Main Justice,” headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Department closely monitored and supervised the activities of the ATF.
The PDC Commissioners today accepted "OneAmerica Votes" (OAV)'s Stipulation to all alleged violations under my complaint. OAV, affiliated with illegal immigration advocates "OneAmerica", illegally raised $156,000 and spent $112,000 on state and federal campaigns last year (exclusively for Democrats and liberal initiative positions) without registering or reporting its finances to the PDC. Much of its funding came, apparently illegally, from OneAmerica and the Tides Center, both claiming 501(c)(3) tax-exemptions.
The Commissioners accepted OAV's preposterous excuse that it relied in good faith on bad advice that it was not obligated to report. Incredible. Two of OAV's directors are practicing attorneys, yet the group claimed reliance on unverified advice from one individual (Richard Yang) who wasn't qualified to dispense such advice. (More here)
Despite OAV's laughable excuse for some exceptionally serious violations, the Gregoire-appointed Commissioners let OAV off with a paltry $3,000 fine, half suspended.
"If it's Kansas, Missouri, no big deal. You know, that's the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right? [pause] Did I just say that aloud?"
Kim Kardashian’s ample backside has oft been the subject of a “is it real or is it fake?” guessing game, and now the 30-year-old reality TV star is trying to set the record straight.On an upcoming episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the soon-to-be Mrs. Humphries headed to the doctor for an X-ray to prove that her tush is implant-free.
In a promo clip for the show, Kim explains to her physician that her sisters "dared me to get a butt X-ray, because there are so many rumors that I have butt implants, and I'm so tired of them."
The pervasion of illegal guns in America's black and Latino communities is a result of "government-sponsored racism," akin to "slavery, segregation, black codes [and] Jim Crow," Rahm Emanuel's new police chief, Garry McCarthy, told parishioners at St. Sabina's Church earlier this month.
"This is sensitive. You know, because everybody’s afraid of race. Have you noticed that? Everybody’s afraid of race. I'm not afraid of race," said McCarthy, who told of growing up in the Bronx with guns, gangs and drugs plentiful.
"Let’s see if we can make a connection here. Slavery. Segregation. Black codes. Jim Crow. What, what did they all have in common? Anybody getting scared? Government sponsored racism."
"Now I want you to connect one more dot on that chain of the African American history in this country, and tell me if I’m crazy: Federal gun laws that facilitate the flow of illegal firearms, into our urban centers across this country, that are killing our black and brown children," he said.
McCarthy blasted the NRA, telling parishioners that their communities have paid the price while the gun manufacturers are getting "rich and living in gated communities."
And he told an anecdote of just one night with the New York Police Department. After returning home from investigating a pair of shootings, he said he flipped on the television to relax, only to find "Sarah Palin's Alaska" being broadcast.
"She was caribou hunting, and talking about the right to bear arms," he said. "Why wasn’t she at the crime scene with me?"
The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers.
The probe — involving subpoenas to 23 people and raids of seven homes last fall — has triggered a high-powered protest against the Department of Justice and, in the process, could create some political discomfort for President Obama with his union supporters as he gears up for his reelection campaign.
The apparent targets are concentrated in the Midwest, including Chicagoans who crossed paths with Obama when he was a young state senator and some who have been active in labor unions that supported his political rise.
Investigators, according to search warrants, documents and interviews, are examining possible “material support” for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorists.
“We think we can do what the tea party did,” [Disgraced former Obama Green Jobs Czar Van] Jones said in an interview with The Fix. “They stepped forward under a common banner, and everybody took them seriously. Polls suggest there are more people out there who have a different view of the economy, but who have not stepped forward yet under a common banner.”
Jones is a former Obama environmental adviser who resigned from the White House in 2009 amid controversy over his past activism. But he’s lauded in liberal circles for his charisma and organizing abilities.
“There's a lot of organizational muscle behind the initiative, and Van is one of the most inspiring figures in the progressive movement, so I'm looking forward to these efforts, and they certainly come at a time when Republican overreach has primed progressives to take action” said Markos Moulitas, the founder of the liberal blog network Daily Kos.
Jones’ “Dream” movement will launch Thursday night with a rally in New York City. The Roots are performing; MoveOn.org, a well known liberal advocacy group, is co-sponsoring the gathering.
On December 13, 2010, the Post ran a story about U.S. gun dealers with “the most traces for firearms recovered by police.” The Post included “the names of the dealers, all from border states, with the most traces from guns recovered in Mexico over the past two years.” The Post did not reveal where it got this information, but pointed out that Congress passed a law in 2003 exempting the trace information maintained by the ATF from public disclosure. So the Post had to have gotten this information through a leak directly from the ATF (or by illegally hacking the ATF’s records, a far-fetched and highly unlikely scenario).
Two of the gun dealers the Post’s story assailed were Lone Wolf Trading Co. in Glendale and J&G Sales in Prescott, Ariz. Lone Wolf Trading is number one on the list for Mexican traces; J&G is number three.
However, at the time the ATF was apparently leaking this information to the Post, both of these dealers were cooperating with the ATF in the Fast and Furious Operation. When Fox News talked recently to the owner of J&G, Brad DeSaye, about the ATF’s disastrous operation, he said that when he questioned the ATF about whether the agency wanted the gun shop to sell to the cartel front men, the ATF said, “Keep selling.”
A Wednesday Washington Post story used anonymous Justice Department sources to bash Issa’s investigation into Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.
The anonymous sources claimed that Issa attended a classified April 2010 briefing for members of Congress and their staffers about the programs that have allowed American guns into Mexican drug cartels’ hands.
Issa spokesman Frederick Hill told The Daily Caller the Post is the first newspaper to run these DOJ claims, but not the first one the Justice Department went to with them.
“We have had people who have contacted us before the Washington Post,” Hill said. “They told us people in the Justice Department were trying to push this story and I think a number of publications didn’t think it was credible or, for whatever reason, decided not to run it.”
[N]o matter what he does or says, the drumbeat of bad economic data has made Obama an increasingly ripe target for his Republican challengers and Democrats nervous about their own political future.
When Obama tried to take the long view of the economy and downplay a bad May jobs report as one of the “bumps on the road to recovery,” Republicans slammed him as out of touch, complete with a Web ad from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney portraying out-of-work Americans as Obama’s roadkill.
When Obama agrees with Republicans that cutting federal spending will boost consumer confidence, progressives seethe over his shift away from a pure focus on government-driven job stimulus measures.
Obama’s “win the future” message is a dose of Ronald Reagan optimism, but some Democrats worry it doesn’t speak enough to the immediate concerns of struggling Americans.