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- 07/07/12--09:30: _Not a Tax: IRS to H...
- 07/07/12--10:00: _Obama: Confused Abo...
- 07/07/12--10:00: _Is Obamacare Redist...
- 07/07/12--10:02: _The Five Biggest Co...
- 07/07/12--12:23: _Obama, the Broken R...
- 07/07/12--13:41: _Cookin' up a Revolu...
- 07/07/12--14:00: _Occupiers, Convicte...
- 07/07/12--15:43: _Boehner: People Don...
- 07/07/12--15:50: _Planned Parenthood ...
- 07/07/12--16:00: _Deregulation: The F...
- 07/08/12--06:02: _Dershowitz to Fello...
- 07/08/12--06:20: _Obama Spends Record...
- 07/08/12--06:36: _Douglas County, CO:...
- 07/08/12--08:30: _Obama’s Outsourcing...
- 07/08/12--08:36: _Obama's New Student...
- 07/08/12--08:43: _Axelrod Says Romney...
- 07/08/12--09:09: _Next Month's Job Gr...
- 07/08/12--09:14: _Federal Disability ...
- 07/08/12--09:16: _L.A. County To Vote...
- 07/08/12--09:20: _Holder DOJ Hires Le...
- 07/07/12--09:30: Not a Tax: IRS to Hire Thousands of New Agents to Enforce ObamaCare
- 07/07/12--10:00: Obama: Confused About the Declaration
- 07/07/12--10:00: Is Obamacare Redistributing Wealth to Big Labor?
- 07/07/12--10:02: The Five Biggest Corporate Political Donors in 2012
- 07/07/12--12:23: Obama, the Broken Record
- 07/07/12--13:41: Cookin' up a Revolution: Far Left Fails at Culinary Fundraising
- 07/07/12--15:43: Boehner: People Don't Love Romney, But They Dislike Obama More
- 07/07/12--15:50: Planned Parenthood Sponsors ESSENCE Music Festival
- 07/07/12--16:00: Deregulation: The Future of Cable/Satellite Broadcasting
- 07/08/12--06:02: Dershowitz to Fellow Democrats: Stop Attacking Sheldon Adelson
- 07/08/12--06:20: Obama Spends Record $12 Billion To Keep Documents Secret
- 07/08/12--06:36: Douglas County, CO: School District Role Model for the Nation
- 07/08/12--08:30: Obama’s Outsourcing Far Worse Than Romney’s
- 07/08/12--08:36: Obama's New Student Loan Bill Deeply Flawed
- 07/08/12--08:43: Axelrod Says Romney Is Most Secretive Since Nixon
- 07/08/12--09:09: Next Month's Job Growth Could Be Even Lower
- 07/08/12--09:14: Federal Disability Rolls Exceed Population of New York City
- 07/08/12--09:16: L.A. County To Vote On Whether Porn Actors Must Wear Condoms
- 07/08/12--09:20: Holder DOJ Hires Leftist Firm Catalist in Voter ID Case
Thanks to some unforced errors committed by Team Romney last week regarding the ObamaCare tax/penalty issue, the corrupt media was able to keep the focus of the presidential election exactly where Obama wants it kept: off his failed record and on Mitt Romney. The media never, however, will expose the White House's own hypocrisy on the issue -- including its own Solicitor General making the tax case for Obama Care before the Supreme Court.
Something the media won't be able to spin, though, is that even though ObamaCare is a job killer in the private sector, it's a boon for federal employees who enjoy the kind of health and pension benefits you and I can only dream of -- specifically IRS agents.
How many, exactly? Numbers range from 2,700 to 16,500:
The IRS says it is well on its way to gearing up for the new law but has offered little information about its long-term budget and staffing needs, generating complaints from Republican lawmakers and concern from government watchdogs.
The IRS is expected to spend $881 million on the law from 2010 through 2013, hiring more than 2,700 new workers and upgrading its computer systems. But the IRS has not made public information about its spending plans in the following years, when the bulk of the health care law takes effect.
The lack of information makes it impossible to determine whether the IRS will have adequate workers to enforce the health care law, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration said in a report three weeks ago. The report, however, concluded that "appropriate plans had been developed to implement tax-related provisions" of the law.
In 2010, House Ways and Means Committee Republicans issued a report saying the IRS may need as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees "to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans."
That assessment has been widely cited by opponents of the law. The IRS disputes the jobs number but hasn't offered another one.
Well, it's good to know ObamaCare is creating jobs somewhere.
Remember this information and spread the word.
Yes, as I said, the media can't spin this story -- but that means they’re going to memory-hole it -- just like they're memory-holing the fact that 75% of the ObamaCare burden will fall on the already drowning middle class.
After all, Americans need to know about Ann Romney's horses and Mitt's jet ski and Seamus and to be told more lies about Bain's outsourcing and, and, and, and, and….
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC
Former President George W. Bush endured any number of insults to his intelligence while in office. It didn't matter that he had graduated from both Yale and Harvard, worked in business, ran a Major League Baseball enterprise, or successfully served as a Texas Governor before being elected to a second term with a recording-breaking 69% of the vote. He was forever branded the dim bulb and hick from Texas, out of his league in the Oval Office.
But that Barack Obama, he was the real deal – a Constitutional scholar, despite his never actually having performed as one. Obama was just another Chicago machine politician before being elected president.
Given recent comments he made from the White House, Obama's not much of a student of History, or human rights, either. "In his remarks, Obama suggested that the Declaration (of Independence) was the first time the God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness had been 'put to paper."'
While we may all love and embrace the recently celebrated Declaration of Independence, what Obama said of it simply isn't true. It's not even close.
As it's primary author, Thomas Jefferson, acknowledged, the Declaration was never intended to be based upon original thinking ... or writing. It was meant to express the "American mind," developed from and based upon centuries of thinking and writing, all of it well documented and commonly known.
As Jefferson wrote in 1825, "All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c."
What it simply was not is the first time the God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were ever "put to paper," as Barack Obama more than implied. So much for the notion liberals would have Americans believe, that we've finally elected some genius who can make all their big government plans and schemes work, despite their having failed miserably every time they've been tried by governments anywhere in the present, or past.
It has become obvious that the SEIU has a major interest in the healthcare legislation. Although the SEIU is a major player in the public union market, it is also one of the largest unions in the private sector. Furthermore, the largest share of its private sector members are healthcare employees: nurses, hospital staff, janitors, and home healthcare workers. Is it any wonder then that President Obama's primary piece of legislation was Obamacare? As Andy Stern, SEIU’s President at the time, was reportedly in the White House at least 22 times in the first year of Obama's Presidency, while the main priority was passing Obamacare!
Andy Stern's 2008 Presidential Election demand of potential presidential candidates to create universal healthcare was discussed at length! The paragraph below, from Chapter 5 in The Devil at Our Doorstep, provides the definitive basis for Obama’s healthcare initiative priority.
Although Greenhouse suggested that Stern had "a reputation as divisive" because he "orchestrated a split with the AFL-CIO in 2005 that some analysts say has set back labor's efforts to keep a strong voice in politics," the reporter believed Stern's "focus on politics" caused politicians to "court the SEIU endorsement aggressively." An indication of Stern's power, Greenhouse wrote, was the Democratic candidates whipping out plans for universal health care immediately after the union leader swore that the union would never endorse a candidate who didn't have one, in addition to his demand that the candidates spend a "day in the shoes of a worker." Like clockwork, Greenhouse reported, Senators John Edwards, Barak Obama, and Hillary Clinton did so—no wonder, as SEIU had raised $40 million for its political action committee in 2006 and had earmarked another $30 million for use in 2008. The money, the article suggested, was not only to be used in the presidential election but in state and local elections as well. "They are seen as huge players," Edwards' campaign manager stated. He was right, as Stern had said more than 100,000 volunteers could hit the streets in support of the candidates of choice. With this in mind, in a veiled or perhaps not-so-veiled threat, Greenhouse quoted Stern as saying, "We appreciate accountability. We just can't elect people and walk away and think it's going to work out."
Flashback to this past week and the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, not on the basis of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, but rather under Congress’ taxing authority. It is possible that the Chief Justice knows something others were not aware of that may be a political catalyst to defeat Obama in November 2012? There is a little known or discussed provision of the Affordable Care Act may provide the smoking gun to prove fraud and coercion by the president and the SEIU.
In January of 2014 healthcare insurers will be required to pay a fee (tax) to finance Obamacare. This fee will amount to approximately $8 Billion, which is roughly 75% of the profits of all healthcare insurers combined (see p.4 of Memo regarding new health insurer annual fee (00129900)). Where are healthcare insurers going to find the funds to cover these fees? President Obama believes it is purely the redistribution of wealth, and that health care insurers will have to settle for less pay for their executives and less profit! The truth is the healthcare insurers will pass the huge fee on to its customers in the form of astronomical premium increases, which even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected. So, instead of redistributing the wealth, the President has simply placed an inexplicable burden on the lower and middle class Americans that he claims to protect.
In order to understand the traitorous acts foisted upon the American people by this president one need only consider his past associations and commitment to the socialist agenda (Communism at the Highest Levels?, Obama and the SEIU Sittin in a Tree and Be Afraid America. Be Very Afraid!). Keeping this agenda in mind it comes as no surprise to find a provision that favors certain healthcare insurers buried deep within the Affordable Care Act Bill, under the guise of charity! Healthcare insurers set up as 501(c)(3) organizations are allowed to reduce their healthcare fees by reducing all annual premiums collected by 50%, before calculating their fee due to the government, beginning in January 2014 (see page 6 of PPACA Imposes New Annual Fee on Certain Health Insurers). This is not because the President favors one big business over another; it is simply a form of pay back to his Big Labor buddies!
In SEIU Exposed, the SEIU’s forced unionism of Kaiser healthcare employees was brought to light. The SEIU has reportedly some 44,000 members who work for Kaiser. Additionally it has been reported by SEIU members that Kaiser negotiates sweet heart contracts that benefit Kaiser and the SEIU, not the employees. Here we have President Obama, the SEIU, Kaiser and Kaiser’s employees, who are SEIU members. Kaiser, a 501(c)(3), will benefit from the reduction in fees, and the SEIU would likewise benefit, due to the stable paying membership and sweetheart deals with Kaiser, and a membership that is likely to grow with Kaiser’s economic advantage over its competitors. The redistribution of wealth from the American people, passing through Kaiser, to the SEIU (an organization dedicated to reshaping America into a socialist state), which was part of the President’s underlying agenda all along!
We must remember that "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." - President Gerald Ford. America, We are at War! Armageddon is at Hand! Please Wake up! If we do not stop this President's march toward tyranny in November, our Independence Day celebrations may become a thing of the past!
"Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State."
At number five with total 2012 contributions of $2,370,150 was Jeffrey Katzenberg's Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc. Ninety-nine percent of all Dreamworks's political donations went to the Democratic Party.
Coming in at number four was AT&T. The telecom giant's 2012 contributions so far total $2,504,219. Thirty-five percent of its contributions flow to the Democratic Party and 65 percent to the Republican Party. This year AT&T has spent $7,050,000 on lobbying.
The third largest corporate political contributor was the Comcast Corporation. Total contributions for 2012 are $4,769,994, which break 29 percent to the Democratic Party and 71 percent to the Republican Party. In 2012, Comcast has spent $1,380,000 on lobbying. Having contributed $194,650, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen is the company's largest direct political donor.
Since 1989, investment titan Goldman Sachs has contributed a staggering $39 million in political donations. This year, Goldman comes in at number two with $4,769,994 donated thus far. Seventy-one percent of Goldman's donations have gone to the Republican Party and 29 percent to Democrats. Goldman has spent $1,380,000 on lobbying in 2012. The 2008 campaign saw Goldman spending the most it has ever spent on political contributions, giving just over $7 million.
And the number one corporate political donor for 2012 is Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands, Corp., who has given $11,738,600, 100 percent of which has gone to the Republican Party. Mr. Adelson emerged as an important force in the Republican Primary when he decided to donate $7.5 million to the Gingrich-backing Winning Our Future PAC. Mr. Adelson and his wife Miriam have also made $15 million in individual contributions through the Adelson Drug Clinic.The rankings were based off of figures obtained through the Center for Responsive Politics website, opensecrets.org.
Another month, another bad jobs report: unemployment languishes at 8.2 percent again. In President Obama’s Bizarro World this is a step in the right direction and the private sector is “doing fine.” This sad state of affairs has become the new normal of America under the Obama Presidency.
Even with these dismal job numbers, the Obama campaign’s only response is to make excuses and point fingers. Melanie Roussell, national press secretary for the DNC, carried on the campaign’s new theme “Betting on America” by laughably tweeting, “POTUS is betting on the American worker. @MittRomney is betting on misery. Clear choice.” Can you say, “out of touch?” President Obama has only brought American workers misery. Betting on Obama’s policies is like betting on the Washington Generals to win.
After 3 and a half years, we already know America is losing with Obama’s policies. And yet the president keeps repeating the same old tired talking points – literally. President Obama has repeated the phrase “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report" in his monthly jobs statement an astounding 30 times in the last 32 months. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
If we can’t read too much into just one monthly report, can we at least read into 41 straight months of 8 percent plus unemployment reports? This is the worst streak since the Great Depression and a disastrous trend with no end in sight. Labor force participation is at a 30 year low, with almost 88 million people out of the workforce. The economy is teetering on the brink of a double dip recession and Obama’s policies are only making it worse.
The last thing our fragile economy needs is the largest tax hike in history, but that is exactly what we are getting with the Obamacare Tax. As I noted last week, the House Ways and Means Committee reports there will be 21 tax increases because of the Obamacare Tax, costing more than $675 billion over the next ten years. Every single person will see their taxes go up and the Congressional Budget Office has said that at least 75 percent of the Obamacare Tax will fall on American families making less than $250,000.
The Obama Presidency has consistently delivered us disaster after disaster. Everything about President Obama – from his failed policies to his ridiculous talking points – is like a broken record that can’t be fixed.
The issue of far-left anarcho-communist cuisine has received much attention in recent years. Many far-left camps within the “Peace and Justice” movement have sold everything from hot sauce and pralines to cookbooks in an effort to provide their chardonnay-sipping revolutionary counterparts (read: mainstream liberals) with a means of providing indirect support for fringe groups they would otherwise not want their names associated with.
Take, for instance, the about-face former Black Panther Party member and anti-capitalist David Hilliard took when he announced his revolutionary fervor had culminated in an effort to engage in the free market and sell hot sauce.
Hilliard’s product, "Burn Baby Burn Revolutionary Hot Sauce," gets its name from a saying used by black militants to support the burning of communities, such as the 1965 Watts riots. Hilliard felt entitled to trademark the saying and sell the product to “fund the revolution.” Though many liberal culinary critics did their best to promote the sauce, it’s ultimately been a market failure and never achieved widespread distribution.
This story would hardly be complete without mentioning NPR’s effort to promote and “fund the revolution.” NPR’s popular "The Kitchen Sisters" program decided to promote the pralines of one former Black Panther member named Robert King Wilkerson.
According to the Huffington Post and Van Jones’ Color of Change, Wilkerson was a former “political prisoner who was held in solitary confinement for his views for 29 years until he was exonerated for a crime he didn’t commit.”
The group of “three innocent Black Panthers” Mr. Wilkerson joined of is known as the “Angola 3.” Unfortunately for these “innocent and oppressed Panthers,” social media revealed that the three were all in prison for heinous, nonpolitical crimes,so left-wing media could no longer ignore it. Even Mr. Wilkerson’s “exoneration” turned out to be a lie. He had served his time after admitting he was an accomplice to murder. There was no “exoneration” for an “innocent political prisoner.”
None of this stopped NPR’s Kitchen Sisters from promoting Mr. Wilkerson’s pralines in a segment titled “King’s Candy, A New Orleans Kitchen Vision.” Needless to say, the “Freelines” the former Panther sells have yet to generate the needed funds to overthrow the bourgeoisie-capitalist system.
The most recent example of far-left kitchens as financial failures comes in the form of the intended “Occupy Cookbook.”A June 3rd Seattle Times piece titled “The Almost Cookbook of the Occupy Movement” outlines yet another far-left failure to work hard enough at accomplishing an intended goal.
Though we’ve all seen the Occupy movement's ability to bake up a patty on a police car, you might be surprised to know each rat-infested encampment had kitchens to feed people with the food they either collected out of dumpsters or were handed by mainstream sympathetic liberals.
The idea of generating funds for the revolution by selling an Occupy cookbook became an official plan, and a former cookbook author stepped in to help. But the Obama/Pelosi-heralded movement was unable to agree whether “profiting” off of a “product” was ethically okay, so the Occupiers just never got around to finishing the Occupy Cookbook project.
This writer is torn: should we be saddened by mainstream Americans’ willingness to offer collateral support for radical political movements or joyful that the intended recipients of such aid are simply too incompetent to utilize the resources in any substantial way?
In an effort at full disclosure, the author's dislike of anarchist kitchens has been profiled in a This American Life episode titled "Turncoat," and the author was considered a "close comrade" by Robert King Wilkerson after the author rescued him by boat in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, Wilkerson now considers the author a "snitch pig" and an "enemy of the people" after the author worked with the FBI to prevent violence against US and Israeli citizens.
Headline image: Scott Roberts
As fundraising efforts for the 2012 presidential election kick into high gear, activists are ramping up actions to disrupt those efforts and are targeting donors directly. The latest front involves a protest scheduled for tomorrow at the private residence of David Koch, co-owner and executive vice president of Koch Industries, a well-known donor to libertarian and right-leaning causes and candidates.
CBS News reported last night:
MoveOn.org, a liberal non-profit advocacy group, is protesting a July 8 fundraiser for Mitt Romney being held at the house of billionaire Republican donor David Koch, it announced on Friday.
In addition to organizing what it's calling a "Koch Party" outside Koch's Southampton, N.Y., estate during the Sunday fundraiser, MoveOn will be flying an airline banner in the area reading "Romney has a Koch problem" and driving what it calls a "Romneymobile Cadillac, with corporate decals on the side and Seamus the dog on top," outside the dinner, according to a press release from MoveOn.
The group is touting the participation of a number of liberal activist groups, including Occupy Wall Street, The Long Island Progressive Coalition, Greenpeace, Strong For All, and United New York, and says activists will stake out Koch's property with signs, "peacefully demonstrating against the unprecedented flood of money the Koch brothers and their wealthy friends are using to try to buy the election for the 1%."
The Huffington Post also touted the event at its website yesterday, while pushing the meme that Mitt Romney is a “vulture capitalist.”
No, Mitt Romney's Koch problem isn't what the Koch brothers are doing for him -- it's what he'll do for them, and the possibility that voters will find out.
Romney's approach to the economy boils down to this: the ultra rich deserve even more advantages, and the poor and middle class should foot the bill. It's how he approached his job as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital, buying up companies, laying off their workers, outsourcing their jobs, and saddling them with debt, all so he could extract wealth for his rich investors.
The Koch brothers have long been the ire of the left, and a persistent boogeyman for some of the left’s most persistent conspiracy theories.
Also key in organizing this private property invasion masquerading as a protest is Andy Stepanian of Sparrow Media. Stepanian himself is also a Huffington Post writer and is no stranger to Breitbart News.
Stepanian is one of a group of seven animal rights activists, infamously known as the SHAC 7 (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty), six of whose members, including himself, were convicted of terrorism and Internet stalking in 2006, according to the NY Times. The jury in that case ruled that the group’s activity was not protected under the legal standard of Brandenburg v. Ohio.
SHAC has been listed by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the groups considered to be associated with Extremism in the Animal Rights and Environmentalist Movements. The Southern Poverty Law Center also described SHAC as a group that has been pushing the far extreme of typical animal rights and environmental activist organizations.
This British-born group, now firmly established in the United States, is waging war on anyone involved with Huntingdon Life Sciences, which tests drugs on approximately 70,000 rats, dogs, monkeys and other animals each year. In the process, SHAC is rewriting the rules by which even the most radical eco-activists have traditionally operated.
Stepanian has since been heralded as a hero by the left for his activism and for being a seemingly tortured “political prisoner” of a “secretive” Communications Management Unit (CMU) of a federal penitentiary in Indiana.
A representative from Koch Companies Public Sector responded to CBS News with the following statement via email:
We have seen media reports about the protest being organized by a convicted terrorist and a number of fringe organizations.
We respect the protestors' rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble. These rights apply not only to the protestors, but to those who are hosting and attending the fundraiser.
It is ironic that the pretext for the protest is supposed "outrage" at the role of money in politics. Considering the record-setting fundraising by President Obama reported here, here, here, here, here, and here, the hypocrisy of the Left and their attempts to mislead the public are obvious. There is a double-standard at work and the message from the Left is that fundraising for their preferred candidates is fine, but donations to those with differing points of view are somehow immoral. The left's outrage is selective and hollow.
While protesters certainly have every right to exercise free speech and stage actions to support and oppose causes they deem important, there is a fine line between legitimate public protest and targeting the personal residences of donors and corporation owners. These are tactics that are clearly intended to intimidate, and such actions are becoming entirely too prevalent in today’s political activism scene.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke at a fundraiser in West Virginia on June 30 and conceded that very few people will go to the voting booth because they are enthused about or in love with Mitt Romney or his candidacy, according to Roll Call.
Boehner told attendees that that would be okay, though, because Republicans are hoping to make the 2012 election a referendum on President Barack Obama and his failed policies.
“Mitt Romney has some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons ... some people that are going to vote for him. But that’s not what this election is about,” Boehner said, according to Roll Call. “This election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failed economic policies.”
Boehner continued, according to Roll Call, by saying Romney is needed in the White House to fix the country’s economy and sign conservative policies into law:
Mitt Romney believes, just like we do, that if we’re going to get the economy back, if we’re going to put the American people back to work, we need to fix the tax code, we need to stop the regulatory juggernaut that’s going on in Washington and we need to fix our economy. Solid guy, he’s going to do a great job, even if you don’t fall in love with him.
The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. I’ll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama.
Boehner’s comments are significant because it is an admission from one of the GOP’s senior leaders that Romney’s best strategy, though there are risks to it in a general election, may just to be to run as the “not Obama."
Especially after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare as a constitutional tax, conservatives have viewed Romney the way sports fans view an owner of their favorite sports team whom they cannot stand -- someone who will just sign the bills sent to him.
Simply put, conservatives cannot get anything accomplished if Obama wields the veto pen, and that makes Romney an immeasurably better president than Obama.
On Friday, Planned Parenthood announced it will sponsor one of black entertainment's biggest events of the year, the ESSENCE music festival.
Planned Parenthood, whose founder Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist who believed in exterminating the "weeds" of society to cleanse the gene pool, has increasingly come under fire for placing an estimated 60 to 78 percent of its abortion clinics near high minority populations.
According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 30 percent of all the abortions performed in America occur on black babies. "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb," says Rev. Clenard Childress of BlackGenocide.org.
Still, the Planned Parenthood website boasts that in 2010, 400,000 of its "patients" were African-Americans.
Deregulation is the future for video and retransmission of broadcast signals by cable and satellite firms. That is the message from the House Energy and Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee's "Future of Video" hearing last Wednesday, led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the second in a series planned by the Subcommittee Chairman.
According to National Journal, both Walden and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) signaled their view that "must carry" rules currently part of the retransmissions consent regime are looking more and more out-of-date by the day. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) commented during a hearing that while the current Congress has run out of time to address the issue, "I hope in the next Congress, we take this up.”
So do an array of witnesses at the hearing, ranging from Dish Network's Charlie Ergen who blasted broadcasters as "a government-sponsored monopoly," to former Federal Communications Commissioner and current National Cable & Telecommunications Association chief Michael Powell, to a representative of Public Knowledge.
Ahead of the hearing, Subcommittee staff wrote in a memo that the 1992 Communications Act "is woefully out of step with the state of competition and technology in video distribution and programming" and that agreements relevant to the retransmission of broadcaster signals "are best left arranged by the respective parties and their viewers, free from regulatory intervention."
Moreover, the staff memo characterizes the "must-carry" rule and related regulations currently applicable under the 1992 Act in negative terms, saying their effect is to "limit shelf space that might otherwise be available for non-broadcast programming."
The staff memo also urges an overhaul of retransmission consent rules that currently limit the items over which broadcasters and cable and satellite companies can negotiate when agreeing conditions for the carriage of a broadcaster's signal, while calling out network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules, albeit more cautiously.
In the next Congress, that could serve as a blueprint for reform of the decades-old regime that has often been criticized as excessively regulatory.
Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor, liberal Democrat, and pro-Israel icon, has warned fellow Democrats to stop attacking Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who has emerged as the top Republican donor in the 2012 election cycle. President Barack Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, signaled last week that the Obama campaign was adding Adelson to the list of private citizens it has targeted for attack, alongside the Koch brothers and Karl Rove. In tandem, the National Jewish Democratic Council began a petition drive aimed at pressuring Mitt Romney and the Republican Party to return and refuse "dirty money" from Adelson.
The claim of "dirty money" comes from an accusation, cited in the left-wing Huffington Post and made in a lawsuit by a former Adelson employee who was fired, that Adelson personally approved of "personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company's properties in the Chinese enclave" of Macau.
Dershowitz has criticized National Jewish Democratic Council president David Harris for basing his attacks on this claim "even though no evidence has been submitted to support it and no finding has been made by any court. Has [Harris] never heard of 'due process' or the 'presumption of innocence'?" Citing Adelson's work on behalf of pro-Israel causes, as well as his philanthropy in the United States, Dershowitz slammed Harris and his Democratic organization for maligning a man whose "generosity has helped repair the world."
Noting that he disagrees politically with Adelson, Dershowitz called the attacks on Adelson "outrageous":
I am a Democrat and do not agree with many of Adelson's political views, but I think it's outrageous for the National Jewish Democratic Council to level unfounded allegations against Adelson. They do not speak for me, and for the many other Jews who admire Adelson's contributions to the world, to America, to Israel and to the Jewish community. I don't know who Harris purports to speak for as President of the National Jewish Democratic Council, but his partisan gamesmanship is an embarrassment to many Jewish Democrats. The attack comes with particular ill grace from a Jewish organization, considering all that Adelson has done for Jewish causes, and considering the fact that there is nothing uniquely "Jewish" about the questionable allegations against him.
In addition, Dershowitz added, if Democrats wanted to fight a misogynistic donor to political super PACs, they need look no further than television host Bill Maher, whose money they have enthusiastically accepted: "I'm sure that if the Democrats were to apply David Harris' 'Adelson test' to all the contributions they have received from Hollywood moguls and other wealthy business people, they wouldn't like the results." He urged "extremists" from both parties to stop campaigns against contributors to their political rivals.
President Barack Obama has said his administration is the most most transparent administration in the modern era.
But a new report by the Information Security Oversight Committee found that in 2011, the Obama Administration spent a record $12 billion to keep documents secret, a 12 percent increase over last year's classification costs.
Get ready, serious school board reformers. You now have a role model.
Who would have thought that real school reform could start at the local level, rather than in Washington D.C.? Well, the mostly conservative Board of Education of Douglas County, Colorado thought so. In fact, the members of this board hoped to break the status quo and create new rules for public education.
According to the Denver Post, Colorado’s “Dougco” board is composed primarily of independent-minded conservatives who also happen to be bold visionaries--though that’s not how teachers unions see it.
First, Dougco decided to create a pilot school choice scholarship program that permitted parents to redirect a portion of district funds for their children to attend a private school of their choosing. Though the program was challenged by the ACLU, and ultimately found to be unconstitutional, the school district has appealed the decision.
Meanwhile, the Dougco board has found a way to disentangle itself from the teachers union. On July 3rd, with the collective bargaining agreement between the district and the union having expired on June 30th, board members unanimously voted to approve a pay plan for teachers that mirrored the offer rejected by its teachers union, Douglas County Federation of Teachers, a chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Teachers will receive a 1 percent pay raise plus a 1 percent retention bonus, the latter awarded to teachers who signed contracts by June 15th, intending to return to their classrooms in the district in the coming school year.
The vote came after months of contentious negotiations between the Dougco board and the union. Following four years of pay freezes, the union sought a 3 percent pay raise, including at least 1 percent in an ongoing raise. With no agreement in sight, the board sought counsel in the Colorado Constitution, which protects its right to fix the salaries of district employees “without outside interference, encroachment, or entanglement” and to declare the collective bargaining agreement “expired and of no legal effect whatsoever.” The board made the 1 percent raise retroactive to July 1st and the 1 percent retention bonus effective with the September payroll.
Dougco school board president John Carson said, “We wanted to provide our outstanding teachers and staff with assurance…We believe that it is in the best interest of our employees to provide certainty in terms of compensation and benefits.”
The Dougco board also approved a compensation and benefits program for teachers, detailing salary, working hours, class size, etc., also retroactive to July 1st, which will “govern…the employment relationship of the district” with teachers through June 30, 2013.
Needless to say, union leaders are not too happy with not being needed in Douglas County, Colorado. They have sought the help of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, charging the school board with union-busting. “We’re going to continue to fight for a collective bargaining agreement,” aserted the teachers union president.
Carson notes that the board’s action “should not be seen as a signal that talks with the [union] have ended. We remain open to further discussions.”
Good for Carson and the school board for being open to listening to the union, but, really, what more is there to say? An employer, Douglas County school district, hired its teachers after providing them with information about the nature of their jobs and how they will be compensated for their work. It happens all the time in the private sector. No unions needed.
And, lo and behold, 98 percent of teachers have committed to returning to district classes this fall.
Moving forward, Dougco would like to use its newfound flexibility to make its district more efficient and financially stable. Board members hope to introduce merit pay based on individual teacher performance to replace the current system which relies on seniority and college credits. In addition, the board would like to offer differential pay to teachers with specialized skills that are in high demand and short supply.
Dougco would also prefer to no longer pay the salaries and benefits of the district’s union officials who have no teaching duties, or the substantial contribution to their benefit pension plan. These costs have been buried in the school district’s operating budget, allowing unions to keep the cost of union dues down.
And, speaking of union dues, Dougco wants to end their middleman position of collecting dues for the union through automatic payroll deduction. Unions particularly dislike this idea, primarily because wherever this practice has been implemented, they have experienced a substantial drop in membership.
So, the Douglas County School Board has made significant and positive changes for its school district and, most importantly, its students, by responding to contentious union negotiations, and an expired agreement, with common-sense solutions that are based on private sector, free market principles. The unions have responded by threatening to strong-arm Dougco with state intervention. Where have we seen this before?
Hats off to Douglas County School Board! Let’s hope that the nation is watching you.
Who’s the worst outsourcer in today’s presidential race? It isn’t Mitt Romney – it’s Barack Obama.
Obama’s second largest fundraiser is John Rogers, the CEO of investment giant Ariel Capital Management. He has raised more than $1.5 million for Obama’s reelection campaign. Bully for him, except for one thing: Ariel Capital Management owns a $48.6 million stake in Accenture, which just happens to be, according to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, the nation’s “best” outsourcer.
And that’s not all for Rogers; he stated that he wants to intensify the trend that started with moving call centers and factories overseas to outsourcing “day-to-day activities” including pest control, landscaping, and secretarial functions. And Rogers isn’t ashamed one bit:
“We’re making a very big bet right now on outsourcing. People have generally soured on the idea, and many companies are trading at discounts to their private-market values. But we don’t think that view accurately reflects the powerful secular growth we’re going to see as companies and individuals outsource more of their day-to-day activities.”
Of course, Rogers isn’t just anyone; he and Obama were buddies in Chicago, and Rogers’ ex-wife Desiree left a $350,000 per year job at Allstate Insurance Company to serve as White House party planner.
If Obama’s second largest fundraiser is outsourcing jobs by the bushel, you just know his biggest fundraiser has got to be cravenly doing the same thing, right?
Right. Obama’s largest fundraiser, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who raised $2 million for the campaign and co-hosted a $10 million Hollywood fundraiser in May, has been trying to outsource jobs to China by expanding his company’s work there. Why, Jeffrey has even been investigated by the SEC for doing it.
GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt was appointed by his good friend Barack to lead the White House Jobs Council. During Immelt’s reign at GE, GE rid itself of more than 34,000 American workers, while adding 25,000 foreign workers to its payroll. Additionally, in July 2011, GE fired 150 workers at its X-ray division in Wisconsin and moved the operation to China, hiring 65 new workers there.
While Obama’s campaign released an ad boasting of green jobs it has created through energy loans it has given, they failed to mention a salient point: among the loans were three taxpayer-guaranteed loans to Spanish clean energy conglomerate Abengoa worth $2.78 billion to create 195 permanent jobs—more than $14 million per job—as well as a $529 million loan guarantee to Fisker Automotive, which manufactures $100,000 electric cars in Finland and is now virtually bankrupt.
Now let’s talk auto industry. Obama’s Department of Energy gave nearly $6 billion in taxpayer-guaranteed loans to the Ford Motor Company, which is expanding its business outside the U.S. Obama gave General Motors $50 billion and GM started building cars in China and Mexico to save on labor; later, Obama gave GM $45 billion in tax breaks so GM did not have to pay a dime in income taxes after making a $7.6 billion profit.
Now we get the picture. Obama criticizes Romney for outsourcing while being the king of outsourcers himself.
On Friday, Barack Obama signed legislation that kept transportation workers employed by spending more than $100 billion of our money over the next two years. The legislation also kept the 3.4% rate on federal loans instead of letting it double to 6.8%. The legislation was a sop, of course, to two constituencies that are key to Obama’s reelection, the youth vote and the construction workers who have been out of work.
Of course, the construction workers might want to consider who put them out of work in the first place, and as for the college students, well … they aren’t concerned about the rest of us working stiffs; they just want what they want, and they want it now! Forget the fact that if the loans had doubled, it would cost them an average of $1,000 extra to pay after they were done with college, which, amortized over the years, is a rather paltry sum; forget the fact that it was the Democratic Congress in 2007 that separated the student loan rate from the treasury-bill rate; forget the fact that if the two rates were still tied to each other, the student-loan rate would now be roughly 1%.
Let’s vote for Obama because he sure cares about us!
Oh, and one more thing: the final transportation measure dropped a provision, which Obama had said would kill the bill, that would have forced government approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas coast. So the students get their perks, but the pipeline that would benefit all Americans and helped the economy gets axed. Gee, thanks, Barack Obama!
Just wait until the students try to get a job in an economy ravaged by Obama’s spending by the time they graduate. It won’t matter a damn that the student loan rate was kept low when they aren’t getting a paycheck.
But that’s why they are students. The real world doesn’t intrude in their campuses – or their minds.
Mr. Truth-in-Reporting David Axelrod has now compared Mitt Romney to former President Richard Nixon, claiming:
"This is the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon. What happened after Nixon is we as a country said we need a higher level of disclosure, so people know who their candidates are, what their entanglements are, and we can make judgments on it. Gov. Romney and his campaign have stonewalled and are trying to turn the clock back 50 years on transparency and disclosure."
Wait a minute. Axelrod, Barack Obama’s mouthpiece, is saying Romney is secretive?
Let’s see Obama’s grades in college.
Let’s see who got him into Columbia University.
Let’s see who got him into Harvard law school.
Let’s see who paid for his trips abroad.
Let’s see his medical records.
Let’s see his client list when he was a lawyer.
And I’m sure our readers have a number of other questions they would like answered. Among them:
Let’s see the full Department of Justice records on Fast and Furious.
Let’s see all the backroom dealmaking over stimulus dollars.
Let’s see the full records of all meetings between President Obama and union leaders.
The list goes on and on.
Do us a favor, Axelrod; until your man can be forthright about who he really is and how he got to where he is, don’t go around saying someone who will answer all those questions, like Mitt Romney, is secretive.
The Labor Department released jobs numbers for June today and the results were disappointing. Estimates were that non-farm payroll would add around 100k jobs last month. Instead they added just 80K, which is just over half the number needed to keep up with population growth. James Pethokoukis at AEI has put up an updated version of this familiar chart.
Notice the red dot showing where we are now. It's a full two points higher than where the Obama team thought we'd be at this point without the stimulus plan. And as Pethokoukis notes, the unemployment rate only looks this good because so many people have abandoned the work force. If you include all the people who were part of the workforce when Obama took office, unemployment would literally be off the chart at 10.9 percent.
There's one additional wrinkle to today's numbers that was noticed by Bryan Preston over at the PJ Tatler. According to CNBC, "The birth-death model, which approximates the amount of jobs gained through new businesses created too recently to be counted in the formal survey, added 124,000 positions, meaning that without the estimation the total count would have been a loss of 44,000."The birth-death model appears to be a fairly good approximation of actual jobs being added, but according to BLS the data varies dramatically on a month to month basis. Some months the b-d model adds a lot of jobs and some months it adds few or is negative. So which months tend to add jobs? From the BLS FAQ on the birth-death model:
Months with generally strong seasonal increases such as April, May and June generally have a relatively large positive factor.
The b-d model is adjusted slightly each year, but if we look at last year's chart we find that birth-death added and estimated 141,000 jobs in June and just 5,000 in July, for a drop of 136,000 month-to-month. I contacted James Pethokoukis at AEI to get his take on the significance of the birth-death estimates. He was kind enough to provide this response:
As you can tell, there is plenty of art in these estimates as well as science. And when job growth is this slight, these external adjustments can overwhelm the base numbers. Given the weakening in manufacturing, we could get a worse base number in July than June, which means that when you add in a less robust b-d model, the job gains could be slight to negative. Of course, if jobs are ramping back up to 150,000 or so -- as the ADP forecast could be interpreted as suggesting, then we would still be positive.
Unless there is a sizable bump in the base numbers, we'll be looking at lower or negative job growth next month.
The total number of people who are taking federal disability insurance payments is now greater than the population of New York City, as 8,733,461 workers took federal disability in June 2012, according to CNS News. The population of New York City is 8,244,910, according to the Census Bureau.
In 1992, according to CNS, about one out of every 35 workers took disability payments. When President Barack Obama took office, one out of every 19 workers took disability payments. Now, approximately one out of 16 workers are on disability.
Here are some more statistics to put the numbers into perspective, according to CNS:
Only 11 states--California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas—have populations in excess of the 8,733,461 workers who took disability payments in June.
In addition to the 8,733,461 workers taking federal disability payments in June, there were also 165,469 spouses of disabled workers getting federal disability payments and 1,899,756 children of disabled workers getting benefits. That brought the total number of beneficiaries receiving disability insurance payment in June to 10,798,686.
These disability payments put more strain on a federal budget that continues to spiral out of control and is another symbol of a sputtering economy that Obama has made worse.
In a classic case of where government regulation and public health concerns must be balanced against individual liberties and business interests, voters in Los Angeles County will decide in November whether porn actors will be required to wear condoms during their film shoots.
The advocacy group, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is behind the proposal, which received enough signatures to get on the ballot.
This issue became a concern after porn actors and actresses have been found to have infected fellow performers with sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS.
According to Reuters, the initiative “would require porn producers to get a health permit from Los Angeles County to make their movies showing explicit sex and nudity,” and “using condoms on the set would be a requirement of the permit, whether the shoot was in a studio or elsewhere.”
If Los Angeles County voters approve the measure, many porn businesses may, like other businesses that have been over-regulated in California, move out of Los Angeles -- and, in particular, the San Fernando Valley -- to places like Nevada or Florida where such laws are much looser or nonexistent.
The Department of Justice has been waging a battle against Texas' photo ID voting law since last July. That battle became more openly partisan this week when it was revealed that the DOJ hired a progressive voter data firm called Catalist to supplement it's argument before a D.C. court. In a letter to the DOJ, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas wrote "There is at least the appearance that ... Catalist might prefer that Texas' election laws favor Democratic Party candidates."
History of the Texas Voter ID Law
Because of the history of racial discrimination in the south, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires certain states and counties to get "pre-clearance" from the DOJ in order to make any changes to their voter laws. Under Eric Holder, the DOJ has been using this pre-clearance authority to fight voting changes tooth and nail, even when the changes have already been adopted and ruled constitutional in states not under DOJ preclearance authority.
In Texas, a photo ID law was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on May 27, 2011. The state submitted the new law for pre-clearance with the DOJ on July 25th. At that point the DOJ was supposed to make a ruling within 60 days, but it waited until the last day and then announced that it did not have the information it needed to reach a decision. The DOJ asked Texas to provide information on "the 605,576 registered voters who the State has advised do not have a Texas driver's license or personal identification card, please provide the number of such persons by Spanish surname, as well as an estimated number by race, within county of residence." In a response to the DOJ in October, Texas's Attorney General noted the irony of the DOJ's request "the very reason Texas refuses to maintain racial and ethnic data on its list of registered voters is to facilitate a colorblind electoral process, and Texas adopted this race-blind voter-registration policy shortly after the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act." Delays over this issue continued until, on January 23, 2012, Texas sued the DOJ demanding they make a decision. The DOJ finally rejected the pre-clearance request on March 12, 2012.
The underlying issue in the Texas case--whether states can require photo ID at polling places--has already been decided by the Supreme Court. In 2008, the Court issued a 6-3 decision upholding an Indiana law which became the model on which the Texas photo ID was based. In the majority decision in the Indiana case, Justice Stephens wrote "We cannot conclude that the statute imposes 'excessively burdensome requirements' on any class of voters." But because of the Voting Rights Act, the DOJ has the ability to make its own decision about what is legal in 12 southern states, including Texas. In effect, the DOJ is ignoring the Supreme Court's Indiana decision.
The dispute between Texas and the DOJ is scheduled to be heard in a D.C. Court this month. In an effort to bolster its case, the DOJ turned to Harvard political science professor Stephen Ansolabehere who provided an opinion based on data from progressive firm Catalist.
There is no doubt that Catalist is decidedly liberal interest which has been credited with playing a role in the 2008 victory of Barack Obama. As Rep. Smith's letter explains, that's just the tip of the iceberg:
Catalist's clients include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governors Association, several state Democratic parties, the Texas Democratic Trust, Obama for America, at least 43 Democratic members of Congress and a host of other Democratic and progressive groups.
A "Client" page on Catalist's website offer a more complete list.
Catherine Engelbrecht is the founder of True the Vote, a national voter integrity organization based in Texas. Asked about DOJ's decision to rely on Catalist, Ms. Engelbrecht told me "Catalist isn't the problem; the problem is that the DOJ is relying on a data provider that is openly partisan. Catalist makes no excuses for who they are or who they serve. Who does Eric Holder serve? By all appearances, his first allegiance is to the furtherance of a progressive agenda, not to the American people."
Some, including professor Ansolabehere, will no doubt argue that the data provided by Catalist is not itself partisan, but the fact remains that openly progressive Catalist has been enlisted to bolster the supposedly non-partisan legal argument by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Republican Party also maintains a large voter database. Would it have been an issue if Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez had relied on this GOP provided data to win a case? Would the fact that the underlying data was very similar to the data provided by Catalist matter to the media?With the hiring of Catalist, the mask has once again slipped at DOJ. Eric Holder is no more concerned about the appearance of non-partisanship in this case than he is about the Supreme Court's ruling in 2008 which ought to have precedent over the Texas law. Holder is seeking a win for his side. The Catalist decision makes clear that's what really matters to this DOJ.