Leave it to Ray Stevens ........
Some my find it offensive.
"The Tax Tsunami On The Horizon
"Roads to Ruin: Towns Rip Up the Pavement
Asphalt Is Replaced By Cheaper Gravel; 'Back to Stone Age'
First article although long is recommended reading.
"Dissenting with Paul Mirengoff: New Black Panther Case Should Not Have Been DismissedFormer DOJ Civil Rights Division lawyer Hans A. von Spakovsky rebuts a post by our esteemed colleague.
"The New Black Panther Party case -- a reply to Hans von Spakovsky
Poor Algore couldn't get attention when he wanted it for global warming, now can't can't stay out of the spotlight.
"Does Al Gore Have A Thing For Massage Therapists?
July 21, 2010 Posted by John at 7:41 PM
The National Enquirer has another scoop: two more massage therapists have accused him of scandalous behavior. ......."
For everyone who hated corporate welfare Obama makes it permanent.
They get to reap profit, we get taxed for their mistakes.
"Wall Street reform that isn't
President Obama lauded Senate passage of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, saying that "because of this bill, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes." That statement is untrue. Instead of ending tax-paid bailouts of politically favored corporations that are "too big to fail," Dodd-Frank makes the process permanent. The only thing Dodd-Frank has changed on bailouts is this: Before the bill was passed, bailouts had to be approved by Congress, as with the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program first proposed by President Bush and then extended by Obama. But in the future, thanks to Dodd-Frank, instead of congressional votes, Treasury Department bureaucrats will unilaterally decide under the bill's "orderly liquidation process" how much of the taxpayers' money to hand out to troubled firms.
Worse yet, according to the Judicial Conference of the United States, Dodd-Frank makes tax-paid bailouts of selected corporations permanent in a manner that overrides the bankruptcy process established by the U.S. Constitution. "This is a substantial change from the bankruptcy law because it would create a new structure within bankruptcy court and remove a class of cases from the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy code," the conference said in a recent letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. To paraphrase Mark Twain, despite consuming more than 2,300 pages, Dodd-Frank bears the same relationship to reform as "lightning" does to "lightning bug." The terms sound like they are connected but in reality are entirely different.
So Dodd-Frank does not remedy the fundamental cause of the economic meltdown of 2008, which was the government's decision to shift the costs of bad investment decisions from corporate executives to taxpayers. Nor does the bill do anything to remove the elephant in the living room, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout. The costs of this will reach nearly $400 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and could approach $1 trillion before all is said and done. Roughly 70 percent of all U.S. mortgages are held by Fannie and Freddie, which between them hold $5 trillion in their investment portfolios. Fannie and Freddie are still losing billions by the month on bad mortgage investments and taxpayers are still on the hook. This means the housing crisis is far from being resolved, and, thanks to the continuing high rate of foreclosures, could plunge the economy back into recession at any time. No wonder four out of five Americans, according to a recent Bloomberg News survey, believe the reform bill Obama hailed as historic is anything but."
I'm in favor of education money following the child to the school of the parent's choosing. Neal seems to believe this is a referendum on that choice which teacher's unions adamantly oppose. I tend to agree given each and every one of Roy Barnes political ads.
"American politics has caught the British disease
Under Barack Obama, the phenomenon of class resentment is a live political issue, says Janet Daley.
By Janet Daley
Published: 9:00PM BST 17 Jul 2010Source Telegraph.co.uk
"When David Cameron visits the United States this week, he will find a country whose national political argument has become more like our own in Britain than probably he – and certainly I – would ever have imagined. For America has learned, thanks to Barack Obama's crash course in European-style government, about the titanic force of class differences. The president's determination to transform the US into a social democracy, complete with a centrally run healthcare programme and a redistributive tax system, has collided rather magnificently with America's history as a nation of displaced people who were prepared to risk their futures on a bid to be free from the power of the state.
They are talking a lot about this in the US now. Suddenly the phenomenon of class resentment is a live political issue. Some commentators describe it as the Democrats' "middle-class problem", which means that there has been a spectacular collapse of support for the administration among the core blue-collar voters who should constitute its base. (This terminology may be confusing: the "middle class" in the US means the skilled working, or lower middle, class. University-educated professionals are described as the "upper middle class" which, in this country, tends to mean a notch or two below titled aristocracy.)
There was a warning of what was to come during the election campaign with Joe the Plumber, to whom Mr Obama unwisely confided his intention to "spread the wealth around". Americans who have risen from poverty to become qualified tradesmen or entrepreneurs generally believe that they have a right to put what wealth they produce back into their own businesses, rather than trusting governments to spread it around among those judged to be deserving.
But Joe's warning was not heeded. Most of the constituency whose instincts were the same as his voted for Obama, and have now lived to regret it. This in itself is not especially surprising: it could simply be seen as the self-interested politics of personal survival. What is more startling is the growth in America of precisely the sort of political alignment which we have known for many years in Britain: an electoral alliance of the educated, self-consciously (or self-deceivingly, depending on your point of view) "enlightened" class with the poor and deprived.
America, in other words, has discovered bourgeois guilt. A country without a hereditary nobility has embraced noblesse oblige. Now, there is nothing inherently strange or perverse about people who lead successful, secure lives feeling a sense of responsibility toward those who are disadvantaged. What is peculiar in American terms is that this sentiment is taking on precisely the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene.
Liberal politics is now – over there as much as here – a form of social snobbery. To express concern about mass immigration, or reservations about the Obama healthcare plan, is unacceptable in bien-pensant circles because this is simply not the way educated people are supposed to think. It follows that those who do think (and talk) this way are small-minded bigots, rednecks, oiks, or whatever your local code word is for "not the right sort".
The petit bourgeois virtues of thrift, ambition and self-reliance – which are essential for anyone attempting to escape from poverty under his own steam – have long been derided in Britain as tokens of a downmarket upbringing. But not long ago in America they were considered, even among the highly educated, to be the quintessential national virtues, because even well-off professionals had probably had parents or grandparents who were once penniless immigrants. Nobody dismissed "ambition" as a form of gaucherie: the opposite of having ambition was being a bum, a good-for-nothing who would waste the opportunities that the new country offered for self-improvement.
But now the British Lefties who – like so many Jane Austen heroines looking down on those "in trade" – used to dismiss Margaret Thatcher as "a grocer's daughter", have their counterparts in the US, where virtually everybody's family started poor. Our "white van man" is their Tea Party activist, and the insult war is getting very vicious. It is becoming commonplace now for liberals in the US to label the Tea Party movement as racist, the most damaging insult of all in respectable American life.
So the Democrats, who once represented the interests of ferociously self-respecting blue-collar America, are now seen – under their highly educated president, who wholeheartedly embraces the orthodoxy of the liberal salon – as having abandoned their traditional following. Which is precisely what Labour did here when it turned its back on what used to be called "the respectable working class" because of its embarrassing resentments and "prejudices" against welfare claimants, immigrants, and anti-social youths. Bizarrely, among people who see themselves as profoundly empathetic, there was an utter failure to understand why the spirit of benevolent understanding and tolerance did not flourish among those whose daily lives were directly affected by a mass influx of foreign workers, or local delinquency, or a welfare system that rewarded inertia.
So who will speak – both here and over there – for the aspiring, the enterprising, the law-abiding, and, perhaps most important of all in these economic times, the productive classes? Mr Cameron seems unsure whether he wishes to recapture the Thatcher constituency of C1s and C2s, or to cultivate the liberal drawing rooms with a green/overseas aid/gay marriage portfolio. He speaks warmly of the virtuous and hard-working, but his tax policies will make them pay off most of the national deficit out of their own pockets.
In the US, there is probably no going back for the Obama administration. It has definitively lost faith with the "little guy" voters who once thought of a Democratic presidency as a form of divine protection, and this president does not seem to have the ingenious flexibility of a Bill Clinton, who swung Right after his first disastrous years in office, partly under pressure from a Republican Congress.
What is most depressing about this – apart from the injustice of it – is that the people who have been disenfranchised and disowned are the very ones on whom both countries' economic recovery depends."
"Neal Boortz: Enjoy paying bill for president’s PR
"Maybe it’s time to get into the sign business.
This week we learned that the Imperial Federal Government has squandered around $20 million dollars on signs. That $20 million? Well, that was stimulus money. The signs? They simply said, “Hey, y’all! We’re spending stimulus money here! Ain’t that cool?”
OK, so the wording may not be exact. The signs actually say something about “The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and contain that wonderful phrase “Putting America Back to Work.” Yeah, putting America back to work painting signs that say we’re putting America back to work. That probably works for the average Democrat voter. But not for me.
The National Tax Foundation has released a report setting the average annual tax burden per household to be about $17,000. That’s no small amount of change, and considering that about one-half of households pay nothing, you can imagine how high the burden is for some. Let’s pick on one particular sign — one erected by the Washington Airports Authority. ABC News reports that this authority spent $10,000 on one sign near Dulles International Airport telling anyone who cared to read it that a runway improvement project was being funded by stimulus funds.
Why the signs? The ABC investigation shows a political motivation: The Obama administration issued “General Guidelines for Emblem and Logo Applications” for signs touting stimulus projects. According to the leaked document the signs and logos — similar to the Obama 2008 campaign logo — were designed to be “a symbol of President Obama’s commitment to the American people to invest their tax dollars wisely and put Americans back to work.” Yeah, right. That’s $20 million for Obama PR.
The sign at Dulles costs $10,000. So let’s find a family who’s federal tax burden mirrors the average: $17,000. We’ll look for a family that might be having a problem paying some bills. They’re having trouble making their mortgage payments, and foreclosure is being threatened. There have been some recent health problems that wiped out their savings. Their eldest daughter is in college, and that’s costing about $25,000 a year. The roof needs repairing, the car doesn’t run all that well, and the septic tank needs cleaning. This is a family that could use an extra 10 grand right about now, maybe 10 grand cut from their federal tax bill.
So, here’s what I would like the Great and Powerful Community Organizer to do. We’ll make a media event out of it — you know how much the Chosen One loves grand media events. We’ll take the family and televise a meeting between them and Obama. First the financially beleaguered couple can tell Obama of all the things they could do right now with an extra $10,000. They can detail the home repairs that are waiting, how much it would take to catch their mortgage up to date, and how their daughter is planning to pack up and head home from college if they can’t rustle up the rest of her tuition. Then, after our compassionate and caring ruler absorbs all of this information, I want to hear him tell this family that they can’t have that $10,000 they worked for and earned. They can’t have that money because it was oh so desperately needed to put a sign up near Washington’s airport so everyone would know how much their president cares about spending their tax dollars wisely.
Using the police power of government to seize money from the person who earned it so that you can spend the money to erect a sign telling the person who earned the money that you’re spending the money wisely to put them back to work. That perverse logic can only work for a politician. The politician who cannot defend their spending face-to-face with the person who’s money they have seized needs to find another way to earn a living. We can arrange that."
Listen to Neal Boortz live from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on AM750 WSB Radio.
Cameron said he will press ahead with a proposal set out in the coalition government’s program to establish a “Big Society Bank” to finance moves by charitable groups and not-for-profit companies to take over jobs currently done by the government.
“These unclaimed assets, alongside the private-sector investment that we will leverage, will mean that the Big Society Bank will over time make available hundreds of millions of pounds of new finance to some of the most dynamic social organizations in our country,” Cameron said in a speech in Liverpool, northwest England, today.
Cameron said the idea ties in with his plans for a general overhaul of the public services, as the government tries to narrow a record budget deficit. The new Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that 490,000 public-sector jobs will be lost by April 2015.
“We’ve got to get rid of the centralized bureaucracy that wastes money and undermines morale,” Cameron said. “In its place, we’ve got to give professionals much more freedom and open up public services to new providers like charities, social enterprises and private companies so we get more innovation, diversity and responsiveness to public need.”
A law passed in 2008 under Gordon Brown’s Labour government allows the government to use money from dormant bank and building-society accounts “for social or environmental purposes.” An account is dormant if the holder has made no transactions over a period of 15 years.
A senior Labour lawmaker, Tessa Jowell, said in an e-mailed statement that Cameron’s proposals are “simply a brass-necked rebranding of programs already put in place.”
The coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats elected in May is maintaining pressure on the financial-services industry following the bailout of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Lloyds Banking Group by Labour.
Parliament’s Treasury Committee announced a probe into banking to run alongside a government panel looking at the future of the industry. Cable has attacked the level of interest charged by banks, saying lenders in Britain face less competition now and can keep costs higher.
“One of the negative side effects of this crisis is that our banking system that was already very concentrated, is now even more concentrated so there’s less competition, less choice and a bigger temptation for banks to earn margins at the expense of their customers,” Cable told BBC television’s Panorama program, which will be broadcast this evening.
“When we talk about restructuring the banks, what’s going to come out of this is a more competitive system where the customers are not ripped off,” Cable said.
He went on to attack the culture of bonuses. “Unacceptable bonuses are continuing and that is something we want to try to stop,” he said. “That reflects the lack of moral compass.”
Cousin emailed this. Gorgeous cat and dog ..... one of those awwwwwww things.
"Huge toxic release at BP Texas refinery just before Gulf blowoutBy Lynn Herrmann
"Texas City - A huge release of toxic chemicals from BP’s Texas City refinery, lasting for 40 days, occurred just two weeks before the energy giant began making headlines with its Gulf of Mexico catastrophe.
"The New Black Panther Party case: Just blow it
"Paul Mirengoff has been deliberating over the proper weight to be accorded the story involving the dismissal the case against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia by the powers-that- be in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. I'm one of those who thought it was a big story, not so much because of the dismissal per se as because of the rationale underlying it. According to whistleblower J. Christian Adams, the dismissal derived from the Obama Department of Justice's view that voting rights cases should be pursued depending on the race of the victim and/or the perpetrator.
Adams served as a career attorney working the case. He was in a position to evaluate its merits and to ascertain why the case was treated as it was. He has resigned in protest of the department's treatment of the case. He has written columns about the case for Pajamas Media. He has also testified under oath before the Civil Rights Commission on the case, and the powers-that-be in the Department of Justice have refused to allow serving attorneys to respond to the commission's subpoenas.
The exile of Adams's colleague Christopher Coates to South Carolina tends to support Adams's testimony. Coates is the former chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department; he was relieved of his post on January 5 and "transferred" to South Carolina for an 18-month assignment with the U.S. attorney's office.
Jennifer Rubin provided a concise summary of the case in her Weekly Standard article on it. I think this should be a big story, and I know it would be viewed as a scandal of epic proportions to which we would be treated on a daily basis if a similar story arose in a Republican administration. It is the sickening double standard of the mainstream media that adds the frisson of disgust to what is otherwise an interesting story in itself.
Has the story been overblown by conservative commentators on the Internet and/or underblown by the mainstream media? To Paul's discussions we can now add the contribution of Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander.
Alexander considers whether the the Washington Post was right to have ignored the story until last week. Alexander judges that the Post should have attended to the story "because it's a controversy that screams for clarity that The Post should provide. If Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his department are not colorblind in enforcing civil rights laws, they should be nailed. If the Commission on Civil Rights' investigation is purely partisan, that should be revealed. If Adams is pursuing a right-wing agenda, he should be exposed." Alexander's judgment is somewhat reserved at this point.
Why did the Post sit on the story until last week? Here Alexander relays the testimony of National Editor Kevin Merida. Merida termed the controversy "significant" and said he wished the Post had written about it sooner. "The delay was a result of limited staffing and a heavy volume of other news on the Justice Department beat, he said." Unfortunately, Alexander reserves his judgment on this excuse as well.
JOHN adds: I think it is significant that the case had already been won--the defendants had defaulted--when Holder directed that the proceeding be dismissed. So his act had nothing to do with enforcement priorities; rather, it was a politically or ideologically motivated intervention on behalf of the New Black Panther Party."
"Friends in High Places
The Obama Justice Department went to bat for the New Black Panther party—and then covered it up.
BY Jennifer RubinSource The Weekly Standard
"The case is straightforward. On Election Day 2008, two members of the New Black Panther party (NBPP) dressed in military garb were captured on videotape at a Philadelphia polling place spouting racial epithets and menacing voters. One, Minister King Samir Shabazz, wielded a nightstick. It was a textbook case of voter intimidation and clearly covered under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
A Department of Justice trial team was assigned to investigate. They gathered affidavits from witnesses—one of the poll watchers was called a “white devil” and a “cracker.” A Panther told him he would be “ruled by the black man.” The trial team, all career Justice attorneys and headed by voting section chief Chris Coates, filed a case against the two Panthers caught on tape. Malik Zulu Shabazz, head of the national NBPP, and the party itself were also named based on evidence the party had planned the deployment of 300 members on Election Day and on statements after the incident in which the NBPP endorsed the intimidation at the Philadelphia polling station.
The trial team quickly obtained a default judgment—meaning it had won the case because the New Black Panther party failed to defend itself. Yet in May 2009, Obama Justice Department lawyers, appointed temporarily to fill top positions in the civil rights division, ordered the case against the NBPP dismissed. An administration that has pledged itself to stepping-up civil rights enforcement dropped the case and, for over a year, has prevented the trial team lawyers from telling their story.
But on June 4, J. Christian Adams, a veteran lawyer in Justice’s voting section and a key member of the trial team, resigned. His reasons were spelled out in a letter that also noted that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which was investigating the dismissal, had subpoenaed him and Coates, but their superiors, in violation of federal law, had ordered them not to testify. He noted that “the defendants in the New Black Panther lawsuit have become increasingly belligerent in their rhetoric toward the attorneys who brought the case. . . . Their grievances toward us generally echo the assertions [by Justice Department officials] that the facts and law did not support the lawsuit against them.” Coates, too, has left the Voting Section, moving to South Carolina to work in the U.S. attorney’s office. Last Friday, the civil rights commission’s general counsel, David Blackwood, announced that he had received an email from Christian Adams’s attorney stating that Adams is now available to provide information to the commission. Commissioner Todd Graziano said they would schedule Adams’s appearance at a public hearing as soon as possible as the commission had been seeking his testimony for many months.
With Adams’s resignation and letter, a clearer picture is finally emerging of what led to the dismissal of the case, the actions of DoJ political appointees, the department’s misrepresentations about the case, and the Obama administration’s approach to civil rights enforcement.
Based on documents obtained by The Weekly Standard and interviews with Justice personnel, we now know far more about the sequence of events surrounding the dismissal. The then-acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Grace Chung Becker, signed off on the case as the Bush administration was leaving office in January 2009. She confirms that the decision to file the case was an easy one. In response to my questions, she was emphatic that this was a serious case of voter intimidation. The trial team, which also included attorneys Robert Popper and Spencer Fisher, conducted its investigation and on January 8, 2009, filed suit against the NBPP. As the Panthers did not respond to the lawsuit, the department had a slam-dunk victory.
The trial team was poised to enter a default judgment in late April 2009. An order for a default of judgment was drafted and sent to the voting section management. On the morning of April 29, the acting deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, Steven Rosenbaum, sent an email to Coates about the case. It was the first indication by any department official that something was amiss. “I have serious doubts about the merits of the motion for entry of a default judgment and the request for injunctive relief,” Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee, wrote. “Most significantly, this case raises serious First Amendment issues, but the papers make no mention of the First Amendment.” Rosenbaum asked Coates a series of questions—whether “the defendants make any statements threatening physical harm to voters or persons aiding voters,” for example, and what was the “factual predicate for enjoining the Party, as opposed to individual defendants”—which indicated that he was not familiar with the case and had not read the detailed memorandum accompanying the draft order.
The trial team assumed that Rosenbaum was simply confused about the applicable law. The notion that this was a problematic case would have been outlandish. With video evidence, multiple witnesses, and clear case law, it was one the easiest cases on which any of the trial team attorneys—who had more than 75 years of collective experience—had worked.
After sending the response, Coates and Robert Popper met with Rosenbaum and the then acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Loretta King. People familiar with the discussions describe “two days of shouting.” The trial team now knew that DoJ political appointees were serious about undermining the case by using whatever arguments they could dream up, including First Amendment concerns. The team prepared a detailed memo dated May 6 explaining the factual and legal basis for the case. In 13 pages, the attorneys meticulously analyzed the law and the facts and rebutted any notion that the First Amendment could insulate the Panthers. The memo made clear that Rosenbaum’s and King’s arguments for dismissing the case were spurious. Rosenbaum and King, for example, argued that legal precedent involving protestors at abortion clinics would undermine the case. The trial team pointed out, however, that these cases were either inapplicable or actually supported the issuance of an injunction when there was a significant government interest (such as the protection of voting rights) at stake.
The arguments continued after the May 6 memo was submitted. During one meeting in a conference room on the 5th floor of the Main Justice building, Coates became so exasperated he threw the memo at Rosenbaum who had admitted not reading the trial team’s detailed briefing on the issues.
Rosenbaum and King sent a request to the appellate section asking their opinion of the case. The appellate attorneys sided with the trial team on May 13. Coates announced this to his team with the words “Good news.” They all agreed it would be unthinkable for their superiors to nix the case. They were wrong. On May 15, Coates received an order to dismiss the case against everyone but the baton-menacing Shabazz. And they were ordered to scale back the injunction against him to cover only the display of a weapon within 100 feet of a Philadelphia polling place until 2012. (No other behavior was enjoined.)
The actions of King and Rosenbaum were unprecedented in the collective experience of the trial team. They were not alone in that assessment. A former associate attorney general for the civil division Greg Katsas testified before the civil rights commission on April 23, 2010, and termed the Panthers’ actions a blatant case of voter intimidation. He said it was a “straightforward and overwhelmingly strong case” and that the Panthers’ conduct was “egregious and intentional.” As for the party itself and its leadership, Katsas said that under “general principles of agency law” they were liable.
From the onset, Justice has denied that any political appointees were involved in the decision to dismiss the case. This line was repeated in multiple letters to and face-to-face meetings with Republican representatives Frank Wolf and Lamar Smith and in statements to the media. We now know that this is incorrect. In interrogatory answers supplied to the civil rights commission, the department acknowledged that Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed on the decision to dismiss the case and that the number three man in Justice, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, was consulted as well. Katsas testified, “Certainly DoJ’s decision to abandon all claims against the party, Malik Shabazz, and Mr. Jackson [the second polling place intimidator], despite their refusal to even defend the case, would have qualified as important enough for the leadership of the Civil Rights Division to raise with [Perrelli].” The same is true of the decision to seek only a narrow injunction against the billy club-wielding defendant. He notes that the filing of the case may have been routine, but the decision to dismiss it was so extraordinary that someone of Perrelli’s rank must certainly have played an “active role.”
The department is, moreover, trying to characterize King and Rosenbaum, who instructed the trial team to dismiss the case, as “career attorneys with over 60 years of experience.” It is true that they both served in career positions at Justice in the past. But under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, as soon as someone is appointed to fill a political position—as Rosenbaum and King were early in the Obama administration—they are political appointees.
Neither King nor Rosenbaum has directly worked on a voting rights case since the mid-1990s and both have received sanctions of hundreds of thousands of dollars by federal court judges for bringing unmeritorious cases and for failing to respond to court orders. In January 2010, a federal court judge in Kansas fined King and Rosenbaum for failing to respond to interrogatories in a housing discrimination case. Former civil rights division attorney Hans von Spakovsky has written: “That particular sanction is also very unusual—I have never seen a sanction order directed at individual lawyers that specifically says their employer is not responsible for paying the costs. . . . During the Bush administration, when liberals claim there was politicization going on in the division, I am not aware of a single such sanction.” King and the Justice Department were also ordered to pay $587,000 in attorneys’ fees and fines for bringing an unmeritorious claim during the Clinton administration in Johnson v. Miller. (In that case the court also took DoJ and King to task for allowing the ACLU to unduly affect the litigation decisions of the department.)
The administration’s internal investigation also appears to have been fraudulent. Under ongoing pressure from Representatives Smith and Wolf, an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) was finally ordered to commence in July 2009. Until a few days before Adams’s resignation, however, none of the trial team had been interviewed by OPR investigators.
Furthermore the department has been less than candid in congressional testimony. In December 2009, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez testified before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, and he either did not understand the case fully or chose to disregard the documentation the trial team had put together. Perez said, for example, that Shabazz had received the “maximum penalty.” An experienced voting rights lawyer scoffs at the statement. “The maximum penalty is Leavenworth.” Perez then suggested that the attorneys on the trial team might have violated Federal Rule 11, which prohibits lawyers from bringing frivolous actions. The trial team was angered at the public insinuation that they had been derelict in their professional responsibilities.
While the interference by political appointees in the NBPP case has been egregious, there is a critical issue with implications far beyond this single case: Whether the attorneys who populate the civil rights division of the Justice Department believe that civil rights laws exist only to protect minorities from discrimination and intimidation by whites. In a farewell address to his colleagues before his reassignment to a U.S. attorney’s office, Coates spoke about this widespread sentiment and why it was antithetical to the department’s mission to seek equal enforcement of federal laws.
Former voting rights attorneys confirm that the belief is omnipresent in the Justice Department. DoJ attorneys openly criticized the Panther case, objecting not to any lack of evidence or to the legal arguments but to the notion that any discrimination case should be filed against black defendants. There are instances of attorneys refusing to work on cases against minority defendants. In 2005, for example, Coates pursued, filed, and won a case (upheld on appeal to the Fifth Circuit in 2009) of egregious voter discrimination by black officials in Noxubee County, Mississippi. Colleagues criticized Coates for filing the case and refused to work on it.
Liberal civil rights lawyers argue that because “a history of official discrimination” can be one subsidiary factor in voting cases it “wipes out every other factor” and prohibits cases from being brought against blacks. And further, that since “socio-economic” factors can be considered in determining whether voting discrimination has occurred, these cases cannot be brought against black defendants until there is economic parity between blacks and whites. Such attorneys use phrases like “traditional civil rights cases” and “traditional civil rights victims” to signal that only minority victims and white perpetrators concern them. Justice sources tell me that career attorneys have been “assured” that cases against minority defendants won’t be brought. In testimony before the civil rights commission, Thomas Perez denied he was aware of any such conversations or sentiments.
To date the Democratic Congress has exercised virtually no oversight over either the Panther case or the department’s civil rights enforcement approach generally. The OPR investigation shows no sign of completion. Neither Holder nor Perrelli has been questioned in depth about his participation in the case or about the allegations that Justice attorneys don’t intend to enforce civil rights laws against anyone other than white defendants.
Smith and Wolf, who just this week fired off two-dozen questions to Attorney General Eric Holder, continue to pursue the case, but without Democratic support they cannot subpoena either witnesses or documents. That may change after the November election. If the House of Representatives or Senate flips to Republican control and new committee chairmen decide to engage in actual oversight, Perrelli and Holder may find themselves forced by subpoenas to tell the complete NBPP story and explain why Obama’s Justice Department believes the civil rights laws exist only to protect citizens of certain races."
"Financial Reform's Empty PromisesBy Sen. Tom Coburn
"With President Obama expected to sign financial reform legislation into law in the next few days the public is hearing grandiose rhetoric about the bill's merits. The president has promised the bill will "end an era of irresponsibility" while Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the bill will clean up Wall Street and "fix the system that caused the recession."
The public isn't buying these arguments. Four out of five Americans have little or no confidence in the bill, according to a Bloomberg Poll. Respondents also said the plan is more likely to help the financial industry than individual consumers, a fact that was confirmed by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein during congressional hearings on the financial crisis. I asked Blankfein point blank if he supported the financial reform bill. He said, "on the whole, financial reform is, absolutely is essential ... the biggest beneficiaries of reform will be Wall Street itself."
In other words, the CEO of a financial institution the majority spent months demonizing supports the bill that supposedly reins in his firm. Still, the bill's backers won't acknowledge the massive disconnect between their rhetoric and their legislative product. If the CEO of Goldman Sachs supports the bill, it's no wonder the public is skeptical.
An even bigger problem than lending institutions that are too big to fail is a Congress the public views as too incompetent to succeed. The bill was written by career politicians, lobbyists and staff who have virtually no real world experience in business or investing and who, in many cases, are beholden to special interests. Few members of Congress will read the 2,300 page bill before voting on it and fewer will understand its implications.
The public doesn't trust Congress, an institution that can't pass a budget and is responsible for our $13 trillion debt, to manage and fix the dysfunctional and complex financial relationships on Wall Street. The public is also skeptical that a Congress that refuses to make rational borrowing decisions is going to effectively oversee the establishment of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection that will be responsible for micromanaging millions of borrowing decisions. Besides, of all the problems facing our economy, a shortage of government agencies is not near the top.
The bill has three key flaws.
First, the bill does not "fix the system." The bill fails to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which incentivized banks to offer loans people couldn't afford. These entities have already cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts with no end in sight. As we've learned from the Gulf oil spill debacle, saying the spill is stopped doesn't stop the spill. Similarly, this bill's promises of grand reform do little to stop or prevent toxic assets from spewing into the economy now or in the future.
Second, the bills "fixes" are more likely to create uncertainty rather than financial stability. For instance, while pursuing the legitimate goal of regulating derivatives - the financial tools used to manage risk that Wall Street firms abused - Congress ended up writing a bill that treats companies like Home Depot, John Deere and Coca Cola like Goldman Sachs.
My colleague, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is warning that "requiring businesses that provide credit to our nation's producers (like the Farm Credit System Banks or John Deere Credit) to clear their interest-rate derivatives will result in higher interest rates being charged to our farmers, ranchers, electric cooperatives and renewable fuel facilities for business and equipment loans." In others words, the bill's fixes will create higher prices and fewer jobs.
The bill's fixes will also require years of complex rule making by government agencies which will create even more uncertainty and anxiety between lenders, companies and consumers at the worst possible time. Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the SEC, aptly calls the bill "The Lawyers' and Lobbyists' Full Employment Act." The coming regulatory scramble will undoubtedly pit smaller firms against larger firms and will favor the big firms.
Finally, the bill was fast-tracked before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission could finish its work. The commission was created to find out what went wrong so we could prevent a similar crisis. Yet, we're passing a bill for political purposes rather than solving the problem. Congress has made an indefensible choice. Instead of passing a bill that could have created stability in the financial sector for a generation, Congress has passed a bill for an election.
In the real world no crisis is like the last one. The next financial crisis could be a liquidity crisis, a debt crisis, a crisis concerning the value of the dollar, or something else. This bill will not only fail to prevent the next crisis, but will create an economy that is weakened and less able to withstand the next crisis. Unfortunately, the financial reform bill shows the era of irresponsibility in Washington is far from over."
Tom Coburn is a U.S. Senator from Oklahoma.
"The endless hypocrisy of Eric Holder
"Attorney General Eric Holder has developed a bad habit of accusing others of acting in bad faith while doing so himself.
Take the issue of Guantanamo Bay. In Aspen, Colo., last week, Holder accused Congress of playing politics in preventing President Obama from closing the Gitmo detention center -- as Obama had promised to do within a year of his inauguration. But this accusation is disingenuous for a variety of reasons.
Obama campaigned on calls to reverse the Bush administration anti-terrorism protocols, charging that they were either unnecessary or counterproductive. Then, when invested with the responsibility of governance, he reversed himself on almost all of them -- tribunals, renditions, Iraq, the Patriot Act, targeted airborne assassinations and Guantanamo Bay. Holder himself once supported the detention of terrorists without regard for the Geneva Conventions. What made him so radically change his views?
In fact, any time Obama wishes to close Gitmo, he can simply carry out his earlier executive order, as President Bush opened it without congressional approval. In blaming Congress, Holder doesn't mention the real reasons why Obama broke his promise: The American public now wants unrepentant terrorists to stay there, rather than be incarcerated and tried in civilian courts here at home.
Holder got himself into trouble last year when he played politics by announcing that the administration would try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, in a civilian courtroom. The boast was supposed to contrast an enlightened Obama team with the demonized Bush administration's supposed lawlessness in confining Mohammed to Guantanamo. But after New Yorkers protested, Holder backed off.
Meanwhile, the president rushed to assure the nation that Mohammed would be "convicted" and have "the death penalty . . . applied to him." At that point, Bush's planned military tribunals seemed a lot less prejudicial than Holder's planned civilian show trials.
Holder's refusal to link radical Islam with the epidemic of global terrorism is likewise entirely political. When asked at a congressional hearing if radical Islamic terrorists were behind the Fort Hood killings, the attempted Christmas Day bombing and the foiled Times Square bomb attack, he refused to identify that obvious common catalyst. He cited instead a "variety of reasons." The nation's chief prosecutor wasn't looking at the evidence, but adhering to a politically correct predetermined dogma.
On matters of race, Holder castigated Americans as "a nation of cowards" for not engaging in a national conversation on his own terms. This was an odd accusation since at present we have a black president, attorney general, EPA head and NASA chief, Hispanic secretaries of Labor and the Interior, and a recent Hispanic Supreme Court appointment, not to mention that the two previous secretaries of state were black.
Yet Holder himself has used race for political purposes. He criticized Arizona for its anti-illegal-alien law -- after admitting that he hadn't read it. Then he chose to sue the state for trying to enforce unenforced federal immigration laws. Now he has promised that if that tactic fails, he'll play the race card on Arizona, alleging in yet another suit that its new legislation would entail racial profiling. Remember, the law hasn't gone into effect, so Holder has no evidence of how it will play out.
Holder dropped a voter-fraud case against the New Black Panther Party, which was caught on tape intimidating voters at a polling place. He is leveling charges of racism against those who deliberately excluded racial profiling in their legislation, while giving a free pass to those who blatantly used race to bother voters at the polls.
In just 18 months, Holder has proven to be the most political attorney general since Richard Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell. Like the hyperpartisan Mitchell, Holder will embarrass the nation until he steps down. Given his partisan temperament and checkered record in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, his departure is not a matter of if -- only when."
"As Obama Kowtows, Unions Eye the Private Sector
The unions want more legislation from the Democrats.
July 15, 2010 12:00 A.M.
By Michael Barone
Source National Review Online
"The Obama administration is dominated by labor unions. Yes, Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders do owe the unions something: Unions gave $400 million to Democrats in the 2008 campaign cycle, and thus expect to get something in return.
What they haven’t gotten out of the Democratic Congress is the thing they wanted most — the card-check bill that would effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections. Unions now represent only 7 percent of private-sector workers, the lowest percentage since the early 1930s. Union leaders believe that with card check they could vastly increase their dues income.
But the unions have gotten lots of other things, as Peyton R. Miller reports in The Weekly Standard. Obama has appointed as head of the National Labor Relations Board a former union lawyer who once wrote that the NLRB could institute something very much like card check without congressional action.
An Obama appointee has changed the National Mediation Board’s rules in a way designed to produce more strikes by airline and railroad union members.
Many of Obama’s executive orders have encouraged unionization by employees of government contractors and the seniority-based promotion practices preferred by union leaders. Obama has granted a 35 percent tariff on Chinese tires sought by the United Steelworkers and, in contravention of the North American Free Trade Agreement, has blocked Mexican trucks from U.S. roads as demanded by the Teamsters Union.
The Democrats’ stimulus package includes Davis-Bacon requirements that union wages be paid on construction jobs, which means that the government will pay more or get less production than it would if contractors were free to pay market wages. The complex Davis-Bacon process also means huge delays in getting supposedly shovel-ready projects underway.
And Obama Democrats are trying to force FedEx to become unionized by subjecting it to the same law as unionized UPS.
Meanwhile, one-third of the stimulus money went to state and local governments, with the effect of propping up the pay and saving the jobs of public-employee union members. As a result, while 8 million private-sector jobs have disappeared, the number of public-sector jobs has barely budged.
The cynical will see these measures as a political payoff and might venture that the unions have gotten something like a hundredfold payout for the $400 million they gave to Obama and his co-partisans.
Those who insist on looking for purer motives, in contrast, might see something potentially more sinister. They might see a former community organizer acting out of a sincere conviction that America would be better off with a much, much larger unionized private sector.
That prompts the question of what the private sector would look like if nearly half its workers were union members, as is now the case with the public sector.
As one who grew up in Detroit in the heyday of the Big Three auto companies and the United Auto Workers, I have some idea what the answer would be.
Adversarial unionism, as prescribed by the New Deal–era Wagner Act, would mean an end to management flexibility and the cooperative management techniques employed by, among others, the foreign-based auto manufacturers. UAW contracts had some 5,000 pages of work rules; if any were violated, the shop steward could shut down the assembly line.
We know how that story turned out. It took the U.S. manufacturers decades to achieve quality levels comparable to those their foreign-based competitors achieved with American workers.
We also have some idea how seniority promotion systems work out from what happens in unionized school systems. Incompetent senior teachers get their choice of assignments and, thanks to union contract provisions, are almost never fired, while talented junior teachers are laid off.
It is no accident that the rate of unionization in the private sector has plummeted since its peak in the 1950s. Scholars have found that unionized firms are at a competitive disadvantage against non-union firms. Over the years, their workforce tends to shrink, while non-union firms grow.
Since the 1950s, private-sector employees have gained protections that only unions once provided through pensions laws like ERISA, anti-discrimination legislation, and developing human-relations law. We're a long way from the 1930s.
But the Obama Democrats want to take us back to a system that produced huge inefficiencies and rigidity in the private sector. Does that sound progressive?"
"7 Reasons to Be Skeptical About Financial Reform
"Financial reform is an Obama signature away from becoming law in the United States, after the Senate voted to overhaul the rules and regulations governing the nation's banking system. Democrats will no doubt hail the bill as a major accomplishment before the midterm elections. After all, it is perhaps the most significant piece of progressive financial legislation since the Great Depression.
But the Atlantic has also spent considerable time pointing out all the ways financial reform could fail to curb risk appetite, strengthen the most dangerous banks and hurt ultimately taxpayers. Here* are seven reasons to be skeptical about financial reform:
1. The Bill Has Lobbyists' Finger Prints All Over It. Perhaps one of the most egregious lobbyist influences was a key exclusion from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When you think about consumer credit, a few products immediately come to mind: mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. But wait! Car loans -- one of the most prevalent types of consumer loan -- are excluded entirely from the Bureau's reach. While it isn't likely that auto loans will ever cause a financial crisis, neither will credit cards. Yet there are certainly auto loan shops that could use dastardly tactics worthy of as much attention as the regulator pays to credit card companies.
2. The Bill Doesn't Deal With Fannie, Freddie, Credit Runs, or Leverage. Fannie and Freddie played a huge role in helping to overheat the U.S. mortgage market. Until those agencies experience some fundamental change in policy and procedures, it's hard to see how another housing disaster won't occur again in the future. There's no attempt at any reform for these companies in either of Congress' financial regulation proposals.
3. Community Banks Are Afraid FinReg Will Hurt Them, Too. Most of the worries of community bankers boil down to a general problem with regulation: compliance with new rules requires that additional expenses are incurred. For a large company, these new costs aren't as harmful. They benefit from economies of scale -- an advantage where new fixed costs can be more easily absorbed by a larger company's higher profits.
For example, imagine two widget factories: one big one that employs 5,000 people and a small one that employs just five. If a new regulation requires all widget-makers to hire one person in charge of monitoring quality control, the big company's labor costs increase by 0.02%, while the smaller firm's labor costs increase by 20%. Smaller companies take a much bigger hit to their proportionally smaller earnings when additional regulation is imposed.
4. Financial Reform Won't Protect Taxpayers From a Future Bailout. If financial reform accomplishes anything, it should minimize the cost to taxpayers of future financial crises. But looking at the bailouts that Americans will be on the hook for, it fails that very basic test. And this isn't really a controversial point, since it does nothing to reform the government-sponsored entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [Via Bloomberg:] "The White House's Office of Management and Budget estimated in February that aid could total as little as $160 billion if the economy strengthens."
5. A Derivatives Loophole Could Cost Main Street $1 Trillion. From the International Swaps Dealers Association statement: "A change in the wording of the financial reform bill now being finalized in the US Congress could cost US companies as much as $1 trillion in capital and liquidity requirements, according to research by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA). About $400 billion would be needed as collateral that corporations could be required to post with their dealer counterparties to cover the current exposure of their OTC derivatives transactions. ISDA estimates that $370 billion represents the additional credit capacity that companies could need to maintain to cover potential future exposure of those transactions. If markets return to levels prevailing at the end of 2008, additional collateral needs would bring the total to $1 trillion."
6. Can You Trust a Bill That Requires 79 Years of Cumulative Studies? Reform isn't easy. Beyond making tough decisions, it also apparently involves an awful lot of research. The 3,321 pages of financial regulation bills being melded together by Congress' conference committee contain an incredible number of studies to be completed: 74. Approximately four of the studies are nearly identical. The other 70 all investigate different aspects of finance, economics, lending, etc. If you add up all the time allotted for these studies to take place, and did them back to back instead of simultaneously, then you'd be doing studies for almost 79 years.
7. We Failed to Kill 'Too Big to Fail.' In Fact, We Might Have Made It Stronger. What happens when lots of banks start to fail together? The liquidation process will be so onerous and ugly that in future severe crises where we've got widespread problems in the industry with multiple systemically crucial banks -- the once-every-three-generations kind of catastrophes -- the government might not have the stomach for widespread liquidation. "Think about it this time around," says Brookings' Doug Elliott. "If they had to take down Citi and Bank of America and the law required them to liquidate these guys, it would have been a disaster. And we would have created TARP."
Interesting facts I've seen other articles allude to.
"PANDERING TO TRIAL LAWYERS
"The U.S. Economy Is A Dead Horse And The American People Are Starting To Get Really Pissed Off And Frustrated
"The economic frustration of the American people is reaching a fever pitch. Millions of Americans can't seem to get a good job no matter what they do. Millions of others are working as hard as they can but find that they keep coming up short at the end of the month. Record numbers of Americans are still going bankrupt. Record numbers of Americans are still losing their homes. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a dead horse at this point. It just doesn't have any more to give. At this point the U.S. economy is like an aging rock star that requires larger and larger doses of drugs each night just to be able to perform. The U.S. economy is addicted to "drugs" such as debt and government stimulus, and years ago those things really supercharged the U.S. economic system, but at this point they aren't provoking much of a response at all. In fact, the things that once "stimulated" the economy are now slowly killing it. But the vast majority of the American people do not understand this. All they know is that the economy is broken and they want someone to "fix" it.
For most Americans, all we have ever known is tremendous prosperity. All our lives we have been taught that America is the richest and most prosperous nation on the planet, and that while there will always be times of "recession", things will always bounce back and be better than ever before.
But this time things aren't bouncing back.
And Americans are starting to become extremely frustrated.
A couple of quotes that appeared in a recent article in The New York Daily News really embodied the growing frustration that so many are feeling at this point....
"My husband and I are fortunate to be able to move in with my 81-year-old mother-in-law. But how sad is that? I apply for jobs and nothing happens," writes Gayle Hanson. "Who wants to hire a 59-year-old woman? My answer is nobody. [I] have years of experience, excellent references. And nothing to show for it."
"I am soon to be 57 and considered too old, too expensive, etc. I can't get an employer to hire me at any salary," writes Mike Stiller. "I am BOILING MAD."
But Gayle Hanson and Mike Stiller are far from alone.
Millions upon millions of Americans are "boiling mad" about the economy at this point.
The truth is that the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007. Many of those jobs have been shipped off to countries like China and India where labor is much cheaper and they are never coming back.
There just are not enough jobs for everyone in America at this point. The number of "chronically unemployed" has been rising at a frightening pace. In fact, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen to an all-time high.
If you have never been unemployed and unable to find a job, then you just don't know how soul crushing it can be. This is especially true when you have a family to support.
Right now, there are 9.2 million Americans that are unemployed but are not even receiving an unemployment insurance check. It is easy to tell those unemployed workers that they should "get a job", but as the chart below shows, the gap between the number of unemployed workers and the number of job openings has increased dramatically over the last couple of years....
But in this economy, even many of those who do have jobs are still struggling mightily. According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck. That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
And Americans are still losing their homes in record numbers. Banks repossessed an average of 4,000 south Florida properties a month in the first half of 2010, which was up 83 percent from the first half of 2009.
Meanwhile, demand for homes is dropping through the floor. The Mortgage Bankers Association announced on Wednesday that demand for loans to purchase U.S. homes sunk to a 13 year low last week, and refinancing demand also plummeted despite near record-low mortgage rates.
So considering all of these statistics, is it any wonder why so many Americans are so pessimistic?
According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, 71% of Americans say that it still feels like the economy is in a recession.
But the truth is that we haven't seen anything yet.
Things are going to get much worse.
Already, Federal Reserve policymakers are discussing what steps they might take to stimulate economic activity "if the outlook were to worsen appreciably".
So can more economic stimulus help?
To a limited extent.
The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government will likely try to inject more debt and more "economic stimulus" into the system to try to shock the economy back to life.
But the more debt the U.S. government takes on the worse our long-term problems are going to get.
The reality is that the U.S. economic system is broken, and there is simply not any "quick fix" that is available that is going to get things back to normal.
So on an individual level, what should we all do?
Well, we all need to start becoming a lot less dependent on the system.
We should all consider how we can start our own businesses, grow our own food and trade within our own communities.
If the entire system is starting to break down, it is those who are the least dependent on the system that will have the best chance to prosper during the times ahead."
By Matt Cover, StaffWriter
According to the CDC, “BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is usedto screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.”
Aperson’s BMI score is used as a tool to screen for obesity or excessive body fatthat could lead to other health problems. While it does not actually measurebody fat directly, according to CDC, the BMI scores generally correlate with aperson’s body fat percentage.
The new regulations also stipulate thatthe new electronic records be capable of sending public health data to state andfederal health agencies such as HHS and CDC. The CDC, which calls Americansociety “obesogenic” – meaning that American society itself promotes obesity –collects BMI scores from state health agencies every year to monitor obesitynationwide.
“Electronically record, retrieve, and transmit syndromebased public health surveillance information to public health agencies,” theregulations read.
With the spread of electronic health records, the CDCapparently will be able to collect such data more efficiently and with greateraccuracy because the electronic record keeping systems can send the dataautomatically, eliminating the need for government – both state and federal – tokeep, send, and process physical records."
Video of noon Fox 5 newscast.
"Tea Party Activists Denounce Accusations of Racism
My son sent me this. Fascinating, thought provoking. You decide.
Found this interesting. There are 7 charts in the article so would suggest navigating to the site if you wish to view them and read the rest of the article.
"Treasury Dump Brings Its Total Holdings To One Year Low, As "UK" Continues Exponential Accumulation Of US Bonds
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/16/2010 09:28 -0500
Source Zero Hedge
We are a rather surprised that this morning's stunning Treasury International Capital report has not gotten far more prominent attention. The reason: in it we read that in May 2010, China dumped $33 billion in Treasuries, bringing its total to the lowest since June 2009. Furthermore, Japan also offloaded $8.8 billion in bonds, as did the Oil Exporters. Yet total foreign Treasury holdings increased from $3,957 billion to $3,964 billion almost exclusively as a result of ongoing exponential UK accumulation. It is time someone in the mainstream media asked just who is doing all this "UK-based" buying? It is not hedge funds, which operate out of Caribbean Banking Centers, and which saw an increase in holdings from $151.8 billion to $165.5 billion as risk went completely off in the month of May courtesy of the Flash Crash, Greece, and the general insolvency of Europe. It is also not China due to a diverging pattern in Bills accumulation versus disposition. Additionally, May saw a dramatic decline in total foreign purchases of total US assets, dropping from $110.3 billion to just $33 billion, with Corporate Bonds and Corporate Stocks seeing a rare monthly sell off ($9 billion and $432 million). .........."
From Steve Quayle, Q-news photo of the day.
Look quickly as these never stay up long.
"how two horses plotted history
My apologies .... I can not find the original post of this video to link to. I was unable to view it on FoxNews but did find it on YouTube.
While I have never been a Hillary fan from First Lady onward, this video is a documentary showing that Hillary voters of all races were intimidated and turned away all over the country by thugs intent on Obama wining the popular vote.
"Brief for 9 states backs Arizona immigration law
Jul 15, 3:50 AM (ET)
By DAVID RUNK
Source My Way News
"DETROIT (AP) - States have the authority to enforce immigration laws and protect their borders, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said Wednesday in a legal brief on behalf of nine states supporting Arizona's immigration law.
Cox, one of five Republicans running for Michigan governor, said Michigan is the lead state backing Arizona in federal court and is joined by Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands.
The Arizona law, set to take effect July 29, directs officers to question people about their immigration status during the enforcement of other laws such as traffic stops and if there's a reasonable suspicion they're in the U.S. illegally.
President Barack Obama's administration recently filed suit in federal court to block it, arguing immigration is a federal issue. The law's backers say Congress isn't doing anything meaningful about illegal immigration, so it's the state's duty to step up.
"Arizona, Michigan and every other state have the authority to enforce immigration laws, and it is appalling to see President Obama use taxpayer dollars to stop a state's efforts to protect its own borders," Cox said in a statement.
Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, in a statement released by Cox's office, said she was thankful for the support.
In a telephone interview, Cox said the nine states supporting Arizona represents "a lot of states," considering it was only Monday that he asked other state attorneys general to join him. The brief was filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona on the same day as the deadline for such filings.
"By lawsuit, rather than by legislation, the federal government seeks to negate this preexisting power of the states to verify a person's immigration status and similarly seeks to reject the assistance that the states can lawfully provide to the Federal government," the brief states.
The brief doesn't represent the first time Cox has clashed with the Obama administration. Earlier this year, he joined with more than a dozen other attorneys general to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal health care changes signed into law by the Democratic president.
Like with his stance on health care, the immigration brief again puts Cox at odds with Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Granholm, who can't seek re-election because of term limits, disagrees with the Arizona law, her press secretary Liz Boyd said. The Michigan primary is less than three weeks away on Aug. 3.
"It's a patently political ploy in his quest for the Republican nomination for governor," Boyd said. "
"ENOUGH WITH THE TAXATION!By Neal Boortz
@ July 15, 2010 8:56 AM
"Taxes have consequences. Liberals only see taxes as a wonderfully easy way to seize wealth so that they can work their redistribution schemes. For some reason - abject ignorance might be an explanation - liberals just can't see how tax policy might affect people's behavior. This takes us back to that article I shared with you several weeks ago. Some researchers quizzed liberals, conservatives, libertarians and progressives on their economic knowledge. It came as no surprise to Boortz listeners that the further you were to the left, the less you knew about basic economics. By the time you identified yourself as a "progressive" you occupied the position of economic idiot. It's no surprise then that liberals just cannot grasp the concept that if you start to punish small businesses with regulations and taxes these small business owners are going to change their behavior .. and that behavioral change may well include the decision to stockpile wealth instead of sticking your neck out in an expansion effort that might cause you to hire more workers. You might even start firing permanent staff and look to temporary staffing agencies to replace employees.
It's not just businesses that change behavior, individuals do as well; especially the evil and disgusting rich people whom the liberals just LOVE to nail with more taxes. They (politicians) will do anything to get their hands on money that somebody else earned. The problem is that they're just not bright enough to realize that these evil achievers will eventually comes a point where they throw up their hands and say "enough already." That is exactly what is happening in Great Britain.
Remember Usain Bolt? Fastest guy in the world? He won a bunch of track medals at the last Olympics. So this organization in London wanted to set up a race between the fastest guys in the world, including Bolt. Usain Bolt declined. Why? Taxes. Since April of this year, Britain has new tax laws in place that would tax foreign sports stars competing in Britain at a rate of 50% on their earning in Britain. On top of that, athletes are taxed on their global endorsement income. For example, "If Bolt races 10 times in a year with just one event in the UK, the taxman would claim 10 per cent of his multi-million dollar earnings." Presumably this event - this race - would generate income for several British concerns. It won't happen though. The government simply wants too much of the take.
Golf is also having a hard time attracting top athletes to its tournaments. According to the Telegraph of London, "The European Tour will tell the Government that the tax measures disproportionately affect overseas golfers and are a major reason why UK tournaments, including the Welsh Open played over the Celtic Manor course that will host the Ryder Cup, attract fewer overseas stars."
It seems worldwide. There is no limit to government's desire to confiscate the wealth produced by private labor. Governments now look at private property as nothing more than sources of tax revenue. That's why government feels it is proper and appropriate to seize property from one party and transfer it to another if there are additional property taxes to be garnered through the move. Ditto for individuals. We now exist - we now work - for the sole purpose of generating revenue that the political class can use to buy votes. They'll allow us to retain just enough to keep us from sliding into open revolt.
Hopefully more Americans are waking up to this nonsense."
"Trial Lawyers Expecting Treasury Department To Give Them $1.6 Billion Tax BreakRob Port • July 14, 2010
"First question: How is it that the Treasury Department can go ahead and give the trial lawyers a tax break that Congress didn’t pass?
Second question: Why on earth would we want to give a tax break to trial lawyers for filing speculative lawsuits? It would, in fact, be a subsidy for lawsuits not unlike the mortgage deduction on your income tax is a subsidy for home ownership. That mortgage deduction is one of the chief reasons why our country has had troubles with housing bubbles (unlike Canada which has no such tax deduction).
Can you imagine what a tax-subsidized lawsuit bubble would do to our economy? If anything, we need tort reform in this country to reduce the number of lawsuits filed every year. Not subsidies that will make it cheaper and easier to file lawsuits.
VANCOUVER, Canada (Legal Newsline) – The nation’s trial lawyer group, the American Association for Justice, revealed Tuesday that it expects the U.S. Department of Treasury to soon give its members a tax break on contingency fee lawsuits.
The tax break could be similar to proposed legislation that didn’t make it through Congress last year. That proposal, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., would have allowed attorneys to deduct fees and expenses up-front for filing contingency fee lawsuits.
John Bowman, the Director of Federal Relations for the AAJ, said in response to a question from a state delegate regarding recruiting new members that an administrative order from the Treasury Department could come as soon as tomorrow, sources told Legal Newsline.
So, basically, our elected representatives didn’t pass this tax break but the trial lawyers are expecting to get it anyway through the actions of the unelected bureaucrats at the Treasury Department.
Carter Wood notes that Congress has been considering this legislation for some time and that the politicians have simply not moved it forward:
Congress has had ample opportunity to vote on legislation to change tax law as desired by the trial lawyers. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) introduced S. 437 in February 2009, and Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) introduced H.R. 2519 in May 2009. The committees of jurisdiction did not take up the legislation because it’s political poison and bad policy — stimulating more economy-sapping litigation. As the American Association for Justice’s top lobbyist, Linda Lipsen, told trial lawyers at the AAJ’s convention last summer in San Francisco, “You cannot have a stand alone bill to help lawyers … so we have to tuck it into something.”
Laws are supposed to be passed by Congress and signed by the President. If Congress doesn’t act, then a given piece of legislation shouldn’t become law. This is Civics 101.
But apparently things work different for the trial lawyers."
Another perspective the MSM likely won't be presenting.
"Black tea partiers rebut NAACP
By ANDY BARR | 7/14/10 1:11 PM EDT
"Some African-American tea party candidates are displeased by a resolution that the NAACP approved on Tuesday calling the grass-roots conservative movement “racist.”
“I have not experienced the charges of racism that the NAACP is touting,” Vernon Parker, an African-American tea party congressional candidate in Arizona, told POLITICO.
Parker, former mayor of Paradise Valley, said that he has never felt out of place at a tea party rally because of the color of his skin.
“When I go to tea party events, people don’t look at me any differently,” he said. “They didn’t judge me on the color of my skin, quite frankly, they judged me on my principles."
"The NAACP should be concerned about bringing jobs to people in depressed areas,” he added, “not the tea party.”
Tim Scott, a GOP congressional nominee in South Carolina, echoed Parker’s sentiments in a statement.
“I believe that the NAACP is making a grave mistake in stereotyping a diverse group of Americans who care deeply about their country and who contribute their time, energy and resources to make a difference,” Scott said.
“As I campaign in South Carolina, I participate in numerous events sponsored by the tea party, 9/12, Patriot, and other like-minded groups, and I have had the opportunity to get to know many of the men and women who make up these energetic grass-roots organizations,” Scott added.
“Americans need to know that the tea party is a color-blind movement that has principled differences with many of the leaders in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans.”
The resolution the NAACP approved at its annual conference in Kansas City alleges that tea party groups have used racist epithets in attacks on President Barack Obama and have verbally and physically abused African-American members of Congress."
Will be interesting to watch this go through courts as to how it pertains to overall First Amendment rights.
"Court Tosses Out FCC Rules to Curb Indecent Speech
By AMY SCHATZ And JESS BRAVIN
Source Wall Street Journal
"A federal appeals court threw out the FCC's rules on indecent speech Tuesday, in a big win for broadcasters that could lead to a new Supreme Court test of the government's power to control what is said on television and radio.
A three-judge panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the Federal Communications Commission's indecency policies violate the First Amendment and are "unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here." ......."
Powerline is THE VERY BEST at laying out facts. Live links for verification. Highlighting mine.
July 13, 2010 Posted by Scott at 5:14 AM
There is one problem with the story: It didn't happen. We believe that we demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt over the course of our 18-part "Don't leave it to Cleaver" series that it didn't happen.The congressmen's story was a fabrication intended to defame the Tea Party movement and distract attention from the resistance to Obamacare.
Under circumstances where such evidence would exist if the incident had occurred, no audio or video recording corroborates it, despite Andrew Breitbart's offer of a $100,000 reward to anyone producing such evidence. And no independent journalist or other eyewitness has stepped forward to vouch for the congressmen's story -- because it didn't happen.
We posted correspondence from reader Greg Farrell providing his own testimony denying that the incident happened in part 7, part 16, and elsewhere in our series. Farrell had sent us his photographs documenting his position at the March 20 protest. Farrell was in a good position to testify: It didn't happen.
Given the involvement of Rep. Clyburn in promoting the story, the fabrication extends to the Democratic congressional leadership. It is a scandal that warrants the attention of the mainstream media, but instead the mainstream media continue robotically to repeat it.
ABC did it again yesterday in a story linked by Drudge and thus read by millions. ABC's Human Khan reported:
First Lady Michelle Obama brought renewed energy to the NAACP today, delivering the keynote speech at the annual convention one day before the nation's largest civil rights group is expected to condemn what it calls racist elements in the Tea Party movement.
First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses NAACP
The nation's largest and oldest civil rights organization will vote on the resolution Tuesday during its annual convention in Kansas City, Mo.
In her speech, the first lady focused on the issue of childhood obesity and her "Let's Move" initiative, but outside of her remarks, anti-Tea Party activism has been a key focus of the gathering, which conservative leaders say is driven solely by a political agenda.
Tea Party members have used "racial epithets," have verbally abused black members of Congress and threatened them, and protestors have engaged in "explicitly racist behavior" and "displayed signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically," according to the proposed resolution.
The NAACP represents some of Barack Obama's hardiest supporters. How thoughtful of the mainstream media to have left the story of the phantom n-word ready at hand for the likes of the NAACP to use it against the resistance to Obama. One might almost think there is method to this madness.
Huma Khan is ABC's "digital editor." Surely she knows that the March 20 n-word story represents a highly disputed assertion of fact, and knowledge of the dispute enters her story. Yet she introduces evidence from elsewhere on the Internet to lend the story credence:
In March, Tea Party protesters opposing the health care bill were alleged to have shouted racial slurs at black House members in the halls of Congress, a charge that Tea Party supporters say has not been proven. Liberal blogs have also seized on signs that have appeared in Tea Party protests, comparing President Obama to a monkey.
Khan does not mention Breitbart's unclaimed bounty, nor does she note that conservative blogs have seized on the March 20 n-word concoction to argue that the story represents an incredibly tired effort to stigmatize opposition to President Obama as racist.
Khan minimally acknowledges the disputed nature of the March 20 incident, but she also quotes the Rev. C.L. Bryant. Bryant is a former president of NAACP's Garland, Texas, chapter who is now a Tea Party activist. Khan quotes Bryant to the effect that the imputation of racism to to the Tea Party is "simply a lie." The NAACP wants to "create a climate where they can say that those on the right are in fact racist and those on the left are their saviors," he added. "This is very much what the liberal agenda is about." As we used to say: Right on!
Some enterprising editor at the Wall Street Journal, or NR, or the Weekly Standard, or Commentary, or the New Criterion, really should commission an article on the pathogenesis and propagation of the lie involved in the NAACP resolution. It would make a highly illuminating case study. It would also slightly complicate the efforts of the NAACP and its ilk to stigmatize dissent from the Obama program of national socialism as racist.
FOOTNOTE: Readers interested in a serious exploration of the larger subject may want to consider Timothy Dalrymple's "Is the Tea Party racist?" Dalrymple writes: "The charge that the Tea Party is racist is a perfect object lesson in liberal misinterpretation of conservatives." And it is misinterpretation with a purpose."
Video shows Congressman Sherman wiping his face, grabbing the podium when called on his feigned ignorance of the case and circumstances surrounding DOJ policies and dismissal of the New Black Panthers won case. Kudos to his constituents!
July 13, 2010 Posted by John at 8:26 AM
"If you don't think voters are up in arms about the discriminatory policies of Barack Obama's Department of Justice, check out this video of a town hall meeting held by Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman, CA-27. A constituent asks him about DOJ's dismissal of charges against members of the New Black Panther Party and describes the case accurately. Sherman claims not to have heard about it, drawing fury from the crowd:
"Tax report rehashes debate over cost effectiveness of healthcare reform law
Source The Hill's Healthwatch
"A warning that federal tax officials will need more congressional funding to administer the Democrats’ health reform law has rekindled the partisan debate over its cost effectiveness.
Senior Republicans have said for months that the new responsibilities required of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the legislation would saddle the agency with billions of dollars in additional costs — expenses not accounted for in the bill.
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer
Source CNS News(CNSNews.com) – The final version of President Barack Obama’s financial regulatory bill, hammered out in negotations between House and Senate Democrats, contains a provision that grants the federal government the power to subpoena any financial information it wants from any financial institution without showing probable cause that a crime has been committed.
Woot, go Sarah!
"Another Democrat Congressman Loses Temper on Camera ~ Video
Sunday, July 11. 2010
Posted by Karl Denninger in Housing at 12:38
"............. In the meantime if you are facing a foreclosure and MERS was involved in some fashion, either in assignment of the paper just before the suit was filed or worse, in bringing the suit itself, you need competent legal advice right now.
You may be able to stop the foreclosure dead in its tracks."
"Rocking the Vote: Did DOJ Try to Whitewash Black Panther Intimidation Case?
Eric Holder’s Justice Department is lying about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. Why?
June 29, 2010 - by Joe Hicks Source Pajamas Media
"Last August, the Hicks File reported on a very strange federal legal case. Let me refresh your memory.
On Election Day 2008, two men — identified as members of the New Black Panther Party — stationed themselves outside a polling place in Philadelphia dressed in military clothing. Videotape captured these two strolling back and forth in front of the polling place, with one clearly brandishing a nightstick.
A white poll watcher testified that he was called a “white devil” and a “cracker.” This poll watcher was told by one of the Panthers that he would be “ruled by the black man.”
This is classic voter intimidation as defined by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The Justice Department investigated the charges, affidavits were gathered, and a trial team — all seasoned Justice attorneys — filed a case against the two thugs as well as against their organization, the New Black Panther Party.
It was thought to be a “slam-dunk” case.
A default judgment was quickly granted, because the New Black Panther Party simply failed to mount a defense.
Justice prevails, right? Wrong! Last May, Obama Justice Department lawyers ordered the case against the New Black Panther party dismissed.
It was truly a WTF moment.
But hold on … there have been some new and unexpected developments. Two prominent members of the trial team at the Justice Department have now resigned. And they’re in a talking mood!
After resigning, J. Christian Adams — a veteran lawyer in the Justice Department’s voting section — wrote a letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights which spelled out the reason for his resignation: the appalling decision by his superiors to pull the plug on a guaranteed court victory.
(Adams has since written an article for PJM on this topic as well.)
Earlier, the Civil Rights Commission had subpoenaed Adams and another career Justice attorney, Chris Coates. But in violation of federal law, their superiors at Justice had ordered them not to testify.
Both Adams and Coates are now free to talk.
I should again re-state my connections to this case. I am a California Advisory Board member to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, so I so have a dog in this fight.
What has now emerged in the wake of these resignations is the possible cause of the Justice Department’s abandonment of the case and a subsequent cover-up of its actions.
The trail is hard to trace, but here’s what appears to have happened:
After senior Bush administration Justice officials signed off on prosecuting the New Black Panther Party, a decision was made to file the case. It was assessed as a serious case of voter intimidation and an easy case to win.
After the Panthers were unable to mount a defense, the trial team was set to enter a default judgment, when acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Steven Rosenbaum sent a message to the trial team that he had doubts about the case.
Rosenbaum — an Obama appointee — argued that the case raised “serious First Amendment issues.”
The trial team fired back a response, which in essence pointed out that dressing in military garb did not raise First Amendment concerns when “used with the brandishing of a weapon to intimidate people going to the polling station.”
In other words, are you nuts?
After angry exchanges between Obama’s assistant attorney general and the trial team, the order finally came down to scuttle the case.
In an attempt to cover up what appears to be politically motivated intervention by officials at the highest level of Obama’s Justice Department, the Department denies that Obama appointees were involved in the decision to end the case.
This appears to be a flat-out lie.
Eric Holder, as well as Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, were briefed on the case, and the conclusion by insiders is that a decision as extraordinary as this — to dismiss a blatant case of voter intimidation — had to come from the highest ranks of government.
But more mischief has been uncovered.
It now turns out that the NAACP had vigorously lobbied the attorney general’s office to dismiss the case against the Panthers. Kristen Clarke, an NAACP attorney, admitted that she spoke with Justice Department lawyers about the case, as well as a voting section attorney, and even pressed them for a dismissal date for the case.
But still, why would the Obama Justice department dismiss such a clear violation of voting rights?
The answer appears to be that a belief exists among the liberal core of government civil rights attorneys that civil rights laws exist only to protect minorities from discrimination, and in the case of voting rights, from the intimidation of whites.
Those familiar with the inner workings of the Justice Department say this belief dominates the approach to civil rights cases, with liberal-oriented government attorneys objecting to cases filed against black defendants.
These taxpayer-supported lawyers point to the history of official discrimination against “people of color” that, in their view, trumps everything else. Meaning that they will often refuse to work on cases brought against blacks.
This sentiment is similar to the oddball view among liberals and leftists that only whites can actually be racists.
Now, I’m willing to bet that you’ve come to another conclusion: that bigots can come in all skin colors, and that civil rights laws exist for the protection of all Americans, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.
But this is the era of Obama, which means that another form of logic — well, actually illogic — prevails.
Meanwhile, the thugs at the New Black Panther Party thumb their noses at us, having so far escaped punishment for doing precisely what white bigots used to do prior to the passing of civil rights laws and the enforcement of those laws.
How do we change this?
Come November, vote to change the balance of power in the Senate and perhaps even the House. Only this will allow the kind of oversight that might put the Panthers back where they belong — in the crosshairs of an aggressive government civil rights prosecution."
Oil Spill Timeline ~ VIDEO ~
"Obama v. Arizona
The administration will have a tough time making its case against Arizona's immigration law.
BY Adam J. WhiteJuly 9, 2010 2:00 AM
Source The Weekly Standard
"A federal lawsuit is never a laughing matter – especially when the U.S. Department of Justice signs the complaint. But the Obama administration's complaint against Arizona faces serious obstacles in the federal courts.
The administration needs to show that S.B. 1070, Arizona's law authorizing state officials to enforce federal immigration law, is "preempted" – that it runs afoul of the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which confirms that federal law supersedes state law. To that end, the complaint's opening paragraphs stake an uncontroversial claim: "[i]n our constitutional system, the federal government has preeminent authority to regulate immigration matters."
Certainly no one would dispute that the federal government is the "preeminent" architect of the nation's immigration policy. But it is quite another thing to say that federal law, through the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, preempts S.B. 1070. In U.S. v. Arizona, the administration will have to prove the latter point – and that will be no small task.
Arizona drafted its laws with De Canas firmly in mind, as S.B. 1070's architect, law professor Kris Kobach, explained in a recent interview. In fact, Arizona's recent brief in a separate lawsuit makes this very point. Last month, Arizona moved to dismiss Friendly House v. Whiting, a class action lawsuit brought against S.B. 1070 by the ACLU and other groups. Responding in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit that was based on arguments that S.B. 1070 improperly regulates immigration, Arizona drew De Canas's crucial distinction: The ACLU is "confusing enforcement of federal immigration regulations (which S.B. 1070 seeks to accomplish) with enactment of Arizona-specific 'regulation of immigration' (which federal law would preempt)."
Arizona's brief lays out in straightforward detail the absence of any of the traditional bases for federal preemption of state law. As De Canas explained, the federal immigration statutes lack an express statement that federal law prohibits states from enforcing federal immigration law. Similarly, federal law does not so thoroughly "occupy the field" of immigration regulation that it leaves no room for state involvement in the federal statutes' enforcement. Finally, S.B. 1070 does not "conflict" with federal law: It neither interferes with the accomplishment of federal immigration statutes nor creates legal standards that contradict the federal statutes.
While the Obama administration phrased its complaint in broad terms, it appears to be framing this case primarily as one of "conflict" or "field" preemption. Namely, in administering the federal immigration laws, "the federal agencies balance the complex – and often competing – objectives that animate federal immigration law and policy," and that the "nation's immigration laws reflect a careful and considered balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and humanitarian interests." In fact, the Obama administration goes so far as to assert that S.B. 1070 prevents it from getting tough on truly nasty illegal immigrants: "S.B. 1070 disrupts federal enforcement priorities and resources that focus on aliens who pose a threat to national security or public safety ... undermin[ing] the federal government's careful balance of immigration enforcement policies and objectives."
But that line of argument wholly misses the point. When courts decide whether federal law preempts state law, the question is not whether the state law conflicts with the president's selective enforcement of federal statutes. The question is whether the state law "stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment ... of the full purposes and objectives of Congress," as embodied by the federal statutes. S.B. 1070 satisfies that test – it does nothing more than allow state officials to enforce Congress's purposes and objectives as expressed in current federal statutes.
As it happens, the Supreme Court may weigh in on these types of questions long before the lower federal courts resolve the Obama administration's case. In the upcoming term, the Court will hear Chamber of Commerce v. Candelaria, which presents a similar constitutional challenge to another Arizona immigration-related statute – one that was signed into law, ironically enough, by then-Governor Janet Napolitano. In that case, the traditionally liberal Ninth Circuit ruled in Arizona's favor, holding that federal law does not preempt Arizona's law punishing employers that hire illegal aliens.
No one gets rich betting big against the U.S Department of Justice. Its lawyers are among this nation's very finest. But the Obama administration's decision to commence this controversial lawsuit will require them to put their formidable talents to the test."
Adam J. White is a lawyer in Washington, D.C.
Entirely new video in this very short article.
"..........I wonder how many people who watch this video will say, Yeah, good idea, let's suspend law enforcement in favor of these guys."
"Obama threatens to follow in FDR's economic missteps
"With unemployment high and the Dow Jones industrial average bumping about, the big debate this summer is how to prevent a double-dip recession resembling that of the late 1930s. Some say Washington should spend more, arguing that government austerity triggered the collapse in 1937 that erased previous gains. Others say that cutting spending now will strengthen the economy generally and preclude dramatic downturns.
President Obama may be about to repeat Franklin D. Roosevelt's mistakes -- but not the ones captured in this narrow discussion.
By fixating on the debt and stimulus plans, Obama and Congress are overlooking challenges to the economy from taxes, employment and the entrepreneurial environment. President Roosevelt's great error was to ignore such factors -- and the result was that sickening double dip.
Taxation is an obvious area the Obama administration ought to reconsider. Income taxes, the dividend tax and capital gains taxes are all set to rise as the Bush tax cuts expire. The Obama administration portrays these increases as necessary for budgetary and social reasons. A society in which the wealthy pay their share, the message goes, has a stronger economy. The administration and congressional Democrats are also striving to ensure that businesses pony up. The carried-interest provision in the tax extender bill seeks to raise rates on gains by private equity and hedge funds. If that were not enough, a so-called enterprise value tax would be levied on partnerships that sought to elude the new high taxes by selling their companies.
Roosevelt, too, pursued the dual purposes of revenue and social good. In 1935 he signed legislation known as the "soak the rich" law. FDR, more radical than Obama in his class hostility, spoke explicitly of the need for "very high taxes." Roosevelt's tax trap was the undistributed-profits tax, which hit businesses that chose not to disgorge their cash as dividends or wages. The idea was to goad companies into action.
The outcome was not what the New Dealers envisioned. Horrified by what they perceived as an existential threat, businesses stopped buying equipment and postponed expansion. They hired lawyers to find ways around the undistributed-profits tax. In May 1938, after months of unemployment rates in the high teens, the Democratic Congress cut back the detested tax. That bill became law without the president's signature.
Then there is labor policy. Obama announced this year that the federal government would award contracts to firms with more generous pay and benefit packages. With its support of private- and public-sector unions -- recall its treatment of the automakers' unions in the 2009 bailout -- the administration generally wants wages or compensation to be high.
Roosevelt's flamboyant pursuit of a similar goal cost the economy dearly. The National Industrial Recovery Act and, later, the Wagner Act gave workers the power to demand higher wages. They got them. But employers struck back, choosing not to hire or rehiring many fewer workers than they otherwise might have. In the later 1930s, the divide deepened between those with jobs and the unemployed. Economists Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian wrote in the Journal of Political Economy that the politically driven wage increases were the most important factor in the double-digit unemployment of the later 1930s. A popular Gershwin song of the period, "Nice Work If You Can Get It," captured the bitterness.
What about the third factor, the entrepreneurial environment? The Obama administration places a premium on action. When it comes to spending, the idea seems to be that any spending is better than none. Big new laws -- financial reform -- are put forward to inspire confidence.
But change that is too arbitrary and too frequent petrifies firms, especially before their rules have been tested in the courts. As Verizon Communications chief executive Ivan Seidenberg noted recently in a Business Roundtable speech: "By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses."
This analysis echoes those of Depression-era entrepreneurs. In 1938 Lammot du Pont, head of the eponymous chemical concern, spoke of a "fog of uncertainty" slowing business and noted in the company's annual report that arbitrary government always slowed business down: "by land and sea the universal practice under conditions of fog is to slacken speed."
What about the old spend-or-save debate? The evidence suggests that easier money did indeed help end this second slump. But a larger factor was Roosevelt's decision to stop attacking business and turn to foreign policy. When Republicans made gains in the 1938 midterms, it became clear that the New Deal era of mega-intervention was ending.
It is that backtracking of the later '30s that is relevant to recovery today."
Amity Shlaes is a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations
"$500K donated to Ariz. to defend law
(photo) AP – Hispanic community members, some from Phoenix, hold hands in prayer to protest against SB1070, Arizona's …
By PAUL DAVENPORT, Associated Press Writer Paul Davenport, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jul 8, 7:47 pm ET
"PHOENIX – Retirees and other residents from all over the country were among those who donated nearly $500,000 to help Arizona defend its immigration enforcement law, with most chipping in $100 or less, according to an analysis of documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
The donations, 88 percent of which came from through the Arizona defense fund's website, surged this week after the federal government sued Tuesday to challenge the law. A document from Gov. Jan Brewer's office showed that 7,008 of the 9,057 online contributions submitted by Thursday morning were made in the days following the government's filing.
Website contributions came from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including nearly 2,000 from Arizona. Donations ranged from $5 to $2,000, with the vast majority between $10 and $100........."
Some may not agree with this ruling, however, reading the quoted ruling the judge affirms states rights.
"Judge declares US gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional
Source Boston.com"A federal district court judge in Boston today struck down the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.
Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage law violates the Constitutional right of married same-sex couples to equal protection under the law and upends the federal government’s long history of allowing states to set their own marriage laws.
"This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status," Tauro wrote. "The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state."
Tauro drew on history in his ruling, writing that the states have set their own marriage since before the American Revolution and that marriage laws were considered "such an essential element of state power" that the subject was even broached at the time of the framing of the Constitution. Tauro noted that laws barring interracial marriage were once at least as contentious as the current battle over gay marriage.
“But even as the debate concerning interracial marriage waxed and waned throughout history, the federal government consistently yielded to marital status determinations established by the states,” Tauro wrote. “That says something. And this court is convinced that the federal government’s long history of acquiescence in this arena indicates that, indeed, the federal government traditionally regarded marital status determinations as the exclusive province of state government.”
Gay rights activists cheered the ruling, saying it affirmed that same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as other married couples.
The Boston-based group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders had, in March 2009, brought one of two suits challenging the law, on behalf of seven married same-sex couples and three widowers from Massachusetts who contended that it violated their federal constitutional right to equal protection.
“Today the court simply affirmed that our country won’t tolerate second-class marriages,” said Mary Bonauto, a lawyer from the group who argued successfully in the 2003 Supreme Judicial Court case that first legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. “This ruling will make a real difference for countless families in Massachusetts.”
Attorney General Martha Coakley, who brought the second suit challenging the law, also applauded the ruling. Her office had argued that the federal law, known as DOMA, violates the Constitution by interfering with the state’s authority to define and regulate the marital status of its residents.
Coakley’s office also contended that DOMA exceeds Congress’s authority because it requires Massachusetts to violate the constitutional rights of its residents by treating married same-sex couples differently from other married couples in order to receive federal funds for various programs.
“Today’s landmark decision is an important step toward achieving equality for all married couples in Massachusetts and assuring that all of our citizens enjoy the same rights and protections under our Constitution,” Coakley said in a statement. “It is unconstitutional for the federal government to discriminate, as it does because of DOMA’s restrictive definition of marriage. It is also unconstitutional for the federal government to decide who is married and to create a system of first- and second-class marriages.”
Opponents of same-sex marriage condemned the ruling. Kris Mineau, president of Massachusetts Family Institute called it “another blatant example of a judge playing legislator.”
“Same-sex marriage activists have tried time and time again to win public approval of their agenda, and they have failed each time,” Mineau said in a statement. “This is why their strategy is to force same-sex ‘marriage’ through judicial fiat, as they did here in Massachusetts and other states.”
He said he was “confident that an appeals court, and ultimately the Supreme Court, will uphold the government’s right to define marriage, strengthening and protecting children and families.”
The law was defended in court by the US Justice Department, even though President Obama supports DOMA’s repeal and has called the law discriminatory. In a hearing with Tauro in May, the Justice Department argued that Congress and President Clinton, who signed the law, had a legitimate interest in preserving marriage as a heterosexual institution.
Today, a Justice Department spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler, declined to comment on Tauro’s ruling, saying in a statement, “We're reviewing the decision.”
Excellent speaker, easy listen. Gives his opinion of the origins of American government corruption.
BBC5tv — November 14, 2009 — Filmed at the 3rd Lawful Rebellion Conference, London, 31st October 2009 by BBC5.tv. http://www.bbc5.tv/eyeplayer
Latest info below from World Net Daily which seems to be the most up well informed. Excerpted ... click the link at the bottom of the article to read in full. BTW am not holding my breath on this passing.
Links to other North American Unions I've previously posted.
"Bill requires U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA
'Proponents have had more than enough time to make this work – it didn't'Posted: March 12, 2010
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
"A coalition of 27 lawmakers from across the political spectrum is sponsoring a bill to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement in as little as six months.
Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., has introduced H.R. 4759, "To provide for the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement."
"NAFTA and similar free-trade agreements have resulted in a 29 percent decline in U.S. manufacturing employment since 1993," Taylor's office said in a statement. "NAFTA discourages investments in U.S. manufacturing facilities and accelerates the erosion of our industrial base." .........."
"........ "We're well aware of what he said during the campaign, and we want the things reviewed and looked at," Stupak said. "We think it's run its course. All the rosy predictions they had about NAFTA have fallen flat."
Stupak told the Saginaw News it would take 218 votes in the House and 51 votes in the Senate to overturn NAFTA. He also said it would take a supermajority of 60 Senate votes to bring it up for a decision.
"It's an uphill battle," he said. "No doubt about it."
Upon announcing the legislation, Taylor said, "Timing is everything in life, and it's the right time to pass this legislation. Proponents have had more than enough time to make this work. It didn't."
"BREAKING: A Third Former DOJ Official Steps Forward to Support J. Christian Adams (Updated)
"Former DOJ employees want to go on record praising Adams' outstanding work record, and — pay attention, DOJ press liaisons — maybe corroborate Adams' charges about DOJ hostility to race-neutral law enforcement. (Check back here for updates in the hours and days ahead, as PJM posts additional statements.) July 6, 2010
"Several former DOJ employees have been in contact with Pajamas Media, interested in publicly supporting J. Christian Adams as he comes forward about the DOJ’s failure to enforce the country’s laws from a race-neutral perspective.
These former DOJ employees have expressed a willingness to go on record regarding Adams’ professionalism, excellent performance, and outstanding record of enforcing the law without racial bias.
Additionally, they would like to corroborate Adams’ statements about the DOJ.
And perhaps — pay attention, DOJ press liaisons — offer their own accounts regarding the DOJ’s hostility to race-neutral law enforcement.
Watch this space today, and over the next few days, for additional statements from former DOJ employees.
First, here is Asheesh Agarwal. From 2006-2008, Asheesh Agarwal served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division. In that position, Agarwal supervised the Division’s Voting Section, which included Adams, and worked directly with Adams on several matters. Agarwal is currently an attorney in private practice.
During his tenure with the Department of Justice’s Voting Section, J. Christian Adams was a model attorney who vigorously enforced federal voting rights laws on behalf of all voters, without respect to race or ideology. Mr. Adams was also one of the most productive and successful voting attorneys in recent memory.
His victories include two cases on behalf of African-American voters under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, two cases on behalf of white voters under Section 2, and six cases on behalf of Hispanic voters under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. He also brought and won three cases on behalf of military voters. Having worked closely with Mr. Adams for several years, I can attest to the unsurpassed quality of his character, judgment, and commitment to the cause of civil rights on behalf of all Americans.
– Asheesh Agarwal
UPDATE: Mark Corallo, former Department of Justice director of public affairs, submits a statement to Pajamas Media:
As the Department of Justice director of public affairs under Attorney General John Ashcroft, I witnessed the hostility of the “career” Civil Rights Division attorneys firsthand.
Internal disagreements over policy routinely became matters for the press, via leaks to reporters or leaks to Democrat members of Congress. They had no compunction about breaking the ethical requirement of attorneys to keep those internal deliberations confidential.
I am not surprised that the Department is attacking J. Christian Adams. The Civil Rights Division attorneys have no interest in the rule of law as written and passed by Congress — the New Black Panther case is glaring proof that the Division has an agenda. If Congress was truly interested in oversight, there would be hearings on this case and others.
J. Christian Adams did the honorable thing in resigning and speaking out.
Democrats constantly complained about the lack of oversight when Republicans were the majority party in Congress. Can any reasonable person imagine the Democrats ignoring a case of blatant violations of the Voting Rights Act (captured on video) brought by career Civil Rights Division attorneys being dismissed by a Republican attorney general?
Any veteran of the Justice Department should be outraged.
UPDATE: Robert Driscoll was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 2001-03. He is now an attorney in private practice:
When I served as chief of staff and deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division under John Ashcroft, I became familiar with the internal politics of the Division, and am therefore not surprised by the accounts of J. Christian Adams describing the New Black Panther voting case.
While I met many excellent lawyers in the Division dedicated to the rule of law, too many of the the career staff (a term never to be confused with “apolitical”) viewed the role of the Civil Rights Division as simply that of a government-funded advocacy group whose responsibility was to work on behalf of favored political and agenda-driven constituencies — and not to neutrally apply the law (as written by Congress, and interpreted by the courts) to the facts.
In contrast, as a private attorney I encountered J. Christian Adams (and other voting section members, including then Chief Christopher Coates and Deputy Chief Tim Mellett) while handling a voting rights matter against the DOJ. Adams and the rest of the team acted professionally and consistent with their understanding of the law and facts. While I disagreed with Mr. Adams and the DOJ team on some matters of interpretation, I could not have told you the political views of Mr. Adams or any of the attorneys I encountered based on my interaction with them.
Moreover, the position taken by Mr. Adams in that case was certainly not pushing any conservative agenda, as the suit sought to increase African-American representation on an elected body (based on ambiguous evidence of vote dilution) and resulted in the adoption of a voting plan designed to enhance the ability of minority voters to influence the outcome of elections.
While it is certainly within the authority of the senior levels of the DOJ Civil Rights Division to make the final litigation decision on any case, including the New Black Panther matter, it would seem to me that dismissal of that case — after default has been entered and where video evidence exists — is a highly unusual decision that is worthy of congressional oversight. While some may cast such oversight in partisan terms, it need not be.
The video of the defendants in the Black Panther matter was seen by millions. While most have not studied civil rights law or the Voting Rights Act in detail, viewers of the video assume that the kind of conduct shown in the video is inappropriate at a polling place. A lawsuit was filed by experienced voting rights lawyers at DOJ to remedy the situation and prevent such future conduct. And yet the case was dismissed voluntarily by the DOJ (after a shift in administration), a result that seems — at a visceral level — strange to anyone who has seen the video.
The detailed testimony of the decision-makers (not the subsequent appointee who was not around at the time of the decision) would be enlightening and educational. If the dismissal of the case against the Black Panthers was a result of political influence (as Mr. Adams alleges — an allegation that does not seem far-fetched, based on my experience), that is important to know. Political decisions can have political consequences and one can imagine there would be consequences if a political appointee “weighed in” on behalf of a fringe group like the New Black Panthers. But even if the DOJ is correct that no political influence played a role, oversight is perhaps even more important.
If this is indeed the view of senior career DOJ staff — that after reviewing the facts of the New Black Panther case and the video, current laws against voter intimidation provide no ability for the DOJ to properly bring an action against the New Black Panther members shown on video and mentioned in the lawsuit — then Congress needs to have a conversation with Attorney General Holder about whether the problem lies with the Voting Rights Act itself, or with those whose job it is to enforce it."
"J. Christian Adams: DOJ Opponents of Race-Neutral Law Should Explain Themselves
Source Pajamas Media
July 6, 2010 - by J. Christian Adams
"Today I testified to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights pursuant to a subpoena investigating the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation dismissal. I would rather no such obligation had arisen.
My previous Pajamas Media article comprised much of what I was willing to testify about. In that article, I detailed specific instances of hostility being expressed towards a race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws, and in particular laws regarding voting and elections.
To the many that have experienced the hostility firsthand, denials of its existence seem preposterous.
To the many who expressed such hostility, often thoughtful but wrong, it would be a help to all of us if they might engage the debate with the respectable tenor which they sometimes did when I was in the Department of Justice. After all, such opponents of race-neutral law enforcement surely weren’t “cowards” about discussing race in those instances, and we might all benefit from a full understanding of their views. So let’s have the opponents of race-neutral enforcement of voting cases come out in the open and tell the American public why they oppose it.
But I’ll start the discussion for now.
I am reminded of a visit to the Voting Section by newly confirmed Attorney General Eric Holder in March of 2009. Attorney General Holder came to the conference room to meet the assembled Voting Section. He was introduced by a political appointee, then-acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King. It was quite exciting. In every federal building, a photograph of the president is displayed with the agency head. So in the Justice Department, President Obama is displayed with General Holder at the entrances.
Loretta King had the honor of introducing Attorney General Holder. She would subsequently participate in the dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. And she said something astonishing in her introduction of the attorney general.
She exclaimed to the crowd:
I can’t tell you how exciting it is to go to work every day, and look up at the photos, and see that we now have two black men running the country.
Cheers followed, but not from everyone.
Obviously, I recognize the joy that naturally surrounds the election of the first black president. In 1860, a system of bondage debased the humanity of nearly four million souls in America. Even after hundreds of thousands gave their lives in places like Gettysburg, Stones River, and Battery Wagner, new but still evil ways were devised to oppress a race.
I’ve stood alone in the driveway where Medgar Evers fell in Jackson, Mississippi, and considered the sad heroism that characterizes some of the last martyrs to a cause. How close he came to seeing a sort of Promised Land on Earth, where Mississippi now boasts more minority elected officials per capita than any other state.
I’ve scoured the back streets of Philadelphia, Mississippi, hunting down the half-hidden memorial to James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, three champions of the right to vote. They were slaughtered after being pulled over by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. I wondered why the memorial was not at the jail where they were detained with sinister intent. It would make a more noble witness to what an unrestrained government is capable of doing to humans.
These places moved me to my core. I cannot even imagine how profound the election of Barack Obama would be to me if I experienced the evil injustice of segregation as a target. I deeply respect the overwhelming joy following the election, even if I cannot understand it in the same way.
But foul history does not excuse foul impropriety.
Electoral euphoria does not justify a racially tinged announcement by a superior, in the presence of the United States attorney general, to her subordinates.
Imagine if in March 2013, the new political leadership of the Civil Rights Division were to introduce Attorney General Jeff Sessions, refer to the portrait of President Mitch Daniels, and say: “What a relief it is to come to work every day and see we once again have two white men running the country.” Not only would the story be blasted on the front pages of the Washington Post, and rightfully so, but the person who made the statement would probably lose their job. At the very least, the attorney general would be sure to take the underling aside afterwards and make it unequivocally clear that such racially tinged comments are completely unacceptable.
Had this occurred at private business, the same Civil Rights Division would probably open an employment discrimination investigation into the conduct.
What are the chances that Attorney General Holder had that discussion with Loretta King?
I’ll bet next to none. But it is certainly something that now-Senator Sessions might ask Attorney General Holder next time an oversight hearing occurs. One thing is for sure — King’s power in the Civil Rights Division did not diminish after her comment. She was held out as the fair, unbiased, and competent civil servant who gave careful consideration to the New Black Panther case.
Despite the defendants waving a baton and yelling “you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker,” Loretta King decided that a dismissal of nearly all of the case was the only available course of action. Alas, the worm has turned.
I stated on Fox News that it was clear to me that no cases against national racial minorities would issue from the Voting Section during this administration. Let’s hope they change their mind. I testified under oath today, because I had no choice, that those instructions were given by Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) Julie Fernandes.
My understanding of her instructions were that no cases would be brought against national racial minorities by the Voting Section, and if a U.S. Attorney wanted to bring one, it was up to them to do so. Of course, no U.S. attorney will wade into that sort of mess without the help of the experts in the Voting Section, and DAAG Fernandes would know that.
If the Department denies this occurred, then the public and the now-very-interested media should demand that the senior management of the Voting Section in 2009 be made to testify under oath to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Of course this will never happen, because they know by now what the testimony would be.
This was not the first reckless and lawless instruction Julie Fernandes had given to the Voting Section. I will be writing in the future here at Pajamas Media about other ones that could directly affect the outcome of elections.
The Department has come under widespread criticism for the dismissal of the New Black Panther case, and for the fact that many within the Civil Rights Division are openly hostile to a race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws. Notice that the Department has never once denied that widespread hostility exists throughout its ranks to bringing cases against national racial minorities. To do so would be futile, because so many people know it is true.
That doesn’t mean the Department of Justice can’t redeem itself.
The best thing that could happen from the ugly New Black Panthers dismissal and public revelation of the truth is for the Department to change course. The outrage I have heard in hundreds of emails and in calls from around the nation tell me Americans value equal enforcement of the law as much as they cherish the right to vote without men with weapons shouting racial slurs at them. Equality and the right to vote are sacred partners.
If these hearings prompt the Department to reconsider the institutional hostility to equal enforcement of voting laws, then it will be a great day for America. We will all be able to exhale and declare: “Thank goodness they finally followed the law.” If it took attention for them to change course, we can all agree the attention was good.
I actually believe Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez is the right man to do it. He inherited the mess of the New Black Panthers case from Steve Rosenbaum and Loretta King, two lifelong civil servants who should be forced by the attorney general to learn what it is like to find paying clients. Similarly, reckless instructions to the voting section by DAAG Julie Fernandes can still be reversed by Perez. Tom Perez, I believe, is a man who wants to do the right thing, even if we might disagree about particulars. And nothing could be more right and just than making it perfectly clear to everyone — through action, not a press release — that the Department is willing to enforce all the voting laws and protect all victims of racial discrimination.
I’ll be watching and reporting at Pajamas Media on a number of matters where perfect opportunities for redemption are within reach for Perez to undo the damage that Rosenbaum, King, and Fernandes have done to Obama’s vision of a Civil Rights Division committed to enforcing all of the laws with integrity.
So I started the conversation. It would be good if the Department of Justice did more than talk about a commitment to enforcing the Voting Rights Act in a race-neutral fashion. America would prefer some action.
Your turn, General Holder."
J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. His website is www.electionlawcenter.com.
"The Transcript: J. Christian Adams’ Full Testimony on the New Black Panther Case
"PJM Exclusive: Unequal Law Enforcement Reigns at Obama’s DOJ (UPDATED: Adams Discusses this Article on Fox News)
J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. His website is www.electionlawcenter.com.
Source Pajamas Media Blog
June 28, 2010 - by J. Christian Adams J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. His website is www.electionlawcenter.com. "Soon after his confirmation, Attorney General Eric Holder labeled us a nation of cowards, a people supposedly unwilling or afraid to discuss race. Based on my experience as an attorney at the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, Holder has far more to fear from that discussion than do the rest of us.
If we had that frank, truthful discussion about race, we’d learn that the Obama administration doesn’t believe some civil rights laws protect every American. The Bush Civil Rights Division was willing to protect all Americans from racial discrimination; during the Obama years, the Holder years, only some Americans will be protected. Americans have a right to know and judge the racial policies of the administration they elected in 2008.
The dismissal of the voter intimidation lawsuit against armed New Black Panthers in Philadelphia is the most prominent example of this hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws. But that dismissal is far from the only manifestation of the beliefs infesting the Department. Many other cases and decisions — some of which I will detail below — are in question and deserve scrutiny.
On Election Day 2008, armed men wearing the uniforms and jackboots of the New Black Panther Party were posted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the entrance to a polling site. They brandished a weapon and intimidated voters. After the election, the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice brought a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and these armed thugs. I, and other Justice lawyers, obtained an entry of default after the defendants ignored the case against them.
Before a final judgment could be entered, however, our superiors ordered dismissal of the claims.
Congress has sought answers from the Department about why the Black Panther case was dismissed. The Department has repeatedly claimed the “facts and law” did not support the case — which of course is false. Others have speculated about a White House involvement. But I believe the best explanation for the corrupt dismissal of the case is the profound hostility by the Obama Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department towards a race-neutral enforcement of civil rights laws.
This hostility was — and is — on open display within the Department of Justice.
Example after example exists where this dirty little secret manifested itself within the Department and affected Department policy.
Attorney General Holder and his political appointees have traveled the country claiming that they have “reopened” the Civil Rights Division. The Civil Rights Division is “back in business,” they announce, without a sniff of media scrutiny. In time, statistics and other information will present truth to this lie, as the Bush Civil Rights Division had a more robust civil rights agenda than the Obama Civil Rights Division. During the Bush years, the Civil Rights Division brought more cases in many areas of the law, particularly voting rights.
Race-neutral enforcement of civil rights law is a principle nearly all Americans agree with. Equality before the law has been cherished since the founding, and a bloody Civil War sacrificed generations of treasure and life to enshrine race equality into constitutional law.
Two obvious examples of the Obama administration’s hostility toward race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws:
The Department recently filed a brief supporting the use of race-based preferences at the University of Texas. Holder’s DOJ wants Texas to be able to give extra admissions credit to the skin color of certain college applicants. Of course some races won’t get the benefit of these racial preferences, while the political allies of the administration will.
In New Haven, Connecticut, the Holder Justice Department took the side of those who wanted to racially discriminate against white and Hispanic firefighters seeking promotion. Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court rejected the position of the Civil Rights Division. (It is no accident, incidentally, that senior Department attorney Steven Rosenbaum was involved in the formation of the Department’s racially biased approach in New Haven, just as he was involved in the dismissal of the New Black Panther case when he was acting deputy assistant attorney general, a political position in the Civil Rights Division.)
It wasn’t always this way.
The Bush Justice Department never filed briefs advocating racial discrimination. In fact, the Bush Justice Department was willing to protect all citizens under the civil rights laws, and brought a handful of cases protecting non-traditional racial minorities. Some pejoratively call these cases “reverse discrimination” lawsuits. Of course “reverse” discrimination does not exist: every species of racial discrimination is just that — racial discrimination. Implying a condition precedent, reversing something else, makes “reverse” discrimination at best a subset of some more legitimate wrong. At worst, the term is a historic reminder of whose ox got gored first.
It lessens the evil of the discrimination, an evil the Constitution bans without equivocation.
I worked closely with the former chief of the Voting Section, Christopher Coates, during my time at the Justice Department. He was a voting rights giant. He brought cases to stop racial discrimination as far back as 1976, just a decade after passage of the Voting Rights Act. Coates was a former attorney with the ACLU, and while at Justice, he was instrumental in bringing the case against the New Black Panther Party.
Because he believed in race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws, his powers as voting section chief were slowly sucked away by the Holder Justice Department.
Eventually made an intentionally powerless figurehead, Coates was transferred to South Carolina to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. His courageous going-away speech to the entire Voting Section and to the deputy assistant attorney general left little doubt about the “change” at Justice:
I have never assumed that I was entitled to ignore that clear language in federal law and therefore ignore incidents where evidence showed white voters were discriminated against or where the wrongdoers were themselves members of a minority group. … I have had many discussions concerning these cases. In one of my discussions concerning the Ike Brown case, I had a lawyer say he was opposed to our filing such suits. When I asked why, he said that only when he could go to Mississippi and find no disparities between the socioeconomic levels of black and white residents, might he support such a suit. But until that day, he did not think that we should be filing voting rights cases against blacks or on behalf of white voters.
I believe that one of the most detrimental ways to politicize the enforcement process in the Voting Section is to enforce the provisions of the Voting Rights Act only for the protection of certain racial or ethnic minorities; or to take the position that the Voting Section is not going to enforce certain provision of any of the voting statutes the Voting Section has the responsibility to enforce. Such decisions carry with them obvious, enormous implications for partisan political struggles.
Coates was not issuing a hypothetical warning for some future dereliction of the Department’s duty. The danger had already arrived.
United States v. Ike Brown
Coates and I learned about the hostility towards equal enforcement of the civil rights laws long before United States v. New Black Panther Party. Coates brought, and we won, the case of United States v. Ike Brown arising out of Mississippi.
Brown was the head of the Democratic Party in Noxubee County, a majority black county. The party ran the Democratic primaries, which served as de facto general elections, and Brown made no secret about his desire to see every government office in the county held by a black officeholder. Brown ran a Tammany Hall-style political operation. During one election, he literally stuffed illegal ballots he knew were marked for black candidates through an optical scanner in front of a crowd of angry citizens shouting provisions of Mississippi law at him.
“You ain’t dealing with Mississippi law, this is Ike Brown’s law,” he replied.
Brown organized teams of notary publics to roam the county collecting absentee ballots. In many cases, the notaries cast the ballots themselves instead of the voters.
Brown took absentee ballots to his home the night before the election, and put yellow sticky notes on them instructing compliant poll workers — whom he chose — why the ballots of white voters should be rejected. The poll workers complied, and canceled their votes.
Brown imported ineligible black candidates from outside the county to run against white incumbents.
He allowed squads of “assistors” to pollute the voting sites and impose “assistance,” telling black voters how to vote inside the booth — in many cases marking the ballots for the voters. During one election, teams of federal observers counted hundreds of verified examples of illegal assistance. Brown lawlessly disqualified white candidates from running for office. He published the names of 174 white citizens in the newspaper, and said they would be subject to challenge if they tried to vote.
Ike Brown institutionalized racial lawlessness, and brazenly victimized white voters during the 2003 and 2007 elections. And yet, many in the Voting Section never wanted the Department even to investigate the matter.
They voiced explicit opposition to Coates about investigating the discrimination. Superiors were reluctant to recommend to political appointees approval of a lawsuit. After the case was filed, the hostility continued. Most attorneys — except one brave woman — refused to work on the matter with Coates. Hostility pervaded the Voting Section, directed at Coates personally and also towards the theory of the case.
I also encountered open skepticism about the Ike Brown case after I was assigned to work on it in 2005. All manner of reasoning was offered to me regarding why the case should not have been brought.
Some said that unless whites were victims of historic discrimination, they shouldn’t be protected. Voting Rights lawyers will recognize this as an argument grounded in Senate Factor One of the Supreme Court’s Gingles v. Thornburg jurisprudence. Other lawyers grounded their objections in Senate Factor Five, which speaks generally of educational and economic differences between races. Because whites were better off than blacks in Mississippi, no lawsuit should be allowed to protect whites, they argued.
Of course, all of these lawyers knew that the settled law was directly contrary to their reliance on the Senate Factors. No Senate Factor can serve as a veto on any case. But they sought mightily to ground their hostility in some sort of legal theory.
There were more sinister explanations for the hostility. During a deposition I did of a black elected official in Noxubee, he agreed that racially discriminatory behavior against whites occurred:
“But you got to understand,” he admitted saying, “now it’s payback time.”
Before the trial, article after article appeared in the New York Times and other newspapers critical of the decision to bring the Ike Brown case. ABC News presented it as a classic man-bites-dog story. Even National Public Radio traveled to Noxubee to do a story suspicious of the Bush administration’s decision to sue Ike Brown. The benefit of hindsight makes the national media effort to demean the case, and the hostility from the civil rights community, look laughable and petty. We won the case, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in two historic opinions.
Not surprisingly, Ari Shapiro at NPR never did a follow-up story. ABC News fell silent, too.
Election rigging … the good kind
Ike Brown was the worst example, though surely not the only one.
Down along the Big Muddy south of Natchez is Wilkinson County, Mississippi. All sorts of electoral mischief took place there throughout 2007, ultimately resulting in the home of a white candidate for county supervisor being doused with gasoline and burned to the ground. Others who complained about election misconduct were promptly arrested by the sheriff. Even though some of the accused wrongdoers were black, the Bush Civil Rights Division flooded the county with observers and brought calm to the election process.
Over in Alabama, Perry County had the Yellowhammer State’s answer to Ike Brown. This majority black county also had pervasive forced “assistance” occurring at the polls. Of course, the effect of racially motivated stuffing of the ballot box via forced “assistance” is the dilution of the votes of white voters, and the denial of votes of black voters who were improperly assisted. The Bush Justice Department was willing to investigate the claims and monitor elections there. But many within the Department were opposed to closely monitoring this forced assistance.
They reasoned that higher rates of illiteracy in the black community merited assistors entering the polling booth and casting ballots for voters — one after another, hundreds of them. Of course, when the volume of assistance bears no relation to illiteracy rates, reasonable people understand what is going on. Worse, when assistance is imposed, it isn’t assistance; it’s a tool for a partisan cause.
Some in the Department acknowledged that the end result was the likelihood of more black elected officials (at the expense of electing white officials), and on this basis were willing to turn a blind eye to the violations.
Perry wasn’t the only place in Alabama this racially motivated rigging of elections occurred. Hale County was also victimized. The Department’s opponents of race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws were particularly obstructionist in Hale. But some courageous lawyers persisted, and sought to ensure federal election observers memorialized all of the racially motivated illegal assistance and vote denial.
It will be interesting to see how much attention the Obama Justice Department devotes to Perry County, Hale County, and Noxubee County given the long history of vote dilution and denial through forced assistance of minority voters. Given the attitudes of some career lawyers expressed during the Bush administration, I suspect very little. Any attention they do give to these places will likely be to assure the wrongdoers that new management has arrived in Washington, that the Civil Rights Division is back in business, indeed.
Most remain rightfully disgusted by America’s long history of slavery and segregation. The idea that the civil rights law would be used against the original beneficiaries extremely agitates them. These employees of the Department oppose race-neutral enforcement of the law on these grounds. While the “original beneficiary” argument against a race-neutral application of the civil rights laws may have emotional appeal, it is legally and ethically bankrupt.
“You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker.”
The day after the Black Panthers intimidated voters in Philadelphia, I heard Department of Justice employees speaking in the hallways making light of the intimidation: “No big deal,” one said. “Just a media generated event,” said another, echoing the familiar excuses of the southern segregationists in the 1960s when a New York Times reporter was sniffing about town.
I never dreamed that these amateur and uninformed assessments would evolve into official policy.
Other employees voiced opinions that the case should not be brought against the New Black Panthers. The Panthers did good work in the 1960s, right? Wrong, the New Black Panthers are a different, more dangerous, anti-Semitic separatist group. But it was an isolated incident, right? Wrong, but even if that were true, the behavior was still illegal.
In hindsight, it was not an accident that these early informal arguments echoed the eventual justifications used to dismiss the case, and then ultimately the spin given to the public, leaked to sycophantic amateur blogs such as Main Justice. The liberal echo chamber within the Civil Rights Division was talking about the case, mostly to each other. But attorneys who were working hard to investigate and prove the case weren’t part of the discussion. We were part of the problem. And we didn’t realize how extensive the hostility toward the New Black Panther case had already become.
Contrary to the views of some conservatives, racial discrimination still exists. A black motorist pulled over by the police is likely to have a different experience than a similarly situated white motorist. Without question, some apartment complexes and dining establishments still treat blacks differently from whites. The Department of Justice’s undercover housing testing program demonstrates this fact over and over again.
Some leading conservatives also are wrong when they argue that voting has become post-racial in America, that race no longer is an important factor in electoral outcomes. It is possible to calculate voting behavior and ascertain who black voters chose and who white voters chose in any given election. The statistical methods which allow us to peer into private choices inside the voting booth are beyond the scope of this discussion, but it is without doubt that racially polarized voting still determines election outcomes in America. Race continues to negatively affect traditional minorities, whether during traffic stops or a statewide campaign for office.
Yet after the proliferation of race-based preferences in college admission or hiring, minorities may in fact now enjoy an advantage in some places. This is particularly true in large institutions with aggressive “affirmative action” policies. Abundant data show that Asians, in particular, are victimized in university admissions by a race-based thumb on the scales. Our nation has struggled to find the right balance to remedy past discrimination. In some areas we do better than others, but the correct approach is never simply to leverage the outcome reflexively as much as possible in only one direction.
The massive engine of federal government should not be used to leverage outcomes as far as possible for only national racial minorities, but that is exactly what is happening. Indeed, many of the advocates of limitless leveraging of government power for the benefit of traditional national minorities view this as a backdoor way to achieve reparations for slavery and discrimination. If the American public won’t tolerate monetary reparations, which they won’t, then a one-way approach to civil rights laws is seen as the next best alternative for their unpopular agenda. Best of all, hardly anybody notices.
Because few Americans understand the hyper-technical components of civil rights law, such as disparate impact theory, regression analysis, and redlining cases, this litigation-based substitute for reparations has been largely successful and almost entirely free from broad public scrutiny. To the extent the public is aware of the activities of civil rights litigation, it is packaged to them as part of the noble and seemingly endless effort to escape the nation’s unjust past.
This aggressive one-way approach toward the civil rights laws is central to understanding why the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party was dismissed by the Obama Justice Department. To some, the civil rights laws are not meant to protect all Americans, they are meant to protect certain Americans. Naturally the universal protections that apply to all Americans in the 14th and 15th Amendments are no barrier to one-way enforcement when you control the mechanics of the federal bureaucracy. After all, few will ever know about the civil rights cases this administration refuses to bring. A perk of being in charge is deciding what is the best use of government resources, and what is the best exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
Americans have the right to know, however, whether or not this administration harbors hostility towards a race-neutral enforcement of the civil rights laws. The firsthand experience of many within the Justice Department leaves no doubt about this insidious attitude.
Some activists may claim this is much ado about nothing. This view is shortsighted: it is hard to imagine what would erode support for the civil rights laws more than the idea that many of us aren’t protected. Equal enforcement of the law vests all of us in the mission of equality. Protecting everyone seems a small price to pay for civil rights organizations to preserve the popularity of their agenda. Failing to protect everyone only fuels hostility to their agenda.
Refusing to enforce the law in a race-neutral manner is a curable malaise. The Department of Justice can still redeem itself — it might start by refiling the lawsuit against the dismissed defendants in the New Black Panther Party case. It ought to abandon its advocacy of race-based preferences in future cases. And it should be willing to diligently pursue investigations and cases no matter the race of the victim or the perpetrator, especially in voting rights cases.
If they don’t, Americans have the right to know and judge this administration’s neglect of our civil rights."
J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. His website is www.electionlawcenter.com.
Powerline commentary about the Justice Department dropping the Black Panther voter intimidation case. Looks like it isn't going away.
"The Justice department's suit against Arizona -- a preliminary look
July 7, 2010 Posted by Paul at 10:12 PM
"The Obama Justice Department has filed suit against the State of Arizona, asserting that Arizona's new immigration law is preempted by federal law. At least one expert on preemption believes that the case is a close one. And I doubt that even the Obama Justice Department would bring a frivolous action.
I'm not an expert in this area. But for what it's worth, my initial take is that Arizona has a better case than the Justice Department.
As I understand it, this is not a situation where Arizona has enacted immigration legislation that's inconsistent with federal immigration law. Nor, to my knowledge, has Arizona authorized any enforcement mechanisms that violate other federal law.
The Justice Department's theory is, instead, that the Arizona law is unconstitutional because the government has preempted the field of immigration. Under the "field preemption" theory, a state law can, under certain circumstances, be preempted even if it is not inconsistent with federal law.
The power to regulate immigration has been held to be exclusively federal power. But the Supreme Court has also made it clear that not every state enactment that deals with aliens is a regulation of immigration and thus per se pre-empted. In De Canas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351 (1976), the Court upheld an attempt by California "to strengthen its economy by adopting federal standards in imposing criminal sanctions against state employers who knowingly employ aliens who have no federal right to employment within the country." Here, as I understand it, Arizona similarly attempts to vindicate important state interests - including protecting the safety of Arizona residents - by adopting and enforcing federal standards.
To be sure, a state cannot enact legislation that "stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress." Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52 (1941). However, it's difficult to see how the Arizona law stands as such an obstacle.
The government argues that the Arizona will hurt the federal enforcement effort because it will unduly burden federal enforcement agencies. The lawsuit alleges, for example, that the flood of illegal immigrants detained for deportation as a result of the Arizona law will cause authorities to lose focus on top-priority targets, such as terrorists.
This argument seems highly speculative. It pertains, moreover, to the alleged purposes and objectives of the executive branch, not those of Congress. I suspect the legislative history will show that the purposes and objectives of Congress with respect to aliens without visas was, to the extent possible, to keep all such persons out of the country and to provide the basis for deporting those who enter illegally. The Arizona law is not an obstacle to these purposes. I also suspect that the legislative history will be devoid of any indication of congressional intent to oust the state from enforcing immigration laws that track federal requirements.
So I'm cautiously optimistic that the Arizona law will be upheld and I believe that it should be. It would be quite a federal power grab to bar states from protecting their residents from widespread violations of federal immigration law that the federal government is unwilling vigorously to enforce.
However, I recognize that the issue may be less straightforward than my analysis suggests. I'll try to update this analysis as the issue comes into focus and to link to more in-depth and expert analyses as they appear."
"Open-Borders DOJ vs. America
MICHELLE MALKIN | Source Townhall.com
"The Obama administration's lawsuit against Arizona, officially unveiled on Tuesday, is an affront to all law-abiding Americans. It is a threatening salvo aimed at all local, county or state governments that dare to take control of the immigration chaos in their own backyards. And it is being driven by open-borders extremists who have dedicated their political careers to subverting homeland security policies in the name of compassion and diversity.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, headed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, took the lead in prepping the legal brief against Arizona. The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Perez is a far-left lawyer and activist who worked for the late mass illegal alien amnesty champion Ted Kennedy and served in the Clinton administration DOJ. While holding down a key government position there in which he was entrusted to abide by the rule of law, Perez volunteered for CASA de Maryland -- a notorious illegal alien advocacy group funded through a combination of taxpayer-subsidized grants and radical liberal philanthropy, including billionaire George Soros' Open Society Institute (not to mention more than $1 million showered on the group by Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez's regime-owned oil company, CITGO).
In 2006, CASA de Maryland threatened to protest at the schools of children whose parents belonged to the pro-immigration enforcement group Minuteman Project -- and then headed into the Montgomery County, Md., public schools to recruit junior amnesty protesters who were offered school credits for traveling with CASA de Maryland to march on Washington.
As a former Maryland resident, I got to see Perez's militant friends and colleagues in action. I watched CASA de Maryland President Gustavo Torres (who met with President Obama last week) complain that motor vehicle administration officials have "absolutely no right to ask for people's Social Security number or immigration status to get a driver's license." I stood among CASA de Maryland grievance-mongers who shouted, "No license, no justice! No justice, no peace!" while playing the race card against naturalized Americans and legal immigrants who opposed the illegal alien welfare state.
Perez himself derided secure-borders citizen activists as "xenophobes," but denied painting the grassroots immigration enforcement movement as racist. Questioned by GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions during his Obama DOJ confirmation hearing last year about the illegal alien rights guide produced by CASA de Maryland, Perez grudgingly stated that "the Civil Rights Division must not act in contravention to valid enforcement actions of our federal immigration laws." But "act(ing) in contravention" is exactly what the Civil Rights Division is doing in spearheading the challenge to Arizona's valid enforcement actions of our federal immigration law.
You gotta love Obama's fair-weather friends of the Constitution. When a state acts to do the job the feds won't do, Obama's legal eagles run to the Founding Fathers for protection. When, on the other hand, left-wing cities across the country pass illegal alien sanctuary policies that flagrantly defy national immigration laws and hamper cross-jurisdiction enforcement, the newfound federal preemption advocates are nowhere in sight."
So here's how it works folks if we thought Obama got one over on an oil company.
BP's oil-spill cleanup bill, so far: $3.2 billion
Money BP is setting aside for the total bill: $20 billion
Annual cost of U.S. ethanol subsidies: $5 billion
Ethanol subsidies going to BP this year: $600 million
Conclusions: Every four years, U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the energy firms by an amount equal to the maximum that BP expects to spend on the cleanup. BP specifically will collect an equivalent amount every 33 years. This year's BP ethanol subsidy by itself will offset about 20 percent of what BP has spent on the cleanup so far.
And that's just one subsidy program.
Tell me again why this "green economy" stuff is not a scam.
The banks paid back their TARP money, and the nation remains scandalized by that bailout. What are the chances the energy industry is going to pay back a penny of the billions we're pouring on them through green energy subsidies?"
"Ethanol Credits Have A Major Beneficiary In Big Oil FirmsFriday, July 2, 2010 Source CongressDaily
"BP could stand to reap federal tax credits approaching $600 million this year for blending gasoline with corn-based ethanol, making the British oil and gas giant one of the largest beneficiaries of the 45 cents-per-gallon ethanol incentive.
The credit expires Dec. 31, and the House Ways and Means Committee is preparing as early as next month to debate a "green jobs" bill eyed as a vehicle for an extension. Environmentalists are seizing on the generally low esteem the public holds for BP at the moment, with the future of the roughly $5 billion-a-year ethanol credit in the balance.
"Generally, we feel that after 30 years, it's finally time for ethanol to stand on its own," said Dusty Horwitt, senior counsel at the Environmental Working Group. "These massive handouts flow to oil companies like BP and only cement our dependence on environmentally damaging sources of energy ... the other issue here, with BP, is that Congress has created this $5 billion-a-year energy program and taxpayers have little idea who's getting the money."
Ethanol backers say the BP argument is a straw man. "I don't think that has any legs," said House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson. He said the credit keeps ethanol competitive with oil until it can be marketed on a level playing field, including special blenders' pumps at gas stations and boosting the limit on how much ethanol can be blended with gasoline.
"It's all my environmental friends standing in the way of us getting complete access to the marketplace, because they really don't like ethanol. If they had their way, we'd all walk," Peterson said. "We're willing to compete; we're willing to phase out this ethanol tax credit, when we get equal access to the market."
The credit is claimed by the gasoline supplier for each gallon of ethanol blended in. The ethanol industry benefits from the incentive for refiners to buy their product -- although critics say incentives aren't needed because ethanol production is mandated under federal law. And under contracts between producers and refiners, some pricing benefit can be built in based on the credit, so a supplier may pay a little extra to the producer knowing they will get 45 cents a gallon back at the pump.
Still, a common misconception is that it's the ethanol producer receiving the direct benefit, when it's really the oil companies. "That's the guy behind the curtain," said one energy lobbyist. He said BP might be the largest ethanol credit beneficiary by virtue of a heavy Midwest presence, and noted BP was among the first companies to support the ethanol mandate. "You know who gets more money than anyone else from the credit?" the official said. "Are you sitting down?"
A spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol lobby group, said the environmental agenda is actually serving the oil industry's interests. "Environmental groups should be more concerned with what BP is doing to the Gulf than attacking American ethanol," said RFA spokesman Matt Hartwig. "There is but one outcome of the delay game environmental groups are playing with ethanol: more oil use. As we clearly see today, that comes at a terrible price."
Exact figures on how much BP has gotten in ethanol credits are unknown because the IRS has turned down the Environmental Working Group's Freedom Of Information Act requests. A BP press officer said that information was not immediately available. But some back-of-the-envelope math can be instructive.
On BP's website, the firm states: "As one of the largest blenders and marketers of biofuels in the nation, we blended over 1 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline in 2008 alone." Extrapolating from Energy Information Administration data on 2009 refining capacity, BP is estimated to have produced about 11.5 billion gallons of gasoline. If the company blended up to the 10 percent limit under current law, about 1.15 billion gallons would have been blended, translating to a $518 million tax benefit.
In 2008, federally mandated ethanol production was 9 billion, and this year that figure rises to 12 billion. If BP's blending rises proportionally, that could put the company at about 1.3 billion gallons this year, for a tax benefit worth $585 million. Some of that might be passed on to consumers at the pump, as well as shared with ethanol producers under their contracts, said Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "But the simple math is indisputable: BP is getting the direct tax benefit," he said.
Based on 2009 EIA data, BP would have been the fourth-largest U.S. ethanol blender, after Valero Energy Corp., ConocoPhillips Co. and ExxonMobil Corp.
Ways and Means Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said the credit needs to be re-examined. "Is it actually promoting the environment's health? Is the subsidy making a difference, and for whom?" he asked. "Here we are anguishing over hard votes because of the tradeoff between the economy now and the long-term deficit. This needs to be part of the discussion, and I think it will be."
Blumenauer and Ways and Means Democrats like Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, another critic, may have to battle the political winds. Endangered House Democrats throughout the Midwest, such as Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, also on Ways and Means, are anxious to see it extended.
And there is no question ethanol enjoys powerful political backing in the Senate. "It supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States. If the United States is to continue reducing its dependence on imported oil, and oil in general, ethanol is a critical part of the solution," said Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley, whose home state of Iowa is the largest ethanol producer.
As for the oil industry, it is clearly in a bind given the short-term tax benefit contrasted with the long-term competitive threat posed by ethanol, sources on both sides of the debate said. An American Petroleum Institute spokesman said the group had no position on the ethanol credit.by Peter Cohn "
Holder says "Arizona, the Justice Department said, "crossed a constitutional line."................."
How about Obama and his regime have crossed a constitutional line by REFUSING TO SECURING THE BORDERS.
From Townhall.com by Michael Ramirez
"Mexican Gangs Maintain Permanent Lookout Bases in Hills of ArizonaBy Adam Housley Published June 22, 2010| FOXNews.com
"US government sues Arizona over anti-immigration law
Federal laws do not permit the development of a "patchwork of state and local immigration policies," it said.
"Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility," US Attorney General Eric Holder said in the statement.
Arizona, the Justice Department said, "crossed a constitutional line."................."
"TSA Reverses "Controversial Opinion" Web PolicyPosted by Pia Malbran
"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reversed itself today, announcing that it will no longer block TSA employees, using work computers, from accessing websites that contain a "controversial opinion."
As CBS News first reported, the TSA on Friday informed its employees that five categories of websites would be off-limits because they were deemed "inappropriate for government access."
Those categories were: "Chat/Messaging," "Criminal activity," "Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content," "Gaming," and any websites that contained a "Controversial Opinion."
Sources who spoke with CBS News were puzzled as to why the federal agency would block websites that contain controversial opinions and questioned whether the move would violate First Amendment rights and the freedom to access information.
At about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the TSA sent out another memo to its employees explaining that the category of "controversial opinion" was "an IT software catch-all phrase used to describe sites that may violate TSA's acceptable use policy, such as sites that promote destructive behavior to one's self or others."
The memo went on to say that "after further review, TSA determined this category may contain some sites that do not violate TSA's policy and therefore has concluded that the category is no longer being considered for implementation." The TSA also emphasized that it encourages the "sharing [of] ideas and opinions."
Awesome to set the record straight on this one. Knew he being used as a tool which is tabloid journalism at its finest.
"Levi's Mea CulpaSource Powerlinebog.com
July 6, 2010 Posted by John at 9:51 PM
"Levi Johnston was an Alaska teenager pursuing the same ends as pretty much every other teenage boy, when he was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight at the worst possible moment. We can all sympathize with that, if not with what followed, as, after the election, Johnston fell in with liberals who used him as a tool to attack Sarah Palin. Now Johnston, apparently sadder and wiser, has admitted that much of what he told the liberal media about the Palin family was untrue:
"Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true," he tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize."
Bristol added her own statement Tuesday saying, "Part of co-parenting is creating healthy and honest relationships between the parents. Tripp one day needs to know the truth and needs to know that even if a mistake is made the honorable thing to do is to own up to it." ...
"So to the Palin family in general and to Sarah Palin in particular, please accept my regrets and forgive my youthful indiscretion," Johnston says in the statement. "I hope one day to restore your trust."
Most of us, of course, never were hanging on Levi Johnston's latest bulletins about the Palin family, but one wonders about the handful of gutter journalists who built their careers, in part, on Johnston's lies. Like, specifically, Andrew Sullivan, the once-respected journalist who went completely nuts over the maternity of Sarah Palin's youngest child.
We all make mistakes, but there are levels of insanity from which it is impossible to come back. Andrew plumbed the depths with his fevered speculations about the Palin family, based in part on Levi's tales, as the linked web site search shows. There are a great many reporters and editors who owe Sarah Palin an apology, but first on the list is the repugnant Andrew Sullivan. It will be interesting to see whether he faces up to the inevitable."
"Levi Johnston Apologizes to Palin Family for 'Youthful Indiscretion'
From Townhall.com by Glenn McCoy
Found this link in my last blog post. Had enough "Hope Hype and Change" yet????
"Six Months to Go Until
The Largest Tax Hikes in History
"In just six months, thelargest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hitfamilies and small businesses in three great waves on January 1,2011:
First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 TaxRelief
In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cutsfor investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire onJanuary 1, 2011:
Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rateat which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate willrise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemizeddeductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the samemathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginalrate hikes is below:
- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracketrises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Higher taxes onmarriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets formarried couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child taxcredit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deductionwill no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. Thedependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.
The returnof the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dyingon or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estatesover $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement accountcould easily pass along a death tax bill to their lovedones.
Higher tax rates on savers and investors. Thecapital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.
There are over twenty new or highertaxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:
The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks toObamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA),flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollarsto purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (exceptinsulin).
The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provisionof Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500(Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSAowners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents ofspecial needs children. There are thousands of families with special needschildren in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for specialneeds education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needschildren in Washington, D.C. (NationalChild Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules,FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.
The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision ofObamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from anHSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and othertax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.
Third Wave: TheAlternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes
When Americansprepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nastysurprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions willhave expired. The major items include:
The AMT will ensnare over28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to theleft-leaning TaxPolicy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosionof AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes atthe higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful oftaxpayers.
Small business expensing will be slashed and 50%expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense(rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to$250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses canexpense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of itwill have to be “depreciated.”
Taxes will be raised on all typesof businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on businessthat will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research andexperimentation tax credit,” but there aremany, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of thistax relief will cost jobs.
Tax Benefits for Education andTeaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not beavailable. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longerbe able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts willbe cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The studentloan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands offamilies.
Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longerallowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA cancontribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. Thiscontribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” Thisability will no longer be there. "
"Had Enough "Hope and Change"?
July 5, 2010 Posted by John at 7:30 PM
"One of my daughters drove up north with some friends to stay overnight at a lake cabin earlier this weekend. Somewhere northeast of Minneapolis they passed a billboard that said, "Had enough 'HOPE AND CHANGE'?" The billboard depicted a pair of hands feeding the Constitution into a shredder.
The rebellion against Washington Democrats is spreading and building in intensity. The point of the spear, so to speak, is the Tea Party movement. The Gallup Poll has some interesting data on Tea Partiers:
Self-described Tea Party supporters differ from those neutral or opposed to the movement on the issues they perceive as threats to the future of the United States, most notably federal government debt and the size and power of the federal government. They are essentially indistinguishable from those who do not support the Tea Party in their perceptions of unemployment and racial discrimination as future threats to the country.
No surprise there; and no support, of course, for the demagogues who try to associate the Tea Party with race. Here are some of the basic numbers; click to enlarge: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/07/026689.php
Basically, Tea Partiers are people who have a more sophisticated understanding of current events than those who describe themselves as anti-Tea Party. Anyone who doesn't realize that the exploding federal debt represents a serious threat to our future either is a fool, or doesn't have children. (That, actually, would make for an interesting survey.)
The responses on terrorism are interesting, too: there is evidently a common thread between obliviousness to the dangers of debts we can't pay and to the dangers of Islamic terrorism, but it is hard to see what that common thread might be, other than blind, stupid loyalty to the Democratic Party.
As the economic news continues to worsen, voters are appropriately growing more surly. That is reflected, I think, in this Rasmussen survey finding that 60% of likely voters--a figure that matches the all-time high--want Obamacare repealed. Maybe that is due to recent news reports about the effects of the government takeover bill, perhaps in part due to a general lack of confidence in the administration's economic competence.
Disillusion with the Obama administration, which can hardly be disentangled from disgust with the Reid/Pelosi regime in Congress, is reaching dangerous levels--dangerous, anyway, if you're a Democratic office-holder. In the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza points out that President Obama's approval rating among whites is almost exactly the same as President Bush's was two years ago. (I had forgotten, actually, that in 2008 Obama lost the white vote by 12 points. This was, however, a significant improvement on John Kerry's performance.) It took President Bush seven and a half years to fall to that level; Obama, just 18 months.
For the Democrats, the ticking time bomb is the Gulf oil spill. We are now on, what, day 73? Something like that. The federal government has yet to figure out an effective response to the spill, and as time goes by, more and more information leaks out about the incompetence of the administration's performance. We have written about that topic repeatedly and will continue to do so, but the fact is that the damage to Democrats will result much more from the brute fact of the spill's persistence and ongoing environmental damage than from revelations about the administration's bungling.
It may not be fair, but the President is viewed largely as a good-luck symbol, and he is held responsible, justly or not, when things go badly. Obama can hardly complain; he is President today mostly because, by sheer chance, the international debt crisis struck in late 2008, the last months of the Bush administration, rather than in early 2009.
Today tar balls began washing up on Texas beaches. They are expected in the Everglades and, up the east coast, in Miami before long. The oil spill will generate headlines and bleed enthusiasm for Democratic rule until November and beyond.
One more thing: the biggest tax increase in American history is scheduled for January 1, 2011, less than two months after the election. The Democrats apparently have decided to defer any discussion of next year's tax rates in Congress until after the election, on the theory that if voters focus on the huge tax increases the Democrats have in store for them, their members will be tarred and feathered rather than just defeated in the midterm elections. I find it hard to believe, however, that the Dems will be able to keep the topic of tax increases off the table until the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November. If you need a reminder as to how, exactly, the Democrats intend to assault your bank account, go here. Read it and weep.
Put it all together, and there is reason to believe that the Democrats will face a tsunami of voter anger in November. Let's hope so; as an email correspondent likes to say, it is November or never."
July 6, 2010
"Santa and Frank
By Thomas Sowell
Source http://www.JewishWorldReview.com |
"People who remember the old comic strip "Peanuts" will recall an often repeated situation where Lucy offers to hold a football for Charlie Brown to kick. Then, as Charlie coming running up to kick it, Lucy snatches away the ball and Charlie Brown loses his balance and goes crashing on his backside.
The reason this same scene remained funny, despite how often it was repeated, is that in the later repetitions Charlie Brown would express suspicion at Lucy, recalling how she had tricked him before. She would then come up with some claim that she wasn't going to do that any more— and of course she did.
There is a similar routine that has been repeated many times in Washington, over the years, with the Democrats playing Lucy and Republicans playing Charlie Brown.
It goes like this: Democrats start spending money wildly, handing out goodies to a wide range of people who they want to vote for them, while Republicans complain about deficits and the national debt. Then, when the public becomes alarmed about the debts that are piling up, the Democrats get the Republicans to vote for higher taxes to deal with the debt crisis, in the name of "fiscal responsibility."
Sometimes the deal is sweetened by the Democrats promising to make spending cuts if the Republicans vote for higher taxes, so that there can be one of those "bipartisan" solutions so beloved by the media. But, after the Republicans vote for the tax increases, and come running up to find the spending cuts, the Democrats snatch away the spending cuts and the Republicans fall right on their backsides, just like Charlie Brown.
This old trick is now being unveiled by the Obama administration, like so many other old political tricks used in this "change" administration.
In one of President Obama's many prissy little sermonettes, complete with finger wagging, he has declared: "Next year when I start presenting some very difficult choices to the country, I hope some of these folks who are hollering about deficits step up. Because I'm calling their bluff."
There is already a bipartisan commission set to provide political cover for the Democrats' wild spending that has increased the national debt from 63 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2004 to 83 percent in 2009— and official estimates of more than 90 percent this year, with more increases in sight.
Why Republicans join such transparent attempts to rescue the Democrats from the political consequences of their own actions is one of the many unsolved mysteries of human nature in general and the Republican Party in particular.
What this political game boils down to is that Democrats get all the political benefits of playing Santa Claus to all sorts of groups and special interests, while Republicans who vote to raise taxes to pay for all this are cast in the role of Frank Nitti, the enforcer for the mob.
Many elections have confirmed that Santa Claus is more popular than Frank Nitti, surprising as that may be to some people.
Republicans are not the only suckers in this game. The voting public's willingness to believe fancy rhetoric and ignore hard facts is a crucial part of this scam.
When the Obama administration said that it could provide health insurance to millions of additional people without increasing the national debt, shouldn't common sense have told you that somebody was just insulting your intelligence?
When the two thousand page bill was rushed through Congress too fast for anybody to read it, shouldn't that have made you realize that you were being played for a sucker?
When this bill that was passed with lightning speed was scheduled to take effect only after the 2012 election, didn't that suggest that they didn't want you to find out how it works in practice in time to turn against Obama when he is up for reelection?
Recent polls show that a lot of people are against ObamaCare. But there are still a lot of other people, though not as many, who are for it.
Even more amazingly, there are still Republicans lured by the siren song of "bipartisanship" and apparently unaware of the difference in popularity between Santa Claus and Frank Nitti."
One more time listen .... YouTube - Senator Kyl Says: Border Will Not Secured Unless In Conjunction With Amnesty
"Congresswoman Raises Red Flag on Hezbollah-Cartel Nexus on U.S. Border
Published June 25, 2010
Iran-tied terror group Hezbollah may be colluding with drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexico border, a Republican congresswoman warned, calling on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to establish a special task force to figure out how to "clamp down" on this "national security" threat.
The Lebanon-based group has long-standing and documented ties to South America and its drug gangs, but reports have recently surfaced that it may be expanding its influence to Mexico and the U.S. border.
In her letter to Napolitano, Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., called on Homeland Security to find out and report more on the extent of the problem. She cited several troubling developments that would point to Hezbollah creeping closer to and inside the United States, with the help of Mexican drug gangs.
"It is vital we know what is happening on our border, especially as crime and violence continue to rise there and as terrorist plots and threats are increasing inside the U.S.," she wrote.
Myrick outlined a complex set of potential threats and evidence of their existence. She said "Iranian agents and members of Hezbollah" are thought to be learning Spanish in Hugo Chavez-run Venezuela before trying to obtain false documents to enter the United States as purported Mexicans. She said Hezbollah, known for its tunnel-digging skill, could be receiving drug money from cartel operations in exchange for help forging better tunnels across the U.S. border for trafficking.
She said gang members in prisons in the American southwest are starting to show up with tattoos in Farsi, implying a "Persian influence that can likely be traced back to Iran and its proxy army, Hezbollah."
FoxNews.com has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment on the numerous claims.
Myrick cited the opinions and findings of former intelligence officials and others in her detailed letter. One of them was a "high-ranking Mexican Army officer" whom she said believes Hezbollah could be training Mexican drug cartels to make bombs.
"This might lead to Israel-like car bombings of Mexican/USA border personnel or National Guard units," she wrote.
At a minimum, Hezbollah has a foothold in South America, according to official reports.
Anthony Placido, assistant administrator for intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration, told a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee in March that the "drug and terrorism nexus" is strongest in the region where the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. He said drugs from this region, which are cheaper than in other hot spots, "can be resold in other countries for large profits desired by those seeking funds to further terrorist activity such as Hezbollah."
He said some drug traffickers in the region have ties to the Lebanese terror group and have since the late 1980s or early 1990s.
"There are numerous reports of cocaine proceeds entering the coffers of Islamic Radical Groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas," he said, calling it "easy revenue" that can be used for terror attacks.
An April Congressional Research Service report on drug trafficking in Latin America cited that testimony.
A 2006 House Homeland Security Committee report further noted that Hezbollah members have already been caught entering the United States via Mexico, suggesting expanded activity. The report cited as one example the case of Mahmoud Youssef Kourani, the brother of a Hezbollah chief, who in 2005 pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hezbollah after being smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border and settling in Dearborn, Mich.
The report raised red flags about the "dangerous intersection between traditional transnational criminal activities ... and more ominous threats to national security."
TSA to Block "Controversial Opinion" on the Web
ALTAR, Mexico — Very few residents dare to drive on one of the roads out of this watering-hole for migrants, fearing they will be stopped at gunpoint. They worry they will be told to turn around after their gas tanks are drained or, worse, be kidnapped or killed.
A shootout that left 21 people dead and six wounded on the road last week is the most gruesome sign that a relatively tranquil pocket of northern Mexico is quickly turning into a hotbed of drug-fueled violence on Arizona's doorstep. The violence in recent months is grist for supporters of the state's tough new law against illegal immigration, who are eager to portray the border as a lawless battlefield of smugglers both of drugs and humans. ..........."
Came in email, pretty accurate in my opinion. However believe in the current leftist-lurching political climate you could substitute Conservative for Republican, Leftist for Democrat.
Which side of the fence?
If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!
If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a Republican reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A Democrat will delete it because he's "offended".
"WAYNE ALLYN ROOT: Barack Obama: The great jobs killer
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT
Source Las Vegas Review Journal, ReviewJournal.com
"As former President Ronald Reagan might have said, "Obama, there you go again."
The current occupant of the White House claims to know how to create jobs. He claims jobs have been created. But so far the score is Great Obama Depression 2.2 million lost jobs, Obama 0 -- a blowout.
Obama is as hopeless, helpless, clueless and bankrupt of good ideas as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in late September. This "community organizer" knows as much about private-sector jobs as Pamela Anderson knows about nuclear physics.
It's time to call Obama what he is: The Great Jobs Killer. With his massive spending and tax hikes -- rewarding big government and big unions, while punishing taxpayers and business owners -- Obama has killed jobs, he has killed motivation to create new jobs, he has killed the motivation to invest in new businesses, or expand old ones. With all this killing, Obama should be given the top spot on the FBI's Most Wanted List.
Meanwhile, he has kept the union workers of GM and Chrysler employed (with taxpayer money). He has made sure that most government employee union members got their annual raises for sleeping on the job (with taxpayer money). He made sure that his voters got handouts mislabeled as "tax cuts" even though they never paid taxes (with taxpayer money). And he made sure that major campaign contributors collected billions off government stimulus (with taxpayer money).
As far as the taxpayers -- the people who actually take risks with our own money to create small businesses and jobs and pay most of the taxes -- we require protection under the Endangered Species Act.
You won't find proof of the damage Obama is doing on Wall Street, but rather on Main Street. My friends are all part of the economic engine of America: Small business. Small business creates 75 percent of new jobs (and a majority of all jobs). I called one friend who was a wealthy restaurant owner. He says business is off by 60 percent. He's drowning in debt. He won't last much longer. His wealth is gone.
I called another friend in the business of home improvement. He says business is off 90 percent from two years ago. My contractor just filed personal bankruptcy. She won't be building any more homes. The hair salon where I've had my hair cut for years closed earlier this year. Bankrupt. But here's the clincher -- ESPN Zone just closed all their restaurants across the country. If they can't make it selling cheap food and overpriced beer with 100 big screens blaring every sporting event on the planet to a sports-crazed society, we are all in deep, deep trouble.
I've polled all my friends who own small businesses -- many of them in the Internet and high-tech fields. They all agree that in this new Obama world of high business taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, capital gains taxes, and workers compensation taxes, the key to success is to avoid employees. The only way to survive as a business owner today is by keeping the payroll very low and by hiring only independent contractors or part-time employees provided by temp agencies.
The days of jobs in the private sector with big salaries, full benefits, and pensions are over. We've all seen where those kinds of jobs get you as a business owner -- in Bankruptcy Court or surviving on government welfare like GM and Chrysler. Or in the case of government itself -- completely insolvent, but surviving by ripping off taxpayers and fraudulently running printing presses at the Fed all day and night to print money by the trillions.
Unfortunately, small businesses don't have the power to impose taxes or print money. So unlike government, we'll just have to cut employees and run lean and mean.
It has now become clear that, outside of the burgeoning field of Census takers, there will be no major increase in new jobs for years to come. Outside government, Obama has created a wasteland of economic ruin and depression that looks much like the landscape of Mel Gibson's first movie "Mad Max." Without a printing press in Obama's world, you're just plain out of luck.
The days of believing the Obama propaganda about a jobs recovery are over. The trillion-dollar corporate handouts (neatly named "stimulus") may have kept big business in the money for the past 18 months, and artificially propped up the stock market, but small business is the real canary in the coal mine.
My small business-owning friends aren't creating one job. Not one. They are shedding jobs. They are learning to do more with fewer employees. They are creating high-tech businesses that don't need employees. And many business owners are making plans to leave the country. In a high-tech world where businesses can be run from anywhere, Obama has a problem. His one-trick pony -- raise taxes, raise taxes, raising taxes -- is chasing away the business owners he desperately needs to pay his bills.
So who is going to pay Obama's taxes? Not his voters. They want government to pay them. Who is going to create Obama's jobs? Not his voters -- they've never created a job in their lives.
So what is Obama going to do? Maybe he can get Pamela Anderson on the line."
Wayne Allyn Root, a former vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, writes from Henderson. His column appears every other week."
You might want to go to YouTube to see this video full screen.
Said by one of the biggest RINOS in Washington.
I always thought he was married.
July 1, 2010 4:57 PM
"Lindsey Graham: Tea Party will "Die Out"Posted by Stephanie Condon
Source Political Hotsheet - CBS News
"In the past year, many Republican lawmakers have sought the support of the conservative Tea Party movement. But Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, bucking his party once again, is predicting the movement will "die out."
"The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out," Graham said in an interview with the New York Times magazine. "We don't have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats."
Graham added, in a comment sure to rile some in the GOP: "Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today."
In the current hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington, Graham is one of the few Republicans willing to work with Democrats on hot-button issues like comprehensive energy legislation and immigration reform. In April, he called the controversial Arizona immigration law -- which has galvanized both liberals and conservatives -- unconstitutional. He has signaled he could vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and even chided his Republican colleagues for labeling liberal icon Thurgood Marshall a "judicial activist."
Graham's willingness to cross partisan lines has won the ire of Tea Partiers and other hardline conservatives. Republicans in South Carolina have even officially censured Graham for his work with Democrats on issues like immigration.
"Everything I'm doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement's at," Graham told the New York Times.
The senator described a contentious meeting he had in his office with a group of Tea Partiers. Graham said he asked them, "'What do you want to do? You take back your country -- and do what with it?'"
"Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent," he said.
In the story, Graham said that Republicans who will likely be elected in this year's midterm elections will be "more like me, not less like me" -- though he made an exception for at least one Tea Party-backed candidate, Nevada's Sharron Angle.
"Now, this lady from Nevada?" Graham said. "Probably not."
During a Tea Party rally this spring, a speaker said Graham was working with Democrats out of fear that they would out the lifelong bachelor as a homosexual. Graham smirked at the mention of this incident, the Times reports.
"Like maybe I'm having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin," he said. "I know it's really gonna upset a lot of gay men -- I'm sure hundreds of 'em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge -- but I ain't available. I ain't gay. Sorry."
Friday, July 2. 2010
Posted by Karl Denninger in Editorial at 12:43
Source The Market Ticker
"Our D<snip>bag Government - Midyear Debt Update
"........Here's reality folks: We've written checks for 30 years with our political mouths we cannot cash with our producing fingers. We've papered over this with fraud in virtually every nook and cranny of public and private life. We have allowed producers to depart for lands where effective slavery exists for labor, refusing to enact parity tariffs to put a stop to it. ..........."
".....We are in the beginning stages of a global asset market collapse......."
"Straight talk is alien to prez
It was a halting speech, punctuated with sighs and head-shaking.
America had been sent to its room and once again punished with a long, boring lecture.
What made yesterday's speech so remarkable was how callow and shifty Obama was about a topic of such dire importance.
He claimed that solutions have been "held hostage to political posturing" and wagged his finger at all those who just beg the government to finally enforce current law before creating a scheme of new promises.
Then he played the very same partisan games that created the problem.
He told us that illegal aliens cannot be stopped from crossing the border.
He said that laws on the books are unenforceable.
Anyway, he explained, those laws are immoral and un-American.
But the good news?
The border IS sealed!
"For the first time, we've begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments," Obama crowed.
That's right, southbound, as in from the United States to Mexico.
As if that's how 11 million illegals got here.
All this from the executive charged with guarding the borders of our country."
This is a follow up to previous posts by JAP69 and TigerAgel, links below.
Go to 3:17 on the video for the words Obama told Senator Kyl in a meeting with him.
JAP69's blog post
On securing the southern border
TigerAngel's blog post.
"Obama said no border security for political reasons
Long but worthwhile read for today. Happy 4th everyone!
"The Birth of the Administrative State: Where It Came From and What It Means for Limited GovernmentPublished on November 20, 2007 by Ronald Pestritto, Ph.D.
Source The Heritage Foundation
"For those who hold the Constitution of the United States in high regard and who are concerned about the fate of its principles in our contemporary practice of government, the modern state ought to receive significant attention. The reason for this is that the ideas that gave rise to what is today called "the administrative state" are fundamentally at odds with those that gave rise to our Constitution. In fact, the original Progressive-Era architects of the administrative state understood this quite clearly, as they made advocacy of this new approach to government an important part of their direct, open, comprehensive attack on the American Constitution.
As a practical matter, the modern state comes out of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, which launched a large bureaucracy and empowered it with broad governing authority. Also, as a practical matter, the agencies comprising the bureaucracy reside within the executive branch of our national government, but their powers transcend the traditional boundaries of executive power to include both legislative and judicial functions, and these powers are often exercised in a manner that is largely independent of presidential control and altogether independent of political control.
But while the actual growth of the administrative state can be traced, for the most part, to the New Deal (and subsequent outgrowths of the New Deal like the Great Society), the New Deal merely served as the occasion for implementing the ideas of America's Progressives, who had come a generation earlier. It is the origins of the modern state--and the constitutional implications of that change--upon which we will focus our attention.
The consequences of adopting Progressive ideas as a foundation for a major piece of our contemporary government are profound, especially when one considers the impact of these ideas on the bedrock principles of our Constitution. It is best to begin with an illustration. Consider the plight of the C. T. Chenery Corporation in the early 1940s.
In 1935, Congress had enacted the Public Utility Holding Act, which required that public utility holding companies reorganize their corporate structures and that the recently created Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversee and approve the reorganization plans. The law did not name any specific standard that the SEC was to use in evaluating the plans, and the SEC itself did not set any particular rule to govern its decisions.
Thus, when the Federal Water Service Corporation was to be reorganized, its management group--the C. T. Chenery Corporation--had no way of knowing what it had to do in order to maintain its controlling interest in the company. When it became clear that the SEC would allow preferred stockholders to convert their shares of the old company into shares of the newly reorganized company, the Chenery Corporation went out and bought itself a large block of preferred stock on the open market. The reorganization plan approved by the SEC did, as expected, allow preferred stockholders to convert their shares; but the SEC explicitly excluded Chenery from making such a conversion, thus depriving Chenery of its ownership.
The reason for the SEC's exclusion of the Chenery Corporation was that the agency decided that it was impermissible for a management company to purchase stock during a reorganization. This was not a prohibition that was part of any law, rule, or regulation when the Chenery Corporation made the purchase. Nor was it a prohibition that applied to any company other than Chenery. Nor was it a prohibition that the SEC ever employed again in the future. It was, instead, a standard that the SEC invented on the spot and applied retroactively to this one company.
When the Chenery Corporation brought suit in federal court, protesting the obvious violation of the rule of law, the SEC countered that the courts should defer to the expertise of the agency and allow the agency to exercise its judgment on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court, in 1943, did not find such an argument compelling, reasoning that, "before transactions otherwise legal can be outlawed or denied their usual business consequences, they must fall under the ban of some standards of conduct prescribed by an agency of government"--that the SEC must, in other words, act according to the rule of law.
But four years later, the SEC found the Court friendlier to its ad hoc decision making. Having kept the Chenery case in litigation during this time, the SEC persuaded the Court to change its mind, and in 1947, the Court concluded that any "rigid" requirement that agencies always act according to pre-established rules "would make the administrative process inflexible and incapable of dealing with many of the specialized problems which arise." To insist that agencies follow pre-existing rules in making their decision would be, the new Court claimed, "to exalt form over necessity." The rule of law, in other words, would have to take a back seat to the social expediency provided by expert administration.
The Founding, the Progressive Era, and the Rule of Law
Arbitrary Government vs. the Rule of Law
The Chenery case is now commonly cited in administrative law courses as an example of the vast discretion granted to bureaucratic agencies when Congress delegates to them its legislative power. The case also serves as a good illustration of the kind of injustice the American Founders sought to avoid by instituting a Constitution structured around the separation of powers and grounded in the rule of law. The contrast here helps us see the principled differences between Progressive and Founding-era notions of what constitutes good government.
The Founders understood that there are two fundamental ways in which government can exercise its authority. The first is a system of arbitrary rule, where the government decides how to act on an ad hoc basis, leaving decisions up to the whim of whatever official or officials happen to be in charge; the second way is to implement a system grounded in the rule of law, where legal rules are made in advance and published, binding both government and citizens and allowing the latter to know exactly what they have to do or not to do in order to avoid the coercive authority of the former.
As Thomas G. West has explained, the Founders implemented a rule-of-law system partly out of reaction to schemes like those favored by Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop in the early years of Puritanism in the United States. Winthrop believed that governmental decision making ought to depend upon the goodness of the government official. Under such a plan, West explains,
where the prudence of the magistrate decides each case, no one could know for sure whether what he did would be permitted or forbidden, or what the penalty would be. Nothing except the good will of the magistrate keeps the government from acting according to whimsy or dictatorial willfulness.
In the Chenery case, the company had no way of knowing what to do or not to do in order to maintain its ownership and was forced to rely on whatever ad hoc decision the administrators in the SEC felt like making. Against such a scenario, the advantages of the Founders' rule-of-law system are evident.
First, the rule of law facilitates government by the consent of the governed. Since rules are made in advance and apply to a broad array of cases that may arise in the future, the people have the opportunity to consent by way of the deliberation and votes of their elected representatives. In a situation where ad hoc decision making is used, a decision is made only once a particular case arises, thus providing no opportunity for the citizens to grant their consent.
Second, as West explains, the rule of law makes it much more difficult "for government to play favorites, to benefit its personal friends and harm its personal enemies." It is thus the best means of maintaining a government dedicated to the equal protection of its citizens' rights, which is the aim of all legitimate government, according to the American Declaration of Independence.
Securing the Rule of Law: The Separation of Powers
In order to secure individual rights in a system based upon the rule of law, the Founders implemented a constitutional design centered on the separation of powers. Under the separation-of-powers system, the legitimate authority of government would be exercised by three co-equal departments, each making sure that the others remained within the confines of their proper constitutional places. The fundamental aim of the separation of powers, which the American Founders developed from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government and, even more directly, from Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws, was to safeguard rights against the possibility of arbitrary government. Indeed, James Madison in Federalist 47, echoing Thomas Jefferson, redefined "tyranny" to mean the absence in government of the separation of powers.
It is from this fundamental aim of separation of powers that we can discern three important tenets of American constitutionalism, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.
The Progressives' Rejection of the Separation of Powers
For the American pioneers of the administrative state--the Progressives of the late 19th and early 20th centuries--this older, limited understanding of government stood in the way of the policy aims they believed the state ought to pursue in a world that had undergone significant evolution since the time of the Founding. They believed that the role of government, contrary to the perceived ahistorical notion of Founding-era liberalism, ought to adjust continually to meet the new demands of new ages. As Woodrow Wilson wrote in The State, "Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand."
A carefully limited government may have been appropriate for the Founding era, when the primary concern was throwing off central government tyranny, but in order for government to handle the demands placed upon it by modern times, the Founding-era restrictions on its powers and organization would have to be eased and the scope of government expanded. This is why John Dewey criticized the Founders for believing that their notions about limited government transcended their own age; they "lacked," he explained, "historic sense and interest." At the most fundamental level, therefore, the separation of powers was a deadly obstacle to the new liberalism, since it was an institutional system intended to keep the national government directed toward the relatively limited ends enumerated in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Beyond this fundamental difference on the very purpose of government, the three tenets of the separation of powers mentioned above posed a particular problem for the Progressives' vision of national administration at the outset of the 20th century. The range of activities they wanted the government to regulate was far too broad for Congress to handle under the original vision of legislative power.
Instead, to varying degrees, the fathers of progressive liberalism envisioned a delegation of rulemaking, or regulatory, power from congressional lawmakers to an enlarged national administrative apparatus, which would be much more capable of managing the intricacies of a modern, complex economy because of its expertise and its ability to specialize. And because of the complexities involved with regulating a modern economy, it would be much more efficient for a single agency, with its expertise, to be made responsible within its area of competence for setting specific policies, investigating violations of those policies, and adjudicating disputes.
The fulfillment of progressive liberalism's administrative vision, therefore, required the evisceration of the non-delegation doctrine and the adoption of combination of functions as an operating principle for administrative agencies. Furthermore, the Progressives believed that administrative agencies would never be up to the mission they had in mind if those agencies remained subservient to national political institutions. Since modern regulation was to be based upon expertise--which was, its advocates argued, objective and politically neutral--administrators should be freed from political influence. Thus, the constitutional placement of administration within the executive and under the control of the President was a problem as the Progressives looked to insulate administrators not only from the chief executive, but from politics altogether.
It is the Progressives' desire to free bureaucratic agencies from the confines of politics and the law that allows us to trace the origins of the administrative state to their political thought. The idea of separating politics and administration--of grounding a significant portion of government not on the basis of popular consent but on expertise--was a fundamental aim of American Progressivism and explains the Progressives' fierce assault on the Founders' separation-of-powers constitutionalism. It was introduced into the United States by Progressive reformers who had themselves learned the principle from what was then the "cutting edge" theory of history and the state developed in 19th century Germany.
In this regard, no one was more important to the origins of the administrative state in America than Woodrow Wilson and Frank Goodnow. Wilson served as the 26th President of the United States and was a leading academic advocate of Progressive ideas long before his entry into politics. Much of his contribution to Progressive thought came in his work from the 1880s, when he was in the early stages of a prolific academic career that would see him in posts at Bryn Mawr College, Wesleyan University, and Princeton (of which he became president) prior to his entry into political life in 1910. Goodnow was the founding president of the American Political Science Association and a pioneer in the new field of administrative law who started to make his own contributions to the Progressive movement in the last decade of the 19th century.
Beyond Civil Service Reform: The Separation of Politics and Administration
The idea of shielding administration, at least to some degree, from political influence had been around in the United States for some time--at least since the reaction against the 19th century spoils system, in which many jobs in the federal bureaucracy were doled out on the basis of one's affiliation with the party currently in power as opposed to one's actual merit or skill.
The establishment of the Civil Service Commission through the Pendleton Act of 1883 marked a significant victory for opponents of the spoils system, but it took the Progressives, starting with Wilson and Goodnow, to take this rather narrow inclination against the influence of politics in administration and make it part of a thoughtful, comprehensive critique of American constitutionalism and part of a broader argument for political reform. While the opponents of the spoils system certainly wanted to shield administration from political cronyism, they did not offer a new theory of administration. The Progressives, by contrast, were concerned less with eradicating the evils of political cronyism than with creating a realm of neutral administrative discretion shielded from political influence.
Wilson introduced the concept of separating politics and administration--of treating administrative governance as an object of study entirely separate from politics--in a series of essays in the latter part of the 1880s. Goodnow expanded upon this Wilsonian concept in the 1890s and eventually published a book in 1900 titled Politics and Administration.
The fundamental assumption behind the vast discretion that Progressives wanted to give to administration was a trust in or optimism about the selflessness, competence, and objectivity of administrators, and thus a belief that the separation-of-powers checks on government were no longer necessary or just. If the Framers of the Constitution had instituted the separation of powers out of fear of "the abuses of government"--fear that the permanent self-interestedness of human nature could make government "administered by men over men" a threat to the natural rights of citizens--then the advocates of administrative discretion concluded that such fears, even if well-founded in the early days of the republic, no longer applied in the modern era. Thus, administration could be freed from the shackles placed upon it by the separation of powers in order to take on the new tasks that Progressives had in mind for the national state. This key assumption behind the separation of politics and administration is exemplified in Wilson's political thought.
The strong Progressive belief in the enlightenment and disinterestedness of administrators stands as an instructive contrast to the permanent self-interestedness that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution saw in human nature. Just as this sobriety about the potential for tyranny led the Framers to circumscribe carefully the authority of the national government, the Progressives' passionate optimism fueled their call for maximum discretion for administrators.
This is not to suggest that the Framers denied discretionary power to the national government; no reader of Federalist 23--or many other papers of The Federalist, for that matter--could draw such a conclusion. Rather, they understood that such discretion had to be channeled through the forms and law of the Constitution in order to be safe for liberty. Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 23 and elsewhere, the vigorous discretion that the national government must have is made safe by the "most vigilant and careful attention of the people." For the people to exercise this kind of vigilance, the officers who exercise discretion must do so in a system of clear electoral accountability and within the confines of the rule of law.
It is precisely this kind of accountability to the realm of politics from which the Progressives, by contrast, wanted to free administrators. For the Progressives, there was something special about civil servants that somehow raised them above the ordinary self-interestedness of human nature. Such confidence came from a faith that the progressive power of history had elevated public servants to a level of objectivity. They would, supposedly, be able to disregard their own private or particular inclinations in order to dedicate themselves to the objective good. Because of this disinterestedness, restraints on their discretion were unnecessary.
Wilson subscribed thoroughly to this doctrine of historical progress, which he had learned from reading German state theorists like G. W. F. Hegel and Johann Bluntschli and from his own teachers like Richard T. Ely, who had received his education at German universities. Wilson came to believe that history had solved the problem of faction--that human nature was no longer a danger in democratic government. He wrote frequently of a "steady and unmistakable growth of nationality of sentiment," of a growing unity and objectivity in the American mind, and concluded that the power of the national government could be unfettered because one faction or part of the country was no longer a threat to the rights of another.
Administration and the "Living Constitution"
With the threat of faction having receded as a result of historical progress, Wilson argued, a new understanding of the ends and scope of government was in order. This new understanding required an evolutionary understanding of the Constitution--one in which the ends and scope of government are determined by looking not to the pre-established law of the Constitution, but instead to the new demands placed upon government by contemporary historical circumstances.
In his New Freedom campaign for President in 1912, for instance, Wilson urged that the rigid, mechanical, "Newtonian" constitutionalism of the old liberalism be replaced by a "Darwinian" perspective, adjusting the Constitution as an organic entity to fit the ever-changing environment. Wilson also blamed separation-of-powers theory for what he believed to be the inflexibility of national government and its inability to handle the tasks required of it in the modern age:
The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live.
Wilson saw the separation of powers as a hindrance because efficiency was to be valued over anything else. As he claimed in 1885, efficiency had become the pre-eminent principle in government because history had brought us to an age where the administrative functions of government were most important: "The period of constitution-making is passed now. We have reached a new territory in which we need new guides, the vast territory of administration."
Wilson's work on empowering administration with significant discretion to regulate national progress seems to have taken off immediately following his graduate education at Johns Hopkins University. It was at Hopkins where Wilson imbibed deeply in the administrative writings of German authors who belonged to the Hegelian tradition, especially Bluntschli, and where he learned from teachers like Ely, who had studied under Bluntschli at Heidelberg.
Wilson's first sustained work on administration came right at this time in an unpublished essay written in November 1885, titled "The Art of Governing." This work led to the writing, the following year, of Wilson's seminal essay, "The Study of Administration," where the case for separating politics and administration and for freeing administration from the confines of constitutional law is made explicitly for the first time in the United States. Wilson subsequently elaborated on this case in notes he prepared for an annual lectureship at Johns Hopkins from 1888 to 1897.
But even prior to entering graduate school, Wilson's views on administration had been taking shape, as evidenced by his 1882 essay "Government By Debate." It was in this essay that Wilson first suggested freeing administration from political influence because large parts of national administration were, he contended, apolitical and based on expertise. Administrative departments, Wilson wrote then, "should be organized in strict accordance with recognized business principles. The greater part of their affairs is altogether outside of politics."
Wilson's thesis in his works on administration was that it was far better and more efficient for a professional class of experts, instead of a multiplicity of politicians with narrow, competing interests, to handle the complex business of the modern state. To the objection that entrusting administrators with such discretion might not comport with the Constitution's distribution of power, Wilson responded that administrative principles and constitutional principles were distinct and, thus, that constitutional limitations could not easily be applied to the exercise of administrative authority. The constitutional principle of checks and balances, for example, interfered with efficiency and should not be applied to the exercise of administrative power: "Give us administrative elasticity and discretion," he urged; "free us from the idea that checks and balances are to be carried down through all stages of organization."
Relying heavily on European models of administrative power, Wilson laid out a vision for administrative discretion in 1891 that directly rejected the rule-of-law model:
The functions of government are in a very real sense independent of legislation, and even constitutions, because [they are] as old as government and inherent in its very nature. The bulk and complex minuteness of our positive law, which covers almost every case that can arise in Administration, obscures for us the fact that Administration cannot wait upon legislation, but must be given leave, or take it, to proceed without specific warrant in giving effect to the characteristic life of the State.
Wilson well understood that this wide latitude for administrative action undermined the separation of powers, which he attacked and contrasted with what he called the "actual division of powers," where there are many "legislative and judicial acts of the administration."
Enlightened Bureaucrats: Importing the European State
Wilson's argument for freeing administrators from close political control was grounded in the characteristic Progressive confidence in the expertness and objectivity of the administrative class. For years, Wilson had been urging special education for future administrators at elite universities. He argued that "an intelligent nation cannot be led or ruled save by thoroughly trained and completely-educated men. Only comprehensive information and entire mastery of principles and details can qualify for command." Wilson had faith in the power of expertise, of "special knowledge, and its importance to those who would lead." He later referred to "the patriotism" and "the disinterested ambition" of the new administrative class.
Wilson is thus a critical figure for the Progressive vision of administration, because he is largely responsible for applying Hegelian optimism about the objectivity of administrators to the American system. Wilson assumed, just as Hegel had in the Philosophy of Right, that a secure position in the bureaucracy, with tenure and good pay, would relieve the civil servant of his natural self-interestedness, thereby freeing him of his particularity and allowing him to focus solely on the objective good of society.
Wilson's model for this conception of administrators, he freely acknowledged, was almost entirely foreign to American constitutionalism. Yet it was his own notion of the distinction between politics and administration, Wilson argued, that cleared the way for importing what was essentially a Prussian model of administration into the United States. Precisely because administration was to be insulated from politics and from the Constitution, an administrative system that had come from a monarchy could be brought to America without harming America's republican political institutions. As Wilson memorably put it in "The Study of Administration":
It is the distinction, already drawn, between administration and politics which makes the comparative method so safe in the field of administration. When we study the administrative systems of France and Germany, knowing that we are not in search of political principles, we need not care a peppercorn for the constitutional or political reasons which Frenchmen or Germans give for their practices when explaining them to us. If I see a murderous fellow sharpening a knife cleverly, I can borrow his way of sharpening the knife without borrowing his probable intention to commit murder with it; and so, if I see a monarchist dyed in the wool managing a public bureau well, I can learn his business methods without changing one of my republican spots.
Or, as Wilson asked elsewhere in the "Study," "Why should we not use such parts of foreign contrivances as we want, if they be in any way serviceable? We are in no danger of using them in a foreign way. We borrowed rice, but we do not eat it with chopsticks." And so Wilson knew that his vision for administration was a novelty in America. In fact, when he later taught administration in the 1890s, he said that there was only one author other than himself who understood administration as a separate discipline: Frank Goodnow.
When Wilson made this observation about Goodnow, he was referring to Goodnow's Comparative Administrative Law, published in 1893. That book certainly put Goodnow on the map, although his real contributions to the modern understanding of administration's place in the political order came primarily with the publication of Politics and Administration in 1900. Two other works--Social Reform and the Constitution (1911) and The American Conception of Liberty and Government (1916)--later helped to clarify Goodnow's Progressive agenda, especially for the courts, and to fill out his views on the fundamental purposes of civil government. Goodnow produced almost all of this work while a professor at Columbia University, where he had been brought by his mentor, John Burgess, to teach political science and law and where he became the first to teach administrative law in the United States. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Goodnow had spent a year studying in France and Germany; he would go on to finish his career at Johns Hopkins, where he served as president until his retirement in 1929.
Although a student of Burgess, Goodnow was much more radical than Burgess in his Progressivism. Goodnow looked for ways that American national government could be modified to accommodate Progressive policy aims; this goal could best be accomplished, Goodnow believed, by freeing administration to manage the broad scope of affairs that Progressives believed needed government intervention.
Like Wilson, Goodnow argued that government needed to adjust its very purpose and organization to accommodate modern necessities; and, like Wilson, he believed that history had made obsolete the Founders' dedication to protecting individual rights and their consequent design of a carefully limited form of national government. In Social Reform and the Constitution, Goodnow complained about the "reverence" for constitutional law, which he regarded as "superstitious" and an obstacle to genuine political and administrative reform.
In Politics and Administration, Goodnow made clear that his push for administrative reform was not simply or even primarily aimed at correcting the corruption of the spoils system. Rather, administrative reform was, for Goodnow, instrumental to the end of achieving Progressive, big-government liberalism. Progressives had in mind a wide array of new activities in which they wanted national-government involvement; such involvement could not be achieved with the old system of placing administration under political direction:
Before we can hope that administrative officers can occupy a position reasonably permanent in character and reasonably free from political influence, we must recognize the existence of an administrative function whose discharge must be uninfluenced by political considerations. This England and Germany, and France though to a much less degree, have done. To this fact in large part is due the excellence of their administrative systems. Under such conditions the government may safely be intrusted with much work which, until the people of the United States attain to the same conception, cannot be intrusted to their governmental organs.
Understanding administrative reform this way--as a means to securing the broader aims of Progressive liberalism--is what makes the work of Goodnow, and Wilson too, so much more significant to the development of modern American thought and politics than had been the case with the civil-service reformers.
Goodnow's Rejection of the Founding Principles
Goodnow and his fellow Progressives envisioned an almost entirely new purpose for the national government. Government itself, therefore, had to be viewed through an historical lens. The principles of the original Constitution, Goodnow reasoned, may have been appropriate for the Founding era, but now, "under present conditions[,] they are working harm rather than good." The error that the Founders made was not in constructing government as they did, but rather in thinking that their particular construction and manner of conceiving politics would transcend their own age and would be appropriate for future ages as well. They did not realize the historical contingency of their principles.
The modern situation, Goodnow argued, called for less focus on constitutional principle and law and much greater focus on empowering and perfecting administration. He even repeated, using almost the same words, Wilson's proclamation from 1885 that the nation had to move from constitutional to administrative questions. "The great problems of modern public law are almost exclusively administrative in character," wrote Goodnow. "While the age that has passed was one of constitutional, the present age is one of administrative reform." In order to address the administrative questions that history was pressing upon the nation, Goodnow urged a focus not on the "formal" governing system (i.e., the rule of law under the Constitution), but on the "real" governing system, which becomes whatever is demanded by the necessities of the time.
The focus of the Founders' constitutionalism on government's permanent duty to protect individual rights was an impediment to the marked expansion of governmental power that Progressives desired; thus, the ideas that animated the Founders' conception of government had to be discredited.
Goodnow understood the political theory of the Founding quite well. He knew that the notion that government's primary duty was to protect rights came from the theory of social compact--a theory which held that men are naturally endowed with rights prior to the formation of government and therefore consent to create government only insofar as it will protect their natural rights. The Founders' system of government, Goodnow acknowledged, "was permeated by the theories of social compact and natural right." He condemned these theories as "worse than useless," since they "retard development"--in other words, their focus on individual liberty prevents the expansion of government. The separation-of-powers limits on government, Goodnow realized, came from the Founding-era concern for individual liberty: "It was the fear of political tyranny through which liberty might be lost which led to the adoption of the theories of checks and balances and of the separation of powers."
Goodnow's critique of the Founders' political theory came from the perspective of historical contingency. Their understanding of rights and the role of government, he argued, was based upon pure "speculation," and "had no historical justification." Here Goodnow employed the same critique as his fellow Hegelian Wilson, who had written in 1889 that the idea of social compact had "no historical foundation." Instead of an understanding of rights grounded in nature, where the individual possesses them prior to the formation of government, Goodnow urged an understanding of rights that are granted by government itself. He remarked favorably upon European trends in understanding rights as contingent upon government:
The rights which [an individual] possesses are, it is believed, conferred upon him, not by his Creator, but rather by the society to which he belongs. What they are is to be determined by the legislative authority in view of the needs of that society. Social expediency, rather than natural right, is thus to determine the sphere of individual freedom of action.
Goodnow found it necessary to critique the theory of natural rights because he knew it was the foundation for the requirement of government based upon consent and the rule of law. The principle of government by the consent of the governed was a problem for Goodnow and those who shared his vision of administrative power. Goodnow's vision required significant deference to expertise. The empowering of administrators, as he saw it, was justified not because the administrators had the consent of the people, but because they were experts in their fields.
This is why Goodnow wanted to improve administration not by making it more accountable to pre-existing rules made by the consent of the governed, but by making it less so. He observed and conceded that the doctrines of "sovereignty of the people and of popular participation in the operations of government" were an integral part of American political culture, and he therefore acknowledged that this aspect of the culture would be a difficult hurdle for his vision of administration to overcome. "Our governmental organization developed," he explained, "at a time when expert service could not be obtained, when the expert as we now understand him did not exist."
Bureaucratic Rule over Politics
Since administrative experts were now available, Goodnow urged that they be employed and empowered with significant discretion to manage the new tasks that Progressives had in mind for the national government. He was well aware that insulating administration from the control of politics and law ran up against the traditional, constitutional role for administration, where administrators are subservient to the chief executive and their duty is confined to carrying out established laws. He explained that his conception of administration was novel, considering as it did the sphere of administration to lie outside the sphere of constitutional law; indeed, this new conception is exactly what Wilson had given Goodnow credit for in 1894. Emphasizing the distinction between the constitutional and administrative spheres, Goodnow remarked that the student of government "is too apt to confine himself to constitutional questions, perhaps not considering at all the administrative system."
It is for this reason of considering administration as an object of study outside of the Constitution that Goodnow's landmark book on administrative law--Comparative Administrative Law--relies almost entirely upon an account of foreign administrative systems. He knew, as Wilson did, that such a concept was a novelty in the American political tradition. Modern administrative law, therefore, would take it for granted that the political branches of government had to cede significant discretion to administrative agencies; the new body of law would be dedicated to establishing a framework for governing the extent and organization of this discretion.
In making his case for freeing administration from political influence, Goodnow did not speak of a strict or rigid separation between politics and administration; indeed, he noted that the boundary between the two is difficult to define and that there would inevitably be overlap. But this overlap seems to be in one direction only, in a manner that enlarges the orbit of administration; that is, Goodnow seemed to contemplate instances where administrative organs will exercise political functions but apparently did not contemplate instances of political organs engaging in administrative activity. He characterized the function of politics as "expressing" the will of the state, while the function of administration is to "execute" the will of the state; but he made clear that the overlap between politics and administration would come in the form of administrative agencies taking a share in "expressing" and well as "executing" state will:
No political organization, based on the general theory of a differentiation of governmental functions, has ever been established which assigns the functions of expressing the will of the state exclusively to any one of the organs for which it makes provision. Thus, the organ of government whose main function is the execution of the will of the state is often, and indeed usually, intrusted with the expression of that will in its details. These details, however, when expressed, must conform with the general principles laid down by the organ whose main duty is that of expression. That is, the authority called executive has, in almost all cases, considerable ordinance or legislative power.
The notion that Goodnow might see administration as subordinate to politics--as confined only to executing previously expressed will or law--is hereby called into question. Goodnow's statement essentially laid the foundation for the bureaucracy to act without the prior enactment of law by the legislature. He elaborated: "As a result, either of the provisions of the constitution or of the delegation of the power by the legislature, the chief executive or subordinate executive authorities may, through the issue of ordinances, express the will of the state as to details where it is inconvenient for the legislature to act."
The key to trusting administrators with the kind of discretion that Goodnow envisioned was his profound faith in the expertness and objectivity of the administrative class, just as it had been for Wilson. Administrators could be freed from political control because they were "neutral." Their salary and tenure would take care of any self-interested inclinations that might corrupt their decision making, liberating them to focus solely on truth and the good of the public as a whole. As Goodnow explained:
[S]uch a force should be free from the influence of politics because of the fact that their mission is the exercise of foresight and discretion, the pursuit of truth, the gathering of information, the maintenance of a strictly impartial attitude toward the individuals with whom they have dealings, and the provision of the most efficient possible administrative organization.
A natural objection here would be that freeing administrators from political control is a recipe for corruption--that it is precisely through the electoral connection of public officials that we "make their interest coincide with their duty," as Hamilton puts it in The Federalist. But for Goodnow, it is just this connection to electoral politics that would make administrators corrupt, while the absence of accountability to the electorate somehow makes them pure. Politics, Goodnow explained, is "polluted" and full of "bias," whereas administration is all about the "truth." Goodnow's confidence in the objectivity of administrators, like Wilson's, is a sign of his Hegelianism, and it shows that he accepted Hegel's premise that bureaucrats could be freed of their particularity and devote themselves wholly to the objective good of the state.
Conclusion: The Legacy of Progressivism
The main tenets of the Progressive vision for administration, articulated by the likes of Wilson and Goodnow, have come to have a powerful influence in the administrative state by which America is governed today. For a thorough understanding of this phenomenon, one would, of course, have to examine the translation of Progressive ideas into the actual reshaping of American government that took place during the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt, but even a brief glance at the primary features of the modern state shows important continuities between it and the main principles of Progressivism. In particular, the constitutional separation-of-powers structure that was designed to preserve individual rights and uphold the rule of law has been considerably weakened, and we can see the effects of Progressivism on the three key tenets of the separation of powers that were described at the outset of this essay.
As legal scholar Gary Lawson explains in a seminal essay on the topic, the Supreme Court ceased applying the non-delegation principle after 1935 and allowed to stand a whole body of statutes that enact the new vision of administrative power. These statutes, to varying degrees, lay out Congress's broad policy aims in vague and undefined terms and delegate to administrative agencies the task of coming up with specific rules and regulations to give them real meaning. The executive agencies, in other words, are no longer confined to carrying out specific rules enacted by Congress, but are often left to themselves to determine the rules before seeing to their enforcement.
Lawson cites, for example, securities legislation giving the SEC the power to proscribe the use of "any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in contravention of such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors." The agency, on the basis of its expertise, and not Congress, on the basis of its electoral connection, is charged with determining the specific policy that best serves the "public interest." In another example, legislation on broadcast licenses directs that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shall grant licenses "if public convenience, interest, or necessity will be served thereby."
More recently, the Supreme Court under William Rehnquist made clear that there would be no revisiting the abandonment of non-delegation. In the case of Mistretta v. United States, the Court upheld the statute that delegated to the U.S. Sentencing Commission the power to set sentences (or sentencing guidelines) for most federal crimes. If any case were going to constitute grounds for non-delegation review, it would have been this one. Congress created the Sentencing Commission as, essentially, a temporary legislature with no purpose other than to establish criminal penalties and then to go out of existence. But Mistretta simply served as confirmation that the federal courts were not going to bring the legitimacy of the administrative state into question by resurrecting the separation of powers.
The second tenet of separation of powers--the prohibition on combining functions--has fared no better in modern constitutional and administrative law. As Lawson explains, "the destruction of this principle of separation of powers is perhaps the crowning jewel of the modern administrative revolution. Administrative agencies routinely combine all three governmental functions in the same body, and even in the same people within that body." His example here is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
The Commission promulgates substantive rules of conduct. The Commission then considers whether to authorize investigations into whether the Commission's rules have been violated. If the Commission authorizes an investigation, the investigation is conducted by the Commission, which reports its findings to the Commission. If the Commission thinks that the Commission's findings warrant an enforcement action, the Commission issues a complaint. The Commission's complaint that a Commission rule has been violated is then prosecuted by the Commission and adjudicated by the Commission. The Commission adjudication can either take place before the full Commission or before a semi-autonomous administrative law judge. If the Commission chooses to adjudicate before an administrative law judge rather than before the Commission and the decision is adverse to the Commission, the Commission can appeal to the Commission.
The FTC is a particularly apt example, since it was the "quasi legislative" and "quasi judicial" character of the FTC that was upheld in 1935, in the landmark Supreme Court case of Humphrey's Executor v. United States--the first time that the Court so clearly acknowledged that agencies technically within the executive branch could exercise substantially non-executive functions.
Progressive liberalism has also succeeded, at least partly, in defeating the third tenet of the separation-of-powers framework by weakening the political accountability of administrators and shielding a large subset of agencies from most political controls. While the independence of "independent regulatory commissions" and other "neutral" agencies is not as clearly established as delegation and combination of functions, the federal courts have certainly recognized the power of Congress to create agencies that are presumably part of the executive (where else, constitutionally, could they be?) but are nonetheless shielded from direct presidential control. Normally, this shielding is accomplished by limiting the President's freedom to remove agency personnel. In Humphrey's Executor, for example, the Supreme Court overturned the President's removal of an FTC commissioner by reasoning that the Commission was more legislative and judicial than it was executive. More recently, it upheld the Independent Counsel provisions of the Ethics in Government Act (the provisions were subsequently repealed), concluding that even an office as obviously executive in nature as a prosecutor could be shielded from presidential control.
These rulings reflect the acceptance of a key tenet of the modern administrative state: that many areas of administration are based upon expertise and neutral principles and must therefore be freed from the influence of politics. That such a notion has become ingrained in the American political mindset was evidenced by the near universal outrage expressed over the Supreme Court's 2000 decision in FDA v. Brown and Williamson. In this surprising exception to its standard deference for agencies, the Court ruled that before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could promulgate and enforce regulations on tobacco, Congress first had to pass a law actually giving the agency the authority to do so. The decision, which simply upheld the rule of law, was denounced because it would subject tobacco regulation to the control of the people's elected representatives in Congress, where tobacco-state legislators might derail it, instead of giving FDA scientists carte blanche to regulate in accord with their own expertise.
The acquiescence in the realms of law, politics, and culture to the concepts of delegation, combination of functions, and insulating administration from political control is explained by what legal scholars call the victory of "functionalism" over "formalism," or what political theorists might loosely translate as "pragmatism" over "originalism." Simply defined, a functionalist or pragmatic approach begins not with the forms of the Constitution, but with the necessities of the current age, thereby freeing government from the restraints of the Constitution so that the exigencies of today can be met. As one scholar argues, "Respect for 'framers' intent' is only workable in the context of the actual present, and may require some selectivity in just what it is we choose to respect." This sentiment, elevating expedience and efficiency over the separation of powers, was expressed very clearly by Justice Blackmun in his opinion for the Court in Mistretta: "Our jurisprudence has been driven by a practical understanding that in our increasingly complex society, replete with ever changing and more technical problems, Congress simply cannot do its job absent an ability to delegate power under broad general directives."
The rise of the administrative state that is such an integral feature of modern liberalism thus required the defeat of the separation of powers as a governing principle, at least as it was originally understood, and its replacement by a system that allows delegations of power, combination of functions, and the insulation of administration from the full measure of political and legal control."
Ronald J. Pestritto, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Political Science at Hillsdale College, where he holds the Charles and Lucia Shipley Chair in the American Constitution. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author ofWoodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism.Research conducted during the author's time as a Visiting Scholar at Bowling Green's Social Philosophy and Policy Center has been invaluable to his work on Progressivism and the administrative state, and he gratefully acknowledges the Center's support.
"Venezuela seizes oil rigs owned by US company
Source Yahoo News
"Helmerich & Payne announced in January 2009 that it was stopping operations on two of its drilling rigs, because Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, owed the company close to $100 million. It said it would shut down the rest of its rigs by the end of July as contracts expired unless PDVSA began to make good on its debts.
The company said Thursday that PDVSA's debt was $43 million as of June 14."
"..........The company has worked in Venezuela for 52 years, Helmerich added........"
How many ways can revisionists attempt to re-write history? Latest example is the king of pathological liars Slick-willie eulogizing Byrd.
Documented history of Byrd's real allegiances well stated in the second article.
"Clinton Defends Byrd's KKK Ties: "He Was Trying To Get Elected"
"Robert Byrd, RIP
June 28, 2010 Posted by Scott at 6:05 AM
"Before his death early this morning at the age of 92, I placed the legendary West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd in the category of "only the wrong survive" along with Fidel Castro and Pete Seeger. I was not a fan.
In 2005 the New York Times published a predictably fawning profile of Senator Byrd by Sheryl Stolberg in "A master of Senate's ways is still parrying in his twilight." Around the same time I found an occasion to reflect on Senator Byrd's discourse on Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale in "Tales of the Senate." Today Adam Clymer provides the traditional Times obituary.
Robert Byrd was indeed a valuable link not only to the Senate's past, but also to the Democratic Party's history as the party of slavery, segregation, and opposition to equal treatment of blacks. Stolberg obviously loved Byrd's cornpone constitutional shtick in favor of filibustering a Republican president's judicial appointees. It's a shame that Stolberg exerted no effort to put Byrd's shtick in the context it merited.
Byrd was old enough, for example, to have vowed memorably regarding the integration of the Armed Forces by President Truman that he would never fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
Even after his resignation from the Klan, Byrd continued to hold it in high esteem, writing to the Klan's Imperial Wizard in 1946: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."
And Byrd was old enough to have participated in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as to have voted against it after cloture along with 18 other Democrats -- in the name of the Constitution, of course. Funny Stolberg didn't invite Byrd to take a walk down memory lane on that subject. It would have been highly illuminating.
In Stolberg's Times profile Byrd cited the late Georgia Senator Richard Russell as his mentor and quoted the advice Russell gave him regarding the ways of the Senate. Russell was a wise man in many ways, but he was also one of the signers of the infamous 1956 Southern Manifesto opposing Brown v. Board of Education -- in the name of the Constitution, of course.
Also signing the Southern Manifesto was the late Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina. Like Byrd, Ervin was resurrected as a heroic cornpone constitutionalist in the eyes of the mainstream media. Ervin was born again during his chairmanship of the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973. As with Senator Byrd, all was forgiven and forgotten when he became useful to the message of the day propounded by the mainstream media.
Stolberg's 2005 profile of Byrd in the Times was accompanied by the photo of Byrd (left) with the caption: "Senator Robert C. Byrd, after speaking at a MoveOn.org rally last month in Washington, defending the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees." Only a fellow as supremely lacking in self-awareness as Senator Byrd could have missed the inadvertent allusion to the black power salute of the late 1960's in Byrd's gesture depicted in the photograph, or to the "right on" salute of the radical left of the same period, or other more remote historical precedents that Senator Byrd himself loved to invoke against his Republican opponents. RIP."
Democrats push for new Internet sales taxes
"Obama internet 'kill switch' bill approved
"The US senators pushing a controversial new bill that some fear would give President Barack Obama the powers to seize control of and even shut down the internet have rejected claims it would give Obama a net "kill switch".
The bill, titled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, has been unanimously approved by the US Homeland Security committee and will be put to a vote on the Senate floor shortly.
Lobby groups and academics quickly rounded on the bill, which seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.
The critics said that, rather than combat terrorists, it would actually do them "the biggest favour ever" by terrorising the rest of the world, which is now heavily reliant on cyberspace.
Australian academics criticised the description in the bill's title of the internet as a US "national asset", saying any action would disrupt other countries as most of the critical internet infrastructure is located in the US.
This week, 24 privacy and civil liberties groups sent a letter raising concerns about the legislation to the sponsors, including that it could limit free speech and free inquiry, Computerworld reported.
"We are concerned that the emergency actions that could be compelled could include shutting down or limiting internet communications," the letter reads.
But the architects of the plan, committee chairman Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Susan Collins, have this week released a "Myth v. Reality" document that hits back at these criticisms.
They say the threat of a catastrophic cyber attack is real and not a matter of "if" but "when". Cyber crime was also costing the US economy billions of dollars annually and the bill would "modernise the government's ability to safeguard the nation's cyber networks from attack and will establish a public/private partnership to set national cyber security priorities".
The senators rejected the "kill switch" claim, arguing that the President already had authority under the Communications Act to "cause the closing of any facility or station for wire communication" when there is a "state or threat of war".
They said under the new bill the President would be far less likely to use the broad authority he already has under current law to take over communications. It would provide "a precise, targeted and focused way for the President to defend our most sensitive infrastructure".
Any action would be limited to 30-day increments and the President must use the "least disruptive means feasible" to respond to the threats. Action extended beyond 120 days would need Congressional approval.
The bill would not give the President the authority to take over the entire internet, target specific websites or conduct electronic surveillance.
"Only specific systems or assets whose disruption would cause a national or regional catastrophe would be subject to the bill's mandatory security requirements," the senators wrote."
"Breitbart's big $100kSource Powerlineblog.com
June 30, 2010 Posted by Scott at 5:40 AM
"Andrew Breitbart is the Internet media entrepreneur and proprietor of Big Government, Big Hollywood, and Big Journalism. Breitbart and his team doggedly pursued the story behind the allegations of Reps. Andre Carson, John Lewis. Emanuel Cleaver and James Clyburn that Tea Party protesters abused black congressmen with racial epithets while demonstrating against Obamacare on Capitol Hill on March 20. The story was reported as fact by news organizations including Fox News and McClatchy News, but Breitbart called baloney and exposed it as a concoction of the congressmen who peddled it.
One can say this with something approaching metaphysical certainty because of the utter lack of evidence supporting it under circumstances where there would have been such evidence had it happened as alleged. The key to the case was Breitbart's offer of a $100,000 reward to anyone producing video of the epithets being shouted. There were no takers because it didn't happen.
One can reasonably conclude that the congressmen's story was a fabrication intended to defame the Tea Party movement and distract attention from the resistance to Obamacare. Not a single video corroborated it although many videos were shot that day, and despite Breitbart's offer of a $100,000 reward to anyone producing a video that corroborated it. No independent journalist or other eyewitness stepped forward to vouch for the congressmen's story.
Given the involvement of Rep. Clyburn in promoting the story, the fabrication extended to the ranks of the Democratic congressional leadership. It is a scandal that warranted the attention of the mainstream media, yet the story languished and died. Why might that be?
One wonders if the now famous off-the-record list-serv called "JournoList" established by Washington Post pundit Ezra Klein might have had something to do with the media's studied lack of interest in Breitbart's pursuit of the phantom n-word scandal. Probably not -- Journolist member and former Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel actually pursued the story and discredited it in his own way.
The media's studied lack of interest in Breitbart's expose may have arisen, not by conscious political calculation and argument, but (as John O'Sulilvan writes) by that curious blind but almost infallible instinct which seemingly enables liberals to see and promote their long-term aims collectively yet without any prior agreement -- an instinct that led Tom Bethell and Joe Sobran to invent the term "The Hive." Nevertheless, the question of collusion remains, at least in my mind.
Andrew Breitbart has no such question. He thinks that the case for media collusion is overwhelming, and I tend to credit his instincts. Breitbart has stepped forward with another offer of a $100,000 reward to prove up his case. Breitibart explains:
I've had $100,000 burning in my pocket for the last three months and I'd really like to spend it on a worthy cause. So how about this: in the interests of journalistic transparency, and to offer the American public a unique insight in the workings of the Democrat-Media Complex, I'm offering $100,000 for the full "JournoList" archive, source fully protected. Now there's an offer somebody can't refuse.
Yes, the mainstream media that came together to play up the false allegations that the "N-Word" was hurled 15 times by Tea Party participants at the Congressional Black Caucus outside the Capitol the day before the "Obamacare" vote, is the same MSM that colluded to make sure the American public accepted the smear, and refused to show the exculpatory videos that disproved the incendiary charges of Tea Party racism.
Ezra Klein's "JournoList 400" is the epitome of progressive and liberal collusion that conservatives, Tea Partiers, moderates and many independents have long suspected and feared exists at the heart of contemporary American political journalism. Now that collusion has been exposed when one of the weakest links in that cabal, Dave Weigel, was outed. Weigel was, in all likelihood, exposed because - to whoever the rat was who leaked his emails -- he wasn't liberal enough.
You will want to read the whole thing. I want only to add that I think Breitbart that there may be a good idea for another site here: Big $100K."
"The Arlen Specter of the south feels the heatSource Powerlineblog.com
July 1, 2010 Posted by Paul at 7:44 PM
"Lindsey Graham reportedly says in a forthcoming profile in the New York Times that the Tea Party movement is "unsustainable" and will "die out" because it lacks vision. What Graham means, of course, is that the movement doesn't share his centrist vision. (Graham has felt the wrath of the movement in South Carolina where, for example, he was censured by the Lexington County Republican Party for supporting climate change legislation).
Graham also states, according to Politico, that the GOP has shifted so far to the right that Ronald Reagan would have trouble getting elected in today's party. This is a ridiculous claim. The Republican party's most recent nominee for president, Graham's pal, John McCain, is well to the left of Reagan as, of course, is Graham. McCain also looks to be on the brink of beating off a challenge from the right in conservative Arizona.
Graham is obviously preening for the New York Times. What else is new?
I don't know whether the Tea Party movement will die out. But I sure hope it hangs on long enough to take down Lindsey Graham.
JOHN adds: I love the phrase "climate change legislation." Anyone who thinks we can legislate a change in the climate is, in my view, a fool. Which sums up Lindsey Graham pretty well."
"Government Stopping Charities From Feeding The Homeless
"The National Coalition for the Homeless has issued a report detailing laws and ordinances in a couple of dozen localities across the nation that prohibit charities – churches, civic organizations, charities, etc. – from feeding the homeless. Or, at least, inhibit their ability to do so with burdensome regulation.
You can read the full report here. pdf link http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/foodsharing/Food_Sharing.pdf
– Gainesville, Florida began enforcing a rule limiting the number of meals that soup kitchens may serve to 130 people in one day.
– Phoenix, Arizona used zoning laws to stop a local church from serving breakfast to community members, including many homeless people, outside a local church.
– Myrtle Beach, South Carolina adopted an ordinance that restricts food sharing with homeless people in public parks. …
– In Orlando, Florida the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the City of Orlando on behalf of local organizations, challenging a 2006 law requiring a groups sharing food with 25 or more people to obtain a permit that was only available twice a year per park. A federal district court found the law to be unconstitutional and in violation of Free Exercise of Religion and Freedom of Speech in October of 2008. The city has appealed the decision and the appeal is pending.
– In San Diego, California the zoning department attempted to prohibit a local church from serving a weekly meal to community members, many of them homeless.7 In 2008, attorney Scott Dreher successfully defended the church’s First Amendment right to practice its religion. The weekly meal continues to take place on church property and serves 150 to 200 people each week.
I did some Googling as well to flesh out more examples, and found communities all over the country who are essentially criminalizing or at least prohibiting/inhibiting private charity.
This seems like lunacy to me. There are people who are destitute and hungry. There are other people who are willing to give of their own time, talent and wealth to provide for those people. But the government is limiting their ability to do so, or in some instances stopping them.
Why? The motivation is hard to pin down. One chief motivation, no doubt, wanting homeless people out of parks and public areas. They believe that feeding them in a public place like a park only lures more homeless to that park. And some people just don’t want to see homeless people during their day-to-day lives. It’s the old “not in my back yard” attitude.
There is no doubt some truth to that, but I think there’s another motivation at work here as well.
But I think another motivation may well be that the government hates competition. Rather than allowing private charities like churches, etc. do their own part to feed the homeless I think the government would much rather homeless get help through government-sanctioned, government-funded, government-administered social programs.
Because that gives more power to the government. That justifies bigger budgets for the government. That means more bureaucrats employed by the government. And besides, the government always knows best right?
If we allow citizens to help one another, if we put the emphasis on individual acts of charity and families/friends taking care of their own, then we have a diminished need for government.
And the government isn’t in the business, these days, of promoting independence."
"Feds wasted millions in utilities program for poor
"MIAMI – A federal program designed to help impoverished families heat and cool their homes wasted more than $100 million paying the electric bills of thousands of applicants who were dead, in prison or living in million-dollar mansions, according to a government investigation.............."
June 30, 2010
"Obama's Big Oil Spill Bungle
By Dick Morris
"It’s one thing to say that Obama’s administration showed ineptitude and mismanagement in its handling of the Gulf oil spill. It is quite another to grasp the situation up close, as I did during a recent visit to Alabama.
According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan — early on — to erect huge booms offshore to shield the approximately 200 miles of the state’s coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms — some weighing tons and seven meters high — to guard their coast.
But … no sooner were the booms in place than the Coast Guard, perhaps under pressure from the public comments of James Carville, uprooted them and moved them to guard the Louisiana coastline instead.
So Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.
But … the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan, saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.
So Alabama — ever resourceful — decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person, scooping up oil that had washed ashore.
But … OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) refused to allow them to work more than 20 minutes out of every hour and required an hourlong break after 40 minutes of work, so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.
The short answer is that every agency — each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda — was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill, with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries and recreational facilities.
Where was the president? Why did he not intervene in these and countless other bureaucratic controversies to force a focus on the oil, not on the turtles and other incidental concerns?
According to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, the administration’s “lack of ability has become transparent” in its handling of the oil spill. He notes that one stellar exception has been Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, without whom, he says, nothing whatever would have gotten done.
Eventually, the state stopped listening to federal agencies and just has gone ahead and given funds directly to the local folks fighting the spill rather than paying attention to the directives of the Unified Command. Apparently, there is a world of difference between the competence of the Coast Guard and the superb and efficient regular Navy and military.
Now the greatest crisis of all looms on the horizon as hurricanes sweep into the Gulf. Should one hit offshore, it will destroy all the booms that have been placed to stop the oil from reaching shore. And there are no more booms anywhere in the world, according to Alabama disaster relief officials. “There is no more inventory of booms anywhere on earth,” one told me in despair.
The political impact of this incompetence has only just begun to be felt. While administration operatives are flying high after a week in which the president’s ratings rebounded to 49 percent, per Rasmussen, after his firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the oil is still gushing and the situation is about to worsen.
The obvious fact is that Obama has no executive experience, nor do any of his top advisers. Without a clear mandate from the top, needed efforts to salvage the situation are repeatedly stymied by well-meaning bureaucrats strictly following the letter of their agency policy and federal law. The result, ironically, of their determined efforts to protect the environment has been the greatest environmental disaster in history. But some turtles are OK!"
Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton
June 30, 2010 4:00 A.M.
"Obama the Edsel
Focus groups indicate independents are souring on Obama quickly.
Source National Review Online
"Earlier this month, Resurgent Republic — an independent public-opinion-research group headed by former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie — conducted focus groups in five key House districts, measuring how independent voters and, separately, self-identified tea-party members felt about the direction of the country.
Bad news for President Obama and congressional Democrats is common these days, but these results unveiled Tuesday are simply dismal. Asked to compare Obama to a car, one Iowan chose an Edsel: “Something that had a lot of hype, but failed to live up to expectations.” Another older man described Obama as “a wrecked Ferrari, something that looked great to many people, but was now ruined.”
“In August 2009, [our focus groups found] there was a wait-and-see attitude towards the president. That has changed,” summarized Gillespie. “There is not only growing concern about spending, debt and the direction of economy but creeping doubts about the president’s leadership abilities, which is probably a more troublesome concern to the White House and the president’s supporters.”
Independents said that the manner in which President Obama responded to the oil spill made them more apprehensive about what would happen should a terrorist attack or foreign-policy crisis occur. The Democrats’ traditional advantage with women reversed, at least in regard to this issue. Jan van Lohuizen, who conducted the focus group in Orlando, noted that after the oil spill, “independent women are more pessimistic about his leadership” in dealing with another crisis in the future. “Men were a little more optimistic. You heard them saying, ‘He’ll learn, the people around him will learn.’ If President Obama mishandles the next serious challenge, these views will be set in cement,” he added.
But the pollsters also noted a challenge for Republican candidates in this cycle among women; while the tea-party voters embraced the “checks and balances” argument — that Republicans needed greater numbers in Congress to prevent Democrat excesses — independent women seemed unenthusiastic, lamenting that as a formula for more tiresome partisan division. “Where tea-party voters say, ‘let’s have more Republican members to check Democrats,’ independent women in particular see it as just more infighting, more gridlock, more nasty negative politics and they say, ‘I am really not looking forward to that,’” van Lohuizen said.
He noted several results that surprised him. “Independents are now thinking about the same issues that Republicans are, and their thinking is virtually indistinguishable from Republicans,” he said. “Independents are really engaged, they are really paying attention. That is not normal; usually independents are a little tuned out.”
He said that changes in independents’ perceptions of Obama can largely be attributed to a pair of key events. The first was the health-care legislation, “not the content but the way it was adopted. It was backroom politics, smoke-filled rooms, deals.”
The second was the Gulf: “They really looked at him and drew a different conclusion. They don’t see managerial experience; they started seeing that he hasn’t really managed the crisis.” The focus groups in Florida and Arkansas seemed most focused on the president’s response to the spill.
All of the bad news for Democrats is not necessarily good news for Republicans.
Glen Bolger, who conducted the focus groups among self-identified tea-party voters in Des Moines, Iowa, said that the participants didn’t quite match the common perception.
“They were really more frustrated and disappointed than angry — no raised voices, no curse words,” Bolger said. “You kept hearing words like ‘downhill,’ ‘bankrupt,’ ‘falling apart.’ There was no optimism or hope for the future. They have no reason to believe things will get better. . . . On Obama, they described him as ‘all style, no substance.’ They gave him credit for being a good speaker and charismatic, but characterized him as not coming through and not delivering.”
Gillespie said today’s tea-party voters were somewhat comparable to the H. Ross Perot voters who emerged as a bloc in the 1992 election. “They self-differentiate from Republicans,” he said. “If a former RNC chair sits in the National Press club and says, ‘They’re Republicans,’ that will [tick] them off. . . . We have to deliver. If we say we are going to cut spending, we have to deliver. . . . That’s why there are so many independents who are conservatives and tea-party types.” Emphasizing that elected Republicans have to establish that they keep their promises, Gillespie described the fights over spending waged by the two newest GOP governors, Bob McDonnell in Virginia and Chris Christie in New Jersey, as “very important fights for the party moving forward.”
The five congressional districts in which Resurgent Republic held focus groups were won by either John McCain or George Bush and held by a Democratic member of Congress: Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, represented by Leonard Boswell; Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, represented by Steve Dreihaus; New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, represented by John Adler; Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District, where Democrat Vic Snyder is retiring and Tim Griffin — who was Research Director at the RNC while Gillespie was chairman — is the GOP nominee; and Florida’s 24th Congressional District, represented by Democrat Suzanne Kosmas. Gillespie said that during the focus-group discussions, none of the participants mentioned their congressman as an exception to their low opinion of Washington."
— Jim Geraghty writes the Campaign Spot on NRO.
Excellent article, valid points for both in and out of the box thinking.
"RAHN: Obama's fiscal fantasyland
Only true Keynesians still think we can spend our way to prosperity
By Richard W. Rahn
5:52 p.m., Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Source The Washington Times
"Irresponsible" refers to Congress and the Obama administration - and here's why. For thousands of years, businesses, organizations, governments and even individuals have relied on a basic tool to make sure they do not spend or borrow more than they can service - it is called a budget. Yet, for the first time since 1974, when the current rules were put into effect, the U.S. House of Representatives does not intend to pass a budget resolution. The main purpose of the budget resolution is to set discretionary spending caps for the coming fiscal year.
Without a budget resolution, members of Congress are, in essence, able to spend as much money as they wish, subject only to the limitation of getting half plus one of the other members to go along with the spending proposal. The budget procedure was put in place to make sure members of Congress would not spend money as irresponsibly as many teenagers might if they were given unlimited credit cards. If teenagers were in charge of the federal budget, we might end up with a $1.5 trillion deficit this year. Ah, but we are going to have a $1.5 trillion deficit this year - and who's in charge?
In the face of the unprecedented congressional spending binge, President Obama has been asking Congress to spend even more. Not content with actively promoting the eventual bankruptcy of the United States, Mr. Obama is urging foreign leaders also to increase their government spending - which is truly bizarre. Look at the facts. All of the major European countries have been increasing government spending and deficits at unsustainable rates. The talk for the past couple of months has been about which countries would follow Greece in going over the financial cliff. Responsible economists, financial leaders and, most important, the markets have been telling European leaders they must cut government spending. Over the past couple of weeks, a number of those leaders have responsibly and courageously come forth with real spending-reduction programs. Britain's new government, despite being a coalition government, has proposed a 25 percent cut in most government departments. Can you imagine the howls from Congress and the U.S. news media if a U.S. president proposed even a 5 percent cut, though a far larger one is needed?
Mr. Obama increasingly appears to be living in a fiscal fantasyland. In his letter to the Group of 20 on June 18, the president wrote: "My administration will cut the budget deficit we inherited in half by FY 2013 and work to reduce our fiscal deficit to 3 percent of [gross domestic product] by FY 2015...." The president already has put forward two budgets, including projections for the next decade, but they contain no specifics for reaching such a goal. Without laying out which programs he proposes to reduce, the words are nothing more than hollow rhetoric. (Please see accompanying graph.)
The president still seems to believe in the imaginary world of spending multipliers - whereby each dollar of additional spending results in something in the order of $1.40 in additional output. Proponents of such ideas normally refer to themselves as Keynesians (followers of the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946). A careful reading of Keynes will show that his prescriptive "spending stimulus" ideas were much more limited than what many of his followers now advocate.
The Keynesians and socialists have run hundreds of experiments around the world for the past 70 years, inducing governments to try to spend themselves into prosperity. It doesn't work. In the 1970s, Keynesian prescriptions led to "stagflation" in the U.S. and many other countries. It was only when Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and eventually many other leaders (using the ideas of F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman) reversed course by cutting tax rates and curtailing spending growth that their economies began to grow rapidly without inflation.
Mr. Obama seems to have never learned these lessons, and some of his advisers, who once understood what works and what doesn't, seem to have forgotten. By nature, people like to spend other people's money, and too many in Congress loved what was billed as Keynesian economic theory because it gave them a rationale to be irresponsible spenders.
If you are confused about whom to believe, just think for a minute. If increasing government spending really could lead to increased prosperity, why limit government spending at all? From your own observations, do governments spend your money as wisely as you do? And do government workers on average work harder, and are they more productive than workers you observe in the private sector? Finally, where does government get all of that extra money to spend? If it's from taxes, does that not mean taxpayers will have less incentive to work, save and invest? If it is from borrowing more money, does that not mean everyone will have to pay more taxes in the future and hence will be worse off? And, if the government just prints the additional money, won't it be worth less, and won't workers and savers be worse off?
Responsible people, whether they are national leaders or average citizens, understand that both in their personal and public lives they cannot spend themselves into prosperity."
Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.
Global warming, climate change??????????????????
More like change the subject.
Power Line - "Crazed Sex Poodle"?
Power Line - Crazed Sex Poodle, Part 2
"Portland Police Reopen Al Gore Sex Abuse Allegations
Masseuse Claimed Former Vice President Subjected Her to 'Unwanted Sexual Touching' in 2006
"NEW EVIDENCE REVEALED: GORE SEX SCANDAL VICTIM TELLS ALL!!!
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