Saturday, September 24, 2011

Solyndra employees: Loan led to lavish spending

By Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens,

Former employees of Solyndra, the shuttered solar company that exhausted half a billion dollars of taxpayer money, said they saw questionable spending by management almost as soon as a federal agency approved a $535 million government-backed loan for the start-up.

A new factory built with public money boasted a gleaming conference room with glass walls that, with the flip of a switch, turned a smoky gray to conceal the room’s occupants. Hastily purchased state-of-the-art equipment ended up being sold for pennies on the dollar, still in its plastic wrap, employees said.

As the $344 million factory went up just down the road from the company’s leased plant in Fremont, Calif., workers watched as pallets of unsold solar panels stacked up in storage. Many wondered: Was the factory needed?

“After we got the loan guarantee, they were just spending money left and right,” said former Solyndra engineer Lindsey Eastburn. “Because we were doing well, nobody cared. Because of that infusion of money, it made people sloppy.”

Solyndra’s ability to secure federal backing also made the company eager for more assistance, interviews and records show. Company executives ramped up their Washington lobbying efforts, hiring a former Senate aide to work with the White House and the Energy Department. Within a week of getting a loan guarantee commitment from the Energy Department, Solyndra applied for another, worth $400 million. It never won final approval.

On Friday, company executives are scheduled to appear before a House committee investigating how Solyndra obtained its loan and whether the Obama White House rushed its approval for political reasons. Chief Executive Officer Brian Harrison and Chief Financial Officer Bill Stover were supposed to face a grilling about the company’s spending and collapse, but they announced Tuesday that they would assert their Fifth Amendment rights because of a criminal probe of the company by the Justice Department.

A key question for lawmakers is whether Solyndra executives misled Congress about the financial state of the company as late as July, when questions about the loan surfaced on Capitol Hill. Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 31, laying off 1,100 workers and leaving taxpayers on the hook for repayment of the guaranteed loan made through the Federal Financing Bank.

Solyndra was once touted by President Obama as the flagship of his administration’s effort to spur the clean-energy industry. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that e-mails showed that White House officials pushed federal reviewers for a decision on the Solyndra loan as they sought to schedule a press announcement with the company and Vice President Biden.

An Energy Department spokesman said the agency was unaware that Solyndra sales projections, part of the justification for the new factory, had been too rosy. Spokesman Damien LaVera declined to comment on the employees’ accounts of company spending.

Solyndra, founded by enterpreneur Chris Gronet in 2004, pushed the Obama administration to support its niche solar technology — efficient cylindrical solar panels that were relatively expensive to make but cheaper and easier to install on the roofs of “big box” stores and other commercial buildings. The new administration awarded the company its first loan guarantee under the stimulus program.

The leading investors in Solyndra were two investment funds with ties to George B. Kaiser, a major campaign fundraising “bundler” for Obama.

The White House had scheduled a press event around the time of Solyndra’s factory groundbreaking on Sept. 4, 2009. Federal reviewers gave their final nod to the deal on Sept. 2.

With the loan guarantee in hand, Solyndra built a second, seven-acre factory with 19 loading docks. As part of the expansion, Gronet and fellow managers hoped to cut costs by speeding up the automated assembly. To do so, they bought a custom-made assembly tool from VDL, a Dutch company. The company had never built that kind of equipment, but it promised the assembly tool would arrive in the summer of 2010. By that time, Gronet had been pushed out as chief executive. Workers told The Post in interviews that they were shocked that summer when Harrison, newly installed as CEO, told them that sales projections used to justify the new factory to federal agencies had been far too optimistic.

“Obviously their forecasts weren’t correct,” said Peter M. Kohlstadt, a research engineer. “We just didn’t have the sales we thought we had.”

Employees said that in 2010 they noticed that solar panel inventories were growing — raising questions about why they weren’t being sold. The new assembly equipment arrived late and had technical problems. VDL officials did not respond to a request for comment.

In a July 13 letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, then probing his company’s loan, Harrison insisted that the company’s future was bright.

“Solyndra’s revenues grew from $6 million in 2008 to $100 million in 2009 to $140 million in 2010,” Harrison wrote. “For 2011, revenues are projected to nearly double again.”

Bankruptcy filings show the company was at the time desperately looking for bridge financing to keep its doors open. It shut down six weeks later.

Although Harrison stressed in a Post interview earlier this year that he focused on business, not “the political aspect of what happens in Washington,” public records show that since 2008, Solyndra has spent more than $1 million on lobbying inside the Beltway.

Lobbying expenditures of $160,000 a year in 2008 and 2009 accelerated as Solyndra’s financial and political troubles mounted. By 2010, such spending had grown to $550,000. So far this year, Solyndra has reported spending $220,000, but that number will grow as more reports filter in.

Sakera Alima, who began working at Solyndra as a financial analyst in the fall of 2010, said she was warned by a mentor that the company wasn’t doing well financially.

“She said, ‘I’ve been working here the past three years and I feel like any day now I might not have my job,’ ” Alima recalled. “I knew it was a risk.”

Kohlstadt said employees arrived at work to find the company closed, and they lost vacation pay and benefits without notice.

Kohlstadt said Solyndra’s collapse leaves him doubly affected.

“I’m being hit twice: As a taxpayer, $500 million, where did it go?” he said. “I’m hit a second time: I’m not getting money that is owed to me and the government hasn’t done anything to look out for us.”

Higher income earners do indeed pay higher income tax rates

Bad Tax Math
by Sean Hackbarth

There are those who think it'd be just fine to raise taxes on the "rich" and that the "rich" don't pay their "fair share." But it only shows that they need a refresher course in mathematics. In May, the Chamber's Chief Economist Dr. Martin Regalia looked at how income taxes are distributed and found higher income groups pay a disproportionately large share [emphasis mine]:

The [CBO] data show that the top 1% of all households paid 39.5% of total federal income tax while earning 19.4% of total income in the economy. The top 20% paid 86% of total income taxes while earning 55.9% of total income. The next quintile paid 12.7% of income while earning 19.3% of total income.

In contrast, the middle quintile paid only 4.6% of federal income taxes in 2007 on an income share of 13.1%. The second lowest quintile paid a negative 0.3%, that is, they actually got money back from the government. Their income share was 8.4%. The lowest quintile also had a negative tax liability of 3% and an income share of 4%. Thus, it is easy to see that our current tax code is highly progressive, and that the higher income groups actually pay more than their “fair” share.

Regalia found that even when all federal taxes are included, our tax system is still highly progressive:

The data show that the top 1% of all households paid 28.1% of total federal tax liabilities. Moreover, this percentage of taxes paid has grown consistently over the years. The top 20% paid 68.9% of total federal taxes. The next quintile paid 16.5%.

The middle quintile paid only 9.2% of federal taxes in 2007. This was a lower tax bite than they experienced in 2000 and has consistently declined since 1979. The second quintile paid 4.4%, while the lowest quintile paid only 0.8%.

Regalia's observation lines up well with this AP fact check that shows higher income Americans pay higher effective income tax rates:

In 2009, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid on average 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, according to the IRS.

Those making $100,000 to $125,000 paid on average 9.9 percent in federal income taxes. Those making $50,000 to $60,000 paid an average of 6.3 percent.

Even if a "Buffett Rule" was enacted to "soak the rich," the revenues raised wouldn't be enough to fill the hole in the federal budget deficit. And to really "get the rich," the Wall Street Journal editorial board notes, taxes on capital gains and dividends would have to go up, making it more costly to save and invest.

Instead of raising taxes on a certain group of Americans, how about enacting comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates, broadens the tax base, and fosters growth, competitiveness, innovation, and job creation?

Anyway you look at it, socking it to high income earners–many of whom are small business owners–doesn't add up to job creation, more investment, and a more competitive United States.

MUST SEE: Obama's over-regulation just happens to be a Communist technique to kill jobs

Man Works 1 Day for Chicago, Goes on Extended Leave for 15 Years, Gets $158,000 Annual Public Pension at Taxpayer Expense, Now Working for Hedge Fund

Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:27 PM

If you need evidence on how corrupt self-serving unions and union officials can be, then please consider Ex-labor chief's 1-day rehire nets $158,000 city pension
A retired Chicago labor leader secured a $158,000 public pension — roughly five times greater than what a typical retired public-service worker in the Windy City receives — after being rehired for just one day of active duty on the city payroll, local news reports said.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Dennis Gannon stands to collect approximately $5 million in city pension funds during his lifetime. He now draws the pension while working for a hedge fund, the Tribune reported.

Gannon, former president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, was able to take a long leave from a city job to work for a union and then receive a city pension based on a high union salary. That arrangement is allowed under a state law signed by Gov. Jim Thompson on his last day in office in 1991, according to an investigation by the Tribune and WGN-TV.

The change has enabled a couple dozen labor leaders to become potential millionaires.

What is different in Gannon’s case is that he became eligible for the especially lucrative pension deal only because the city rehired the former Streets and Sanitation Department worker for one day in 1994, before granting him an indefinite leave of absence, according to the investigation. He retired from the city job in 2004 at age 50.

Gannon’s pension is so high that it exceeds federal limits and required Chicago’s pension fund to file special paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to give it to him, the Tribune reported.

"I am extremely proud of my many years of service to the city of Chicago and the working men and women of organized labor," Gannon wrote in a statement provided to the Tribune.
The tribune reports ...
The pension came on top of Gannon's union salary, which had grown to more than $240,000. He now draws the pension while working for a hedge fund, Grosvenor Capital Management, that does work with public pensions, including the Teachers Retirement System of Illinois. The firm also was one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's largest campaign contributors.
Chicago Teacher's Pensions Massively Underfunded

Care to see the results Gannon presided over? Please consider Interactive Map of Public Pension Plans; How Badly Underfunded are the Plans in Your State?

Illinois has the worst public pension plans in the country as of April 2010. I am sure it is still true today. See link for more details.

Gannon says "I am extremely proud of my many years of service to the city of Chicago"

I believe he means one day of service for which he will collect $4 million for ripping off taxpayers for his own personal gain. Yes, that is something to be damn proud of.

For Dennis Gannon to go on leave after 1 day shows this was all planned from the outset. Moreover, by granting the leave, the corrupt Streets and Sanitation Department went along with it all the way.

Any guesses as to how many bribes and payoffs were associated with this chain of events?

It is time to end public unions entirely and all the associated graft.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Senior Palestinian Official: Bringing Jerusalem Back Under Muslim Control Is Main Objective of Islamic Awakening

Posted by Jim Hoft on Friday, September 23, 2011, 11:31 PM

Earlier this year Khaled al-Qoddoumi told Ahlul Bayt News Agency that the ultimate goal of the movement was to free the entire Palestinian land, destroy the Zionist regime and rescue the revered Quds from the claws of the Zionists.

Khaled al-Qoddoumi, the senior Hamas representative in Iran, announced today that the main objective of the Islamic Awakening is to bring Jerusalem back under Muslim control.

Iranian Fars News reported:

Collapse of dictatorial regimes by popular uprisings in the region has posed a major threat to the Israeli regime, a senior Palestinian figure said, and added that bringing Beit al-Moghaddas (Jerusalem) back to Muslim control is the main demand of the recent Muslim revolutions and growing Islamic awakening in the region.

The representative of the Palestinian Hamas movement in Tehran, Khaled al-Qoddoumi, pointed to the recent popular uprisings in the region and their effects on the Palestinians’ popular movements, and said, “Today, the enemy is really feeling a threat and danger because those regime which unfortunately served Israel’s goals and supported it have now collapsed.”

“Governments in Egypt and Tunisia that were supporters of the Israeli regime on the Middle-East’s political scenes have now collapsed and this is a threat to Israel, the enemy,” he stated.

Qoddoumi pointed to the expulsion of the Israeli envoy from Egypt and anti-Israeli demonstrations in Tunisia, and stressed that people in region want a return of Beit al-Moghaddas to Muslims.

“The return of Beit al-Moghaddas is the demand of Islamic awakening,” he reiterated.

He further stressed unity among Palestinian groups as a priority for all Palestinians given the changing climate in the Middle-East.

Egyptians raided the Israeli embassy in Cairo earlier this month and forced the Israeli ambassador to leave their country.

Premiums to go up 55%-85% under ObamaCare

September 22, 2011 by Don Surber

So, Ohio, how do you like President Obama now that you have had 2 1/2 years of him in the Oval Office? The Buckeye State turned blue for him in 2008, as the majority of voters bought into his mantras of hope and change and yes we can. The centerpiece of his domestic policy is Obamacare and now a new study shows that 790,000 Ohioans will lose their private health insurance and premiums will rise 55%-85% when Obamacare takes full effect in 2014.

The Ohio Department of Insurance commissioned a study by Milliman Inc. of Seattle on what to expect from Obamacare, National Underwriter reported.

From National Underwriter: “The number with some kind of individual commercial coverage could increase to 7.4%, or 735,000, from 350,000. The percentage with some kind of government coverage, or coverage provided by a private insurer but paid for in whole or in part by the government, could increase to 31%, from 20% in 2010. Although the percentage of residents with coverage could rise by about 7.9%, the price of individual health insurance coverage might rise about 55% to 85%, excluding the impact of medical inflation, the Milliman consultants predict.”

That 55% increase in people getting Medicaid or other government subsidies will be paid by who? The people who will be socked with premium increases of 55%-85%.

As Bruce Kessler wrote: “Then add in the additional taxes within and caused by ObamaCare. High price to pay, huh. Hope there’s any Change left in pockets.”

Judicial Watch Obtains New Documents Related to Closed-Door Obamacare Meetings

Documents Detail Meetings with Union Officials, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC -- August 25, 2010

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding closed-door health care meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann Min DeParle and union officials. The following are highlights from the documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on March 17, 2010:
An agenda for a January 13 meeting between union leaders and White House staff, including Vice President Biden. Importantly, this agenda (which focused on labor concerns) was redacted in the original batch of documents released to Judicial Watch and was sent later under separate cover. The document shows that the meeting was paused so that Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, could go up to Capitol Hill to meet with “progressive” House members.
A copy of Kathleen Sebelius’ schedule for the weeks of January 11-17, 2010, and January 4-10, 2010. Among other things, the schedule shows the attendees of several White House meetings that Sebelius attended, with a January 15 meeting specifically designated for a “POTUS MEETING ON HEALTH REFORM.” The meeting was scheduled from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm in the White House Cabinet Room.
A list of all of the labor union leaders who attended a meeting with President Obama along with brief biographical information on each participant. The list included: Richard Trumka; Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; and Jim Hoffa, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among other Big Labor leaders.

These secret meetings violated one of the president’s key campaign promises — to televise all health care discussions on C-SPAN: “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table,” the President said during a town hall meeting in August 2008. “We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”

“Secret meetings with special interests to hammer out backroom deals are one of the reasons that Americans oppose Obamacare and this administration’s unethical approach to governing,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Documents Uncovered
Full set of documents from HHS

Five Banks Account For 96% Of The $250 Trillion In Outstanding US Derivative Exposure

Is Morgan Stanley Sitting On An FX Derivative Time Bomb?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/24/2011 06:23 -0400

The latest quarterly report from the Office Of the Currency Comptroller is out and as usual it presents in a crisp, clear and very much glaring format the fact that the top 4 banks in the US now account for a massively disproportionate amount of the derivative risk in the financial system. Specifically, of the $250 trillion in gross notional amount of derivative contracts outstanding (consisting of Interest Rate, FX, Equity Contracts, Commodity and CDS) among the Top 25 commercial banks (a number that swells to $333 trillion when looking at the Top 25 Bank Holding Companies), a mere 5 banks (and really 4) account for 95.9% of all derivative exposure (HSBC replaced Wells as the Top 5th bank, which at $3.9 trillion in derivative exposure is a distant place from #4 Goldman with $47.7 trillion). The top 4 banks: JPM with $78.1 trillion in exposure, Citi with $56 trillion, Bank of America with $53 trillion and Goldman with $48 trillion, account for 94.4% of total exposure. As historically has been the case, the bulk of consolidated exposure is in Interest Rate swaps ($204.6 trillion), followed by FX ($26.5TR), CDS ($15.2 trillion), and Equity and Commodity with $1.6 and $1.4 trillion, respectively. And that's your definition of Too Big To Fail right there: the biggest banks are not only getting bigger, but their risk exposure is now at a new all time high and up $5.3 trillion from Q1 as they have to risk ever more in the derivatives market to generate that incremental penny of return.

At this point the economist PhD readers will scream: "this is total BS - after all you have bilateral netting which eliminates net bank exposure almost entirely." True: that is precisely what the OCC will say too. As the chart below shows, according to the chief regulator of the derivative space in Q2 netting benefits amounted to an almost record 90.8% of gross exposure, so while seemingly massive, those XXX trillion numbers are really quite, quite small... Right?

...Wrong. The problem with bilateral netting is that it is based on one massively flawed assumption, namely that in an orderly collapse all derivative contracts will be honored by the issuing bank (in this case the company that has sold the protection, and which the buyer of protection hopes will offset the protection it in turn has sold). The best example of how the flaw behind bilateral netting almost destroyed the system is AIG: the insurance company was hours away from making trillions of derivative contracts worthless if it were to implode, leaving all those who had bought protection from the firm worthless, a contingency only Goldman hedged by buying protection on AIG. And while the argument can further be extended that in bankruptcy a perfectly netted bankrupt entity would make someone else who on claims they have written, this is not true, as the bankrupt estate will pursue 100 cent recovery on its claims even under Chapter 11, while claims the estate had written end up as General Unsecured Claims which as Lehman has demonstrated will collect 20 cents on the dollar if they are lucky.

The point of this detour being that if any of these four banks fails, the repercussions would be disastrous. And no, Frank Dodd's bank "resolution" provision would do absolutely nothing to prevent an epic systemic collapse.


Lastly, and tangentially on a topic that recently has gotten much prominent attention in the media, we present the exposure by product for the biggest commercial banks. Of particular note is that while virtually every single bank has a preponderance of its derivative exposure in the form of plain vanilla IR swaps (on average accounting for more than 80% of total), Morgan Stanley, and specifically its Utah-based commercial bank Morgan Stanley Bank NA, has almost exclusively all of its exposure tied in with the far riskier FX contracts, or 98.3% of the total $1.793 trillion. For a bank with no deposit buffer, and which has massive exposure to European banks regardless of how hard management and various other banks scramble to defend Morgan Stanley, the fact that it has such an abnormal amount of exposure (but, but, it is "bilaterally netted" we can just hear Dick Bove screaming on Monday) to the ridiculously volatile FX space should perhaps raise some further eyebrows...

School Assigns Children Reading About 'Benefits' of Sharia Law, Polygamy

Campbell Middle School, located in Georgia, has decided to slightly change its curriculum, after a concerned parent complained of the material his child was assigned to read.

In late-August, a class of seventh graders were given a project about class uniforms. Their teacher, who refuses to be named, handed out reading material that he or she thought was relevant: an excerpt from a letter entitled “My Name is Ahlima.”

The letter is about the differences between cultures and dressing. If it stopped there, there may not have been need for concern. However, the letter then talks about polygamy, Sharia Law, women not being allowed to drive, and "immodest" Westerners.

One excerpt reads:
“My name is Ahlima and I live in Saudi Arabia… Perhaps two differences Westerners would notice are that women here do not drive cars and they wear abuyah. An abuyah is a loose-fitting black cloth that covers a woman from head to toe. I like wearing the abuyah since it is very comfortable, and I am protected from blowing sand… I have seen pictures of women in the West and find their dress to be horribly immodest… Women in the West do not have the protection of the Sharia as we do here. If our marriage has problems, my husband can take another wife rather than divorce me, and I would still be cared for… I feel very fortunate that we have the Sharia.”
Understandably, Hal Medlin, a parent of one of the children in the class, was upset. After filing a complaint, he stated, “I thought this was absurd... [The teacher] was trying to compare Islamic rules of dress and how they compared to school uniforms, which I thought was a stretch. The principal and the [superintendent] agreed with me... but they wouldn’t agree with my premise that it put Islam in a positive light because of the [statements].”

However, some people who published the letter in question seemed taken aback by the outrage. Sharon Coletti, the founder of Roswell-based InspirEd Educators and the creator of the material, stated:
“This particular sequence is a two-day social studies lesson. They read this letter and then examine stereotyping. The next lesson is a compare and contrast on the role of women in the Middle East. Yes, the Muslim girl stereotypes Western women, but are there ways we stereotype Muslims? I have no idea what the objection is."
The reading material has since been "adjusted."

Now That Homosexuals Can Serve 'Openly' Will They Obey DoD Directives?

SUBJECT: Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces

References: (a) DoD Directive 1344.10, “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty,” August 2, 2004 (hereby canceled)

(b) Sections 973, 888, 101, and Chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code

(c) DoD Instruction 1334.1, “Wearing of the Uniform,” October 26, 2005

(d) Section 441a of title 2, United States Code

(e) through (i), see Enclosure 1


This Directive:

1.1. Reissues Reference (a) to update policies on political activities of members of the Armed Forces.

1.2. Implements section 973(b) through (d) of Reference (b).


This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Departments (including the Coast Guard at all times, including when it is a Service in the Department of Homeland Security by agreement with that Department), the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities in the Department of Defense (hereafter referred to collectively as the “DoD Components”). Paragraph 4.3. applies to members of the National Guard, even when in a non-Federal status. Other provisions apply to members of the National Guard while on active duty, which, for purposes of this Directive only, also includes full-time National Guard duty.


The terms used in this Directive are defined in Enclosure 2.


It is DoD policy to encourage members of the Armed Forces (hereafter referred to as “members”) (including members on active duty, members of the Reserve Components not on active duty, members of the National Guard even when in a non-Federal status, and retired members) to carry out the obligations of citizenship. In keeping with the traditional concept that members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity, and that members not on active duty should avoid inferences that their political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement, the following policy shall apply:

4.1. General

4.1.1. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty may: Register, vote, and express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces. Promote and encourage others to exercise their voting franchise, if such promotion does not constitute use of their official authority or influence to interfere with the outcome of any election. Join a partisan or nonpartisan political club and attend its meetings when not in uniform, subject to the restrictions of subparagraph (See DoD Instruction 1334.1 (Reference (c).) Serve as an election official, if such service is not as a representative of a partisan political party, does not interfere with the performance of military duties, is performed when not in uniform, and the Secretary concerned has given prior approval. The Secretary concerned may NOT delegate the authority to grant or deny such permission. Sign a petition for a specific legislative action or a petition to place a candidate’s name on an official election ballot, if the signing does not obligate the member to engage in partisan political activity and is done as a private citizen and not as a representative of the Armed Forces. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper expressing the member’s personal views on public issues or political candidates, if such action is not part of an organized letter-writing campaign or a solicitation of votes for or against a political party or partisan political cause or candidate. If the letter identifies the member as on active duty (or if the member is otherwise reasonably identifiable as a member of the Armed Forces), the letter should clearly state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the Department of Defense (or Department of Homeland Security for members of the Coast Guard). Make monetary contributions to a political organization, party, or committee favoring a particular candidate or slate of candidates, subject to the limitations under section 441a of title 2, United States Code (U.S.C.) (Reference (d)); section 607 of title 18, U.S.C. (Reference (e)); and other applicable law. Display a political bumper sticker on the member’s private vehicle. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn. Participate fully in the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

4.1.2. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not: Participate in partisan political fundraising activities (except as permitted in subparagraph, rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof), management of campaigns, or debates, either on one’s own behalf or on that of another, without respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. Participation includes more than mere attendance as a spectator. (See subparagraph Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election, affect the course or outcome of an election, solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, or require or solicit political contributions from others. Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles, letters, or endorsements signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause. This is distinguished from a letter to the editor as permitted under the conditions noted in subparagraph Serve in any official capacity with or be listed as a sponsor of a partisan political club. Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause. Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause. Conduct a political opinion survey under the auspices of a partisan political club or group or distribute partisan political literature. Perform clerical or other duties for a partisan political committee or candidate during a campaign, on an election day, or after an election day during the process of closing out a campaign. Solicit or otherwise engage in fundraising activities in Federal offices or facilities, including military reservations, for any political cause or candidate. March or ride in a partisan political parade. Display a large political sign, banner, or poster (as distinguished from a bumper sticker) on a private vehicle. Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to the public at one’s residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development. Participate in any organized effort to provide voters with transportation to the polls if the effort is organized by or associated with a partisan political party, cause, or candidate. Sell tickets for or otherwise actively promote partisan political dinners and similar fundraising events. Attend partisan political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces, except as a member of a joint Armed Forces color guard at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democratic, or other political parties recognized by the Federal Elections Committee or as otherwise authorized by the Secretary concerned. Make a campaign contribution to, or receive or solicit (on one’s own behalf) a campaign contribution from, any other member of the Armed Forces on active duty. Any contributions not prohibited by this subparagraph remain subject to the gift provisions of sections 2635.301-2635.304 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (Reference (f)). See subparagraph for general prohibitions on partisan fundraising activity.

4.1.3. Commissioned officers shall not use contemptuous words as prohibited by section 888 of Reference (b) or participate in activities proscribed by DoD Directives 5200.2 and 1325.6 (References (g) and (h), respectively).

4.1.4. Subject to any other restrictions in law, a member of the Armed Forces not on active duty may take the actions or participate in the activities permitted in subparagraph 4.1.1., and may take the actions and participate in the activities prohibited in subparagraph 4.1.2, provided the member is not in uniform and does not otherwise act in a manner that could reasonably give rise to the inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.

4.1.5. Activities not expressly prohibited may be contrary to the spirit and intent of this Directive. Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) or any component of these Departments with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this Directive shall be avoided.

4.2. Nomination or Candidacy for Civil Office in the U.S. Government or State or Other Non-U.S. Government Offices

4.2.1. Paragraph 4.2. applies to: A civil office in the U.S. Government that: Is an elective office; Requires an appointment by the President; or Is a position on the executive schedule under sections 5312-5317 of title 5, U.S.C. (Reference (i)). A civil office in a State; the District of Columbia; a territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States; or any political subdivision thereof.

4.2.2. A regular member, or a retired regular or Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for more than 270 days, may not be a nominee or candidate for the offices described in subparagraph 4.2.1., except when the Secretary concerned grants permission. The Secretary concerned may NOT delegate the authority to grant or deny such permission. Such permission shall not authorize activity while on active duty that is otherwise prohibited by other provisions of law or this Directive. Such permission is required regardless of whether evidence of nomination or candidacy for civil office is filed prior to commencing active duty service or whether the member is an incumbent. If a member covered by the prohibition in subparagraph 4.2.2. becomes a nominee or candidate for civil office prior to commencing active duty, then the member must request permission in writing and submit the request to the Secretary concerned before entering active duty. The member must understand that if the Secretary concerned does not grant permission, then the member must immediately decline the nomination or withdraw as a candidate.

4.2.3. A retired regular member or Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for 270 days or fewer may remain or become a nominee or candidate for the offices set out in subparagraph 4.2.1. provided there is no interference with the performance of military duty.

4.2.4. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Instruction: Any enlisted member on active duty may seek, hold, and exercise the functions of a nonpartisan civil office as a notary public or member of a school board, neighborhood planning commission, or similar local agency, provided that the office is held in a non-military capacity and there is no interference with the performance of military duties. Any warrant or commissioned officer on active duty may seek, hold, and exercise the functions of a nonpartisan civil office on an independent school board that is located exclusively on a military reservation, provided that the office is held in a non-military capacity and there is no interference with the performance of military duties.

4.3. Additional Limitations on Nomination or Candidacy and Campaigning

4.3.1. Members not on active duty who are nominees or candidates for the offices described in subparagraph 4.2.1. may, in their campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements): Use or mention, or permit the use or mention of, their military rank or grade and military service affiliation; BUT they must clearly indicate their retired or reserve status. Include or permit the inclusion of their current or former specific military duty, title, or position, or photographs in military uniform, when displayed with other non-military biographical details. Any such military information must be accompanied by a prominent and clearly displayed disclaimer that neither the military information nor photographs imply endorsement by the Department of Defense or their particular Military Department (or the Department of Homeland Security for members of the Coast Guard); e.g., “John Doe is a member of the Army National Guard. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.”

4.3.2. Members included in subparagraph 4.3.1. may NOT, in campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements): Use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media. Depict or allow the depiction of themselves in uniform in a manner that does not accurately reflect their actual performance of duty. For the purpose of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.

4.3.3. Any member on active duty who is permitted to be, or otherwise not prohibited from being, a nominee or candidate for office as described in subparagraph 4.2.1. may NOT participate in any campaign activities. This includes open and active campaigning and all behind-the-scene activities. For example, such members described in this paragraph who are candidates or nominees may not: Direct, control, manage, or otherwise participate in their campaign, including behind-the-scene activities. Make statements to or answer questions from the news media regarding political issues or regarding government policies or activities unless specifically authorized to do so by an appropriate supervisor or commander. Publish or allow to be published partisan political articles, literature, or documents that they have signed, written, or approved that solicit votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, issue, or cause.

4.3.4. Those members included in subparagraph 4.3.3. who are nominees or candidates for office must: Take affirmative, documented efforts to inform those who work for them and those whom they control that they (the nominees or candidates) may not direct, control, manage, or otherwise participate in campaign activities on their own behalf. Take all reasonable efforts to prevent current or anticipated advertisements that they (the nominees or candidates) control from being publicly displayed or running in any media. This includes Web sites devoted to the nomination or candidacy. Web sites created before entry on active duty may not be updated or revised and may be ordered shut down as the Secretary concerned may direct.

4.3.5. Those who require permission to be nominees or candidates under the provisions of subparagraph 4.2.2., or who are on active duty and are not otherwise prohibited from being a nominee or a candidate under the provisions of subparagraph 4.2.3., must complete the acknowledgment of limitations at Enclosure 4. Those who require permission must complete the acknowledgment before permission may be granted. Those who do not require permission must complete the acknowledgment within 15 days of becoming a nominee or candidate or within 15 days of entry on active duty if already a nominee or candidate. The acknowledgment must be forwarded through the nominee’s or candidate’s immediate supervisor to the first general officer in the chain of command.

4.4. Holding and Exercising the Functions of a U.S. Government Civil Office Attained by Election or Appointment

4.4.1. Paragraph 4.4. applies to a civil office in the U.S. Government that: Is an elective office; Requires an appointment by the President; or Is in a position on the executive schedule under sections 5312-5317 of Reference (i).

4.4.2. A regular member, or retired regular or Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for more than 270 days, may not hold or exercise the functions of civil office set out in subparagraph 4.4.1. unless otherwise authorized in paragraph 4.4. or by law.

4.4.3. A retired regular member, or a Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for 270 days or fewer, may hold and exercise the functions of a civil office provided there is no interference with the performance of military duty.

4.4.4. A member on active duty may hold and exercise the functions of a civil office under paragraph 4.4. when assigned or detailed (while on active duty) to such office to perform such functions, provided the assignment or detail does not interfere with military duties.

4.4.5. Any member on active duty authorized to hold or exercise or not prohibited from holding or exercising the functions of office under paragraph 4.4. are still subject to the prohibitions of subparagraph 4.1.2.

4.5. Holding and Exercising the Functions of a State or Other Non-U.S. Government Office Attained by Election or Appointment

4.5.1. Paragraph 4.5. applies to a civil office in a State; the District of Columbia; a territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States; or any political subdivision thereof.

4.5.2. A regular member may not hold or exercise the functions of civil office unless otherwise authorized in paragraph 4.5. or by law.

4.5.3. A retired regular or Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for more than 270 days may hold─but shall NOT exercise─the functions of a civil office as set out in subparagraph 4.5.1., as long as: The holding of such office is not prohibited under the laws of the State; the District of Columbia; a territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States; or any political subdivision thereof. The Secretary concerned grants permission after determining that holding such office does not interfere with the performance of military duties. The Secretary concerned may NOT delegate the authority to grant or deny such permission.

4.5.4. A retired regular or Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for 270 days or fewer may hold and exercise the functions of civil office provided there is no interference with the performance of military duties.

4.5.5. Any member on active duty authorized to hold or exercise, or not prohibited from holding or exercising, the functions of office under paragraph 4.5. are still subject to the prohibitions of subparagraph 4.1.2.

4.6. Actions When Prohibitions Apply

4.6.1. Members affected by the prohibitions against being a nominee or candidate or holding or exercising the functions of a civil office may request retirement (if eligible), discharge, or release from active duty. The Secretary concerned may approve these requests, consistent with the needs of the Service, unless the member is: Obligated to fulfill an active duty service commitment. Serving or has been issued orders to serve afloat or in an area that is overseas, remote, a combat zone, or a hostile pay fire area. Ordered to remain on active duty while the subject of an investigation or inquiry. Accused of an offense under Chapter 47 of Reference (b) or serving a sentence or punishment for such an offense. Pending other administrative separation action or proceedings. Indebted to the United States. In a Reserve Component and serving involuntarily under a call or order to active duty that specifies a period of active duty of more that 270 days during a period of declared war or national emergency; or other period when a unit or individual of the National Guard or other Reserve Component has been involuntarily called or ordered to active duty as authorized by law. In violation of this Directive or an order or regulation prohibiting such member from assuming or exercising the functions of civil office.

4.6.2. Subparagraph 4.6.1. does not preclude a member’s involuntary discharge or release from active duty.

4.6.3. No actions undertaken by a member in carrying out assigned military duties shall be invalidated solely by virtue of such member having been a candidate or nominee for a civil office in violation of the prohibition of paragraph 4.2. or having held or exercised the functions of a civil office in violation of the prohibitions of paragraphs 4.4. or 4.5.

4.6.4. This is a lawful general regulation. Violations of paragraphs 4.1. through 4.5. of this Directive by persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice are punishable under Article 92, “Failure to Obey Order or Regulation,” Chapter 47 of Reference (b).


5.1. The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness shall administer this Directive.

5.2. The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall issue appropriate implementing documents for their respective Departments.


UNLIMITED. This Directive is approved for public release. Copies may be obtained through the Internet from the DoD Issuances Web Site at


This Directive is effective immediately.

Enclosures - 4

E1. References, continued

E2. Definitions

E3. Nonpartisan Activities and Other Miscellaneous Guidance

E4. Candidacy or Nomination for Political Office Counseling Statement


REFERENCES, continued

(e) Section 607 of title 18, United States Code

(f) Sections 2635.301-2635.304 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations

(g) DoD Directive 5200.2, “DoD Personnel Security Program,” April 9, 1999

(h) DoD Directive 1325.6, “Guidelines for Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among

Members of the Armed Forces,” October 1, 1996

(i) Sections 5312-5317 of title 5, United States Code



E2.1. Active Duty. Full-time duty in the active military service of the United States regardless of duration or purpose. Active duty includes full-time training duty; annual training duty; and attendance, while in the active military service, at a school designated as a Service school by law or by the Secretary concerned. For purposes of this Directive only, active duty also includes full-time National Guard duty.

E2.2. Call or Order to Active Duty for More Than 270 Days. Any prohibitions or limitations this Directive triggers by a call or order to active duty for more than 270 days begins on the first day of the active duty.

E2.3. Civil Office. A non-military office involving the exercise of the powers or authority of civil government, to include elective and appointed office in the U.S. Government, a U.S. territory or possession, State, county, municipality, or official subdivision thereof. This term does not include a non-elective position as a regular or reserve member of civilian law enforcement, fire, or rescue squad.

E2.4. Nonpartisan Political Activity. Activity supporting or relating to candidates not representing, or issues not specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations or clubs. Issues relating to State constitutional amendments or referendums, approval of municipal ordinances, and others of similar character are not considered under this Instruction as specifically identified with national or State political parties.

E2.5. Partisan Political Activity. Activity supporting or relating to candidates representing, or issues specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations or clubs.

E2.6. Secretary Concerned. See section 101(a)(9) of Reference (b).




This Directive does not preclude participation in local nonpartisan political campaigns, initiatives, or referendums. A member taking part in local nonpartisan political activity, however, shall not:

E3.1.1. Wear a uniform or use any Government property or facilities while participating.

E3.1.2. Allow such participation to interfere with or prejudice the member’s performance of military duties.

E3.1.3. Engage in conduct that in any way may reasonably imply that the Military Department concerned or any component of such Department has taken an official position on, or is otherwise involved in, the local political campaign or issue.


Members of the Armed Forces on active duty engaging in permissible political activities shall:

E3.2.1. Give full time and attention to the performance of military duties during prescribed duty hours.

E3.2.2. Avoid any outside activities that may be prejudicial to the performance of military duties or likely to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces.

E3.2.3. Refrain from participating in any political activity while in military uniform, as proscribed by Reference (c), or using Government facilities or resources for furthering political activities.




[To be prepared by any member on active duty (or who is about to enter active duty) who is:

Alternate A: Granted permission to remain or to become a candidate or nominee for civil office, (subparagraph 4.2.2.); or

Alternate B: Not otherwise prohibited from remaining or becoming a candidate or nominee for civil office (subparagraph 4.2.3.).

(Prepare as a letter or memorandum, signed by the member and addressed through the member’s immediate supervisor (if known) to the first general or flag officer in the member’s chain of command.)]


[Select the appropriate paragraph 1].

Alternate A (over 270 days)

1. I understand that for me to remain or to become a nominee or a candidate for the civil office of [specifically identify the civil office] while on active duty, I must have the permission of the [name of the Secretary concerned] as required by subparagraph 4.2.2. of DoD Directive (DoDD) 1344.10, “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.” I understand that such permission will be granted sparingly because it runs counter to the traditional concept that Service members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity. Furthermore, I understand that if I am already a candidate or nominee, I must submit my request for permission from [specifically identify the Secretary concerned] before I enter active duty. If I am already on active duty and wish to become a candidate or nominee, I must receive permission first.

Alternate B (270 days or fewer)

1. I understand that I am authorized to remain or to become a candidate or nominee for the civil office of [specifically identify the civil office] while on active duty. This is authorized by subparagraph 4.2.3. of DoD Directive (DoDD) 1344.10, “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces,” because I am under a call or order to active duty for 270 days or fewer. I understand that I may remain a candidate or nominee only as long as my candidacy or nomination does not interfere with the performance of my military duty.

2. I have read and fully understand that DoDD 1344.10, paragraphs 4.2. and 4.3. severely limit my ability to participate as a nominee or candidate in the political process. I specifically understand that if I am granted permission to be a candidate or nominee or am not otherwise prohibited from becoming a candidate or nominee, I may not direct, control, endorse, or otherwise participate in campaign activities on my behalf (including behind-the-scene activities). Furthermore, I must:

a. Take affirmative, documented efforts to inform those who work for me and those whom I control that I may not direct, control, manage, or otherwise participate in campaign activities on my own behalf.

b. Take all reasonable efforts to prevent current or anticipated advertisements that I control from being publicly displayed or running in any media. This includes Web sites devoted to the nomination or candidacy. Such Web sites created before my entry on active duty must otherwise comply with subparagraph 4.3.1. and may not be updated or revised while I am on active duty. Furthermore, I understand that the Secretary concerned may direct that the Web site be removed.

3. I have read and understand the prohibitions found in DoDD 1344.10, paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3.

4. I understand that DoDI 1334.1, “Wearing of the Uniform,” prohibits the wearing of a military uniform during or in connection with the furtherance of any political or commercial interests not otherwise prohibited or limited above.

5. Finally, I understand that should I be elected to this civil office while on active duty, I will be subject to the policies concerning holding and exercising the function of civil office also found in DoDD 1344.10.

[Include signature block of nominee or candidate.]

Bill Clinton, Home Wrecker

Posted 09/23/2011 06:47 PM ET

Subprime Scandal: Bill Clinton has summoned the media to listen to his take on the never-ending financial crisis. But the man who is now portrayed as an oracle was in fact its chief architect.

In an interview for his annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, the former president blamed the mortgage meltdown and ensuing record poverty on a "30-year anti-government rant."

"The American Dream has been under assault for 30 years," Clinton said, lecturing banks to "clean up their financial books" of all the toxic mortgages they made.

This is galling even for Bill Clinton.

He's the one who originally pushed them to make those really dumb loans. And then he baited Wall Street to game the perverse system he created. Nobody put the American Dream of owning — and keeping — a home "under assault" more than he did.

Rewind to 1994. While everyone was worried about Clinton socializing health care, he was busy socializing mortgages. To boost minority homeownership, Clinton toughened anti-redlining rules and launched a federal assault on mortgage underwriting standards.

He enlisted no fewer than 10 federal regulatory agencies to crack down on prudent lenders. He named his anti-bank SWAT team the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending.

"I want to target new (housing) markets, underserved populations, tear down the barriers to discrimination wherever they are found," Clinton said. "We have to do a better job of reaching the underserved; of eradicating discriminatory practices that prevent minorities from finding, financing or buying the home of their choice.

"We can widen the circle of homeownership beyond anything we have ever seen," he added.

Indeed, Clinton's policies for the first time threw millions of previously unqualified buyers into the mortgage mix, fueling an unprecedented housing bubble.

Between 1995 and 2005, according to a new book, "The Great American Bank Robbery," minorities accounted for nearly two-thirds of household growth and contributed a whopping 49% of the 12.5 million rise in homeowners over the decade.

When bankers resisted being saddled with the risky loans, Clinton tapped Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take them off their books, freeing bankers to make more of the political loans. He directed HUD to hike Fannie's and Freddie's goals for underwriting affordable loans.

HUD has the power to enforce their loan programs, and required that at least half of all Fannie and Freddie mortgage purchases benefit poor and minority families — a level that remained in force throughout the 2000s.

When the mortgage giants pushed back, complaining it would be hard to meet the higher targets, Clinton had his HUD regulators encourage them to load up on subprime loans.

In a fateful move, he also authorized Fannie and Freddie for the first time to issue, guarantee or buy securities backed by bundled subprime mortgages to earn credits against the HUD goals. The mortgage giants jumped at the chance, since it allowed them to meet the onerous new goals in wholesale fashion.

For good measure, Clinton late in his second term installed several of his cronies — including White House budget chief Franklin Delano Raines — in key Fannie and Freddie board positions, ensuring they continued his affordable-lending crusade well into the next administration.

By the time he left office, Clinton had changed the rules for risk in the lending business. He had fundamentally changed the home finance market for the worse.

This untold Clinton scandal stayed hidden until the bubble burst. Now the former president is conveniently a critic of the very loans he promoted.

He was all for them before he was against them.

Interestingly, "Bank Robbery" notes that the Clinton Foundation that sponsors his global initiative has scrubbed from its website Clinton's boasts of shaking down banks for riskier minority loans.

History should deal harshly with this former president. He didn't just damage the dignity of the presidency with his personal failings. He may have permanently damaged American living standards.

GBTV Exclusive: Buffett’s secretary (Video)

Friday, Sep 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM EDT

A disturbing sight but great information to debunk Buffett’s ridiculous tax delusions. Get more information on the facts Stu lays out here.

Racially heated posting sparks UC Berkeley outrage

Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, September 24, 2011

BERKELEY -- A Facebook post announcing plans by a UC Berkeley Republican group to sell baked goods priced according to race, gender and ethnicity - "White/Caucasian" pastries for $2 and "Black/African American" pastries for 75 cents, for example - has drawn outrage on campus.

"I'm ashamed to know that I go to the same school with people who would say stuff like this," responded student Skyler Hogan-Van Sickle on Facebook. "I'm really trying to figure out how someone can be this hateful."

The campus Republicans, who expect to go forward with their "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" on Tuesday, say the event is meant to mock an effort by the student government to drum up support for SB185, a bill to let the University of California and the California State University consider ethnicity in student admissions. It's awaiting approval or veto by Gov. Jerry Brown.

"Our bake sale will be at the same time and location of a phone bank which will be making calls to urge Gov. Brown to sign the bill," posted six students who created the Facebook page. The purpose "is to offer another view to this policy of considering race in university admissions. The pricing structure of the baked goods is meant to be satirical."

But students say the joke is anything but funny. More than 200 students responded to the event, most opposed, and some violently so. One threatened to burn the table and set the cupcakes on fire. At least four student groups sent complaints to campus administrators, and a student-only meeting was set for Friday evening to discuss it.

"It's offensive because of the tactics that they chose," said Joey Freeman, a vice president with the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley's student government. "This should be done for constructive dialogue and debate. But not in a way I thought was, frankly, racist."

The posting describes five price levels for pastries, with the highest for "White/Caucasian," and the lowest for "Native American." A 25-cent discount is offered for women.

"If you don't come, you're a racist," the post declares.

Berkeley's tempest follows a series of racial and anti-Semitic incidents across UC campuses, which prompted UC officials to focus new attention on fighting hate speech among students.

In March at UCLA, a student posted a video of herself ranting about Asians. In 2010, UC San Diego students posted racial slurs and caricatures on Facebook, and used campus TV to belittle black students. Someone also hung a noose from light fixture in the library.

At UC Davis, six swastikas were found, including one carved into a Jewish student's door, and someone defaced the gay students' center.

At UC Merced, a video mocking efforts to create a Chicano studies program was posted on Facebook.

In 2010, UC President Mark Yudof described the incidents as "quite simply the worst acts of racism and intolerance I've seen on college campuses in 20 years." He created a committee to help campuses strengthen anti-hate policies. And next year, all students and employees will be asked to take a survey about campus tensions, said UC spokesman Steve Montiel.

At Berkeley, the Facebook posting violates no campus policy, said Gibor Basri, vice chancellor for equity and inclusion.

"The only policy it violates is the principles of community," he said, adding that a campus-wide letter will go out Monday. "We can use this as a teaching moment."

Shawn Lewis, president of the Berkeley College Republicans, was surprised by the number of critics and their harshness and said he agrees that race-based pricing is discriminatory.

"But it's discriminatory in the same way that considering race in university admissions is discriminatory," he said.

New Paradigm for Israel

Friday, September 23, 2011

By Chuck Morse – the author of The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism, published by WND Books.

It should be obvious to anyone familiar with the venomous UN speech just delivered by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, calling for Palestinian statehood, that the so-called two state solution is dead. The idea of two states was first proposed to a delegation of PLO terrorists visiting North Vietnam in 1973 according to recently de-classified Soviet era documents. Abu Iyad, a member of that delegation visiting Hanoi, wrote in his memoir "Palestinian without a Motherland," that the North Vietnamese suggested that the PLO "stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights…Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand."

The North Vietnamese proposed two state tactic was meant to serve two purposes. Firstly, the PLO would secure good public relations. The idea of dividing Israel into two states, one Jewish and one Islamic, would appeal to the na├»ve sensibilities of the international left, always susceptible to utopian sounding ideas and the use of the term “peace.” The North Vietnamese had, after all, been extremely successful with their own propaganda campaign which made a strong impression on the American student anti-war movement. While the communist north was committing aggression against South Vietnam, with their Soviet and Chinese supplied forces, they were able to successfully portray the South Vietnamese as the bad guys.

Secondly, steady and relentless pressure would be applied by the new friends of the PLO, the international left, for Israel to hand over the West Bank and Gaza to this new state. Once the beachhead was established on the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians would then be in a position to finish Israel off. The new approach was subsequently unveiled by Yasir Arafat who spoke at the UN with a gun strapped to his belt.

The Palestinians did not, however, wait for the attainment of the West Bank as they impatiently launched the second half of the plan from Gaza after receiving that beachfront property from Israel in 2004. The Palestinians proceeded to turn Gaza into a launching pad for over 6 thousand missiles fired into Israel. Control over the West Bank would no doubt put all of Israel, including the Ben Gurion Airport, within range of mortar fire.

By seeking recognition at the UN without negotiating with Israel, the Palestinians have effectively abrogated and nullified all treaties previously arrived at between them and Israel. Furthermore, and in complete violation of previous agreements, Abbas stated during his speech that the Palestinians would never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. At last the truth is out.

Therefore, all bets are off.

The time has come for Israel to pull off the proverbial Band-Aid. Since the Palestinians seek to “annex” the West Bank and Gaza, Israel should respond beforehand by formally annexing the territories. Once this is accomplished, Israel should then commence negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on matters pertaining to local and regional sovereignty based on the Swiss Canton model. The Palestinians would be well advised to accept such a generous offer, an offer that is certainly more generous than the one they planned for Israel. Indeed, this would be an opportunity for the Palestinian people to live in a society that would offer them a greater level of democracy and economic prosperity than they would ever have hoped to achieve in either their own state or in any other of the over twenty sovereign an in some cases oil rich Arab states that already exist.

Intercontinental Railroad

New Obama Gaffe: Hails America’s Historic Building of 'the Intercontinental Railroad'…

We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad,” Barack Obama.

That’s what the president of the United States flat-out said Thursday during what was supposed to be a photo op to sell his jobs plan next to an allegedly deteriorating highway bridge.

A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge!

Via L.A. Times:

"We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad," Barack Obama.

That's what the president of the United States flat-out said Thursday during what was supposed to be a photo op to sell his jobs plan next to an allegedly deteriorating highway bridge.

A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge!

It's yet another humorous gaffe by the Harvard graduate, overlooked by most media for whatever reason. Like Obama saying Abraham-Come-Lately Lincoln was the founder of the Republican Party. Or Navy corpseman. Or the Austrian language. Fifty-seven states. The president of Canada. Etc.

If you talk as much as this guy likes to talk instead of governing, if you believe you are a Real Good Talker as much as this guy does, you're gonna blow a few lines. But this many?

No doubt, we'll see a collection of Obama's Best Bombs on 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend, one right after the other. No doubt.

The Democrat had traveled to Ohio on Thursday to tout his American Jobs Act, the....
...$447-billion boondoggle he proposed to a joint session of Congress this month because his previous $787-billion boondoggle didn't create anywhere near as many jobs as Joe Biden had promised.

This president is in a jam. The economy sucks. Unemployment sucks. His job approval sucks and his economic approval sucks worse. Independents have abandoned the flailing White House occupant, so are some Jews, liberals and even blacks. His Hollywood bundlers had trouble selling out the POTUS fundraisers in L.A. next week.

Obama's own Democratic Party controls the Senate and won't put their leader's jobs bill on the schedule because more wild spending like this doomed bill could also doom some Dem senators next year.

So here's how the ex-state senator from the Chicago machine reacts: At an operating cost of $181,000 per hour, he flies Air Force One nearly four hours roundtrip for 17 minutes of remarks touting infrastructure repairs by a bridge that doesn't need them.

The real reason he's at the Brent Spence Bridge is because it links the home states of both congressional Republican leaders, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. So Obama can cutely blame Republicans for holding up his jobs bill, even though it's Nevada Democrat Harry Reid.

Obama turns the empty rhetoric into a pep rally for himself, leading the obedient audience to chant, "Pass this bill! Pass this bill!"

This guy, who will ride around in Secret Service SUVs for the rest of his life, has this thing for railroads that other people should ride in. So, according to the White House transcript (scroll down for full version and related stories), here's what passes for Obama leadership:

Now, we used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in America. We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System. We built the Hoover Dam. We built the Grand Central Station.

So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads? And let Europe build the best highways? And have Singapore build a nicer airport?

Quick question: Has anyone ever heard any American express jealousy over Singapore's sweet airport?

Handicapped Kids...Better Off Dead

By Peter Heck
September 23, 2011

For those of us committed to the fight of saving Western Civilization from collapse, stories like the one that recently emerged from West Palm Beach, Florida are not reassuring. It seems that Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana, the parents of a young disabled boy named Bryan Santana, have received a $4.5-million court victory over a doctor and ultrasound technician they accused of malpractice.

What makes this story uniquely disturbing is the alleged offense of the two medical professionals. According to the Palm Beach Post, "[the parents] claimed they would have never have brought Bryan into the world had they known about his horrific disabilities ... the West Palm Beach couple said they would have terminated the pregnancy." In other words, since Bryan was born with only one limb, his life isn't worth as much as it would be if he had all of them. Therefore, the doctor and ultrasound tech are responsible for Bryan being alive rather than in a trash bin, and so they should have to pay for him.

The $4.5-million decision is half of what the parents requested, allegedly to help pay for Bryan's lifetime medical costs. That two individuals could be so shameless as to even publicly attach their names to a lawsuit of this nature, that our court system would even hear such a case, and that a jury of citizens would disgracefully reward the plaintiffs with anything but a callous lecture on their own moral degeneracy amount to a shocking commentary on how far our culture has fallen in terms of its respect for the value of human life.

Imagine for a second eight years down the road when Bryan, bound to a wheelchair but otherwise functioning and interacting as a typical pre-teen boy, gets into an argument with one of his friends. Without thinking, his friend shouts out something like, "Yeah, well, at least my parents wanted me!" Perplexed, Bryan does a little digging and question-asking, and he eventually finds out that his parents were so upset at the thought of having to deal with him as he was that they would have preferred to kill him. How many of the left's cherished "self-esteem" classes will Bryan have to sit through to overcome that devastation?

For its part, the Palm Beach Post editorialized against the lawsuit. Andrew Marra wrote for the paper:

The problem with their lawsuit is its premise that their son is more flawed or somehow worse than a person with four fully formed limbs[.] ... Certainly, Bryan will face challenges that few have to consider, and that is tragic. Whether these obstacles mean his life is not worth living should be up to him to decide, not to Ms. Mejia and a jury of her peers.

While Marra is barking up the right tree, he doesn't take his condemnation of this case far enough. After all, there is nothing logically different about what Mejia and Santana are saying from what the left has said for years about the whole right to choose abortion. Why should we be surprised when two people say that their son's physical disabilities make him unworthy to live? For years we have been condoning the left's lie that an inconvenient child can be killed legally -- so why not a handicapped one? Surely if the financial burden, emotional strain, or psychological stress caused by an unplanned pregnancy is enough to justify abortion, the kind of grief provoked by finding out your child will face physical challenges should be as well, right?

What we are witnessing in this case is the logical end of the moral relativistic rubbish that our entire abortion culture is based on. Consider the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that saw the U.S. Supreme Court attempting to provide some moral clarity to the muddled mess that the infamous Roe v. Wade decision had left in its wake. Their pitiful effort shows that even when given almost 20 years to come up with a better explanation for the gruesome practice, the brightest legal minds can't offer anything beyond a self-defeating quagmire of personal preferences.

The Court opined that "[a]t the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." And as intellectually vapid and logically flawed as that mammoth definition of liberty is, it isn't difficult to figure out why we are experiencing the kind of moral decay represented by this "wrongful birth" case. Parents Mejia and Santana's "concept of existence" involves a sliding scale of humanity's worth: those whom they define as "normal" are more valuable and worthy of life than those who aren't. They are merely "defining the meaning of human existence" to be predicated upon what an individual can do for society.

Therein lies the problem. We can and should recoil in disgust at such brazen acts of selfishness as preferring to kill your handicapped child over caring for him. But until we eliminate the moral relativism that triggers those acts and replace it with the Judeo-Christian truth that life is valuable -- not for what it does, but what it is -- we should only anticipate more of the same.

Chris Christie Reconsidering 2012 Run

Friday, 23 Sep 2011 05:10 PM
By Jim Meyers

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reconsidering his decision not to enter the 2012 presidential race — and he says he will let top Republican donors know within days about his plans, Newsmax has learned.

During the past few weeks, several leading Republican donors and fundraisers have been urging the popular Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to run and to enter the GOP primary.

These Christie supporters note that significant GOP support has remained on the sidelines of the primary fight. Many leading fundraisers have yet to commit to any current primary contender, including frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.

Newsmax has learned that the effort to draft Christie culminated in a hush-hush powwow held in the past week with Christie and several notable Republican billionaires.

A source familiar with the meeting suggested that Christie seemed inclined to enter the race but said he needed more time.

Christie promised to make a final decision "within two weeks," the source said.

Another source involved in GOP fundraising tells Newsmax that that uncommitted fundraisers and donors have been receiving phone calls from top political aides to Christie, seeking their feedback about his possible entry into the race.

Earlier this week Christie hinted at the effort to draft him when he spoke at a special forum that included Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Christie suggested to an audience at New Jersey's Rider University that the current GOP candidates are not answering the public's appetite for real leadership.

"I think what the country is thirsting for, more than anything else right now, is someone of stature and credibility to tell them that and say, 'Here's where I want us to go to deal with this crisis,'" Christie said.

Christie continued: "The fact that nobody yet who's running for president, in my view, has done that effectively is why you continue to hear people ask Daniels if he'll reconsider and ask me if I'll reconsider."

Christie has consistently and categorically stated that he would not run for president in 2012, noting he had significant work still to accomplish in New Jersey.

But New Jersey and New York Republican donors and bundlers who have backed Christie also have been courted in the past several months by Texas Gov. Perry's campaign.

Senior aides to Christie have been quietly urging his supporters not to commit to Perry, indicating Christie was still mulling a bid and would make a final decision after New Jersey's legislative races are completed in November.

But the rapidly changing primary landscape may be changing that timetable.

Perry's quick rise in the polls and indications he may be fading — coupled with nagging questions about Romney's ability to lead the party after backing a Massachusetts healthcare law ominously similar to President Barack Obama's own Obamacare program — may have created a window of opportunity for Christie.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Soros Surfaces on the Edge of White House Controversy Involving LightSquared

Published September 23, 2011

Billionaire financier and liberal activist George Soros has been financially linked to LightSquared, which is at the center of allegations that the White House pressured a Pentagon commander to change his prepared congressional testimony to benefit the Virginia-based telecom company that once received a $90,000 investment from President Obama.

LightSquared is seeking to establish a new wireless broadband network that many, including Air Force Gen. William Shelton, believe could interfere with critical GPS systems used by the U.S. military. But Shelton, head of Space Command, confided to lawmakers that he thought his testimony had been leaked to LightSquared, and that he had rejected requests from the White House to downplay his concerns.

The company is being funded by private equity titan Philip Falcone, the founder of Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge fund that has counted Soros as a "significant" investor since 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Soros also funds four groups that have lobbied on behalf of LightSquared in regulatory and policy fights.

The Washington Examiner first reported this week that the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition, which includes the Soros-funded groups Free Press, Media Access Project, the New America Foundation and Public Knowledge, filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission in April 2010 supporting Harbinger's attempt to become a national player in the wireless industry over the objections of AT&T and Verizon.

Those four groups also met with an FCC commissioner that month on the issue.

From 2000 to 2009, Soros donated millions of dollars to those four groups through his foundation, according to the Media Research Center. Soros' Open Society Foundation gave $1.4 million to Free Press, $1.7 million to Media Access Project, $3.8 million to New America Foundation and $855,500 to Public Knowledge.

But it remains unclear whether Soros has played any role in the LightSquared controversy.

A spokeswoman for Open Society Foundations said the foundation's activities "are entirely separate from the investments of George Soros."

The White House has denied any wrongdoing. And Falcone has rejected allegations that LightSquared obtained in advance Shelton's testimony or that he is a major Democratic donor.

LightSquared executives and the company's political action committee have donated to both political parties, but the PAC tilted Democratic over the last two election cycles.

Falcone says he is a registered Republican and has never met Obama. In 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama invested nearly $90,000 in Skyterra, the company that later changed its name to LightSquared, along with $9,000 in a biotech company. Obama sold the stocks eight months later for a net loss of $13,000, according to The New York Times.

Obama made the investment after he retained a UBS broker recommended by a wealthy contributor named George Haywood.

Obama has had a relationship with Soros dating back at least to 2004, when Soros held a fundraiser for Obama's Senate campaign. Soros also supported Obama over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

LightSquared executives and the company's lawyers say a broad and powerful coalition of entrenched interests has targeted the firm in an effort to prevent LightSquared from revolutionizing the wireless industry by enabling smaller carriers to compete on a national level.

Rep. Thomas Petri, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation and Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the FCC on Thursday urging the agency to resist any political pressure to grant LightSquared an authorization that could interfere with GPS.

"In our decades of public service, we have never seen the entire federal government and so many private companies directed to expend such considerable financial resources and man hours to accommodate one company's desires," they wrote.

"Never have we seen a company's business model threaten critical transportation safety infrastructure and yet be assisted by its federal regulator. It is odd that the FCC has pegged the hopes of expanding broadband access on such a controversial proposal by a single applicant."

Saudi Man Arrested at New York Airport With Bag Full of Weapons

Published September 24, 2011
New York Post

New York – A Saudi man was busted at New York's JFK Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials spotted a stun gun and four other weapons in his checked bag, the New York Post reported Saturday.

Mohamed Hefni, 54, was arrested in a first-class lounge at JFK at 4:00pm Thursday after agents found the contraband in his luggage before he boarded a Saudi Airlines flight to Riyadh, authorities said.

TSA Agent Ann Marie McLewd initially spotted the outline of weapons inside a black bag that Hefni had checked -- and a peek inside the luggage by TSA Agent Phillip Desnyo revealed a fully operable battery-powered electric stun gun.

Desnyo also found three “electric stun batons,” an “electric stun pen” and a large can of pepper spray in the bag authorities said.

Is America Ready for a Christian President?

By Christopher Chantrill
September 24, 2011

Leave it to a RINO. Now Gov. Mitt Romney is doing the Democrats' work for them by worrying that Rick Perry is too extreme to be electable.

That's not the way that Democrats talk about their candidates. They go straight for the guilt trip, and worry out loud, e.g., about whether America is ready for a black president.

With Obama in a spiral dive, it is starting to look as if the next president of the United States is going to be a Christian. I mean, of course, Christian in the modern sense, as someone that has come out of one of those religious right churches, or even, like Michele Bachmann, attended Oral Roberts University, now part of Pat Robertson's Regent University.

In 2008 America said it was ready for a black president. So now maybe it's time we returned the compliment to our liberal friends and ask whether America is ready for a "Christian" president.

Liberals thought that George W. Bush was America's first Christian president, and maybe a Yalie WASP could be, in the way that Bill Clinton was our first black president. But Palin, Bachmann, and Perry -- these candidates don't come out of Yale-dom. It's not that they have the sawdust trail about them -- how could they, when Elmer Gantry was so solidly early 20th century? But they are obviously strivers -- over-earnest, over-contrived, over-enthusiastic: not to the manor born.

Given the power liberals have to define the cultural horizon, it is easy to miss the importance of today's enthusiastic Christianity. Liberals are taught in their secularist seminaries that God Is Dead, and so the usual journalistic trend-spotters don't write breathless articles in The New Yorker or The New York Times Magazine about the worldwide spread of enthusiastic Christianity. You need a different kind of cultural radar to make sense of the rising moral movement that Palin, Bachmann, and Perry represent. But modern history shows that moral movements are what it's all about.

Back in the middle of the last millennium, capitalist entrepreneurs invented modern industrial capitalism. We are talking not about textile factories, but about commercial plantations growing sugar and then cotton. The capitalists made lots of money out of sugar and cotton, but there was one little problem: their profits were based on slave labor, and a lot of it. Around the middle of the 18th century a moral movement arose to oppose this inhumanity, and within a century it abolished slave labor from the face of the earth. This movement had just about finished the cleanup on slavery when a new moral movement was born.

When our liberal friends descant upon racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia, they are singing about the moral movement that got started 150 years ago in reaction to the inequalities of the industrial revolution -- the textile one, not the slave one. The workers in those days, moralists said, were exploited by the new industrial order. So also, in due course, were blacks, women, and gays, and the moralists created a moral movement to oppose and to right these injustices.

The old anti-slavery movement, its object achieved, faded away. But not the moral movement to mitigate worker and other exploitation. For this movement wanted not just to help the workers, but help itself. It wanted political power. Its moral zeal eventually built the authoritarian welfare state, the rule of the educated experts, and it expected the world to live happily ever after.

But, Nietzsche wrote, "power makes stupid." Or, we could say today, power makes Obama stupid, big-government stupid -- stupid enough to flush the United States down the toilet. The movement that swore to help the workers is ending by betraying them in a cesspool of corruption and powerful stupidity.

It would hardly be surprising if a moral movement arose to oppose this corrupt dynasty, this negation of all that is just and good. On the contrary, it would be shocking if such a movement did not arise.

For anyone with eyes to see, there is a moral movement now spontaneously arising in America to fight the injustice of the authoritarian welfare state. The enthusiastic Christian churches, the Tea Party ladies, the conservative movement, and at least half of the Republican presidential candidates are part of it.

Our liberal friends instinctively know that something is wrong, even if, in the argot of their psychology, they are completely in denial. That is why they get so upset over "theocrats," "Christianists," and Tea Party "terrorists." They can feel a moral movement building against them, and they cannot bear to think of the next president of the United States coming out of that movement.

As Gandhi wrote, first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. Is America ready for a Christian president?

Morgan Freeman: Obama made racism worse

Tea Party Will Do 'Whatever [It] Can To Get This Black Man Outta Here'
By Noel Sheppard September 23, 2011 | 13:23

Morgan Freeman, in an interview to be aired on CNN Friday evening, says that President Obama has made racism worse in America.

Chatting with Piers Morgan, the Oscar-winning actor also blames the Tea Party saying they're "going to do whatever [they] can to get this black man outta here”

PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Has Obama helped the process of eradicating racism, or has it in a strange way made it worse.

MORGAN FREEMAN: Made it worse. Made it worse. Look at, look, the Tea Partiers, who are controlling the Republican Party, stated, and what’s this guy’s name, Mitch O’Connell. Is that his, O’Connell?

MORGAN: Yeah, Mitch McConnell, yeah.

FREEMAN: Mitch McConnell. Their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What’s, what does that, what underlines that? “Screw the country. We’re going to whatever we do to get this black man, we can, we’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man outta here.”

MORGAN: But is that necessarily a racist thing?

FREEMAN: It is a racist thing.

MORGAN: Is it not Republicans, wouldn’t that say that about any Democrat president?

FREEMAN: No, they would have gotten rid of Bill Clinton if they could have.

MORGAN: They tried.

FREEMAN: They did try, but still. I don’t, they’re not going to get rid of Obama either. I think they’re shooting themselves in the head.

MORGAN: Does it unnerve you that the Tea Party are gaining such traction?



FREEMAN: Well, it just shows the weak, dark, underside of America. We’re supposed to be better than that. We really are. That’s, that’s why all those people were in tears when Obama was elected president. “Ah, look at what we are. Look at how, this is America.” You know? And then it just sort of started turning because these people surfaced like stirring up muddy water.

Is that what it shows, or does it show that people - not just those in the Tea Party - have lost faith in this President?

Obama's poll numbers continue to sink. This includes amongst reliably Democratic supporters such as Jews and African-Americans?

Have Jews and African-Americans suddenly become black haters?

The reality is that more and more people - even some in the media, perish the thought - are coming to the conclusion that Barack Obama was totally unqualified for the job as president, and that his performance in the past 32 months proves it.

What folks like Freeman don't get is that there's nothing racist about such feelings, and to make such an accusation is, well, racist.

Unfortunately, such accusations are destined to get louder and more frequent as we near Election Day and the chances for a second Obama victory based on nothing but hope, change, and ether continue to diminish.

Then folks like Freeman will really be shouting "racism."

So much for the election of the first black president bringing our nation together.

And on this I agree with Freeman: Obama has made racism worse.