Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flashback: Skull and Bones Member Irving Fisher Says Eugenics Must Become A Religion


Flashback to influential economist and Skull and Bones Irving Fisher. Here's a very disturbing quote from Fisher on page 231:

I believe in Galton's idea that eugenics must be a religion.

For a greater understanding of Irving Fisher's sick mind click on this.
Posted by Steve Bartin

The Federal Reserve, Now Bailing Out Politicians

Rick Newman
December 1, 2011

The bank bailouts in 2008 and 2009 were controversial because wealthy bankers seemed like the last people who needed help. Now, the Federal Reserve and other central banks are rescuing one group held in even lower regard than bankers: politicians.

Financial markets cheered recently when the Fed and five other central banks took action to ease a credit crunch in Europe's financial sector. Stocks soared, as investors expressed relief that somebody, finally, seemed able to do something decisive to improve the situation in Europe.

Yet the central bank maneuvers, meant to ease the ability of foreign banks to trade their currencies for dollars, do nothing to address the fundamental debt problem bedeviling Europe. Euro-zone nations such as Greece, Italy and Spain remain overwhelmed with debt, with no agreement in sight on how they can fix their finances and make their economies more competitive. Central banks temporarily easing the strain may even make the required fixes less likely, since it gives politicians wiggle room to stall on reforms needed to rein in profligate spending.

The bank bailouts in 2008 and 2009 stabilized the U.S. financial system, but they also added to the "moral hazard" that contributed to the problem in the first place. By making it clear that the government wouldn't let big banks fail, the bailouts signaled that bankers can get away with risky moves, since the feds will always provide a safety net. The Federal Reserve and its compatriots in Europe and Japan are now basically creating political moral hazard, by letting elected officials know that if they can't get the job done, the central banks will step in to prevent a full-blown disaster. It's an invitation to further recklessness that politicians don't need.

Europe's debt problems, like those in the United States, are complicated but not beyond fixing. It's generally known what overdrawn countries need to do. The International Monetary Fund has laid out a detailed set of spending cuts, tax hikes and other reforms Greece must enforce in order to continue receiving bailout money. Italy and Spain haven't asked for a bailout yet—and there's nowhere near enough money available if they do—but they must still appease investors who buy their bonds, by liberalizing work rules, unclogging the pipeline for new businesses and growing faster. If they don't, the interest rates they must pay to borrow will keep rising, until debt-servicing costs overwhelm the whole economy.

The problem is that enacting those kinds of reforms disrupts inbred institutions and requires voters to make sacrifices, for the apparent benefit of financial overlords in other counties. So politicians dither as long as possible, and try until the last second to pass the cost of reforms to bondholders, or anybody else.

"Policy makers believe that if there is some magic elixir, governments will have the breathing room to clean themselves up," says currency expert Axel Merk, president of Merk Investments in Palo Alto, California. "However, policy makers have proven that the moment the pressure abates, the willingness to push through tough reforms evaporates."

The European Central Bank, in fact, has resisted the kind of aggressive intervention practiced in the United States by the Federal Reserve, out of concern that it will let Europe's political leaders off the hook and pre-empt the need to fix corrupt or broken economies. It still hasn't embarked on a huge, Fed-style bond-buying program, but investors now clearly think the ECB—prodded, perhaps, by the Fed—is getting off the sidelines, ready to prime Europe's economy. That's good in the short-term for stock markets, but if politicians get a reprieve, all the fundamental problems will continue to hamstring the European economy.

America's debt problem is easier to solve, since it only takes one legislative body to pass a plan (rather than the 17 in the euro zone), and one executive to sign it into law. But Congress has obviously decided it doesn't need to solve anything, evidenced most recently by the debt "supercommittee" that disbanded after accomplishing nothing at all. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has pleaded with Congress to come up with a plan to pay down the debt, before it becomes an intensifying problem characterized by rising interest rates, tightening credit and a sudden crunch that is sure to be felt by taxpayers. But since those pains aren't yet present, Congress has ignored Bernanke.

It was Congress in 2008 that authorized the spending of roughly $700 billion to bail out the banks, then passed another big stimulus bill in 2009 to help lessen the impact of what turned out to be a near-depression. Though those measures were controversial, Congress was doing its job. But since then, Congress has backed away from stimulus or job-creation measures, even though the economy is in precarious shape and the jobless rate remains sky-high. Nor has it come up with a debt-reduction plan that would reassure investors or guarantee that the nation's credit rating won't fall any further. The Fed has become the lone economic stimulator, as well as the backstop for the whole economy, through "quantitative easing" and other programs meant to boost the value of stocks, force interest rates down, and keep credit flowing.

The Fed is running out of tricks, however. And besides, it's not the Fed's job to oversee the government's spending, taxing and borrowing. That's up to Congress and the president.

The Fed and its equivalent in other countries can delay some of the pain—for awhile—but eventually, politicians will need to do the job they were elected to do. Giving them an excuse to do nothing, until there's no other choice, could make the job that much harder when they finally get around to it.

Media Tell People: Government Your Friend, Ron Paul Your Enemy

by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

One thing I notice more and more is that when the mainstream media deigns to acknowledge a libertarian viewpoint, it does so not with the intention of refuting it. Perhaps these media sources can’t refute it, but I suspect they’re not even interested in trying. What they want to do is demonize and exclude. They present the anti-state view, often tendentiously, and make clear their disapproval. And that’s it.

My first exposure to how the MSM uses this tactic against dissidents came in early 2005, when the New York Times denounced my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History – which had already spent two months on that paper’s bestseller list by that point – on its editorial page. That denunciation was written by a former employee of a well-known thought-control organization that monitors American life for deviant opinions. (A deviant opinion is one that – need I say it? – diverges from the Joe-Biden-to-Mitt-Romney spectrum of allowable thought.)




For example, I pointed out in the book that European recovery after World War II owed little or nothing to the sacred Marshall Plan. In response, the Times merely restated the conventional view: the Marshall Plan "lifted up devastated European nations after World War II," the very premise I had challenged, and which the Times did nothing to rehabilitate apart from merely repeating it.

Where was I wrong? Which arguments were mistaken? My mistake, evidently, was questioning the received version of U.S. history. A deviant like me was not entitled to having the nature of his errors explained to him. It was enough to list my offenses and banish me.

(I responded right here at LewRockwell.com, incidentally.)

The book’s sales actually picked up more steam following the New York Times’ attack, as I figured they might. So I can’t say I was surprised that when Meltdown, my Austrian look at the financial crisis, made the Times’ bestseller list for ten weeks, the paper ignored it altogether.

I’ve seen the same pattern in a lot of the attacks on Ron Paul, and I’ve spent my time making videos and writing articles and blog posts defending Dr. Paul against these non-arguments. The most recent of these comes from Salon.com, which ran an article by Gary Weiss called "Ron Paul’s Phony Populism."

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether the word "populist" is appropriate to describe Dr. Paul or not. The word itself doesn’t matter. What matters is the charge behind the Weiss article: that when Ron Paul postures as the champion of the people against the entrenched interests and the power elite, he is blowing smoke. Ron Paul is a "friend of the oligarchy," Weiss contends.

That must be the most unrequited friendship in history.

But the gist of the article is this: Ron Paul wants to cut A, B, and C. A, B, and C have nice-sounding names, so there’s no need to defend them. Their names are so nice-sounding that we don’t even need to inquire into why Ron Paul might want to eliminate them or whether, amid all their wonderfulness, there may be anything even a teensy-weensy bit problematic.

We learn that Ron Paul is opposed to "the very existence of the Federal Reserve," though again we’re not given any reason to believe he is wrong. (I always get a kick out of it when alleged progressives rush to the defense of the reactionary Fed, which no doubt appreciates having progressive cover.)

As in the usual treatment, Weiss makes no effort to understand Dr. Paul’s position. Here, believe it or not, is the view he attributes to Dr. Paul: "It is not the function of society to provide healthcare for the poor. If they get sick, tough."

When has Ron Paul ever said providing health care for the poor isn’t supposed to be one of the functions of "society"? Never, of course. At every opportunity he has said the very opposite. In his own medical practice, as even NPR reported not long ago in an interview with Dr. Paul’s medical partner, his policy was to treat the needy for free.

Weiss has committed the elementary – and deeply reactionary – error of confusing government with society. Merely because we do not wish to entrust a particular task to guys with guns does not mean we do not want to see the task performed.

Then we get the usual lecture that if Ron Paul cared about the people, he’d go through the tired charade of coming up with "more regulation" to rein in Wall Street. I reply to this line of thinking in Rollback, my book from earlier this year, and in brief in the video below. Weiss likewise takes Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank to be self-evidently good, so there’s no need to try to understand why someone might oppose them, apart from a belligerent refusal to help mankind. Same for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which Weiss tries to claim is "underfunded." Sure it is.

Once in a while I make a longer video, in which I go through an article like this one from Salon point by point. I do this partly to show the anti-Paul side that there are arguments aplenty to support his views, though it’s my shorter videos that are probably more effective with opponents. But I do it also to help equip Ron Paul supporters with arguments they can use with their friends, on blogs, in comments sections, or whatever, so people like Weiss can’t get away with attacking the true man of the people, and the great principles he represents, so easily.

I’ve done it for this Weiss column. I think it takes him down. Please see if you agree.

Shared Hope International Releases America's Child Sex Trafficking Report Card (VIDEO)





First Posted: 12/ 2/11 08:33 AM ET Updated: 12/ 2/11 08:34 AM ET

When it comes to child sex trafficking laws, America is earning a failing grade.

Shared Hope International, an organization seeking to put an end to the underage sex trade, awarded zero A's in its most recent report card assessing states and their child sex trafficking laws, the Associated Press reports.

Only four states -- Illinois, Missouri, Texas, and Washington -- earned B grades, while 26 states received failing marks.

"I'ts not say you did bad, because the law was built over tens and hundreds of years in these states," said Linda Pope, president of Shared Hope International. "But to say if you want to have a strong place for children to be safe, then pass these laws."

Committee Weighs Contempt Citation Against White House Over Solyndra

By James Rosen
Published December 02, 2011
FoxNews.com

Members of Congress investigating the $535 million loan guarantee that the Obama administration gave to now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra are considering suing the White House to obtain access to documents relating to the case, Fox News has learned.

For close to a year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has been probing the circumstances surrounding the loan and its subsequent restructuring, which subordinated taxpayers to private investors in the recovery of the company's assets. Solyndra's chief investor, billionaire George Kaiser, is a prominent Obama supporter whom records show visited the White House 17 times.

The White House and the Energy Committee have clashed repeatedly over access to documents and witnesses. A White House spokesman notes the administration has already turned over 185,000 documents to the committee, and that Argonaut Ventures, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based private equity firm Kaiser founded, has also produced a large volume of documents. Earlier this month, the committee subpoenaed the White House for more documents, but the administration did not comply fully, citing what it deemed the excessive scope of the request.

The committee has also been stymied in its attempts to secure interviews with some personnel from the Energy Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget, particularly those bureaucrats who raised red flags early on about Solyndra's shaky finances.

Sources told Fox News an official from the White House counsel's office was to confer with committee investigators by telephone on Friday, but that no agreement on the outstanding documents and interviewees was expected.

For that reason, lawmakers on the panel are considering holding hearings -- first at the subcommittee level, then for the full committee -- to vote on a contempt citation against the White House. Experts said that if such an event were to come to pass, the full House, which is controlled by the Republicans, would have to vote on the citation. If that in turn were to happen, the House would officially refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for enforcement against the White House.

However, since the U.S. attorney for the capital, Ronald C. Machen Jr., is an Obama political appointee, committee Republicans are not optimistic that he would vigorously pursue a contempt citation against the White House.

In that event, committee staffers have explored the prospect of filing a civil lawsuit against William Daley and Bruce Reed, the respective chiefs of staff for the president and Vice President Biden.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz told Fox News the administration is reviewing the most recent requests from the committee but suggested the panel's investigation is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

"We are entering month ten of this investigation and everything disclosed in the 185,000 pages of documents, nine committee staff briefings, five Congressional hearings, emails from Solyndra investors, and Committee interview with George Kaiser, affirms what we said on day one," said Schultz in an emailed statement. "This was a merit based decision made by the Department of Energy. We only wish that some of the Committee's zeal to investigate was replicated in efforts to create jobs or grow the economy."

Schultz pointed out that various news organizations and good-government advocacy groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, have reached the same conclusion about the merits of the original loan guarantee.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy committee, was quoted Thursday suggesting that the contempt citation route may not be necessary. "I expect (the White House) to respond," Upton reportedly told Politico.

President Obama personally toured Solyndra in May 2010, even as administration officials privately questioned the firm's financial stability and the wisdom of allowing Obama to proceed with the high-profile event.

This past September, shortly after Solyndra declared bankruptcy, FBI agents raided the firm's offices, and a parallel investigation by the Department of Justice, looking into whether the firm misled the government in loan applications and other federal filings, is also ongoing.

SEC: We Can Prosecute Congressmen For Insider Trading

Ethics Watchdog Alleges New Jersey Democrat Used Campaign Funds for Personal Use

By Michael Beckel on November 30, 2011 12:30 PM

Today, the nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.).

The complaint alleges the eleven-term congressman illegally used tens of thousands of dollars contributed to his campaign to pay for a luxurious trip to Scotland to attend a donor’s wedding, a graduation party for one of his daughters and to support his other daughter’s acting and singing career, based on reporting by the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Andrews, who says he did not violate the law, has raised about $14.2 million over his career, including $280,100 through September of this year.

And that's not including the $62,000 that Andrew's leadership PAC -- the Committee to Strengthen America -- raised during the first half of the year.

According to research by the Center for Responsive Politics, Andrews' top supporters over the years have been the financial sector and labor unions. Both of these sectors have given him about $1.7 million -- or about 12 percent of his total war chest.

Lawyers and lobbyists, meanwhile, have given Andrews $1.5 million over his career.

Nearly 40 percent of the money Andrews has raised over his career has come from political action committees, according to the Center's research, including the PACs of many political heavyweights.

The PAC of the American Association for Justice, for instance, the nation's main trial lawyer association, has given Andrews $96,000 over the years. The PAC of the Teamsters Union has also given Andrews $96,000 over his career.

These two groups rank as the No. 1 organizational donors to Andrews, according to the Center's research.

Individual donors have given Andrews about $172,400 through the first three quarters of 2011, accounting for about 62 percent of the money he's raised.

Melanie Sloan, the executive director of CREW, recently told the Star-Ledger that such funds are not intended for politicians to spend on personal expenses.

"When you donate to a member of Congress, it doesn't mean it's for them to spend at will," Sloan told the Star-Ledger. "It's not a personal piggy bank."

Meanwhile, in a statement to OpenSecrets Blog, Andrews dismissed CREW's complaint as "baseless," and he pledged to stay focused on the needs of his constituents.

"Since I have had the honor of serving in public office, in all respects at all times, I have followed both the spirit and the letter of campaign finance laws," Andrews said.

"The complaint filed against my campaign is baseless," he continued. "The campaign has fully complied with all laws with respect to the proper expenditure and disclosure of campaign funds. All personal aspects of any expenditures or activities have always been paid in full from our family’s personal funds."

Earlier this month, Andrews told the Star-Ledger that all the expenditures in question came after consulting with lawyers, who gave him the green light.

"We have legal advice, and before we make any expenditure like that we listen to legal advice," Andrews told the Star-Ledger earlier this month. "We're convinced this is an appropriate expenditure to thank and support someone who has given us a lot of time and effort."

Since the Star-Ledger first broke the story, Andrews has maintained that he acted legally, but he promised to refund his campaign more than $9,000.

Biggest Donors Prefer Democrats For Decades: Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2012

Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2012

Higher Education & the Job Market: The More Things Change, the Worse



Uploaded by Pajamasmedia on Nov 30, 2011

Author Virginia Postrel joins Glenn Reynolds to discuss the education bubble and the rising costs of US education. Why are people deciding to go to college instead of joining high demand fields like machining or welding? Are we burdening students with an abundance of debt and a dearth of skills? Find out.

Betrayal: Democrats Grill Fannie-Freddie CEOs At Hearing

"I don't like to ask you, Mr. Haldeman, do you know the total salary and bonuses paid to your highest paid employee this past year?"



Keynesian Economics vs. Austrian Economics



http://austrianomics.com/

Justice Department Encourages Racial Quotas: Schools Get Advice on Race, Admissions

DECEMBER 3, 2011

By JESS BRAVIN

The Obama administration issued new guidance Friday advising schools and colleges on how they can make race-based enrollment decisions to promote campus diversity, shortly before the Supreme Court is set to consider whether to re-examine a 2003 case holding that universities could sometimes use race in admissions decisions.

"Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a joint release by the Justice and Education departments.

The departments withdrew prior guidance from the Bush administration, which officials said was too vague to assist school administrators seeking to promote diverse student enrollment. The new guidance parses the Supreme Court's most recent rulings on student diversity to suggest policies the administration believes would not violate the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Like the former Bush administration guidance, the new documents advise schools to use race-neutral policies if possible. If those prove insufficient, however, the new guidance states that a school "may consider a student's race as a 'plus factor' (among other, nonracial considerations) to achieve its compelling interests" in diversity.

The documents pay little attention to the thrust of a widely noted 2007 plurality opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision invalidating integration programs adopted by school boards in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle.

The chief justice took a highly skeptical view of race-conscious enrollment policies, even those intended for benign purposes such as promoting diversity. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," he wrote.

The Justice Department relies more heavily on the court's 5-4 opinion in 2003 upholding the University of Michigan Law School's admissions formula, which considered an applicant's race in order to build a "critical mass" of minority students who could contribute to the educational experience.

The 2003 majority opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has since retired from the court, found that educational diversity was a "compelling" government interest and the Michigan plan had been "narrowly tailored" to attain it—the legal standard for permissible use of racial classifications.

While the Obama administration moves to promote racial diversity, a petition pending at the court seeks to invalidate a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin. If the justices agree to hear the case, it could provide an opportunity for the court's strengthened conservative majority to narrow or even overturn Justice O'Connor's 2003 opinion.

"The Department of Justice appears to be stretching an outdated doctrine which only encourages school administrators to use racial classifications and preferences to achieve racial proportionality," said Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, an advocacy group that sponsors lawsuits targeting race-conscious policies, including the pending Texas case. "Eventually, the law will forbid this never-ending abuse of equal protection," Mr. Blum said.

Senate OKs sodomy, bestiality in U.S. military

By Pete Winn
December 1, 2011

(CNSNews.com) – (Updated) The Senate on Thursday evening voted 93-7 to approve a defense authorization bill that includes a provision which not only repeals the military law on sodomy, it also repeals the military ban on sex with animals--or bestiality.

On Nov. 15, the Senate Armed Services Committee had unanimously approved S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision to repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Article 125 of the UCMJ makes it illegal to engage in both sodomy with humans and sex with animals.

It states: "(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the effort to remove sodomy from military law stems from liberal Senate Democrats' and President Obama’s support for removing the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

“It’s all about using the military to advance this administration’s radical social agenda,” Perkins told CNSNews.com. “Not only did they overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but they had another problem, and that is, under military law sodomy is illegal, just as adultery is illegal, so they had to remove that prohibition against sodomy.”

Perkins said removing the bestiality provision may have been intentional--or just “collateral damage”

“Well, whether it was inadvertent or not, they have also taken out the provision against bestiality,” he said. “So now, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), there’s nothing there to prosecute bestiality."

Former Army Col. Bob Maginnis said some military lawyers have indicated that bestiality may be prosecutable under another section of the military code of justice – the “catch-all” Article 134 for offenses against “good military order and discipline.”

But don't count on that, he said.

“If we have a soldier who engages in sodomy with an animal – whether a government animal or a non-government animal – is it, in fact, a chargeable offense under the Uniform Code? I think that’s in question,” Maginnis told CNSNews.com.

“When the reader stops laughing, the reader needs to ask the question whether or not this is in the best interests of the government, in the best interests of the military and the best interests of the country? I think not.”

He added: “Soldiers, unfortunately, like it or not, have engaged in this type of behavior in the past. Will they in the future, if they remove this statute? I don’t know.”

Perkins said there was no attempt to remove the UCMJ repeal provision from the bill, which Perkins had expected the Senate to approve.

Now that it has passed, however, the Senate version will have to go to a conference committee, and Perkins predicts there will be several sticking points with the House.

“The House in their version of the defense authorization, reinforced the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that there is a military DOMA as well, prohibiting same-sex marriage on military bases – something the Department of Defense is pushing for,” he said.

“And now this is an added concern, that sodomy has been removed, and as we have discovered, that bestiality--the prohibition against it--has been removed from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So yes, the House will have problems with this bill.”

Michelle's 'creepy' email to supporters: 'I want to meet you'


Mrs. O’s funder-storm

By GEOFF EARLE
Last Updated: 7:06 AM, December 2, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s latest attention-grabbing fund-raising appeal features a seemingly come-hither invitation from his wife.

“I want to meet you,” says the e-mail from First Lady Michelle Obama, addressed to recipients by their first names.

The invitation includes a link to a campaign contest, where contributors can win the chance to dine with the Obamas, a variation of an earlier contest with the president.

“I’m excited for the chance to meet you and whoever you decide to bring to dinner,” the invite continues.

One blogger called it “flirty” and another called it “creepy” yesterday.

Jorely Rivera: Missing Child Urgent Alert

December 03, 2011 06:55 AM EST
by Chelsea Hoffman

Jorely Rivera is an adorable seven-year old girl missing from the Canton, GA region. Police are searching diligently for the child, and have even begun knocking-door-to-door. This is one of many missing children being mentioned in the media among Lisa Irwin, Sky Metalwala and others. It's a shame that even with the Amber Alert protocol in place and enhanced police rights with investigations, people would be deterred from abducting or harming children. Unfortunately, that's just wishful thinking.


Little Jorely Rivera was reported missing late Friday afternoon and investigators immediately went on a door-to-door campaign to find the missing hispanic girl. She still hasn't been found and there are no new updates, but detectives say the search is expanding. Very few clues are available right now, but the missing child's last known whereabouts were around her home -- an apartment complex.

It's devastating when any child goes missing, and hopefully this young girl doesn't miss out on the publicity this case needs simply because of her ethnicity. It's been argued that there's a "missing white girl syndrome" with the media reporting mostly missing white women and children. This term has come up during the reporting of missing women Holly Bobo, Lauren Spierer and Michelle Lee Parker; but also during the disappearances of Kansas City baby Lisa Irwin versus the reporting of Jhessye Shockley, an African-American girl missing from Arizona.

Hopefully police are able to locate little Jorely Rivera soon, as she has now been missing overnight and as long as 12 hours. The first 48-hours are the most important when it comes to missing children, and knowing that they are expanding the search is just leaving a negative feeling on the entire case.

VIDEO: Black student calls Confederate battle flag a symbol of pride, not bigotry

By RACHEL HEATON
Published Wednesday, November 30, 2011


For Byron Thomas, the Confederate battle flag isn't about race.


The flag that the black 19-year-old University of South Carolina Beaufort student hung from his dorm room window is about Southern pride -- pride that even a black Southerner can feel, he said.

Thomas, who grew up in North Augusta, said the South has been good to him. It's a land of church, football and "good eats," he said.

Thomas researched the history of the flag for a class project. That research convinced him the banner was about states' rights rather than slavery.

"That's all people want to see is racism. They want to see the KKK. They think of slavery. But that flag is a battle flag used for communication (during the fighting)," Thomas said.

When he hung it from his window, he knew it might offend some people, he said, but he thought it was time to start reclaiming a symbol that earlier generations consider racist.

Among those upset by the flag were USCB's Office of Housing, which asked him to take it down two months after he displayed it.

USCB spokeswoman Candace Brasseur said the housing office heard complaints from students who were offended.

Brasseur said Thomas was told about two weeks ago he could hang it in his dorm room as long as his roommates didn't object.

But he would have to remove it from his window -- a public space -- because it violates The Carolinian Creed, a code of "civilized behavior" for students that includes respecting the rights of others and discouraging bigotry.

Brasseur said the university won't comment further pending a legal review, which is standard administrative procedure on questions of legal rights.

Thomas contends the removal violated his freedom of speech. Thomas said he's been in touch with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an attorney. He's unsure whether he will sue.

"There was no angry mob outside my window," he said.

GOING VIRAL


Before he took it down, he recorded an almost 4-minute video explaining his stance on the flag.

He wanted to know what others thought, so he uploaded it to YouTube and CNN's iReport, a citizen reporting website.

The video has been viewed more than 66,000 times since it was posted on iReport on Sunday.

Some commenters said the flag symbolizes racism.

Others agreed with Thomas, calling it a free speech issue.

Thomas said he has gotten emails and Facebook messages from friends and strangers across the country expressing support. He's been asked to appear on The Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show, a syndicated talk show that promotes a conservative agenda among blacks.

Some of Thomas' friends on campus have expressed their support.

Blane Reed, one of his roommates, is white and and defended Thomas. "It's nothing racial," Reed said. "He's standing up for what he believes in."

Jonathan Cantrill, another friend, also defended Thomas. Cantrill, who is white, called the flag a symbol of pride, and both Reed and Cantrill said they had heard no complaints on campus about the flag.

Some opposition, though, hit closer to home.

After the video garnered so much attention, Thomas spoke with his parents, who grew up amid the Civil Rights movement and have experienced racism firsthand.

They weren't happy, he said.

Thomas said he understands the struggles black people faced in the South. He knows about Jim Crow laws. He knows about lynchings.

But the flag only has as much power as you give it, he said.

"I'm trying to show my generation that it's time for us to form our own opinions on things and stop following the bandwagon of what past generations have been telling us," he said. "That flag's not going anywhere, and if our generation doesn't see that, we're going to be divided just like the generation before us."

U.S. Supreme Court Has Ruled on Obama’s Eligibility!!

By Craig Andresen
November 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm
citizens4freedom.com

The National Patriot

According to the United States Supreme Court, Obama is ineligible to be the President. That’s right, you read that correctly. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Obama is ineligible to serve as President.

It’s not that you haven’t been paying attention lately and yes, you can be excused for missing the ruling as it came down, not in the last few days but back in 1875.

This is the argument currently being made by the Liberty Legal Foundation.

The Liberty Legal Foundation has filed not 1 but 2 lawsuits, one in Arizona and the other in Tennessee neither of which have one single thing to do with Obama’s birth certificate OR challenging whether or not Obama was born in the United States.

There is no need for either in regard to these lawsuits.

At the core of this action is a simple request that Federal courts uphold the Supreme Court ruling. Both lawsuits, and the Liberty Legal Foundation promises there will be more, would render it impossible for the Democratic National Committee to place Obama’s name on the 2012 ballot.

Here’s the crux of it.

Back in 1875, the United States Supreme Court, in Minor v, Happersett, ruled that:

“Natural Born Citizen” was defined as children born of two U.S. citizens – regardless of the location of the birth. It found: “The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also.”

Obama’s problem, by his own admission and records of the State Department is this:

Obama’s father was not a United States citizen.

Therefore, via Minor v, Happersett and the United States Supreme Court in 1875, Obama is ineligible because, since his father was not a U.S. citizen, Obama is not a natural born citizen.

For a person to run, as his or her party’s nominee for President, the party must issue certification that the person named is eligible under the United States Constitution to become President.

Because the Constitution does not specify the definition of “Natural born citizen” it was left to the United States Supreme Court which, in 1875, defined it as a person born in a country of parents who were its citizens and, Obama’s father was NOT a U.S. citizen.

Bring this up to your liberal friends and they will laugh at you and call you a right wing nut job for

saying Obama is ineligible but.....

the quick and accurate response is clear. YOU are not saying this, and neither is the Liberty Legal Foundation. Obama is ineligible so sayeth the United States Supreme Court and if they care to attempt to label the United States Supreme Court of 1875 as right wing nut jobs…so be it and good luck with that.

If the Democratic Party should certify Obama, in the face of this ruling, they would be acting in a fraudulent manner and according to the actions being brought by the Liberty Legal Foundation, it is the political parties which are solely responsible for that certification and the Liberty Legal Foundation intends to hold BOTH parties accountable.

To be specific, the case of Minor v. Happersett was not intended as to solve the question of Presidential eligibility at all. That case was in regard to a woman’s right to vote and while the case itself didn’t draw this specific issue into question, the Chief Justice, Morrison Waite, did, in fact address it in the issuing of the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. [88 U.S. 162, 168]


As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens. The words ‘all children’ are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as ‘all persons,’ and if females are included in the last they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.”

No doubt, liberals will attempt to cling to this line:

“Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [88 U.S. 162, 168] parents.”

Note that the Chief Justice Waite follows that with:

“As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.”

In this, the Chief Justice, and therefore, the Supreme Court makes clear that the one definition to which there is no doubt is:

“…that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also.”

Indeed, there are 4 cases in which the United States Supreme Court has addressed “Natural Born Citizen.

1) The Venus, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 253 253 (1814)

“The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives or indigenes are those born in the country of parents who are citizens. Society not being able to subsist and to perpetuate itself but by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights.”

2) Shanks v. Dupont, 28 U.S. 3 Pet. 242 242 (1830)

“Ann Scott was born in South Carolina before the American revolution, and her father adhered to the American cause and remained and was at his death a citizen of South Carolina. There is no dispute that his daughter Ann, at the time of the Revolution and afterwards, remained in South Carolina until December, 1782. Whether she was of age during this time does not appear. If she was, then her birth and residence might be deemed to constitute her by election a citizen of South Carolina. If she was not of age, then she might well be deemed under the circumstances of this case to hold the citizenship of her father, for children born in a country, continuing while under age in the family of the father, partake of his national character as a citizen of that country. Her citizenship, then, being prima facie established, and indeed this is admitted in the pleadings, has it ever been lost, or was it lost before the death of her father, so that the estate in question was, upon the descent cast, incapable of vesting in her? Upon the facts stated, it appears to us that it was not lost and that she was capable of taking it at the time of the descent cast.”

3) Minor v. Happersett , 88 U.S. 162 (1875)

“The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents.”

4) United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)

“At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children, born in a country of parents who were its citizens, became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

Clearly, by any of the 4 cases in which the United States Supreme Court has addressed the issue of “Natural Born Citizen” Obama, by the opinions rendered, is not one.

If Obama is not a natural born citizen, he is therefore ineligible to run for or to serve as, the President.

Section 1 of Article 2 of the United States Constitution states:

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

As the Constitution offers no definition of “Natural Born Citizen” it falls to the United States Supreme Court and the 4 cases in which the Supreme Court provides such a definition appear above.

Forget the birth certificate or swirling questions as to his place of birth, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear.

Obama is not eligible to serve as President and should his name appear on ballots in 2012, it will appear there fraudulently.

Liberty Legal Foundation

GOP To "Rig" Elections By Requiring A Proper I.D. To Vote

Wasserman Schultz: GOP To "Rig" Elections By Requiring A Proper I.D. To Vote

DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) says the Republican party is trying to disenfranchise and "suppress" the votes of minorities and other groups in the Democratic voting bloc by enacting laws requiring a valid I.D. at polls.

"It's very transparent who they're trying to block from the polls and who they want to smooth the path for," Wasserman Schultz said in an interview with MSNBC's Martin Bashir.

State Republican legislatures are passing bills that require a valid I.D. in order to vote to prevent voter fraud. However, Wasserman Schultz denies that charge, saying fraud is "simply a problem that doesn't exist."

The DNC Chairwoman accused the Republican party of not being able to "win elections on the merits," so they have to cheat.

Obama 101

Few presidents have dashed so many illusions as Obama.

NRO
Victor Davis Hanson
November 30, 2011 4:00 A.M.

In the last three years, the president has taught us a great deal about America, the world, and himself.

Before Obama, many Americans still believed in massive deficit spending, whether as an article of fairness, a means to economic growth, or just a lazy fallback position to justify an out-of-control federal government. But after the failure of a nearly $800 billion “stimulus” program — intended to keep unemployment under 8 percent — no one believes any more that an already indebted government will foster economic growth by taking on another $4 trillion in debt. In other words, “stimulus” is mostly a dead concept. The president — much as he advised a barnstorming President Bush in 2005 to cease pushing Social Security reform on a reluctant population — should give it up and junk the new $500 billion program euphemistically designated as a “jobs bill.” The U.S. government is already borrowing every three days what all of America spent on Black Friday.

Obama has also taught us that prominent government intervention into the private sector often makes things worse, and invites crony-capitalist corruption. Nearly three years into this administration, it is striking how seldom Barack Obama brags about Cash for Clunkers, the Chrysler and GM bailouts, or Solyndra. He either is quiet about them or sort of shrugs, as if to say, “Stuff happens.” Even creative bookkeeping cannot mask the fact that the auto-company bailouts (begun, to be sure, by the Bush administration, but made worse under Obama) will prove a huge drain on the Treasury. No one even attempts any more to convince us that we will like Obamacare once we read the legislation, or that it will save us costs in the long run, or that it will cheer up businesses so that they will invest and hire. All that was dreamland, 2009, and this is reality, 2011, when we hear only “It could have been worse.”


Obama has also taught us that a president’s name, his father’s religion, his ethnic background, loud denunciations of his predecessor, discomforting efforts to apologize, bow, and contextualize past American actions — none of that does anything to lead to greater peace in the world or security for the United States. And by the same token, George Bush’s drawl, Texas identification, and Christianity did not magically turn allies into neutrals and neutrals into enemies.

Israel, Britain, and Eastern Europe are not closer allies now than they were in 2008. Iran is still Iran — and may be even a more dangerous adversary after the failed Obama outreach. Putin’s Russia, despite “reset” (a word we no longer much hear), is still Putin’s Russia. China still despises the U.S., and feels in 2011 that it is in a far better position to act on its contempt than it was in 2009. North Korea never got the “hope and change” message. Europe is collapsing, reminding the world where the United States is headed if it does not change course. Outreach didn’t seem to do much for the Castro brothers, Hugo Ch├ívez, or Daniel Ortega. We are helping Mexico to sue our own states, but that does not seem to persuade its leaders to keep their citizens home. Muslim Pakistan went from a duplicitous ally to a veritable enemy. The more we bragged about Turkey, the more we could feel it holds us in contempt. We hope that the Libyan rebels and the Cairo protesters are headed toward democracy, but we privately admit that they seem to have no more interest in establishing it than we have in promoting it. In other words, Professor Obama reminds future presidents that the world will transcend their rhetoric, their pretensions, and their heritage. Other nations always calibrate their relations with the United States either by their own perceived self-interest, or by centuries-old American values and power, or both.

Barack Obama has taught us a great deal about dealing with radical Islam, an ideology not predicated on what presidents do or say. There will be no shutting down of Guantanamo as promised, and no end to either renditions or preventive detentions and tribunals. Khalid Sheik Mohammed will never be tried, as promised, in a New York courtroom not far from the scene of his mass murdering. The so-called Ground Zero mosque — once so dear to sanctimonious members of the Obama administration — will never be built; either liberal New Yorkers will quietly prevent it, or the architects of the scheme will be exposed as financial as well as cultural con artists. Obama will never again give an interview to Al-Arabiya expanding on how his own heritage will ameliorate relations with Arabs. The Cairo speech will go down in history not as a landmark creative effort to win over Muslims, but, to the extent it is remembered, as one of the most ahistorical constructs in presidential history. The Obama legacy in the War on Terror is as Predator-in-Chief — boldly increasing targeted assassinations tenfold from the Bush era, on the theory that we more or less kill the right suspected terrorists; few civil libertarians care much, apparently because one of their own is doing it.

We have learned from Obama that the messianic presidency is a myth. Obama’s attempt to recreate Camelot has only reminded us that JFK’s presidency — tax cuts, Cold War saber-rattling, Vietnam intervention — was never Camelot. We shall see no more Latinate presidential sloganeering (“Vero Possumus”), no more rainbow posters. Gone are the faux-Greek columns, the speeches about seas receding and the planet cooling — now sources of embarrassment rather than nostalgia. Chancellor Merkel won’t want another Victory Column address from someone who ducked out on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Obama himself will not lecture crowds any longer about the dangers of their fainting when he speaks; Michelle will cease all the nonsense about “deign[ing] to enter the messy thing called politics” and finally acquiring pride in the U.S. when it nominated her husband. Even Chris Matthews’s leg has stopped tingling. There will be no more Newsweek comparisons of Obama to a god. Even the Nobel Prize committee will soon grasp that it tarnished its brand by equating fleeting celebrity with lasting achievement.


“Green” will never be quite the same after Obama. When Solyndra and its affiliated scandals are at last fully brought into the light of day, we will see the logical reification of Climategate I & II, Al Gore’s hucksterism, and Van Jones’s lunacy. How ironic that the more Obama tried to stop drilling in the West, offshore, and in Alaska, as well as stopping the Canadian pipeline, the more the American private sector kept finding oil and gas despite rather than because of the U.S. government. How further ironic that the one area that Obama felt was unnecessary for, or indeed antithetical to, America’s economic recovery — vast new gas and oil finds — will soon turn out to be America’s greatest boon in the last 20 years. While Obama and Energy Secretary Chu still insist on subsidizing money-losing wind and solar concerns, we are in the midst of a revolution that, within 20 years, will reduce or even end the trade deficit, help pay off the national debt, create millions of new jobs, and turn the Western Hemisphere into the new Persian Gulf. The American petroleum revolution can be delayed by Obama, but it cannot be stopped.

One lesson, however, has not fully sunk in and awaits final elucidation in the 2012 election: that of the Chicago style of Barack Obama’s politicking. In 2008 few of the true believers accepted that, in his first political race, in 1996, Barack Obama sued successfully to remove his opponents from the ballot. Or that in his race for the U.S. Senate eight years later, sealed divorced records for both his primary- and general-election opponents were mysteriously leaked by unnamed Chicagoans, leading to the implosions of both candidates’ campaigns. Or that Obama was the first presidential candidate in the history of public campaign financing to reject it, or that he was also the largest recipient of cash from Wall Street in general, and from BP and Goldman Sachs in particular. Or that Obama was the first presidential candidate in recent memory not to disclose either undergraduate records or even partial medical. Or that remarks like “typical white person,” the clingers speech, and the spread-the-wealth quip would soon prove to be characteristic rather than anomalous.

Few American presidents have dashed so many popular, deeply embedded illusions as has Barack Obama. And for that, we owe him a strange sort of thanks.

Conservatives craft bill to prevent IMF bailout of crumbling eurozone

By Alexander Bolton
12/02/11 06:00 AM ET
The Hill

Conservatives say they will try to block the International Monetary Fund from bailing out Italy and Spain, which they say could leave U.S. taxpayers with a huge bill.

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol complain that the Obama administration has refused to share details of what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is discussing with European leaders amid reports the IMF could intervene.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says he is planning legislation directing the U.S. government to veto an expanded role for the fund.

Senate Republican Steering Committee Chairman Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), a member of the House Republican leadership, also have legislation to curb the proposed intervention.


“I’m adamantly against the IMF being involved in this,” Coburn said.

“We’re throwing good money after bad down a hole that I think is not a solvable problem,” he said.

“Europe is going to default eventually, so why would you socialize their profligate spending,” he added.

Coburn estimates the U.S. could be liable for as much as $176 billion if the IMF shores up Italy and Spain and the European Union collapses.

President Obama this week said the U.S. “stands ready to do our part” to help resolve the crisis, and Geithner in October said using U.S. tax dollars through the IMF to shore up Europe’s efforts was appropriate.

DeMint offered an amendment to the defense authorization bill instructing the U.S. executive director of the IMF to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose funding of the European Financial Stability Facility, the bailout fund that would be used to stabilize countries at risk of default.

“We need some transparency about what’s really going on,” said McMorris Rodgers. “It’s hard to get information. We’re talking about U.S. taxpayer dollars being involved in the European bailout. The administration needs to be honest with the Congress. I believe Congress needs to be involved in making this decision.”

But Coburn and other Republicans are skeptical their effort will be successful. They expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to prevent the Senate from voting on legislation to block U.S. funds from being used in an IMF bailout.

Even if it passes Congress, Coburn says President Obama would likely veto the legislation.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced Thursday that Group of 20 nations are prepared to fund a massive IMF intervention.

“If circumstances require, the G-20 will commit the resources that are necessary for the IMF to play its systemic role,” she said, according to Bloomberg. “That gives you a range that is almost without a cap, without a limitation.”

An IMF spokesman said Wednesday the fund is not in discussions with Italy about a bailout.

An IMF bailout of Italy would have to be limited unless rich nations boost its resources. The IMF has about $390 billion, but could only spend about 150 billion on Italy because of other commitments. Bailing out Italy alone could cost 600 billion euros, according to Desmond Lachman, an American Enterprise Institute scholar and former IMF deputy director.

Republican lawmakers were alarmed by business news reports earlier this week that the IMF was ready to expand its role in Europe. Traditionally the fund has worked with relatively small, emerging economies. Switching its financial firepower to established economies the size of Italy and Spain would mark a significant change of mission.

Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (S.D.) and other lawmakers said they would join an effort to block an IMF bailout of those countries.

“I’m really leery and skeptical about having the IMF be the point on that because that exposes the U.S. because we’re such a big funder of the IMF,” said Thune.

“I don’t know why the European Central Bank wouldn’t do that directly as opposed to going through the IMF except to get other nations drawn in,” Thune added. “It’s not our best interests or Europe’s best interests to have the United States bailing out countries that need to deal with their own issues.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said “he’s very concerned” from what he’s heard in recent days and would support the efforts of Coburn and DeMint.

“There’s a lot of concern,” he said. “The reason we’re in the situation we’re in [is] because of excessive debt in the industrialized world.”

Domenico Lombardi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former board member of the IMF, said the advantage of bailing out Italy or Spain through the IMF instead of the European Central Bank is that doing so would allow European leaders to condition aid on the implementation of fiscal reforms.


Lombardi said the IMF has the authority to attach strings to a possible bailout and monitor the actions of the recipient countries, which the central bank does not.

“The EU system does not have ability to impose conditionality, but the IMF does,” he said.

Lombardi said the Republican criticism has some validity because if the IMF loaned massive amounts to Italy and Spain and failed to prevent a default, the IMF, not the European Central Bank, would be liable.

The U.S. is the biggest contributor to the IMF, kicking in about 17 percent of its budget. A European default could put U.S. taxpayers on the hook for 17 percent of the IMF’s liabilities.

European leaders set a $1.3 trillion goal for an expanded bailout fund. If it failed to recoup its loans, U.S. taxpayers would face a liability of more than $200 billion.

—This article has been corrected to reflect the IMF's holdings in dollars.

DONALD TRUMP TO MODERATE GOP DEBATE

December 2, 2011, 1:11 pm
By JEREMY W. PETERS

It’s officially a reality television Republican primary now.

Donald Trump is pairing up with Newsmax, the conservative magazine and news Web site, to moderate a presidential debate in Des Moines on Dec. 27.

“Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media. “They may not agree with
him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment, the media establishment.”

Mr. Trump’s role in the debate, which will be broadcast on the cable network Ion Television, is sure to be one of the more memorable moments in a primary season that has already delivered its fair share of circus-like spectacle.

Mr. Trump’s own flirtation with running for president this year seems almost quaint (whose birth certificate was he all worked up about?) compared with more recent distractions – like allegations of adultery and sexual harassment, gaffes that seemed scripted from a late-night comedy show, and a six-figure line of credit at Tiffany & Co.

But despite being derided by liberals – President Obama likened Mr. Trump to a “carnival barker” for his repeated assertions that the president was actually foreign-born – the real estate mogul carries weight with a certain element of the conservative base. And that sway seems particularly strong with the Tea Party wing of the base, which will be a decisive factor in the early primaries that are likely to determine the nominee. The debate, which unlike many recent ones will not be limited to a specific topic like national security or the economy, is set to happen just a week before the Iowa caucuses.

Newsmax sent candidates the invitation on Friday afternoon. It began, “We are pleased to cordially invite you to “The Newsmax Ion Television 2012 Presidential Debate,” moderated by a truly great American, Mr. Donald J. Trump.” Spokesmen for several candidates did not immediately respond to questions from The New York Times about whether they would accept.

Though presidential candidates may initially balk at the idea of appearing in a debate where Mr. Trump – with his bombast and The Hair – is the one posing the questions, they may ultimately see it as an invitation they can’t refuse. In fact many of the candidates have already met with him, some more publicly than others. Representative Michele Bachmann has sat down with Mr. Trump several times this year. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas had dinner with him at Jean Georges, the posh Manhattan restaurant. And Mitt Romney paid a visit but carefully avoided being photographed.

And Newsmax is a powerful player itself. It has a broad reach into the conservative base, with monthly Web traffic second only to Fox News among sites with conservative-leaning audiences.

Mr. Trump has been a popular attraction at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering in Washington. He was such a successful presence in the eyes of Fox News executives that they added a special weekly segment to their morning show “Fox and Friends” for him called “Mondays With Trump.”

Whether his professed presidential ambitions are genuine or merely a publicity stunt seems not to matter in terms of the news media attention Mr. Trump can command. His highly publicized flirtation with running this year coincided with a Trump-branded product that stood to benefit from all the attention – a new season of his highly rated NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The arc of his noncampaign was similar in 1987 and 1999 – when Mr. Trump also said that he was considering running for president, episodes that are often forgotten.

His book ”Trump: The Art of the Deal” was published in November 1987 and reached The New York Times best-seller list by December. But by the time the Republican National Convention rolled around in August 1988, he had opted out.

”Everybody wants me to do it,” he declared then. ”But I have no interest in doing it.”

And in late 1999, just before his book ”The America We Deserve” went on sale, he began courting support as a candidate on the Reform Party ticket. He even toured the country with his girlfriend, Melania Knauss, now his wife. The outcome? You guessed it.

House Ethics Committee extends probe into Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr

House Ethics Committee will continue investigation into Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Report implicates Dem in pay-for-play deal over Obama's Senate seat

Charles Dharapak - AP

By Associated Press,

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it will continue its investigation into allegations Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008.

The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was “probable cause” to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party’s effort to convince the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson Jr. in exchange for campaign cash.

The report, originally compiled in August 2009, also said there is “substantial reason to believe” Jackson Jr. violated federal law by using his congressional staff to mount a “public campaign” to secure a Senate appointment.

The report had not been released previously and the ethics committee had delayed its investigation because the Justice Department was conducting a criminal investigation that led to Blagojevich’s conviction on a series of corruption charges including efforts to sell a Senate appointment. The Justice Department recently withdrew its request for the committee to defer its investigation, indicating it is no longer actively investigating Jackson.

The ethics committee had previously said it would determine by Friday what course its investigation would take involving Jackson, a Democrat and son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

The younger Jackson responded to the committee’s decision to extend the investigation with a statement pledging to cooperate and reiterating that his efforts to be appointed to the Senate were above-board.

“I have said from the beginning that I publicly and transparently sought to have the Governor of Illinois appoint me to fulfill the final two years of then-Senator Barack Obama’s term in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “I did nothing illegal, unethical or inappropriate in that pursuit and I believe that is what the Ethics Committee will conclude at the end of this process.”

Jackson also released a letter from his attorneys, who wrote that there is no basis for the committee’s investigation and urged the panel to “close its investigation of this matter.”

“Although Congressman Jackson was interested in the appointment ... he was largely focused on his own re-election and Obama’s campaign,” Reid H. Weingarten and Brian M. Heberlig said in the letter.

Friday’s announcement means the committee will continue looking into allegations involving Blagojevich and whether Jackson inappropriately used government resources to angle for an appointment. It voted unanimously to continue its inquiry and set no timetable for a conclusion.

The committee said in a statement that continuing the investigation “does not itself indicate that any violation occurred.”

The detailed 2009 report from the Office of Congressional Ethics, released with the statement, indicates investigators have suspicions Jackson had knowledge of efforts to persuade Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate. The report names a likely third party, Raghuveer Nayak.

“There is probable cause to believe that Representative Jackson either 1) directed a third party, most likely Mr. Raghuveer Nayak to offer to raise money ... or 2) had knowledge that Nayak would likely make such an offer once Rep. Jackson authorized him to advocate on his behalf with Gov. Blagojevich.”

The report said investigating these claims was stymied by the fact that Blagojevich, Nayak and another fundraiser, Rajinder Bedi, have declined to cooperate with the investigation.

The report also concludes, after interviews with Jackson Jr. and his staff, that there is substantial reason to believe that his staff based in both Chicago and Washington was used inappropriately in attempts to secure a Senate appointment.

The Office of Congressional Ethics cannot discipline members of the House and does not determine whether they are guilty. That is left to the ethics committee. The Office of Congressional Ethics does preliminary investigative work for the ethics committee. Its board members are not members of Congress.

Publication of the report and the committee’s decision to continue its investigation could have political consequences for Jackson beyond whatever action the committee might take.

He will stand for reelection in 2012 in a rejiggered congressional district that has attracted a viable primary opponent, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. A Democrat, Halvorson represented the new terrain in Jackson’s district both in Congress and in the Illinois Legislature. She pounced on Friday’s announcement and has indicated she will make Jackson’s ethical issues a focus of her race.

“There we go,” Halvorson said. “Another day where he’s got to deal with ethics, distractions and his lawyers instead of constituents and this has been going on for over three years”

The 46-year-old Jackson was first elected to office in 1995. He has twice considered runs for mayor of Chicago and was widely seen as interested in an appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Obama when he was elected president in 2008.

Associated Press Writer Deanna Bellandi in Chicago contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

315,000 Americans leave work force

Payroll Gains Speed Up as U.S. Jobless Rate Drops
By Shobhana Chandra - Dec 2, 2011 4:11 PM GMT-0500

Job gains in the U.S. picked up last month and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to the lowest level since March 2009, a decline augmented by the departure of Americans from the labor force.

Payrolls climbed 120,000, after a revised 100,000 increase in October, with more than half the hiring coming from retailers and temporary help agencies, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 125,000 gain. The jobless rate declined to 8.6 percent from 9 percent. Revisions to prior reports added a total of 72,000 jobs to payrolls in September and October.

“It’s good news, not great news,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts, whose forecast matched the survey median. “The labor market is gradually healing.”

The Obama administration used the data to push for an extension of a payroll-tax cut it says is needed to maintain the expansion and reduce the jobless rate further. At the same time, the report damped speculation that Federal Reserve policy makers meeting on Dec. 13 will embark on another round of large-scale asset purchases.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) was little changed at 1,244.27 at 4 p.m. New York time, erasing an earlier gain of as much as 1.3 percent. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.03 percent from 2.09 percent late yesterday.

Europe Crisis

There are also signs Europe’s troubles may be starting to ease. A European proposal to channel central bank loans through the International Monetary Fund may deliver as much as 200 billion euros ($270 billion) to fight the debt crisis, two people familiar with the negotiations said.

At a Nov. 29 meeting attended by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, euro-area finance ministers gave the go- ahead for work on the plan, said the people, who declined to be named because the talks are at an early stage.

Europe’s debt crisis has been a source of uncertainty on the outlook for the U.S. economy, prompting companies such as DirecTV (DTV) to keep a tight rein on spending and employment.

“We’re tightening our belts in terms of spending,” Michael White, chief executive officer of the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, said in an interview last week. “We’ll cut back on overhead, hiring and programming.”

Aircraft Maker

Among companies expanding payrolls is Boeing Co. (BA), the largest U.S. aircraft maker. The Chicago-based company is hiring about 100 machinists a week as it boosts production by about 60 percent over three years to whittle down a backlog that now stretches to nearly 4,000 aircraft.

The unemployment rate, derived from a separate survey of households, was forecast to hold at 9 percent. The decrease in the jobless rate reflected a 278,000 gain in employment at the same time 315,000 Americans left the labor force.

“You’d like to see the unemployment rate coming down when people are coming into the job market, not disappearing,” James Glassman, senior economist at JP Morgan Chase & Co. in New York, said in a radio interview on “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene.

President Barack Obama said the drop in the jobless rate is a sign the recovery is getting stronger, and extending a cut in the payroll tax will provide more fuel for the economy.

Energy Efficiency

“We need to keep that growth going,” Obama said after he and former President Bill Clinton toured a building in Washington to promote a government and private industry initiative to upgrade the energy efficiency of public and commercial buildings that the administration says will help create construction jobs.

Employment at service-providers increased 126,000 in November, including a 50,000 gain in retail trade as companies began hiring for the holiday shopping season. The number of temporary workers increased 22,300.

Macy’s Inc. (M), the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, increased mostly part-time staff by 4 percent for the November-December shopping season. See’s Candies Inc., a chocolate maker owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said it would add 5,500 mostly temporary workers.

Private hiring, which excludes government agencies, rose 140,000 after a revised gain of 117,000. Still, factory payroll growth slowed and construction employment dropped.

Government payrolls decreased by 20,000 in November, including a 16,000 decline on the state and local levels.

Limited Wage Gains

Even as payrolls grow, limited wage gains are restraining consumers’ ability to boost spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. Average hourly earnings fell 0.1 percent to $23.18, today’s report showed. The average work week for all workers held at 34.3 hours.

The so-called underemployment rate -- which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking -- decreased to 15.6 percent from 16.2 percent.

The report also showed an increase in long-term unemployed Americans. The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more increased as a percentage of all jobless, rose to 43 percent from 42.4 percent.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues last month cut economic growth forecasts for 2012 and said unemployment will average 8.5 percent to 8.7 percent in the final three months of next year, up from a prior range of 7.8 percent to 8.2 percent.

Differing Interpretations

Fed policy makers today offered differing interpretations of the decline in the unemployment rate.

“While the rate is certainly a very favorable rate, I would highlight that a lot of it is because people pulled out of the workforce,” Fed Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said in a speech. Rosengren said in a Nov. 16 speech that the central bank still has power to boost the economy through lower interest rates.

Charles Plosser, president of the Philadelphia Fed, said in a Bloomberg radio interview it’s a sign the “labor market is in fact healing.” Plosser has dissented twice this year against decisions to ease policy.

“Whether the swoon in the unemployment rate is legitimate or not, the doves on the Fed have just been sidelined from advocating QE3, at least for the next few months,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, referring to a third round of asset purchases.

Six central banks led by the Fed acted on Nov. 30 to make more funds available to lenders to preserve the global expansion. The move came after European leaders said they failed to boost the region’s bailout fund as much as planned, fueling concern about a possible breakup of the euro bloc.

ONLINE SOAP OPERA CLEANS UP WITH STIMULUS BROADBAND CASH

Nearly $1M in federal funds for ‘Diary of a Single Mom’

By Jim McElhatton - The Washington Times
Thursday, December 1, 2011


You may not have seen the show “Diary of a Single Mom” co-starring Billy Dee Williams, but your tax dollars helped pay for it.

Through the federal economic stimulus program, a company owned by actor-director Robert Townsend was paid more than $230,000 to produce and direct the Web-based show, records show. Other production costs on the show paid to different vendors total more than $700,000.

The money came through an award by the Department of Commerce to One Economy Corp. for more than $28 million last year to help boost broadband Internet service in underserved areas across the country.

One Economy is using more than $1.5 million of that money to create programming such as “Diary of a Single Mom,” which the group says will help provide an incentive for people to connect to the Internet.

But taxpayer watchdogs say the government doesn’t belong in show business.

“The point of broadband was to create access and create the infrastructure for communities that do not have access,” said Ryan Alexander, president of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Creating content wouldn’t be what people in Congress thought of when voting on this.”

Even if the show is well-liked and delivers a good message, she said, the question is whether it could have happened without stimulus money. “Certainly, Robert Townsend is successful,” Ms. Alexander said. “Not that successful people shouldn’t be working; they should be. But they have access to capital.”

Phone calls to the agent for Mr. Townsend’s company, Townsend Entertainment Corp., which is based in Beverly Hills, Calif., were not returned this week. According to the federal grant reports, his company was paid for his services as producer and director.

In August 2009, about eight months before the One Economy grant was awarded, Mr. Townsend wrote about both the broadband program and his work producing the show.

“The Obama administration believes in the Internet’s power to restore the economy,” he wrote. “In fact, more than $7 billion of stimulus funds [have] been allocated to help bring broadband to low-income and ‘underserved’ populations. But the truth of the matter is, without relevant, engaging content, Internet access won’t deliver to its full potential.”

Mr. Townsend went on to say that the need for relevant online content became apparent when he teamed up with One Economy. Together, he wrote, they were producing a series called “Diary of a Single Mom.”

150,000 new subscribers

The president of One Economy, David Saunier, said Thursday that the group spends most of the money from the $28.5 million grant on wiring people to the Internet and on educating them on broadband access. In grant documents, One Economy says overall the money will help train 235,000 people and result in 150,000 new subscribers in unserved and underserved communities.

Mr. Saunier said a portion of the grant, which he estimated at between $1.5 million and $2 million, helps produce the sort of programming not available in mainstream media. He said a Pew Research Center study showed that many people who don’t use the Internet also don’t find online content relevant to their lives.

“It’s about maximizing the incentives to go online,” he said.

Mr. Saunier said programming also helps tell important stories about topics such as single mothers struggling to get by, and giving a “good and real look at the ramifications of teen pregnancy.”

The show appears on the website pic.tv, which is produced by One Economy. The site includes information for viewers on topics such as health care, tax help and employment. In 2009, it was voted Best Indie Soap by the Indie Soap Awards.

Mr. Saunier also said the Commerce Department closely scrutinized the group’s plans. The grant was awarded in 2010 to the group through the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

“We went through a long due-diligence process with them,” he said.

Increase access and adoption

Asked how producing shows squares with the goals of the federal stimulus, Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the Commerce Department’s NTIA, said the broadband program “was created by the Recovery Act to increase broadband access and adoption.”

“As responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, we are constantly working with each of our grantees to ensure their project expenses are reasonable, necessary and allowable under the grant,” Ms. Vahey said. “Additionally, NTIA’s oversight includes making sure that the money being spent is delivering on the goals laid out by the program.”

Tom Schatz, president of the Citizens Against Government Waste, said so many billions of dollars have been poured into broadband by the government that “now they’re in the production business.”

He also questioned whether a Web-based show will drive people to the Internet, saying the suggestion reminds him of the now-deceased Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, who angered taxpayer watchdogs by earmarking federal money for pet projects his home state.

“It’s the same argument Sen. Byrd used when building all those roads in West Virginia,” Mr. Schatz said. “If we build the roads, then people will come.”

Pete Sepp, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, said the question of trying to increase interest and connectivity to broadband has been an issue in Washington for years.

“It comes down to the basic question of whether the public or private sector has a better grasp, not only to develop broadband, but to deliver content that would appeal to people,” he said. “In most cases, the private sector wins.

“The quality of the programming may no doubt be outstanding, but the question is whether this will be a catalyst that allows privately funded ventures to take over, or will it be an ongoing repository of tax dollars?” he said.

Mr. Saunier said it’s still early to tell how much impact shows such as “Diary of a Single Mom” have on the overall goals of the broadband program.

“The programming is still ongoing, and we’re just getting started in the evaluations,” he said.

According to grant reports, One Economy so far has invoiced the government $18.9 million of the $28.5 million awarded under the grant, with 142.47 jobs created. The jobs include field supervisors, sales representatives and program managers, as well as numerous production-related positions, such as producers, cast members, casting director and an executive assistant to Mr. Townsend.

Officials at One Economy said the grant wasn’t primarily about creating jobs. Instead, they said, the primary purpose was to increase broadband access and adoption, as well as to increase the number of people interacting with content “local and relevant to their lives.”

The group said it has spent around $825,000 in the last quarter from the grant on salaries and fringe benefits for the jobs they have created through the stimulus.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC.

OBAMA OFF TO HAWAII FOR 17-DAY VACATION


Fri Dec 2, 2011 17:52:09 ET



THE WHITE HOUSE TRAVEL OFFICE


Trip of the President to: Honolulu, Hawaii

December 17th, 2011 to January 2nd, 2012

Trip Overview

On Saturday, December 17th, 2011, the President will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii. He will return to Washington, DC on Monday, January 2nd, 2012. ...

...no public events are scheduled during the trip. ...

Justice Department Reveals Origins of False Gun Letter To Grassley

By Jonathan Strong
Roll Call Staff
Dec. 2, 2011, 6:14 p.m.
Update: 8:50 p.m.

The Justice Department released documents today detailing how officials prepared a Feb. 4 letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that Attorney General Eric Holder has since admitted contained false information about Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun operation under investigation by Congress.

The documents show that Dennis Burke, then a U.S. attorney who has since resigned, and William Hoover, then the deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who has since been reassigned, principally provided the false information to officials who drafted the letter. But the documents do not shed light on whether either knew the information was false at the time.

In the Feb. 4 letter, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich broadly denied that ATF officials had allowed assault weapons to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels, allowing the guns to escape into the wild. “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico,” Weich wrote.

Grassley’s allegations about Fast and Furious, later revealed to be true, “are based on categorical falsehoods,” Burke wrote in a Jan. 31 email. Faith Burton, a Justice Department official who drafted an early version of the letter, took notes based on a phone conversation with Hoover that read, “ATF doesn’t let guns walk.”

Emails show Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the department’s criminal division, received versions of the letter on four occasions via email. Breuer forwarded the emails to a personal account but told Congressional investigators in a written statement today he “cannot say for sure” whether he viewed the drafts.

Breuer conceded Oct. 31 he knew federal officials allowed assault guns and other weapons to fall into the possession of Mexican drug cartels as early as April 2010, 10 months before the department denied in the letter to Grassley that the investigative strategy was used.

“Any instance of so-called gunwalking was unacceptable. This tactic was unfortunately used as part of Fast and Furious,” Holder admitted to Senators at a Judiciary Committee hearing Nov. 8. “This should never have happened.”

Breuer’s knowledge of the tactic was about Operation Wide Receiver, a similar, smaller-scale weapons-smuggling investigation that began during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Breuer said in October it was a “mistake” not to alert higher-ranking officials when the information about gunwalking in Fast and Furious “became public,” given his knowledge about Wide Receiver.

The documents released today show tangential involvement by Breuer in preparing the Feb. 4 letter.

“Let me know what’s happening with this,” he wrote in a Feb. 1 email asking for an update.

Jason Weinstein, Breuer’s deputy, responded by saying he had revised the initial draft, written by Burton, to “make it a little tougher.”

The documents show Weinstein was intimately involved in drafting the letter, urging repeated changes to strengthen the tone of its denial over objections from the Office of Legislative Affairs headed by Weich.

Weinstein was also far more familiar than Breuer with the details of Operation Wide Receiver, according to documents released in October. For instance, Weinstein told colleagues in an April 12, 2010, email that the ATF should be “embarrassed that they let this many guns walk” in Wide Receiver.

According to Breuer, Weinstein is now also expressing regret about not connecting the dots between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.

“Weinstein has expressed to me that, in hindsight, he wishes he had not relied on those assertions and that, because he did rely so heavily on them, he viewed, incorrectly, the misguided tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver — which resulted in the ATF losing control of guns that then crossed the border into Mexico — as having no relation to the allegations that were being made about Operation Fast and Furious,” Breuer said today in a written statement to Congressional investigators.

The day before the letter was sent to Grassley, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General raised concerns about the scope of the denial it contained.

“In the 2nd full para[graph] — we say ‘categorically false’ — obviously we want to be 300% sure we can make such a ‘categorical’ statement,” Lisa Monaco wrote in an email after reviewing a draft version of the letter. “I’ve developed an aversion to adjectives and oversight letters,” she explained in a later email.

The language was ultimately removed.

Over the course of the letter being prepared, Burke vehemently argued the department should more vigorously deny the allegations.

“What is so offensive about this whole project is that Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling [southwest border] gun trafficking operations ... but, instead, lobbing this reckless despicable accusation that ATF is complicit in the murder of a fellow federal law enforcement officer,” he wrote in a Feb. 4 email.

“Well said Dennis. Thank you!” Hoover replied.

However, guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder were eventually connected to the Fast and Furious operation.

A spokeswoman for Grassley said, "After a first glance at today's document dump from the Justice Department, there appears to be even more questions for Assistant Attorney General Breuer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Weinstein and former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke."