Saturday, July 14, 2012

In a disgusting new low, two criminals steal from tot sitting in his stroller

Things are getting so rough in the Big Apple that even toddlers are getting mugged.

A cruel thug ripped a $400 gold chain off the neck of a 3-year-old boy who was sitting in his stroller and being pushed by his mom in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn on Tuesday, law-enforcement sources said.

The crook and an accomplice attacked tot Harvey Hernandez in the lobby of his family’s Malcolm X Boulevard apartment building at 11:45 p.m. after following him, his teenage brother and mom Riyana Guerrero home from a Laundromat.

“I was screaming ‘Let go of my baby! Let go of my baby!’” the mom told The Post in Spanish yesterday.

“[The man] didn’t say anything — he just looked at us and laughed, almost mocking us.

“How could he do this to a helpless little baby!”

Guerrero believes that the thieves might have even kidnapped the boy if neighbors, alerted by her screams, didn’t scare them away.

“I just started screaming and fighting with him, trying to get him away from my baby,” Guerrero said of the teenage creep who snatched the necklace.

He and his thug pal had stalked the family back to their home from the laundry, where Guerrero had just finished her weekly wash.

“They were eye-balling them — and the chain,” said one police source.

The duo attacked as the family got inside the lobby of their building, kicking in the door after the desperate mother had locked it.

After neighbors started coming out of their apartments at the sound of the mother’s screams, the crooks fled with the necklace.

The chain was a gift from Harvey’s godparents for his baptism. It has a small medallion on it with the image of hands holding a child.

Guerrero said she’s just happy that she and her children weren’t hurt.

“I didn’t care about the gold; I was just worried about my [kids],” Guerrero said. “It was horrible. I don’t feel safe going out into the street now.”

The mom said her 13-year-old son was “traumatized’’ to the point where he’s afraid to go outside.

“Now, none of us feel safe,’’ she said. “We plan on moving.’’

The chain-snatcher and his pal, believed to both be about 16 or 17, remain at large.

“I just want the police to catch all of them and do what needs to be done,” Guerrero said.

Additional reporting by Frank Rosario

FTC: Health ruling is prompting scams

Federal trade regulators warned Friday that scam artists are using the healthcare law to ask for consumers' personal information over the phone.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that the illegal activity began after the Supreme Court ruled on June 28 to uphold the vast majority of the law.

Scam artists "say they're from the government" and use the Affordable Care Act as a hook to verify information, according to an FTC alert.

"They might have the routing number from your bank, and then use that information to get you to reveal the entire account number," the alert stated. "Or, they'll ask for your credit card or Social Security number, Medicare ID, or other personal information."


Regulators urged consumers not to give out personal or financial information after unsolicited contact from someone who says they are with the government.

"If someone who claims to be from the government calls and asks for your personal information, hang up. It's a scam," the alert stated.

Read more at the FTC site.

Fast & Furious Staged to Pass UN Gun Treaty

Obamacare: Seven New Taxes on Citizens Earning Less than $250,000


While we were all debating the cost to our liberty due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), we were ignoring the cost to our pockets. If there ever was a reason for bipartisan rage about this law, it should be on the twenty - yes, twenty - hidden new taxes of this law. Making matters even more relevant is that seven of these taxes are levied on all citizens regardless of income. Hence, Mr. Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 is just another falsehood associated with this legislation.

The first, and best known, of these seven taxes that will hit all Americans as a result of Obamacare is the Individual Mandate Tax (no longer concealed as a penalty). This provision will require a couple to pay the higher of a base tax of $1,360 per year, or 2.5% of adjusted growth income starting with lower base tax and rising to this level by 2016. Individuals will see a base tax of $695 and families a base tax of $2,085 per year by 2016.

Next up is the Medicine Cabinet Tax that took effect in 2011. This tax prohibits reimbursement of expenses for over-the-counter medicine, with the lone exception of insulin, from an employee’s pre-tax dollar funded Health Saving Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). This provision hurts middle class earners particularly hard since they earn enough to actually pay federal taxes, but not enough to make this restriction negligible.

The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Cap, which will begin in 2013, is perhaps the most hurtful provision to the middle class. This part of the law imposes a cap of $2,500 per year (which is now unlimited) on the amount of pre-tax dollars that could be deposited into these accounts. Why is this particularly hurtful to the middle class? It is because funds in these accounts may be used to pay for special needs education for special needs children in the United States. Tuition rates for this type of special education can easily exceed $14,000 per year and the use of pre-tax dollars has helped many middle income families.

Another direct hit to the middle class is the Medical Itemized Deduction Hurdle which is currently 7.5% of adjusted gross income. This is the hurdle that must be met before medical expenses over that hurdle can be taken as a deduction on federal income taxes. Obamacare raises this hurdle to 10% of adjusted gross income beginning in 2013. Consider the middle class family with $80,000 of adjusted gross income and $8,000 of medical expenses. Currently, that family can get some relief from being able to take a $2,000 deduction (7.5% X $80,000 = $6,000; $8,000 –$6,000 = $2,000). An increase to 10% would eliminate the deduction in this example and if that family was paying a 25% federal tax rate, the real cost of that lost deduction would be $500.

The fifth new tax on the middle class, and all Americans, is the Health Savings Account (HSA) Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10% currently to 20% beginning in 2013. This provision actually sets these accounts apart from Investment Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and other tax advantaged accounts, all of which remain with a 10% early withdrawal tax.

Another regressive tax that is part of this law began in 2010 and that is the Indoor Tanning Services Tax, which places a 10% excise tax on people using tanning salons. While some may regard this as insignificant, the broader implication is that this act of taxation is a blatant move by the federal government to control the behavior of citizens. This provision, as does the Individual Mandate and as Justice Kennedy said during the oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law said, “….fundamentally changes the relationship between the federal government and the citizen.”

The seventh new tax that directly impacts the middle class, along with all citizens, is the Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans or the “Cadillac” Health Insurance Plan Tax. These are plans that provide extensive coverage and that are generally fully paid for, or largely paid for, by employers. This provision imposes a 40% excise tax on the employer-paid premium on taxpayers who are covered by such plans, beginning in 2018. The reason it begins in 2018 is because most unionized workers are covered by plans that fall under this definition and a deferral was made to spare union members from this tax for at least a period of time.

There are thirteen other taxes that apply to businesses and that apply to high income (over $250,000 per year) households. While these additional provisions will not impact the middle class directly, they can have serious indirect consequences for middle and low income earners. Beginning in 2014, the Employer Mandate Tax will impose an annual non-deductible tax on employers with more than 50 employees who do not provide health insurance for their employees.

The impact of this provision on low and middle income earners, and really all working Americans, is that employers will be confronted with three choices. The first is provide some level of health insurance, as many do today, and there would be no impact on employees. The second choice is to pay the penalty, which would most likely be less expensive than providing health insurance, and force employees to seek their own health insurance or purchase it through federal government controlled state exchanges. Studies have estimated that 20 million Americans will lose their employee funded health insurance as a result of this provision and employers electing this option. The third choice is for employers to lay off employees, or not hire additional employees, because Obamacare forces them to either provide health insurance or pay the new tax.

Another new tax, the Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers that begins in 2013, places a 2.3% excise tax on all items retailing for more than $100. This provision will not only drive up the cost of various medical devices ranging from mobility assistance devices to personal testing supplies, but will also impact an industry that employs 360,000 people in 6,000 plants across our country. This tax, while not a direct tax, would have significant negative impact on the middle class.

The Surtax on Investment Income for households earning $250,000 and more, beginning in 2013, will raise the Capital Gains Tax from 15% to 23.8% on investment income for these households and will raise Taxes on Dividends from 15% to 43.4% for the same households. Aside from the impact on retired citizens dependent on dividends, this provision will pull income from the private economy. In addition, the tax rate on Other Investment Income earned by Subchapter S Corporation (which many small business are organized as, allowing the owners to claim all business income as personal income) will rise from 35% to 43.4%. This part of the provision would place additional pressure on small businesses resulting in more layoffs and less hiring, impacting all American workers.

All but one of the remaining new taxes in Obamacare are directed at health industry businesses and while they will not impact middle income families directly, the additional costs will most likely be passed on to the public. The last new tax is really interesting, it is a tax on certain biofuels!

These are the facts. It does not matter if you support Mr. Obama and his new law or if you oppose it, the new taxes on the middle class or real and all Americans should understand their impact on their families and the economy. Citizens, regardless of political beliefs, should recognize that Obamacare was passed with almost no sunlight shined on these middle class tax increases and need to understand that the new law was sold with the promise that there would be no new middle class taxes. This is not partisan, it is simply the reality of politics.

For more information, read ATR's analysis of the Affordable Care Act's taxes here.

Obama's Favorite Congressman Caught Hanging With Communists

Congressman Danny K Davis Filmed speaking to, and receiving "social justice" award from, communist group.

Average teacher makes $44G while their top union bosses pull in nearly $500G

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association's Dennis Van Roekel, earn nearly $500,000 apiece.

Teachers across the country face pay freezes and possible layoffs, but the heads of the two biggest teachers unions saw their pay jump 20 percent last year, to nearly half a million dollars apiece.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten's pay jumped to $407,323 between 2010 and 2011, while her counterpart at the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel, got a raise to $362,644. Factor in stipends and other paid expenses and Weingarten took in $493,859 and Van Roekel $460,060 for 2011.

The big salaries drew jeers from many educators and their advocates in the U.S., where the average nationwide salary for teachers is a scant $44,000 a year. By contrast, nearly 600 staffers at the NEA and AFT are raking in six-figure salaries, according to Association of American Educators Executive Director Gary Beckner.

“In terms of salaries, union executives rake in nearly 10 times the average household income and far more than any teacher," Beckner told FoxNews.com. “Are teachers or anyone in the private sector experiencing those increases in times of financial hardship?"

The union bigwigs are well-insulated from the paycheck-to-paycheck lives of most schoolteachers, said Tracie Happel, a elementary school teacher in Lacrosse, Wisc., who has spoken out in the past against the practices of the unions.

“It’s always about the union. It’s never about the teachers or students,” Happel said. “When you’re a teacher, you know you will not always be able to have the money for renovations on a house or go away on vacation, but it’s a tough pill to swallow when you can’t do those things when the people who are supposed to represent us get paid more and more every year.”

Happel added that while she is safe for now, many of her colleagues in worse situations.

“They are finding it hard to pay their bills. They are having trouble with basic monthly bills.”

Officials for the NEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Last year, I and the other two AFT officers, as well as all management took a voluntary pay freeze," Weingarten, president of AFT said in a statement.

"We did so because no one knows better than we do the economic distress our members are experiencing. Unlike in the corporate sector, all of my salary, benefits and expenses are fully disclosed," Weingarten said.

But John Ellsworth, a teacher in the Michigan's Grand Ledge Public Schools, told the Mackinac Center, a Michigan-based think tank, that teachers deserve the best advocates union dues can buy.

"Public education is vital for the preservation and growth of our nation and its economy," Ellsworth said in an email. "Leaders of the national teachers' union try to rally people behind this truth. I wish we had people serving in government who recognized the importance of public education, but instead children and teachers need their own advocates since politicians abandon public education so readily."

Tony Amorose, a history teacher with the Dearborn School District in Michigan, said no one begrudges union officials fair salaries. But he said the steep increases are out of step with what the rank and file see. After 21 years of teaching, he earns $74,000 a year. He said he gets by just fine, but worries about the pay younger and less experienced teachers get.

“It would be nice if the unions held the line a bit in a show of solidarity,” said Amorose, who is campaigning for state office. “I don’t mind paying dues, but I don’t see them going down with my compensation. They keep going up. I find it a bit frustrating that they would give themselves such significant salary and compensation increases.”

Michael Van Beek, Mackinac's director of education policy said the problem isn't necessarily high pay for union leaders, it's the way they get it.

“These compensation levels are not based on market demand," Van Beek said. "This pay largely relies upon monopolistic collective bargaining privileges these unions enjoy, which forces school employees to financially support them. This is why transparency of these unions is so important.”

The significant raises of the two union leaders salaries came at a time when the saw memberships dwindling.

“They [the unions] want us to be seen as laborers and not professionals,” said Kristi LaCroix, an English teacher from Kenosha, Wisc., who added that the unions did not want to use Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial reform plan because it gave teachers the choice to be represented by a union which would give them the ability to avoid paying mandatory dues.

“They want us to be seen as laborers and not professionals. I get nothing for my dues except them going to keeping ineffective teachers employed and treated like a servant.”

Alaska sues EPA for jumping the gun on fuel regs

Another power grab by the EPA.

Reuters:

The state of Alaska sued the Obama administration on Friday to block environmental regulations that would require ships sailing in southern Alaska waters to use low-sulfur fuel.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, challenges the new federal regulations, which require the use of low-sulfur fuel for large marine vessels such as cargo and cruise ships.

The rule is scheduled to be enforced starting on August 1 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard for ships operating within 200 miles of the shores of southeastern and south-central Alaska, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit faults the EPA, the Department of Homeland Security and others for using a marine treaty amendment as the basis for the new federal regulations without waiting for ratification of that amendment by the U.S. Senate.

The Alaska Department of Law said in a statement that the low-sulfur-fuel requirement would be costly, jacking up prices for products shipped by marine vessel and harming Alaska's cruise industry.

"Alaska relies heavily on maritime traffic, both for goods shipped to and from the state, and for the cruise ship passengers who support thousands of Alaskan jobs," Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty said in a statement.

"There are reasonable and equally effective alternatives for the Secretary and the EPA to consider which would still protect the environment but dramatically reduce the severe impact these regulations will have on Alaskan jobs and families."

The price for fuel would go up 8% - a not inconsiderable amount. And the EPA is not following the law in implementing the regulation:

Domestic enforcement of the amendment is not permitted without ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, Assistant Alaska Attorney General Seth Beausang said. He said the EPA also erred by failing to conduct an environmental analysis.

"The only thing they relied on was the treaty amendment in issuing the regulations," he told Reuters, adding that Alaska was not coordinating its effort to overturn the regulations with any other state.

The issue is pretty cut and dried. If the Obama administration wants new regulations based on the amendment, the senate has to approve the addition to the treaty.

That's how things work in our constitutional republic. It is unfortunate that the EPA prefers to circumvent that document rather than obey it.

Facebook Censored My Factual Picture w/quotes so now It’s here!

From NewsNinja2012.com:

Original:


After Facebook's censorship:

Obama: 'There's A Term Limit Thing In The Presidency'

President Obama spoke to campaign supporters in Virginia Beach, Va. today.

The crowd got upset when Obama told them that this would be his last campaign: "There's a term limit thing in the presidency! This isn’t like Congress, I can’t just keep on running.”

Black Clergy Challenge NAACP On Same-Sex Marriage

A coalition of black pastors and clergy are rallying in protest of the NAACP's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage. The pastors say the organization's stance on gay marriage indicates a drift from its core mission and does not reflect the beliefs of its members.

On May 9th, President Barack Obama voiced his support of same-sex marriages in an interview with ABC News.

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Ten days later, the NAACP announced its endorsement of marriage equality for homosexual couples.

Pastor William Owens is the founder and president of The Coalition of African-American Pastors, and a long-time civil rights leader. He says the NAACP's position is far from its founding purpose.

"The attention of the NAACP should be placed on the many challenges facing the African-American community: gangs, teen pregnancy, poverty, violence and the fact that more black men are in prison than in college."

A number of ministers from Houston joined Owens to speak out against the resolution. Pastor Jerry Martin with Light of the World Christian Fellowship says the NAACP is wrong to label same-sex marriage as a civil right.

"There are laws on our books currently that prevent people from marrying each other. For instance, you can't marry your sister, a father can't marry his daughter, a mother can't marry her son. So there are already laws that say people can't marry one another."

A few blocks away at the NAACP convention, many attendees didn't agree with the clergy's stance on the issue, saying as a civil
rights organization the NAACP should stand up for the rights of all people.

"Me personally, I don't agree with same-sex marriages. But I do believe every individual has a right to feel the way that they would like to feel. Nobody should make a person feel a certain way towards whatever sex or gender that they care for."

"My thoughts is this is America, it's a free country, they should be allowed that privilege if they like it. I'm not for that same-sex marriage, but as an individual they should be allowed that if that's what they want. We are in America."

As for the black pastors, they say this is a moral issue, not an issue of political correctness.

The group plans to hold rallies in swing states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia in an attempt to put voting pressure on Congress and President Obama.

Obama implies that Obamacare individual mandate is a tax



Obama: "If you have health insurance, you're not getting hit with a tax."

Team Obama: No, We Won't Apologize for Falsely Suggesting Romney's a Felon

Raise your hand if you're surprised by this. Dishonorable people behave dishonorably..


Ed Schultz, MSNBC: "Now the Romney campaign wants President Obama to apologize for Stephanie Cutter's remarks, you heard earlier, we played on that conference call about Mitt Romney either being a liar or a potential felon. Will there be an apology?"

Ben LaBolt, Obama campaign press secretary: "There won't be. You know, Mitt Romney has been telling voters, since he ran for office in Massachusetts, that he left Bain in 1999. And the Boston Globe reported today that that wasn't true.


Actually, that's not what the Boston Globe reported, and Romney's long-standing explanation for these events has been confirmed by multiple fact-checkers, as well as contemporaneous reporting -- including stories from the Boston Globe. As we've established, the Obama campaign certainly understands the difference between titular ownership and participation in the managerial process. They haven't even attempted to offer any evidence that Romney was running Bain after 1999, because no such evidence exists. The Republican was off in Utah working 80-to-100-hour weeks to (successfully) save the Winter Olympics. What Team O is doing here is glorying in their own lies, even (especially?) after they've been widely and scrupulously debunked. The message is simple: "We are going to do and say whatever the hell we want to damage our opponent, and we think we're going to get away with it." To make this point crystal clear, they've rolled out a new ad repeating the lie that independent analysts have just spent the last 30 hours picking apart. This is what we call tripling down:



Every last element of this ad is untrue. First, Mitt Romney does deny that he shipped jobs overseas. That's the whole point of this multi-week spat. The Obama campaign has surely been making the claim over and over and over again, but Romney has denied it at every turn. And guess what? Mitt Romney is right. The Washington Post gave Obama 'Four Pinocchios' for his team's original claims, and FactCheck.org affirmed that there is "no evidence" to support the accusations. Second, there are no "newly disclosed" documents that disprove, or even disrupt, Romney's assertions on his Bain timeline. The very newspaper that ran the story cited in the new spot addressed this exact controversy ten years ago when Massachusetts Democrats were launching similar attacks (more on this later):


BOSTON GLOBE IN 2002: “Is it accurate? Romney's investment firm, Bain Capital, bought a majority stake in GS Technologies in 1993. Last year, with Bain still in control, the company filed for bankruptcy and Bain announced it would close the company's Kansas City steel rod plant, which employed 750 people. But Romney was not at Bain when the decision to close the plant was made: He left in 1999 to help organize the Olympics, though he was still signing official SEC documents as the company's president and CEO.


So the Globe story was not "new" or "evidence." Yesterday was Romney's "turn" to explain, and he did. The fact-checkers agreed with him. But Chicago pumped out a new attack ad anyway. For what it's worth (precious little to Captain HopenChange and his minions, evidently), there are additional facts on this front. The Washington Post's fact-checker awarded Obama 'Three Pinocchios' for the "felony" allegation today, reasserting its previous rulings on this Groundhog Day controversy:


As we wrote yesterday, we are standing with our assessment that Mitt Romney left the helm of Bain Capital in 1999, when he departed to run the Salt Lake City Olympics. The date is important because some questionable investments by Bain took place between 1999 and 2002, when he ran for governor. But a Boston Globe article on Thursday raised new questions about that timeline, citing SEC filings, and the Obama campaign jumped to take advantage of it. Despite the furor, we did not see much new in the Globe article. We had examined many SEC documents related to Romney and Bain in January, and concluded that much of the language saying Romney was “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” was boilerplate that did not reveal whether he was actually managing Bain at the time. (For instance, there is no standard definition of a “chief executive,” securities law experts say, and there is no requirement for anyone to have any responsibilities even if they have that title.)

The Obama campaign is blowing smoke here.We realize that Bauer gets to the word “criminal” by mentioning “investigation,” but that distinction might be lost on most listeners. Meanwhile, the weight of evidence suggests that Romney did in fact end active management of Bain in 1999. He stated that in a federal disclosure form he signed, under threat of criminal penalties. He said he was a “former employee” in a state disclosure form. A state commission concluded 10 years ago that he did, indeed, leave Bain in 1999. Investors in Bain funds were told he was not part of the management team. We were tempted to award this claim Four Pinocchios, but the documents with his signature leave some room for inquiry. But, overall, they shrink in importance to the other evidence cited above. (Our colleagues at FactCheck.Org also reaffirmed their similar conclusion.) Still, if the Obama campaign wants to put its money where its mouth is, it should immediately lodge a complaint about Romney’s financial disclosure form, filed just last year, rather than try to mislead people about potential violations in relatively unimportant SEC documents. Three Pinocchios.


Here's one more interesting and telling nugget WaPo raised:


Let’s also not forget that Massachusetts Democrats tried to keep Romney off the ballot in the 2002 governor’s race on the grounds that he had been living and working in Utah, even paying taxes there, and thus had failed to meet the requirement to have lived seven consecutive years in Massachusetts. The effort failed, but not after Democrats waged an expensive, months’ long battle to prove he worked so much on the Olympics that he was in effect a citizen of Utah.


Democrats in 2002: Romney was so involved with the Salt Lake City Olympics that he should be considered a resident of Utah, and therefore ineligble to run for governor! Democrats in 2012: Romney was actually running his business is Massachusetts the whole time, and his "outsourcing" after 1999 should prevent him from becoming president! It's impressive how the same political party can seize upon the same time period in Mitt Romney's life to bludgeon him for two explicitly contradictory reasons without any sense of shame. Finally, here's CNN reporting that Romney is telling the truth about his Bain departure, effectively invalidating three full rounds of Obama's negative ads, including the one embedded above:



Note well that two overt, "active" Obama supporters at Bain have independently confirmed Mitt Romney's veracity in all of this, even though they want him to lose the election. Which reminds me: Hasn't a certain sitting president raked in major donations from Bain employees? Maybe Obama would have preferred in-kind donations instead, in the form of lying on his behalf about Mitt Romney's hasty exit in 1999, to provide some cover for his discredited attacks. Oh well -- the cash will have to suffice.


UPDATE - Some prominent Democrats are starting to feel queasy over the Obama campaign's unhinged, unsubstantiated "felony" language:



One wonders what "a lot too far" might look like. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign passes along this montage of Obama campaign officials getting raked over the coals for peddling untrue attacks; bear in mind that these confrontations all occurred before Team O released their latest "triple down" ad. Shamelessness on parade:



Kudos to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC (!), ABC News, and CBS News for shooting straight on this so far. The unanimity of calumny demonstrates how incontrovertible the evidence against Obama really is.

Gun Rights: The muddle created by concealed carry laws and those that write about them

“He's not a vigilante. He's not a nut. He's just another average Minnesotan who has acquired the power to kill.” (Larry Oakes/Star-Tribune)

CHICAGO, July 10, 2012 — That is how Larry Oakes, a reporter for the Star-Tribune, describes Minnesotan Pat Cannon. Cannon is one of over 100,000 persons in Minnesota who has a concealed carry weapon permit.

Oakes describes this as “acquired the power to kill.” Another lovely literary chestnut in describing Cannon and others who choose to carry is, “people who have taken on the means to use deadly force if they decide it's necessary.”

Who decides whether deadly, or any other force is necessary? A more accurate statement would be, “if they decide it is justified.”

There is a distinct difference and stark contrast between what is necessary and what is legally justified.

Oakes' article on Minnesota’s concealed carry law makes the writer's point of view loud and clear. He is not in favor of the law or the "large numbers," one in forty Minnesotans, who take advantage of it.

As far as I know, none of those persons are described as paranoid, bark-chewing, raving lunatics wearing camouflage or ninja outfits. None are described as seeing violent armed criminals around every corner.

They are described as ordinary, bland, middle-aged people. This simple fact muddles whatever point Oakes was trying to make.

According to Oakes, 103,000 people have concealed carry permits in Minnesota, while 49 states have concealed carry laws on the books.

Oakes' concerne is that there is a new culture emerging, a culture of people who carry firearms, a culture of eight million Americans who have legally “acquired the power to kill.”

Oakes fails to recognize that every single human being has the power to kill without having to “acquire” it, or a gun, to do so. People are stabbed to death with all kinds of implements, even common hand tools. People are beaten to death with all kinds of blunt objects, including musical instruments, fists and feet. People are strangled, poisoned, immolated, drowned, defenestrated, and run over with vehicles, sometimes twice just to make sure.

People are killed, whole families at a time, by those that think it is OK to drink and then drive (see PDF above).

Our fellow human beings kill each other by all kinds of imaginable and unimaginable ways.

All of us, including Oakes, have the power to kill, with or without a gun.

Actually we have two powers. We have the power to kill each other, and the power to kill ourselves, again by any imaginable and unimaginable means.

Motor vehicles are more dangerous than firearms. They kill, maim, and catastrophically injure more people yearly than firearms or other weapons. It is more difficult and challenging to get a driver’s license, let alone a commercial driver’s sicense, than a permit to carry a firearm in most states.

Law-abiding citizens who choose to carry firearms are not roaming our streets searching for targets of opportunity on which to use their “acquired power” to kill. They are just ordinary people who feel the need for self-protection. There are probably some who do it just because they can, making the point that they have the right to do so.

That does not make them anymore dangerous than citizens who do not carry firearms. It makes them considerably less dangerous than most people who drive vehicles.

According to Oakes, fewer than one percent of permit holders have been involved in criminal activity. He does not cite what percentage used a firearm. He just throws a number out, 882 permit holders who were arrested for non-traffic violations.

Oakes cites extreme cases to make some kind of point. Naturally, he cites the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, which allegedly triggered some kind of national debate on guns and stands your ground laws. How could he not?

The other “extreme” case he cites involved a man who killed an armed robber who pointed a gun at him. Oakes gets slightly deceptive. He flatly states, “No charges were filed.” Charges were filed.

The victim’s sister, who participated in the robbery, was charged. The more correct statement would have been “no charges were filed against the legally armed citizen who shot the criminal armed robber who pointed a gun at him.”

If you are going to write an article on something you should get your basic facts straight. If you are going to express a point of view in print, express it openly, honestly, and without stealthy hyperbole like, “acquired the power to kill.”

Gun rights versus gun control is a continuing, contentious issue. Both sides have and employ forceful arguments. Both sides have and employ facts, figures, and those pesky statistics liars always use. They are open, honest, and robust in their opinions and the issue’s impact on the public interest.

Reporters should be open and honest about their intentions, too. If you are going to tell a story, tell the story. It is clear that Oakes does not agree with Minnesota’s concealed carry laws. It is also clear he is reasonably intelligent. The very least he could have done was come up with some facts and figures to make his point instead of his “acquired the power to kill” hyperbole.

Oakes did establish one clear fact. It is the one clear statement of truth in the article: There has been no positive or negative impact on violent crime due to Minnesota’s concealed carry law.

Ordinary law-abiding citizens are not going on murderous rampages, committing criminal acts of violence and vigilantism. Minnesotans can sleep soundly knowing that.

Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.

Lockhart Thinks More QE Will Be Needed As More People Go On The Dole (Disability and Food Stamps) Than Become Employed

July 13 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said the central bank may need to begin a new program of asset purchases if recent economic weakness continues and undermines his forecast for a pickup in the second half of the year.

“If the economy continues on the track indicated by the most recent incoming data and information, that forecast will become untenable, as will the policy premises underlying it.” Lockhart said today in Jackson, Mississippi. “My support for the current stance of policy rests on a forecast that sees a step-up of output and employment growth by year-end and into 2013.”


I’m glad that Mr. Lockhart sees a step-up in output and employment growth by the end of the year. But how will driving interest rates lower help when they haven’t helped yet?

The Fed’s balance sheet hovers around $3 trillion and the Fed Funds Target Rate is at a pitiful 0.25%. Yet, no ignition so far.


M2 Money Velocity has declined below any point since the end of World War II.


And mortgage lending (with the exception of Wells Fargo) has not really rebounded since it peaked in 2008.



Employment still stinks as more and more people go on the dole (disability and food stamps).


That’s right. There has been a net increase in people going on disability versus those dropping off of unemployment rolls since July 2010. And 4,911,742 more people have gone on food stamps over the same period. Yup, the dole is growing!

It is hard to envision a stout economic recovery with staggering, French-like increases in taxes and a growing welfare state when the number of people going on the dole exceeds the number of people getting jobs (and paying for those on the doll).

Here is the Hawaiian White House that emphasizes President Obama’s commitment to building a massive welfare state.


UPDATE: And a big shout-out to the DOJ and FBI Criminal Information System for monitoring today’s blogs by me!

New Gallup Poll Says Americans Are Tuning TV News Out

At Big Journalism, William Bigelow writes, “According to a new Gallup poll measuring Americans’ confidence in television news, the level is the lowest since the poll was begun in 1993:”

21% of adults expressed a great deal of confidence in television news reporting. No wonder CNN’s ratings are in the toilet.

Gallup tested 16 institutions, including newspapers, and TV news ranked 11th. Newspapers were ranked 10th. There was an interesting divide among those on the left; Democrats were the most confident in television news of all the groups surveyed (now there’s a shock) but postgraduates, who are more generally Democrats, had the least confidence in the TV news industry. This would tend to imply that well-educated people were more distrustful of what was spoon-fed them by the TV media, while those who were lower-income Democrats didn’t question the TV media’s bias toward the left.

A very important statistic showed that moderates were much less confident than they were in 2008, which could mean a great deal in the November election because if the moderates view the TV news with suspicion, they will be less likely to vote for Barack Obama.

At Newsbusters, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center isn’t exactly shocked by this report:

So what could possibly account for this drop? The answer is simple: the networks refuse to Tell the Truth, and the American people are sick and tired of it. Even liberals (19 percent) and moderates (20 percent) have lost faith in TV news, although, not surprisingly, self-identified Democrats have the highest confidence at 34 percent compared to 17 percent for Republicans and 17 percent for Independents. This shouldn’t come as any shock given the media’s torrid love affair with Democrat superhero Barack Obama.

Whether it’s CBS claiming current tax rates will somehow “cost taxpayers,” or CNN scolding a Republican for being a “sore loser” for not embracing ObamaCare, or The New York Times once again blaming Bush on Obama’s behalf, the media have continued to show a complete contempt for the truth. And those are just a few examples from the past couple of weeks.

But Bozell and Bigelow are conservative new media types like we are — we should also check in with old media for their take on this. Why would Americans not trust the news? Maybe Dan Rather has some thoughts:



Let’s ask NBC to splice up a reaction to this report:



Perhaps we should ask someone who works for a subsidiary of the Washington Post for his thoughts:


I wonder if Editor & Publisher, the house organ for old media’s print division might have some ideas on the subject of objectivity? What’s that you say? “Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers.” Ahh, noted. Say, what other topics would you advise them to get over objectivity on?

But hey, this is a TV news story. So maybe someone at CNN — or who used to be affiliated with CNN might have some thoughts on the topic

Well, after checking with a variety of sources in old media, I can now safely report back that they’re as flummoxed as you are as to why old media isn’t trusted these days. Just ask Diane Sawyer:



“You know, I wanted to sit on a jury once and I was taken off the jury. And the judge said to me, ‘Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?’ And I said, ‘That’s what journalists do.’ And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I’ve ever had.”

Oh I don’t know. Personally, I doubt she found their reaction to be all that “unexpectedly” a development.

Related: “The ‘truth’ deleted from internet in China,” according to the London Telegraph:

Online messages began circulating earlier this week claiming that the Chinese characters for “the truth” could not be searched for on the Twitter-like micro-blog, Sina Weibo, which boasts nearly 300 million registered users.

Attempts to search Weibo for “the truth” on Thursday turned up the message: “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for ‘the truth’ cannot be displayed.”

It is not known how long the term has been blocked or why but one internet-user said they had first noticed the truth was missing in late June. Sina Weibo did not respond to requests for information

Presumably, for many in old media, this article is a how-to guide, not a warning. Just ask Thomas Friedman.

Telecom firm received stimulus funds, sold U.S. surveillance equipment to Iran

ZTE USA, a U.S. subsidiary of the Chinese telecom firm, ZTE, has allegedly sold banned U.S. surveillance equipment to Iran, essentially bypassing current U.S. trade restrictions and embargoes imposed on Iran.

ZTE USA reaped substantial profits from the stimulus funds.

In January of 2010, US regional operator, Commnet Wireless contracted with ZTE USA to build broadband infrastructure network covering parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. And, at the time, ZTE USA and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority were reportedly in discussions for additional US Broadband Stimulus funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

And, indeed, the National Telecommunications & Information Agency [NTIA] announced in March of 2010 that the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority received a $32.2 million broadband infrastructure grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to bring high-speed affordable broadband services to the Navajo Nation.

Likewise, Fierce Broadband Wireless News reported in April of 2011 that "the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Commnet Wireless formalized a partnership this week after the two entities secured $32.1 million in broadband stimulus funds in March."

Hence, it appears as if ZTE USA, the company that allegedly sold banned U.S. surveillance equipment to Iran, profited substantially from the U.S. tax payer funded stimulus program.

Incidentally, the Wall Street Journal reported in October of 2010 that "four lawmakers [had] sent a letter Oct. 19 urging the Federal Communications Commission to take a closer look at ZTE..., and to consider restrictions that would make it harder for them to do business in the U.S."

The letter says Chinese telecom-gear makers are potentially subject to "significant influence by the Chinese military which may create an opportunity for manipulation of switches, routers, or software embedded in American telecommunications network so that communications can be disrupted, intercepted, tampered with, or purposely misrouted."

ZTE said the letter is a mischaracterization of the company, [as] it has no current ties to the Chinese government or military.

Apparently, the Obama administration ignored the letter, as evidenced by the fact that ZTE USA secured the $32.1 million in broadband stimulus funds the following year, in March of 2011.

And now, the company which previously disavowed any ties to the Chinese government, has allegedly sold banned U.S. surveillance equipment to Iran.

Law of the Sea Treaty: Bad for American Energy Policy

The Obama Administration is pushing for accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which would expose the United States to baseless environmental lawsuits, including suits based on alleged U.S. contributions to global climate change. Accession would also require the U.S. to transfer billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties generated on its continental shelf to UNCLOS member states, particularly landlocked states and states that are the least developed.

The U.S. does not need to join the convention in order to access oil and gas resources located on its extended continental shelf (ECS), the Arctic, or the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, it can and should use bilateral treaties with neighboring countries to demarcate the limits of its maritime and continental shelf boundaries.

Climate Lawsuits Costly for Americans

Carbon dioxide is a clear, odorless, nontoxic gas whose impact on climate change is very much a subject for scientific debate.[1] In recent testimony, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that joining UNCLOS would not force the U.S. to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Yet the widely accepted principle of international law known as the “no-harm rule” obligates a nation to use its territory in such a manner that injury is not caused to persons or property located in another nation. In the context of environmental protection, the principle prohibits a nation from allowing pollution to escape its territory and damage another nation’s air, land, water, ecosystem, living resources, or inhabitants’ health. This rule would provide the legal basis for international climate lawsuits.

Acceding to UNCLOS would create an opportunity to pursue environmental lawsuits against the U.S. based on virtually any maritime activity, such as alleged pollution of the oceans from a land-based source or even through the atmosphere. Regardless of the case’s merits, the U.S. would be forced to defend itself against every such lawsuit—at great expense to U.S. taxpayers.

Not only that, but any adverse judgment in a climate change lawsuit that imposes penalties or forces the U.S. to curb greenhouse gas emissions would be extremely costly for American consumers. Since a large majority of our energy use comes from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, any emission control measures would increase costs for businesses that would then pass those costs on to consumers. To make matters worse, any adverse judgment would be final, not subject to appeal, and enforceable in the United States.[2]

UNCLOS Not Needed for Expanded Oil and Gas Production

Proponents of UNCLOS argue that without joining the convention, the U.S. would be unable to demarcate the extent of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. This is simply untrue. The U.S. regularly demarcates the limits of its continental shelf and declares the extent of its maritime boundaries with presidential proclamations, acts of Congress, and bilateral treaties with neighboring countries.

As a result of bilateral treaties between the U.S. and Mexico, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management currently leases areas of the U.S. ECS in the Gulf of Mexico to American and foreign oil and gas companies for exploration and development.

The U.S. maintains jurisdiction and control over its ECS on a global basis and will do so regardless of whether it ever accedes to UNCLOS. It should take every action necessary to secure oil and gas resources located on its ECS in the Arctic Ocean, in the Gulf of Mexico, and throughout the world. The U.S. can accomplish this as a sovereign nation instead of joining UNCLOS and seeking the approval of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, an international committee of geologists and hydrographers located at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Moreover, accession to UNCLOS will result in billions of dollars in revenue distributed away from the U.S. Treasury to an international bureaucracy that would transfer the wealth to developing nations. Under current U.S. law and policy, all royalties and other revenue generated from exploitation of the U.S. ECS belong to the U.S. and would be deposited into the U.S. Treasury and dispensed in the best interest of the U.S. and the American people. Accession to the treaty would mean transferring a large portion of those royalties to the International Seabed Authority, an international organization established by UNCLOS and seated in Kingston, Jamaica, which would in turn distribute the royalty revenue to various developing nations in a manner that might not advance U.S. national interests.

Actions for the Federal Government

The U.S. should take every action necessary to develop the oil and gas resources on its extended continental shelf. Furthermore, additional analysis is needed to address the potential legal, economic, and political consequences that an adverse judgment from an UNCLOS tribunal would have for the U.S. The federal government should:
Conduct an interagency review of the convention’s compulsory dispute resolution mechanisms to determine both the extent to which acceding to UNCLOS would expose the U.S. to baseless lawsuits and the potential economic and political costs that could result from accession;
Hold oversight hearings on potential lawsuits and how an adverse judgment would affect U.S. environmental, economic, and military interests; and
Reject UNCLOS and negotiate a series of bilateral boundary delimitation treaties with nations with which it shares maritime and ECS boundaries.[3]

Harmful for America

Accession to UNCLOS would sacrifice American sovereignty by exposing our nation to baseless environmental lawsuits that would punish Americans both as taxpayers and as consumers. The treaty would further sacrifice sovereignty by requiring the U.S. to forfeit billions of dollars in oil and gas royalty revenue.

The U.S. should pursue oil and gas development as a sovereign nation, continuing the tradition of American Presidents in proclaiming the nation’s maritime and resource rights and without acceding to a deeply flawed treaty or seeking the approval of an international commission of experts housed at the United Nations.

Steven Groves is Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, and Nicolas D. Loris is Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

CEO of PFGBest’s Peregrine Financial arrested, charged

In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009, Russ Wasendorf, chairman and chief executive officer of PFGBest poses at the new building nearing completion in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Empaloyees of the Iowa-based brokerage firm that has been unable to account for $220 million in customer money found Wasendorf in his car at company headquarters, with a tube connecting the vehicle's tailpipe to the interior, authorities said Tuesday, July 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Brandon Pollock)

The CEO of Peregrine Financial allegedly admitted in a suicide note that he embezzled more than $100 million from customers in a two-decade scheme he was boldly able to hide through “careful concealment” and “blunt authority.”

“I have committed fraud,” Russell Wasendorf Sr. purportedly wrote in a suicide note that was detailed in a federal affidavit.

Wasendorf, 64, was arrested Friday by federal agents for allegedly making false statements to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission about the value of customer funds held by his Iowa-based brokerage firm.

The suicide note was discovered in Wasendorf’s car after he tried to kill himself outside his office Monday, federal authorities said.

“Through a scheme of using false bank statements I have been able to embezzle millions of dollars of customer accounts. ... I was able to conceal my crime of forgery by being the sole individual with access to the U.S. Bank accounts held by PFG. No one else in the company ever saw an actual US Bank statement.”

PFG was headquartered in Chicago before Wasendorf moved the business to Cedar Falls in 2009.

Wasendorf had been hospitalized at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after attempting suicide outside the company’s headquarters in Cedar Falls on Monday by hooking up a tube to his car’s tailpipe.

In the statement, Wasendorf allegedly said he felt “constant and intense guilt” for his transgressions.

“I had no access to additional capital and I was forced into a difficult decision: should I go out of business or cheat? I guess my ego was too big to admit failure. So I cheated,” the note read.

Wasendorf allegedly wrote that he falsified bank statements, officials letters and confirmation statements using a combination of Photo Shop, Excel, scanners and laser and ink jet printers.

“With careful concealment and blunt authority, I was able to hide my fraud from others at PFG,” federal authorities said Wasendorf wrote in the note.

“PFG grew out of a one-man shop, a business I started in the basement of my home. As I added people to the company, everyone knew I was the guy in charge. If anyone questioned my authority, I would simply point out I was the sole shareholder.”

Wasendorf was detained at a hearing late Friday afternoon pending his preliminary and detention hearing on Wednesday.

Contributing: Associated Press

Palin says Rice's view on abortion shouldn't disqualify her as VP

Sarah Palin thinks Condoleezza Rice would make a "wonderful" vice president, and dismissed concerns that the former of secretary of State might not oppose abortion rights.

“I think that Condoleezza Rice would be a wonderful vice president,” Palin told Fox News on Thursday night. She compared Rice's past experience favorably to that of Obama.

The Drudge Report on Thursday reported that Rice has emerged as the front-runner in the Mitt Romney campaign's search for a VP. Rice has previously told CBS News "there is no way I will do this," speaking of becoming Romney's running mate. But it is not unusual for the eventual choice to publicly refuse the job initially.


Rice might not be popular with all evangelicals due to what she has called her "mildly pro-choice" views. Most of the large anti-abortion-rights groups, such as National Right to Life, Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List, have united behind Romney for president, but Rice as running mate might compromise the support of their members.

But Palin dismissed concerns over Rice's stance on the subject.

“I would certainly prefer a presidential and vice presidential candidate who had that respect for all innocent precious purposeful human life,” Palin said. “We need to remember, though, that it’s not the vice president that would legislate abortion and that would be Congress’s role, and we’ll keep that in mind.”

Rice has noted that she believes in building a "culture of life," and is for parental notification and against late-term abortions. In 2008, she indicated she does not support overturning Roe v. Wade.

ACLU alleges Michigan school district violated students’ ‘right to learn to read’

In the first case of its kind, the American Civil Liberties Union is charging that the state of Michigan and a Detroit area school district have failed to adequately educate children, violating their “right to learn to read” under an obscure state law.

The ACLU class-action lawsuit, to be filed Thursday, says hundreds of students in the Highland Park School District are functionally illiterate.

“None of those adults charged with the care of these children . . . have done their jobs,” said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “The Highland Park School District is among the lowest-performing districts in the nation, graduating class after class of children who are not literate. Our lawsuit . . . says that if education is to mean anything, it means that children have a right to learn to read.”

The complaint, to be filed in state court in Wayne County, is based on a 1993 state law that says if public school students are not proficient in reading, as determined by tests given in grades 4 and 7, they must be provided “special assistance” to bring them to grade level within a year.

But at Highland Park, a three-school district bordering Detroit, most of the struggling students are years behind grade level and never received the kind of assistance required by law, the ACLU said.

Sara Wurfel, press secretary for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), said it was “impossible and imprudent to comment on a lawsuit that we haven’t been served or read yet.”

But she said the administration is working to address “a long overdue fiscal and academic crisis that was crippling the district, shortchanging its students and threatening the schools’ very existence. Everything we have done and are doing is to ensure that the kids of Highland Park schools get the education they need and deserve.”

Efforts to reach the Highland Park School District were unsuccessful. The published telephone number at the district headquarters was busy all Wednesday afternoon.

One student in the Highland Park district, a 14-year-old boy named Quentin, just finished seventh grade. Quentin, whose mother asked that his last name be withheld, reads at a first-grade level, according to an expert hired by the ACLU.

When asked to compose a letter to Snyder to describe his school, Quentin misspelled his own name, writing, “My name is Quemtin . . . and you can make the school gooder by geting people that will do the jod that is pay for get a football tame for the kinds mybe a baksball tamoe get a other jamtacher for the school get a lot of tacher.”

[Click here for samples of writing from Highland Park students who are plaintiffs in the suit, including Quentin.]

During the school year that just finished, Quentin was enrolled in both a regular language arts class and Read 180, an online program designed to help struggling readers. It was up to Quentin to decide whether to attend his regular class or participate in Read 180 each day, according to the complaint. This was the first year Highland Park used the Read 180 program, according to the ACLU.

In the Read 180 classroom, “the teacher did not provide any instruction while the students read books on their own, or in groups, or completed self-directed work on the computer. . . . The longest writing assignment Quentin had to complete this year was a three paragraph summary of a book,” according to the lawsuit.

“Kids are getting plopped in front of computers with no teacher in the classroom or the teacher is just sitting there, not engaged,” Moss said in an interview. “A couple of our plaintiffs were put in the Reading 180 program, but it’s not been made available to every kid. There’s no individualized assessment of what they need, how they’re doing or monitoring of what’s going on.”

The district’s record-keeping is shoddy and student files are incomplete, making it nearly impossible to identify which students need remedial help, the complaint alleges.

The most recent state test scores for Highland Park schools show that 65 percent of fourth-graders and 75 percent of seventh-graders were not proficient in reading.

In addition to its academic problems, the Highland Park district is facing severe financial turmoil. Once home to Chrysler and a stable, working-class community, Highland Park’s fortunes have been spiraling downward. The district faces an estimated $11.3 million deficit and a 58 percent enrollment drop since 2006.

“There’s been a demise of manufacturing and exit of the taxpayer base,” Moss said. “What’s left is a high-poverty population of kids in a district that’s struggling with any range of problems.”

Highland Park is one of three Michigan school districts that have been taken over by an emergency manager appointed by the governor. Last month, the emergency manager, Joyce Parker, announced that all three Highland Park schools will be turned over to a charter school operator in September while she restructures the district’s debt. The charter operator has yet to be named. Parker said that once finances have stabilized, the district can return to a traditional model of public schools.

The lawsuit comes at a time of growing concern across the nation about early literacy. Educators say students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times as likely as proficient readers to drop out of high school. And if those students are poor, they are 13 times as likely to drop out.

“There’s more and more emphasis on this and more and more knowledge that you have to start much earlier,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, a national effort to promote early literacy.

States such as Colorado have recently passed laws that require schools to take extra steps to detect and correct early literacy problems. Michigan appears to be the only state that requires schools to intervene with extra help at grades 4 and 7 to bring a student to grade level within a year.

Video: Cronies out to Lunch

When big business and big government get too friendly with each other, everyone else ends up paying the bill. Watch our new video highlighting how the revolving door between business and government can lead to cronyism.

Big Fur Hat Interviews Larry Sinclair

You may recall that Kevin Dujan interviewed Larry Sinclair last fall. You can listen to it right here.

Now Big Fur Hat has interviewed Larry, and Larry thinks that Obama is going to come out of the closet, possibly before the election. And Michelle has known since day one that Obama is gay. Wow. Just wow.

Larry’s got his own website, if you’re interested in following him. Here’s the link to his site. And he’s got a book coming out in September, right before the election. Ruh roh. The Chicago thugs are not going to be happy about THAT.

pt1 BigFurHat's 99 Second Radio Show w/ Larry Sinclair


pt.2 BigFurHat's 99 Second Radio Show - Larry Sinclair


From I Own The World

© 2012, TheTamminator. All rights reserved.

‘The Communist’ Part I: Obama’s Mentor Frank Marshall Davis Exposed


Imagine an American man so devout in his Communist beliefs, that during the Cold War the FBI placed him on its security index – meaning that if an armed conflict were to have erupted between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Federal authorities would have looked to him as a prime suspect for treason.

Now imagine that man mentored the leader of the free world.

(Related: Exclusive: See This Clip About Obama‘s Relationship With Communist Frank Marshall Davis From Dinesh D’Souza‘s ’2016′ Film)

On July 17th, Mercury Ink and author Paul Kengor, PhD, will introduce the world to the real Frank Marshall Davis – the card-carrying member of the Communist Party U.S.A, and who all accounts indicate was Barack Obama’s closest role model and mentor. Devoid of outrageous conspiracy theories or sensational claims, Kengor painstakingly documents the historical facts of this dynamic, at times even sympathetic character, who walked the path from Republican roots clear through to the radical fringe of unfettered Marxism.

Presently, certain news and commentary outlets are focusing on the more outrageous aspects of Frank Marshall Davis’ life, such as his self-admitted penchant for perverse sexual escapades as well as for taking photos of naked women (including of Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother). In fact, the recently released documentary, “Dreams From My Real Father,” even posits that Davis is the president’s true biological father. While much of Davis’ bizarre fetishes and sexual peccadilloes provide subject matter worthy of consideration, Kengor believes that his book, “The Communist,” focuses on the substantive ideological, rather than sensational aspects of Davis’ past.

At the end of the day, according to Kengor, mentors matter – and in no small amount. The book opens by explaining how Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton’s role models were extremely influential in each of their lives, respectively. In fact, typically the first task of any biographer is to examine the mentors of the subject he or she is writing about. Oddly, when it comes to our current president, left-wing biographers have somehow avoided this topic altogether.

Presidential mentors

During Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, the media and members of the far left ignored discussing his influences and role models, leaving conservatives in shock over how lax the vetting process turned out to be for the man who would come to hold the highest office in the land. As The Communist reveals that the “transformative change” Obama promised to deliver (and did) eerily find their origin in the words and deeds of his closest mentor.

And therein lies the rub. Examining the mentor is perhaps one of the most significant aspects of the presidential vetting process. Those who came before Obama all acknowledged the profound impact their mentors had on them, both growing up, and into adulthood. Of course the reason is clear – exploring who a presidential nominee’s influences are provides key insight into that candidate’s world-view.

Kengor notes that although both Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton’s role models were indeed of great import to each of them, their names were rarely mentioned in each of their biographies. Ironically, however, Obama mentioned “Frank” by name no less than 22 times in his memoir, “Dreams From My Father.”

“We’ve had 44 presidents and they’ve all had mentors,” Kengor told me during an exclusive Blaze interview. “Yet never before in the entire 200-plus year [presidential] history of this country, have we had a president with a mentor who was a card carrying member of the Communist Party.

Kengor takes issue with the fact that no liberal biographer acknowledges that Frank Marshall Davis was Obama’s mentor, yet those same biographers have never denied that Don Jones mentored Ronald Reagan, just as Ben Cleaver guided an impressionable, young Hillary Clinton until her departure to university. Perhaps the reason no one cares, according to Kengor, is because both Cleaver and Jones “loved America” and were not “pro-soviet members of the Communist Party.” He believes journalists, biographers, and the media in general are guilty of “scandalous neglect” when discussing Barack Obama.

“The problem with Obama,” said Kengor, “is that he was never vetted, so you have skeletons in the closet.” He explained that while there has been no shortage of coverage from the right in exposing Obama’s ties to Reverend Jeremiah Wright or the Weather Underground’s Bill Ayers, “no one talks about Davis, and Davis was far more radical [than either Ayers or Wright].”

In fact, Kengor maintains that Ayer’s most radical university lecture, or Wright’s most flagrant sermon pales in comparison to any of the volumes Frank Marshall Davis espoused in his columns for various Communist newspapers across the country.

“When you read his columns it’s very clear you are dealing with a Communist Party U.S.A. member from the ‘Daily Worker’ crowd — a loyal Soviet patriot.

“To think he had an influence on the president.”

“Imagine if there was a GOP nominee with a mentor this extreme to the right. They would never have escaped the media scrutiny.”

Historically, Kengor observed a pattern among the left in which its adherents are never vigilant when it comes to Communism. Even American Civil Liberties Union founder, Roger Nash Baldwin, wrote a book entitled, “Liberty Under the Soviets” demonstrating progressives’ sympathy for all things Communist.

As we near the July 17th release date of “The Communist” The Blaze will be releasing two more “sneak preview” articles detailing some of the shocking revelations Kengor discovered along the way.

For instance, you will learn that Frank Marshall Davis actually started out as a member of the GOP, reviled Democrats (in particular Harry Truman and Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and only turned to Communism after being fully duped by a Soviet propaganda campaign that convinced him the USSR had abolished racism of all kinds.

You will also see laid out in black and white, the stark parallels between Frank Marshall Davis’ words and deeds and those of the Obama administration — from universal health care to the catch phrases, “hope and change” and “forward!” (all of which find origin in Obama’s Communist mentor).

If it sounds too unbelievable to be true, just remember the adage: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” The book can be found online here and here.

Genetic Defect: Kennedy daughter arrested after crash

GOVERNOR Andrew Cuomo's ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, has been arrested for driving while impaired by drugs after she accidentally struck a tractor-trailer and fled, police say.

Kennedy is the seventh of 11 children of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. State police said she was found on Friday morning behind the wheel of her disabled vehicle on the side of a road in Westchester, just north of New York City.

Germany to religious: We'll allow circumcisions

Merkel says she favors religion in Germany, does not want to punish circumcision if it is carried out in responsible manner.

NAACP and the white sexual anarchists

Exclusive: Matt Barber shames black organization for buckling to 'gay' activists

Jimmie Walker: Obama’s Just Not the Guy for the Job

The former Good Times star is only saying this because he’s a racist. Wait…

“Barack Obama is more like a Tony Roberts type of guy,” Jimmie Walker said in an interview with Bill O’Reilly that aired on the “O’Reilly Factor” tonight. “You feel real good and happy and everything and then you go home and there’s a foreclosure sign on your door. And you just go, ‘Wait a minute. I just had this great meeting with this guy. He made me feel real good.’ And I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I don’t think he’s a good guy for the job we have to do.”

“You just can’t blindly vote for somebody just because they’re your — sometimes even a brother, you have to let him go and he’s not doing the gig,” Walker said when asked how he explains his opposition to Obama as a black man.

“I never voted for him,” Walker revealed.

“I say, let’s look at the job he’s done and I go back to the old Reagan slogan: Are you doing better now than you were four years ago,” he said.

“I just think that he’s not the guy,” Walker concluded.

Spanish civil servants protest against cuts

Spanish civil servants took to the streets on Friday to protest against austerity measures as Spain's cabinet rubber-stamped tax rises and spending cuts.

The real meaning of lifestyle choice

The relentless war against the family in Britain continues in the highest court of the land. Baroness Hale, the veteran ‘lifestyle choice’ radical who, as a member of the UK Supreme Court, is the country’s top female judge, has called for cohabiting couples to be given more legal rights.

According to the Times (£) Lady Hale admires the situation in Scotland where the law is different, and in which the Supreme Court recently upheld a ruling by the Edinburgh Court of Session which ordered a man to pay his former cohabiting partner nearly £40,000 after their relationship broke down.

According to Lady Hale, Scottish law on this issue was both ‘practicable and fair.’ She said:

‘It does not impose upon unmarried couples the responsibilities of marriage but redresses the gains and losses flowing from their relationship.’

Family lawyers have backed her up, saying:

‘The current situation for people who live together in England and Wales more often than not creates injustice and hardship, and our current law fails to reflect the way people are choosing to live their lives.’

But the whole point is that cohabitation is the way they are choosing to live their lives. They could choose to get married. They choose not to, because they do not want to be married. They may want to preserve their independence; they may be averse to making a commitment to another person; they may think marriage is an outdated institution. Whatever the reason, it is their choice not to get married.

But marriage is an institution which inescapably confers obligations on those who enter into it. It is a solemn commitment – the most solemn commitment – one person can make to another. It entails above all obligations between the spouses. The benefits that accrue to marriage are ineradicably bound up with those obligations.

The absence of legal protection in cohabitation follows from the fact that, unlike marriage, cohabitation is a loose partnership between individuals who remain ultimately free of each other; they can walk out of the relationship with no strings attached. This is the ‘lifestyle choice’ they make. If those benefits are bestowed on people who choose not to undertake their concomitant obligations, this is not only fundamentally unjust. It vitiates the very nature of a contractual or covenantal agreement. If those who choose to duck the commitment of marriage can nevertheless obtain its benefits, this makes a mockery of and undermines the institution of marriage itself.

For sure, cohabitation often results in hardship, very much more so indeed than marriage. Cohabitation breaks down far more frequently than marriage, and even more so after the birth of any children. Cohabitation is therefore one of the most significant factors behind Britain’s catastrophic and galloping phenomenon of mass fatherlessness, the single most important cause of so much misery and harm for both children and adults, and the major cause in turn of unquantifiable damage to society.

If people want to avoid the hardship they very understandably fear will result from the absence of legal protection under cohabitation, they can choose to get married. That’s what marriage is for. To bestow this legal protection upon cohabitation is to turn the ratchet of family breakdown another notch. First you undermine marriage by removing the stigma of ‘living together’, illegitimacy and unmarried motherhood; then you turn the ratchet by hymning the sanctity of ‘lifestyle choice’ and the social acceptability of cohabitation as an alternative to marriage; then you turn it again by bestowing the benefits of marriage upon un-marriage, thus incentivising a socially destructive phenomenon which will create yet more misery and harm.

Lady Hale’s call is not for justice in family life but gross injustice. It is yet another boost to our rights-without-responsibilities, something-for-nothing, me-first culture which has already advanced the destruction of family life in Britain, created regional deserts of social and moral breakdown and made victims out of the most vulnerable.

It is also strangely outdated. The reckoning for Britain’s catastrophic rate of family collapse is now in: the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, for one, is currently struggling to pick up the pieces. Lady Hale, by contrast, seems still to be stuck in the subversive seventies. The rest of us have now moved more soberly on.

Penn State to remodel football shower and locker room where Jerry Sandusky abused boys

Penn State plans to renovate the building where Jerry Sandusky sexually molested boys.

University spokesman David La Torre said today that Penn State plans to remodel the football shower and locker room area as a direct result of Sandusky’s crimes. The former defensive coordinator was convicted of assaulting some of his victims in the team shower.....

In South Africa's slums, mob justice rules

(Reuters) - Beaten and set alight, Ncedile Gigi's unrecognizable remains have not been buried since March, when a mob fed up with poor policing took the law into their own hands, torching the 26-year-old in a crime-ridden South African township...

SIXTY FIVE U.S. companies drop out of Fortune 500 drop in a decade...as China soars up to second spot on this year's list

China now boasts 73 of the biggest global companies – stealing the number two spot on the Fortune 500 list from Japan.

China has landed 73 companies on the list, Japan has 68 and the U.S. has 132.

Although the U.S. have a clear margin, China added 12 companies to the list since last year while the amount of U.S. companies has dropped by 14....

U.S. Olympic Uniforms: Made in China by Democratic Donor’s company


Lawmakers were livid to discover that the United States’ Olympic team uniforms were made in China. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) even suggested “they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.”

The company who designed the uniforms, Ralph Lauren, has received less scrutiny. Few outlets have noted that Ralph Lauren himself is a prominent contributor to President Obama and the Democratic Party.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Lauren has given $7,300 to Obama since 2008, and more than $35,000 to the Democratic National Committee.

Obama’s own ties to outsourcing have come under scrutiny of late. His much-vaunted green energy loan program awarded billions of taxpayer dollars to foreign-owned companies and firms that manufacture their products overseas.

It is unclear whether the DNC will be returning Lauren’s donation. DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse did not immediately return a request for comment.

Food crisis fears as US corn soars

Financial Times:

Is the world on the brink of another food crisis?

It has become a distressingly familiar question. With the price of agricultural staples such as corn, soyabeans and wheat soaring for the third summer in five years, the prospect of another price shock is once again becoming a prominent concern for investors and politicians alike.


The debate marks a dramatic shift from just a few weeks ago, when traders were expecting bumper crops and policy makers were comforting themselves that – if nothing else – falling commodity prices would offer some relief to the troubled global economy.

But since then, scorching heat and a paucity of rain across the US has withered the country’s corn and soyabean crops, with the US Department of Agriculture this week making the largest downward revision to its estimate for a corn crop in a quarter of a century.

The US is crucial to supplying the world with food: the country is the largest exporter of corn, soyabeans and wheat, accounting for one in every three tonnes of the staple grains traded on the global market.

Prices for this year’s corn crop, deliverable in December, have jumped 44 per cent in a month, wheat has rallied 45 per cent, and soyabeans 17 per cent.

The rise in grain prices has inspired comparisons with 2007-08, when a price surge triggered a wave of food riots in more than 30 countries from Bangladesh to Haiti, and 2010, when Russia banned grain exports, setting off a price jump that some have argued helped to cause unrest across the Arab world last year.

Luke Chandler, head of agricultural commodities research at Rabobank, a leading lender to global agribusiness, says: “This certainly has the potential that we go back to a 2008 scenario.”

A sharp rise in food prices is worrying for the global economy for two reasons. Firstly, and most damagingly, it has the potential to cause social and political upheavals such as last year’s Arab spring.

But most analysts believe that this year’s price surge is not yet severe enough to bring about the overthrow of governments. While stocks of corn and soyabeans are very tight, particularly in the US, the situation is less extreme for wheat and rice, the food commodities that are staples for most of the world’s poorest people. In contrast, corn and soyabeans feed animals, produce ethanol or make cooking oil.

While corn prices are trading above their 2008 peaks, and soyabeans this week surpassed the 2008 high to hit a new record, wheat and rice prices are not yet in record territory.

While wheat prices have rallied above $8.40 a bushel – the price touched in the direct aftermath of Russia’s 2010 export ban – they remain well below the 2008 record of $13.345. Rice is trading more than 40 per cent below its 2008 high.

Abdolreza Abbassian, senior grains economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, says: “We’re not going to have another food crisis. For core food security purposes the fact that we have very good and ample rice supply is a very positive development, and wheat supply is also adequate.”

Nonetheless, the dramatic rise in grain prices in recent weeks is likely to feed through into the price of food. That could have far-reaching consequences for the global economy, by reintroducing inflation as a worry for central bankers, particularly in emerging markets where food prices account for a large share of inflation. Karen Ward, senior economist at HSBC, says: “What the world economy really needs right now is a break. Any inflationary pressure, particularly that stops the emerging world loosening policy and providing the boost to the global economy, would be a problem.”

Jeffrey Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, points to the close link between Chinese food inflation and the price of soyabeans, of which the country is by far the largest importer.

“You really get the sense that the world is dependent on the Chinese stimulus. What drives the stimulus is the lack of inflation,” says Mr Currie.

“What is happening in the US is putting enough pressure on soyabean prices that the potential pass-through into [consumer prices] is becoming much more worrisome.”

Moreover, the low level of global inventories for some grains means that any further disruption to supplies could be devastating.

Global corn stocks are forecast by the USDA to fall to just 15 per cent of annual demand, close to a record low.

Hussein Allidina, head of commodities research at Morgan Stanley in New York, says: “I don’t think the alarm bells need to
be sounded yet. But unlike previous years, we don’t have the inventory cushion for insurance against
any further yield downgrades.”

With the prospect of a return of El NiƱo, the weather phenomenon that triggered droughts in Argentina and Australia, contributing to the 2007-08 crisis, later this year, the world economy will be once again beholden to the weather.

Mr Abbassian of the FAO says: “We’re back to square one of last year – you’re basically back to a hand-to-mouth situation. We have a very bumpy road ahead for the next few months.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Democrats Dump Opposition Research On Top Vice Presidential Contenders

ABC News:


ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Michael Falcone, Gregory Simmons and Arlette Saenz report:

Mitt Romney and his team in Boston aren’t the only ones feverishly vetting potential running mates.

In a non-descript Washington, DC office building within sight of the United States Capitol, a team of more than a dozen Democratic researchers have spent the last few months examining every nook and cranny of the records of several GOP vice presidential contenders.

The researchers work for the super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, which is unveiling a new website on Friday called VeepMistakes.com. The site features more than 1,300 pages of opposition research and scores of video clips.

Political prognosticators can only speculate who is on Romney’s short-list, but now we know who the Democrats are preparing to target. The super PAC is shining their spotlight on three of the mostly likely contenders: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Their research files, which the group is making public for the first time, also offers a sneak peek at the attacks the Democrats are poised to use against whichever potential V.P. ultimately gets the nod from Romney.

The American Bridge file on Portman, who has been the subject of more speculation than just about anyone else, runs nearly 350 pages. It includes sections on the Ohio senator’s legal career, his stints in prior presidential administrations and a rundown of his public statements on a raft of issues — from education to gun control to gay and lesbian rights.

The image of Portman that emerges from the briefing book, which the super PAC, has posted online in full is of a Bush-loving, deficit-increasing, subsidy-hating lobbyist.

One section of the thick file focuses on Portman’s work at the firm of Patton Boggs in the 1980s when Portman was a registered lobbyist. The law firm represented Haiti and “according to Portman’s registration statement as a foreign agent filed with the Department of Justice, his clients included the Republic of Haiti,” the research book notes.

That may sound pretty damning, but while Portman’s farm may have worked for Haiti, it appears Portman himself did not. Portman’s Senate office provided ABC News with a sworn affidavit from Stuart Pape, the managing director of Patton Boggs. In the affidavit, Pape, a prominent Democratic lobbyist, said of Portman’s time with the firm, “at no time did Mr. Portman do any work for any foreign government or any entity of a foreign government.”

It also details how the national deficit increased while Portman was director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush and how the country’s trade deficit with China spiked under his watch as Bush’s trade czar.

The Portman file, like the 492-page document for Pawlenty and the 555-page one for Rubio, includes an executive summary of “Top Hits” — the information that American Bridge considers most troublesome for each of the potential running mates. Among Portman’s “Top Hits,” the group details where the Ohio senator “diverges with Romney on key budget and tax issues.”

American Bridge decided to release the information before Romney picks his running mate in order to give fellow Democrats, as well as the press, a head-start on examining the major vulnerabilities of each of the contenders.

“In 2008 nobody was prepared for the disaster that was vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. And while even Mitt Romney couldn’t top that pick, the front runners he’s considering are all deeply flawed in their own right,” said Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge. “This year we are going to make sure that the public has as much information as possible, as early as possible, on the extreme and out of touch positions of the candidates Mitt Romney would put a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

In addition to the written material, the super PAC, which was formed primarily as a tracking and research organization, is making public large amounts of video footage of the three vice presidential hopefuls. American Bridge trackers have been following Pawlenty since May 2011, Rubio since this February and Portman since May.

Much of the video is raw and uncut. The Pawlenty collection is particularly vast since it includes clips of the former Minnesota governor campaigning against Romney throughout the primary season.

It features moments like a media availability in Greenfield, N.H. on June 12, 2011 when Pawlenty dubbed the health care plan Romney supported as governor of Massachusetts and the one President Obama pushed, “Obamneycare.”

The file also delves into Pawlenty’s years as governor of Minnesota, saying that he left the state with a $6.2 billion deficit and that he hired lobbyists to top jobs in his administration.

But that’s not all accurate. Minnesota actually had a budget surplus during the fiscal year Pawlenty left office. There was a projected deficit for the following year, but it never materialized, and the next’s year’s budget was balanced.

When it comes to Rubio, who is favored by many conservatives to be Romney’s running mate, American Bridge will attempt to characterize the Florida senator as a politician who not only uses his political office for personal gain, but also one who skirts the line of unethical practices.

American Bridge highlights reports that Rubio obtained no-bid employment contracts for himself at two state agencies — Florida International University and Jackson Memorial Hospital — when they faced budget cutbacks. Rubio was hired to teach political science classes and conduct research part time for $69,000 a year at Florida International University despite the school never posting the job publicly and cutting 200 other jobs that year.

Rubio also secured an $8,000 per month consulting contract at Jackson Memorial Hospital, just months after he helped steer $20 million towards the hospital through the state budget allocation, according to the super PAC’s research file.

The document also runs through Rubio’s failure to disclose a $135,000 home equity loan from the bank of one of his supporters and the specifics of Rubio’s state party credit card scandal. When he served as speaker of the House in Florida, Rubio was accused of charging personal expenses — ranging from purchases at the Apple Store to personal home remodeling to car repair on his family’s van damaged at a political event — on the state party’s credit card.

As recently as May, Rubio admitted he made a “mistake” in the use of the Republican Party of Florida’s credit card but said he personally paid any discrepancies found on his statements.

American Bridge officials emphasized that it may be impossible to know now which nuggets of their research will come back to haunt one of the potential veeps down the road.

“Research is innocuous until it’s not,” Mollineau told ABC News. “A vote taken several years ago, a speech given to a special interest group, a law signed or vetoed can be harmless until put in the context of a present day campaign.”