Recent Posts

Friday, May 25, 2012

Worst Week Ever?

New RNC ad

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Taxpayer-funded Campaign to Promote ObamaCare

YouTube description: U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the President's $20 million, taxpayer-funded p.r. campaign to promote Obamacare

Paul Ryan Speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

A Perspectives on Leadership Forum with Paul Ryan on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

The Wisconsin Turning Point

The coming vindication of Gov. Scott Walker.

The recall election for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is scheduled for June 5. That election is now a crucial battleground for the future of America, and even a critical bellwether for how this fall's elections will turn out. Walker is staring down the national political machine of government workers unions, and the entire Obama campaign. This is a Paul Revere moment for all conservatives across America. The future of your country is at stake. Walker needs your support now.

Walker's Reforms Are Working, Spectacularly

Walker came into office facing another state budget deficit of $3.6 billion. Historically, Wisconsin like many other states would raise state taxes to counter these recurring deficits, on top of annual stiff property tax increases to fund skyrocketing school and other local government costs. But those continual tax increases were imposing greater and greater costs on state economies in terms of lost economic growth, jobs and wages.

Walker, based on his experience serving as County Executive for Milwaukee County for 8 years, and in the state legislature for 8 years before that, focused on cutting the growth in state and local government spending instead. That spending restraint included requiring state and local government workers to contribute to their own benefits more like private sector workers. After all the yelling and screaming in Wisconsin, in the end these government workers were only required to contribute 5.8% of their salaries towards their pensions, which is matched by their government employers (taxpayers), and 12.6% of the costs of their health insurance, with the other 87% paid by taxpayers. This compares to private sector workers paying on average 21% of the cost of their company health insurance, with most private sector workers having no pension at all.

The state budget reforms also made payment of union dues voluntary for government workers, empowering these workers to each decide for themselves if they want to be full dues paying members of the public employee unions. That is a potential savings for families of $1,000 a year for each government worker in the family. This forces the public unions to focus on serving their members and convincing each one that their services are worth the dues, just like every other private sector institution in American society.

The budget reforms also limited collective bargaining to negotiations over salary but not over benefits or working conditions and rules. This gave counties, cities, and school boards the flexibility to make management changes to increase efficiency in serving the public and to reduce costs, without laying off workers and reducing services to the public.

A chief example of how this flexibility has been used is for these local governments to open their employee health insurance to competitive bidding. Previously, the unions demanded that public employers use the unions' own sponsored insurance entity as their insurer, without market bidding. But since Walker's reforms removed benefits from collective bargaining, government employers were freed to turn to competitive bidding on the open market, where many have found their coverage at substantially reduced costs. For school districts so far, the savings from this competitive bidding alone have amounted to $211.47 per student. Statewide that would add up to nearly $200 million in savings.

The state has also used this flexibility to halt fraudulent sick leave abuses that unions used to inflate overtime expenses. Workers had called in sick for their own shifts, and then worked the next shift on overtime pay. School districts have also been freed to pay teachers based on performance and not just seniority, and to keep better performing teachers rather than longer term time servers who have long given up caring about their job performance.

Walker's collective bargaining reforms have added up to over $1 billion in documented savings for state and local governments in Wisconsin in the first year alone. That enabled the entire state deficit to be eliminated without yet another tax increase, and without layoffs of teachers and other government workers, except in three school districts that have continued to resist implementing the reforms.

Moreover, because of the reforms the budget was balanced while property taxes declined on average statewide for the first time in 15 years. The Wall Street Journal reported on April 17, "The [Wisconsin] state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective bargaining overhaul and budget cuts." Soaring property taxes had previously increased every year since 1998, up 43% during that time. The Journal added, "A year ago amid their sit-ins and other protests, the unions said such policies would lead to the decline and fall of civilization, but the only things that are falling are tax collections."

In short, Walker's reforms are working, spectacularly.

Getting Collective Bargaining Right

The right of collective bargaining for private sector workers is not at issue in Wisconsin, though President Obama and the Democrats want to confuse the public on precisely that question. Under current law, there are plenty of market and legal checks on private sector unions to keep them from abusing the public. The ultimate limit if they push too far is that their company will be driven out of business. Though that does happen sometimes, that is only when management fails to do its job in resisting excessive union demands. Otherwise, within current market and legal checks, private sector unions actually perform a helpful market function in ensuring that employers keep up with market wages and working conditions as expeditiously as possible.

Not so for government unions, which are two words that together spell oppression. Federal, state or even local governments cannot be driven out of business. They gain their revenue forcibly through taxes. As a result, there is no market limit to how much such unions can pirate from the public.

Indeed, public sector unions choose their own employers, by voting for the governing policymakers for each political entity -- county boards, school boards, legislators, Governors, etc. This creates an inherent conflict of interest, as a politician can be negotiating regarding the pay and benefits for his own political supporters at public expense. That can lead to oppressive political corruption, where there is no political limit as well as no market limit to the plunder of the public by government unions.

As a result, nationwide public employee unions plunder taxpayers for pay for state and local government workers that is on average 45% more than the taxpayers paying those salaries make in the private sector. The bill to taxpayers for each of these workers includes an average hourly wage of $26.25, plus another $13.56 in hourly costs for benefits, for total hourly costs of $39.81, or $80,000 per year on average. This is true in Wisconsin as well. Indeed, the Manhattan Institute's E.J. McMahon reports that for public school teachers in Milwaukee, the annual cost of family health coverage is $26,844, for which the teachers were paying nothing.

Why Gay Is Not the New Black

Dr. Michael Brown
Repeating what has been a rallying cry of gay activism for years, the cover of the December 16, 2008 issue of The Advocate announced, “Gay is the New Black: The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle.” Last week, on May 19th, headlines across the nation announced, “NAACP endorses gay marriage as ‘civil right.’” So, is gay the new black?

There are prominent black leaders who say yes, including Congressman John Lewis, who was active in the early Civil Rights movement. There are other prominent black leaders who say no, like Timothy F. Johnson, founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation.

For a number of reasons, I concur with Johnson and others who say that gay is not the new black.

1. There is no true comparison between skin color and behavior. Although gays and lesbians emphasize identity rather than behavior, homosexuality is ultimately defined by romantic attraction and sexual behavior. How can this be equated with the color of someone’s skin?

Skin color has no intrinsic moral quality, and there is no moral difference between being black or white (or yellow or red). In contrast, romantic attractions and sexual behaviors often have moral (or immoral) qualities, and there is no constitutional “right” to fulfill one’s sexual and romantic desires.

Also, skin color cannot be hidden, whereas a person’s sexual orientation is, generally speaking, not outwardly recognizable (unless it is willfully displayed). Put another way, blacks do not have to “come out,” since their identity is self-evident, whereas gays and lesbians have to come out (or act out) for their identity to be clearly known.

2. The very real hardships endured by many gays and lesbians cannot fairly be compared with the monstrous suffering endured by African Americans. Conservative gay journalist Charles Winecoff wrote, “Newsflash: blacks in America didn’t start out as hip-hop fashion designers; they were slaves. There’s a big difference between being able to enjoy a civil union with the same sex partner of your choice – and not being able to drink out of a water fountain, eat at a lunch counter, or use a rest room because you don’t have the right skin color.”

Figures Don't Lie: Democrats Do

Ann Coulter
It's been breaking news all over MSNBC, liberal blogs, newspapers and even The Wall Street Journal: "Federal spending under Obama at historic lows ... It's clear that Obama has been the most fiscally moderate president we've had in 60 years." There's even a chart!

I'll pause here to give you a moment to mop up the coffee on your keyboard. Good? OK, moving on ...

This shocker led to around-the-clock smirk fests on MSNBC. As with all bogus social science from the left, liberals hide the numbers and proclaim: It's "science"! This is black and white, inarguable, and why do Republicans refuse to believe facts?

Ed Schultz claimed the chart exposed "the big myth" about Obama's spending: "This chart -- the truth -- very clearly shows the truth undoubtedly." And the truth was, the "growth in spending under President Obama is the slowest out of the last five presidents."

Note that Schultz also said that the "part of the chart representing President Obama's term includes a stimulus package, too." As we shall see, that is a big, fat lie.

Schultz's guest, Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston confirmed: "And clearly, Obama has been incredibly tight-fisted as a president."

Everybody's keyboard OK?

On her show, Rachel Maddow proclaimed: "Factually speaking, spending has leveled off under President Obama. Spending is not skyrocketing under President Obama. Spending is flattening out under President Obama."

In response, three writers from "The Daily Show" said, "We'll never top that line," and quit.

Inasmuch as this is obviously preposterous, I checked with John Lott, one of the nation's premier economists and author of the magnificent new book with Grover Norquist: Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.

(I'm reviewing it soon, but you should start without me.)

It turns out Rex Nutting, author of the phony Marketwatch chart, i>attributes all spending during Obama's entire first year, up to Oct. 1, to President Bush.

That's not a joke.

That means, for example, the $825 billion stimulus bill, proposed, lobbied for, signed and spent by Obama, goes in ... Bush's column. (And if we attribute all of Bush's spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and No Child Left Behind to William Howard Taft, Bush didn't spend much either.)

Defending Tax Cuts for the ‘Rich’

Thomas Sowell
Republicans should revisit the arguments of the 1920s.

Democrats have been having a field day with the cry of “tax cuts for the rich” — for which Republicans seem to have no reply. This is especially surprising, because Democrats made the same arguments back in the 1920s, and the Republicans then not only had a reply, but one that eventually carried the day, when the top tax rate was brought down from 73 percent to 24 percent.

What was the difference then?

The biggest difference is that Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon took the trouble to articulate the case for lower tax rates, in articles that appeared in popular publications, using plain language that ordinary people could understand. Seldom do Republican leaders today even attempt to do any such thing.

In 1924, the ideas from these articles were collected in a book which Mellon titled “Taxation: The People’s Business.” That book has recently been reprinted by the University of Minnesota Law Library. Today’s Republicans would do well to get a copy of Mellon’s book, which shows how demagoguery about “tax cuts for the rich” can be exposed for the nonsense that it is.

People in the media could also benefit by seeing how the “tax cuts for the rich” demagoguery collapses like a house of cards when you subject it to logic and evidence.

Those who argue that “the rich” should pay a higher tax rate, and that the revenue this would bring in could be used to reduce the deficit, assume that higher tax rates equal higher tax revenues. But they do not.

Secretary Mellon pointed out that previously the government “received substantially the same revenue from high incomes with a 13 percent surtax as it received with a 65 percent surtax.” Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues.

High tax rates on high incomes, Mellon said, lead many of those who earn such incomes to withdraw their money “from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities” or otherwise find ways to avoid receiving income in taxable forms.

"Basketball"

New ad from American Crossroads

Stories from the Obama Economy

New Romney ad

YouTube description: Despite President Obama's attempts to distract from his failed record, the American people remember. These are stories from the Obama economy.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Party of Civil Rights

This is an excellent article telling the true history of the racist Democrat party. Too many people have believed their lies for far too long. - Reggie

Kevin Williamson
This magazine has long specialized in debunking pernicious political myths, and Jonah Goldberg has now provided an illuminating catalogue of tyrannical clichés, but worse than the myth and the cliché is the outright lie, the utter fabrication with malice aforethought, and my nominee for the worst of them is the popular but indefensible belief that the two major U.S. political parties somehow “switched places” vis-à-vis protecting the rights of black Americans, a development believed to be roughly concurrent with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the rise of Richard Nixon. That Republicans have let Democrats get away with this mountebankery is a symptom of their political fecklessness, and in letting them get away with it the GOP has allowed itself to be cut off rhetorically from a pantheon of Republican political heroes, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, who represent an expression of conservative ideals as true and relevant today as it was in the 19th century. Perhaps even worse, the Democrats have been allowed to rhetorically bury their Bull Connors, their longstanding affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan, and their pitiless opposition to practically every major piece of civil-rights legislation for a century. Republicans may not be able to make significant inroads among black voters in the coming elections, but they would do well to demolish this myth nonetheless.

Even if the Republicans’ rise in the South had happened suddenly in the 1960s (it didn’t) and even if there were no competing explanation (there is), racism — or, more precisely, white southern resentment over the political successes of the civil-rights movement — would be an implausible explanation for the dissolution of the Democratic bloc in the old Confederacy and the emergence of a Republican stronghold there. That is because those southerners who defected from the Democratic party in the 1960s and thereafter did so to join a Republican party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had been for a century. There is no radical break in the Republicans’ civil-rights history: From abolition to Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, from the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, there exists a line that is by no means perfectly straight or unwavering but that nonetheless connects the politics of Lincoln with those of Dwight D. Eisenhower. And from slavery and secession to remorseless opposition to everything from Reconstruction to the anti-lynching laws, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960, there exists a similarly identifiable line connecting John Calhoun and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Supporting civil-rights reform was not a radical turnaround for congressional Republicans in 1964, but it was a radical turnaround for Johnson and the Democrats.

The depth of Johnson’s prior opposition to civil-rights reform must be digested in some detail to be properly appreciated. In the House, he did not represent a particularly segregationist constituency (it “made up for being less intensely segregationist than the rest of the South by being more intensely anti-Communist,” as the New York Times put it), but Johnson was practically antebellum in his views. Never mind civil rights or voting rights: In Congress, Johnson had consistently and repeatedly voted against legislation to protect black Americans from lynching. As a leader in the Senate, Johnson did his best to cripple the Civil Rights Act of 1957; not having votes sufficient to stop it, he managed to reduce it to an act of mere symbolism by excising the enforcement provisions before sending it to the desk of President Eisenhower. Johnson’s Democratic colleague Strom Thurmond nonetheless went to the trouble of staging the longest filibuster in history up to that point, speaking for 24 hours in a futile attempt to block the bill. The reformers came back in 1960 with an act to remedy the deficiencies of the 1957 act, and Johnson’s Senate Democrats again staged a record-setting filibuster. In both cases, the “master of the Senate” petitioned the northeastern Kennedy liberals to credit him for having seen to the law’s passage while at the same time boasting to southern Democrats that he had taken the teeth out of the legislation. Johnson would later explain his thinking thus: “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us, since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this — we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

Dishonest Attacks, Dishonest Cover-up

New RNC ad


If you don't know what this ad is about, watch the videos below for the back story.


Who is Valerie Jarrett?

Trying to figure out Valerie Jarrett’s mysterious hold on Barack and Michelle Obama is a favorite guessing game in the parlors and dining rooms of Washington. No other White House official in history has enjoyed such a unique relationship with both a president and a first lady, and yet the mainstream media have ignored Jarrett’s enormous influence over the shape and direction of the Obama administration.

Jarrett’s official title — senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement — doesn’t begin to do justice to her unrivaled status in the White House. She is Ground Zero in the Obama operation — the first couple’s first friend and consigliere, the last person to leave the Oval Office after meetings, and the only White House official who dines with the first family in their private quarters at night.

“Valerie is the quintessential insider,” one of her longtime friends told me during an interview for my book, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House. “She functions as the eyes, ears, and nose of the president and first lady. She tells them who’s saying what about who, who’s loyal and who’s not. She advises them about who they should see when they visit a city or a foreign country. She determines who gets invited to the White House and who is left out in the cold.”

In the White House pecking order, Jarrett has more clout than the president’s chief of staff. During the savage internecine warfare between Jarrett and Obama’s first two chiefs of staff — Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley — Obama sided most of the time with Jarrett, a classic limousine liberal who believes that Obama was elected president in order to engineer social change. Ultimately, Jarrett emasculated Emanuel and Daley and forced them from their jobs.

She has also been responsible for much of the incompetence and amateurism that have been the hallmarks of Obama’s time in office. Indeed, Jarrett has been on the wrong side of practically every consequential issue to come across the president’s desk. Some examples of her bonehead advice:

● Though both Emanuel and political strategist David Axelrod warned Obama time and again that he didn’t have the votes to ram a comprehensive healthcare bill through Congress, Jarrett was among those who persuaded the president to ignore their advice and go for broke. The result: the hugely expensive, unworkable, unpopular, and probably unconstitutional program known as Obamacare.

● Emanuel tangled with Jarrett over her effort to put the prestige of the presidency behind Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Emanuel believed that Jarrett was working on behalf of her old boss, Mayor Daley, and his political cronies, who stood to benefit from the billions of dollars that would be spent on the Olympics. That idea seemed to be lost on the president, who went to Copenhagen to make an impassioned plea for the Olympics, and came back home with egg on his face.

● Jarrett gave her stamp of approval for the $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar company that went belly up. Jarrett had close ties to the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which controlled 35.7 percent of Solyndra. The foundation had made a sizable donation to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Jarrett once served as chairwoman and where one of Obama’s best friends, Eric Whitaker, is currently executive vice president.

● When Jarrett pushed Obama’s proposal to require church-run hospitals and universities to give their employees free contraception, chief of staff Bill Daley secretly arranged an Oval Office meeting between the president and New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, who argued that the policy violated the principle of religious freedom. When Jarrett learned about Daley’s end-run, she went to the president and vented her anger. After that, Daley realized his days were numbered and resigned.

House Republican Women: Working for You

YouTube description: We Republican women are working together to create jobs, reduce spending, help small businesses, and put health care decisions back into your hands. While our backgrounds are different, one thing is not: we are all conservative reformers -- committed to leaving America better for our children and grandchildren than it was for us. We know what it's like to run a budget, a business and a family. So we will continue to stand on the House floor, debate in Committee hearings, fight against big-government policies, and listen to those of you who elected us. We -- as Republican women -- are leading the charge to make America great again.



h/t Hot Air

Targeting John Roberts

The left tries to intimidate the High Court on ObamaCare.

You can tell the Supreme Court is getting closer to its historic ObamaCare ruling because the left is making one last attempt to intimidate the Justices. The latest effort includes taunting Chief Justice John Roberts that if the Court overturns any of the law, he'll forever be defined as a partisan "activist."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy recently took the extraordinary step of publicly lobbying the Chief Justice after oral argument but before its ruling. "I trust that he will be a Chief Justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the judicial branch," the Democrat declared on the Senate floor. "The conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the Court."

He added that, "Given the ideological challenge to the Affordable Care Act and the extensive, supportive precedent, it would be extraordinary for the Supreme Court not to defer to Congress in this matter that so clearly affects interstate commerce."

The elite liberal press has followed with pointed warnings that Mr. Roberts has a choice—either uphold ObamaCare, or be portrayed a radical who wants to repeal the New Deal and a century of precedent. This attack is itself clearly partisan, but it's worth rehearsing the arguments to show how truly flawed they are.

The first fallacy is defining judicial activism as overturning a Congressional law. Since Marbury v. Madison established judicial review in 1803, the High Court has overturned hundreds of laws in part or whole. The real measure of activism is whether the Court's reasoning is rooted in Constitutional principle. If it is, the Court is not activist but is adhering to the highest legal principles.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act, we'd argue that upholding the individual mandate to buy health insurance requires far more judicial activism. That's because if the Court finds this federal mandate to be Constitutional, it will have no principle on which to limit future purchase mandates.

Bain Capital attack backlash?

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin reacts









Mitt's Mistake

I believe Romney will wimp out like Dewey. He ran in the primary with a policy of scorched earth against every Republican but he will use none of that with Obama. For months, I said Romney is the weakest candidate and if he gets the nomination, he will lose. Guess what? - Reggie

Obama's relationships, just like Reagan's, are relevant: Will Romney fight like Truman -- or wimp out like Dewey?

"The major issue of this campaign is the direct political, personal and moral responsibility of Democratic Party leadership--in the White House and in Congress -- for this unprecedented calamity which has befallen us." -- Ronald Reagan accepting the Republican presidential nomination, July 1980

"He had just one strategy -- attack, attack, attack, carry the fight to the enemy's camp." -- Historian David McCullough on Harry Truman's upset 1948 win over Thomas E. Dewey

Why is Barack Obama's life just like Ronald Reagan's when it comes to the presidency?

What if Barack Obama had spent 20 years with the black Thomas Sowell as his mentor -- instead of the black Jeremiah Wright?

Who died and left liberals in charge of defining the rules of acceptability in the 2012 campaign?

Why is the Romney campaign apparently deciding to play by those liberal media rules?

And what's up with Speaker Boehner saying on ABC's This Week:

"The issue is not Reverend Wright. The issue is the economy. This kind of nonsense shouldn't happen. The election's going be about the economy and getting Americans back to work."

And Karl Rove, who said this on Fox News Sunday:

"Trying to dredge up Jeremiah Wright, right or wrong, after this issue was litigated four years ago by John McCain, who decided not to litigate it, was stupid. And so, you want to try and do things that are helpful, not hurtful."

These questions and more come to mind as Governor Romney and his team abruptly fled the field of battle the other day after someone leaked (to the New York Times) a proposal to a pro-Romney SuperPAC that, as described by the Times,

…calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

Like clockwork, the Governor whose head-on attacks on Newt Gingrich helped win him the nomination immediately caved to the predictable screeches of liberal outrage. Outrage over a proposed attack ad that in fact never actually existed.

Romney, recall, confronted with a Gingrich surge during the primaries never flinched when a pro-Romney SuperPAC did for real to Gingrich what was only being proposed for Obama. Suddenly Romney was no more Mr. Nice Guy -- smilingly attacking Gingrich for whining when Gingrich angrily reacted for being attacked by Romney's SuperPAC as an "influence peddler" "erratic" and someone who had resigned the Speakership "in disgrace." Brutal anti-Gingrich commercials hit the air, like this one called "Baggage" in which Gingrich was pictured as unethical, cashing in on his political connections for big bucks, a pal of Nancy Pelosi and a supporter of abortion. And this one titled "Whoops" in which Gingrich was assailed for repeated mistakes of judgment.

Romney and his team had not a problem in the world with all this -- and frankly they shouldn't have. Politics ain't bean bag, as Mr. Dooley once said, and Gingrich of all people should have been better prepared for inevitable attacks like this. He wasn't. Game Romney.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

American Crossroads: "Great II"

California's bad dream: Budget deficit hits $16B, unemployment 11%, businesses exit

What happened to the California of John Wayne and Ronald Reagan? Where’s the Golden State, where young men and women flocked to pursue the California Dream—a variation of the American Dream but with better weather?

It still thrives in Silicon Valley, as this week’s expected Facebook IPO demonstrates. By some estimates, Facebook, which was founded in a Harvard dorm room but moved West, now is worth $100 billion. Otherwise, the dream has become something of a nightmare. Even Hollywood is eager to move movie production to Michigan, Louisiana and New Zealand.

As recently as a decade ago, California was attracting hundreds of thousands of migrants from other states every year, along with hundreds of thousands of immigrants, legal and illegal, from foreign countries. No more. According to the 2012 edition of the “Rich States, Poor States” survey by the American Legislative Exchange Council, “California suffered a net loss in domestic migration of 1.5 million people from 2001 to 2010, as well as a 2.5 percent non-farm employment loss. Unfortunately for the Golden State, economic decline is unlikely to stop anytime soon.”

Even immigrants from Mexico have started returning home, despite the horrible violence in that country, because the economy South of the Border is growing faster than California’s.

Unemployment rises to 11 percent

Bucking national trends, California’s unemployment rose in March to 11 percent. That’s almost 3 percentage points above the national 8.2 percent rate. As recently as the mid-2000s, California’s rate was only 1 percentage point higher. The last time the state’s unemployment rate was below double digits was in 2008. And California vies with Illinois as the state with the worst credit rating on the bond markets.

State finances in shock

As a result, the state’s finances are in shock. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that the state’s budget deficit, according to Department of Finance estimates, had soared to $16 billion from the $9.2 billion predicted in January. So the deficit rose by 74 percent in just four months.

Mark Levin rails against Romney camp for avoiding Rev. Wright issue





Banking sector puts its money on Mitt Romney

When the head of JPMorgan Chase met with shareholders to answer for a trading loss of more than $2 billion Tuesday, it was against an evolving political backdrop: Donors from big banks are betting on Mitt Romney to defeat President Obama and repeal new restraints on risky, large-scale investments.

“There’s no doubt that there’s been a big diminution of support for the president,’’ said William M. Daley, Obama’s former chief of staff and a former top JPMorgan Chase executive. “People in the financial services sector are saying, ‘The president has been too tough on us, both in policy and on rhetoric.’ ’’

The top five donor groups in Romney’s campaign are individuals and political action committees associated with large financial institutions, led by Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, according to information compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks campaign donations.

By contrast, Obama’s top five contributor groups include individuals and PACs affiliated with high technology giants Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and the global law firms DLA Piper and Sidley Austin, and do not include those associated with banks. In 2008, financial institutions backed him generously.

Analysts said the JPMorgan loss could be a political opportunity for Obama - and an obstacle for Romney.

On Monday, Obama was already seizing on the JPMorgan loss to bolster his reelection effort and underscore his continuing support for new and pending financial regulations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, which includes the controversial Volcker Rule, a provision that would prohibit banks from making speculative investments with their own funds.

“This is the best, or one of the best-managed banks. You could have a bank that isn’t as strong, isn’t as profitable making those same bets and we might have had to step in,’’ Obama said on ABC TV’s “The View,’’ adding praise for JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon. “That’s exactly why Wall Street reform is so important.’’

The JPMorgan loss “certainly fortifies the argument for stricter financial regulation,’’ said William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former adviser to President Clinton. “And since President Obama has been on one side and Mitt Romney has been on the other, you would have to say it will make it a little bit harder for Mitt Romney to fortify the position he has articulated, which is that Dodd-Frank should be repealed.’’

Campaign finance records also show that the financial services sector is, to some extent, hedging its bets by donating money to the Democratic National Committee.

Mayo Clinic fires Female Genital Mutilation doctor

YouTube description: Dr. Elhagaly is no longer employed or caring for patients at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea. We are working with his patients to transition their care to another physician. Because this is a personnel issue, we cannot comment further on Dr. Elhagaly's employment status.

Female circumcision in children, referred to as female genital mutilation in U.S. legal statutes, is a felony-level child abuse crime. Mayo Clinic strongly opposes the procedure and it has never been performed at any Mayo Clinic facility.

--------------

Hatem Elhagaly (AKA "Hatem Al Haj") worked as a doctor in Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Albert Lea, MN. His special interests are in child development.

He is also a proponent of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

In an Arabic-language paper entitled "Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine" (original here and here), Elhagaly (AKA "Al Haj") repeatedly points to the idea that FGM is "an honor" for women, ignoring FGM's extremely detrimental effects on women's health and the barbarity of the practice. He attempts to justify his ideas by referencing scholars from several schools of Islamic thought and also the words of Muhammad, including the idea that FGM is desirable "because it is more beautiful to behold and better for her husband."

Hatem Elhagaly was taking care of young girls in Albert Lea, MN.




UPDATE: Not familiar with Female Genital Mutilation? Read two articles describing it from Wikipedia and the World Health Organization.

Blind Chinese Activist Who Fought Forced Abortions Arrives in NYC With Wife and Children

Honestly, when this Chinese dissident left the US Embassy I thought his chance of ever seeing freedom were gone. Thankfully, I was wrong. - Reggie

NEW YORK (AP) — A blind Chinese legal activist who escaped house arrest, endured a nearly monthlong diplomatic tussle and a hurried daylong flight paused ever so briefly upon his arrival in New York City before taking up a familiar fight.

Taken from a hospital in his homeland and put on a plane for the U.S. after Chinese authorities suddenly told him Saturday to pack and prepare to leave, Chen Guangcheng embraced his new surroundings at New York University and renewed his call to fight injustice.

"I believe that no matter how difficult the environment nothing is impossible if you put your heart to it," he told a cheering crowd at NYU shortly after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday evening.

"We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice. So, I think that all people should apply themselves to this end to work for the common good worldwide."

Chen was suddenly allowed to leave China earlier in the day, ending a dispute that tested U.S.-China relations.


Blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng arrives at the campus of New York University

The Tea Party Scorecard

How do the Tea Party candidates, lawmakers rate?

 

Obama Campaign Responds to Breitbart 'Kenya' Booklet Story

Though it quickly became an Internet punchline, Attack Watch should not be dismissed. Attack Watch is paid for and an extension of Obama for America, which is part of BarackObama.com, the online campaign hub for the White House. That means that the Obama campaign itself has decided to comment on the Breitbart News' exclusive surrounding a 1991 booklet published by President Obama's literary agency that falsely claimed the President was born in Kenya. It's also worth noting that this claim extended to the lit agency's website until 2007, two months after Obama announced his candidacy for president.

What's fascinating about the Obama campaign's response is the many questions it leaves unanswered:
Fact: The Breitbart bloggers chose to ignore the very clear facts that belie their claim.
  • The literary agent who put together the 1991 pamphlet in question noted that, “there was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.” The mistake in the pamphlet was the result of “nothing more than a fact checking error” by the agent.
  • Despite the Breitbart bloggers’ claim that the booklet was an attempt to manipulate some carefully crafted persona, numerous news outlets had already reported the President as Hawaiian-born. A year before the pamphlet’s release in 1991, a New York Times article on Barack Obama’s election to head the Harvard Law Review reported correctly, “Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.”
As far as that first bullet point, what the Obama camp won't tell you is that Breitbart News made numerous attempts to contact the literary agency without any kind of response. Once the agency finally released a statement, we published it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Atlas is Starting to Shrug

The following is a partial transcript from the Rush Limbaugh show today. To read the full transcript, click here. However, I want to tell you a couple of things about Atlas Shrugged. It is a very long book but I bought the abridged audio version and have listened to it two or three times. It is amazing how similar our government is today to the government in the book. The movie Atlas Shrugged was the first part of a three part venture so the entire story isn't told in the movie. I understand part two is currently in production. - Reggie

Rush Limbaugh
RUSH: Mike in North Carolina, I'm glad you called, Open Line Friday, your turn, sir, hello.

CALLER: Well, Rush, I gotta tell you what an honor it is to talk to you today.

RUSH: Thank you. I appreciate that, sir.

CALLER: I have been a student of the Limbaugh Institute for just about ten years, and I gotta tell you, I have a question for you today that I hope will demonstrate that I have indeed been paying attention. And the question is, what would our society look like if the 99%-ers, mostly, if the 1%-ers just quit? Just decided that they had enough and they cashed in their chips, pulls their shutters, shingled their shops --

RUSH: Would you like to read a book about this?

CALLER: Well, sure.

RUSH: There's a book called Atlas Shrugged. It's a long book. Have you heard of it?

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: It's by Ayn Rand, and it's about this very thing. It's about the producers throwing up their hands in frustration and just saying, "To heck with it. I'm not doing this anymore. I am not gonna pay these exorbitant tax rates. I'm not gonna be one of the few in this country productive and everybody feeds off me," and they just quit. It is a very, very long book. A movie was made of it within the past year, which, by the way, I'm sure you could rent that DVD somewhere.



The Great Liberal Lie: Jonah Goldberg on the Left's War on Words

YouTube description: Jonah Goldberg discusses his books, including his latest, "The Tyranny of Cliches." How does the left twist words to fit their political agenda? Find out.

Glenn Beck's exposé on Barack Obama and his “fairy tale” story

This is the entire Glenn Beck program from May 10th. Beck has put the episode on the outside of his pay wall in order for this information to go viral. Please, link to this video, embed it, tweet it, etc. To read more about this, click here. - Reggie

'The Amateur'

These videos are from Sean Hannity's show the past two nights where he talked to Ed Klein about his new book, The Amateur. - Reggie

Here is the info from the inside flap of the book:

Think you know the real Barack Obama? You don’t—not until you’ve read The Amateur

In this stunning exposé, bestselling author Edward Klein—a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine—pulls back the curtain on one of the most secretive White Houses in history. He reveals a callow, thin-skinned, arrogant president with messianic dreams of grandeur supported by a cast of true-believers, all of them united by leftist politics and an amateurish understanding of executive leadership.

In The Amateur you’ll discover:

Why the so-called “centrist” Obama is actually in revolt against the values of the society he was elected to lead

Why Bill Clinton loathes Barack Obama and tried to get Hillary to run against him in 2012
The spiteful rivalry between Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey
How Obama split the Kennedy family
How Obama has taken more of a personal role in making foreign policy than any president since Richard Nixon—with disastrous results
How Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett are the real powers behind the White House throne

The Amateur is a reporter’s book, buttressed by nearly 200 interviews, many of them with the insiders who know Obama best. The result is the most important political book of the year. You will never look at Barack Obama the same way again.

Part 1, May 16th





Part 2, May 17th



Nice Try, Joe: You're Not Foolin' Coal Country

New RNC ad. For those that don't know, a prison inmate garnered over 40% of the vote in the West Virginia Democrat primary on May 8th. Now, Obama/Biden want coal but I doubt they will attempt to stop the EPA from shutting down coal plants. - Reggie

Day One

New Romney ad.

YouTube description: Mitt Romney has outlined a bold agenda to spur economic growth and create jobs. On his first day in office, he will approve the Keystone pipeline, introduce pro-growth tax reforms, and repeal Obamacare.

The Vetting - Obama's Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: 'Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'

Breitbart broke this story yesterday and in their disclaimer, below, they say they still believe Obama was born in Hawaii. Why? This promotional booklet openly claims he was born in Kenya so why do people still cling to the Hawaii story after seeing this?

Honestly, I have never come down on either side of this issue because I believe there have been very relevant questions of whether he was born in Hawaii or Kenya. The problem is if he was born in Kenya, he should never have been able to run for President. I really don't know where he was born but have we ever had to question the birthplace of Presidents #1 - #43? The fact we have to question his birthplace is disturbing and with this story Breitbart proves that Barack Obama was the first "birther."

There is one more thing I have wondered about but never posted. It is widely reported that Obama has a Connecticut social security number. How do you obtain that if you have never lived in Connecticut? - Reggie


Note from Senior Management:

Andrew Breitbart was never a "Birther," and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of "Birtherism." In fact, Andrew believed, as we do, that President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961.

Yet Andrew also believed that the complicit mainstream media had refused to examine President Obama's ideological past, or the carefully crafted persona he and his advisers had constructed for him.

It is for that reason that we launched "The Vetting," an ongoing series in which we explore the ideological background of President Obama (and other presidential candidates)--not to re-litigate 2008, but because ideas and actions have consequences.

It is also in that spirit that we discovered, and now present, the booklet described below--one that includes a marketing pitch for a forthcoming book by a then-young, otherwise unknown former president of the Harvard Law Review.

It is evidence--not of the President's foreign origin, but that Barack Obama's public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.


Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama's then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."

The booklet, which was distributed to "business colleagues" in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel.

It also promotes Obama's anticipated first book, Journeys in Black and White--which Obama abandoned, later publishing Dreams from My Father instead.

Obama’s biography in the booklet is as follows (image and text below):


Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

Read the full report

And there is this...

Breitbart: Obama’s Lit Agency Used 'Born in Kenya' Bio Until 2007

Breitbart: Media Works To Suppress Obama 'Born in Kenya' Bio

h/t The Right Scoop for the video below:

Persecution in Nigeria

Boko Haram's murderous crusade against Christians.

Long a troubled nation, Nigeria now risks religious war. So far the killing essentially runs one way: Islamic extremists kill Christians. President Goodluck Jonathan has responded with good intentions and occasional arrests, including of a terrorist leader last Friday. However, if the government is unable to stop the killing the country's future will be at risk.

Like so many other former colonies, Nigeria stumbled almost immediately after gaining independence. Blessed with oil, it has suffered through multiple corrupt and repressive governments. It now is a functioning democracy, but the political process is complicated by the need to balance the ambitions of the Muslim north and Christian south.

Maintaining political peace has been made more urgent by persistent sectarian violence. The State Department emphasizes that "The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally enforced these protections." Unfortunately, the lack of state persecution does not protect Nigerians against private violence.

Observed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its most recent report, "Since 1999, more than 14,000 Nigerians have been killed in religiously-related violence between Muslims and Christians. The government of Nigeria continues to fail to prevent and contain acts of religiously-related violence, prevent reprisal attacks, or bring those responsible for such violence to justice." Muslim-dominated states in northern Nigeria also have applied Sharia law as part of their criminal codes and discriminated "against minority communities of Christians and Muslims."

The greatest threat today is the group Boko Haram, which has been active for three years. The group now appears to have at least some contacts with al Qaeda affiliates and some members have been discovered in Mali. Unfortunately, the organization has been steadily expanding its reach. The State Department's latest religious freedom report observed that "Violence, tension, and hostility between Christians and Muslims increased, particularly in the Middle Belt [divided roughly equally between Muslims and Christians], exacerbated by 'indigene' (native) and settler laws, discriminatory employment practices, and resource competition."

International Christian Concern regularly puts Nigeria in its Hall of Shame and similarly reported increased attacks on Christians in 2010 in the Middle Belt. According to ICC, "The year's worst attack occurred on March 7, as Muslims invaded villages around the [Plateau state] capital city of Jos. The mobs attacked sleeping families in their homes at 2 a.m. with machetes. More than 500 Christians were murdered that day, most of whom were women and children." Killings of Christians continued in nearby villages throughout the year.

Since then the situation has worsened. Observed State: "Violence between Christian and Muslim communities increased in several regions arising from complex factors, including economic disparity, ethnic identity, and seasonal migration patterns. Acute communal violence in the Middle Belt heightened tensions between religious groups." Yet, "even in areas outside the Middle Belt that did not otherwise experience violence, tensions remained between Christians and Muslims."

The growing violence is a genie that cannot easily be returned to the bottle. Noted the Commission: "The past year saw a dramatic rise in sectarian or religiously-related violence." Post-election riots in the north against the election of Jonathan, a Christian, killed some 800 people. "Although triggered by political issues, the post-election violence quickly became sectarian. In addition, Boko Haram, a militant group that espouses an extreme and violent interpretation of Islam, has been emboldened by the climate of impunity."

The group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," is deadly serious. No bromides about representing a "religion of peace." Added the Commission: "Boko Haram has shifted its tactics and emphasis by targeting, killing, and bombing Christians and Christian clergy and threatening to kill all remaining Christians in the north, while continuing its attacks against government officials, as well as killing hundreds of Muslims, including Muslim religious leaders who spoke out against the group." Also targeted have been Western-style schools in the north, which provide an education beyond memorization of the Koran.

Boko Haram does some of its killing retail, one by one. In March in the Muslim-majority city of Maiduguri, the terrorist group killed the 79-year-old mother of a local pastor. Her throat was slit with a note in Arabic placed on her chest, proclaiming that "We will get you soon."

However, the group also murders wholesale, attacking church services. For instance, April was not a good month for Nigerian Christians. Reported the Economist: "In Kano, a city in northern Nigeria, gunmen on motorbikes killed at least 20 Christian worshippers in a university lecture theater where churches hold their weekly services. They threw small bombs into the church before shooting those trying to flee. In another attack on a church service in the northeast town of Maiduguri shooters opened fire, killing five people including the priest. Seven people were killed on Monday in a bomb targeting a police commissioner's convoy in the eastern town of Jolingo in the usually peaceful Taraba state."

It could have been worse. On Easter Sunday in the city of Kaduna a suicide bomber was blocked from getting into the compound of two Protestant churches. Instead, he detonated his bomb on a nearby road, which still killed 41 people. Later the same day there was a bombing in the city of Jos, which killed one person and injured others. Last Christmas 44 people were killed by a church bombing in Abuja, the nation's capital.

No one claimed responsibility for the April murders, though they looked like the work of Boko Haram. However, warned the Economist, "it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell when Boko Haram is responsible for such violence and when other groups, inspired by their methods, are to blame." Boko Haram has destroyed an incredible 350 churches throughout northern Nigeria over the past year. So far this year the group is estimated to have killed nearly 500 people.

Nigeria's Catholic leaders have called on Muslim leaders to speak out and act to end the violence. Like in Pakistan many Nigerian Muslims send their children to Islamiyya, or religious, schools, which provide few practical skills. Educator Rotimi Eyitayo observed: "Those who stop going to school don't get education, they become a menace." In a country with too few jobs some of these ill-educated and unskilled appear open to Boko Haram's call.

In March Boko Haram abandoned preliminary talks with the government. Unfortunately, the group has few negotiable objectives. It insists on the release of all followers from jail and has variously proposed creation of an Islamic state in the north and imposition of strict Sharia law across all of Nigeria. Last month it released a video threatening to "devour" Jonathan and "end" his government after he pledged to bring the group under control by mid-year. The group proclaimed that it would "never give up as we fight the infidels." Apparently political objectives are secondary: Boko Haram's members simply want to kill Christians.