Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Labor’s Federal Funding Skyrockets Under Obama

Judicial Watch ^ | September 13, 2012

The Obama Administration has rewarded its big labor allies with lucrative federal grants, including millions of dollars to help them strengthen unions in Iraq, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch.
The information comes straight from government records gathered in the course of a lengthy JW investigation into the administration’s tight relationship with the nation’s powerful labor movement. Since Obama moved to the White House federal funding for big labor has skyrocketed to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
A chunk of the money is being funneled to unions so they can increase labor organization around the globe, the records show. In most cases the American taxpayer dollars are going to leftist groups in the developing world. For instance, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity has received nearly $3 million to strengthen labor unions in Iraq. The group is the international arm of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the nation’s largest federation of unions representing 12 million workers.
The AFL-CIO offshoot also got a chunk of change from Uncle Sam for various other causes. For example, it raked in an additional $2.5 million for “labor outreach” last year and $1.2 million from the State Department to combat human trafficking in Asia. Earlier this year the group got an additional $721,310 for more labor outreach. This brings the total amount of federal grants awarded to the Solidary Center to $71,652,403, the records show. JW compiled a spreadsheet of all the transactions.
The Solidarity Center is run by politically-connected figures in the labor movement. Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeny is chairman of the board, former AFL-CIO executive councilman William Lucy is vice chairman and current AFL-CIO President Dick Trumka is the secretary and treasurer. The center was founded in 1997, but didn’t receive federal assistance till a decade later.
Under Obama the government cash has flowed generously with most of the money coming from the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), created by President John Kennedy in 1961 to provide humanitarian assistance around the world. In fiscal year 2011 (the latest available stats) the Solidarity Center got north of $14 million, which is roughly half of its annual budget in 2009 and 2010. All the grants were rewarded to help increase labor organizations around the world.
Additionally, JW found that the National Labor College, which bills itself as “the nation’s only accredited higher education institution devoted exclusively to educating union members, leaders and staff,” has received nearly $3 million in federal grants since 2009. This includes a $1.1 million emergency preparedness grant from the Department of Transportation earlier this year. Of interesting note is that AFL-CIO President Dick Trumka, who serves as secretary and treasurer of the Solidarity Center, is the chairman of the college’s board of directors.
Big labor’s boost in federal funding is strangely similar to the surge experienced by the open borders movement under Obama. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) has also seen its federal funding soar since one of its top officials, senior vice president Cecilia Muñoz, got a job in the Obama White House. Last year a JW investigation uncovered documents that show the government cash more than doubled the year Muñoz joined the White House, from $4.1 million to $11 million.

Mr. President, Mitt Romney Is Not the Enemy: Al Qaeda is. Please inform your Ministry of Truth.

The American Spectator ^ | September 13, 2012 | Ben Stein

So, let me get this straight:

It is September 11, 2012. An Al Qaeda sponsored mob is marching, running, screaming towards the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Supposedly they are angry about an e-mail cartoon about the Islamic figure, Mohammed. It is known right away that the organizers of the march are the same entity that did the mass murder of Americans on 9.11.01.

The Embassy issues an apology for an American using his free speech rights about a matter of deep concern. They attempt to appease the mob. It doesn't work. The mobs acts violently and disrespectfully towards the U.S. Embassy. They are al Qaeda. This is what they do.
No comment or almost none from Mr. Obama.
Then an al Qaeda mob attacks the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya, burns it, kills the U.S. Ambassador and three other heroic American diplomats. Again, in a classic al Qaeda move, it is all timed perfectly to infuriate the USA. It isn't spontaneous. It was 9/11, for Pete's sake.
No comment from Mr. Obama except terse condolences.
Then along comes Governor Romney, who rightly says, "Hey, why are we appeasing an al Qaeda mob? Why aren't we calling these guys the vicious killers that they are? Why are we back in this apology to bad guys mode?"
Then, and only then, the Obama White House goes into hyper drive. It turns out that the real problem is not al Qaeda. No, and it's not Mr. Obama's appeasement. No, the real threat to America is (wait for it), Mitt Romney. Yes!!! According to White House uber-pal, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Romney is working with the terrorists against the U.S. government by calling for criticism of the al Qaeda!
Yes, Romney is the enemy for pointing out that Mr. Obama is ass kissing the terrorists!(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Copies Jimmy Carter Again!

Rush ^ | September 13, 2012 | Rush Limbaugh


RUSH: Here's Obama last night on CBS Evening News with Steve Kroft.

OBAMA: There's a broader lesson to be learned here. Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to, uhhh, shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that. Uh, that, uhh, eh, you know, it's important for you to, uh, make sure that the statements th-that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make 'em.

KROFT: Do you think it was irresponsible?

OBAMA: Uhh, I'll let the American people judge that.

RUSH: That's all lies. Romney didn't say anything that wasn't true. He didn't "shoot first and aim later." He didn't get his facts wrong. This is Obama capitalizing on the narrative. Where have we heard this before? Here's Jimmy Carter on August 15th, 1980.

CARTER 1980: In their fantasy world, all the complex global changes of the world since World War II have never happened. In their fantasy America, all problems have simple solutions -- simple and wrong. It's a make-believe world, a world of good guys and bad guys where some politicians shoot first and ask questions later.

RUSH: Ohhhh! Here he is quoting Jimmy Carter again, and there's Carter saying that it's a "fantasy world" to think there are "good guys and bad guys" in the world, that that's fantasy. He went on to say, Carter did, "The GOP's a party with a narrow vision, a party that's afraid of the future, a party whose leaders are inclined to shoot from the hip, a party that's never been willing to put its investment in human beings who are below them in economic and social status."

Does that not sound exactly like Democrats of today?

Losers, I might say!

September 11, 2012—and Obama Apologizes! ^

Four Americans are killed in Libya after U.S. apology for film.

Obama Record: Four Americans are killed in Libya, our consulate burned and our Egyptian embassy stormed on the anniversary of 9/11 after we apologize for a film allegedly "insulting to Islam." Arab Spring, Mr. President?
Maybe President Obama shouldn't have skipped all those national intelligence briefings. The burning of our Libyan consulate in Benghazi, the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others, including two U.S. Marines, and the storming of our embassy in Egypt after our diplomats apologized for a film made in the U.S. should show just who is the foreign policy novice in the 2012 presidential campaign.
The Obama administration is attempting to walk back the damage done by an apology issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for a 14-minute trailer for a film called "The Innocence of Muslims" posted on YouTube, part of a two-hour, little-seen film produced by Sam Bacile, a 52-year-old California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew.
As the late, great Andrew Breitbart famously said in a tweet to someone who demanded he apologize for this or that, "Apologize for what? Should we apologize for the exercise of free speech in a democracy?"
Yet that is what the U.S. Embassy in Cairo did...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Barry always knows when it's time to bow down to Allah.


Human Events ^ | 9/13/2012 | Michael Barone

One of the services of the Simpson-Bowles Commission was to set out a path for tax reform, with lower income tax rates and removal of many tax preferences — or, to use the commission’s term, tax expenditures.

It’s an approach that has been tried before and worked. Ronald Reagan called for such a reform in 1984, and after much negotiating, it was hammered out in 1986. Lead roles were played by Treasury Secretary James Baker; the Democratic chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski; and the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Bob Packwood.
It wasn’t easy work, and at one point it required an extra pitcher or two of beer at an Irish pub for Packwood and his staffers.

Mitt Romney has endorsed a similar procedure. So has Paul Ryan, who included it in the budget he steered to passage in the House.
Romney and Ryan have been criticized for not providing specifics on which tax preferences they would eliminate.
But neither did the Simpson-Bowles Commission, which said “the precise details and exact transition rules should be worked out in a variety of ways by the relevant congressional committees and the Treasury Department.” That’s how it worked in 1984-86.
And at least some of the relevant congressional players have been working at it already. Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has been working the numbers and says he will be ready to advance a proposal next year if, as seems likely, Republicans hold their House majority.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, who will be finance committee chairman if Republicans win a majority in the Senate, says he is ready to move, too. He says he has a good working relationship with the committee’s top Democrat, Max Baucus.
Baucus has been willing to work on bipartisan proposals in the past, especially when he is about to face the voters in Republican-leaning Montana. He supported the 2001 Bush tax cuts when his seat was up in 2002, and it’s up again in 2014.
Those criticizing Romney and Ryan for being unspecific point out, correctly, that the tax preferences whose abolition or limitation would produce the most tax revenue are widely popular. There was little support on either side of the aisle for an Obama proposal to further limit the deductibility of charitable contributions, for example.
But people may be ready to limit the home mortgage deduction. Rude events have shown us that the tax code confers an outsize benefit to people who buy homes.
Encouraging home ownership sounds like a worthy goal. But do we really have to allow full deductibility of a $1,000,000 home mortgage to do so? Anyone who can qualify for a loan that size will probably want to buy in any case.
And why should mortgages on second homes be deductible? Simpson-Bowles explicitly put that on the table.
Then there’s the deduction for state and local taxes. This is a subsidy for high-spending states and cities and for the public employee unions that rule the roost there.
High earners in such states have been voting Democratic for most of the last 20 years. Evidently they don’t mind paying higher taxes.
Republicans, including Romney and Ryan, have explicitly endorsed extracting more revenues from high earners who, they point out, benefit disproportionately from such deductions. They just don’t want tax rates to go up because that works against job creation.
The biggest obstacle to 1986-style tax reform is Barack Obama. In his acceptance speech, he reiterated his call for higher tax rates on high earners.
That’s as much of a deal-killer for Republicans as his late-in-the-day insistence on $400 billion in additional revenues in the August 2011 grand bargain negotiations, documented once again in Bob Woodward’s “The Price of Politics.”
Obama also said he wouldn’t agree to limit the home mortgage deductions for “middle class families.” That could be a deal-killer too.
Republicans will never agree to higher tax rates because the last Republican leader to do so, the first George Bush, wound up getting 37 percent of the vote. Demanding that they do so makes any bipartisan solution impossible.
Other Democrats seem more flexible than Obama. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner spoke approvingly of a Simpson-Bowles tax reform in the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper has endorsed the whole Simpson-Bowles report.
Woodward reports that during the grand bargain negotiations, congressional leaders of both parties voted Obama “off the island.” Voters who want Simpson-Bowles-type tax reform can do that in November.

Internal Emails Show Law Journal Rejected Article Because Author Was ‘Incredibly Conservative’!

Newsbusters ^ | September 13, 2012 | Randy Hall

When we discuss liberal bias in the media here at NewsBusters, we usually refer to items on television news programs or stories in newspapers across the country, but left-wing intolerance and bias against those who disagree is present in many other facets of our culture, particularly in academia.

The latest example of this intolerance for dissent comes out of Harvard University where law students there editing a journal declined to publish an article that was submitted because its author was “incredibly conservative” which made the editors uncomfortable, especially since he had done some work in the past for the hated Bush Administration.

The allegation was first reported by David Lat at the Above the Law blog based on some emails he received from a discussion group set up by editors of the Harvard Law School Human Rights Journal. Originally intended to be a private discussion among journal editors, the emails demonstrate a flagrant bias against those who don’t toe the liberal line.

Entitled “A Look Inside the Law Review Sausage Factory -- and Possible Evidence of Bias Against Conservatives,” Lat's article explores the behind-the-scenes process editors and reviewers use to approve or reject articles submitted for possible publication. Lat removed the names of the individuals in the reprinted emails but kept the rest unchanged. It is still definitely not a pretty picture.
Near the end of a lengthy email containing both positive and negative substantive comments about a submitted article, an HHRJ editor stated:
In addition, I am a little concerned based upon [Author D]'s CV. He is incredibly conservative, clerked for [Conservative Justice A], worked in the White House under Bush, questioned [Liberal Justice B] during her confirmation hearings in Congress, and has written critically on [Liberal Justice C] in the wall street journal. Maybe that background isn’t important to all of you and I understand the need to have HHRJ be open-minded buuuuuuut, yeah, doesn’t make me want to take this article.
“I’m sure you’re open-minded, buuuuuuut, yeah, you probably shouldn’t have put that in writing,” Lat responded.
Another editor replied back to this email and confirmed that his/her colleague's concerns were valid:
ok i trust [Editor Y]‘s judgment -- those all sound like major concerns and are enough to reject the article. i’m fine with rejection based on that -- we really need to act quickly on all this.
After the article was rejected, Lat contacted the publication's staff for comment, and Benjamin Fidler and Nicole Summers, editors-in-chief of the HHRJ, responded:
The Harvard Human Rights Journal is committed, first and foremost, to publishing the highest quality scholarship on human rights topics. Our submissions team sacrificed many, many hours of their free time during the semester and over the summer to provide the thorough analysis and reviews that you noted.
Without commenting on the discussion of any particular article, it would be grossly inaccurate to characterize the publication decision for any article as driven by any one factor alone. In particular, we want to stress very strongly that the editors’ agreement or disagreement with an author does not constitute a bar to publication.
That's an odd response considering that, while there may have been some other reasons not to consider the article, both of the editors reviewing it stated that the author's conservative politics played a role in him/her not getting published.
In fact, one might consider that a former Bush admin employee might actually have a very valuable perspective on human rights issues considering that in many ways, President Obama has gone far beyond what many considered the lines of propriety in his prosecution of the war on terrorism such as his routine orders to kill individuals via drone strikes.
Read more:

Liz Cheney: This is just the “logical outcome of three-and-a-half years of Obama foreign policy”

Hot Air ^ | 9/13/12 | Erika Johnsen

I just wanted to take a moment to draw your attention to this particular op-ed, because… dang. Former Bush-administration State Department official Liz Cheney is going straight for the jugular with this one, and it is as damning an account of President Obama’s foreign policy failures as I’ve read.

As Cheney points out, most of President Obama’s dealings on the international stage have been nothing short of a string of groveling apologies and attempts to weaken America and fall back to everybody else’s impuissant level, instead of us telling them what’s up, because apparently we don’t have to “moral authority” to do so. Wow.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

US median income lowest since 1995

FT Com ^ | 09-12-2012 | James Politi

The median income of American households dropped to its lowest level since 1995 last year, extending its decline during President Barack Obama’s tenure and highlighting the depth of the damage to the middle class inflicted by the recession and weak recovery.

According to annual data from the Census Bureau, median income adjusted for inflation – a closely watched measure of the financial health of average Americans – fell to $50,054 in 2011, or 1.5 per cent below its 2010 level and 4.1 per cent below its score when Mr Obama took office in 2009.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

CBS, NBC Morning Shows Push Libya Blame Onto Romney

NewsBusters ^

The NBC and CBS morning shows on Thursday both pushed the theme that Mitt Romney made a gaffe with his handling of Libya. At the same time, they shielded Barack Obama. Good Morning America's Jake Tapper stood out in highlighting problems for the President. In the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tapper asserted that "many questions remain about insufficient security at those diplomatic posts on the anniversary of 9/11 and U.S. leadership in the region in the wake of the Arab Spring."

In contrast, CBS This Morning devoted a large chunk of its coverage to allowing Barack Obama to defend himself. The three minute and 41 segment featured the President talking for a massive two and a half minutes. How long did Romney get in the Norah O'Donnell segment? A mere ten seconds.

Feds: Sebelius violated federal law campaigning for Obama!


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated federal law when she campaigned this winter for President Obama, federal investigators announced Wednesday.

Sebelius broke the law by making “extemporaneous partisan remarks” during a speech in February at a Human Rights Campaign Event in Charlotte, N.C., according to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). She made the comments in the city that would later host the Democratic National Convention.

"One of the imperatives is to make sure that we not only come together here in Charlotte to present the nomination to the president, but we make sure that in November, he continues to be president for another four years," Sebelius said, according to the agency and reported first by The Hill newspaper.
The agency said Sebelius’ comments violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits public officials from campaigning in an official capacity.

The agency said the Department of Health and Human Services after the event reclassified the trip from official to political and that the federal government was reimbursed for related costs.
However, the OSC still concluded Sebelius had violated federal law and has sent the report to the president -- the procedure for a government official appointed by a president and confirmed by the Senate.
OSC spokeswoman Ann O’Hanlon said there is no formal rule for dealing with an appointed official in violation of the act. However, the agency investigates at least 100 cases such cases annually with “a great majority” of them being resolved internally and violators getting a suspension.
O'Hanlon said the remaining cases are sent to the Merit System Protection Board, which can decide to terminate the employment of non-appointed federal employees or give them a 30-day suspension.
Still, Maureen Ferguson and Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association are calling for Sebelius’ resignation.
“Throughout her tenure at Health and Human Services, most of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' actions have advanced the president's political interests,” they said in a joint statement.
Sebelius could not be reached late Wednesday afternoon, but her response to the findings is supposed to be in the report forwarded to the president.
She also discussed state politics in the Feb. 25 speech, urging voters to defeat a ballot proposal opposing gay marriage and to elect a Democratic governor, according to The Hill.

Read more:

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Change we can believe in!

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the Chicago Teachers Union strike isn’t about what’s best for kids!

The Daily Caller ^ | 9-12-12 | Neal McCluskey

Let’s get one thing straight: the Chicago Teachers Union strike isn’t about what’s best for kids, no matter how much unionists insist it is. It is ultimately about bruised egos, and staying unaccountable.
That reality is made clear by the regular refrain of Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, of which the CTU is an affiliate. As she wrote in this morning’s USA Today, “no one wants to strike … this strike comes on the heels of numerous steps that left teachers feeling disrespected.”
That teachers have been the victims of brutal dissing has been the complaint of their unions for years, a mantra that’s coincided especially with efforts to assess teachers’ performance using, at least partially, the achievement of their students. That, and people have increasingly put two and two together: Many students aren’t learning, teachers have the greatest in-school impact on learning, therefore the teaching force needs an upgrade.
To be fair, union leaders are right to point out — as they have in Chicago — that what goes on with kids outside of school often has a bigger impact than what goes on inside, and mechanisms for tying test scores to individual teachers are imperfect.
But reformers addressing something that’s backed by good logic and evidence — teaching needs to improve — isn’t “disrespecting” teachers any more than it’s dissing players to point out that the Seattle Mariners — who have the worst batting average in Major League Baseball — need to improve their hitting.
... the average Chicago teacher gets paid between $71,000 and $76,000 a year. Either figure exceeds the national mean income for people with bachelors or masters degrees — $57,000 and $69,000, respectively — and is even more generous when one considers teachers’ built-in vacation time.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...