Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two words

Union Membership Drops Despite Job Growth

NYT ^ | January 24, 2013 | STEVEN GREENHOUSE

The percentage of American workers in labor unions took an unusually large fall in 2012, dropping to 11.3 percent last year from 11.8 percent in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Wednesday.
The total number of union members also took an unusually big drop, by 400,000, to 14.366 million, even though overall employment in the United States rose by 2.4 million last year, the B.L.S. said. From 2010 to 2011, the number grew by 50,000, and the percent unionized fell only 0.1 percentage point.
snip
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said union membership for private-sector workers dropped to 6.6 last year, from 6.9 percent in 2011, a drop that has caused some labor leaders to voice fears that unions were steadily fading into irrelevance for many large employers.
The bureau said union membership among public-sector employees fell to 35.9 percent in 2012, from 37 percent the previous year, and there were more union members in the public sector - 7.3 million - than in the private sector, 7 million.
snip
The number of union members is down from 17.7 million in 1983, the first year for which comparable numbers are available, when 20.1 percent of the nation's workers belonged to labor unions.
snip!
(Excerpt) Read more at mobile.nytimes.com ...

Hillary's Gift to al Qaeda

The re-election of Barack Obama hasn't done anything to make more jobs available to Americans!

Townhall.com ^ | January 23, 2013 | Phyllis Schlafly

The re-election of Barack Obama hasn't done anything to make more jobs available to Americans, and there is no indication that it will. America now has 23 million people who want a full-time job but can't find one.
Obama doesn't think American citizens or businessmen create jobs. His Jobs Czar, Jeffrey Immelt, recently said on a television interview referring to China, where he has outsourced General Electric's light bulb plants, "state-run Communism may not be your cup of tea, but their government works."
In his first presidential debate last year, Obama claimed that passage of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia would create U.S. jobs because they would double our exports and promote his goal of "a seamless regional economy." One year after Congress passed these trade deals, exports to Korea have declined by more than $1.2 billion in comparison to the same months the year before, while imports have risen.
The official U.S. International Trade Commission admits that the Korea agreement will cause significant job losses, not just in low-end industries but also make a victim of the electronic equipment manufacturing industry. The Economic Policy Institute, a leftist think tank, estimates the Korea agreement will cost us 159,000 more jobs over the next five years.
The trade pact's 1,000 pages of rules and regulations will be enforced by foreign tribunals. Ron Paul calls this "a sneaky form of international preemptions, undermining the critical checks and balances and freedoms established by the U.S. Constitution."
Our annual trade deficit with China has increased to $290 billion. Our exports to China were up 6.4 percent over the previous year, but imports increased by 6.5 percent.
In 2002, we granted Communist China Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR), which is a fancy name for free trade, and the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month ever since. U.S. employment dropped 2.6 percent because of a combination of outsourcing and absence of job growth that would have taken place without the trade agreement, according to a new study by the Federal Reserve's Justin Pierce and Yale's Peter Schott.
Mainstream economists have been stuck for years in the notion that any attack on "free trade" is heretical, but finally their dogma is cracking. Even the Washington Post now acknowledges that "trade liberalization" with China is a big reason for the decline of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Forbes Magazine published an article titled "America's Manufacturing Crisis: Finally Harvard Gets It." What academics finally "get" is that it is, indeed, a disaster for America to lose our manufacturing base specifically because that causes us to lose our "ability to innovate."
The theorists held onto their out-of-date free-trade theory despite the loss of millions of outsourced jobs, despite 42,000 U.S. factories permanently closed, and despite the loss of high blue-collar wages that could support a family. But our loss of innovation is finally waking them up.
Most people recognize that America's prosperity and high standard of living depend on our remarkable power and skill of innovation produced by manufacturing. They should read Alexander Hamilton's great 1791 treatise on the importance of manufacturing.
Harvard management professors Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih emphasize the effect on innovation in their new book "Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance." Another useful book is "Freedom's Forge" by Arthur Herman, which proves that a manufacturing base is essential for national security, and we couldn't have won World War II without it.
Our manufacturing base was what enabled the "arsenal of democracy" in 1944 to produce a war plane every five minutes, 150 tons of steel every hour and eight aircraft carriers a month. After World War II, our manufacturing base caused an incredible rise in our standard of living, bringing electricity and indoor plumbing to most homes and good wages that built a middle class to enable blue-collar workers to support a fulltime homemaker to raise their children.
We've been told that the new normal is for America to be an economy based on providing services instead of products. The trouble is it's pretty hard to export services such as waiters and dry cleaners; we can only export things we make.
The main defect with free trade is that, in the words of the old cliche, it takes two to tango. America steps naively onto the dance floor, but Communist China won't dance.
China protects and subsidizes its home industries and products, forces foreign-owned plants to give China their patents and trade secrets, cheats us with shoddy and dangerous exports, manipulates its currency to keep it artificially low, operates a large network of technology spies in the United States and pays slave-labor wages to its workers.

The Tea Party: Still Coming into Its Own (Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated)

American Thinker ^ | 01/23/2013 | Sally Zelikovsky


While the usual wishful thinking about the Tea Party's demise is being bantered about in the left-wing blogosphere, one of our own -- California Republican political consultant Tony Quinn -- recently joined the chorus of prognosticators. His premise is that because the Tea Party fielded "idiot" candidates like Angle and O'Donnell in 2010 and Akin and Mourdock in 2012, Republicans lost the Senate, and their strident calls for fiscal sanity, limited government, and lower taxes caused all manner of mayhem for Boehner in the House, ultimately empowering Obama and the Democrats.

Support for Christine O'Donnell was misplaced, even though her opponent, Mike Castle, did not vote with Republicans 100% of the time. His seat was a guaranteed win that we needed. If Republicans and the grassroots had any kind of unified strategy or means of communication, the Delaware senate seat would have been a strategic gain even if it wasn't a principled one.

This battle between candidates whose conservative principles jive 100% with the Tea Party and those who have some differences but could win their liberal states is nothing new. Some of us hold tight to our conservative principles but recognize the importance of strategic alliances to gain a seat in a liberal district -- there's no sense riding your principles over the cliff. Others don't, and so we often find ourselves at odds in primaries.

Tea Party and Republican support for Todd Akin and Mourdock plunged after their absurd remarks (even though they remained on the ticket). But Akin was no more a Tea Party candidate than his primary competitors. He won because of a three-way conservative race that split the votes.


(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Here are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's prepared remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee


Washington (CNN) -- Here are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's prepared remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that is investigating the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. Not all of the remarks were delivered precisely as written.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity.
The terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, that claimed the lives of four brave Americans -- Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty -- are part of a broader strategic challenge to the United States and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want to offer some context for this challenge and share what we've learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to honor our fallen colleagues and continue to champion America's interests and values.
Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 accountability review boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies, for our department and for other agencies: hostages taken in Tehran in 1979, our embassy and Marine barracks bombed in Beirut in 1983, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in East Africa in 1998, consulate staff murdered in Jeddah in 2004, the Khost attack in 2009, and too many others.
Of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right 99 percent of the time, against difficult odds all over the world. That's why, like my predecessors, I trust them with my life.
Let's also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from the tragedies that have occurred, to implement recommendations from the review boards, to seek necessary resources, and to better protect our people from constantly evolving threats. That's what the men and women who serve our country deserve. And it's what we are doing again now, with your help. As secretary, I have had no higher priority, and no greater responsibility.
As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.
Taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis and further protect our people and posts in high-threat areas across the region and the world. It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement. And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and support emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond.
Let me share some of the lessons we have learned, the steps we have taken, and the work we continue to do.
First, let's start on the night of September 11 itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department and stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. So I saw first-hand what Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen called "timely" and "exceptional" coordination. No delays in decision-making. No denials of support from Washington or from the military. And I want to echo the Review Board's praise for the valor and courage of our people on the ground -- especially the security professionals in Benghazi and Tripoli. The Board said our response saved American lives in real time -- and it did.
The very next morning, I told the American people that "heavily armed militants assaulted our compound" and vowed to bring them to justice. And I stood with President Obama as he spoke of "an act of terror."
You may recall that in that same period, we also saw violent attacks on our embassies in Cairo, Sanaa, Tunis, and Khartoum, as well as large protests outside many other posts where thousands of our diplomats serve.
So I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world, with particular scrutiny for high-threat posts. We asked the Department of Defense to join interagency security assessment teams and to dispatch hundreds of additional Marine security guards. I named the first deputy assistant secretary of state for high threat posts, so missions in dangerous places get the attention they need. And we reached out to Congress to help address physical vulnerabilities, including risks from fire, and to hire additional diplomatic security personnel.
Second, even as we took these steps, I also appointed the Accountability Review Board led by Ambassador (Thomas) Pickering and Admiral (Mike) Mullen so that we could more fully understand what went wrong and how to fix it.
I have accepted every one of their recommendations -- and I asked the deputy secretary for management and resources to lead a task force to ensure that all 29 of them are implemented quickly and completely... as well as to pursue additional steps above and beyond those in the board's report.
Because of the effort we began in the days after the attacks, work is already well underway. And, as I pledged in my letter to you last month, implementation has now begun on all 29 recommendations. Our task force started by translating the recommendations into 64 specific action items. All of these action items were assigned to specific bureaus and offices, with clear timelines for completion. Fully 85 percent are on track to be completed by the end of March, with a number completed already.
We are taking a top-to-bottom look, and rethinking how we make decisions on where, when, and how our people operate in high threat areas, and how we respond to threats and crises.
As part of our effort to go above and beyond the review board's recommendations, we are initiating an annual High Threat Post Review chaired by the secretary of state, and ongoing reviews by the deputy secretaries, to ensure pivotal questions about security reach the highest levels. And we will regularize protocols for sharing information with Congress.
All of these actions are designed to increase the safety of our diplomats and development experts and reduce the chances of another Benghazi happening again.
Now, in addition to the immediate action we took and the review board process, we have been moving forward on a third front: addressing the broader strategic challenge in North Africa and the wider region. Because Benghazi didn't happen in a vacuum.
The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. And instability in Mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in Algeria.
And let me offer my deepest condolences to the families of the Americans and all the people from many nations who were killed and injured in the recent hostage crisis. We remain in close touch with the government of Algeria and stand ready to provide assistance if needed. We are seeking to gain a fuller understanding of what took place so that we can work together to prevent terrorist attacks like this in the future.
Concerns about terrorism and instability in North Africa are not new. Indeed they have been a top priority for our entire national security team. But after Benghazi, we accelerated a diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups across the region.
In the first hours and days, I conferred with the president of Libya and the foreign ministers of Tunisia and Morocco. Two weeks later, I met with regional leaders at the United Nations General Assembly and held a special meeting focused on Mali and the Sahel. In October, I flew to Algeria to discuss the fight against AQIM. In November, I sent Deputy Secretary Bill Burns to follow up in Algiers. And then in December, he co-chaired the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Abu Dhabi and a meeting in Tunis of leaders working to build new democracies and reform security services.
In all these diplomatic engagements, and in near-constant contacts at every level, we have focused on targeting al Qaeda's syndicate of terror -- closing safe havens, cutting off finances, countering extremist ideology, and slowing the flow of new recruits. We continue to hunt the terrorists responsible for the attacks in Benghazi and are determined to bring them to justice. And we're also using all our diplomatic and economic tools to support the emerging democracies of the region, including Libya, to strengthen security forces and provide a path away from extremism.
The United States must continue to lead -- in the Middle East and all around the globe. We have come a long way in the past four years. We cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened.
That's why Chris Stevens went to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution and then during the transition. A weak Libyan government, marauding militias, even terrorist groups... a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he didn't waver. Because he understood that it was critical for America to be represented in that pivotal place at that pivotal time. Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect this country we love. They represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. And they cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs.
It is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs and to do everything we can to reduce the risks they face.
For me, this is not just a matter of policy -- it's personal.
I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.
It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to lead the men and women of the State Department and USAID: Nearly 70,000 serving here in Washington and at more than 275 posts around the world. They get up and go to work every day -- often in difficult and dangerous circumstances thousands of miles from home -- because they believe the United States is the most extraordinary force for peace and progress the earth has ever known.
And when we suffer tragedies overseas, the number of Americans applying to the Foreign Service actually increases. That tells us everything we need to know about what kind of patriots I'm talking about. They ask what they can do for their country. And America is stronger for it.
Today, after four years in this job, after traveling nearly 1 million miles and visiting 112 countries around the world, my faith in our country and our future is stronger than ever. Every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words "United States of America" touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world's indispensible nation. And I am confident that, with your help, we will continue to keep the United States safe, strong, and exceptional.
So I want to thank this committee for your partnership and your support of our diplomats and development experts around the world. You know the importance of the work they do day in and day out, and that America's values and vital national security interests are at stake. It is absolutely critical that we work together to ensure they have the resources and support they need to face increasingly complex threats.
I know that you share our sense of responsibility and urgency. And while we all may not agree on everything, let's stay focused on what really matters: protecting our people and the country we all love.
Now I am now happy to answer your questions.

Angela West’s scathing rebuttal to West Point report on ‘dangerous far right’


January 22, 2013 by 13 Comments

Recent media coverage of a report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point raised concerns among activists who consider themselves the typical, God-fearing American “right.”
The report by West Point professor Arie Perliger, Challengers from the Sidelines – Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right, includes some descriptions of the “far right” that many conservatives have found shocking.
Angela West, wife of former congressman and new PJ Media spokesman Allen West, posted a scathing response on her Facebook page, which included a photo montage.
“Pigs certainly now fly and birds are doing the backstroke!” Angela West wrote in her Facebook post.
In the study, Perliger puts limited-government activists into three categories: “a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.”
Citing an especially noteworthy excerpt, The Blaze took clear offense at some of Perliger’s assertions:
“The far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.”
Citing a reported 350 “attacks initiated by far-right groups/individuals” in 2011, the analysis characterizes the liberal-democratic system as inclusive and “designed to emphasize civil rights” while far-right ideology inherently “excludes” minorities.
West expressed her disgust in her Facebook post with a photo illustration and some sharp words. Here’s her full post:
angela west FB montage
This morning I read the West Point Think Tank report essentially declaring the “far right” as “more dangerous” than any other group —- including Al Queda. And left-wing ’60s radical and onetime domestic terrorist Bill Ayers will be a keynote speaker at the Association of Teacher Educators annual conference in Atlanta next month. Ayers admitted in a 2001 book that he participated in bombings of the New York City Police Department headquarters, the U.S. Capitol Building and the Pentagon in the early 1970s. Three Americans died as a result of his efforts. And finally, CBS News political director John Dickerson at Slate Friday evening in a piece astonishingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.”
In other words, the guy in the mug shot is the “hero”, and the flag waving little girl is the “enemy”. Is this the “brave new world”? Wake up people, this is your new future if the Republican party does not get their act together. The picture of the keynote speaker “Bill Ayers” standing on the American flag will provide a blueprint for the education of our children and ULTIMATELY our own demise as a nation of individual freedom.
Pigs certainly now fly and birds are doing the backstroke!

Liberal Logic

Obama Cares?

ObamaCare

Stop Spending

LIBERALS

His Excuse!

Checking Out

Inebriation Celebration

Hollywood Friends

Obama App

Opposites

Prosperity?

Pleading

Background Checks

TOE-ing

Molon Labe

Oath of Office

LIES

Comparison

Money Back

Character