Monday, April 30, 2012

The Auto Bailout Bust

The Free Beacon ^ | 4/30/12 | McMorris

Obama’s rescue of Chrysler and General Motors unpopular with voters, creditors, and GM management

President Barack Obama has made the auto bailout a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, using it to bash Republican nominee Mitt Romney. But the tactic may backfire as the general election heats up, public opinion surveys suggest.

Recent polling from Rasmussen indicates that 59 percent view the bailouts as a “failure” and only 44 percent think the bailouts were “good for America.”
The administration has already written off $7 billion in taxpayer losses in the American takeover of Chrysler and General Motors; those losses are expected to climb as high as $23 billion—27 percent of the $85 billion spent on the bailout.
While the bailout is widely credited with saving the two companies, increasing taxpayer losses have made it nearly as unpopular in 2012 as it was when Obama was elected. More than half of Americans still disapprove of the auto bailout compared with 61 percent in 2008.
That has not stopped Obama from using the bailout as a bludgeon against Romney, who backed bankruptcy measures, in a number of campaign speeches.
“We could have just kicked the problem down the road. The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail,” Obama told the United Automobile Workers union in February. “And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that. Some even said we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’”
The line drew a chorus of boos from the crowd and Obama has used the talking point often in his recent campaign addresses. He has deployed the line in a number of speeches in front of friendly crowds, despite the surprising lack of enthusiasm among Democrats for the bailout.
Obama’s job approval ratings among Democrats remain at nearly 85 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.
That is 20 points higher than the 63 percent of Democrats who support the auto bailout.
Obama is using the talking point as a targeted message to interest groups, rather than a broad appeal to his overall base, bailout experts say.
“The reason Obama likes it is because labor likes it,” one bankruptcy expert said. “The administration went in and took UAW and pulled them up.”
The administration handed $85 billion to GM and Chrysler and guided them through reorganization. Obama took on the role of bankruptcy court and bumped the unions to the front of the line, handing them control of Chrysler, while preserving pay and benefits at General Motors.
“They came in and forced these companies into pre-packaged bankruptcy where unions were made whole and creditors were squeezed out,” the expert said. “In normal bankruptcy they don’t rearrange stakeholders rights willy-nilly…there’s no way those union contracts would have been untouched.”
Labor is not the only constituency to which Obama has tried to appeal by championing the bailout. “After three decades of inaction, we’re gradually putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickups,” Obama said in the same February speech. “That means the cars you build will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade—almost double what they get today.”
Obama tied the bailouts to strict environmental standards that have led to increasingly efficient cars, an achievement he has used to woo green advocates. The move has affected more than just the environment, establishing “dangerous” legal precedents, according to some legal experts.
The fuel-mileage regulations are expected to drive up vehicle prices by $3,200 and keep consumers out of car lots, according to the National Auto Dealers Association, which sued to block the regulations. A Washington D.C. Appeals Court tossed the suit, ruling that only manufacturers could sue for damages associated with the expensive rules.
“This is a great incentive for cronyism,” an attorney familiar with the regulations said. “The manufacturers colluded with the feds and they pushed these costs onto car dealers and consumers; the government had its first taste of cronyism and learned that if they can bully enough stakeholders and companies, they can get away with it.”
Auto executives hailed the bailout as a lifesaver in 2008, but are increasingly uneasy about the government’s ownership in the two companies. While the government liquidated a number of its shares in GM during its record-setting stock offering in 2010, it has retained partial control of the company.
“GM’s executives have wanted the government out for a while now … it’s a huge PR liability for them—they hate the ‘Government Motors’ stigma,” said Edward Niedermeyer, editor-at-large of “The government can’t get out now, they don’t want to take an even bigger loss on the bailout.”
GM’s stock price has dropped about $10 per share since its IPO, meaning any sale would increase the taxpayer’s multi-billion dollar losses in the bailout.
Niedermeyer said the administration might wind up its involvement in GM even if it means higher losses. Timing, he added, will play a key role in that decision.
“They’ll wait until after the election before they act,” he said.

A Cynical Process: Part II (Thomas Sowell on Obama's reelection)

Creators Syndicate ^ | May 1, 2012 | Thomas Sowell

A small headline in the 2nd section of the Wall Street Journal last week told a bigger story than a lot of front page banner headlines. It said, "U.S. Firms Add Jobs, but Mostly Overseas."
Just as there is no free lunch, there is no free class warfare. Some people may be inspired by President Obama's talk about making "the rich" pay their undefined "fair share" of taxes, or taking away corporations' "tax breaks." But talk is not always cheap. It can be very costly to those working people who are looking for jobs that the Obama administration's anti-business policies are driving overseas.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Thirty-five big U.S.-based multinational companies added jobs much faster than other U.S. employers in the past two years, but nearly three-fourths of those jobs were overseas." All these companies have at least 50,000 employees, so we are talking about a lot of jobs for foreigners with American companies overseas.
If the Wall Street Journal can figure this out, it seems certain that the President of the United States has economic advisers who can figure out the same thing. But that does not mean that the president is interested in the same thing.
In this, as in so much else, Barack Obama is interested in Barack Obama. Whatever bad effects his policies may have for others, those policies have had a track record of political success for many politicians in many places.
To put it bluntly, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, provided the goose doesn't die before the next election. In this case, the goose simply lays its golden eggs somewhere else, so there is no political danger to President Obama.
Unemployment may remain a problem to many Americans, but that only provides another occasion for the Obama administration to show its "compassion" with extended unemployment benefits, more food stamps and various interventions to save home buyers from mortgage foreclosure. This can easily be a winning political strategy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt won his biggest landslide victory after his first term in office, during which the unemployment rate was never less than twice what it has been under Barack Obama.
The "smart money" inside the Beltway says that a high unemployment rate spells doom at the polls for a president. But history says that people who are getting government handouts tend to vote for whoever is doing the handing out.
The Obama administration has turned this into a handout state that breaks all previous records. Lofty rhetoric about "stimulus," "shovel-ready projects," "green jobs" or "investment" in "the industries of the future" all give political cover to what is plain old handouts to people who are likely to vote to re-elect Obama.
At the local level as well, history shows that some of the most successful politicians have been people who ruined the local economy and chased job-creating businesses away. Mayor Coleman Young of Detroit in the 1970s and 1980s was not worried when affluent whites began moving out of the city in response to his policies, because they were people who were likely to vote against him if they stayed.
Of course they took their taxes, their investment money and the jobs they created with them. But that was Detroit's problem, not Coleman Young's problem. Barack Obama may win re-election by turning the United States into Detroit writ large.
Something similar happened in earlier times, when James Michael Curley served 4 terms as mayor of Boston, and 2 terms in prison. As the non-Irish left the city, in response to Curley's policies, that increased Curley's likelihood of being re-elected.
This kind of cynical politics is even more likely to succeed when political opponents fail to articulate their case to the public. And Republicans are notorious for neglecting articulation.
The phrase "tax cuts for the rich" has been repeated endlessly by Democrats without one Republican that I know of saying, "Folks, I don't lie awake at night worrying about millionaires' tax problems. Millionaires have lawyers and accountants who get paid to do that. But I do worry about jobs being lost to millions of American workers because we make the business climate here worse than in other countries. That's a high price to pay for rhetoric."
The case can be made. But somebody has to make the case. 

Serving the ‘Synagogue of Satan’: Farrakhan Says Joining U.S. Military Is Fighting ‘for the Enemy’

The Blaze ^ | 4/30/12 | Benny Johnson

This is Part II in a day-long series on Louis Farrakhan’s 2012 Address to his Nation of Islam followers.
According to Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan:

America is a part of a “Synagogue of Satan”Farakhan Syas Joining Army Is Fighting for the Enemy | Nation of Islam Obama is the spokesperson for this “Synagogue of Satan” and does its bidding Obama was “really not in favor of the attack on Gaddafi” Colin Powell was “a black man in front of a policy to kill black people” Obama & Powell want a “pat on the back” from their “former slave-masters and their children” There are “bombs coming” America’s way that are self-inflicted, given the country’s foreign policy Serving in America’s military is “fighting for the enemy” America’s wars are “engineered by Zionists who love Israel more than America” Speech was given at the United Center in Chicago on February 23, 2012 Part of ongoing Blaze/ GBTV Investigation into Farrakhan’s rhetoric & influence
Anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, anti-military.

These are just a handful of themes that can be found in Minister Louis Farrakhan’s recent address to a packed United Center in Chicago, where thousands of followers of the Nation of Islam were gathered to attend the Saviours’ Day Convention, which marked the 82nd year of the Nation of Islam’s existence.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama: Not So Cool!

 (Michael Barone)
National Review Online ^ | April 30, 2012 | Michael Barone

Last week, Barack Obama delivered speeches at universities in Chapel Hill, N.C., Iowa City, Iowa, and Boulder, Colo. The trip was, press secretary Jay Carney assured us, official government business, not political campaigning.

It’s part of a pattern. Neil Munro of the Daily Caller has counted 130 appearances by the president, vice president, their spouses, White House officials, and cabinet secretaries at colleges and universities since spring 2011.

Obviously, the Obama campaign strategists are worried that he cannot duplicate his margin among young voters back in 2008, which was 66 to 32 percent.
Recent surveys of young people show inconsistent results. Gallup’s tracking shows Obama leading Mitt Romney 64 to 29 percent, and a Harvard Institute of Politics poll shows him leading Romney 43 to 26 percent among those who said they had an opinion.
But a March survey of 18- to 24-year-olds by the Public Religion Research Institute showed Obama ahead of “a Republican” by only 48 to 41 percent. Only 52 percent had a favorable opinion of Obama, and 43 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
Where the surveys seem to be in accord is that young voters are less engaged, less likely to vote, and less enthusiastic about Obama than in the days when he was proclaiming, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Gallup shows only 56 percent of Americans younger than 30 saying they definitely will vote. Among older Americans, the figure is above 80 percent. The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed only 45 percent of young people taking a big interest in the election, down from 63 percent in 2008.
Hispanics and blacks make up a larger share of the millennial generation than of older Americans, and Obama’s support among them seems to remain high. But the Harvard survey shows that only 41 percent of white millennials approve of Obama’s job performance, significantly lower than the 54 percent who voted for him in 2008.
Obama’s decision to campaign — er, conduct official business — on university campuses last week was not surprising. According to exit polls, there was no surge of young voters in 2008. They made up 18 percent of voters, compared with 17 percent in 2004.
But close inspection of the election returns shows that the Obama campaign did a splendid job of ginning up turnout in university and college towns and in singles’-apartment neighborhoods in central cities and close-in suburbs, such as Arlington, Va., across the Potomac from Washington.
Consider the counties where Obama spoke last week. In Orange County, N.C., Obama won 72 percent of the vote. He did better in only one of the state’s 99 other counties: Durham, which has a large black population as well as Duke University.
Obama carried Johnson County, Iowa, with 70 percent of the vote, more than in any of Iowa’s other 98 counties. He carried Boulder County, Colo., with 72 percent, a mark exceeded in that state only in Denver, one rural Hispanic county, and two counties with fashionable ski resorts (Aspen and Telluride).
What Obama doesn’t seem to have done in 2008 is mobilize more economically marginal and educationally limited young people, except perhaps among blacks.
His problem this year is that there are a lot more economically marginal young people, including many who are not educationally limited.
Young people are notoriously transient, and it’s hard for political organizers to track them down — harder perhaps this year, with many recent college graduates unable to find jobs and a rising percentage of young people moving in with their parents.
Few young Americans bothered to vote in Republican primaries, and young people’s attitude toward Mitt Romney seems frosty. They still know little about him.
That gives Romney a chance to argue that Obama’s economic policies have failed and that his own policies can spark an economic revival that will provide myriad opportunities for the iPod/Facebook generation to find satisfying work where they can utilize their special talents.
In his campus speeches, Obama stumped for keeping low interest rates on student loans. But young people may be figuring out that colleges and universities are gobbling up the money that government pours in, leaving them saddled with debt.
It’s a side issue. The Harvard survey showed 58 percent of millennials saying the economy was a top issue and only 41 percent approving Obama’s handling of it. Like Romney, they seem to be saying, “It’s the economy, and we’re not stupid.”
— Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner. © 2012 the Washington Examiner

America’s Bataan Death March toward Socialism prodded along at the point of Obama’s bayonet! ^ | April 30, 2012 | George Splevin, staff writer

A bone chilling video that should scare the daylights out of every United States citizen is making the rounds as Lt. Gen. (Ret) W. G. Boykin warns us in no uncertain terms that Barack Obama and his administration is marching this country into Marxism at an alarming speed.

And if you still don’t believe the Green Beret, just review and send comments to Notre Dame President John Jenkins because a far left group is asking the IRS to remove a Catholic Diocese’s tax exempt status because Catholic principles are being preached inside the Peoria Catholic Church. Email Father Jenkins at now!!!

Lt. Gen. Boykin spells out the six major steps Barack Obama has taken to march our beloved country into statist slavery by removing our inalienable rights and freedoms set into our beloved Constitution by our founders!

And what is even scarier, we are seeing precious little action out of especially GOP Congressmen to stop him NOW!
Boykin states the following Marxist Model Obama is using: 1) Nationalization of Major Sectors of U.S. Economy. Think Bail Outs here.
2) Redistribution of wealth. Hello, if you are unaware of the Buffet Rule and the 1%-99% OWS street wars, then you’re part of the problem.
3) Discredit Opposition to Obama’s Dictates. Remember when his Homeland Security memo hit the fan about the dangers of American pro life and right wing groups, returning veterans.
Never do we hear of any dangers of terrorism from Islam from the man who states, “I have known Islam on three continents.” The FBI is currently scrubbing its training manuals of any negativity about Islam because of SENSITIVITY fears.
4) Censorship. Boykin says the Hate Crimes legislation passed by Congress directly targets our Pastors who preach Biblical principles against homosexuality……
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Defending the “Palin Pick”

By Bristol Palin 

Most of you know I’d rather post photos of my family and write about Alaska than talk about politics. But after reading and watching some recent commentary, I can’t help myself.

The chattering class is talking – endlessly – about Mitt Romney’s choice of a Vice Presidential running mate. Will he choose a Governor? A Senator? A Congressman? There are many good options for Governor Romney – and all of them have already been dissected in the media – with a list of pros and cons beside their names. One is too “northern,” another is too “boring,” another is too “white.” I’ve lived through the scrutiny the family will endure, and it can be a nightmare.

I don’t pretend to know the best pick for Governor Romney. But there’s one theme that keeps coming up, and it’s ridiculous: that Governor Romney should avoid Senator McCain’s mistake in his Vice Presidential running mate decision.

Chris Cillizza brought it up here:
If you buy that basic way of thinking about the race, it makes it more likely that Romney’s main criteria in picking a running mate will be to do no harm, to avoid the public relations debacle that Senator John McCain (Ariz.) courted when he named former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick in 2008.

Later, he describes the GOP as a “party still trying to get out from under the Palin pick.”
Talking Points Memo in an article titled, “Why Mitt Romney Won’t Take GOP Down Another VP Rabbit Hole” quoted a strategist who said my mom is “a case study on what not to do. The McCain campaign really screwed up by going in and picking someone who was just gonna shake up the ticket when they should have picked someone who’s safe.”
In other words, the pundits say Senator McCain made a huge mistake. But where’s the evidence to back up this conventional wisdom? I’m not a pundit, but I remember the race. I was there. I remember the frenzied crowds after my mom joined the ticket. I remember the huge fundraising surge. I remember her convention speech. I even remember how McCain/Palin took a polling lead over Obama/Biden.
Then the economy melted down. You could feel people’s fear. You could see it in their eyes on the trail. McCain suspended his campaign to rush back to Washington to deal with the crisis. A lot of people criticized him, but he did what he thought was right. And guess what, the economy was melting down while Republicans were in charge.
Take a good look at this list of polls. Shortly after Senator McCain picked my mom, the polls turned favorable. But he lost the lead for good the week he suspended his campaign, and we never got it back. Not in a single poll.
But even then, my Mom helped. A lot. She raised millions of dollars that helped us fight hard until the last moment. And Senator McCain actually performed better among those for whom the “Palin Pick” was very important to their vote. Immediate post-election polling shows a large majority of Republicans thought my mom helped Senator McCain and more than 90% had a favorable or very favorable view of her.
(By the way, pundits, do you guys do much research before slamming my mom? It didn’t take me long at all to find the facts that refute your so-called “conventional wisdom.”)
OCTOBER 22, 2008: Mom greets supporters during a campaign rally at the Green High School Memorial Stadium in Ohio, with less than two weeks left before the election.
I don’t write this post to criticize Senator McCain – far from it. He and my mom had an uphill battle against Obama who promised to stop the oceans’ rise and heal the planet. I honestly don’t think any Republican candidate could’ve beaten Obama in 2008. It was the Democrats’ moment.
But 2012 is a Republican moment. Whomever Governor Romney picks will be better qualified to run the country than our current President. And this time around, we’re not running against the hard-to-pin-down “hope and change,” we’re running against a President who can’t stop rising gas prices, much less rising oceans.
Mom answered the call to serve her country, energized the base, and inspired millions. Plus, she did it with good humor and grace. I don’t know what else she could’ve reasonably be expected to do.
The economy was collapsing, and the Democrats had nominated “The One.” My mom worked wonders, and it was such a joy watching her connect with Americans from coast to coast. But she could not work miracles.
It’s been four years now since Senator McCain selected my mom, and he made the right choice. Who will Governor Romney select as his running mate? Well, we’ve still got several months before we find out.
Whoever it turns out to be, I don’t envy the next vice-presidential nominee.
After all… Sarah Palin is a tough act to follow.

DNC Chair Denies Need for Budget!

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 29 April 2012 | John Semmens

It has been three years since Congressional Democrats have passed a budget. Annual efforts by the Republican-controlled House to get a budget enacted have been blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairperson, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla) insisted that “the absence of a budget isn’t the President’s fault. He’s given us two budgets in the last two years. He can’t be blamed if Republicans won’t go along.”

Neither of Obama’s two budgets received a single vote from any member of congress from either party. 

Wasserman-Schultz was unable to explain this total lack of support. She speculated that “I may have stepped out of the room when those votes were taken.”

“Anyway, budgets are unnecessary,” Wasserman-Schultz added. “The government has been running fine without one. Taxes continue to flow in. We’ve been able to spend more money than ever before. So why mess up a good thing?”
Wasserman-Schultz discounted the possibility that Republicans could use this as a winning campaign issue. “Voters aren’t interested in these kind of things,” she claimed. “As long as we keep them fed and amused why should they care about how we keep the books?”
if you missed any of this week's other semi-news posts you can find them at...

Nine horrendous Obama decisions Mitt Romney would never have made!

Cain's Solutions Revolution ^ | April 30, 2012 | Herman Cain

As we move into the general election campaign, with Mitt Romney facing Barack Obama in the presidential race, it’s important not to lose perspective on the very real differences between the two.

That starts with the recognition that Obama has made some astonishingly ill-conceived decisions as president, and that Romney would never have done these things.

During a party’s nominating process for president – of which I was a part on the Republican side in this cycle – candidates do everything they can to differentiate themselves from each other. As the candidates focus on these differences and the media plays up the resulting conflicts, you could almost get the impression that some of us would have preferred Obama to some of our fellow Republicans.
Not only do I prefer Romney over Obama, it’s not even close. This is not to say that every proposed policy of Romney’s is exactly what I would propose. But in stepping back and looking at the big picture, you have to recognize that the next president’s task will be to fix enormous problems. You would want the new president, above all else, to be someone who would never have been so foolish as to make the decisions that a) created the problems; or b) made them worse.
Here are nine examples:
Mitt Romney would never have thrown $862 billion down a rat hole, claiming it to be “economic stimulus” that would keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. Then, three years later when unemployment was still struggling to get back down below 8 percent, he would never be so brazen as to claim such a move had actually been successful.
Mitt Romney would never have signed ObamaCare into law. I know some think otherwise because the plan he implemented as governor of Massachusetts had some similar elements. But ObamaCare was sold to the public with blatantly dishonest numbers and hidden taxes, and rammed through Congress via a series of political giveaways that would embarrass the most shameless of con artists. Whatever your disagreements with the structure of MassCare, Romney would never have done any of that. And if an ObamaCare repeal reaches Romney’s desk, he will sign it.
Mitt Romney would never have exploded the deficit to more than $1 trillion a year, then allowed his Treasury Secretary tell the chairman of the House Budget Committee, regarding plans to fix the problem, “We don’t have a definitive solution, but we know we don’t like yours.”
Mitt Romney would not be running around claiming that businesses need to pay more in taxes. He would not try to tell CEOs what to do with their cash reserves (although he could do so much more competently than Obama, since unlike the president he actually knows a lot about business), because he knows that is not the president’s job. He understands that businesses are the ones who create jobs, and the last thing we need when the economy is struggling to create jobs is to increase the tax burden on businesses.
Mitt Romney would not attack people for being successful. He would not encourage the middle class to resent successful people, but instead would encourage them to learn from those who have been successful, and to seek opportunities from them.
Mitt Romney would never have promised the Russians he would give them what they want on missile defense as soon as he didn’t have to worry about those pesky voters anymore.
Mitt Romney would never have stonewalled efforts to make crucial energy supplies available to Americans, as Obama has done on everything from the Keystone XL pipeline to the opening of domestic oil supplies in offshore locations and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Mitt Romney would never have let Congress get away with not passing a budget at all for three years, while running up the nation’s credit card at unprecedented levels through a series of continuing resolutions that escape the light of public scrutiny.
Mitt Romney would never have blamed someone else for the continued impact of problems he was elected to fix – as Obama does endlessly.
This list could go on, but these nine are the some of the biggest things – and the big things matter most of all. Everyone involved with a primary campaign hopes their party will nominate the absolute perfect candidate, and when your guy doesn’t make it (or for some of us like me, when you don’t make it), you can fall into thinking that all is lost. There are actually people running around saying there is no difference between Romney and Obama.
People. Get a grip. The differences are huge. And it starts with understanding how many truly horrendous decisions Barack Obama has made since he took office, and recognizing that Mitt Romney is a man with solid experience and good judgment – and that he would never have made any of them.
That alone offers a compelling argument for sending President Obama an invitation – to the inauguration of Mitt Romney on January 20, 2013. I trust he will attend.

25 Horrible Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Barack Obama Does Not Want You To Know

The human capacity for self-delusion truly is remarkable. Most people out there end up believing exactly what they want to believe even when the truth is staring them right in the face. Take the U.S. economy for example. Barack Obama wants to believe that his policies have worked and that the U.S. economy is improving. So that is what he is telling the American people. The mainstream media wants to believe that Barack Obama is a good president and that his policies make sense and so they are reporting that we are experiencing an economic recovery. A very large segment of the U.S. population still fully supports Barack Obama and they want to believe that the economy is getting better so they are buying the propaganda that the mainstream media is feeding them. But is the U.S. economy really improving? The truth is that it is not.

rsn_betrayal_175The rate of employment among working age Americans is exactly where it was two years ago and household incomes have actually gone down while Obama has been president. Home ownership levels and home prices continue to decline. Meanwhile, food and gasoline continue to become even more expensive. The percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at an all-time record high and the U.S. national debt has risen by more than 5 trillion dollars under Obama. We simply have not seen the type of economic recovery that we have seen after every other economic recession since World War II.
The horrible statistics about the U.S. economy that you are about to read are not talked about much by the mainstream media. They would rather be "positive" and "upbeat" about the direction that things are headed.
But lying to the American people is not going to help them. If you are speeding in a car toward a 500 foot cliff, you don't need someone to cheer you on. Instead, you need someone to slam on the brakes.
The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it was four or five years ago.
We have never come close to recovering from the last recession and another one will be here soon.
The following are 25 horrible statistics about the U.S. economy that Barack Obama does not want you to know....
#1 The percentage of Americans that own homes is dropping rapidly. According to Gallup, the current level of homeownership in the United States is the lowest that Gallup has ever measured.
#2 Home prices in the U.S. continue to fall like a rock as well. They have declined for six months in a row and are now down a total of 35 percent from the peak of the housing bubble. The last time that home prices in the United States were this low was back in 2002.
#3 Last year, an astounding 53 percent of all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
#4 Back in 2007, about 10 percent of all unemployed Americans had been out of work for 52 weeks or longer. Today, that number is above 30 percent.
#5 When Barack Obama first became president, the number of "long-term unemployed workers" in the United States was 2.6 million. Today, it is 5.3 million.
#6 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is about three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#7 Despite what the mainstream media would have us to believe, the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are employed is not increasing. Back in March 2010, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans were employed. In March 2011, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans were employed. In March 2012, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans were employed. So how can Barack Obama and the mainstream media claim that the employment situation in the United States is getting better? The employment rate is still essentially exactly where it was when the last recession supposedly ended.
#8 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
#9 In 1962, 28 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs. In 2011, only 9 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.
#10 In some areas of Detroit, Michigan you can buy a three bedroom home for just $500.
#11 According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are not paying their bills on time at this point.
#12 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the price of gasoline has risen by more than 100 percent.
#13 The student loan debt bubble continues to expand at a very frightening pace. Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.
#14 Incredibly, one out of every four jobs in the United States pays $10 an hour or less at this point.
#15 Household incomes all over the United States continue to fall. After adjusting for inflation, median household income in America has declined by 7.8 percent since December 2007.
#16 Over the past several decades, government dependence has risen to unprecedented heights in the United States. The following is how I described the explosive growth of social welfare benefits in one recent article....
Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages. In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages. Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.
#17 In November 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, more than 46 million Americans are on food stamps.
#18 Right now, more than 25 percent of all American children are on food stamps.
#19 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, today 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives some form of benefits from the federal government.
#20 Over the next 75 years, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars. That comes to $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
#21 During the first quarter of 2012, U.S. public debt rose by 359.1 billion dollars. U.S. GDP only rose by 142.4 billion dollars.
#22 At this point, the U.S. national debt is rising by more than 2 million dollars every single minute.
#23 The U.S. national debt has risen by more than 5 trillion dollars since the day that Barack Obama first took office. In a little more than 3 years Obama has added more to the national debt than the first 41 presidents combined.
#24 The Federal Reserve bought up approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department during 2011.
#25 The Federal Reserve continues to systematically destroy the value of the U.S. dollar. Since 1970, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 83 percent of its value.
But the horrible economic statistics only tell part of the story.
In communities all over America there is a feeling that something fundamental has changed. Businesses that have been around for generations are shutting their doors and there is a lot of fear in the air. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent interview with Richard Yamarone, the senior economist at Bloomberg Brief....
You have to listen to what the small businesses are telling you and right now they are telling you, ‘Hey, I’m the head of a 3rd or 4th generation, 75 or 100 year old business, and I’ve got to shut the doors’ or ‘I’ve got to let people go. And if I’m hiring anybody back, it’s only on a temporary basis.’
Sometimes they do this through a hiring firm so that they can sidestep paying unemployment benefit insurance. So that’s what’s really going on at the grassroots level of the economy. Very, very, grossly different from what you’re seeing in some of these numbers coming out in earnings releases.”
All over the country, millions of hard working Americans are desperately looking for work. They have been told that "the recession is over", but they are still finding it incredibly difficult to find anyone that will hire them. The following example is from a recent CNN article....
Joann Cotton, a 54-year-old Columbus, Mississippi, resident, was one of those faces of poverty we met on the tour. Unemployed for three years, Joann has gone from making "$60,000 a year to less than $15,000 overnight." Her husband is disabled and dependent on medicines the couple can no longer afford. They rely on food stamps, which, Joann says, "is depressing as hell."
Receiving government aid, however, has not been as depressing as her job search. Joann says she has applied for at least 300 jobs. Even though she can barely afford gas, she drives to the interviews only to learn that the employers want to hire younger candidates at low wages.
The experiences have taken a toll: "I've aged 10 years in the three years that I've been looking for a job," Joann told us. "I want to get a job so I can just relax and exhale ... but I can't. After a while you just give up."
Meanwhile, Barack Obama and his family continue to live the high life at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.
Even many Democrats are starting to get very upset about this. The following is from a recent article by Paul Bedard....
Blue collar Democratic voters, stuck taking depressing “staycations” because they can’t afford gas and hotels, are resentful of the first family’s 17 lavish vacations around the world and don’t want their tax dollars paying for the Obamas’ holidays, according to a new analysis of swing voters.
It simply is not appropriate for the Obamas to be spending millions upon millions upon millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on luxury vacations when so many Americans are deeply suffering.
But Barack Obama does not want you to know about any of this stuff.
He just wants you to buy his empty propaganda one more time so that he can continue to occupy the White House for another four years
SOURCE: American Dream

FCC: The Worst Agency Nobody Cares About!

Shout Bits Blog ^ | 04/30/2012 | Shout Bits

The Obama Administration is unusually adept at regulating its political agenda. When Congress declined to pass cap and trade laws, Pres. Obama's EPA issued two new rules outlawing coal electricity – really. When Congress declined to pass card check legislation to ease union drives, the NLRB responded by cutting the debate that should precede a union vote. Most recently, the Supreme Court decided that corporations had a right to political speech. Pres. Obama responded by calling out Romney donors to silence them. Further, the FCC has issued a new rule requiring the disclosure of any organization that engages in political speech on its airwaves – another Obama effort to silence his opponents.
Most people do not care one whit about the FCC; after all, the FCC are those guys who divvy up cell phone spectrum and make people buy digital TVs. What interest does the FCC have in politics? Sadly, the FCC has always been a political tool because it regulates and controls the media of political dialogue. This is why the FCC, bypassing a federal judicial order, regulated 'net neutrality.' The FCC cannot stand to be outside of the loop on communications, especially political. This is why Rep. Nancy Pelosi seeks to restore the 'fairness doctrine,' which would allow the FCC to stamp out talk radio personalities that oppose her.
As with most regulation, the raw political power grab of the FCC's latest disclosure rule is concealed by a veneer of ostensible reason. The new rule requires any broadcaster, no matter how small, to report any political airtime buys to the government. The veneer of reasonability is disclosure and sunlight, however, the rule requires immediate and real-time reporting of political buys. No other regulatory body's political regulations are so onerous, and the only purpose can be to enable immediate tactical responses to those who buy ad time. The new rule's timing is also convenient, as Obama's reelection is just getting into gear.
Further, the rule's primary proponent, Meredith McGehee, is a Naderite political operative. The former Common Cause lobbyist and aide to Socialist IL Rep. Lane Evans (D) somehow decided to focus on FCC reporting to advance her political agenda. Team Obama is amazingly talented at coordinating all of the Left's assets to advance its overall political agenda.
If regular people start to feel the government's collar around their necks, it has been a long time coming. While Obama's assaults on traditional American freedoms have been most visible from the front (e.g. Obamacare, union bailouts, punish 'the rich'), his shadowy tactics have been just as effective. If the nerdy FCC can become a political tool for Obama, his tactics combined with the embedded left sentiment of the bureaucracy appear to have no limits.
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By their words and their deeds, Obama and Hillary obviously hate women! ^ | April 30, 2012 | Ron Reale, staff writer

While liberals are up in arms about Rush Limbaugh and his comment, (for which he immediately apologized), about an admittedly “loose woman” and her need to have us all pay for her sexcapades, our “formerly” Muslim President, Barack Obama, bypassed Congress to give the Palestinian Authority, those paragons of virtue and women’s rights, $192 million dollars.

The President’s Muslim friends in Egypt, the ones Obama was in such a hurry to support in their drive for “Democracy,” are still receiving over two billion of American taxpayer dollars, (as they have each year since 1979, and as their Muslim Brotherhood leaders have recently threatened us, must be continued),and they have made it illegal for woman to get an education or work.

They can’t even escape their tormentors in death, as the filthy Islamists claim the right to continue to have sex with them for 6 hours after they are dead.

I find it interesting that the Communists in the Progressive Caucus in Congress that Republican Representative Alan West spoke of recently, will fight tooth and nail to keep a country from getting any aid from America if their unions are not receiving the same treatment as our corrupt union thugs in America, but will throw money at any country doing it’s best to destroy woman’s rights, and women themselves.
Hillary Clinton, our obscenity of a Secretary of State, has fully supported the so called, “Arab Spring”. She should be ashamed of herself, but we know the Clintons have no shame.
She should have resigned rather than ever speak to a leader of one of these Muslim misogynistic countries. She should be denouncing them at every interview, doing everything she can to bring an end to American support.
We hear from these Communists in the Progressive…..
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Union Sues Indiana Governor; Claims Right-To-Work Law Enforces Slavery!

Capitol Confidential ^ | 4/22/2012 | Tom Gantert

An Indiana union suing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels over right-to-work legislation is claiming that it violates the 13th amendment — the law that outlaws slavery.

In the lawsuit, the union claims that the Indiana right-to-work bill "requires dues-paying union members to work alongside non-union personnel," which the union contends is slavery.

Ed Maher, spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, didn’t return a message left on his office phone.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the union’s claim was ridiculous.

"The legal argument expands the definition of chutzpa," Wright said. "Compulsory membership and coerced dues and fees are the hallmarks of the union movement, yet they claim that giving workers more choice is an act of enslavement."
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed its lawsuit Feb. 22 against Indiana’s governor, attorney general and labor commissioner.
Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said it was insulting to invoke slavery into the debate on right-to-work.
“It’s insulting to the great civil rights leaders to compare the new forced unionism movement to what civil rights leaders went through in the 1950s and 1960s,” Vernuccio said. "In reality, it is workers who don’t have the ability to say no and keep their jobs in the forced-unionization states.”
Right-to-work laws prohibit employers and unions from entering into contracts that make workers’ financial support of the union a condition of employment. There are 23 states with right-to-work laws.

Sitting Out Obama (The president has investors scared stiff)

National Review ^ | 04/30/2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

We recently saw lots of sit-down strikes and demonstrations — the various efforts in Wisconsin, the Occupy movements, and student efforts to oppose tuition hikes. None of them mattered much or changed anything. There is a sit-down strike, however, that has paralyzed the country and has been largely ignored by the media.

Most economists since 2009 have been completely wrong in their forecasts, reminding us that their supposedly data-driven discipline is more an art than a science. After all, a great deal of money is invested and spent — or not — based largely on perceptions, hunches, and emotions rather than a 100 percent certainty of profit or loss. And the message Americans are getting is that the Obama administration is hostile to investment and business, and thus should be waited out.
Barack Obama’s original economic team — Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag — have long fled the administration, and have proved mostly wrong in all their therapies and prognostications of 2009. Despite the stimulus of borrowing over $5 trillion in less than four years, near-zero interest rates, and chronic deficits, the U.S. economy is in the weakest recovery since the Great Depression and mired in the longest streak of continuous unemployment of 8 percent or higher — 38 months — since the 1930s. The Mexican economy is growing more rapidly than is ours. Why did not massive annual $1 trillion–plus deficits spark a recovery, as government claimed an ever larger percentage of GDP, and new public-works projects were heralded by the administration?
Much of the answer is found in the collective psyche of those Americans who traditionally hire, purchase, or invest capital. An economy is simply the aggregate of millions of private agendas, of people sensing and reacting to a commonly perceived landscape. Yet since January 2009, that landscape has been bleak and foreboding.
Take the debt. The problem is not just that Obama has borrowed $5 trillion in less than four years, but also that he has offered few plans to reduce the ongoing borrowing and none at all to pay down the debt. Instead, he has demonized as heartless anyone who opposes his serial $1 trillion annual deficits. That demoralizes the public, who privately know that they cannot buy everything they might wish, and who expect that government will not, either. In the business community, there is the unspoken assumption that, at some point very soon, either taxes will have to rise, the currency will have to inflate radically, or debts will have to be renounced — all equally foreboding for those with capital. Some even believe that Obama is not a haphazardly profligate spender but a deliberate one who welcomes the radical measures on the horizon to stave off bankruptcy as laudable in themselves.
Take energy. We are reminded that the ANWR field in Alaska — and others far greater there — are still off limits. So too are over 25 million barrels off the California coast. Federal leases have been vastly curtailed in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Eastern Seaboard, and in the American West. The cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, which would have kept billions of U.S. petrodollars inside North America, coupled with Solyndra-like federally subsidized solar and wind boondoggles, sent the message that the government would oppose energy that was profitable and subsidize sources that were not.
Worse still, in less than four years, we have now an entire corpus of Obama-administration quotations blasting fossil-fuel energy. The president himself promised skyrocketed energy prices with his now-stalled cap-and-trade proposals. He mused that new regulations might bankrupt coal-burning companies. He ridiculed the idea of increasing oil and gas supplies by more drilling and instead pointed to the importance of proper tire pressure and regular tune-ups and spoke of tapping America’s vast algae resources. Secretary of Energy–designate Steven Chu mused that he wanted gas to reach European price levels, apparently in hopes of curbing fossil-fuel consumption while making alternative sources of energy more competitive. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who as a senator had claimed that even $10-a-gallon gas would not prompt him to open up federal lands for oil and gas leases, shrugged that there is no way of knowing whether $9-a-gallon gas is on the horizon. More recently, it was disclosed that an EPA regional administrator, Al Armendariz, had bragged of trying to “crucify” and “make examples” of gas and oil companies in the manner that the Romans did to conquered peoples.
The current renaissance in American oil and gas production is primarily a private effort to drill on private land, despite rather than because of the Obama administration. That the Obama administration takes credit for private companies’ finding new sources of low-priced oil and gas, despite government hopes that they would fail, only heightens the sense of private-sector cynicism and pessimism. The result is that “speculators” do not believe the oil companies will be given access to enormous energy reserves on public lands — and that, to the degree they drill new wells on private lands, a horde of apparatchiks from academia such as Mr. Armendariz will make life difficult for them.
Take also new mandates. The problem with Obamacare is not just that it represents a vast new entitlement at a time of record annual deficits, but that no one knows how much it will cost employers to enroll their employees. Potential hirers instead suspect only that their health-care expenses will spike, and those who are politically connected for that very reason have sought and obtained exemptions from the Obama administration: All companies, liberally owned or not, want out, not in — exactly the opposite of what the administration forecast. The public likewise suspects that Obamacare will come to resemble the hated TSA they see at airports — lots of employees milling around, little guarantee that the job at hand is done well, and an evident resentment of federal employees toward the public they serve. Will X-rays for our kidneys resemble the sort of scanning process and pat-downs we endure at airports? And the more the government seems to take over private enterprise — the car bailouts, the mortgage industry, student loans, wind and solar partnerships — the more private enterprise is frightened of being the next small guitar company or the next Chrysler creditor. Government seems now to be not only incompetent but arrogant, as if its vast recent growth ensured its impunity from oversight — whether in the GSA scandal, the Secret Service debacle, or the Fast and Furious mess.
Take wealth. There is a crass war against wealth. Obama has ridiculed those who have done well as the one-percenters, the fat cats, the corporate-jet owners, and the ones who don’t pay their fair share or don’t know when to stop making money. But the problem with this boilerplate populism is that it does not emanate from the muscular classes and is not aimed uniformly at the proverbial rich. The first family vacations in Martha’s Vineyard, Costa del Sol, Vail and Aspen, not at Camp David; and the lieutenants in this class warfare are themselves one-percenters, an Al Gore, John Kerry, or Nancy Pelosi. Likewise, who determines whether to go after the Koch brothers or Warren Buffett; is this week’s enemy to be Exxon or Google? Why is the non-income-tax-paying GE under Jeffrey Immelt apparently approved, while a CEO on Wall Street is deemed a fat cat? Is it give to Obama and you are canonized; give to Romney and your name is posted on an enemies-list, pro-Obama website?
The only thing more discouraging to investors than class warfare generally is a certain type of class warfare: a hypocritical crusade that emanates from the upper classes and selectively targets enemies on the basis not of wealth, but of the degree to which they have failed to buy exemptions with their wealth. Meanwhile, on the other end, the message is more weeks of unemployment insurance, vastly more food-stamp recipients, and constant promises of mortgage-debt relief, credit-card-debt relief, and tuition-debt relief. If one were to dream up a perfect way to destroy incentives on both the top and bottom ends, one could do no better than what we have seen since 2009.
The net result is that those with capital, even if they are small businesses, do not believe that the Obama administration likes them. They feel that regulations will increase, that taxes will increase, that energy costs will increase, and that as they pay more to government and keep less, government will nevertheless become even more arrogant and inefficient — and they will become even more demonized. When people pay over 50 percent in payroll, federal, state, and local taxes and are still caricatured as “not paying their fair share,” a sort of collective shrug follows and bodes ill for the economy at large. One need not be liked to make money, but the constant presidential harangues finally take their toll in insidious ways.
Countless times each day, a contractor chooses to hire only a part-time electrician, a CEO hoards cash rather than opens a new plant, a renting family declines to buy a reasonably priced new house, an indebted graduate heads home to kick back and wait until “something turns up,” and an unemployed worker wonders whether it is not wiser to receive all two years of federal benefits before reentering the work force.
I don’t know whether Mitt Romney’s economic package will bring instant prosperity. But I suspect that the fact alone that it is not what we have seen and heard for the last four years will unleash a pent-up energy of the sort we have not seen in a long time. In short, President Obama has achieved the impossible — he has convinced millions of rational, profit-minded Americans eager to invest, buy, and hire that he doesn’t worry much whether they do.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author most recently of The End of Sparta.

Work 'til You Drop: Is that such a bad idea?

By Ellen Meade

Social Security is slated to run out of money in 2033, three years earlier than expected. So maybe it's time for politicians to stop pandering when it comes to shoring up the system and instead rethink the retirement entitlement altogether.

Maybe we just need to look back at our history.

In the early 1900s, nearly 80 percent of Americans over the age of 65 had a job. Dora Costa, an economic historian at UCLA, says people stopped working only if they were no longer physically able to. They expected to work as long as they lived.
Is that really such a terrible idea?
Look at our labor force. It's changed dramatically since Social Security was enacted in 1935. Most of us are no longer spending our time working on farms or in heavy labor. Most of us are retiring from office jobs. Should we really be funding retirement at 65 just so we can live a life of leisure for the next 15, 20, or 25 years? Some financial advisers are even suggesting that when planning for retirement, we plan to live to 100, or at least another 30 years.
Aging just isn't what it used to be. Carroll O'Connor was only 47 when All in the Family premiered -- younger than Brad Pitt. And look at Mitt Romney. He's 65; he's fit, and he surfs. While wealthy, he's hardly an outlier. The majority of us aren't sitting in rockers in our 60s. We're physically active -- playing tennis and golf, hiking, traveling. We're living longer, healthier lives than ever before.
It should be good news that we're living longer, but with an entire nation set to be on the government dole in their later years, it's not good news at all. Right now, we spend more on Social Security than on national defense. And with baby-boomers retiring and living longer than ever, it's only going to get worse.
In fact, the International Monetary Fund recently warned that retirement costs are rising faster than expected. Worldwide, people are living an average of three years longer than anticipated -- in the U.S., it's up to eight years -- and government pensions aren't equipped to handle it.
When the government first started sending out Social Security checks in 1940, the average lifespan was 63 years. Today, it's 79. Our unexpected longevity has already added another $3.2 trillion to our overburdened Medicare and Social Security systems. And it's expected that our lifespans will increase another four years by 2050.
The first monthly Social Security check was sent to Ida May Fuller on January 31, 1940. She paid a total of $24.75 into the system. Her first check was for $22.54. After her second check, she'd already received more than she ever contributed. She lived to be 100 and collected $22,888.
That scenario is playing itself out, in smaller ways, over and over again all across the country. We're often paying out more in benefits than we're putting in, causing our budget deficit to balloon in an unsustainable manner.
Politicians have been warning us for years about the impending collapse of Social Security, but with millions of people relying on it, tackling the problem in any truly meaningful way is unpopular at best. There have long been calls to raise the retirement age and increase taxes in order to fund the system. Rep. Paul Ryan has called for partially privatizing Social Security and Medicare for those under 55 and raising the retirement age to 70.
But is that enough?
Our society has changed drastically over the seven-plus decades since Social Security was introduced. Maybe our thinking about it should, too.

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Sarah Palin Factor puts women in back row!

By Kimberly Atkins | Monday, April 30, 2012 | | Columnists
Photo by AP
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s running mate will not be a woman. And we have Sarah Palin to thank for that. At least in part.

In the search for Mitt’s Number Two, perhaps Beth Myers will try to pitch South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Either woman would bring both diversity and southern-state gravitas. And there’s U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Condoleezza Rice — plenty of seemingly qualified conservative women to choose from.
But Romney won’t choose any of them. He’s playing it safe. And after Election 2008, safe means Mr. Wonder Bread. (Pack those bags, Rob Portman.) Picking a woman may make people think of what happened four years ago — that gamey-changey stuff — and Romney does not want that. At all.
Thanks, Sarah.
Being a woman in the world of politics was a hard enough endeavor to begin with. But now we are feeling the full brunt of the additional Palin Factor: Whatever a candidate’s political liabilities may be, they seem somehow amplified by the lack of a Y chromosome.
“I do think that the extent to which Palin had liabilities as a candidate and as a public official has had some implications as to what we think of all women in office,” said Kay L. Schlozman, a political science professor at Boston College.
Palin wasn’t the only one who had a hand in creating this situation, of course. Sexism in American politics, both the overt kind and the silent variety that lies hidden like black mold in a dank basement, is as old as this nation. But as a candidate, Palin not only had a responsibility to her party not to catastrophically implode; like it or not, she had a duty to women.
Schlozman recalled that during her education and early career in the ’60s and ’70s, “I and my friends always felt a special pressure that we couldn’t fail. If we did, then we’d fail all women. Our failures would have implications in the way other women are perceived in the future.” That is a responsibility I and many other women have felt. And we weren’t even running for national office.
And for all Palin’s failures, there is no question that she was also a victim of sexism. Politics is a full-contact sport, but for women the attacks are extra-personal. How much have we heard about Palin’s hotness, or Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits, or Nancy Pelosi’s alleged fondness for Botox? Newsflash: Here in Washington, the men’s foreheads don’t move, either. But that goes unnoticed.
Palin wasn’t exactly treated kindly by those in her own corner, either.
“A very legitimate case can be made that, in addition that whatever liability she brought to campaign, she was also thrown under the bus by other people in the campaign,” Schlozman noted.
Who could blame any woman for not wanting to win the veepstakes?
But no need to worry — no woman is in the running. They’ve come a long way in politics, but they suffered a U-turn a few years back.
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Elizabeth Warren, poster girl for liberal hypocrisy!

American Thinker ^ | 04/30/2012 | Thomas Lifson

No novelist could concoct a believable character to match Elizabeth Warren, the strategist behind the scarily-powerful and unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Democratic candidate for Senate. Professor Warren (she is a professor at Harvard Law School) cannot bear close scrutiny without revealing multi-layered hypocrisy and self-serving behavior. Oh, and a tendency to make herself look worse by taking far too long to confirm embarrassing truths, and looking like a weasel.
Warren is outraising incumbent Scott Brown, and is ahead in the polls. But Massachusetts voters have not yet savored the character of Warren, which embodies many local prejudices against Harvard types, the rich liberals who look down on everybody else. I hope that she continues to be herself and let voters get a sense of who she really is.

Fortunately for connoisseurs of liberal double standards, Howie Carr, Boston Herald columnist and talk radio host, is chronicling Warren's campaign. The entire column is a gem, but here is an excerpt:
It's turning out that she's not quite the working-class heroine her worshipers in the limousine-liberal crowd thought she was.
Last week, news broke that Harvard Law had cited Warren as a minority hire - a Native American - when it was under criticism for lack of faculty diversity in 1996.
Asked Friday for proof of her Indian ancestry, Warren's said it's part of her family "lore."
She also said she couldn't "recall" if she'd ever claimed minority status when applying for a job and that she'd never known of Harvard's 1996 boast until Friday. When Brown's campaign demanded that Warren apologize for taking part in a "diversity sham," she said her campaign is searching for "evidence" of her Native American lineage.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Why Obama's Five Campaign Themes Fail

So far, we’ve seen President Obama’s reelection team telegraph five central campaign “themes.” None of them has anything to do with his record as president, and all of them are nonstarters that are easily refuted by the facts:

1. Mitt Romney is “too rich” to be president. Mitt Romney’s net worth is almost identical ($250 million) to the Democratic Party’s 2004 nominee, John Kerry ($240 million). If Democrats had no problem with a rich guy running for president in 2004, why now?
2. President Obama killed Osama bin Laden: Romney might not have. The Navy SEALS, not Barack Obama, killed Osama bin Laden. To suggest otherwise is an insult to their bravery and valor. Besides, does any serious person honestly believe that any president--of either party--would not have pulled the trigger when informed that Osama bin Laden was in the cross-hairs? Really?
3. Young people will vote for President Obama again because he is “cooler” than Romney, as is evidenced by his appearances on Jimmy Fallon. College-age voters are over "cool." They want jobs and can’t find them. One out of every two college graduates will soon hit the Obama economy’s wall of reality and join the growing ranks of the unemployed. Romney may not be “cool,” but he looks like that family friend mom and dad said to go see because his successful company is hiring. Put simply, Romney may not be the “iPod President,” but he sure looks like the “Paycheck President.” And that’s very cool.
4. President Obama is fighting those evil meany Republicans and their “War on Women.” The Obama economy has been a disaster for female employment. Nine out of ten jobs lost under Obama belonged to women. Female voters are over the “hope and change.” They have kids to feed and family budgets to balance. They want to work and earn higher wages. Obama has failed to produce either.
5. President Obama grew up poor and therefore has more compassion and willingness to maintain the social safety net. President Obama’s parents were professors, hardly a destitute upbringing (the Washington Post says Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, Obama’s mother, made what would today be a $123,000 salary—a figure that would place her in the top six percent of all individual income earners). Romney’s millions of dollars in private charity donations more than demonstrate that he cares deeply about those in need. In 2010, Romney donated 14 percent of his income to charity. Vice President Joe Biden? An embarrassing 1.4 percent. In fact, it was only recently that President Obama upped his charitable giving. Before running for president, the Obamas gave just 6.1 percent to charity. They've since upped their charitable giving to match Romney’s 14 percent.

Bottom line: if Obama wants to win reelection, his campaign team has some serious work to do. The five themes they’ve telegraphed thus far are easily refuted by the facts.

Arianna Huffington: President's bin Laden ad "despicable"!

CBSNews ^ | 4/30/2012

(CBS News) Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief of the The Huffington Post, called the Obama campaign's decision to tout the assassination of Osama bin Laden in a campaign advertisement "despicable." The ad questions whether presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

"I don't think there should be an ad about that," Huffington said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "I think it's one thing to celebrate the fact that they did such a great job (with television specials). All that is perfectly legitimate. But to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama has held more re-election fundraisers than previous five Presidents combined!

DailyMail - UK ^ | April 30, 2012 | Toby Harnden

Barack Obama has already held more re-election fundraising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined, according to figures to be published in a new book.
Obama is also the only president in the past 35 years to visit every electoral battleground state in his first year of office.
The figures, contained a in a new book called The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, due to be published by University Press of Kansas in July, give statistical backing to the notion that Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than any other commander-in-chief of modern times.
Campaigner in chief?
Barack Obama has been assiduously visiting swing states; he is pictured earlier this week speaking in Iowa Doherty, who has compiled statistics about presidential travel and fundraising going back to President Jimmy Carter in 1977, found that Obama had held 104 fundraisers by March 6th this year, compared to 94 held by Presidents Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.
Since then, Obama has held another 20 fundraisers, bringing his total to 124. Carter held four re-election fundraisers in the 1980 campaign, Reagan zero in 1984, Bush Snr 19 in 1992, Clinton 14 in 1996 and Bush Jnr 57 in 2004.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Clues Put FBI Informant at the Apex of Fast and Furious Scandal ^ | 29 April, 2012 | Bill Conroy

US Weapons “Walked” Into Mexico Under ATF Operation Supplied Firepower for Juarez Bloodbath!

A top enforcer for the Sinaloa drug organization and his army of assassins in Juarez, Mexico — responsible for a surge in violence in that city that has led to thousands of deaths in recent years — may well have been supplied hundreds, if not thousands, of weapons through an ill-fated US law-enforcement operation known as Fast and Furious.

That enforcer, Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, was arrested by Mexican police in February this year and is now the subject of a 14-count US indictment unsealed in late April in San Antonio, Texas, that also charges the alleged leaders of the Sinaloa organization (Joaquin Guzman Loera, or El Chapo; and Ismael Zambada Garcia, or El Mayo) and 21 other individuals with engaging in drug and firearms trafficking, money laundering and murder in “furtherance of a criminal enterprise.”

However, public records and media reports reveal that the trail of weapons that reportedly helped Maruffo unleash a bloody war against the rival Juarez drug organization for control of the market leads, at least in part, back to the doorstep of US law enforcement agencies, principally the FBI and ATF, through the contortions of the US-sanctioned gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious.Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo is now in the custody of Mexican law enforcement.
Marrufo is allegedly responsible, according to the Mexican government, for the murders of some 18 people at the El Aliviane drug-treatment center in Juarez in the fall of 2009. In addition, the indictment in San Antonio contends he is responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murders of several people who lived in the United States, including a Horizon City, Texas, resident who was killed for losing a load of marijuana to a Border Patrol seizure.
In another case, the US indictment alleges, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in San Antonio, the following:

Specifically, Torres Marrufo caused an individual in El Paso to travel to a wedding ceremony in Juarez to confirm the identity of a target. The target was the groom, a United States citizen and a resident of Columbus, NM. Under Torres Marrufo’s orders, the groom, his brother and his uncle were all kidnapped during the wedding ceremony and subsequently tortured and murdered. Their bodies were discovered by Juarez police a few days later in the bed of an abandoned pickup truck. Additionally, a fourth person was killed during the kidnapping at the wedding ceremony.
Fast and Furious
Under Fast and Furious, launched in the fall of 2009, the nation’s federal gun-law enforcer, ATF, in conjunction with a task force composed of several other federal agencies, including the FBI, allowed nearly 2,000 weapons to be smuggled into Mexico. These deliveries of deadly weapons were allowed to “walk” across the border, where they were put into the clutches of criminal organizations, such as those overseen by alleged Sinaloa enforcer Marrufo, so that US law enforcers could supposedly later trace the trail of those guns to the so-called kingpins of Mexico’s criminal organizations.
That evidence would, in theory, lead to some major convictions in US courts and plenty of positive press for the drug-law enforcers. All that makes for big career boosts for the US attorneys and law enforcement brass who get to stand in front of the cameras and take credit for helping to "win" the drug war.
The problem, of course, is that in the wake of Fast and Furious, many people, many innocent Mexican citizens, were mowed down by the bullets fired by those smuggled guns — which could have, and should have, been intercepted by ATF agents long before they ever crossed the border.
The entire operation came to a screeching halt in early 2011, after a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was murdered in Arizona in late 2010 and a couple of assault rifles used in that attack were found at the scene and traced back to the Fast and Furious operation. That incident prompted a Congressional investigation. led by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley and Republican U.S. Rep. Darryl Issa, that, though seemingly more political than truth-seeking, continues to this day.
The main US target of Fast and Furious from the start was an individual named Manuel Celis Acosta, who has since been indicted. Acosta was supposedly the ringleader of a group of “straw” gun purchasers who were acquiring weapons from US gun stores, under the watch of ATF, and then smuggling them into Mexico.
A Sept. 27, 2011, letter drafted by U.S. Rep. Issa and U.S. Sen. Grassley and directed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., however, contends that “the financier for Acosta's firearms trafficking ring … began cooperating with the FBI and may have received additional payments as a confidential informant.”
A Feb. 1, 2012, memo drafted by staff for Grassley and Issa, thickens the plot, indicating that there were, in fact, two FBI informants involved with purchasing weapons from Acosta, and ATF had no clue that these so-called “big fish,” the high-level targets of Fast and Furious, were, in fact, working for a sister agency.
From the Congressional memo:

When ATF finally brought the ringleader, Celis-Acosta, in for his proffer after his indictment in January 2011, ATF learned the names of the two cartel associates. These were the “big fish” that [ATF Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Bill] Newell had hoped to catch as a result of Fast and Furious and the federal wiretaps. Because the ATF wiretaps and ATF agent surveillance had thus far failed to identify these associates, the proffer was the first time ATF identified these individuals. Shockingly, though, other federal law enforcement components of the Department of Justice [such as the FBI and DEA] were already aware of the two cartel associates that ATF had finally identified. Their names appeared frequently in DEA call logs provided to ATF — in December 2009. Inexplicably, ATF failed to review all the materials DEA had provided, missing these prime investigative targets.
Additionally, DEA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had jointly opened a separate investigation specifically targeting these two cartel associates. As early as mid-January 2010, both agencies had collected a wealth of information on these associates. Yet, ATF spent the next year engaging in the reckless tactics of Fast and Furious in attempting to identify them.
During the course of this separate investigation, the FBI designated these two cartel associates as national security assets. [essentially foreign-intelligence agents, or informants]. In exchange for one individual’s guilty plea to a minor count of “Alien in Possession of a Firearm,” both became FBI informants and are now considered to be unindictable. This means that the entire goal of Fast and Furious — to target these two individuals and bring them to justice — was a failure. ATF’s discovery that the primary targets of their investigation were not indictable was “a major disappointment.” [Emphasis added.]
The Connections
A recent Fox News report purports, via unnamed sources, to reveal the identity of these two alleged FBI informants.
That report identifies them as Eduardo and Jesus A. Miramontes Varela — both Mexican nationals who “worked for the Sinaloa Cartel when they became informants for the FBI in 2009.”
Then, in late April of this year, the Los Angeles Times came out with an exclusive story about Jesus A. Miramontes Varela, though that report, based on leaked documents, does not link him to Acosta or directly to the Fast and Furious investigation, other than to indicate that ATF “had tracked $250,000 in illegal gun purchases to Miramontes Varela and his brother through its ill-fated Fast and Furious gun-smuggling surveillance operation in Arizona.”
The Los Angeles Times report traces the history of Miramontes Varela, revealing that just prior to becoming an FBI informant, he pleaded guilty to charges of being an illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm — the same charge mentioned in the Congressional memo. Miramontes Varela, the Los Angeles times reports, worked in the drug-trafficking business in Juarez in the early 2000s but by 2008 had set up his own arms- and drug-trafficking network on the US side of the border, operating out of New Mexico and Colorado — before being “transformed into one of the FBI’s top informants on the Southwest border.”
So it seems — if those media reports and Congressional records are to be believed — Miramontes Varela was, in fact, a major financier and purchaser of weapons acquired from US gun stores by the gun-smuggling ring headed by Fast and Furious’ target Acosta.
Yet another staff report prepared for Grassley and Issa’s investigation into Fast and Furious, released on July 26, 2011, reports the following:

On January 13, 2010, the ATF Dallas Field Division seized 40 rifles [in the US] traced to [an] Operation Fast and Furious suspect. This seizure connected Operation Fast and Furious suspects with a specific high-level “plaza boss” in the Sinaloa DTO [drug trafficking organization]. Additionally, this seizure may have represented a shift in the movement of Operation Fast and Furious weapons in order to provide the necessary firearms for the Sinaloa Cartel’s battle for control of the Juarez drug smuggling corridor. [Emphasis added.]
Mexican federal police in February of this year arrested Marrufo, who was described by the Mexican government as a significant player in the Sinaloa drug organization.
Last year, in April, Mexican police raided a Juarez home allegedly owned by Marrufo (who was not there at the time) and discovered a cache of high-powered weapons, 40 of which were traced back to gun sales made through ATF’s Fast and Furious operation, according to news reports at the time.
Those 40 weapons, it appears, according to an October 2011 Lost Angeles Times report, were likely part of a cache of “100 assault weapons acquired under Fast and Furious [and] transported 350 miles from Phoenix to El Paso.”
“Forty of the weapons made it across the border and into the arsenal of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a feared cartel leader in Ciudad Juarez,” the Los Angeles Times reported, sourcing federal court documents and ATF records.
One Narco News source, who claims to have known and worked under Marrufo in Mexico in the past and is now in hiding in the US, contends that Miramontes Varela in the early 2000s did business for the Juarez “Cartel” — as did Marrufo, the source alleges, prior to switching allegiances in the early 2000s and putting in his lot with the rival Sinaloa organization. The source alleges further that Miramontes Varela had a falling out with the Juarez organization after “he stole from them” and “that’s when he started working with Marrufo and the Sinaloa organization” — as well, apparently, for the FBI.
Whether that source is to be believed, given the murky world within which the drug-trafficking business exists, is not clear, nor is it clear from the available evidence if the guns found in Marrufo’s home in Juarez in April 2011 can be linked directly to Miramontes Varela.
But it is clear, based on the media reports and Mexican government press statements about Marrufo, that, prior to his arrest earlier this year, he was a “high-level ‘plaza boss,’” for the Sinaloa organization in Juarez and that he has clearly been connected to weapons that were smuggled across the border into Juarez as part of Fast and Furious. And it also seems probable, according to the Congressional and media reports, that alleged FBI informant Miramontes Varela was a major “financier for” Fast and Furious weapons purchases, weapons that eventually landed in the hands of the Sinaloa “Cartel’s” enforcers in Juarez.
No one in US law enforcement contacted by Narco News wanted to discuss the particulars of Miramontes Varela’s informant status, or his possible connections to Marrufo, due to the sensitive nature of informant matters.
In addition to San Antonio, Marrufo also is facing a drug- and gun-trafficking charges in an indictment filed against him in February 2011 by the US Attorney's office in El Paso, which is under the umbrella of the US Attorney’s Office in San Antonio.
Should Marrufo be extradited by Mexico to stand trail in federal court in San Antonio or El Paso, those cases may yet yield future clues to the sordid relationships that were part of the failed Fast and Furious operation and the trail of blood left in its wake in Mexico and the US — all for the sake, seemingly, of allowing US law enforcement brass and prosecutors to score career and media points.
For now, though, we will have to be satisfied with the clues we can piece together from the public-record trail, all pointing to yet another chapter of US complicity in murder in Latin America to advance classified national interests, which, in this era, all too often are cloaked in the empty rhetoric of the war on drugs.
Stay tuned….

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