Original story at Freedom@Work Blog: Freedom@Work readers will remember our extensive coverage of Barack Obama's numerous executive orders (during the first month of his Presidency) paying back union bosses for their efforts getting him into the White House.
Yesterday, a provision in Obama's January 30 executive order took effect -- revoking former-President Bush's February 2001 executive order which required federal contractors to post notices in the workplace simply informing employees of their right to refrain from formal, dues paying union membership and withhold forced dues for everything but the documented cost of collective bargaining.
The Obama directive is intended to ensure millions of workers do not learn of their right, won in the National Right to Work Foundation's precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court victory Communication Workers v. Beck, to withhold forced union dues earmarked for union politics, lobbying, and other non-bargaining activities.
This is just the first of many steps by Barack Obama and his Big Labor cronies (for example, his Labor Secretary Hilda Solis) are already taking
You probably saw all the TV commercials and articles about how important Earth Hour, which was held yesterday, was to the environmentalists.
Turns out the King environmentalist wasn't persuaded to partake in the activities. According to Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center For Policy Research: "I pulled up to Al’s house, located in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, at 8:48pm – right in the middle of Earth Hour. I found that the main spotlights that usually illuminate his 9,000 square foot mansion were dark, but several of the lights inside the house were on.
In fact, most of the windows were lit by the familiar blue-ish hue indicating that floor lamps and ceiling fixtures were off, but TV screens and computer monitors were hard at work. (In other words, his house looked the way most houses look about 1:45am when their inhabitants are distractedly watching “Cheaters” or “Chelsea Lately” reruns.)
The kicker, though, were the dozen or so floodlights grandly highlighting several trees and illuminating the driveway entrance of Gore’s mansion.
I [kid] you not, my friends, the savior of the environment couldn’t be bothered to turn off the gaudy lights that show off his goofy trees."
SPOKANE, Wash. – The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don't work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.
But it's not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.
Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe's left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.
As a result, there has been a quiet rush of Spokane-area shoppers heading east on Interstate 90 into Idaho in search of old-school suds.
Real estate agent Patti Marcotte of Spokane stocks up on detergent at a Costco in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and doesn't care who knows it.
"Yes, I am a smuggler," she said. "I'm taking my chances because dirty dishes I cannot live with."
(In truth, the ban applies to the sale of phosphate detergent — not its use or possession — so Marcotte is not in any legal trouble.)
Marcotte said she tried every green brand in her dishwasher and found none would remove grease and pieces of food. Everybody she knows buys dishwasher detergent in Idaho, she said.
Supporters of the ban acknowledge it is not very popular.
"I'm not hearing a lot of positive feedback," conceded Shannon Brattebo of the Washington Lake Protection Association, a prime mover of the ban. "I think people are driving to Idaho."
Steve Marcy, manager of the Costco in Coeur d'Alene, about 10 miles east of the Washington state line, estimated that sales of dishwasher detergent in his store have increased 10 percent. He knows where the customers are coming from.
"I'll joke with them and ask if they are from Spokane," Marcy said. "They say, `Oh yeah.'"
Shoppers can still buy phosphate detergents in Washington state by venturing outside Spokane County, but Idaho is more convenient to many Spokane residents.
Phosphates — the main cleaning agent in many detergents and household cleaners — break down grease and remove stains. However, the chemicals are difficult to remove in waste water treatment plants and often wind up in rivers and lakes, where they promote the growth of algae. And algae gobble up oxygen in the water that fish need to survive.
While traditional detergents are up to 9 percent phosphate, those sold in Spokane County can contain no more than 0.5 percent.
The Washington Lake Protection Association has launched a campaign to encourage people to give the environmentally friendly brands a fair chance. The group suggests consumers experiment with different brands or install water softeners to help the green detergents work better.
"Clean lakes and clean dishes do not have to be mutually exclusive," said association president-elect Jacob McCann.
Phosphates have been banned in laundry detergent nationally since 1993. Washington was the first state where the Legislature passed a similar ban against dishwasher detergents, in 2006. The ban is being phased in, starting with Spokane County.
"It's nice to be on the cutting edge," Spokane resident Ken Beck, an opponent of the ban, said sarcastically.
Among other states that have banned or are banning phosphates in dishwasher detergent are Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. A bill on Capitol Hill would impose a nationwide ban.
The Soap and Detergent Association, which represents manufacturers, initially fought the bans. But as the movement gained strength across the country, the association asked legislatures to delay bans until July 2010 to allow for a uniform roll out of products.
The industry has been working to develop better low-phosphate detergents, said Dennis Griesing, vice president of the manufacturers group.
"This is an irrevocable, nationwide commitment on the industry's part," he said.
For his part, Beck has taken to washing his dishes on his machine's pots-and-pans cycle, which takes longer and uses five gallons more water. Beck wonders if that isn't as tough on the environment as phosphates.
"How much is this really costing us?" Beck said. "Aren't we transferring the environmental consequences to something else?"
A bill was introduced in The House of Representatives on March 23rd 2009, that would establish a new national "green bank". This bill is sponsored by Democrat Rep. Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland and co-sponsored by four other democrats.
This bank would essentially be run by Tim Geithner and the treasury department and wholly owned by the United States of America. The purpose of this bank is to establish guaranteed funding for research and development of renewable energy. You can see the full text of the bill at opencongress.org.
Sounds like just the thing we need. It has been proven to the American people time and time again in recent months that the treasury department can do nothing right. But now we want to take "green energy" out of the private sector and fund it through bloated bureaucratic agencies.
This bill has not yet been voted on. Contact your representative and let them know your opinion.
The follwing is a resignation letter from former AIG employee Jake DeSantis. The NY Times ran this letter as an op-ed piece.
It really showcases the utter ineptitude of the financial bailout. Successful employees of profitable divisions of companies that made bad decisions are being victimized. All because congress passed a bad and totally unpopular bill. Mr. DeSantis had a contract with AIG, he worked for a $1/year salary. His bonuses were contracted to him. They were his primary means of income. The government acts in haste and passes an abomination of a bill and now Mr. DeSantis is paying the price. On the upside, Mr. DeSantis is donating 100% of his retention payment to charity.
Dear Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:
I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.
I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.
The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.
But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.
My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.
That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”
That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.
At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.
I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.
You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.
Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.
The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.
So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.
That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.
On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.
This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.
Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”
You will notice how the article below doesn't reference a political affiliation of Vito. Well I will. She is a Democrat. With numerous ties to the unions.
From Penn Live: Acting Labor and Industry Secretary Sandi Vito was too drunk to sign the citation issued to her for public drunkenness, according to documents that were filed Wednesday in court.
The citation against Vito, which carries a $200 fine, was filed in District Judge Joseph Solomon's office Wednesday, a week after Vito was picked up for public drunkenness at the Harrisburg Hilton.
Vito was found "extremely intoxicated" in the hotel bar, according to city police Officer Amy Bright, who issued the citation. The document also said Vito was shouting an obscenity at Bright and others.
Vito, 43, entered a rehab facility a day after The Patriot-News reported the incident. She is expected to return to her $136,120-a-year post after a leave that will last about two weeks, authorities said.
Vito has been recommended for confirmation by the Senate's Labor and Industry Committee, and a vote is expected by the Senate within a few weeks.
Gov. Ed Rendell is expected to continue to support her, administration officials said.
In a statement she issued after the incident, Vito said she was arrested after she declined to take a cab instead of walking to her home in Shipoke.
Sources familiar with the incident said police were summoned by hotel employees after Vito either fell out or jumped out of a cab that was summoned for her and refused to get back in.
Although I am not the biggest fan of Sean Hannity, ocassionaly he does make a valid point and is never short on the video proof to back up his words. On tonight's, March 20th, 2009 episode of "Hannity's America", he connected the dots very well as to what exactly happened with the AIG bonus situation and who hasn't been telling the entire truth.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, commercial airline pilots were granted the ability to carry a concealed weapon with them in the cockpit after their succesful completion of a federal firearms safety course.
Now President Obama is silently and he is hoping for secretly, trying to end that program that allows pilots to defend not only themselves but the passengers they are responsible for.
President Obama is diverting money away from the pilot training program. He is instead using that money to hire more government supervisory staff that will engage in field inspections of the pilots.
An editorial in The Washington Post brings to light just how unnecessary this change of practice and diversion of funds is. "This looks like completely unnecessary harassment of the pilots. The 12,000 Federal Flight Deck Officers, the pilots who have been approved to carry guns, are reported to have the best behavior of any federal law enforcement agency. There are no cases where any of them has improperly brandished or used a gun. There are just a few cases where officers have improperly used their IDs.
Fewer than one percent of the officers have any administrative actions brought against them and, we are told, virtually all of those cases “are trumped up.”
Take a case against one flight officer who had visited the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles within the last few weeks. While there, the pilot noticed that federal law enforcement officers can, with the approval of a superior, obtain a license plate that cannot be traced, a key safety feature for law enforcement personnel. So the pilot asked if, as a member of the federal program, he was eligible. The DMV staffer checked and said “no.” The next day administrative actions were brought against the pilot for “misrepresenting himself.” These are the kinds of cases that President Obama wants to investigate."
I, for one, cannot understand for one second what this diversion of funds is to accomplish. No American of sound mind would have a problem with a properly trained pilot being able to carry a gun in the cockpit. The only people I can see that would have a problem with this practice are terrorists or anti-gun whackjobs who are no better than terrorists.
I just found this wonderful article written by Doug Tennapal of Big Hollywood. I wanted to share with all of you. My favorite part: "Conservatives think hate is an action, Liberals think hate is a position.". Frickin Genius!!
Now for your reading enjoyment...
Hypocrite Hunt by Doug TenNapel
If you just got nailed for doing something stupid or immoral, just find out how your accuser also did something stupid or immoral and you’re off the hook! It doesn’t even have to be for the same indiscretion, just throw everything you’ve got at em’ and hope something sticks. If they did something wrong, then they’re a hypocrite! Hypocrite! Hypocrite!
This is a common tactic I see in modern debate, and it’s closely related to the “who are you to judge” fallout from our post-modern generation. The implication is that if you look for a fault and find it, we collectively lose the ability to call it wrong if we also practice it. If I claim your candidate is a liar, you just Google a quote where my candidate told a lie and suddenly telling a lie is off the table. Stupid, I know. But that’s where we’re at.
Given this standard, nobody can really preach about anything because none of us have perfectly acted out our values. I don’t believe in lying, but I’ve obviously lied before. Perhaps even today. But that doesn’t mean I can’t speak against lying. I’m selfish, and I teach my kids to try not to be selfish as much as possible. Even when I know our nature makes us selfish. We fight because it’s right, not because our record is perfect.
I was at a men’s Bible study where half of us were conservatives and half were libs. They asked how I could support a disingenuous guy like McCain and I said that I thought he would be best about expanding the rights of the unborn. The libs came up with quote after quote, even emailing me YouTube links where McCain was soft on abortion, plus he was a hypocrite because he would expand the Iraq war for 100 years and kill many innocent people.
Liberals love the hypocrite game more than conservatives because liberals learned that by promoting no standards of personal behavior, they can never be caught fighting against them. Liberals judge positions not standards of personal behavior. If you hold the wrong position on Global Warming, you’re not a hypocrite, you’re evil. It doesn’t even matter how you act, as we see when the leaders of their movement ride in jets that aren’t made of organic hemp. You can actually act with hate, as long as you don’t come down on the side of “h8te” on certain issues.
Conservatives think hate is an action, Liberals think hate is a position. Likewise, if a conservative takes a certain view on Embryonic Stem Cell Research we’re called anti-science, never mind that it’s anti-science to pretend the lab is empirically clear on the philosophical value of an unborn human.
The Republicans of the last eight years did act as fiscal hypocrites and deserved to lose their credibility on the subject. I hope our guys reform and see the real fallout that will only happen to Republicans when we’re caught saying we’re for small government while actively expanding it. President Obama can claim to be against big government while tripling down on his massive expansion and it will never occur to Libs that he’s a hypocrite. His intent is in the right place after all.
Philosophically, it’s easier to be a liberal than a conservative. We don’t hold liberals to a high standard because only conservative standard claims are taken seriously. So you can only have conservative hypocrites, which is why we so rarely hear about liberal hypocrites though most of us know better.
I don’t think our Republicans look better because the Obama administration fails. If that’s what we’re counting on then we’re screwed. I hope we don’t have a bunch of Republicans running on “The failed policies of the last four years.” When Obama did that I smelled a fraud and to not use the same standard on Republicans would be hypocritical.
Republicans need to make a positive case for a conservative view of politics. Our liberty is God-given and doesn’t need a government to make it so. Our government should be restrained, limited and pushed out of our lives unless our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is at stake.
What do you mean the media doesn't have a liberal agenda?
Google news is abuzz with stories about the 100 protesters that showed up in Calgary Canada to protest George W. Bush who was making an appearance at a $400 plate dinner today. CBS, Reuters, Bloomberg and a slew of other major media outlets are reporting on the protest.
Strangely there are still very few stories illustrating the massive turnouts at the tea party protests that have been springing up since February 27th. No major media is reporting the story. The actual reporter work has been left up to a slew of local newspapers and TV stations.
Roughly 5,000 people showed up at Cincinnati's protest on Sunday to speak out against the way our President and democratically controlled congress is spending our tax dollars like a bunch of drunken monkeys. No national news agencies covered it.
Last week the tea party in St. Louis drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 protesters. No major mention of that from any big news outlet.
There was however a story run by The Examiner mocking the tea party that was held in Boise Idaho as under attended with only 100 protesters. That is funny, because 100 is the number of protesters that showed up to scream at W. today.
Seems like 100 is only substantial when it's 100 liberals. 100 conservatives mean shit.
Gun-ban list proposed. Slipping below the radar (or under the short-term memory cap), the Democrats have already leaked a gun-ban list, even under the Bush administration when they knew full well it had no chance of passage (HR 1022, 110th Congress). It serves as a framework for the new list the Brady’s plan to introduce shortly. I have an outline of the Brady’s current plans and targets of opportunity. It’s horrific. They’re going after the courts, regulatory agencies, firearms dealers and statutes in an all out effort to restrict we the people. They’ve made little mention of criminals. Now more than ever, attention to the entire Bill of Rights is critical. Gun bans will impact our freedoms under search and seizure, due process, confiscated property, states’ rights, free speech, right to assemble and more, in addition to the Second Amendment. The Democrats current gun-ban-list proposal (final list will be worse):
Rifles (or copies or duplicates): M1 Carbine, Sturm Ruger Mini-14, AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, AR-10, Thompson 1927, Thompson M1; AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR; Olympic Arms PCR; AR70, Calico Liberty , Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle or Dragunov SVU, Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, or FNC, Hi-Point20Carbine, HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, HK-PSG-1, Thompson 1927 Commando, Kel-Tec Sub Rifle; Saiga, SAR-8, SAR-4800, SKS with detachable magazine, SLG 95, SLR 95 or 96, Steyr AU, Tavor, Uzi, Galil and Uzi Sporter, Galil Sporter, or Galil Sniper Rifle ( Galatz ).
Pistols (or copies or duplicates): Calico M-110, MAC-10, MAC-11, or MPA3, Olympic Arms OA, TEC-9, TEC-DC9, TEC-22 Scorpion, or AB-10, Uzi.
Shotguns (or copies or duplicates): Armscor 30 BG, SPAS 12 or LAW 12, Striker 12,
Streetsweeper. Catch-all category (for anything missed or new designs): A semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has: (i) a folding or telescoping stock, (ii) a threaded barrel, (iii) a pistol grip (which includes ANYTHING that can serve as a grip, see below), (iv) a forward grip; or a barrel shroud. Any semiautomatic rifle with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds (except tubular magazine .22 rim fire rifles). A semiautomatic pistol that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine, and has: (i) a second pistol grip, (ii) a threaded barrel, (iii) a barrel shroud or (iv) can accept a detachable magazine outside of the pistol grip, and (v) a semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds. A semiautomatic shotgun with: (i) a folding or telescoping stock, (ii) a pistol grip (see definition below), (iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine or a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds, and (iv) a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
And there it is folks. The USA is beginning to look like communist Cuba. The democrats couldn't be more proud.
"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."
The plan that Commander Rehbein is speaking of is President Obama's new idea that in order to save federal money to bailout big labor and provide medical treatment to the poorest of the poor, soldiers wounded with service related injuries would now have to have their injuries treated with private insurance as opposed to treated on the government's dime. The government whom these brave men are serving.
The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!"
I do believe that Commander Rehbein will have plenty of support behind him on this. I don't think many Americans will stand behind a concept that says we would rather make sure welfare junkie ne'er-do-wells are more taken care of then men that stand on the front line. We may not all agree on what wars should be fought, be we all should agree that it is not the fault of the men serving our country in times of war. These men are sent by our government to fight these wars. Our government should take care of the injuries that they sent these men and women to get.
Remember back to the October 8th Presidential debate. The one where Barack Obama chided John McCain's health care plan by saying what John McCain "doesn't tell you he's going to tax your employer-based health-care benefits for the first time ever." Obama argued that this would lead to "“the largest middle-class tax increase in history.”
Today, March 15th, four months after Barack Obama won the election and almost two months after taking the oath of office, the administration seems to be considering that idea themselves.
Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear of the NY Times tells us,
"At a recent Congressional hearing, Senator Ron Wyden [that's the pretentious looking fellow pictured in the upper left], an Oregon Democrat whose own health plan would make benefits taxable, asked Peter R. Orszag, the president’s budget director, about the issue. Mr. Orszag replied that it “most firmly should remain on the table.”
Mr. Orszag, an economist who has served as director of the Congressional Budget Office, has written favorably of taxing some employer-provided health benefits and using the revenue savings for other health-related incentives. So has another Obama adviser, Jason Furman, the deputy director of the White House National Economic Council."...
...When Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, advocated taxing benefits at a recent hearing of the Finance Committee, which he leads, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner assured him that the administration was open to all ideas from Congress. Mr. Geithner did, however, allude to the position that Mr. Obama had taken as a candidate.
The Congressional Budget Office says that including health benefits in taxable income could mean $246 billion in additional revenue for a single year. Stopping short of full taxation, as Mr. Baucus and others suggest, would mean less new revenue.
At this point I am at a lose for words as to what we can expect next from our lawmakers and this new administration. The "change" that was promised to us, the 'change" that many were so skeptical that would actually come, is just rearing its head as more of the same. More double speak and rhetoric from a shady administration with nothing more important to them than paying back the special interest groups that helped elect them. Change my "A".
According to a new Gallup poll just released, an all time high number of Americans are no longer buying into the global warming alarmism being perpetuated by environmentalists and liberal politicians and media.
An all time high, 41% of Americans now believe that the media is exaggerating global warming to the general public. The previous high was 38% in 2004.
When broken down by political affiliation, it is easy to see that the party with the biggest upswing in skepticism are independents, whose skepticism has risen from 33% in 2008 to 44% this year.
Along with the trending showing skepticism by the American people, there is also a distinct down trending in the percentage of Americans who believe that the effects of climate change are already starting to manifest.
Only 53% of people find that the effects of global warming have started, down remarkably from 61% of people surveyed last year. The last time the percentage was that low was in 2004 when only 51% of people believed that.
60% of Americans also believe that global warming will not show any major affects in their lifetime.
It is nice to see that people are finally beginning to view the world around them with their own minds instead of what the media decides the drones should be hearing. Maybe free-thinking will become the new trend in 2009? One can only dream.
Once again taxpayers of America, you have been duped. Just 11 days after reaching a deal with the United States Government to receive $25 billion dollars to stay afloat, on top of the $40B and $20B they have previously received, released a report today saying that they are so far having a very profitable 2009.
They somehow remain profitable even while donating huge wads to Obama's inauguration and building that new stadium of theirs, oh it must be the $85B of taxpayer money that gives them that extra bounce.
I think Becky C. from Just A Girl In Short Shorts says it best:
Maybe some smarty pants MBA can help me out? But preferably not one of those guys who pretends to understand those gee whiz Weapons of Financial Destruction known as derivatives.
Last week that day finally arrived when you could buy a share of Citigroup at the Dollar Store. And in the pattern that has become familiar, the bank gave a call to the Treasury and Ben Bernake?with the message dreaded by all parents who have a squirt in one of our over priced institutions of higher learning?SEND MONEY.
And of course, the enablers took Citigroup's dire warning to heart,and agreed to a preferred stock swap deal that would infuse an additional twenty-five billion into the bank.
Today, astonishingly, investors are going nuts bulling up the market?all on news that Citigroup claims to have had the most profitable two months since 2007.
I am afraid I am one of those cheeky girls who is not afraid to ask a dumb question?just like I never cared about looking stupid when I asked my financial guru how all the novel exotic financial instruments of the derivative class really worked. Of course, I no longer feel stupid, since it turns out that no one, with the possible exception of Diane Garnick, has a clue.
Call be a dumb blond or a cynical bitch, but this Citigroup is one slippery character.
Back in October, when Wachovia bit the dust, the FDIC brokered a sweetheart deal with Wells Fargo to take possession.
Next thing we know Citibank makes a very generous competing offer?and is even threatening a hostile takeover?with lawsuits and everything. In the end they were persuaded to quit acting like a brat.
But then something happened, that as far as I know, only astounded me.
Four weeks later the hotshot Citibank raiders went crying to the Fed for a bailout to the tune of approximately$300 billion--all depending on how you do the math.
Just yesterday federal regulators reported that Citi, along with B of A, JP Morgan, HSBC, and Wells Fargo face huge losses.
But who wants to believe that?after all its been over a week since Citi was nosing up to the public trough.
The chairman of Citi today issued the patently absurd report on their recent profits. Perhaps he was huffing glue, but the investors on Wall Street responded like they just snorted a pile of righteous blow.
Today the bad boy of the financial world is soaring high. But why shouldn't they be? Bernanke finally said it?none of the big banks are going to be allowed to fail?no matter how much money the Fed has to print.
What could be finer than being a shareholder in that scam?
That is until the world finally wakes up, and discovers that just like Citi, Ben's dollars ain't worth shit.
From CNN: (CNN) – The University of Tennessee student who allegedly hacked the e-mail account of then-Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been served with three new charges.
David Kernell(pictured left) was arraigned Monday morning on a new four-count indictment as a federal grand jury added charges of destroying evidence and identity theft to his case. The son of longtime Democratic State Rep. Mike Kernell of Memphis was initially arraigned only with a single charge of accessing a protected computer.
Kernell was arrested during Palin’s 2008 campaign season after allegedly posting screenshots of e-mail messages, a contact list, and photos of the Alaska governor’s family on Wikileaks.org, a Web site known for anonymously publishing leaked government, corporate, and religious documents.
From Central Connecticut State University's newspaper The Recorder: For CCSU student John Wahlberg, a class presentation on campus violence turned into a confrontation with the campus police due to a complaint by the professor.
On October 3, 2008, Wahlberg and two other classmates prepared to give an oral presentation for a Communication 140 class that was required to discuss a “relevant issue in the media”. Wahlberg and his group chose to discuss school violence due to recent events such as the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred in 2007.
Shortly after his professor, Paula Anderson, filed a complaint with the CCSU Police against her student. During the presentation Wahlberg made the point that if students were permitted to conceal carry guns on campus, the violence could have been stopped earlier in many of these cases. He also touched on the controversial idea of free gun zones on college campuses.
That night at work, Wahlberg received a message stating that the campus police “requested his presence”. Upon entering the police station, the officers began to list off firearms that were registered under his name, and questioned him about where he kept them.
They told Wahlberg that they had received a complaint from his professor that his presentation was making students feel “scared and uncomfortable”.
“I was a bit nervous when I walked into the police station,” Wahlberg said, “but I felt a general sense of disbelief once the officer actually began to list the firearms registered in my name. I was never worried however, because as a law-abiding gun owner, I have a thorough understanding of state gun laws as well as unwavering safety practices.”
Professor Anderson refused to comment directly on the situation and deferred further comment.
“It is also my responsibility as a teacher to protect the well being of our students, and the campus community at all times,” she wrote in a statement submitted to The Recorder. “As such, when deemed necessary because of any perceived risks, I seek guidance and consultation from the Chair of my Department, the Dean and any relevant University officials.”
Wahlberg believes that her complaint was filed without good reason.
“I don’t think that Professor Anderson was justified in calling the CCSU police over a clearly nonthreatening matter. Although the topic of discussion may have made a few individuals uncomfortable, there was no need to label me as a threat,” Wahlberg said in response. “The actions of Professor Anderson made me so uncomfortable, that I didn’t attend several classes. The only appropriate action taken by the Professor was to excuse my absences.”
The university police were unavailable for comment.
“If you can’t talk about the Second Amendment, what happened to the First Amendment?” asked Sara Adler, president of the Riflery and Marksmanship club on campus. “After all, a university campus is a place for the free and open exchange of ideas.”
Story from National Terror Alert: The founder of a prison-based terrorist group that targeted the U.S. government and supporters of Israel was sentenced Friday to 16 years in federal prison.
Kevin James, 32, who founded Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS, pleaded guilty in 2007 of plotting “to levy war against the United States through terrorism.”
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney described James as “the mastermind and architect of a terrorist conspiracy” to attack LAX, Army recruiting centers and the Israeli Consulate. Still, Carney said he believed James felt genuine remorse and had written him “the most powerful letter I’ve ever received” as a judge.
In the letter, portions of which the judge read aloud, James described his violent upbringing in Inglewood, harsh conditions he endured at the California Youth Authority and the horrors of prison, where James has spent much of his adult life.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Gregory W. Staples, arguing for an 18-year prison term for James, said that when authorities stopped the conspirators, “they were gearing up and accelerating.” He said James’ group planned to stage attacks on political targets with the proceeds of gas station robberies, and the group’s writings contained calls to acquire remote-controlled bombs and silencer-equipped guns.
At New Folsom prison in 2004, James recruited fellow inmate Levar Washington, who was released that year and in turn recruited Gregory Patterson. When Torrance police focused on Washington and Patterson as suspects in a series of 2005 robberies, a search of their South Los Angeles apartment turned up the JIS manifesto and a list of potential targets of attack.
In James’ prison cell, authorities found a statement he had written to be distributed to the media in the aftermath of such an attack. It warned “sincere Muslims” to avoid supporters of Israel and promised more attacks intended “to defend and propagate traditional Islam in its purity.”
This is 100% totally for real. Rep. Rafael Anchia(pictured left), a Democrat from Dallas, of The Texas House of Representatives, is attempting to enter the race for Most Unreasonable Nanny State Politician with his HB 1867. The bill would require check-out clerks to "ask the customer if the customer would like to purchase a reusable bag... at reasonable price." Failure to ask this question would be labeled a crime. Yes you heard me right, a crime.
There is also a fine imposed if the clerk fails to ask the question. A $200-$600 fine for the individual who failed to ask. And the business that employs this poor sucker also gets hit with a fine - $200-$500.
According to Daniel Greer of Empower Texans had this to say about Rep. Rafael Anchia: "In case you are wondering, Mr. Anchia's official biography helping notes that he has a "genuine passion for helping people and true empathy for their struggles and aspirations." He's also a trial lawyer. How the two are reconciled is an issue left unexplored...
If Mr. Anchia truly wanted to help people, he wouldn't offer mind-numbing regulations such as this. This legislation will only serve to stifle commerce in the poorest of neighborhoods, and force check-out clerks and small business owners to fret over insane rules of conduct.
On the other hand, it will mean more employment for lawyers struggling with their aspirations to sue."
I agree Mr. Greer, this Anchia guy sounds like a whacko.