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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Worlds Apart: Obama, GOP Make No Sense on Taxes and Spending

Worlds Apart: Obama, GOP Make No Sense on Taxes and Spending

on Wed, 31 Jul 2013

Republicans are from Venus and President Obama is from Mars. Nothing better demonstrates this than their stances on taxes, spending, and jobs.

Obama wants to reform corporate taxes—shut loopholes, impose a mandatory levy on profits earned abroad, and lower rates overall—but to also raise some additional revenue to fund his jobs initiatives.

The corporate tax code is too complex and encourages tax avoidance more than sound investments. However, rates are much higher than in competing nations, and the United States taxes profits earned outside its territory whereas other governments do not.

All this encourages U.S. multinationals to invest and create jobs abroad and keep profits parked there, where they can’t foster American growth and jobs. Firms such as Eaton and Sara Lee have even moved corporate headquarters to low tax jurisdictions.

By collecting more taxes on U.S. and foreign operations, the president would encourage more factories and firms to leave the country, save their marketing activities.

Obama wants to spend the revenue bonanza on much needed but poorly conceived infrastructure projects—federally supported projects import too many materials from China and require Davis-Bacon union jobs—education and jobs training.

The purpose of stimulus money is not to boost employment in the Middle Kingdom, and after the Detroit and GM bankruptcies, no sane person would advocate strengthening unions.

American schools and universities suffer not from too little money. The real problems are: regulations and school cultures that handicap teachers from intelligently addressing a diverse student population; politically conservative parents who place too much emphasis on sports, liberal parents who value too much community service, and neither valuing enough academic excellence; and schools and universities run by incompetent bureaucrats.

The federal government already has too many job training programs that don’t train much of anyone for a job.

For its part, the GOP House wants to extract spending cuts to reduce the budget deficit but won’t accept measures really needed to accomplish political success—higher payroll taxes and more prudent health care regulations.

Americans are living longer and can work longer, as such the social security retirement age should be raised to 70; however, the federal pension system needs to address other challenges.

Americans working in the private sector can no longer count on employers to provide decent pensions, and IRAs and other tax-deferred savings schemes are not making up the difference—for reasons including Americans’ inability to save, the paucity of tax incentives, and lower interest rates and stock market returns.

Demographics require raising the retirement age, and politics will mandate bigger benefits once people get old enough. Republicans don’t even want to talk about the latter, but in the end, old people vote, and they will vote for Democrats who propose an expanded system once President Obama exits the scene—he won’t even recognize the need to raise the retirement age.

On health care, the nation spends too much, 50 percent more than the private German and Dutch systems, who better regulate prices and get better results. ObamaCare is not the answer—subsidizing a broken system won’t help—but neither is the market system we had before it.

If the Republicans are serious about replacing ObamaCare—and slicing Medicare and Medicaid spending—they must embrace price regulations, but that has as much chance of happening as I do playing shortstop for the New York Yankees.

This fall, when the great American drama reprises—negotiations between the president and Congress over the raising the debt ceiling—Netflix could provide a great public service distributing gratis an appropriate classic, Ship of Fools!

Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School, and a widely published columnist. Follow him onTwitter.


Sen. Lee: Shutdown critics ‘will have a lot to answer for’ if ObamaCare goes ahead

Sen. Lee: Shutdown critics ‘will have a lot to answer for’ if ObamaCare goes ahead
By Jonathan Easley - 07-31-13 12:49 PM ET

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who is spearheading a plan to shut down the government if funding for ObamaCare isn't blocked, hit back at GOP critics Tuesday, saying they would have to answer to their constituents for abandoning the fight against the president’s healthcare law.

“Those of us who are Republicans and those of us to claim to be against ObamaCare, who happen to vote to fund it, will have a lot to pay, will have a lot to answer for with our constituents,” Lee said on Fox News.

Lee says that about 67 House Republicans and 13 of his colleagues in the Senate have endorsed his plan to block a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond Sept. 30 if it includes funds for implementing the president’s healthcare reform.

However, backlash against the plan has picked up steam recently among some Republicans in the Senate who worry that a shutdown would harm the GOP politically.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) spoke out against the plan last week, and fellow Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called it “the dumbest idea I've ever heard.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has warned a government shutdown would cost the GOP control of the House, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) mocking the effort as “silly.”

“Those kinds of statements are not helpful,” Lee said Wednesday. “Those kinds of statements are divisive, but they are nothing compared to what we will hear from the American people when they discover that this law goes into effect.”

A number of high-profile conservative groups, though, are pressing lawmakers to endorse the proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, has declined to back the plan, saying he is still weighing the best strategy.

Feds Juice Numbers, GDP Still Weak 1.7%

Feds Juice Numbers, GDP Still Weak 1.7%

on Wed, 31 Jul 2013

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by 1.7% in the 2nd Quarter. This first estimate will likely be revised in the coming months. The final estimate for the 1st Quarter was revised downward from 1.8% to 1.1% in Wednesday's report. The economy remains essentially stalled. 

In mid-July, economists at major banks slashedtheir estimates of growth in the 2nd Quarter. The numbers reported by Commerce on Wednesday beat those reduced expectations. The markets, and many in the media, reacted positively to the news, which is evidence of the poor perception of the economy. In any other economic climate, 1.7% growth would be seen as a very weak number. The 2nd Quarter marks the fourth year of the economic "recovery" and ought to generate more growth. 

The numbers, however, may be even weaker than Wednesday's report. The Commerce Department, this month, changed how it reports GDP numbers. It now includes spending on intellectual property from artistic, literary and non-profit activity as fixed investments. Commerce noted that this change would increase GDP, as these items had not previously been counted in the nation's investments. 

The change, which increases the size of the economy, puts the 1.7% growth number in sharp relief. The addition of an entire new category of investment ought to have fueled a much higher growth number. In other words, the feds reconfigured how they calculate GDP in a manner that is positive to growth, yet actual growth was still a weak 1.7%. 

It is unclear what the GDP growth number would have been under the traditional measurement. Growth in personal consumption, the main driver of the economy, was considerably less than the 1st Quarter. As the 1st Quarter number as been repeatedly revised downward, it is likely that Wednesday's number will be lowered in the future.

For 4 years, pundits and the media have grasped for any sign that the economy is growing. We've repeatedly been told that the economy is on the cusp of robust growth. Hopes have been so diminished that Wednesday's juiced number of 1.7% growth looks like a recovery. Zero to flat growth is, it seems, the new normal.   

Florida, Georgia say insurance rates to spike under Obamacare

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) - Florida and Georgia, two states where politicians oppose U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare law, said on Tuesday that insurance rates for individuals would rise sharply in 2014 under the reform.

The remarks are part of an increasingly polarized debate over whether "Obamacare" will prove affordable for millions of uninsured Americans when new health plans become available on state-based exchanges as of October 1.

Several states that have embraced the healthcare reform have shown residents how the law will reduce insurance costs, while those that have opposed its implementation are beginning to present it as a more expensive prospect for consumers.

The figures released do not factor in substantial government subsidies that will be available to many consumers based on household income, which will offset their actual out-of-pocket expenses. The government is planning for 7 million people to sign up for the new health plans that take effect in 2014.

Georgia said that insurance premiums for a 25-year-old male currently in a high-deductible plan would rise up to 198 percent in 2014 and rates for many others could rise by 20 percent to 100 percent. Georgia asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to delay a Wednesday deadline for a final rate submission from the state.

The department said it was working with the all states to meet deadlines and reviewing Georgia's request.

Florida's office of insurance regulation said on Tuesday that rates for individuals will rise roughly 30 to 40 percent next year. Florida compared a 2014 mid-tier silver plan with a fictional 2013 plan that was created to cover the same 70 percent of the health care expenses that a silver plan will. Current plans may cost less than the fictional plan, but they also provide fewer benefits.

"If you take a straight average you get a distortion because you don't have the same benefits," Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said.

Indiana's department of insurance last week said that insurance costs to individuals under the Affordable Care Act would rise 72 percent. Unlike other states disclosing insurance plan prices, Indiana factored in not only premium rates, but also the costs of other insurance components like co-pays and prescriptions.

"These announcements from states have almost been a Rorschach test of how they view Obamacare," said Larry Levitt, vice president of special projects for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"Consumers are hearing a welcoming message from states that are participating in implementing the law ... and that could absolutely have an effect on how many people enroll," he said. "The reverse is also true" for states that are warning consumers that prices will be high, he said.

California, one of the states that has most enthusiastically prepared for Obamacare, kicked off the debate in May when it said costs for products for individuals would fall for a 40-year-old nonsmoker by up to 29 percent compared to similar products. New York said earlier this month that average rates would drop by more than 50 percent.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month said in 11 states that it studied were 18 percent lower than expectations, based on Congressional Budget Office Estimates, and that this would likely be the case nationally.

"We are confident that Florida's premiums will be affordable, and that consumers will have multiple options in a competitive and transparent marketplace," a senior administration official said in response to a Reuters query about the rate comments. "Without releasing the premiums, the statistics released today don't provide consumers with any information on what they will actually pay in the marketplace."

(Additional reporting by David Morgan in Washington and Sharon Begley in New York; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Lisa Shumaker)

Immigration Agents Raise Questions on GOP's DREAM Act Efforts

Immigration Agents Raise Questions on GOP's DREAM Act Efforts

on Tue, 30 Jul 2013

The head of the labor union representing law enforcement officers of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Tuesday pressed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to answer questions regarding their DREAM Act proposals for young illegal immigrants in America.

In a letter sent to those four lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, USCIS National Council president Kenneth Palinkas wrote that that he wanted to “share several security questions and concerns regarding your drafting of a DREAM Act proposal, as well as the difficulties plaguing USCIS that must be addressed.”

“As you know, the Obama administration has already bypassed Congress to implement a version of the proposal you are now considering,” Palinkas wrote. “Of course, to do so, the administration also had to simultaneously suspend laws previously passed by Congress. My first question, therefore, as a representative of those tasked with following the law, is how you intend to prevent this administration from simply implementing your proposal in a fashion of its own choosing with no regard for Congress’ authority?”

Since Cantor, Ryan, Goodlatte, and Gowdy have put this debate off until after August recess, Palinkas laid out a hypothetical provision for what may become their DREAM Act. “Let’s say you establish in your law that illegal immigrants must be 30 years of age or younger at the time of application, must have entered illegally (or illegally overstayed a visa) at the age of 16 or before, and must have resided in the U.S. for at least five years (it’s only 18 months for the Senate bill),” Palinkas wrote. “Let’s also assume that, unlike the Schumer-Rubio-Corker-Hoeven bill, you do not extend amnesty to those with violent criminal records and gang affiliations.”

Palinkas then asks whether or not Cantor, Ryan, Goodlatte or Gowdy have any answer to the following question: “What is to stop the administration from simply issuing another round of non-enforcement orders (written or oral) that would eviscerate any attempted limitations in your bill?” Palinkas wrote. “For instance, the ICE Council reports that ‘the administration’s DREAM Act is not being applied by ICE to children in schools, but instead to adult inmates in jails. Gang members and other criminal offenders all take advantage of the administration’s DREAM Act orders to evade arrest and deportation.’”

Palinkas followed those facts up with a few more followup questions. “Why would we not expect this policy to not only continue, but be expanded if your bill were to pass?” he asked. “Additionally, what is to prevent the administration from declaring that future illegal immigrants who are DREAM Act-eligible who arrive after your bill passes are likewise not an ‘administrative priority’ and thus exempt from immigration enforcement? And what about people who have missed the cut-off date by a few months or years—won’t the administration just exempt them from enforcement too? I have not heard any solutions proposed to any of these concerns.”

Palinkas argued to Cantor, Ryan, Goodlatte and Gowdy that if those issues are not addressed in their DREAM Act, it “could quickly turn into a permanent feature of U.S. immigration policy with huge unintended consequences.” Such future negative ramifications that could come out of a DREAM Act, Palinkas argues, include a permanent and perpetual amnesty for all illegal immigrants, current and future.

“In practice, it could establish a precedent that would expand birthright citizenship in the future to apply to any new arrivals (and, by extension, their relatives) who claim they came here at a certain age,” Palinkas wrote. “Clearly, this would be an extraordinary magnet for unlawful entry and overstays, and create a massive hole in future enforcement that would be exploited by those with ill intent. Put bluntly: what does your legislation proscribe will happen to DREAM Act-eligible individuals, and their relatives, who inevitably arrive in future months and years? If it is the position of the Judiciary Committee that immigration law should be applied differently, or not at all, to people who simply claim to have entered at a certain age, will this then become the permanent immigration policy of the USA? In other words, the Committee has made the argument that it is improper to apply immigration laws to people who meet this particular set of criteria—if that is the case today, should we also expect that these laws will also not be applied tomorrow?”

Palinkas added in his letter that USCIS agents have lots of concerns at their agency and said that the agency’s “myriad problems are being widely overlooked.” He said the agency is in “dire need of reform” because 99 percent of applications to President Obama’s DREAM Act are automatically approved without scrutiny and that agents are prohibited from actually conducting in-person interviews with applicants for the program. He said agents lack the “resources, staffing and office space to fulfill our agency’s mission.”

Palinkas, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) National Council president Chris Crane, called on Cantor, Ryan, Goodlatte and Gowdy to work with law enforcement officials while drafting their legislation, unlike the Senate bill, who ignored law enforcement input. 

A spokesman for Cantor has not responded to questions for over more than a week whether he and others involved in this DREAM Act drafting will consult law enforcement in their discussions. 

Obama: Economy Would Be 'Better Off' with More Government Workers

Obama: Economy Would Be 'Better Off' with More Government Workers

on Wed, 31 Jul 2013

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. economy would be “much better off” if federal, state, and local governments hired more workers. 

As cities like Chicago face budget crises from unfunded pensions for retiring public workers and cities as large as Detroit have declared bankruptcy, Obama suggested these governments should spend more taxpayer money to improve the national unemployment rate:

If those layoffs had not happened, if public sector employees grew like they did in the past two recessions, the unemployment rate would be 6.5 instead of 7.5. Our economy would be much better off, and the deficit would still be going down because we would be getting more tax revenue.

The President made the comments at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga, TN as part of a larger campaign to promote his economic policies. He continued:

Instead of using a scalpel to get rid of programs we don’t need and keep vital investments that we do, the same group has kept in place this meat cleaver called the sequester that is just slashing all kinds of investments in education and research and our military. Yet all the things that are needed to make this country a magnet for good middle class jobs, those things are being cut. These moves don’t just hurt our economy in the long term. They hurt our middle class right now.

After blaming the sequester—a budget control measure which still increases overall federal spending—Obama lamented how rough the last four years have been:

Over the past four years, another 700,000 workers at the federal, state and local levels of government lost their jobs. These are cops and firefighters. About half of them are people that work in our schools. Those are real jobs. It doesn’t help a company like Amazon when a teacher, cop or a firefighter loses their job. They don’t have money to place an order. That’s hundreds of thousands of customers who have less money to spend.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Benghazi Attack Survivor Waited on a Roof Top for 20 Hours Before Help Came By Katie Pavlichon

Diplomatic Security agent David Ubben has been receiving treatment at Walter Reed Military Medical Center after being severely wounded on September 11, 2012 when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists. According to Fox News, Ubben waited for help on top of a roof for 20 hours. What difference does waiting that long make? The lives of two Navy SEALs. 

During the second wave of attacks on Benghazi, David Ubben was on the rooftops with the Navy SEALS. Eventually, several rounds of mortar attacks found their mark, killing Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty while shredding David Ubben’s right leg. Ubben was stuck on the rooftop for 20 hours before help arrived.

The House Oversight Committee is planning to hold a series of hearings about the 9/11 Benghazi terrorist attack in the Fall. During the last Oversight hearing about the attack, the Obama administration's entire narrative about what happened that night was blown out of the water by State Department Whistleblower Gregory Hicks. Hicks was in Tripoli the night of the attack and was the last person to speak with U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens before he was killed. 

Ignore the press. Obama’s offer isn’t ‘grand’ or a ‘bargain

Ignore the press. Obama’s offer isn’t ‘grand’ or a ‘bargain’

By David Harsanyion Tue, 30 Jul 2013

In yet another speech on the economy, President Barack Obama will offer Republicans a “grand bargain for middle-class jobs” that would cut U.S. corporate tax rate and use the billions of new revenue generated by closing loopholes to create more jobs through a new stimulus effort.

At an Inc. warehouse facility (nothing like more middle-class warehouse jobs paying $11-per hour — thank you, Mr. President!) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Obama will claim to make a break that can break through congressional gridlock  and concoct a plan to satisfy both Republicans and Democrats (because he, just a moderate outsider, is caught in the middle of Washington bickering).

You might find the idea of sucking more “revenue” from the private sector to “create jobs” strikingly counterintuitive, but let’s stick with the alleged intent of the president’s proposal.

To begin with, if the president were making a genuine effort to negotiate with Republicans on a long-term comprise, would he do it in a political speech that preempts any substantive discussion with the opposition? Seems unlikely. Here’s a tweet from the Press Secretary for House Speaker John Boehner:

Yet, even if Boehner knew about the impending offer, he would have to reject it, because in substance it’s not an offer at all. The fact is that Obama is proposing less now than he did when the White House and Boehner almost came to an agreement on a Grand Bargain a few years ago. We just have another stunt meant to frame the opposition as obstructionists just as both parties head into budget negotiations. And with a little help from friends, it’s sure to work.

Most news stories regarding Obama’s ‘grand bargain’ fail to show any skepticism towards the claims or his formulation. Obama, they report, is willing to give in on tax cuts (the GOP’s ask) for “jobs” (Obama’s main concern) as if there is no question that stimulus spending offers a sustainable boost to employment.

Naturally, most stories assert or imply that Obama is offering a “compromise” by proposing to reduce the top corporate rate for most companies to 28 percent –25 percent for manufacturers — in exchange for more spending. When actually, Obama has supported eliminating tax breaks in exchange for changes in interest deductibility and other “loopholes” since he first became president.

Here’s a sampling of his support:

July 31, 2008: “He would like to cut the corporate tax rate, and it’s a question that we’re studying,” Jason Furman, Obama’s director of economic policy, told in an interview.

Oct 5, 2010: Obama: Corporate Tax Rate Cut Could Be “Win-Win”

Jan 26, 2011: Obama Backs Corporate Rate Cut Along With Tax Simplification

Feb 22, 2012: Obama Offers to Cut Corporate Tax Rate to 28% –

In the first debate against Mitt Romney:“When it comes to our tax code, Gov. Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high, so I want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing, taking it down to 25%. But I also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”

So how’s this a bargain? If Obama’s views happen to converge with Republicans on tax reform, he is not offering a concession, he is finding a point of agreement.

Since announcing this proposal through the press is meant for the press, there is a high chance of success. Here’s one example of why Republicans (who can blame themselves for much) continue to lose the public perception game on issues like a potential government shutdown. The below tweet is from the senior political editor of NBC News, a person the public is asked to believe is an impartial journalist, a professional who has earned the public’s trust:

Actually, you have nothing of the sort. What you have is the White House making an offer it knows will be rejected because it offers nothing; once again, you have GOP rejecting a dummy offer, as expected by both sides; and once again, you have the GOP sitting on over 20 bills that deal with the economy which the Senate refuses to look at and Obama pretends do not exist. Mostly though, you have a press failing its viewers and readers by doing the president’s work for him.

We Found Out What's in It

We Found Out What's in It:
Per Nancy Pelosi, we had to pass ObamaCare so we could find out what's in it. Well, they passed it, and three years later we can finally say definitively what is in it: a ban on full-time employmen...

Pentagon Furlough Days Inflated

Pentagon Furlough Days Inflated

When Congress was debating implementation of the sequester, the Pentagon released a report saying that if the cuts were to kick in, civilian personnel could be furloughed for 22 days -- nearly a month's worth of work. But now that the sequester has kicked in, those furlough days appear to have been inflated.

In fact, the AP reports, "Defense department civilians will likely face up to five fewer unpaid furlough days than originally planned, as Pentagon leaders scrimp to find up to $900 million in savings in the final months of the budget year that ends Sept. 30, officials told The Associated Press."

Officials said no final decisions have been made, but they believe civilian workers will be forced to take six to eight unpaid days off rather than the 11 days that had been scheduled. The move comes as workers begin their fourth week of furloughs — a decision that riled department employees and prompted many to complain directly to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he visited military bases earlier this month.

By contrast, in the middle of the political debate, Zachary A. Goldfarb and Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post that has proven to be completely off-base.

"The Pentagon warned 800,000 civilian employees worldwide Wednesday that they will be forced to take unpaid leave if deep budget cuts take effect next week, fueling growing anxiety about the impact of the automatic spending reductions on the nation’s economy and security," the Post reported in February.

"In the most detailed account of the ramifications of across-the-board cuts, called the sequester, Defense Department officials said civilian personnel could be put on leave one day a week for 22 weeks — effectively cutting their pay by 20 percent for nearly six months. According to the Office of Personnel Management, 107,000 of these workers live in the District, Maryland and Virginia."

Numbers USA Director: Immigration Fight Pits Grassroots vs. 'Unpatriotic

Numbers USA Director: Immigration Fight Pits Grassroots vs. 'Unpatriotic Billionaires'

on Tue, 30 Jul 2013

Roy Beck, the Executive Director of Numbers USA, claimed the immigration fight is ultimately one between grassroots, working class Americans and unpatriotic billionaires that simply want to increase the labor supply to reduce wages across all income levels. 

Appearing on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Beck said the "biggest impact" of the Senate's bill, if it becomes law, will be to "double importation of foreign workers" and decrease wages in professions across the economic spectrum. This is because the bill would allow for, in some medical and high-tech fields, an unlimited number of immigrants. 

Beck said the bill would close "up opportunity for American kids to go into these fields" while driving up the "deficit and debt while not stopping illegal immigration."

He accused legislators like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of wanting the immigration bill badly because the "big money" and "big business" interests that are backing them want it even more badly. Beck claimed that "incredible profits" can be made if wages are lowered in certain industries by just "a nickel an hour."

"It's the grassroots against... the unpatriotic billionaires," Beck alleged of the fight to host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon. "It's a ground game." 

Beck blasted those in support of comprehensive immigration reform that have ignored the "numbers" and the various projections made by nonpartisan organizations like the Congressional Budget Office that declared the bill would lower the wages of working class Americans. 

"To say numbers don't matter is to say Americans don't matter," Beck declared. 

He said Silicon Valley interests want a narrow part of the bill but have been convinced they have to push for the whole bill in order to get their piece, and that is why they are pouring nearly $100 million into marketing campaigns to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. 

Beck said he was extremely pleased to see working class Americans of all races rally at the Black American Leadership Alliance's "D.C. March for Jobs" and hoped it was the beginning of "what has to happen" to unite working class people of every ethnicity.

Beck said supporters of the comprehensive immigration bill often want to divide and conquer the working class. For instance, Beck said that if working class black Americans complain about the immigration bill, supporters of the bill imply that they are anti-Hispanic. 

He also criticized immigration reform advocates for cloaking the bill in "humanitarian interests" and emphasized how the immigration bill would disproportionately hurt Hispanics and blacks who are trying to get into the middle class, forever miring them in poverty. 

He urged Americans to go to the offices of Congressmen and attend rallies during the August recess to ensure the "piecemeal" immigration bills being drafted in the House do not make it onto the House floor. Breitbart News Sunday host Bannon said Representatives should be told that they will be voted out of office if they support the bill because self-preservation is the only thing they know. 

"Let them know if they vote for this, they are signing their political death warrant," Bannon said. "That's all they are gonna understand. These guys don't understand anything but their self-preservation. There can't be any nuance about this. We're beyond nuance. If you vote for it, you're gone." 

Beck agreed, warning against a potential conference that will try to find a middle ground between the "bad" House bills and the "end of America" Senate bill.

Bannon reiterated how critical it is for working class Americans to pressure their Representatives to stop this version of comprehensive immigration reform.

"If you want to stop this and save this country, that's what you gotta do," Bannon said. 


White House, Holder Promise to Fight SCOTUS on Voting Rights

White House, Holder Promise to Fight SCOTUS on Voting Rights

on Tue, 30 Jul 2013

Civil rights activists meeting with Barack Obama and Eric Holder at the White House on Monday emerged delighted with promises made to them to counter the action of the Supreme Court in June striking down the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The rulingdecided which states had to obtain clearance from the DOJ or a Washington D.C. federal court before they made any changes to voting procedures.

MSNBC host Al Sharpton stated, "We were assured by the president and the attorney general they will aggressively fight to protect the right of all Americans to vote." He added that there was a "wound in the Voting Rights Act — but it is far from dead."

Laura Murphy of the ACLU said the White House had committed "to use all available resources to protect the crown jewel of the civil rights movement." The activists plan to lead registration and mobilization drives to counter voter ID laws.

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, said:

Keep a close eye on action at the state-legislative level. These state legislatures, in the last 24-36 months, there have been a long list of bills introduced in states across the nation — particularly in the South but not exclusively in the South — that fall into the category of voter suppression.

National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguía and new Labor Secretary Thomas Perez also attended the meeting, as well as Florida state Rep. Alan William, who blustered:

One thing that’s not lost upon many of us down there, post the Shelby decision but also post the Zimmerman verdict, we know that next year would have been the first year that Trayvon Martin would have had an opportunity to vote. And we know that it’s very sacred, and it’s not lost on us. We want to make sure that everyone has that opportunity.

Holder plans to take advantage of provisions in the Voting Rights Act left intact by SCOTUS to reimpose pre-clearance before the states can act unilaterally.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said:

We should be able to build bipartisan consensus about the need to protect those important rights. The President is certainly interested in working with Democrats and Republicans to protect those rights. And that’s something that Republicans have supported in the past, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t support those kinds of measures in the future.

The White House, Holder, and the activists are ignoring one thing: the American public. A June 25 McClatchy/Marist poll found that 84% of registered voters felt it was a good thing if election laws were changed to require voters to show identification in order to vote.  99% of GOP voters, 87% of independents, and 72% of Democrats agreed with that sentiment. Most significantly, the percentage of non-whites who approved of voter ID was even higher than whites; 83% of non-whites favored it and 82% of whites.

Republicans Not the Only Fractured Party; Dems Have Problems of Their Own | RealClearPolitics

Republicans Not the Only Fractured Party; Dems Have Problems of Their Own | RealClearPolitics

Since last November's election there has been a lot of punditry about the fissures and schisms in the Republican Party. The divisions are real, and some of the commentary has been revealing.
There has been less of a look at fissures and schisms in the Democratic Party. They're real, as well. Most House Democrats voted against the Obama administration on NSA surveillance last week.
This shouldn't be surprising. America's two political parties need to get 50 percent of the votes, or nearly that, to win elections. That's difficult in a diverse country with significant cultural and economic differences.
The Democratic Party has managed to do that in two consecutive presidential elections, for the first time in three-quarters of a century. But holding that majority together has been harder.
But Democrats have failed to win majorities in the House of Representatives in the last two congressional elections, and in eight of 10 elections over the last two decades.
In the years of the Obama presidency, the president and congressional Democratic leaders have made a series of choices on legislation and policy that have alienated some of the party's major constituencies.
The first was to vastly expand the size and scope of government by passing the $787 billion stimulus package in February 2009 and passing Obamacare in March 2010.
That choice was not inevitable. Democrats didn't take a similar course during most of the Clinton presidency.
But Democrats in 2009 had a large House majority and a determined and effective leader in Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And in the Senate they had a supermajority of 60 votes during critical months in 2009 and 2010.
That was the result of some lucky (or unlucky) political accidents -- the prosecution by the Bush administration Justice Department of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, a prosecution overturned after Stevens was defeated by 1 percentage point by Democrat Mark Begich; the party switch of Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter; the superior lawyering that gave Democrat Al Franken a victory in a very close contest in Minnesota.
Oscar Wilde said that he could resist everything but temptation. Democratic leaders could not resist the temptation provided by that 60-vote supermajority. Even after Scott Brown's special election victory in Massachusetts deprived them of the 60th vote, Pelosi squeezed out just enough votes to push Obamacare through.
Some of those votes came from Blue Dog Democrats elected from relatively conservative districts. Without such moderates, Democrats would not have maintained their majorities in the House during most of the years from 1958 to 1994.
The unpopularity of the stimulus package and Obamacare resulted in the defeat or retirement of most of the Blue Dogs. Their numbers fell from 54 in 2009 to 26 after 2010 to only 14 in 2012. A historic Democratic constituency largely disappeared, and so did Democrats' majority in the House.
Democratic numbers were further reduced by Pelosi's decision to pass cap-and-trade environmental legislation in June 2009. That decision favored the Democrats' urban green constituency over its historic constituencies in coal and oil country.
It was particularly surprising, since cap-and-trade's prospects in the Senate were never good. So coal and oil country Democrats were sacrificed for nothing. West Virginia, once safely Democratic, voted 62 percent for the not-culturally-Appalachian Mitt Romney.
This year Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid made a similar choice when he threatened to eliminate the requirement of 60 votes to overcome a filibuster unless Republicans agreed to allow confirmation of members of the National Labor Relations Board.
This favored the party's labor union constituency, which feared the Supreme Court would affirm an appeals court decision declaring Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB invalid.
The unions want favorable NLRB rulings over the next three years. Reid acted at their behest even though there's a good chance Republicans will regain a Senate majority in 2014, in which case changing the filibuster rule would hurt Democrats.
But he wasn't willing to change the filibuster rule on judgeship nominations -- something the party's feminist constituency would love. Reid favored the unions and shoved the feminists under the bus.
Campaigning is about assembling majority coalitions. But to govern, as John Kennedy said, is to choose. In particular, governing requires choosing to favor one constituency over another. That can result in the disassembling of a majority coalition.
Democrats aren't necessarily doomed in 2014 or 2016. But they are weaker because of the choices their leaders have made. 
Michael Barone is Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner, co-author of The Almanac of American Politics and a contributor to Fox News.

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Krauthammer On Obama: "This Is His Economy And He's Pretending He's Just Stumbled Upon It" | RealClearPolitics

Krauthammer On Obama: "This Is His Economy And He's Pretending He's Just Stumbled Upon It" | RealClearPolitics

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I find it astonishing that he goes around making speeches in which he deplores the state of the economy, the growing income inequality, chronic unemployment, staggering middle class income, and it's as if he has been a bystander, as if he's been out of the country for the last five years. It's his economy; he's the president.

He's talking as if this is the Bush economy, I don't know, the Eisenhower economy, and he just arrived in a boat and he discovers how bad the economy is. This is a result of the policies he instituted. He gave us the biggest stimulus in the history of the milky way, and he said it would jump start the economy. The result has been the slowest recovery, the worst recovery since World War II, and that is the root of all of the problems he's talking about, the income inequality -- the median income of the middle class of Americans has declined by 5% in his one term. So who's responsible for that? Those were his policies. He talks about this in the abstract and he actually gets away with it in a way that I find absolutely astonishing, it's magical. This is his economy and he's pretending he's just stumbled upon it. And the policies he proposes are exactly the ones he proposed and implemented in the first term. (Special Report, July 29, 2013)

CBC recommends Sheila Jackson Lee for Homeland Security post - Washington Times

CBC recommends Sheila Jackson Lee for Homeland Security post - Washington Times

Just two weeks after Janet Napolitano announced her resignation as Secretary of Homeland Security, the Congressional Black Caucus has suggested Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston fill her spot.

A letter dated July 25 and signed by Rep. Marcia Fudge, Ohio Democrat and caucus chairwoman, urges President Obama to consider Miss Jackson Lee for the position, calling the Democrat a “voice of reason” that the agency could stand to gain, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Representative Jackson Lee would serve as an effective DHS Secretary because she understands the importance of increasing border security and maintaining homeland security,” the letter reads.

Mrs. Jackson Lee currently serves as a ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, a position that the caucus said she “stands as a strong and honest ‘voice of reason.’”

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Obama is Bailing Out Detroit With Obamacare!

A key component to Detroit’s bankruptcy planreveals The Affordable Health Care Act as a ploy to bail out deeply blue cities and their corrupt public employee unions.

As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.

Unfunded retiree health care costs loom larger than ever for localities across the country, and the health law’s guarantee of federal subsidies to help people with modest incomes afford coverage has made the new insurance markets tantalizing for local governments.

For decades, Detroit has grossly over-promised benefits, high pensions, and fully-funded health care plans to its public sector employees; now, unable to deliver on its expensive promises, Detroit is placing the financial burden on the federal government’s national health care law, funded by taxpayers nationwide.

And legally, it can; Obamacare has been designed to allow blue cities like Detroit to over-spend on behalf of the public sector and then divert the cost to the American taxpayer, who has no vote or control over the city’s financial decisions.

Detroit is not the only city to propose such a controversial plan. Other blue cities, likeChicago, have proposed similar plans to divert city-run health care coverage over to Obamacare; and more cities are likely to follow. A recent Pew Charitable Trust study discovered that 61 of the country’s leading cities have made a combined promise of $126.2 billion worth of retiree health coverage to their public sector workers, yet only 6% of this cost is funded.

While both Republicans and Democrats have been lamenting the huge financial strains of Obamacare and escalating costs of insurance premiums, this shift from city-run health care coverage over to Obamacare would drive the cost of Obamacare up even more, all for the benefit of public employee retirement funds.

It gets worse—the Pew study found that cities have been allowing their public employees to manipulate their pensions and health care retiree funds, sometimes costing the city, and now the taxpayer, hundreds of thousands of dollars per public sector employee.

A number of cities have allowed workers to include overtime, unused sick leave, or unused vacation time to boost or “spike” final average salary—a figure generally used to establish the level of benefits. Late-career promotions also can increase salaries just months before retirement.

Joe Estep, Charleston’s finance director, tells the story of a 50-year-old police lieutenant who retired in 2009 after 24 years of service. In his final three years, the lieutenant earned enough overtime to raise his salary from a base of $49,000 to a three-year average of $78,000. The extra earnings boosted his pension from $33,000 to $53,000 a year. Given his age and life expectancy, the overtime could increase his lifetime benefit payment by $574,000.

This blatant bailout of blue cities and their public employee unions through Obamacare is reminiscent of the $1 trillion stimulus package implemented by the Obama administration in 2009, which claimed to improve ‘infrastructure’ and ‘create jobs’ but in reality distributed over half the funds to “state and local municipalities, which is in effect to the municipal unions, which are at the core of the Democratic Party.” Today, it’s claiming that Obamacare will lower the cost of healthcare and provide full-coverage for all Americans; in reality, it is a tool to fund manipulated, public employee health care plans at the expense of taxpayers, who will not only pay for the public employees, but for their own, escalated insurance premiums as well.

How many more times will the Obama Administration reward blue states for their irresponsible spending and the public employee unions for the manipulation of their retirement plans? Better yet, how many more times will the average American taxpayer have to pay for it?