Candice Lanier -
It’s E3 time again!
The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is an annual trade fair for the computer and video games industry. The event is presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
Click here for more information, the schedule, live streaming, a live blog, highlights and more!
Attack ad ignores Berkley’s Wall Street fundraising and vote for Bailout
(Las Vegas, NV) – A new ad running in Reno, Nevada, overlooks the fact that Dean Heller was the only member of the Nevada delegation to oppose the Wall Street bailout. A fact check of the ad, funded by a group led by Harry Reid’s inner circle, shows that the ad’s claims are disingenuous and misleading.
“Shelley Berkley voted for the most expensive handout to Wall Street that our country has ever seen just as Nevada’s economy was crashing. Dean Heller was the only member of the Nevada delegation to stand up to the big banks and oppose it. What’s worse – Berkley has raised more money from Wall Street than she has from Reno,” said Chandler Smith, Heller for Senate spokeswoman.
Fact: Dean Heller has not been a stockbroker since 1989. He worked as a stockbroker during college to help pay college tuition and after graduation.
Fact: Dean Heller voted against sending $700 billion in taxpayers’ dollars to bailout Wall Street. He was the only member of the Nevada delegation to vote against it. (Lisa Mascaro, “Heller only Nevada legislator to vote against $700 billion bailout; Says more oversight needed on bill,” Las Vegas Sun, October 8, 2008)
Fact: Shelley Berkley voted for the Wall Street bailout. (Lisa Mascaro, “Heller only Nevada legislator to vote against $700 billion bailout; Says more oversight needed on bill,” Las Vegas Sun, October 8, 2008)
Fact: Over the course of his congressional career, Dean Heller has received $190,200 from Wall Street, which amounts to less than 2% of funds raised in his career. (www.opensecrets.org, accessed 5/29/2012)
Fact: Shelley Berkley has received more funds from Wall Street in this cycle than Dean Heller. (www.opensecrets.org, accessed 5/29/12)
Fact: Dean Heller voted against Dodd-Frank bill, legislation masked as “Wall Street reform.” This bill would institutionalize bailouts, harm job growth, and create new taxes by intrusive and unaccountable government agencies and offices. (Paul Sperry, “Dodd-Frank Rules Will Crush Employment,” Investor’s Business Daily, December 13, 2011)
Fact: Shelley Berkley voted for the Wall Street bailout, the Detroit bailout, the trillion dollar stimulus and ObamaCare, all of which have grown our federal debt to more than $15 trillion.
Fact: Dean Heller has zero dollars invested in stocks. Shelley Berkley’s 2010 Personal Financial Disclosure form shows Shelley Berkley and her husband have over $1,000,000 invested in the stock market. (www.opensecrets.org, accessed 5/29/2012)
In recent days, top U.S. cabinet officers have traveled around the world on high-profile diplomatic missions. Ironically, in the process of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Arctic Circle and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s travels in Asia, they both undercut the case for the United Nations’ controversial Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) – a case they had jointly made prior to departing in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Mrs. Clinton took part in a meeting of the Arctic Council whose eight members have territory in that region. Of these, just five – Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark’s Greenland and the United States – actually have coasts on the Arctic Ocean, and therefore are able to claim rights to the resources offshore.
To be sure, the Secretary of State used the occasion of her joining the other Arctic nations for the purpose of forging a new region-wide search-and-rescue (S&R) agreement to express the Obama administration’s commitment to LOST. She assured her colleagues that the President is determined to overcome opposition in the Senate and the country in order to get the treaty ratified.
Still, this S&R agreement suggests the obvious: It is far easier to achieve understandings in a group of eight – or, better yet, five – nations that have similar, if not identical, interests and a shared understanding of the stakes, than among agroup of 150-plus nations, most of whom do not. If that is true for an accord governing assistance to downed planes and ships lost at sea, it surely is the case when it comes to the disposition of potentially many billions of dollars worth of undersea oil and gas deposits.
Meanwhile, our Defense Secretary was off in Asia trying to shore up America’s alliances in the region without actually saying that China is a threat that needs to be countered there. So he eschewed the President’s much-touted strategic “pivot” from the Middle East and South Asia to the South China Sea – supposedly involving a move in force to parry the PRC’s aspirations for hegemony. Instead, Mr. Panetta employed less offensive terms like “rebalancing” and made commitments about a future U.S. presence in the theater that were deeply discounted in light of ongoing, and forthcoming, sharp cuts in defense spending.
It happens that Secretary Panetta’s enthusiasm for the Law of the Sea Treaty tracks with Team Obama’s public efforts to low-ball the dangers posed by China’s increasingly aggressive behavior towards our Asian friends and allies, and its growing capacity to act coercively due to its growing military capabilities. He and, surprisingly, even senior Navy and other military officers who should know better seem to think that if only the United States were a party to LOST, international law would tame the Chinese dragon.
As one of the nation’s most astute China hands, Gordon Chang, noted recently in his column at World Affairs Journal (www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/gordon-g-chang/should-us-ratify-un-sea-treaty-because-china): “Although Beijing ratified the [LOST] pact in June 1996, it continues to issue maps claiming the entire South China Sea. That claim is, among other things, incompatible with the treaty’s rules. It’s no wonder Beijing notified the UN in 2006 that it would not accept international arbitration of its sovereignty claims.”
Just as common sense argues for using bilateral or, at most, five-party forums to establish arrangements governing the Arctic Ocean’s resources, it strongly militates against the United States allowing itself to be bound to a treaty whose core provisions (i.e., those governing limitations on territorial claims and mandatory dispute resolutions) are already being serially violated by Communist China.
On May 9th, Secretary Panetta nonetheless asserted that “By moving off the sidelines, by sitting at the table of nations that have acceded to this treaty, we can defend our interests, we can lead the discussions, we will be able to influence those treaty bodies that develop and interpret the Law of the Sea.” That is simply not so if, as is true of the LOST’s various institutions, we would have but one seat among many, and no certainty that we can decisively “influence bodies that develop and interpret the law of the Sea.”
In fact, thanks to the rigged-game nature of those institutions, such bodies can be relied upon to hamstring us – by, for example, applying environmental regulations over which we have no control to our Navy’s anti-submarine warfare exercises and our domestic emissions into inland air and water that migrates to the international oceans.
Meanwhile, the Chinese will get away with choosing which rules they will abide by and which they won’t. Mr. Chang puts it this way: “[China] is…a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but remains a notorious nuclear proliferator, and it is a member of the World Trade Organization, yet brazenly disregards its trade obligations. And UN sanctions? China openly violates those too, even though it is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.”
In short, the Obama administration wants Senators to suspend common sense and ignore real and legitimate concerns about the deleterious impact of the Law of the Sea Treaty on our sovereignty, economic interests and potentially even the national security. Will 34 Senators have enough common sense to just say “No”?
Jobs Groups Warn It ‘Would Spawn Frivolous Lawsuits,’ Editorials Argue ‘Companies Are Right To Be Concerned’
JOBS GROUPS: ‘Would Harm Employers Of All Sizes’
JOBS GROUPS LETTER: “The provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act would harm employers of all sizes, as the bill would apply to employers with as few as two employees. The threat the bill poses to small business is particularly troubling given the draconian penalties found in this legislation, which include unlimited damages regardless of whether a pay discrepancy was unintentional.” (Letter To Sens. Reid And McConnell, 22 Jobs Groups, 5/24/12)
· “This flawed legislation could outlaw many legitimate practices that employers currently use to set employee pay rates, even where there is no evidence of intentional discrimination. Common practices that a court could find unlawful under S. 3220 include providing premium pay for professional experience, education, shift differentials or hazardous work, as well as pay differentials based on local labor market rates or an organization’s profitability.” (Letter To Sens. Reid And McConnell, 22 Jobs Groups, 5/24/12)
· “A number of federal laws already specifically protect employees from pay discrimination, including the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.” (Letter To Sens. Reid And McConnell, 22 Jobs Groups, 5/24/12)
· Letter Signed By: U.S. Chamber of Commerce; American Bakers Association; American Bankers Association; American Hotel & Lodging Association; Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc.; College and University Professional Association for Human Resources; Food Marketing Institute; HR Policy Association; International Public Management Association for Human Resources; National Association of Manufacturers; National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors; National Council of Chain Restaurants; National Council of Textile Organizations; National Federation of Independent Business; National Public Employer Labor Relations Association; National Restaurant Association; National Retail Federation; National Roofing Contractors Association; Printing Industries of America; Retail Industry Leaders Association; Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council; Society for Human Resource Management
U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: “Unlawful pay discrimination is abhorrent, but this bill is not a responsible way to address it.” (“Mikulski Plan For Women’s Pay Gets New Push,” The Baltimore Sun, 5/23/12)
· “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is opposing the legislation and will send a letter later this week urging senators to defeat it, arguing it would spawn frivolous lawsuits.” (“Equal Pay Bill Puts Romney On The Line On Women,” The Washington Times, 5/29/12)
· “…As a practical matter it is just one more thing that creates a disincentive to do business here in the United States. If you are looking at where to open a new business, it is going to be a factor…” (“Business Community Opposes Paycheck Fairness Act,” The Daily Caller, 11/13/10)
SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: “…SHRM opposes Federal government efforts to second-guess employers in making pay decisions…” (“HR Alert! Oppose The Paycheck Fairness Act,” SHRM Statement, 5/30/12)
· SHRM: “The bill would also have a negative impact on employee privacy by encouraging employees to publicize their colleagues’ wages.” (“HR Alert! Oppose The Paycheck Fairness Act,” SHRM Statement, 5/30/12)
EDITORIALS: ‘A Flawed Approach,’ ‘Grossly Intrusive’
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “…grossly intrusive on decision-making by private businesses. At least one group would get a fatter paycheck from the Paycheck Fairness Act: trial lawyers.” (Editorial, “Paycheck Fairness?,” The Chicago Tribune, 11/12/10)
WASHINGTON POST: “Paycheck Fairness Act: A flawed approach to job bias… could make employers vulnerable to attack for responding to market forces… not the right fix.” (Editorial, “Paycheck Fairness Act: A Flawed Approach To Job Bias,” The Washington Post, 9/28/10)
· “…risks tilting the scales too far against employers and would remove, rather than restore, a sense of balance.” (Editorial, “Two Sides Of Fair Pay In Bills Before The Senate,” The Washington Post, 1/15/09)
BOSTON GLOBE: “…the measure as a whole is too broad a solution to a complex, nuanced problem… The bill would create too strong a presumption in favor of discrimination over other, equally plausible explanations…” (Editorial, “Bill Takes On Disturbing Pay Gap — But Offers Flawed Remedies,” The Boston Globe, 11/17/10)
· “… the controversial meat of the bill is the changes it would make to the legal process… companies are right to be concerned that this bill, as written, is too deep an intrusion.” (Editorial, “Bill Takes On Disturbing Pay Gap — But Offers Flawed Remedies,” The Boston Globe, 11/17/10)
In 2008, President Obama gave Americans ‘hope’ that he would end politics as usual.
A funny thing happened on Obama’s way to ‘change’ politics as usual – his once-hailed brand has devolved to division, negativity, and fear. But don’t take our word for it.
Today, American Crossroads releases a new video, “Fear” – featuring cameos from Andrea Mitchell, Arianna Huffington, Ed Rendell, Cory Booker, and David Brooks.
Jon Ralston at the Las Vegas Sun breaks down the recent NBC/Marist poll and reports that if the regional numbers are correct for Clark and Washoe, then embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley will be handily defeated by Dean Heller. Nevada is three states – Southern, Northern and Rural. The greater the percentage of the vote in Clark County, the better for Democrats, who have a huge registration edge. … The NBC/Marist poll showed Berkley winning by 6 points in Clark and losing by 12 in Washoe — I am willing to bet … that if those are the results in November, based on what the turnout likely will be, she will lose by a substantial margin. Similarly, Obama is shown only winning Clark by 5 points — if that happens, he will lose the state.
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- Meanwhile, Ralston also writes that unpopular Harry Reid has become Dean Heller’s de facto opponent. Indeed, it’s not much of a stretch to say that Reid might as well be on the ballot for the second straight cycle. One of his key operatives is on loan to Rep. Shelley Berkley, and a third-party group run by one of his former press secretaries this week began an attack on Heller that brought back memories of last cycle’s sequential outside assaults on Sue Lowden and Sharron Angle. As Berkley generally avoids media encounters that might force her to talk about her ethics probe, cocooned by Team Reid as much as possible, the majority leader has become Heller’s de facto opponent.
- Finally, the Lahontan Valley News reports that Dean Heller is calling on Reid and embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley to focus on pro-growth, pro-jobs policies to get Nevada working again. May’s unemployment figures are further proof of just how critical it is that Washington gets its act together. Too many Americans are unemployed or have simply dropped out of the labor force. It’s obvious that people across the country are hurting and want solutions. My state continues to lead the country in unemployment and it is no secret that the gridlock in Washington is not helping Nevadans. Congress needs to focus on pro-growth policies that eliminate burdensome regulations, reforms the tax code, and helps struggling homeowners.
In Massachusetts, more than five weeks after the Native American controversy surrounding Elizabeth Warren first broke, these are still just some of the stories that voters in the Bay State are reading this morning –
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- Lowell Sun editorial – Maybe Now Warren Will Come Clean. But if Warren knowingly embraced the unsupported information to get ahead, she is guilty of a shameful mistake. In the latter case, we’d have to seriously consider whether she has the character and integrity to represent the people of Massachusetts in Washington, D.C. Over a month ago, when The Boston Herald broke the story about Warren’s undocumented claim to a Cherokee heritage, The Sun questioned the story’s relevance. We felt there were more important things to learn about Warren, like how she would plan to get the unemployed back to work and reduce the nation’s $16 trillion debt, which is strangling economic growth. However, the story has not gone away. That’s because Warren keeps digging a deeper hole for herself every time she persists that what she was told is true.
- Boston Globe — Boston’s ministers skeptical of Elizabeth Warren. Rivers said the questions are legitimate and could affect Warren’s image in the black community and the public at large. “It is within bounds to raise the question of whether or not a white woman used the minority card for her professional advantage,” said Rivers. “Ancestry is not the issue,” Rivers added, saying that Warren’s handling of the controversy raises questions beyond her heritage. “Did you tell the truth? Because you marketed yourself as the good-guy, straight-shooting-populist, representing-poor-people candidate.”
- Boston Herald — Tom Menino slow to back Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth Warren has 96 percent of the Bay State’s Democratic delegates in her corner, but she still hasn’t closed the deal with one of Massachusetts’ most influential politicians — Mayor Thomas M. Menino….“Warren isn’t his cup of tea,” said longtime City Hall watcher Joe Slavet. “He comes from a working-class culture. He wouldn’t even know how to start a conversation with Elizabeth Warren and vice-versa. … He’s torn between a guy that he knows how to get along with and a higher kind of question, which is, can he contribute to getting a bigger majority in the Senate?”
- Finally, make sure to read this morning analysis of recent #MASenate poll numbers from Washington Post’s The Fix — What’s more, Warren’s personal image has taken a hit, with her unfavorable rating rising from 23 percent to 32 percent over the last two months, even as her favorable rating ticked up just one point. She’s still in plenty positive territory (48 percent favorable, 32 percent unfavorable), but she’s underwater when it comes to independents (35 percent favorable, 38 percent unfavorable).…Whatever the case, the last couple of months seem to have helped him with this group; his lead among independents grew by 10 points — 51 percent to Warren’s 13 percent. UNH pollster Andrew Smith told The Fix “this issue is having an impact on Democrats and independents who, in Massachusetts, typically would vote for the Democratic candidate. And it’s happening when the campaign really hasn’t even begun.”
- Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee Nation from Bloomberg –The Boston Globe reported that Warren claimed no minority status in applying to college or law school. Her application to Rutgers University Law School, which Warren attended, included the question: “Are you interested in applying for admission under the Program for Minority Group Students?” Warren answered, “No.” Yet at some point in the late 1980s, when she was teaching law at the University of Pennsylvania, Warren began listing herself as Native American in a legal directory. A recently-unearthed article from a 1997 Fordham Law Review describes Warren as the Harvard Law School faculty’s “first woman of color.” Was Warren gaming the system to make herself more appealing to employers? The rules of racial preference are murky, but anyone in Warren’s position would’ve understood that, all other things being equal, nonwhite status bestowed an advantage. Meanwhile, both Penn and Harvard seemed all too eager to claim credit for an extra dose of racial diversity on their faculties that, in reality, they lacked. Fewer than 13 percent of American Indians have a bachelor’s degree, compared with almost 31 percent of whites. Median earnings among American Indians are roughly two-thirds those of whites. Penn, Harvard and other prominent schools have reason, beside historical injustice, to give qualified American Indian (or black or Hispanic) applicants a second look or even a modest helping hand. A commitment to fostering pluralism, and a breadth of experience and cultures, is central to their mission.
Some may have missed that, on Friday, Obama close friend and confidante Eric Whitaker denied to ABC News that he offered a bribe to Rev. Jeremiah Wright to stop speaking during the 2008 presidential campaign. Recordings of bestselling author Ed Klein’s interview with Wright were provided to ABC (they have been provided to other media outlets as well upon request), and Wright clearly acknowledges Whitaker as the person who, he says, initiated a bribe attempt through an email to a parishioner at Wright’s church. Wright says he has the email in a cardboard box he has kept along with other 2008 campaign items. It took over two weeks, and several media inquiries, for Whitaker to respond to the allegation – the audio was first aired on May 16th on the Sean Hannity Show. Whitaker is as close to President Obama as anyone can be, having spent the last several Christmases and summer vacations with the First Family. Klein’s The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, in which the bribe allegation was first revealed, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list yesterday, it will stay at #1 this coming Sunday.
One of President Obama’s closest friends denied to ABC News a charge against him made by the president’s former spiritual adviser, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
In a new book by conservative author Ed Klein, The Amateur, Rev. Jeremiah Wright says “after the media went ballistic on me, I received an email offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election.”
The friend is not named in the book, but on his media tour, Klein has said the individual about whom Wright made the allegation is Eric Whitaker, a close Obama friend since graduate school and from Chicago, and Associate Dean and Executive Vice President of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
In an email to ABC News responding to Wright’s charge, Whitaker wrote: “I have received your message asking whether I’d offered any sort of a bribe during the 2008 campaign. The answer is no. Thank you for giving me the chance to respond.” He didn’t respond to a follow-up question.
Rev. Wright did not respond to numerous requests for comment.
From the Las Vegas Sun:
The notoriously amiable Harry Reid is a perfect example. He superficially got along with everyone, from Chic Hecht in the mid-1980s to Richard Bryan in the 1990s and John Ensign in the 2000s.
But now, on the eve of the general election season for a contest that could determine whether he remains majority leader, Reid will have a difficult time keeping up the pretense with his latest compatriot, Dean Heller. Indeed, it’s not much of a stretch to say that Reid might as well be on the ballot for the second straight cycle. One of his key operatives is on loan to Rep. Shelley Berkley, and a third-party group run by one of his former press secretaries this week began an attack on Heller that brought back memories of last cycle’s sequential outside assaults on Sue Lowden and Sharron Angle.
As Berkley generally avoids media encounters that might force her to talk about her ethics probe, cocooned by Team Reid as much as possible, the majority leader has become Heller’s de facto opponent.
This has been a long time coming and was, perhaps, inevitable. It’s not just that Reid’s folks are hegemons who run the Democratic organization in Nevada. Or that Reid may need the Nevada seat to flip Democratic to retain his scepter. He was always going to be involved — and Heller knew that.
But now, I sense a personal element since the two senators have clashed over Reid’s pick for a federal judgeship. After Heller discovered she had questioned the application of the Second Amendment , he tried to keep it from becoming a public battle. But I sense Reid holds Heller responsible for this getting out — he wasn’t — and is not thrilled at having his nominee in limbo.