From the Washington Free Beacon:
Democrat Congresswoman votes against jobs bill she co-sponsored to placate Green lobby
Democratic Nevada congresswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley voted against a job-creating land privatization bill that she herself co-sponsored, the latest in a string of examples of Berkley’s placing national Democratic Party interests ahead of her state’s.
The Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act would “mandate the fair market sale of approximately 10,400 acres of public lands to the City of Yerington and Lyon County for economic, recreational and cultural development,” according to the Nevada News Bureau. It is projected to lead to 500 construction jobs by 2013 and nearly 800 total jobs at the project site by 2015-2016, according to a statement by Berkley’s Republican Senate opponent, incumbent Sen. Dean Heller.
The unemployment rate in Lyon County, Nevada—where Yerington is located—stands at 15.1 percent.
The Washington Post reports that the Supreme Court’s ruling that states can opt out of Medicaid expansion “has raised some thorny questions about the practical and financial ramifications.” So what if some states do decide not to participate in the expansion? According to the article, the federal government could save money because “poor people who would otherwise have been newly eligible for coverage would no longer get it. But there’s a twist. … This subset of people might cost the government more than if they had gotten Medicaid, because the program is considered more efficient than private insurance. So, what would be the net effect on federal spending? It depends on which is larger: the savings on people with incomes below poverty — who wouldn’t get Medicaid or any other federal help with insurance — or the extra cost of providing subsidies for those with incomes at or above poverty. For now, no one has hard numbers.”
On July 1st, Mexicans are going to the polls to elect the next president of Mexico.
Twelve years ago, the decade’s long rule of the Revolutionary Institutional party (PRI) came to an end as the candidate of the National Action party (PAN), Vicente Fox won the election. The PRI lost the election then after decades of corruption, fraud, and one-party rule that held control over most sectors of civil society leaving little space for alternative voices.
The PRI is the likely winner under the charismatic leadership of Enrique Pena Nieto though the PRI’s victory should not be taken as a foregone conclusion. The gap between Pena Nieto and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Workers Party has been narrowing. With a sizeable number of voters still undecided as to whom they will vote for and with a large youth vote favoring Obrador, a surprise upset is not out of the question. While it is likely that Pena Nieto will maintain cordial and mostly cooperative relations with the United States, this assumption cannot be counted on in connection to Obrador.
In terms of the PRI, some commentators have expressed concern over the return to their past practices. Given the crisis of legitimacy the PRI faced a little over a decade ago, it is not likely that the party will return to their old practices. Yet, it is important to point out that given the PRI’s history, some political actors of the past may return.
It is interesting to note that the electoral campaign, itself, has been characterized by the candidates’ distance from the war on drugs. The war on drugs defined the presidency of Felipe Calderon. There have been more than 50,000 homicides in the last six years. Many of the deaths were the result of inter- cartel fighting but Mexicans tend to instinctively attribute the high human toll to the government’s war on the cartels. Apparently, most Mexicans consider the war on drugs unwinnable.
Political candidates perceive that the war has diminished the popularity of the president. Thus, during the debates, no candidate touched on the issue. Even the candidate from Calderon’s party (PAN), Josefina Vazques Mota is distancing herself from the president by using the slogan “Josefina Diferente” (Different than Calderon). Despite this, she still is a distant third in the polls. One of the key criticisms about the PAN government under Calderon is that its priority on the war on drugs caused them to neglect the economy.
Pena Nieto is not talking about the war on drugs but instead is stressing the need to improve security. Yet, he has hired the former head of Colombia’s National police, Oscar Naranjo as an adviser. It was under Naranjo’s tenure that the Colombian police managed to reduce drug cartel criminal activity. Whether or not Pena Nieto will choose to continue Calderon’s path or make changes is not clear. Whether increasing security will include the fight against drug cartels is also unclear. Of the three major candidates, Obrador has been the most outspoken against the war on drugs. In fact, his slogan is “abrazos no valazos” meaning “hugs not bullets”. Obrador has also said that if the U.S. wants to help, it should send soft credit, not helicopters.
In terms of the war on drugs, what is more apparent is that the Mexican people, as a collective, have a different attitude than Colombians did when confronting the major drug cartel(the FARC) in their country a decade ago. Whereas Colombians clearly identified the drug cartels as the source of anarchy and violence, the Mexicans have not done so yet. Colombians were willing to pay taxes to strengthen the war on drugs and stood behind the president with the determination to do that. Mexicans have not provided the same backing to Calderon and it is not clear how they expect to solve that problem or whether they are willing to live in a country where drug cartels subjugate the state and the rule of law. What is more absurd is that often Calderon’s war on drugs is seen as responsible for the increasing murders and citizens’ insecurity. In one case, the father of a victim of drug cartels who happens to be a poet initiated peace marches as if the problem were one of war and peace and not the need to destroy a ruthless lethal force that for the sake of earning billions of dollars is willing to murder without mercy and transform the rule of law into anarchy.
All this shows that many Mexicans are either in denial or are simply hoping that the problem will somehow go away. Yet, it is understandable that the Mexican people are weary of all the violence and take this position because the gun battles, the mass graves, the cruelty of the cartels, and the display of military forces has not reached Mexico City or other large urban centers.
Whatever the explanation is, the situation is not good. Yet, it would be a mistake for the future governing party to give in to the cartels as was done in previous Mexican administrations, making the problem that much worse for Calderon when he began his crackdown. In this sense, it is difficult to imagine an alternative to Calderon’s anti-drug policies. If the Mexicans want a better life they have to properly deal with the cartels or face an ever worsening situation.
While violence remains a most serious problem, there have been some successes by the Mexican authorities. Some drug kingpins have been eliminated but others have taken their place. The problem of police corruption remains a very serious challenge. In fact, a few days ago gunmen murdered three policemen at Mexico City’s international airport and the assassins happened to be police officers working for a drug cartel.
If the new government does not recognize the problem of drugs for what it is and does not continue the war on drugs with the goal of destroying it, this country of 112 million people will begin to disseminate refugees all over the world. What is worse is that the drug cartels will further expand their operations in the region and further threaten North and South American societies.
In the past, American presidential campaigns have featured bitter recriminations over foreign policy reverses. Harry Truman was charged with having “lost China” following the take-over of the Chinese mainland by Mao Tse-Tung’s communists. In subsequent years similar formulations were used to challenge those responsible for the loss to the Free World of Vietnam, Iran and post-Soviet Russia.
Today, the question for voters in the 2012 election to ponder might be posed as “Who lost Egypt?” To make matters worse, it is likely that the losses won’t stop there.
Indeed, before it’s over, we may well see nearly all the Middle East fall under the sway of the team President Obama has helped come to power in Cairo – the Muslim Brotherhood, to the grave detriment of the people most immediately affected, of Israel and of our interests, there and here.
To be sure, it is unclear at the moment exactly how things will shake-out in Egypt. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party succeeded in having its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, elected president in recent weeks and installed in that office on Saturday. But the Egyptian military continues to be very much a force to be reckoned with and the extent and timing of any formal relinquishing of its current control of virtually all aspects of the government – from the armed services to the many industries they own to the parliament and constitution-writing mechanisms – remains to be seen.
Still, the direction Morsi seeks to take his country is unmistakable and should be deeply worrying to all who hoped for an authentic Arab Spring in Egypt and fear the emergence there and elsewhere of an Islamist Winter. While the newly installed president has professed that he will be the leader of all Egyptians and promised to give tangible expression to that commitment by appointing as his vice presidents a Coptic Christian, a woman and a secular political figure, these will be, atbest mere window-dressing if he sticks to his pledge to impose shariah on all his countrymen.
For example, as captured in an Egyptian television report of May 13, 2012 translated by the indispensable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reLigeHGKzE&feature=player_embedded&noredirect=1) – Morsi espoused during the course of the campaign the key tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood: “The Quran is our constitution. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.” He went on to add, “This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through Islamic shariah.” Morsi concluded by saying, “I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text of [the constitution], Allah willing, the text will truly reflect shariah.”
Now in office, Mohammed Morsi is making clear that this direction may have dire implications for us, as well as for the people of Egypt. He has declared that one of his priorities as president will be to secure the release from a life-sentence in U.S. federal prison of Omar Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman is better known as the Blind Sheikh and the prime-moverbehind various terrorist plots – including trying to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Morsi wants himrepatriated to Egypt, ostensibly so he can serve out the rest of his sentence there. Fat chance.
Which brings us to Team Obama. President Obama was instrumental in assisting the Muslim Brotherhood emerge from the shadows and come to power. For example, over the strenuous objections of his hosts, Mr. Obama demanded that the Brotherhood’s representatives be included in his June 2009 “outreach to the Muslim world” address at Cairo University.
Less than two years later, Mr. Obama declared that Hosni Mubarak had to yield power within days of the Muslim Brotherhood’s operatives and other demonstrators taking to the streets demanding his overthrow. In the months that followed, his administration began “engaging” with the Brotherhood and its formal political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.
Then, a few months ago, in the face of bipartisan objections from Capitol Hill, the Obama administration transferred $1.5 billion in a lump-sum, no-strings-attached grant to the Egyptian government. This occurred at a time when Muslim Brotherhood and allied “Salafist” legislators were in charge of its parliament and drawing up a new constitution.
Most recently, Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have welcomed the ascendancy of the Brotherhood’s Morsi. They are evidently considering giving tangible expression to that sentiment by accommodating his demand for the release the Blind Sheikh as they allowed Hani Noor Eldin, a top member of Abdul Raman’s terrorist Gema’a al-Islamiyaa organization, to enter the U.S. and discuss the idea with their subordinates.
Should Team Obama now take this step, it would have an absolutely devastating effect – and not just in Egypt, where it would validate America’s utter submission to the Brotherhood agenda. It will also be seen as further evidence that the global Islamist enterprise, of which the Brotherhood is the institutional and ideological vanguard, is succeeding inmaking the West – as the Quran puts it – “feel subdued.”
In short, the practical effect of “losing” Egypt in this way will be, pursuant to the doctrine of shariah, to invite aredoubled effort, including through the use of violence, to achieve the Brotherhood goals of imposing that totalitarian, repressive and supremacist code worldwide. President Barack Obama must be held accountable for the consequences.
Our good friend Keith Appell, SVP of CRC Public Relations and former national spokesman for Steve Forbes 2000 campaign sent the following:
The Obama White House’s contention that the ObamaCare mandate is not a tax directly contradicts the Obama administration’s own court filing in which it argued exactly that. The contradiction makes the White House looks ridiculous, as Ed Klein might say: this is beyond amateur hour. Below are relevant excerpts from the Obama administration’s own court filing from back in January. The administration clearly and emphatically argues that the mandate is a tax, period. I think I caught all the references but there were so many I may have missed one or two. President Obama deceived the American people about this tax and now, after 15 months of congressional debate and two more years of litigation, with his continued descent into denial he is only deceiving himself. The “signature piece of legislation” is being reduced to a caricature as – after three years of this nonsense – the economy still sucks and people are still suffering.
US Brief on the Mandate
January 6, 2012
In addition to those incentives through tax and other subsidies to purchase health insurance, congress assigned adverse tax consequences to the alternative of attempted self-insuring. congress provided that, beginning in 2014, non-exempted federal income taxpayers who fail to maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage for themselves or their dependents will owe a tax penalty for each month in the tax year during which minimum coverage is not maintained. (pgs 11-12)
Congress’s taxing power provides an independent ground to uphold the minimum coverage provision…. the practical operation of the minimum coverage provision is as a tax law. The only consequences of a failure to maintain minimum coverage are tax consequences: non-exempted federal income taxpayers will have increased tax liability for those months in which they fail to maintain minimum coverage for themselves or their dependents. (p20)
The Minimum Coverage Provision Operates As A Tax Law: The practical operation of the minimum coverage provision is as a tax law. It is fully integrated into the tax system, will raise substantial revenue, and triggers only tax consequences for non-compliance. (p. 52)
…the minimum coverage provision is valid not only as a tax in its own right, but also as an adjunct to the income tax, as it merely provides an additional input in calculating the total amount owed on the taxpayer’s income tax return. (p. 56)
Congress, in fact, has long used taxing measures to expand health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act builds on those efforts and employs familiar tools of tax incentives and tax penalties to expand the availability of insurance as a means of payment for health care services. (p. 55)
Congress’s use of the term “penalty” has significance for purposes of statutory interpretation— most notably for the inapplicability of the Anti-Injunction Act. But that does not justify reliance on labels to disregard the taxing power as a source of Congress’s authority to enact the minimum coverage provision. To the contrary, “the constitutionality of action taken by congress does not depend on recitals of the power which it undertakes to exercise.” (pgs 58-59)
Although the act provides that the IRS may not use criminal prosecutions, notices of federal tax liens, or levies on property to collect an unpaid penalty,…the IRS may employ offsets against federal tax refunds. The IRS also may seek payment through correspondence or phone calls from IRS employees. offsets, correspondence, and phone calls are consistently some of the most productive tools in the federal tax collection process as measured by total dollars collected. In addition, the attorney general has general authority to file civil suits for unpaid tax liabilities. (p. 53)
Be sure to pick up Ed Klein’s book The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House
From a nationally known business advisor, writer, and financial software developer comes a book that tears the veil off the real reasons the United States economy has been taken to the breaking point.
In The Golden Rules of Economics: The Real Way Out of America’s Economic Crisis, Peter M. Vessenes breaks down the confusion around how the economy works in everyone’s day-to-day life. From the REAL definition of Capitalism, and why it is instinctive in every one of us, to how the American Revolution was a war caused by the colonists being cheated out of their money by Great Britain in the world marketplace, Peter clearly explains the economic struggle that birthed the greatest nation the world has ever seen.
The book takes you through The Golden Rules as they apply to Capitalism, Washington Cronyism, Progressives, Bureaucrats, Politicians, Government Power, Federal Budgets, Banking, and ultimately, all of us as people. How these rules have been broken, how we allowed them to be broken, and most importantly, what we must do to save ourselves from certain economic collapse, are shared in a way that does not require a Masters Degree in Economics to understand.
The Golden Rules of Economics: The Real Way Out of America’s Economic Crisis, explains the forces that have twisted the real purpose and destiny of the United States of America away from the rights of all mankind towards the oppressions of feudal society, ruling class cultures, and totalitarian regimes. This promises to be a book that can reshape the economic future of this generation, and the rest of the world…
In Nevada, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that in a matter of days the House Ethics Committee will report back on embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s ethics investigation. The day everybody has been waiting for in the Dean Heller vs. Shelley Berkley campaign for U.S. Senate is almost here. By July 9, the U.S. House Ethics Committee will decide if a review of U.S. Rep. Berkley, D-Las Vegas, will escalate into an investigation. Berkley is being scrutinized by the 10-member panel — five Republicans and five Democrats — for advocating on kidney health matters that appeared to help her husband’s medical practice. The New York Times did a story about it a while back and it blew up. The committee could very well vote for an investigation.
- Meanwhile, Dean Heller told KVVU-TV in Las Vegas reports that we need to find real solutions to reforming our healthcare system. This law has now been affirmed as a colossal tax increase on the middle class, and its excessive regulations are stripping businesses of the certainty they need to hire at a time when Nevadans and the rest of the country are desperate for jobs. The President should work with Congress to find real solutions to healthcare reform so the excessive mandates and taxes in this law do not further add to our national debt or continue to stifle economic growth. This onerous law needs to be repealed and replaced with market-based reforms that will provide greater access, affordability, and economic certainty to our nation.
Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory Georgetown Law: “The fact that this decision was apparently political, rather than legal, completely undermines its legitimacy as a precedent. Its result can be reversed by the People in November, and its weak tax power holding reversed by any future Court without pause. In the end, NFIB v. Sebelius will stand only for its striking limits on the Commerce Clause, Necessary and Proper Clause and Spending power.”
In that case Professor Barnett didn’t Roe v. Wade completely undermines its legitimacy as a precedent? Just sayin’
From National Journal Hotline:
It looks like the scope South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint’s clout is about to increase. Politico reports he is forming a super PAC, and cutting formal ties to his Senate Conservatives Fund leadership PAC. The super PAC will allow him to spend and raise money without limits. DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund has been an influential force this cycle and last; and unconstrained by contribution limits, he should be able to wield even more power — by electing more like-minded conservatives.
A big test of the new super PAC is whether it will be up and running early enough to help DeMint-favored Senate candidate Ted Cruz. DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund transferred about $1.2 million to the Cruz campaign coffers.
DeMINT LAUNCHES SUPER PAC – Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund is getting super-powered. The South Carolina Republican is officially splitting formal ties with his signature group, which focuses on electing rock-ribbed conservatives to the Senate. This will free the fund to create to a more powerful and influential super PAC, Jonathan Allen scoops for the hometown paper. –The move will “test whether a rock star congressional fundraiser can attract the kind of megabucks that have been flowing to presidential candidates this year. Party leaders in Congress have launched super PACs with mixed results, but DeMint is positioning himself as an independent power outside the party structure, and, if his success continues, he could spawn copycats among members of Congress looking to make their mark quickly.”
–DeMint isn’t giving up control of the Senate fund, which has raised $17 million since 2009. He can appear at fundraisers for and advise SCF, but he can’t make the final ask for money. The fund will continue to be run by Matt Hoskins, a DeMint loyalist. The group’s super PAC, named the Senate Conservatives Action, will launch Monday. Its website is senateaction.com.
Unlike other malware, this strain appears to be a politically motivated and targeted attack.
CNET – Security company Kaspersky Labs has intercepted a new variant of the Tibet malware for OS X, which is being distributed to specific Uyghur activist groups as part of a seemingly politically motivated APT (advanced persistent threat) attack. More