This video is dedicated to all the victims that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Due to some graphic footage, Viewer Discretion is Advised.
The cost of government regulation can be hard to quantify. Spending is easy to measure, while value for money spent, though problematic, can be analyzed as well. But regulatory costs are an indirect tax that never makes it into the budget, although the feds do disclose the estimated time to complete various forms. If you have ever read one of those disclosures, you have new insight into the meaning of the word “optimist”. Alas, this may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the wake of the dot-com bust and corporate accounting scandals of the last decade, notably Enron. Companies are still learning to cope with the unexpected compliance costs and traps of this legislation. One of the most bizarre is the legal difficulty a company can land in if it is deemed to delete evidence related to an investigation BEFORE said inquiry is even launched.
Ashley Post of Treasury and Risk reports the conundrum:
Although SOX became law a decade ago, corporate lawyers are becoming increasingly concerned with one of its particularly potent provisions, 18 USC Section 1519, which states that “whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States … or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined … imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
In other words, the provision criminalizes anticipatory obstruction of justice.
This could be a huge headache for corporate attorneys, who have an obligation to advise their clients on how to manage document retention and minimize risk given the exhaustive discovery phase of legal proceedings in the civil courts. Hitherto sound practice in this area could lead to criminal exposure should the government develop an interest in any given case.
Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. As the legal system goes down the path of interpreting this very broad piece of the statute, perspiring attorneys may well decide to give the SOX legislation the new sobriquet of “Sweat SOX”.
Frank Gaffney responds to Obama’s nomination speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Originally posted at Center for Security Policy By Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Eleven years after 9/11, President Obama would have us believe that, at least with respect to our national security, we are better off than we were when he came to office. Specifically, he now claims that al Qaeda – the terrorist organization that killed nearly 3,000 Americans on that terrible day – is “on the path to defeat.”
That contention is, of course, predicated in part on the laudable fact that al Qaeda’s founder, Osama bin Laden, is dead, as are a number of the organization’s other senior leaders. The President deserves credit for achieving such successes.
But they do not mean even that the group that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks are nearly defeated. In fact, its franchises are going – and growing – concerns in places like Libya, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali and Pakistan, to say nothing of the theaters We have abandoned (Iraq), or are in the process of abandoning (Afghanistan).
More importantly, even if it were true that al Qaeda is being defeated, a net assessment would clearly show that, on Mr. Obama’s watch, the world has become much more hospitable to its ideology and goals, and much less safe for America and our interests.
That is the case in no small measure because of the help Team Obama has given to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that fully shares al Qaeda’s ambitions to impose its totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine known as shariah on the rest of the world under the rule of a Caliph. As the Center for Security Policy has documented in a free online video-based curriculum entitled The Muslim Brotherhood in America: the Enemy Within, that help has taken myriad forms including: recognizing and engaging the Brotherhood in Egypt; helping it come to power there; and providing $1.5 billion in aid after the Brotherhood’s political party dominated Egyptian parliamentary elections and on the eve of the election of its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, to the presidency.
The Obama administration is preparing to do still more for the Brothers in Egypt now that they have established effectively complete control in one of the Middle East’s most strategic nations. It is engineering another $1 billion in debt relief at U.S. taxpayer expense and over $4 billion in assistance from international financial organizations (a substantial chunk of which will come out of our hides, too).
It is also warning Israel not to object to Egypt’s remilitarization of the Sinai, in blatant violation of the peace treaty between the two nations signed at Camp David in 1979. And it is preparing to roll out the red carpet for Brother Morsi in New York and the White House later this month.
Are such steps a problem – especially collectively? After all, the Muslim Brothers are, according to Mr. Obama’s administration, the sort of benign Islamists with whom we can safely deal since they have, in the words of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, “eschewed violence.”
In point of fact, the Brothers have no more eschewed violence towards infidels and even Muslims who stand in the way of their geopolitical ambitions than they are, in another unforgettable example of Gen. Clapper’s cluelessness, “a largely secular organization.” These rabid and avowed Islamists are perfectly prepared to use violence – think Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian franchise – when they believe it will conduce to success.
Until that time, shariah requires its adherents to pursue the same goals through means that are best described as pre-violent, rather than non-violent. And it is the steady progress that the prime practitioners of this approach – which the Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad” – have made unnoticed, or at least un-countered, by President Obama and his subordinates that has actually made the world vastly more dangerous than it was when they came to office.
Just how dangerous may be on display when President Obama hosts Mohamed Morsi. It will be interesting to see whether he emboldens that Islamist, as he has others, by bowing to him. But what will be far more important than such symbolic gestures is what further concessions Mr. Obama offer, concessions that – according to the doctrine of shariah – are interpreted as tangible signs of our submission?
One that will be at the top of Mr. Morsi’s agenda is his demand that the United States release one of the most world’s most dangerous jihadists, Omar Abdul Rahman. Better known as the “Blind Sheikh,” this terrorist was convicted of leading, among other conspiracies, the first, lethal attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Presumably, President Obama would not dare pardon or transfer Abdul Rahman to Egypt before his “last election,” but he may feel free to do so afterwards – when he has, in his words, “more flexibility.”
Either way, the Morsi visit will be a “teachable moment” for every American. All other things being equal, it will demonstrate tangibly that eleven years after 9/11 – notwithstanding the tactical successes achieved by our courageous servicemen and women, lethal drones and intelligence and homeland security professionals, we are losing, not winning, the war against those who are driven by shariah to wage jihad, of either the violent or stealthy kind, against us. We better pray it will prompt the American people to insist on a fundamental course correction two months from now.
Why is Debbie Stabenow the worst Senator? Join the debate at www.worstsenator.com.
In Nevada, Crossroads GPS is up with a new ad reminding voters that Berkley voted to cut $700 billion from Medicare. Laughable, false. That’s what they’re saying about Shelley Berkley’s attack ad. Berkley’s smear on Medicare? Called “the lie of the year.” The truth? Berkley voted to slash 700 billion from Medicare spending, and Berkley’s vote gives bureaucrats the power to cut even more. Desperate attacks based on a lie. Cuts to Medicare spending that are all too serious. Just what you’d expect from a desperate politician like Shelley Berkley.
Meanwhile the Las Vegas Sun Reports Dean Heller tells Harry Reid that House, not Senate, should lead on poker legislation Ever since online poker legislation faltered and failed in late 2010, the prevailing wisdom has been that the road to successful passage leads though the Senate, via the collective efforts of Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Sens. Dean Heller and Jon Kyl. But on Monday evening, Heller broke rank, informing Reid in a letter that “as discussed, it would be beneficial for the House of Representatives to first address this issue.” His direction might sound like a simple scheduling switcheroo. But for the controversial poker bill, it is a potentially devastating change with ramifications that could undermine the Nevada economy — and, top Democrats charge, a clear indication that Heller dropped the ball. “Several months ago Sen. Reid asked Sen. Heller to secure Republican votes to help pass an Internet poker bill and to date, Sen. Heller has not been able to secure any support,” said Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman. “Rather than standing to fight for this important issue for Nevada, Sen. Heller has decided to run for cover and attempt to lay blame on others.” Reid leaned on Heller and Kyl, of Arizona, to come up with 15 Republican senators, according to Democrats, to complement the approximately 45 Democrats Reid has lined up to vote in favor of legislation to legalize playing poker online. It takes 60 votes in the Senate to supersede the threat of a filibuster. Heller indicated in his letter that he and Kyl had spoken with about half the Republicans in the Senate about supporting an Internet poker bill; he did not say how many, if any, had pledged their support.
TCA Poll Reveals Majority of Catholics Say Obama Policies Go Too Far
78%: “Our rights come from nature and God, not Government”
72%: “America’s exploding federal debt hurts the poor the most”
57%: “Obama administration has gone too far in placing restrictions on religious freedom when implementing their programs and policies”
September 10, 2012, Washington, DC: The Catholic Association today released a poll of 2,629 Catholic likely voters on election related issues that could prove pivotal in the 2012 election cycle.
TCA RELEASES POLL OF 2600 LIKELY CATHOLIC VOTERS
MAJORITY OF CATHOLICS SAY OBAMA POLICIES GO TOO FAR, RESTRICT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
“The survey takes a unique look at the perspective of likely Catholic voters on the economy, the role of government, and religious liberties issues that were front and center in both the Democratic and Republican conventions. What is most interesting is the survey’s finding of large Catholic majority support when it comes to God’s role in American culture and the impact of a now $16 trillion debt on the poor. Contrasting with this strong Catholic support isthe Democratic Party’s embarrassment over their original ‘God-less’ platform, and the exploding national debt under the Obama administration,” said Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor at The Catholic Association.
“Tracking with our previous survey, this poll also shows a large majority of Catholics believe the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate goes too far and infringes on religious freedom. It is also telling from this survey that Catholics see God, not government, as the centerpiece of American culture. This finding correlates with the overwhelming majority of Catholics in this poll who see the exploding federal debt as a moral issue and having a negative impact on the poor and the common good,” said Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow at The Catholic Association.
“Most of these numbers are even more dramatic among regular Mass-attending Catholics,” McGuire added.
Key TCA survey findings:
78% say: “Our rights come from nature and God, not government.”
72% say: “America’s exploding federal debt hurts the poor the most.”
66% say: “Religious charitable institutions should not be forced by the government to provide or pay for goods and services they morally object to.”
66% say: “Catholics can disagree about the best way to serve the poor-for example, favoring private charity over government programs – without being ‘bad’ Catholics.”
57% say: “The Obama Administration has gone too far in placing restrictions on religious freedom when implementing their programs and policies.”
Among regular Mass-attending Catholics:
86% say: “Our rights come from nature and God, not government.”
71% say: “America’s exploding federal debt hurts the poor the most.”
72% say: “Religious charitable institutions should not be forced by the government to provide or pay for goods and services they morally object to.”
71% say: “Catholics can disagree about the best way to serve the poor-for example, favoring private charity over government programs – without being ‘bad’ Catholics.”
67% say: “The Obama Administration has gone too far in placing restrictions on religious freedom when implementing their programs and policies.”
TCA commissioned Magellan Strategies for the poll. Results are from an autodial poll of 2,629 Catholics that are likely to vote in the November election. The poll was taken from August 19-21 and has a margin of error of +/-1.91%. Survey demographics: 54%-46% Female to Male, 48% Democrat, 33% Republican and 19% Independent.
The Catholic Association (TCA) is dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square and the public arena. TCA is responding to the call of the Catholic Church for members of the lay faithful to apply Catholic teaching, wisdom, and principles to the issues of the day.
National Catholic General Election Survey August 19-21 2012
Magellan Strategies are pleased to present the results of a 2,629n autodial national survey of Catholic voters that are likely to vote in the November election. The interviews were conducted August 19th – 21st, 2012. This survey has a margin of error of +/- 1.91% at the 95 percent confidence interval.
Mass Attending Catholics
Ryan Image Rating
Germany Says U.S. Debt “Much Too High,” Global Economy Burdened
Reuters reports, “German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble questioned on Tuesday how the United States could deal with its high levels of government debt after November’s presidential election. In a speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament to open a debate on the 2013 German budget, Schaeuble said worries about U.S. debt were a burden for the global economy, hitting back at Washington which has criticized Europe for failing to get a grip on its own debt crisis. … ‘Ahead of the election in the United States there is great uncertainty about the course American politics will take in dealing the U.S. government’s debts, which are much too high,’ Schaeuble said. ‘We need to remind ourselves of that sometimes and the global economy knows that and is burdened by it.’”
Deficit Totals $1.17T, Fourth Straight Year Exceeding $1T
According to The Hill, “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Monday that the 2012 budget deficit through August stands at $1.17 trillion. It estimated that $192 billion was added to the deficit in August, crossing the symbolically important trillion-dollar threshold. This is the fourth straight year that the deficit will exceed one trillion dollars, all under President Obama. The deficit in 2008 was $459 billion. Eleven months into the fiscal year ending on Oct. 1, the deficit is about $70 billion less than at this point in fiscal 2011. Revenue increases account for the difference, with incoming revenue increasing 6 percent and spending increasing 2 percent despite the efforts of Congress to reduce it. So far this year, revenues have increased $126 billion, the CBO estimated, while spending has increased by $57 billion.”
Short-Term Budget Fix “punts on the core duty of Congress”
Politico reports, “A six-month stop-gap spending bill took final shape in Congress Monday, as House and Senate negotiators agreed to a formula that will raise most appropriations accounts by about 0.6 percent to meet the $1.047 trillion spending target set for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The House Rules Committee posted the 29-page continuing resolution, or CR, on its website in the evening with the expectation that the measure could come to a House floor vote as early as Thursday. The goal is to avert any threat of a government shutdown while allowing lawmakers to quickly get back to campaigning at home. But the agencies left behind will pay a price given the rigidity of the funding.” … House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) commented, “‘This bill essentially punts on the core duty of Congress to complete its annual Appropriations and budget work. … Our founding fathers and our Constitution have spelled out a more responsible way to allocate the people’s money — through individual, annual Appropriations bills. It is imperative to our nation’s future and to our finances that we return to a timely regular order of business on such important funding legislation.’”
A Failing Economy with a “divided Washington”
The Associated Press reports, “The economy is weak and the job market brutal. Nearly 13 million Americans can’t find work; the national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, the highest level ever three years after a recession supposedly ended. A divided Washington has done little to ease the misery. … Growth has never been slower in the three years after a downturn. The human toll is immense. Forty percent of the jobless- 5 million people – have been out of work for six months or more, their skills eroding and their chances of finding good jobs fading. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has declared long-term unemployment a ‘national crisis.’ Millions of Americans have simply given up looking for work. … Republicans and Democrats will have to find some common ground before the year ends to prevent the economy from falling off a ‘fiscal cliff.’ If they don’t reach a budget deal, more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases will start to kick in next year. The threat of the fiscal shock is meant to force Republicans and Democrats to compromise. Otherwise, the combination of spending cuts and tax increases probably would send the economy back into recession and drive unemployment back to 9 percent next year, the CBO estimates.”
“Pentagon says it’s not to blame for delayed sequestration report”
The Hill reports, “The Pentagon on Monday sought to distance itself from the growing rancor between the White House and congressional Republicans over the delay of a much anticipated administration report on sequestration due on Capitol Hill this month. Defense Department (DOD) officials have sent all information regarding the potential impact of the $500 billion in automatic defense cuts under the sequestration plan, Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters Monday. … The report is part of the Sequestration Transparency Act signed by Congress in August. The legislation directs the administration to explain how it will implement the $109 billion in automatic cuts — half of which will come from DOD coffers — mandated by the Budget Control Act. But that highly sought report won’t arrive on Capitol Hill until next week — a week later than the congressionally mandated deadline — White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Friday.”
“Fiscal cliff: All talk, no deal-making”
Politico reports, “President Barack Obama wants to fix the debt problem and stop the nation from falling off a fiscal cliff. So does Mitt Romney. And John Boehner. And Paul Ryan. And Joe Biden, too. They all said as much at the Republican and Democratic national conventions and accused their opponents of lacking the guts to pick a plan and make it stick. So it would make sense that while they were talking, their aides and allies were meeting behind the scenes to steer away from that fast-approaching cliff, right? Wrong. The truth is that none of the top leaders or their aides are in serious negotiations. This leaves the key players simply pointing fingers and praying that voters clarify Washington’s power structure in November in a way that favors Republican entitlement cuts or Democratic tax hikes. The winners at the ballot box will get to set the terms, the thinking goes. Until then, don’t give an inch.”
House Bill Would Put $500k Cap on Government Conferences
The Hill reports, “The House will approve legislation this week that would put significant new restrictions on the ability of Executive Branch agencies to hold conferences, a reaction to several lavish conferences that Republicans have targeted as wasteful spending at a time of fiscal crisis. The Government Spending Accountability Act, H.R. 4631, was introduced by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), and would put a $500,000 cap on government conferences. However, this cap can be exceeded if the head of an agency determines that the expenditure is ‘justified as the most cost-effective option to achieve a compelling purpose,’ and submits that to Congress.”
Evaluations, Benefits Package At The Heart of Chicago Teachers Strike
ABC News reports, “As more than 29,000 Chicago teachers walked on picket lines today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it was ‘wrong… for our children’ and urged negotiators to ‘stay at the table.’ The strike is the first teachers strike for the city in 25 years. … Negotiations between the two sides were reportedly stuck on two issues: teacher evaluations that focus heavily on standardized test scores and a benefits package for union members. The teachers union argued that the evaluation system emphasized students’ standardized test scores too heavily and unfairly penalized instructors. … In a city where shootings have been the story of the summer, keeping nearly 400,000 students safe during the strike immediately has become a top concern.”
Major Budget Deal Could Be AYear Away
Bloomberg reports, “Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker said the White House and Congress are likely to agree to delay across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases set for January, putting off a major budget accord by as much as a year. Congressional committees haven’t ‘done their work’ on realistic plans to overhaul taxes and entitlement programs such as Medicare, and President Barack Obama’s administration has done little to prepare the public for spending cuts and tax increases, Walker said at a luncheon today in New York sponsored by the Economic Club of New York and Bloomberg News. There is no sign of an agreement to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The Congressional Budget Office has said the economy will probably tip into recession if Congress doesn’t resolve the impasse by early next year. Walker said he’s skeptical there will be movement toward a resolution at the end of this year when Congress meets after the election.”
Amtrak Cost Taxpayers $650 million in 2011
The Associated Press reports that subsidies for Amtrak could become an issue in the presidential race with Republican lawmakers pushing for privatization. AP explains, “Even with a record 30 million passengers boarding its trains last year, Amtrak operated at a net loss of more than $450 million. The government pitched in $562 million to keep Amtrak in the black. And that’s just on the operations side, where Amtrak says it covers about 85 percent of its own costs through ticket fares and fees. When it comes to capital costs, like keeping train tracks up, the government foots almost the entire bill, costing taxpayers about $650 million in 2011.”
The 9/11 Memorial can be seen from the 90th story of One World Trade Center in New York, which was built to replace the destroyed Twin Towers. (Photo: AFP)
Eleven years ago today, terrorists shattered America’s sense of safety. Generations who did not remember Pearl Harbor suddenly knew the shock of an attack on U.S. soil.
Brothers, fathers, cousins, wives, and daughters were lost. And more sisters, mothers, husbands and sons would give their lives in the years that followed as they fearlessly joined the fight against terrorism around the world.
Because of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform—and the hours put in scanning intelligence documents and patrolling the streets by our servants here at home—America has thus far avoided another 9/11. Since that day, at least 51 terrorist plots against the country (that we know of) have been foiled. Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden has been eliminated.
But as the U.S. withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan, the world is not becoming a safer place.
Pakistan continues to serve as a safe haven for terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Taliban, and the Haqqani network, threatening to jeopardize everything the U.S. has fought for in Afghanistan since 9/11.
In a new Issue Brief taking stock of the war on terrorism, Heritage security experts Michaela Bendikova, Lisa Curtis, and Jessica Zuckerman warn:
[T]he U.S. counterterrorism strategy remains flawed. The U.S. needs to name its enemies, maintain the nation’s commitments abroad, fully fund the military, reach out to allies, and truly defend the home front.
The campaign has certainly seen its share of successes in addition to the bin Laden mission. Drone strikes have helped to disrupt al-Qaeda operations and planning. But the U.S. must concentrate simultaneously on “uprooting extremist ideologies that support terrorism, collecting information from captured terrorists, and convincing the Pakistanis to conduct joint operations that deal with the threat,” the authors write. Continued terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan’s borders remain a threat.
At home, we cannot combat terrorism under “a law enforcement paradigm that focuses on reactive policies and prosecuting terrorists rather than proactive efforts to enhance intelligence tools and thwart terrorist attempts long before the public is in danger,” they write. This strategy fails to recognize the true nature of the threat posed by terrorist groups (such as al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab) and state-sponsored terrorism, while thwarting terrorist travel and financing remain the most effective ways to protect the homeland.
Unfortunately, the reality is that terrorism—without the face of a particular nation—is not the only threat America faces. Iran and North Korea continue to invest in capabilities designed to kill Americans and our allies. Syria is wracked by civil war and has the potential to destabilize the entire Middle East.
If we are to meet this volatile world with a determination to protect U.S. citizens, our priorities must shift. The defense budget has already absorbed about half of all spending cuts even though it represents less than a fifth of the federal budget. If U.S. forces are weakened further, the country will be unable to maintain its superpower status.
Today, we remember those we have lost. Tomorrow, we must honor their memory by strengthening our defenses for those who do not yet know the horror of an attack at home—so that they never will.