From the OC Weekly:
On the morning of October 10, Niko Black was alone and ill when deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrived to evict her from her Garden Grove home on Shannon Avenue. “I’m in my bed and I see them storming my property,” she tells the Weekly. “I crawl to my wheelchair.”
The 37-year-old Mescalero Apache woman, who suffers from a rare, malignant and metastatic form of cancer, refused to open the door, saying that they had no legal right to be there. On the other side was a taped copy of a court order obtained from Federal Bankruptcy Judge Theodore C. Albert in late August that she firmly believes should have prevented the OCSD from carrying out the eviction. The deputies acted anyway.
“They break down my door,” Black recounts. “I’m sitting there in my wheel chair. I’m about 100 pounds of shriveled-up cancer and a threat to no one.”
What came next, she says, was much more harrowing. “Sergeant Bob Sima puts a gun to my face, finger on the trigger, no safety and walks around me,” Black states, pausing to emotionally gather herself. “There’s no reason, except for to threaten my life, for an intimidation factor, to put a gun to my head.”
With neighbors lining up outside watching, Black’s health began to worsen. “I needed my medication, I couldn’t breathe and I was having a seizure,” she said, claiming that deputies were unresponsive to concerns about her condition; one officer even remarked that she ‘looked good’ to him. An ambulance finally arrived at her friend’s behest and she was forcibly removed from her home and hospitalized.
Please sign Linda Rife’s Petition
Wells Fargo and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department pulled a gun on a sick cancer patient, my good friend Niko Black and evicted her from her home in California — in violation of a court order saying she could stay put.
That’s right — my friend Niko, who is fighting breast cancer and has struggled with numerous health problems over the years, was illegally evicted at gunpoint, as she struggled to pull herself into her wheelchair.
Niko has owned her home for almost 20 years — and has lived there since she was a child. She never even had a mortgage with Wells Fargo, and has entered into a civil suit around the fraud they have perpetrated against her, fraud that goes back many years. After she filed bankruptcy, the court sided with Niko and put a stay on Wells Fargo’s eviction.
Niko posted the court order on her front door. Despite this, officers from the Sheriff’s Department along with Wells Fargo employees harassed her on several occasions. Finally, on October 10, 2012 officers broke into her home and forcibly evicted her.
When I learned about what happened to Niko, I was appalled, so I decided to start a petition. I am asking Wells Fargo and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to comply with the federal court order, allow Niko Black back into her home and ensure that can continue to live in her lifelong home. Will you join me?
In an economy characterized by corporate restructurings and downsizing, not to mention the distinctively unfavorable business climate created by government policies, job-hunting acumen is a necessity. It may not always be wise to choose the first opportunity that comes along. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, a prominent career counseling expert, maintains that the prudent job seeker gets to know a potential employer, and should walk away when certain danger signs surface. One key tip on how to avoid the bad apples:
Look for warning signs during the interview. Does the interviewer seem overly anxious about having you start right away? Run for your life. Is the office sparsely furnished indicating the need to relocate operations quickly and easily? Get out. Is every question you ask answered with an emphatic “Yes,” even the one about free ice cream Thursdays? Leave.
Have a prepared list of interview questions with you and take notes. Questions like: “Why is this position open?” or “Is this a new position, or are you replacing someone?” If they’re replacing someone, ask why this person left. If this is a new position, ask what has changed in the company that prompted creating it. Do not ignore your sixth sense during the interview.
Today Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) announce the co-release of a national ad campaign drawing attention to the country’s spending addiction and the dangers of the national debt. The ad, known as the “Chinese Professor,”will run from Sunday, October 21, through Sunday, November 11, on national cable networks and in select markets across the country.
This ad, which features a chilling look at one potential future scenario if the nation continues on its current path, pays homage to a 1986 ad that was produced by W.R. Grace & Co. called “The Deficit Trials.” The national debt was $2 trillion in 1986 when “The Deficit Trials” was denied broadcast time for being “too controversial.” When CAGW first released the “Chinese Professor” ad, the debt had reached $13.7 trillion. Today the debt stands at $16.1 trillion, $1.15 trillion of which is held by the Chinese government, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.
“This ad is part of an ongoing communications program in CAGW’s decades-long fight against wasteful government spending, increased taxes, out-of-control deficit spending, and a crippling national debt,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Unfortunately, fiscal year 2012 ended with a fourth consecutive $1 trillion-plus deficit. With the ‘fiscal cliff’ looming due to congressional infighting and dithering, it is becoming clear that no serious plan is on the table to cut spending and reduce the deficit without crippling the economy. As a result, we decided to partner with AFP Foundation, an organization with an exemplary commitment to promoting limited government and economic growth, to enhance our efforts to educate taxpayers about what will surely be remembered as the most pressing matter of our time.”
“The prosperity of our nation is in jeopardy,” added AFP Foundation President Tim Phillips. “Credit rating agencies have downgraded the federal government’s credit rating; 10 ex-chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers have described the debt as ‘a severe threat that calls for serious and prompt attention;’ and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen referred to the national debt as the ‘single-biggest threat to our national security.’ AFP Foundation has long run ads such as this to educate the public on how excessive government spending and the resulting debt is impairing our nation’s future.”
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.
Americans for Prosperity Foundation is a section 501(c)(3) organization committed to educating citizens about the value of limited government and a free market economy.
Spending Daily | October 23, 2012
“Poll: Middle class families would trust Romney, not Obama, to manage their budgets”
Joel Gehrke writes in The Washington Examiner, “President Obama’s campaign has tried to portray Mitt Romney as callous and out of touch with middle class Americans, but a new poll shows that those voters would trust Romney with their finances over the president. Fifty-four percent of middle-class families would prefer to have Romney “set and manage [their] family’s budget” compared to just 36 percent who would prefer Obama’s management, according to a new survey from The Public Notice. Among independents who responded to the survey, Romney led Obama on that question 46-36.” Click here to read more.
Empty Promises? Obama Says Sequestration ‘will not happen’
The Hill reports, “President Obama said flatly that sequestration ‘will not happen’ as he defended against attacks from Mitt Romney over defense cuts at Monday’s debate. Romney accused Obama of allowing the military to be cut to historically low levels through $1 trillion in cuts set to occur over the next decade because of last year’s Budget Control Act and sequestration. … ‘First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen,’ Obama said. … While Obama stated the cuts will not happen, the cuts are the law and will take effect Jan. 2 unless Congress passes a new law.”
“Budget issues enter foreign policy debate”
According to The Hill, “Budget issues stole the spotlight for a period of the third presidential debate, a sign both candidates know the economy is voters’ top priority. President Obama pivoted from a discussion of America’s position in the world to outline his domestic agenda before attacking Romney for opposing an increase in taxes for the wealthy, despite the debate’s focus on foreign policy. Polls show that voters overwhelmingly identify jobs and the economy as their top issue this cycle.”
“Romney emphasizes $16 trillion debt as national security threat”
The Daily Caller reports, “During the final presidential debate Monday night, Gov. Mitt Romney said the nation’s spiraling debt was a real and present national security threat. ‘In order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong. America must lead,’ he said. ‘And for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. You can’t have 23 million people struggling to get a job. You can’t have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down its growth rate. You can’t have kids coming out of college, half of whom can’t find a job today, or a job that’s commensurate with their college degree.’”
Energy Department Spent $360M on Travel in Six Years
According to The Washington Post, “The Energy Department’s inspector general has warned that the agency has not taken sufficient steps to control the travel costs of its contractors, which account for 85 percent of the $360 million the department spent on travel over the past six years. Contractors have taken more than 90,000 international trips during that period, according to the audit, which comes as federal agencies have been under orders to cut back on all government travel. Department managers acknowledged to auditors they did not seek to limit contractor travel and generally let contractors decide which trips were justified for their work. … Last year, President Obama began ordering steep cuts in federal agency travel expenses. At the time, the Department of Energy estimated it could save $15.7 million in travel costs for 2012 by imposing stricter cost-saving rules for federal employee travel. … But the cost-savings orders were not universally applied to contractors, the audit found. … This July, for example, the Energy Department paid an estimated bill of $100,000 to $150,000 for 45 federal contract employees to attend a conference on engine combustion in Warsaw.”
Americans Owe $47,497 Per Household in Foreign Debt
CNSNews reports, “The debt that the U.S. government owes to foreign interests now equals approximately $47,495 for each household in the United States, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Treasury and the Census Bureau. Theportion of the U.S. government’s foreign debt now owed to interests in Mainland China is about $10,090 per household. … Back in January 2009, foreign interests held a total of $3,071,700,000,000 in U.S. government debt. That month, according to the Census Bureau, there were 111,079,000 households in the United States. Therefore the total U.S. government debt held by foreign interests was about $27,653.29 per household. Since January 2009, the totalU.S. government debt held by foreign interests has climbed from approximately $27,653.29 per household to approximately $47,494.93 per household—an increase of about $19,841.64 per household. Among foreign interests, those in Mainland China hold the largest share of the U.S. government’s debt.
Young Americans Doubt They Will Afford Retirement
The Associated Press reports, “Younger Americans in their late 30s are now the group most likely to doubt they will be financially secure after retirement, a major shift from three years ago when baby boomers nearing retirement age expressed the greatest worry. The survey findings by the Pew Research Center, released Monday, reflect the impact of a weak economic recovery beginning in 2009 that has shown stock market gains while housing values remain decimated. As a whole, retirement worries rose across all age groups – roughly 38 percent of U.S. adults say they are ‘not too’ or ‘not at all’ confident that they will have sufficiently sized financial nest eggs, according to the independent research group. That’s up from 25 percent in 2009. … According to the Pew report, the inflation-adjusted net worth of Americans ages 35 to 44 fell roughly 56 percent from 2001 to 2010, the sharpest decline for any age group and more than double the 22 percent rate of decline for boomers ages 55 to 64.“
Some in Congress Mull $55B Cuts to Replace Sequester
Reuters reports, “An idea percolating in the Congress, aimed at helping avoid the ‘fiscal cliff,’ would scrap the steep across-the-board spending cuts of $109 billion set to start on January 2 and replace them with more targeted savings of about $55 billion, according to aides familiar with the discussions. Further measures to reduce the deficit would be considered later in 2013 under this approach. An interim solution like this potentially could contain some revenue increases coupled with spending cuts, according to congressional aides. It also could provide some comfort to corporations, particularly in the defense industry, which are already panicky about the impact of lost government business.”
Sources Say Bernanke Will Not Chair the Fed Next Term
Reuters reports, “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has told close friends he probably will not stand for a third term at the central bank even if President Barack Obama wins the November 6 election, the New York Times reported. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has already said he would not re-nominate Bernanke if he wins the presidency. Bernanke’s term as chairman ends in January 2014. Bernanke, who was first appointed to run the U.S. central bank by former president George W. Bush and was given a second term by Obama, has declined to comment publicly on whether he would accept another four-year term. … The Fed’s unconventional efforts to spur growth have been criticized by many Republicans and some economists who argue that they threaten future inflation and abet profligate spending in Washington.”
Last night’s debate between President Obama and Governor Romney was supposed to focus on foreign policy. It turned into a wide-ranging conversation on everything from the Middle East to American teachers.
Heritage Foundation experts were live blogging analysis throughout the night. Below are some highlights from their reactions. Join us at 10 a.m. ET today for a Google+ hangout with several of our foreign policy experts—you can watch online and submit questions via Twitter using the hashtag #HeritageFan.
A Heavy Focus on the Middle East
Both men agreed that the Middle East was changing quickly, but said little about the new face of terrorism. Governor Romney charged that events in Libya, Syria, and Egypt demonstrated that the Obama Administration’s policies were unraveling and leaving the region without adequate American leadership. President Obama defended his policies but spent more time attacking Romney’s policies, which he criticized as “all over the map.”
Obama repeatedly plugged the killing of Osama bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq. But he said little about how al-Qaeda has regrouped and grown stronger since those events. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, particularly special operations forces, greatly reduced the pressure on al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and has allowed it to make a comeback. In July, AQI felt strong enough to publicly threaten an attack on the U.S. homeland.
The al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen also has launched several failed attacks on the homeland. Al-Qaeda also has seized large swaths of northern Mali using some of the weapons that it and its allies seized from Libya after the fall of Muammar Qadhafi. And the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack, which was perpetrated by al-Qaeda sympathizers, underscored the continuing appeal of al-Qaeda’s extremist ideology.
Although Osama bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda clearly is very much alive.
– James Phillips, Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs
Cutting the Defense Budget
During the debate, President Obama asserted that his budget proposal maintains defense at about current levels. This is simply untrue. Here are the numbers from his Office of Management and Budget from this year’s budget request. In fiscal year 2010, defense spending was $721.3 billion in budget authority. Under the President’s proposal, defense spending will fall to $566.3 billion in fiscal year 2014.
This is a 21 percent reduction in just four years. Further, this does not account for the negative effects of inflation on the defense budget. Finally, the President’s budget proposal does not calculate the impact of automatic defense spending reductions in the Budget Control Act of 2011. These automatic spending cuts to defense will amount to more than $500 billion over nine years. While the House of Representatives has adopted a measure to defer these automatic cuts to defense by applying the necessary spending reductions to areas outside defense, President Obama’s White House threatened a veto in response to this measure.
President Obama wants the American people to believe that Governor Romney is proposing to increase the defense budget by $2 trillion. He calculates this by assuming that his defense spending reductions already apply, and therefore serve as the basis for comparisons. In reality, Governor Romney is proposing not to let President Obama’s defense budget reduction proposal to take place.
America’s military is the single most valuable contributor to increasing the likelihood of a peaceful and prosperous world. Large-scale reductions in the defense budget, therefore, put the prospects of a peaceful and prosperous world further out of reach.
– Baker Spring, F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy
The Navy and Number of Ships Needed
President Obama said:
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
While the types of ships of today are different from those prior to World War I, there are certain laws of physics that have not changed. And one of those is that, no matter how much cyber capability or space capability may exist, a ship can still be only in one place at any one time. Thus, whether it is battleships or aircraft carriers, whether it is nuclear-powered submarines or biplanes, each system can only be in one place at any given time. And a shortfall of naval vessels, such as now exists, means that there will be times and places where there will be fewer ships than U.S. Navy analysts and officers deem appropriate and necessary.
The idea that better cyber capabilities can substitute for physical capabilities constitutes a fundamental misunderstanding of how military forces operate. Of course, it hasn’t been helped by the dismissive attitude assumed by President Obama’s first Secretary of Defense about how the U.S. had excessive numbers of aircraft carriers, as though the proper state of American security is to have parity with potential foes, rather than clear superiority.
– Dean Cheng, Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center
Defense Readiness Is Key to America’s Role in the World
The weakness of America’s economy is hurting America. The added self-inflicted wound of the cuts directed by the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act will damage the readiness of the nation even further. When America’s allies see the leader of the free world as receding and leading from behind, they worry and pull back from operations that support U.S. interests.
When both candidates agree that America has a responsibility to lead, the conditions to ensure that leadership must be set and protected. To do that, sequestration must be turned off and the assault on readiness ended. The so-called $2 trillion that Obama says is “not asked for by the generals” is exactly what nearly every expert says America needs to have solid defense (4 percent of GDP). America’s leadership in foreign affairs must be reinvigorated, and we must provide all the tools needed by diplomats and intelligence professionals.
The argument that the present defense budgetary situation is based on strategy and exactly what the uniformed leaders have asked for is a little disingenuous. The cuts made in the last four years have been dollars-based, with the defense officials like Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claiming further “cuts will be a disaster.” This must be changed.
– Steven Bucci, PhD, Senior Research Fellow for Defense and Homeland Security
Jobs on the Home Front
Obama talked of turning our attention to home, including bringing our veterans home. But there are no jobs for them at home, with unemployment hovering stubbornly around 8 percent and job creation well below what is needed to grow the economy. Building up our roads and bridges won’t create new jobs. America’s workers need more than the same failed stimulus policies to grow the economy. Rather, the President needs to make sure Taxmageddon does not occur and get control of the budget.
– Alison Fraser, Director, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies
Federal Pay for Education Employees Won’t Create Jobs
President Obama accused Governor Romney of believing that class size “doesn’t make a difference” and that hiring teachers won’t create jobs.
Actually, class size, within reasonable bounds, does not impact student achievement. The National Center for Education Statistics, for example, has tracked the national student-teacher ratio over time. Today, nationally, the student-teacher ratio is just 15.2: 1. The student-teacher ratio has declined 29 percent since 1970 and by more than 40 percent since 1950. But despite these declines, academic achievement has seen little to no improvement, graduation rates have been stagnant, and achievement gaps persist.
Second, spending more taxpayer dollars on federal programs to hire education employees (President Obama proposes $25 billion to do just that) won’t create jobs. It will simply represent another large transfer of wealth from taxpayers to public education employees, half of whom are not teachers.
While enrollment in America’s public schools has not quite doubled since 1950, staff positions (both instructional and administrative) increased by 377 percent between 1950 and 2010 (a nearly five-fold increase). From 1970 to 2010, enrollment in the nation’s public schools increased just 7.8 percent; over the same time period, education staff increased 84 percent.
Again, such increases have failed to move the needle on student achievement. The only beneficiaries of new federal programs and spending have been the education unions.
– Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education
The U.S. Place in the World
The discussion of the U.S.’s place in the world in last night’s debate was unsatisfactory. To the extent that it focused directly on that subject, both Obama and Romney sought to reduce it to a question of defense spending, which the President was eager to cut. That is the wrong approach; much better is to assess what the U.S. needs to carry out its responsibilities and budget accordingly. But both men largely fought shy of presenting any larger vision of the U.S.’s role in the world, and sought to focus their remarks on domestic policy. Governor Romney led off with the U.S. need to defend freedom, promote the principles on which it was founded, and to support its allies, but after that the discussion diverged into job creation, a half-hearted defense by the President of his renewable energy policies, and a lengthy wrangle about education policy.
It is perfectly fair to argue that the U.S. cannot be strong abroad unless it is strong at home. In fact, this is one of the subjects that we hoped this debate would focus on. But economic strength needs to be coupled to a broader understanding of the U.S.’s vital national interests in the world, to an understanding of the merits and limits of diplomacy, and—ultimately—to a vision, informed by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, of the purpose and processes of U.S. foreign policy. After Governor Romney’s opening, these vital subjects disappeared from the debate. That reflects, perhaps, the sentiment of both sides that the election will not be won on foreign policy.
– Ted R. Bromund, PhD, Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations
More debate reaction from Heritage Experts:
Fox Business – Jon Corzine’s lawyers say allegations that he fraudulently ran MF Global Holdings Ltd make “no sense” and that a lawsuit seeking to hold him and others responsible for the futures brokerage’s
bankruptcy must be thrown out.
Corzine, former colleagues and several banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, filed papers on Friday night to dismiss investor litigation over MF Global’s collapse. The company’s Oct. 31, 2011, bankruptcy was Wall Street’s biggest meltdown since 2008.
Plaintiffs led by the Virginia Retirement System and the province of Alberta, Canada, have accused MF Global in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan of inflating its ability to manage risk, obscuring risks from a big bet on European sovereign debt and improperly accounting for deferred tax assets.
Oct 23 (Reuters) – U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has told close friends he probably will not stand for a third term at the central bank even if President Barack Obama wins the Nov. 6 election, the New York Timesreported.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has already said he would not re-nominate Bernanke if he wins the presidency. Bernanke’s term as chairman ends in January 2014.
The Fed’s unconventional efforts to spur growth have been criticized by many who argue that they threaten future inflation and abet profligate spending in Washington.
The first official trailer for Dinsey/Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″. Iron Man/Tony Stark must battle the forces of The Mandarin after they use the extremis virus to create an army of very Iron-Man-Like soldiers! Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin), Guy Pearce, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale and Jon Favreau.