Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jobless claims push off five-year lows last week

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits bounced off five-year lows last week, pulling them back to levels consistent with modest job growth.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's claims figure was unrevised.

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US consumer spending up slight 0.2 percent

U.S. consumers increased their spending in December at a slower pace, while their income grew by the largest amount in eight years. Income surged because companies rushed to pay dividends before income taxes increased on high-earners.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month. That's slightly slower than the 0.4 percent increase in November.
Income jumped 2.6 percent in December from November. Companies accelerated dividend payments to beat the January rise in income tax rates. It was the biggest gain since December 2004.

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Planned layoffs rise in January, so do hiring plans: Challenger

NEW YORK (Reuters) 

 The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose in the first month of the year, but that was more than offset by an increase in plans to hire, a report showed on Thursday.
Employers announced 40,430 job cuts this month, up 24.2 percent from 32,556 in December, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
But January's job cuts were down almost the same amount from the same time a year ago, declining 24.4 percent from 53,486 in January 2011. It was the third lowest number of January lay-offs recorded by Challenger going back to 1993.
"The relatively low job-cut totals we have seen for the last couple of months indicate that employers do not foresee a prolonged decline in economic activity," John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.
The financial and retail sectors lost the most workers. Financial firms cut 8,578 workers, while retail companies dropped 6,676 jobs.
But at the same time, the retail industry announced plans to hire 54,000 employees. Overall hiring announcements climbed to 60,585 from 16,266 in December. Such announced plans account for only a small fraction of actual hiring in the economy, the survey said.
The report comes a day ahead of the key U.S. jobs report, which is forecast to show hiring held steady in January, pointing to modest growth.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

A Short History of Political Speech

What I want to know is why is it that the left is free to speak in this fashion.  When the right does, it is lambased by the left as hate speech or worse, racist.  Why is that?  Can anyone tell me? 

 George Burns

$1 of every $3 goes to compliance, regulations

During the fiscal cliff debates, the American public was inundated with tax percentage figures. For simplicity’s sake, there were two schools of thought with the tax rates. The first was to raise taxes to enable the government to do more to help grow jobs. The other was to lower taxes so businesses would have more revenue in their pockets to help grow the economy. Unfortunately, one of the biggest factors hindering businesses isn’t the tax rate — it’s our convoluted tax code.

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Flat Tax or Fair Tax?

I was very ecumenical in my remarks.  I pointed out the flat tax and sales tax (and even, at least in theory, the value-added tax) all share very attractive features.
  • A single (and presumably low) tax rate, thus treating taxpayers equally and minimizing the penalty on productive behavior.
  • No double taxation of saving and investment since every economic theory agrees that capital formation is key to long-run growth.
  • Elimination of all loopholes (other than mechanisms to protect the poor from tax) to promote efficiency and reduce corruption.
  • Dramatically downsize and neuter the IRS by replacing 72,000 pages of complexity with simple post-card sized tax forms.
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Guess What Has Increased 267,869% Over The Past 100 Years?

No one can convince me that this percentage growth in government tax receipts is not at the root of many of the causes for our nation's economic decline.  By now we are used to hearing news reports of an improving economy only to learn later that things were not quite as good as previously thought.  We have heard the same thing about the unemployment numbers.  We are told by the government and so called experts that our unemployment rate is somewhere around 8%.  However, what we are not told is how many millions of people have stopped looking and are, therefore, not included in the government's figures.  Experts suggest that the real unemployment figure is around 20%.  The growth in welfare, medicaid and unemployment payments support this number.  That means that more people are on the public dole while fewer people are paying the taxes that support them. The Federal Reserve projects that the "so called" unemployment rate of around 8% will be with us for as many as 6-10 more years.  Although not part of this discussion, we cannot ignore the rapidly increasing national debt now approaching $16 1/2 trillion because even the giganic growth in tax receipts over the past 100 years could not satify the government's apetite for spending.  Nor can we ignore the ever increasing cost of interest payment on that debt paid for by the same group of declining tax payers.  As the second link notes, the debt " now projected to grow from 72 percent of GDP in 2012 to 87 percent in 2022."  Does anyone really believe that is a recipe for economic success?  It is time for us all to take with a grain of salt what the government, pundits and media tell us and do our own research to find the real facts.  The three links below are a start. 

 George Burns

Federal Reserve to Continue Stimulus Amid Signs of Weak Economy

The Federal Reserve, saying economic growth had "paused" in recent months, announced Wednesday it will continue its $85 billion monthly bond buying and hold interest rates near zero until unemployment falls to at least 6.5 percent.
The central bank decision, which followed a two-day meeting, had been widely expected, especially after a surprising decline in U.S. economic growth for the fourth quarter.
Earlier Wednesday, the government announced that GDP unexpectedly suffered its first decline since the 2007-09 recession, falling at a 0.1 percent annual rate after growing at a 3.1 percent clip in the third quarter.

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The Economy is a Lot Worse Than You Think

Most Americans know the economy is in bad shape even if a majority voted to reelect the man most responsible for making a bad economy worse. And, no, it was not George W. Bush who is responsible for the 2008 financial crash. It was the government with its housing programs that encouraged giving mortgage loans to those who could not afford them and then bundling those “toxic assets”, and selling them to banks who then found themselves in trouble for investing in them.

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Fannie, Freddie keep taxpayers on the bailout hot-seat

Five years after the housing collapse of 2008, the government’s role in the mortgage market could still have taxpayers on the hook for another multibillion-dollar rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency took over both government-sponsored enterprises in 2008 to ensure their solvency in the wake of the housing crisis. FHFA managed their finances and portfolios through a massive taxpayer bailout totaling $187 billion.

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Delay, Repeal, Replace

Watching Congress take the final steps to pass Obamacare in March 2010 was a bitterly disappointing moment for the law’s opponents. They didn’t have to be told that what was being rammed through the House and Senate was the largest power grab by the federal government in at least a generation, with immense consequences for the nation’s economic vitality and political health. Opponents understandably redoubled their efforts to see the law repealed and replaced, and Republicans rode the popular revolt against the excesses of Obamacare all the way to a landslide midterm victory.

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The EPA vs. Reality

The Environmental Protection Agency has been demanding the impossible of refiners and then penalizing them when they fail to comply. A new ruling from a federal appeals court stops this shakedown.
For the past few years, the EPA has required refiners to purchase vast quantities of cellulosic biofuel, which is made from non-edible plant parts such as wood, grass, and cornstalks, and to use it in the gasoline they produce. The problem? The EPA wants refiners to buy more of this fuel than is available on the market — or has ever been available, for that matter. When those refiners have understandably failed to comply, the EPA has forced them to pay for an exemption.

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War Is Like Rust

War seems to come out of nowhere, like rust that suddenly pops up on iron after a storm.
Throughout history, we have seen that war can sometimes be avoided or postponed, or its effects mitigated — usually through a balance of power, alliances, and deterrence rather than supranational collective agencies. But it never seems to go away entirely.
Just as otherwise lawful suburbanites might slug it out over silly driveway boundaries, or trivial road rage can escalate into shooting violence, so nations and factions can whip themselves up to go to war — consider 1861, 1914, or 1939. Often, the pretexts for starting a war are not real shortages of land, food, or fuel, but rather perceptions — like fear, honor, and perceived self-interest.

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The End of Neo-colonialism

Outmoded political categories are prone to linger beyond their relevance to ongoing reality. One of these is the concept of "neo-colonialism," a term coined in 1965 by Kwame Nkrumah, who became president of newly independent Ghana. For him, formulating a modern extension of the argument of Lenin, neo-colonialism was the last stage of "imperialism."
Inherent in this view is that the former colonial powers now use various methods to operate in other countries not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological, and cultural spheres. They use innumerable ways to obtain objectives formally achieved by outright colonialism.

Trusting Your Own Government (or Not)

Earlier this month, Geraldo Rivera asked a caller: "How could you not trust your own government?"
Putting aside big and little episodes of untrustworthy government in the history of this country like the Trail of Tears, the internment of Americans of Japanese descent, Kent State, Waco, Fast and Furious, and the Benghazi Coverup, Rivera implies the burden of proof lies with the skeptical citizen when it comes to trust. But his question only diverts our attention. The issue isn't the relative peace in the body politic at this instant. The question Geraldo asks really goes to the heart of the very nature of our government.

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China’s Sick Yellow River

China’s water pollution is even worse than its better-known air pollution. As long as the Chinese people have few private rights, government-backed pollution will continue.
Beijing is an unhealthy place to live. The air in China’s capital often has over ten times the safety limits established by the World Health Organization for particulates and other potential dangers to health. This problem has received widespread coverage in newspapers around the world, yet the problem with water quality in China is even worse than its air quality, but less visible to foreign correspondents.
According to Peter Gleick, Director of the Pacific Institute, China’s water resources are “grossly polluted by human and industrial wastes, to the point that vast stretches of rivers are dead and dying, lakes are cesspools of waste, groundwater aquifers are over-pumped and unsustainably consumed, uncounted species of aquatic life have been driven to extinction, and direct adverse impacts on both human and ecosystem health are widespread and growing.... Of the 20 most seriously polluted cities in the world, 16 are in China.”

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Just How Polluted Is China Anyway?

Decades ago, I wrote the first comprehensive books on China’s energy and environment. I have not been surprised by the country’s continuing environmental degradation; even so, I could not have predicted such a deterioration of air quality.
In 2008, the U.S. embassy in Beijing (located in the northeastern part of the city’s downtown area) installed an air quality monitoring device that measures concentrations of airborne particles with diameters of less than 2.5 microns. These tiny particles are the main cause of health problems after long-term exposure, and their monitoring provided a much better appreciation of health risks than the measurement of large (10 microns and above) particles. The Chinese authorities began to release their own measurements of smaller particles only in January 2013, but the tweeting of the hourly concentrations by the American embassy has been a perfect example of subversive information  — although the city’s citizens have always known, without knowing the actual numbers, that they are breathing a grossly polluted air.

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SecDef nominee appears before Senate Armed Services Committee

Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday for a much-anticipated confirmation hearing that is expected to be contentious.
Hagel, a former Republican Nebraska senator, will likely face tough questions on issues related to Israel, defense cuts, and his oft-criticized managerial style.
It still remains unclear if Hagel can ultimately garner enough congressional support to win confirmation.
Just one Republican senator has publically endorsed Hagel, according to reports. Many others have said they will vote against Hagel.

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TARP Watchdog Blasts Treasury on Bailouts

A watchdog for the government's bailout program, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), has hit the US Treasury Department with a hard combo of critique regarding some of the Administration's actions since pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into bailed-out companies like General Motors and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC). SIGTARP issued a report lambasting Treasury for allowing excessive pay for executives at GM, Ally Financial and AIG and followed that with statements that scrutinized Treasury's continued refusal to exit its stake in Ally Financial, which is currently 74% owned by the government.

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NLRB Mandates Dues Check-Offs Even After Union Contract Expires

The National Labor Relations Board may be inoperative at present. Yet one of its rulings last month, unless undone, will curtail a longstanding right of employers and individual workers. On December 12, in WKYC-TV Inc., the NLRB ruled 3-1 that an employer must continue to collect dues from union members via automatic "checkoff" even after the collective bargaining agreement expires. The ruling effectively overturns the board's Bethlehem Steel decision of 1962, which held dues check-offs to be inoperative after contract expiration. It's another case of President Obama's appointees to the normally five-member body favoring forced unionism. The ruling isn't affected by last Friday's federal appeals court ruling voiding Obama's recess appointments to the board in January 2012. But even with a welcome revisit, the outcome likely would be the same.

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Educators: Private donations are 'public funds'

A campaign has been launched by the Southern Education Foundation against a proposal for a tax credit scholarship program in Georgia, and it is warning that “taxpayer funds” were going to be directed to private Christian schools with “anti-gay policies and practices.”
Only that isn’t true, a team of legal experts found.

A Quarter Of Jobs In America Pay Below The Federal Poverty Line

Over two years ago (and reiterated last year) Zero Hedge first wrote on what was and is an undisputed transition within the US labor force: a shift from full-time to temp, or part-time labor, with virtually no contractual or welfare benefits, and where workers are lucky to get minimum wage. This is because in the "New Normal" where copious amounts of structural slack are pervasive due precisely to the Fed's constant flawed micromanagement of the economy, the US has now become an "employers' market."

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The Infinite Dream Of Crude Keynesian Stimulus

Many foreign observers look at the US budget shenanigans with confusion and dismay, wondering how a country that seems to have it all can manage its fiscal affairs so chaotically. The root problem is not just a hugely elevated level of public debt, or a patently unsustainable trajectory for old age entitlements. It is an electorate deeply divided over the direction of government, with differences compounded by changing demographics and sustained sluggish growth. It is hard to escape the notion that today’s budget battles are but a skirmish in a much longer-term war that won’t be settled soon.

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How Money Is Created... And How It Dies

When we launched our series into the US Shadow Banking system in the summer of 2010 we had one simple objective: to demonstrate just how little the process of modern (and by modern we mean circa 2004 not 1981) money creation was understood. Here was just one example where some $17 trillion (back then, now less) in credit money was rapidly liquidating, an amount greater than the entire M2 and even M3 (had that series still be in circulation) and yet not one academic, pundit or self-professed money expert had or has still accounted for the massive impact of this monetary abstraction on the markets and the economy, which as most know "grows" (to use one of the most misunderstood words in all of economics) primarily by expansion (or contraction as the case may be) of credit, both traditional, which is Bernanke's domain, and "shadow", courtesy of America's #1 export: "financial innovation."

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Richest U.S. Senator, John Kerry, Rails Against 'Corrupting' Money in Politics in Farewell Address

"There's another challenge that we must address and it is the corrupting force of the vast sums of money necessary to run for office," said Kerry. "The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. I've used the word 'corrupting' and I want to be very clear about it: I mean by it not the corruption of individuals but a corruption of a system itself that all of us are forced to participate in against our will."

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Why higher benefits won't solve child poverty: Duncan Smith says addict parents will 'waste cash on drink and drugs'

Giving more benefits to poor families will not address child poverty because too many irresponsible parents will spend it on alcohol or drugs, Iain Duncan Smith has warned.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said parental addiction – not family income – had emerged as the main factor in determining a child’s life chances.
He insisted that the last government’s strategy of spending more than £170billion in additional welfare payments had failed comprehensively.
Mr Duncan Smith said giving the family ‘an extra pound in benefits’ can even push them further into difficulty if the cash is used to fuel a parent’s dependency on alcohol or drugs.
In a speech today, he will suggest broader ways of calculating child poverty – including whether or not parents are in work, educational failure, family breakdown, problem debt, gambling and poor health.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Journalists Instructed to Report on Benefits of Obamacare: "There's Only Upside"

Earlier this month, FreedomWorks covered a suspect symposium being sponsored by a pro-Obamacare organization, designed to provide journalists with "specialized education in health care reporting”.
The anticipation of media bias was palpable.
The symposium, sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, hosted by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), held at Reuters headquarters in New York City, and with a featured student body of 17 mainstream reporters - including the Dallas Morning News, Reuters, and Money Magazine - has since come to pass, and the concerns of blatant media bias should be even more heightened in the aftermath.

Rahm Emanuel Goes After 1st And 2nd Amendments

A 15-year-old girl who performed at the president's inauguration is gunned down by gangs less than a mile from Barack Obama's home. What does Chicago's mayor do? He blames banks who lend gun makers money.
Hadiya Pendleton, who just days before had performed with her high school band at President Obama's inauguration, was gunned down Tuesday afternoon in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood, just blocks from the high school she attended.
The park where she was killed is a little less than a mile from President Obama's Kenwood home.

Health Care Tax Hikes for 2013 May Be Just the Beginning

New taxes are coming Jan. 1 to help finance President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Most people may not notice. But they will pay attention if Congress decides to start taxing employer-sponsored health insurance, one option in play if lawmakers can ever agree on a budget deal to reduce federal deficits.

The tax hikes already on the books, taking effect in 2013, fall mainly on people who make lots of money and on the health care industry. But about half of Americans benefit from the tax-free status of employer health insurance. Workers pay no income or payroll taxes on what their employer contributes for health insurance, and in most cases on their own share of premiums as well.

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Will the Fed End QE Summer 2013?

Jeff Uscher writes: Amid all of the hoopla over the Standard & Poor's 500 Index touching 1,500 on Friday, it seems few people noticed that the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds has risen to within a couple of basis points of 2%. That is nearly 30 basis points higher than it was one month ago and 10 basis points higher than one year ago.
It seems as if the bond market is beginning to price in higher inflation at the long end of the yield curve, and that is something that has got to be worrying the Fed.

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Congress's Policies Steal Our Freedoms While Rewarding Irresponsibility

Confession: I plucked the inspiration for this piece from my father. Given the premise, perhaps that’s appropriate. The common underlying current to the progressivism which has saturated America’s social, political and economic firmament is an erosion of America’s multigenerational purpose. The federal apparatus has supplanted families as our primary support mechanism.
Families provide the sure foundation undergirding Western Civilization. No laws or economic remedy can arrest social breakdown if the family structure fractures. Yet, progressives have commandeered the political realm to overhaul culture. Marriage withers under easy divorce, subsidized illegitimacy, and the desire among progressives to make it anything and everything. The only liberties the Left touts grant license to repudiate traditional morality.

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Sebelius’ illegal campaign trip for Obama worse than we thought

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated federal law by campaigning for President Obama on the taxpayers’ dime, but now that initial violation has the Democratic National Committee and an HHS aide in the spotlight for related alleged infractions.
A nonprofit government watchdog filed a complaint alleging that the DNC violated campaign finance law by misreporting the money it spent to reimburse HHS for Sebelius’ trip in a way that masked the fact that the Hatch Act, a ban on political campaigning by government employees working in their official capacity, had been violated.

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Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding

The Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding includes the monthly interest for:
Amortized discount or premium on bills, notes and bonds is also included in the monthly interest expense.

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Hoffa Statement On The Decline In U.S. Gross Domestic Product

The following is an official statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa:
"Today we learned that the U.S. economy is shrinking due to a fall in government spending. That should tell us that government austerity is not just wrong, it's bad economic policy.
"The Bureau of Economic Affairs' announcement that GDP fell by 0.1 percent reinforces our message that we need jobs, not cuts – especially to Social Security, Medicare and education.
"Teamsters around the country are participating in actions today to demand that big corporations and the richest 2 percent pay their fair share of taxes. I hope extremists in Congress pay attention to their message that Americans need jobs, not cuts.

Warmist Spiegel/Euro-Media Concede Global Warming Has Ended…Models Were Wrong…Scientists Are Baffled!

Yesterday Spiegel science journalist Axel Bojanowski published a piece called: Klimawandel: Forscher rätseln über Stillstand bei Erderwärmung (Climate change: scientists baffled by the stop in global warming).
We’ve been waiting for this admission a long time, and watching the media reaction is interesting to say the least. Bojanowski writes that “The word has been out for quite some time now that the climate is developing differently than predicted earlier”. He poses the question: “How many more years of stagnation are needed before scientists rethink their predictions of future warming?

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ADP: U.S. adds 192,000 private-sector jobs in Jan.

By Greg Robb
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. added 192,000 private-sector jobs in January, ADP estimated Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the ADP report to show a gain of 173,000 private-sector jobs. Some analysts use ADP's data to provide guidance on the U.S. Department of Labor's private-payroll figure, which will be released Friday as part of the January unemployment report. In December, ADP initially reported a gain of 215,000, a miss of 47,000 from the Labor Department's subsequent private-payroll figure of 168,000. Currently analysts expect the Labor Department to report that nonfarm employment rose 163,000 in January, compared with a gain of 155,000 in December.

How the US government really operates

The federal government is, in practice, a one-party state controlled by an oligarchy, which is a relatively small group, composed of financiers, politicians and journalists.
Written by Lawrence Sellin
The oligarchy is roughly divided into two types of individuals: ideologues and pragmatists. Ideologues are adherents to uncompromising and dogmatic policies and are determined and unyielding in achieving their goals. Pragmatists have no solid core principles and will adjust their political positions for the purpose of remaining accepted members of the oligarchy. The ideologues always drive the political agenda, which is only moderated or delayed when met by sufficient resistance.
Think of Washington, D.C. as a television drama. The financiers are the producers, the politicians are the actors and the journalists are the promoters.

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Navy to scrap $277 million ship to avoid scraping reef

A United States minesweeper ship that crashed into a coral reef due to inaccurate Navy maps will have to be cut into small pieces and removed in order to prevent harming the ocean’s ecosystem, according to the Navy and other reports.
The $277 million USS Guardian, a Naval warship that clears waterways of mines, crashed into a coral reef near the Philippines earlier this month.
The Navy will disassemble it piece by piece in order to avoid damaging the reef rather than tow the multi-million dollar ship off of the reef and perform necessary repairs.

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Colorado Energy Office Can’t Account for $252 Million In Last Six Years

A 2012 performance review of the The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) revealed several disturbing findings by the State Auditor last month, which included a non-existent accounting system for CEO’s 34 programs, a runaway budget, and staff who had no knowledge of program goals or standards. The forty-eight page report was was dated December 18, 2012 and included background information on the CEO, key facts and findings, the State Auditor concerns, and recommendations for the CEO moving forward.

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Government Workers Average Twice As Many Sick Days Per Year As Private-Sector Employees

The average state worker in Michigan is taking as many as five times more sick days than a worker in the hospitality and leisure industry or a construction worker and more than twice as many sick days as many other workers in the private sector, according to state and national reports.
State workers have called in sick on average between 9.4 to 11 days a year over the past five years, according to the Michigan Civil Service Commission annual workforce report. The report applies only to workers directly employed by the state; not public school teachers or local government workers.

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The EPA's Lisa Jackson: The Worst Head of the Worst Regulatory Agency, Ever

President Obama and his minions seem to think that freedom is a four-letter word.  His administration has imposed an array of intrusive, nanny-state, financial, environmental and consumer-product regulations that will cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars.
Public policy has consequences, and excessive, unwise regulation has contributed to a potentially catastrophic slowing of the nation’s economic growth.  The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s survey of 39 economic forecasters released in November predicted that over the first three quarters of 2013, GDP growth will average 2.1% and will rise only to 2.9% in 2015.  They predicted that unemployment will average 7.8% this year and drop to a still unacceptable 6.9% by 2015.

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Who Owns The Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve (or Fed) has assumed sweeping new powers in the last year. In an unprecedented move in March 2008, the New York Fed advanced the funds for JPMorgan Chase Bank to buy investment bank Bear Stearns for pennies on the dollar. The deal was particularly controversial because Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, sits on the board of the New York Fed and participated in the secret weekend negotiations.1 In September 2008, the Federal Reserve did something even more unprecedented, when it bought the world’s largest insurance company. The Fed announced on September 16 that it was giving an $85 billion loan to American International Group (AIG) for a nearly 80% stake in the mega-insurer. The Associated Press called it a “government takeover,” but this was no ordinary nationalization. Unlike the U.S. Treasury, which took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the week before, the Fed is not a government-owned agency. Also unprecedented was the way the deal was funded.

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Is The Left Trying To Delegitimize FOX News?

For a long time now both the mainstream media and the White House have systematically savaged FOX news.  It is the lone conservative TV news outlet and competes with NBC, CBS, ABC and cable's MSNBC and CNN, all of which are liberal with CNN and MSNBC being extremely liberal.  As noted in the below article, the President has apparently made it one of his objectives to delegtimize FOX.  This flys in the face of the First Amendment.  Fair minded people can only consider this to be nothing less than an attempt to censor legitimate news and opinions unfavorable to or which challenge the actions and policies of his administrtion.  The article, written by a liberal, lays out the case and she seems to have her facts in order.  Check it out for yourself. 

 George Burns  

How President Obama Lost His Shirt to John Boehner

The House, under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner, has precipitated a postponement in the debt ceiling fight until May. This represents a strategic choice by Boehner to make the Sequester fight, not the debt ceiling fight, the next major engagement. Much of the mainstream media now is accusing Congress of “kicking the can down the road.” They are missing the strategic implications.
In retrospect, at the Battle at Fiscal Cliff, Boehner took President Obama to the cleaners. He did it suavely, without histrionics. While Obama churlishly, and in a politically amateurish manner, publicly strutted about having forced the Republicans to raise tax rates on “the wealthiest Americans” Boehner, quietly, was pocketing his winnings.

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Obama Shuts Down Southern Defense Mechanism, Opens South To Attack

As the Federal government spends billions of dollars to expand the surveillance and monitoring of U.S. citizens with electronic eavesdropping devices and drone aircraft, it has decided to shut down a surveillance system that protects the southern border and coastline against low-flying aircraft and missiles and assists U.S. Customs and Border Protection in interdicting illegal border crossings and smuggling.
The Administration of President Barack Obama is shutting down the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) that uses moored balloons hovering at about 15,000 feet to watch for incoming aircraft and missiles that may penetrate U.S. air space. NORAD, the U.S. Air Force and customs all rely on the system.

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No More Swinging for the Fences

Paul Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, an unofficial but influential member of the House Republican leadership, and a loyal ally of Speaker John Boehner. As such, he is counseling “prudence” in dealing with President Obama, which he defines as “choosing your fights wisely and not fighting for the sake of fighting.”
Ryan is also the GOP’s dominant voice on domestic policy. That includes everything from spending, taxes, and entitlements to antipoverty initiatives. Having been Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Ryan is now one of the most sought-after Republicans for speeches, TV appearances, and fundraising. In this role—and possibly as a presidential candidate in 2016—he is expected to be bold, exciting, and forward-looking. That is, anything but prudent.


At Judicial Watch, we put Washington, DC’s most corrupt politicians on notice, because no one is above the law. Help us keep these public offenders in line!
  • Click on a politician to see why they made the list
  • Use the Twitter hashtag #corrupt10n to start a conversation and spread the word.
  1. Rep. Vern Buchanan

    R - FL

  2. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

  3. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice

  4. Attorney General Eric Holder

  5. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

    D - IL

  6. Sen. Robert Menendez

    D - NJ

  7. President Barack Obama

  8. Senator Harry Reid

    D - NV

  9. Rep. David Rivera

    R - FL

  10. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

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The Killing of the Smart Meter Bill

I did something uncharacteristic of me and out of my comfort zone – I testified in the Virginia Senate in support of SB 797, The Smart Meter Bill, on January 28, 2013.  It was an interesting lesson in “government for the corporatists” that will stay with me for a long time. No longer do I trust that all of those we elect are going to do the right thing for the people who elected them.
When I arrived in the General Assembly Room B, the auditorium was packed with attorneys and lobbyists. I had to wait patiently two hours until the Senate adjourned its daily session; the Senators took a half hour break, and finally came to our hearing. It was an interesting two hours because I was able to see my government in action for which I voted and paid taxes

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The Good and Bad of the Immigration Reform Blueprint

Today, the so-called Gang of Eight senators revealed a blueprint for an immigration reform bill. Details in the actual legislation will matter a great deal but these are initial impressions based on the blueprint. The good and the bad.
  • Earned legalization for non-criminal unauthorized immigrants. After paying fines, back taxes, undergoing a criminal background check, and other firm penalties, unauthorized immigrants will be able to stay in the United States and eventually earn a green card. This will increase their wages over several years much faster than if they remained unauthorized. 
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The US Justice Department's Libor prosecution of RBS is too little, too late

Most ambitious financial regulators know there is one rule to establishing their names: reel in a really, really big fish on Wall Street, and make them pay, either through convictions, penalties, or sheer humiliation.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is not this fish. Not only is RBS almost entirely unknown to the American populace, but its alleged crime – fixing inter-bank interest rates years ago – has failed to garner any outrage or surprise from consumers, no matter how appalling the offense.

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The Bipartisan Opposition to Domestic Drones

Drones are wildly popular on the battlefield. Now they can claim victory elsewhere. The use of drones within U.S. borders—in car chases, to monitor wildfires, or for simple surveillance—is uniting political parties and people more often at odds.
Their concern: the widespread use of drones among civilians represents a deep and dangerous intrusion into American life.
“What we used to know as privacy is finished,” said John Whitehead, a constitutional scholar and president of Virginia-based Rutherford Institute. “Big Brother is here to stay.”

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Feinstein’s Folly

When Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation last week to reinstate the assault weapons ban, the veteran California Democrat also proposed a national gun registry. The registry would apply to all legally owned weapons grandfathered prior to the assault weapons ban taking effect.
Canadians are all too familiar with gun registries. In 1995, the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien passed the Firearms Act which established the Canadian Firearms Registry. It was a white elephant plagued by cost overruns in the hundreds of millions of dollars and was the target of frequent criticism by Sheila Fraser, Canada’s former Auditor General. Noted conservative Canadian journalist Peter Worthington wrote, “Gun registry is little but an expensive, unnecessary, largely useless waste of time. Bureaucratic boondoggle aptly describes the program.”

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Can the GOP Be Saved? The Myth of the Demographic Fix

Conventional wisdom holds that as African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and gays increase their political clout, Republicans must devise a way of reaching out to these critical demographic groups. Is this wisdom correct?
The four more years that the American electorate has granted President Obama will most likely be spent by the Republicans in feuding over the soul and destiny of their party. From the point of view of making the next Republican presidential nominee electable, it is difficult to imagine a worse strategy. After all, the last great Republican feud — the one that broke out between President Taft and Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 — ended in the election of a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, and the current feud may put yet another Democrat in the White House in 2016. Yet there seems no way around the coming feud, and this fact by itself is a bit puzzling.

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Official Lies

Let's expose presidential prevarication. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama warned that Social Security checks will be delayed if Congress fails to increase the government's borrowing authority by raising the debt ceiling. However, there's an issue with this warning. According to the 2012 Social Security trustees report, assets in Social Security's trust funds totaled $2.7 trillion, and Social Security expenditures totaled $773 billion. Therefore, regardless of what Congress does about the debt limit, Social Security recipients are guaranteed their checks. Just take the money from the $2.7 trillion assets held in trust.

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Whose Welfare?

If there is ever a contest for the law with the most grossly misleading title, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 should be a prime candidate, because the last thing this Act protects is the welfare of Indian children.
The theory behind the Indian Child Welfare Act is that an American Indian child should be raised in an American Indian culture.
Based on that theory, a newborn baby of American Indian ancestry, who was adopted immediately after birth by a white couple, was at 27 months of age taken away from the only parents she has ever known and given to her father.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All the Presidents' Women

At least Romney had binders. Binders full of qualified women to fill cabinet positions, that is. Democrats mercilessly pounded Romney for the binders comment he made during the 2012 presidential campaign, but I'll bet the Obama campaign now wishes Romney had passed the binders on to Obama since it seems he's having a hard time picking women to fill his second term cabinet positions.
The recently released official White House photo of a predominately pale-faced and testosterone-filled cabinet (which I have no problem with) is enough to cause any misinformed voter into wondering what has become of the so-called party of women.

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Obama calls for citizenship for illegals

In the wake of the U.S. Senate’s “Gang of Eight” announcement on immigration reform yesterday, President Barack Obama traveled to Las Vegas today to deliver his proposals on immigration reform.
“I am here because most Americans agree that it is time to fix a system that has been broken for way too long,” he said. He added it is time to tackle immigration reform, for immigration strengthens “our economy and our country’s future.”

Santelli's Paradox And Why The Fed's Exit Will Be "Very, Very Messy"

We are in our sixth year since the US officially went into recession and yet, as CNBC's Rick Santelli notes, we are still in crisis management mode. Some argue that any day now, the Fed will begin to remove its mega liquidity pipe from the market but Rick exclaims in this wonderfully succinct clip that: "there is no expiration date on faulty illogical ideas," as he expects any Fed exit to be "very, very messy." Rick's dilemma is the seemingly paradoxical need for yet moar and bigger monetary policy crisis management by Ben Bernanke when day-after-day we are told by the very guests on his network that "stocks look great." At the end of the day, when the Fed decides to exit, they will not be able to put the liquidity 'toothpaste' back in the tube.

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Senate Suddenly Furious With Eric Holder For Allowing Banks To Become "Too Big To Jail"

Or what happens when Wall Street Muppet A is vewy, vewy angwy with Wall Street Muppet B and desperately needs a ratings boost.
* * *
Straight from the best Senate Wall Street taxpayer bailout money and Fed excess reserves (by way of deficit monetization) can buy:
Sens. Brown, Grassley Press Justice Department On "Too Big To Jail"
Senators Question Whether “Too Big to Fail” Status of Some Wall Street Megabanks Undermines Government’s Ability to Prosecute Large Financial Institutions, Impose Appropriate Penalties

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John Williams Forecasts U.S. Dollar Hyperinflation Before End of 2014

Anybody who thinks the U.S. is in a so-called recovery isn’t listening to economist John Williams. He contends, “We haven’t had a recovery and we’re not about to have one, and it’s getting worse.” Williams says it’s because, “The consumer is in very serious trouble. . . . The average guy is not making it. His income is not keeping up with inflation.” As far as Congress getting the budget and debt ceiling under control, Williams says, “Both sides are faced with devil’s choices.”

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NAACP president: Black people worse off under Obama

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous said Sunday, perhaps unwittingly, that black Americans “are doing far worse” than when President Obama first took office.
“The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” Mr. Jealous told MSNBC host David Gregory on “Meet the Press.” “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing far worse.”

The black unemployment rate was 12.7 percent when Mr. Obama took office. While the unemployment rate in the U.S. as a whole is below 8 percent, the Labor Department reported the black jobless rate was up from 12.9 percent to 14 percent for December.

Keystone XL decision may loom large for red state Democrats in 2014 midterms

A handful of vulnerable Democratic senators running for reelection in red states are seeking to insulate themselves from political fallout if the Obama administration rejects the Keystone XL oilsands pipeline from Canada.
Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), joined 44 of their Republican colleagues in signing a letter last week urging Obama to expedite the pipeline's approval.Although Democrats say the controversial pipeline may not linger as an issue at the ballot box in 2014, the senators’ full-throated support for the controversial project could shield them from GOP attacks over the economic impact if construction is denied.

Obama to Fly Over 9 Hours Just for Speech on Immigration

President Barack Obama will fly over 9 hours tomorrow, round-trip from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas, Nevada, just to deliver a speech on immigration, according to the president's White House schedule. With Air Force One estimated to cost $182,000 per hour in flight, Obama's trip--that is, only his travel to and from Vegas--will cost taxpayers over $1.6 million.

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It’s an ironic and not so funny world which can see the extraordinary efforts of our nation’s Founders, to create a system of checks and balances, a balance of political and governmental powers, each to forever keep watch on the other in protection of the people’s inalienable rights as itself, an “unconstitutional” act. But this is the world we live in today…
Last week, the Mississippi State Legislature was the first to introduce The Balance of Powers Act currently sweeping across all state legislatures, in their effort to protect and preserve the rights of the State and the people currently under direct and extreme assault from their federal government.

Letter: Oath of duty

As a citizen of the United States, I am proud of the deep-rooted patriotism of my forefathers. Many lives have been sacrificed in order to maintain the liberty which we all enjoy, including those of many of my ancestors.
I was deeply saddened by recent tragedies such as those in Colorado and at Sandy Hook. However, I am troubled by the fact that our legislators are rushing to strip away the constitutional rights of the American people. The media attempts to reinforce a need for more strict gun control, yet anyone who spends any amount of time seeking the truth will quickly see that the vast majority of U.S citizens are adamantly opposed to it. More shocking to me is our president’s willingness to rule the people through executive orders and forced legislation. In light of these recent events, I took some time to think, and really reflect upon my motivations for becoming a police officer. I also spent a great deal of time defining what my oath as a police officer means to me, and more importantly, what it means to the public which I swore to serve. I have come to the following conclusion:

Will Our Rights Be Preserved by Our Sheriffs?

The Land of Enchantment is a physically beautiful land indeed, yet one with the misfortune to be so traditionally misgoverned by our liberal Democrat majority as to be relegated too frequently to the very lowest rankings of the states when it comes to poverty, education, health, etc.
Once in a while, however, we do find something besides our majestic landscapes to be proud of. A statement just issued by the New Mexico Sheriffs' Association and signed by 29 of 33 county sheriffs, declaring that their oaths of office don't require them to enforce federal laws they consider unconstitutional, provides New Mexicans with just such a moment. While I've read and heard similar statements from individual sheriffs and police chiefs in other states, I've not seen anything comparable from a statewide law enforcement association.

Unions Crumble Without Stimulus Spending

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
-- President Franklin Roosevelt in an August 16, 1937 letter to the National Federation of Federal Employees.
President Obama laid out some ambitious liberal goals this week, including gun control, same-sex marriage, reversing global warming and increased federal spending.
But it’s that last one that he’d better get busy with if he means to get any of the rest.

Subsidies Create Glut Of College Grads

Over the past three decades, financial aid has rocketed 438% — and that's after adjusting for inflation — driven largely by huge increases in federal grants, education tax breaks and subsidized loan programs.
It's worked. Where only about 10% of 25-year-olds had a college degree in 1970, more than 30% have one today.

A Hollywood Heavyweight Who Moved From Left To Right

The link below is most insightful!  It is a speech delivered on 25 January 2013 by Roger Simon describing his awakening to the hypocrisy of the phoney life of  Hollywood, the mainstream media and political elites and his long and difficult transformation from a hard core leftist into a conservative, even libertarian.  It is a story well worth reading.  He offers his insights into human nature and his belief that many on the left are not the leftist they portray themselves to be but are afraid of the consequences if they were to "come out" and reveal their true feelings.  Being a conservative in Hollywood, for instance, is a career ender.  Even though he is founder and CEO of PJ Media he will be devoting much more of his time to creating movies and writing books.  He believes that, "Rather than boycott Hollywood, take it over – at least part of it. But do it well and professionally."  That, he believes, is how he can best contribute to repairing a nation infected with a corrosive and morally bankrupt leftist PC culture with corrupt elites in high places.  He intends to help rebuild the country so that it is a far more wholesome place whichrecognizes that "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."  

George Burns

25 Great Quotes from Black Conservatives

25) "A woman who demands further gun control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders." -- Larry Elder
24) "I’ve been to dozens of Tea Party rallies. I’ve given at least a half a dozen or more speeches. I have not yet to find the first racist comment or the first person who approaches me from a racist perspective. I will speak very clearly here. Racism is a part of a lot of things in our country. Good people are the predominant fact of our country. I simply don’t get it. There are good people and bad people in all organizations fundamentally; however, when you look at the basis of the Tea Party it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with an economic recovery. It has to do with limiting the role of our government in our lives. It has to do with free markets. How do you fight that? The only way you fight that is to create an emotional distraction called racism. It doesn’t have to be real. It can be rhetoric but it gets the media focusing on something other than the truth of why the Tea Party is resonating so well with the average person." -- Tim Scott

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Not to Call Names, But...

Somewhere in our president's short inaugural address last week (it only seemed long), our newly re-elected chief executive paused to deliver a pious little sermon on the evils of name-calling -- and for good measure, the evils of delay, spectacle and absolutism, too.
The Rev. Obama crammed all those sins into a couple of sentences that might have passed for a mini-homily from some less-gifted televangelist:

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Sen. Ron Johnson the Winner of the Week in Washington

Sometimes a citizen lawmaker dares to exercise such candor that the inside-the-Beltway crowd recoils in horror at the blatant honesty. Such was the case with Wisconsin’s own Senator Ron Johnson (R) this past week. Johnson captured attention with his tough questioning of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to finally answer questions about the Benghazi disaster of last September.

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Learning to Love Sequestration

Paul Ryan says it’s going to happen, the sequestration, that is. One can hardly imagine any alternative scenario, in which Democrats and Republicans work it all out, and come out singing Kumbaya with a deal to avert the workings of the automatic cuts, share and share alike, to domestic and defense discretionary spending.
Certainly, it would be better a) to prioritize cuts, and b) to reform entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security over a longer time line. The former is just common sense. The latter would reduce any short-term hit on the economy while improving the long-run balance sheet of the nation and head off cascading and uncontrolled spending and inevitable tax increases caused by changing demographics, i.e., low birth rates and an ageing population, and the fact that the entitlements are on auto-pilot and not subject to negotiations or restraint in the normal budgetary process in Congress.
But no Democrat is willing to jump on entitlements. No Republican wants to jump, say, on farm subsidies or defense spending. Let the grandchildren be damned.

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Pentagon's new massive expansion of 'cyber-security' unit is about everything except defense

As the US government depicts the Defense Department as shrinking due to budgetary constraints, the Washington Post this morning announces "a major expansion of [the Pentagon's] cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold." Specifically, says the New York Times this morning, "the expansion would increase the Defense Department's Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900." The Post describes this expansion as "part of an effort to turn an organization that has focused largely on defensive measures into the equivalent of an Internet-era fighting force." This Cyber Command Unit operates under the command of Gen. Keith Alexander, who also happens to be the head of the National Security Agency, the highly secretive government network that spies on the communications of foreign nationals - and American citizens.

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Treasury approved excessive pay for executives at bailed-out AIG, GM and Ally

A government report Monday criticized the U.S. Treasury Department for approving “excessive” salaries and raises at firms that received taxpayer-funded bailouts during the financial crisis.
The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said Treasury approved all 18 requests it received last year to raise pay for executives at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. Of those requests, 14 were for $100,000 or more; the largest raise was $1 million.

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Libor Lies Revealed in Rigging of $300 Trillion Benchmark

Every morning, from his desk by the bathroom at the far end of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s trading floor overlooking London’s Liverpool Street station, Paul White punched a series of numbers into his computer.
White, who had joined RBS in 1984, was one of the employees responsible for the firm’s submissions for the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the global benchmark for more than $300 trillion of contracts from mortgages and student loans to interest-rate swaps. Behind him sat Neil Danziger, a derivatives trader who had worked at the bank since 2002.

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Effort to abolish local sheriffs a stealth federal power grab?

A news report has been quietly making its way around the alternative media, under the radar screen, concerning a Delaware legal decision to strip county sheriffs of their arrest powers in the state.
The mainstream media has not reported the story, but the son of Vice President Joe Biden, who serves as Attorney General for the state of Delaware, has issued a mandate to county commissioners informing them that sheriffs in the state's three counties no longer have arrest powers.

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Drug Dealing and Legal Stealing

At the Cosmopolitan, a luxury hotel and casino in Las Vegas, “just the right amount of wrong” is the naughty fun you get for $200 a night. At the $57-a-night Motel Caswell in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, just the right amount of wrong is what the federal government says it needs to take the business from the family that has operated it for 57 years.

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A Shameless Media

Bob Schieffer of CBS News described President Obama's recent opening remarks at the gun control press conference as, "one of the best speeches I've ever heard him deliver". Schieffer went on to praise the president's cause as similar to the ten-year hunt for Osama bin Laden and Lyndon Johnson's successful attempt to pass civil rights legislation. Although Schieffer indicated that more than an Obama speech would be required, this wasn't objective journalism but slobbering praise for a man with a checkered record of accomplishment.
Mr. Schieffer's kudos was a reminder of the stunning assessment that David Brooks bestowed upon the President immediately following his re-election. Mr. Brooks, the self-described "conservative" New York Times journalist stated that Obama was a man of "high integrity" and had run a "very clean administration" during his first term. He concluded that Obama would avoid the scandals that plaguedmany Presidents during their second terms. Brooks said very directly, "there have been signs of insularity and arrogance, but there have been no scandals". Huh? Fast and Furious and Benghazi apparently do not reach Mr. Brook's threshold for scandal.

The Hippocritic Oaths

This morning I heard Rand Paul, the Junior Senator from Kentucky, deliver an angry message to his colleagues. The subject was their failure to obey their own rules. He mentioned their failure to pass a budget in nearly four years. But his outrage was really triggered when he received a six hundred page bill to be voted on later that day. It contained some last minute provisions that nobody but Harry Reid is aware of---to the extent that Harry is aware of anything but his own vast ego and lust for power.
It contained copious references to the more than a hundred million word document known as Federal Register and other mega documents containing the codified laws of the United States. These get amended every time new laws or regulations pass, often in unpredictable ways. There is zero chance that there are not filled with massive errors and unintended provisions.  It is likely that the total word count exceeds a billion.

A Time to Fight

Well, here it finally is: the long-threatened “bipartisan” comprehensive immigration reform proposal, and as the old joke has it, when the Stupid Party and the Evil Party get together, they come up with something that is both stupid and evil.
The principles underlying the proposal (the actual bill will ascend from the depths next month) have been conveniently laid out by the senatorial “Gang of Eight.” If after reading them you feel an irresistible urge to send your bank-account number and a power of attorney to an e-mail account in Nigeria, or experience similar symptoms, you are advised to consult comments on the proposal from Mark Krikorian, from Charles C. W. Cooke, and from long-time Democrat activist and former New Republic writer Mickey Kaus.

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