Saturday, August 18, 2012

NYT: OBAMACARE 'AMBIGUITY' COULD MAKE HEALTH CARE TOO COSTLY FOR MILLIONS


The New York Times reports that an “ambiguity” in President Obama’s signature health care law may make the Affordable Care Act unaffordable for millions of American workers and their families.

Ironically, the glitch is Clintonesque in nature, over the meaning of the word “affordable.” The definition of the word could have enormous practical repercussions in decisions about who obtains government assistance for health insurance.
Under rules proposed by the Internal Revenue Service, which will carry out some of the primary provisions of Obamacare, some working class families would be unable to afford employer-sponsored family coverage health care benefits and yet would also not qualify for subsidies granted in Obamacare. In other words, these workers and their families will fall between the cracks of the language of the legislation.
For a family whose annual income is $35,000 and who pays $4,130 -- or 12% of income -- for family health care coverage sponsored by an employer, the costs would be considered “affordable” under IRS rules. Under Obamacare, however, employer-sponsored health insurance is considered “unaffordable” if a worker pays a premium of more than 9.5% of the worker’s household income. The IRS argues that this calculation should be based only on the cost of individual coverage for the employee, not coverage for a spouse or children. Thus, the family would not be eligible for government subsidies to buy private health insurance in the states’ exchanges.

Report: Harry Reid Used Ted Kennedy’s Brain Cancer To Beg For Stimulus Votes…


Michael Grunwald’s “The New New Deal” details the $787 billion stimulus passed in the early days of President Barack Obama’s presidency, and offers the back story of Senate arm-twisting needed to secure the votes.
Among the revelations in Grunwald’s book is an anecdote recalling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attempt to push three veteran Republicans to vote for the bill — by guilt-tripping them over former Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy’s brain cancer.
Without vote commitments from the Republicans he had hoped to push his direction, Reid brought Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Thad Chochran of Mississippi and Mike Enzi of Wyoming to his office to appeal for their votes.
“He was basically pleading for our votes,” Grassely said, according to Grunwald. “He said: ‘You all know something needs to be done. The Democrats did TARP for Bush. You’ve got to look past the substance.’”
When his initial plea did not work, Reid reportedly told the three Republicans that he needed their votes so that he would not need to bring Kennedy — at the time battling brain cancer — back to work to end a filibuster.
“He said if you can’t vote with us, we’re going to have to bring Kennedy to the floor, and it really could kill him,” Grassely said. “We looked at each other like: Huh?”
According to Grunwald’s account, Reid then asked if there was a volunteer to vote on Kennedy’s behalf, as there had been precedent for “pairing votes” as a courtesy for ill senators of the opposite party. None of the three took him up on the offer, nor did Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who Reid also attempted to pressure with the Kennedy plea.


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/17/book-reid-used-kennedys-brain-cancer-to-beg-for-stimulus-votes/#ixzz23wvElX56

Far-Left Boston Globe Calls On Biden To Apologize For “Chains” Remarks…


When Vice President Joe Biden warned a Virginia rally of hundreds of African Americans that Republican efforts to loosen bank regulations meant “They’re going to put y’all back in chains,” Stephanie Cutter, Team Obama’s deputy campaign manager, said the president would have “no problem with those comments.”
But imagine if Republican Paul Ryan uttered comments like that. Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president would be pilloried for racial insensitivity — and so would Romney. In the fight for civility and substance over pointless hyperbole, Biden may not be the worst offender. But he’s an offender nonetheless, and he should apologize.
Biden has a history of making remarks that would rile up liberals if they were spoken by a conservative politician. Back in 2008, when Biden was running against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, he had to apologize for saying, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
He once told an Indian American, “You can’t go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” During a January 2012 speech in New Hampshire, he briefly drifted into a foreign accent while imitating a Indian call center worker. At that same rally where he made the “back in chains” crack, Biden also imitated the sign language woman and said, “You’re gonna have trouble translating all this! That poor lady, she’s gonna have tendonitis by the time she finishes this.”
Liberals routinely dismiss Biden’s gaffes as the rhetorical excesses of an overly exuberant speaker — it’s “Joe being Joe.” And there can be something appealing about a politician who throws caution and the script that goes with it to the winds. Yet when conservative speakers get overly exuberant and cross a rhetorical line, they are presumed racist or culturally insensitive, rather than refreshingly free-spirited. One standard should apply.

Gov. Brown Says Prop 30 Taxes Are All About Schools — Not So


Governor Jerry Brown kicked off his campaign to pass Proposition 30 on August 15, showcasing what Dan Schnur, Director of the USC Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics called “the most expensive ransom note in California political history” – pass the tax increase or the schools get it. The problem is that this tax increase proposal comes with no reforms for school funding, let alone other big-ticket items like pensions, and is likely a band-aid that would lead to more taxes in the future.
The schools are the focus of Brown’s kick-off at a school location but they are not the focus of the funds raised by the initiative.
The schools get no guaranteed new money from Prop 30. That’s not me saying so, that’s a comment from the California School Boards Association quoted in a Sacramento Bee article. “Despite endorsing Brown’s measure, (California School Boards Association) leaders said they ‘want to make it clear to the public that the governor’s initiative does not provide new funding for schools. Instead, it bolsters the General Fund with new revenue.’”
A Wall Street Journal editorial stated that, “The dirty little secret is that the new revenues are needed to backfill the insolvent teachers pension fund.”
Note that the School Boards Association pointed out that the new funding “bolsters the General Fund.” The association is not the only observer to recognize that this tax increase is about the General Fund. The Legislative Analyst Office’s report on Prop 30 stated:  “The new tax revenues would be available to fund programs in the state budget.”

White House Hasn’t Released Biden Transcripts in Months


No, not his college transcripts . . .

The Los Angeles Times has a story today about Joe Biden’s lack of verbal dexterity:
Most candidates give the same stump speech over and over, putting reporters if not the audience to sleep. But during any Biden speech, there might be a dozen moments to make press handlers cringe, and prompt reporters to turn to each other with amusement and confusion.
Any such moment can be quickly edited down, posted online and relayed to blogs and inboxes — and some will stick, but many more are just ignored or saved for a Biden blooper reel.
Joe Biden’s speeches are apparently so off-message that the White House “press office has not released a complete transcript of any Biden speech, whether campaign or official, in more than two months. Transcripts for all of Obama’s speeches, however, are distributed quickly, as they are for many of the first lady’s events.”
This comes after news broke that Joe Biden’s aides have tried on at least two occasions to edit press pool reports, which are used to inform national reporters. From Politico’s story, “Mission Impossible: Managing Joe Biden”:
But on two occasions during Biden’s Virginia trip, his staff sought to have certain elements in the reports highlighted while reporters drafted them and discussed the contents with the reporters after the summaries had been sent but before they had before sent to the broader media.
Appearing on MSNBC, the author of the piece, Jonathan Martin, said, “The Biden staff is determined to police him and to really save him from himself.”

Obama thinking of tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve


Because nothing is worse in an election season than rising gas prices.
The White House is "dusting off old plans" for a potential release of oil reserves to dampen prices and prevent high energy costs from undermining sanctions against Iran, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday.
U.S. officials will monitor market conditions over the next few weeks, watching whether gasoline prices fall after the September 3 Labor Day holiday, as they historically do, the source said.
It was too early to detail the size of any release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and other international stockpiles if a decision to proceed was taken, the source said.
Oil prices have surged in recent weeks, with Brent crude prices closing in on $120 a barrel, up sharply from below $90 a barrel in June. The United States and other Group of Eight countries studied a potential oil release in the spring but shelved the plans when prices dropped.
As prices rise again, U.S. officials were now collecting information from the market about potential needs and studying futures, production numbers and data on Iranian oil exports.
"The driving force in this is both impact on the economy and impact on the Iran sanctions policy," the source said, noting that Washington did not want rising oil prices to create a windfall for Iran while international sanctions were having an effective impact on its crude exports and revenues.
Via: American Thinker

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GOVERMENT SENDING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO MILLIONAIRES


A government report released August 2nd says that thousands of people earning a million dollars in income have also received unemployment benefits within the same year.

CNSNews revealed the Congressional Research Services report which was based on IRS data. A summary page in the report states "a small percentage (approximately 0.02%) of tax filers receiving unemployment benefit income had AGI of $1 million or more in tax year 2009 based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data." A chart translates that percentage into 2,362 individuals.
Even more striking is the total of money paid out to millionaires: $20.8 million in 2009 alone. For those making between half a million and one million, UI paid out an additional $74.9 million in 2009.
One hundred million dollars may not seem like a lot in the scheme of things, but like so many other government programs, it seems wasteful when we are borrowing forty cents of every dollar we spend.

MOODY'S: MORE CALIF. CITIES AT RISK OF BANKRUPTCY


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- One of the nation's top credit rating agencies said Friday that it expects more municipal bankruptcies and defaults in California, the nation's largest issuer of municipal bonds.

Moody's Investors Service said in a report that the growing fiscal distress in many California cities was putting bondholders at risk.

The service announced that it will undertake a wide-ranging review of municipal finances in the nation's most populous state because of what it sees as a growing threat of insolvency.

The report has both investors and government leaders worried.

Three California cities - Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes - have filed for bankruptcy so far this year. They are not likely to be the last, Moody's said.

Moody's reports that some cities are turning bankruptcy as a new strategy to take on budget deficits and avoid obligations to bondholders, an emerging dynamic that could have ripple effects throughout the investment community.

The municipal bond market has long been characterized by low default rates and relatively stable finances, Moody's said, but that outlook is beginning to change as bankruptcy becomes a tool for cash-strapped cities.

As a result, the agency will reassess the financial position of all cities in California, which issues about 20 percent of the municipal bond volume nationwide, "to reflect the new fiscal realities and the governmental practices."

Via: Associated Press

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GSA Employee Suspended for Campaigning for Obama While on Duty


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced Friday the suspensions of two federal employees, including one from the troubled General Services Administration (GSA), for campaigning for President Obama from their offices.

In a press release, the OSC said a contracting officer from the GSA invited 23 people to an Obama fundraiser during the 2007-2008 campaign cycle from her government office while on duty. She also distributed Obama campaign material in the workplace and sent an email from her government account supporting his campaign.

The GSA, which oversees the business of federal spending, is still reeling from a stinging Inspector General report released earlier this year that detailed, among other things, a $1 million taxpayer-funded Las Vegas event.

The suspended GSA employee's alleged actions would violate the Hatch Act, which restricts the political activity of individuals employed or holding office in the executive branch of the federal government.

She has agreed to serve a 30-day suspension without pay.

A GSA spokeswoman said the agency supports the "aggressive action to ensure that all federal employees are adhering to the requirements of the Hatch Act." She noted employees "receive mandatory ethics training and weekly reminders about the need to comply with the Hatch Act."

The OSC also announced that a technology specialist for the Social Security Administration volunteered for a gubernatorial candidate's 2010 campaign. While on duty and in his federal office, the employee, "spent a significant amount of time coordinating volunteer efforts for the campaign" according to the OSC release. His activities included recruiting precinct captains, enlisting people to march in parades, organizing the distribution of yard signs and bumper stickers, and advising volunteers on how to host campaign events. The release said he invited over 50 people to the event and asked individuals to contribute $250 each. The employee will be suspended for 180 days without pay.

Via: Fox News

Friday, August 17, 2012

RNC touts Record Breaking July Fundraising

(CNN) – The Republican National Committee said Friday it raised $37.7 million in July, making last month the best July in the party committee's history.

At the end of July, the RNC said it had $88.7 million cash on hand. They said July's numbers brought their yearly total to $158 million.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"Once again, the RNC has set a monthly fundraising record, illustrating the tremendous enthusiasm for a new direction in this country," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a statement. "Both small and major donors have contributed to our fundraising success as they continue to express their support for Gov. Romney and our party. This money allows us to get our message out to voters across this country on the ground and on the air. This momentum will carry us to victory in November, when we defeat President Obama and get America working again."

Mitt Romney, along with the RNC and several state parties, raised $101.3 million in July, and ended the month with $185.9 million cash on hand. That was the third straight month the Republican effort outraised President Barack Obama and the Democrats, who brought in $75 million in July.

Romney and the RNC began joint fund-raising in April.

Via: CNN

UNEMPLOYMENT GOES UP IN 44 STATES IN JULY



WASHINGTON - Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states in July, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring nationwide.
The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates fell in only two states and were unchanged in four.
Unemployment rates rose in nine states that are considered battlegrounds in the presidential election. That trend, if it continued, could pose a threat to President Barack Obama's re-election bid in less than three months.
Nationwide, hiring improved in July after three months of tepid job gains. But the national unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent. Monthly job gains have averaged 150,000 this year. That's barely enough to accommodate population growth. As a result, the unemployment rate is the same as when the year began.
Still, 31 states gained jobs in July, while 19 lost them. Unemployment rates can rise in a state even when more jobs are created if more people start looking for work. People who are out of work are counted as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.

Via: Newsday
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Obama’s GM ‘Success Story’ Headed for Bankruptcy?


On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s signature definition of “success” is the government bailout of General Motors. “I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” he told an audience in Pueblo, CO last week. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.” That pronouncement should send a shiver up the spine of every American, due to an inconvenient reality: according to Forbes Magazine, GM is likely headed for bankruptcy all over again.
The numbers are stark. The 500,000 shares of GM stock, comprising 26 percent of the company owned by the government–or more accurately the American taxpayer–sold for $20.21 on Tuesday. This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock representing an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion. Even worse, in order to reach the break-even point, the stock would have to sell for around $53 per share.
The numbers remain in flux. As Investors Business Daily reveals, the Treasury Department continues “to revise upward the staggering losses inflicted on U.S. taxpayers.” They further note that the same day GM announced it was recalling 38,000 Impalas used by police in both America and Canada, due to a possible crash risk, a new Treasury report forecast that losses for GM were expected to reach $25 billion, which is $3.3 billion more than predicted earlier. Furthermore, since that report was based on GM’s stock price at the time of the report–15 percent higher than it is currently–those losses are likely understated.

Allen West To Obama: Show Us Your College Records And Fast And Furious Docs And We’ll Show You Our Tax Returns…

Allen West
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) set high stakes in an offered “deal” with President Obama on Friday.

Obama’s campaign isn’t backing down on requests to see Mitt Romney’s tax returns — on Friday, campaign manager Jim Messina offered to stop asking if he releases five years' worth — but the freshman Florida congressman had a counteroffer for Obama.

“Show us your sealed college records and Operation Fast and Furious White House memos, and we will all show you our tax returns,” West wrote on his Facebook page Friday.


It’s not an original offer; businessman and Romney supporter Donald Trump has been suggesting the same thing via Twitter. 

“@MittRomney shouldn't give additional tax returns until @BarackObama gives his passport records, college records & applications,” Trump tweeted earlier in the day.


While Obama’s campaign has suggested Romney’s unwillingness to release more of his personal tax returns indicates a high level of secrecy by the presumptive GOP nominee, West and Trump think the same is true of Obama. But West might not expect Obama to accept his offer, since it would likely be difficult to convince "all" people to voluntarily release their personal financial information.

Via: The Hill

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AFL-CIO Canvasser Booked On 23 Felony Counts Related To Voter Fraud…


A former Ohio University student paid to canvass for Voters First Ohio petition signatures was arrested August 14 by the Cincinnati Police Department. Timothy Noel Zureick was booked on 22 counts of signing false signatures and one count of election falsification, both fifth-degree felonies.
Timothy Zureick
Timothy Zureick
As reported by the Athens News, Zureick, age 21, was arrested for crimes allegedly committed while working in Athens for Working America, a campaign arm of the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC. Zureick’s August 14 arrest is the first known prosecution to stem from the numerous allegations of fraud during the union-driven Voters First campaign.
According to authorities, on or around June 12 Zureick forged the signatures of a number of prominent Athens County Democratic Party figures. Athens County Board of Elections employees who had not signed Voters First petitions alerted the county prosecutor’s office after finding their signatures on petitions Zureick submitted.
The White Collar Crimes unit of the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the case and found that Zureick was living in Cincinnati. Zureick, who has two addresses in Cincinnati, was located by authorities at his father’s residence thanks to assistance from a neighbor.

CA Sales Tax Revenue Nosedives by 33.5%


We were severely criticized last week by the left and the right for publishing, “Calif. default risk turns Gov. Brown into a capitalist.“ The report highlighted that Gov. Jerry Brown is steamrolling environmentalists and regulators to generate more state tax revenue by expediting approval of pro-business infrastructure.
But our detractors were stunned to learn from State Controller John Chiang that California’s July sales tax revenue was down 33.5 percent from that anticipated by the state budget approved in late June by the Legislature.  Even more ominously, the state’s $9.6 billion cash deficit that was rolled over from the June 30 fiscal year has catapulted to $18 billion last month.
The state has avoided default by temporarily borrowing from state trust funds, but those accounts will soon need their cash back to continue operating.  Today California quickly began trying to sell $10 billion in municipal bonds to fund the record $28 billion they need to keep the lights on.  With tax revenue plummeting and the state already having the second-lowest rated credit in the country, if the independent credit rating agencies downgrade the state to “junk bond,” California will be short up to $18 billion and default.
Brown used his line-item veto authority to strike $128.9 million in spending from the $91.3 billion California general fund before signing the state budget.  Brown’s cuts surprisingly hit Democrat priorities, such as spending for child care and preschool for low-income children, and closing 30 state parks.
But Republican Senator Tom Berryhill warned Brown: “This budget is a slow-motion train wreck, and you’re driving the bus.”  Berryhill criticized Democrats for failing to rein in public pensions and regulatory terrorism, and to and cap state spending. Those all are things Republicans say are needed to rescue state government.

Romney campaign doesn't bite on Obama tax return offer


"Thanks for the note" -- but no thanks. 

That was the response Friday from the Romney team after Obama's campaign manager tried once again to wrench more tax documents from the Republican president candidate, this time by offering to refrain from criticizing Mitt Romney's transparency if he agrees to release five more years of returns. 

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades wrote a brief email to Obama campaign manager Jim Messina dismissing the offer. 

"Thanks for the note. It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Governor Romney's tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending," he wrote. "If Governor Romney's tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days." 

The Obama campaign offer came after Romney said a day earlier that he's "never paid less than 13 percent" in taxes over the last 10 years. 

Messina, pressing Romney once again for documentation, wrote that he wanted to offer "assurances" to allay Romney's concerns that releasing additional tax returns would just feed the Democrats' appetite for more. 

Via: Fox News


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BIDEN BENCHED FOR THE WEEKEND


Vice President Joe Biden is going home to Delaware.
The updated White House calendar for Aug. 17 reports that “in the morning, the Vice President will meet with senior advisers. Later, the Vice President will be in Wilmington, Delaware.”
“There are no public events scheduled,” said the 5:36 p.m. White House announcement, titled “Daily Guidance for the Vice President.”
Biden’s retreat home during the increasingly frenetic 2012 race comes amid increased criticism for his campaign-trail performance.
Biden was slated to share an uncomfortable lunch with President Barack Obama on Thursday, following his disastrous week on the campaign trail, which culminated with a racially inflammatory warning to African-American supporters that Mitt Romney will “put y’all back in chains.”
The flubs revived chatter about whether the president will drop Biden, and seek a substitute vice president to win the tough 2012 race.
Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday provided a tepid defense of Biden when he was asked if the vice president would remain on the ticket.
Via: The Daily Caller

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Bawney Fwank: “We Would Have Unemployment Below 8%” If GOP Didn’t Stop Us From Hiring More Public Workers…

Let's spend and spend and spend
On the Wednesday night broadcast of Current TV's "Viewpoint," outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) explained how cutting federal spending has hurt the economy. Frank also shared why he believes unemployment is above 8% and how to fix it.

"When you cut back so substantially, you're not just doing social harm, you're doing economic harm because you do not have the spending power in the economy that you ought to have. Look, again, it's now clear," Rep. Frank said.

"We would have unemployment below 8% if it weren't for the fact that Republican policies have forced cities and states to lay off 700,000 people. Firefighters, police officers, teachers, public works employees, people who collect garbage, people who shovel snow because they've been hit by the property tax collapse. So, they have been losing. We've tried to help them out and the Republicans say no, we have to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy, we've got to send money overseas to the military in useful ways, and the result has been 700,000 jobs lost from state and local governments over these past couple years," he said.

U.S. Foreign Debt Hits Record $5.29 Trillion


(CNSNews.com) - The money the U.S. government owes to foreign entities rose to a record $5.2923 trillion in June, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Wednesday afternoon.
In May, the U.S. Treasury had owed $5.2581 trillion to foreign entities. On net, in June, the U.S. government borrowed an additional $34.2 billion from foreign entities in order to fund U.S. government operations.
The U.S. government’s indebtedness to foreign interests has grown by 72.3 percent during President Barack Obama’s term in office. In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, the U.S. government owed $3.0717 trillion to foreign entities, according to the Treasury Department. That has increased by $2.2206 trillion—or 72.3 percent—to the record $5.2923 trillion reported for yesterday.
Entities in the People’s Republic of China remain the largest holders of U.S. government debt. Entities in Japan, however, are on track to eclipse the Chinese as the top holders of U.S. government debt.
In June, the Chinese held $1.1643 trillion in U.S. government debt, up slightly from the $1.1640 trillion in U.S. government debt the Chinese held in May. However, Chinese ownership of U.S. government debt hit an historical peaked of $1.3149 trillion in July 2011 and has been on a generally downward trend since then.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

JUDICIAL WATCH SUES OBAMA ADMIN FOR AMNESTY DOCUMENTS


Judicial Watch today sued the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security for documents related to President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” executive order that allows young illegal immigrants who meet certain qualifications to get a two-year work permit and temporary amnesty. 

Judicial Watch says it is seeking the following records in its June 22, 2012, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request:
All records concerning…the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children…Such records include, but are not limited to, opinions, memoranda, or legal advice rendered by the Office of Legal Counsel.
The Department of Justice had until July 24, 2012 to comply with the FOIA request, but has failed to do so to date.  On June 22, 2012, Judicial Watch submitted a similar FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS was required to by law to respond to Judicial Watch by August 10, 2010. DHS, to date, has not responded. 
“This new Obama amnesty program is an attack on the constitutional role of Congress and runs rough shod over existing immigration law.  It is no surprise that the Obama administration doesn’t want to share the legal basis for this unilateral executive action and is violating Freedom of Information Act law to keep the American people in the dark,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.  “President Obama and his political appointees are abusing their offices with this new amnesty program.  If the administration were confident about the legality of its actions, it wouldn’t be keeping secret the legal basis for President Obama’s extraordinary decision to unilaterally change the law.” 

Obama Transforms State Department “Background Notes” Into Campaign Material


Production by U.S. embassies of the State Department’s long-running series of annual “Background Notes”covering every country in the world had long been considered a useful service for the American public. Now, however, they appear to have morphed into yet another taxpayer-subsidized campaign commercial for the Obama Administration.
The old Background Notes were sui generis—useful reference materials that were more comprehensive than the practical but choppy CIA “Factbook” and other U.S. government publications. Now, though, State has dropped everything from the Background Notes but the section on relations with the U.S. No more historical context, no recounting of complex and long-standing issues in the country. Just cut to the chase—that is, the time when the current Administration came to power.
The 4,100-word Bush document, chock full of facts and figures helpful in analyzing the country and its importance to the U.S., never once mentions the name of any U.S. President. The 300-word section on U.S.–Brazil relations takes up about 7 percent of the document.
Conversely, fully 70 percent (830 words) of the Brazil Fact Sheet, which is focused exclusively on U.S. relations with Brazil, discusses President Obama either directly by name (twice!) or in the context of the plethora of programs his Administration has launched with Brazil, including a shared “commitment to combat discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) status; to advance gender equality; a bilateral instrument that targets racism; support for HIV/AIDS prevention, promotion of clean energy technologies in Brazil, and mitigation of climate change.”

Romney’s Bain saved site of Obamas’ first kiss


Bain Capital, the investment firm that Mitt Romney made famous, made a leveraged buyout that saved the site of Barack and Michelle Obamas’ first kiss.
In 2005, Bain and two other private equity firms purchased Dunkin’ Brands Incorporated for $2.425 billion, according to a 2006 company press release.
Dunkin’ Brands is the parent company of Baskin-Robbins, at whose Hyde Park, Chicago location the president and his future wife Michelle went on their first date — and shared their first lip lock.
President Obama took the first lady out on a date in 1989 when the two worked at the same Chicago law firm, according to a Chicago Tribune article.
A 3,000-pound granite boulder now occupies the corner of Dorchester and 53rd Street, outside the ice cream parlor, bearing a quote about the couple’s first date.
“On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate,” the inscription states.
In 2011, Dunkin’ Brands raised $400 million for its IPO, according to The Associated Press. The IPO allowed it to pay off most of its $475 million in high-interest debt.

Via: The Daily Caller

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This Poll Could Spell the End of Obama ...


Non-voters prefer Obama, poll finds

WASHINGTON - In a race that is expected to come down to a tiny margin of votes in a handful of swing states, more than 80 million eligible Americans will sit out this year’s presidential election.
These potential voters could make all the difference for President Barack Obama - a new survey shows they overwhelmingly support the president over Republican rival Mitt Romney - but they won’t vote for him, even though a majority acknowledge that politics makes a difference in their lives.
A Suffolk University-USA Today survey found that 43 percent of unregistered Americans and 43 percent of registered voters who are unlikely to make it to the polls in November would choose Obama if they were to cast a ballot. Just 14 percent of unregistered Americans and 20 percent of registered but unlikely voters said the same of Romney.
These Americans are not likely to make their voices heard on Election Day because they are paying attention to other things and don’t have faith in the process. Sixty-one percent could not correctly name the current vice president.
Seventy-nine percent think the federal government plays an important role in their lives, but 59 percent say they don’t pay much attention to politics because “nothing ever gets done - it’s a bunch of empty promises,” and 54 percent say they don’t pay much attention because politics “is so corrupt.”

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