**Articles so noted are investment, investor or speculative in nature. Please do not assume their inclusion is an endorsement of their value or quality-of-investment!!
What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Supreme Court and Obamacare: Judicial Activism or Judicial Review?
by Rich Tucker
July 12, 2012
The deeper meaning and implications of the Obamacare case for the Supreme Court’s reputation and constitutional law will be debated for years to come. In its annual Supreme Court review event at Heritage yesterday, an all-star cast of scholars, advocates (including Solicitor General Donald Verrilli), and journalists tackled those topics.
The Court did rule that the Obamacare insurance mandate violates Congress’s Commerce Clause power. But Chief Justice John Roberts reframed the statute to let it stand under Congress’s power to tax. Legal scholars disagree whether that reframing—or judicial rewriting, as the dissent claimed—was convincing or legitimate, but the implications of that distinction for future cases are even more in question. For many opponents of the law, including Michael Carvin, who argued the case in the Supreme Court for the National Federation of Independent Business, the distinction doesn’t make much of a difference.
“The operation was a success, but the patient died,” Carvin said during The Heritage Foundation’s annual Scholars and Scribes panel. Carvin added [....]
Considering a Sunni Regime in Syria
by Reva Bhalla,
July 10, 2012
Last week's publicized defection of the Tlass family marked a potential turning point for Syria's al Assad regime. The Tlass family formed the main pillar of Sunni support for the minority Alawite regime. The patriarch of the family, former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, had a strategic, brotherly bond with late Syrian President Hafez al Assad. The two military men served as members of the ruling Baath Party in Cairo from 1958 to 1961 when Syria and Egypt existed under the Nasserite vision of the United Arab Republic. The failure of that project brought them back home, where together they helped bring the Baath Party to power in 1963 and sustained a violent period of coups, purges and countercoups through the 1960s.
With Tlass standing quietly by his side, Hafez mounted a bloodless coup and appointed Tlass as his defense minister in 1970. Since then, Tlass has been the symbol of Syria's old guard regime. Without Tlass' godfather-like backing, it is questionable whether Bashar al Assad, then a political novice, would have been able to consolidate his grip over the regime in 2000 when his father passed away. Through the Tlass family's extensive military and business connections, the Sunni-Alawite bond endured for decades at the highest echelons of the regime. But blood still runs [....]
Arrogant Obama “Warns” Congress
July 10, 2012 The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) is making its way through Congress,and if it is in any way different from last year’s unconstitutional onslaught against the American public,it is only for the worse. Last year,Congress overwhelmingly passed and Barack Hussein Obama signed into law the most egregious assault on due process rights in the nation’s history. The NDAA of 2012 gave Obama unlimited authority to have members of the U.S. military detain any American citizen he suspected of posing a potential threat to the United States. According to the Act,such citizens face an indefinite period of imprisonment with no right of habeas corpus,no right to trial,no right to present proof of innocence,and no method of appeal.
In his signing statement,Obama made a point of offering false and cynical protestations against this indefinite detention language,claiming his administration “…[would] not authorize without trial the indefinite military detention of American citizens.” Of course,those concerns were no more than verbal crocodile tears as Senator Carl Levin later revealed it was Obama himself who demanded the detention powers be part of the Act. In mid-May,Obama issued [....]
**Hasbro: Drips Are For Kids
by Mathieu Malecot,
July 15, 2012
Dividend reinvestment programs (DRIPs) offer investors a chance to begin investing with less money and often without additional transaction fees. This article will focus on Hasbro (HAS), a company that provides a DRIP program through Computershare that is completely fee free. I hope to demonstrate how this investment vehicle is uniquely appropriate for children through custodial accounts.
Hasbro closed Friday just 5% above its 52 week low. At current prices this company offers a dividend yield of over 4% and has a market [....]
**High-Yield Debt Defaults Rise But Performance Stays Strong
by Anthony Harrigton
July 12, 2012 In its latest reports on U.S. and European high-yield corporate debt, the ratings agency Fitch flagged up the fact that the trailing 12-month default rate on this asset class rose above 2% for the first time since October 2010, hitting 2.2%. However, the high-yield space continues to provide very attractive returns for investors and Fitch says that the default level remains on track to be between 2.5% and 3% by the end of 2012, despite increasingly difficult trading conditions.
The funding environment for the weakest companies in the high-yield universe began to sour in the summer of 2011, following a further escalation in the European debt crisis, disappointing data on the critical US housing and labor markets and disruptions caused by the US debt ceiling debate. Defaults have since been heavily concentrated at the ‘CCC’ level. The share of ‘CCC’ or lower rated bonds trading at the distressed level of [....]
More Demands for Global Taxes from the United Nations
by Daniel J. Mitchell
July 9, 2012 Given the kleptocratic nature of international bureaucracies (particularly my good buddies at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), I’m never surprised when a bad proposal is unveiled. And since the United Nations has a long track record of supporting global taxation (with the money going to the U.N., of course), I’m even less surprised when that crowd produces another idea for fleecing people in the productive sector of the economy.
Here are some excerpts from a Yahoo report:
"The United Nations on Thursday called for a tax on billionaires to help raise more than $400 billion a year for poor countries. An annual lump sum payment by the super-rich is one of a host of measures including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, currency exchanges or financial transactions proposed in a UN report that accuses wealthy nations of breaking promises to step up aid for the less fortunate."
These people love taxes, perhaps because they get tax-free salaries. But setting aside their despicable [....]
Long to Gillibrand: Let's debate
by Robert Harding,
The (Auburn, N.Y.) Citizen
July 9, 2012
Wendy Long challenged her fellow GOP challengers to debates when they were campaigning for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. Now that she has secured the party's nod, Long is challenging U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to a series of debates across the state. Long is calling for five debates, with each debate covering a different topic. Some of the topics include "New Yorkers' Economic Security and the Federal Debt" and "Federal Economic Policy Effects on Women and Children." [....]
Obama Guts Welfare Reform
by Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley
July 12, 2012
Today, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996. The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the reform law. The Obama directive bludgeons the letter and intent of the actual reform legislation.
Welfare Reform under Clinton
Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The underlying concept of welfare reform was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.
The welfare reform law is often characterized as simply giving state governments more flexibility in operating welfare programs. This is a serious misunderstanding. While new law (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) did grants states more flexibility in some respects, the core of the act was the creation of rigorous new federal work standards that state governments were required to implement.
The welfare reform law was very successful. In the four decades prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload never experienced a significant decline. But, in the four years after welfare reform, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among affected groups plummeted. The driving force behind these improvements was the rigorous new federal work requirements contained in the TANF law.
Obama’s Trick to Get Around Work Requirements
Today the Obama Administration issued a new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements can be waived or overridden by a legal device called the section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315). Section 1115 states that “the Secretary may waive compliance with any of the requirements” of specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: Any provision of law [....]
Obama To Give UN Control Of Our Water!
July 12, 2012
Is Obama’s federal government getting ready to put a huge red X mark on the Hoover Dam,which supplies most of the American West with its life-sustaining water? Having this scenario play out is quite plausible as Barack Obama’s Executive Order # 13547 in support of the global Law of the Sea Treaty (L.O.S.T.) seeks to take control of our water in any form of precipitation,from sky to ocean! Total water control will give the American president and his global cohorts total control of all U.S. citizens if this initiative is not stopped by still-free citizens. Because the Water World enthusiasts are seeking to protect the earth’s water from contamination,they are jiggering U.S. water laws to conform to Obama’s Council on Interagency Ocean Policy to make sure no contamination happens.
Especially riled up are Americans west of the Mississippi because Chapter 13 of the Global Biodiversity Assessment is demanding that a staggering 50% of all U.S. land mass be blocked from any type of productive usage. This literally would be putting our Western States under United Nations domination by prohibiting any mining,drilling,harvesting of timber,or construction of any buildings made by humans. Not only that; [....]
Obama’s Big, Bad Story Isn’t Right
by John Ransom,
July 14, 2012
Obama’s latest mea culpa just confirms how far gone this presidency is.
In an interview with CBS’s Charlie Rose, Obama says that the problem he’s had isn’t with the failed policies of his first term, but rather that he failed “to tell a story to the American people,” according to a report in the Christian Science Monitor.
"The mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times,"
said the president.
We’re paying White House staffers $38 million yearly, according to Politico, plus looking at roughly $750 million to a billion dollars in campaign spending to support this president- and the best excuse he can come up with for his failed presidency is that he’s not a good story-teller? This is a man who largely won the presidency on nothing [....]
Obama's spectacular failure
by Caroline Glick,
Jul 14, 2012
Two weeks ago, in an unofficial inauguration ceremony at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi took off his mask of moderation. Before a crowd of scores of thousands, Mursi pledged to work for the release from US federal prison of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.
According to The New York Times' account of his speech, Mursi said, "I see signs [being held by members of the crowd] for Omar Abdel-Rahman and detainees' pictures. It is my duty and I will make all efforts to have them free, including Omar Abdel-Rahman."
Otherwise known as the blind sheikh, Abdel Rahman was the mastermind of the jihadist cell in New Jersey that perpetrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His cell also murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990. They plotted the assassination of then-president Hosni Mubarak. They intended to bomb New York landmarks including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the UN headquarters. Rahman was the leader of Gama'a al-Islamia - the Islamic Group, responsible, among other things for the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. A renowned Sunni religious authority, Rahman wrote the fatwa, or Islamic ruling, permitting Sadat's murder in retribution for his signing the peace treaty with Israel. The Islamic group is listed by the State Department as a specially designated terrorist organization.
After his conviction in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Abdel-Rahman issued another fatwa calling for jihad against the US. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden cited Abdel-Rahman's fatwa as the religious justification for them. By calling for Abdel-Rahman's release, Mursi has aligned himself and his government with the US's worst enemies. By calling for Abdel-Rahman's release during his unofficial inauguration ceremony, Mursi signaled that he cares more about winning the acclaim of the most violent, America-hating jihadists in the world than with cultivating good relations with America.
And in response to Mursi's supreme act of unfriendliness, US President Barack Obama invited Mursi to visit him at the White House.
Mursi is not the only Abdel Rahman supporter to enjoy [....]
Our Disgraceful President
by Derek Hunter,
Jul 15, 2012
Warren G. Harding was corrupt, as was Richard M. Nixon. Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy were like blind golfers, looking for a hole, any hole, every hole. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt were power-mad narcissists convinced they knew best how everyone else should live. Jimmy Carter was clueless. But as we approach the 100-year anniversary of the first of these men to serve as president, all have been lapped in debasing their office by its current occupant: Barack Obama. It is understandable President Obama would not want to run on his record. Who would? “Give me four more years so I can make up for the first four” is not the stuff of campaign slogan greatness. But even that wouldn’t work because, as he told CBS News this week,
“The mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
In other words, his only flaw is he’s too damn close to perfect.
It’s like someone bragging about being the most humble person on the planet. The president of the United States thinks he needs to tell us stories to give us “a sense of unity, purpose and optimism…” This struck me as odd because a.) he’s already told us stories, the story of his life, in – count ‘em – two autobiographies written before he accomplished anything, and b.) he’s made zero effort to bring people together at any point in his presidency. Putting aside his autobiographies, which should be moved to the fiction section of the bookstore considering the 38 provable falsehoods uncovered [....]
A Short History of Congress's Power to Tax
by Paul Moreno,
July 6, 2012
The Supreme Court has long distinguished the regulatory from the taxing power.
In 1935, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins was fretting about finding a constitutional basis for the Social Security Act. Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone advised her, "The taxing power, my dear, the taxing power. You can do anything under the taxing power." Last week, in his ObamaCare opinion, NFIB v. Sebelius, Chief Justice John Roberts gave Congress the same advice—just enact regulatory legislation and tack on a financial penalty, as in failure to comply with the individual insurance mandate. So how did the power to tax under the Constitution become unbounded?
The first enumerated power that the Constitution grants to Congress is the "power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." The text indicates that the taxing power is not plenary, but can be used only for defined ends and objects—since a comma, not a semicolon, separated the clauses on means (taxes) and ends (debts, defense, welfare).
This punctuation was no small matter. In 1798, Pennsylvania Rep. Albert Gallatin said that fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Gouverneur Morris, chairman of the Committee on Style at the Constitutional Convention, had smuggled in the semicolon in order to make Congress's taxing power limitless, but that the alert Roger Sherman had the comma restored. The altered punctuation, Gallatin said, would have turned "words [that] had originally been inserted in the Constitution as a limitation to the power of levying taxes" into "a distinct power." Thirty years later, Virginia Rep. Mark Alexander accused Secretary of State John Quincy Adams of doing the same thing after Congress instructed the administration to print copies of the Constitution. The punctuation debate simply reinforced James Madison's point in Federalist No. 41 that Congress could tax and spend only for those objects enumerated, primarily in Article I, Section 8.
Congress enacted very few taxes up to the end of the Civil War, and none that was a pretext for regulating things that the Constitution gave it no power to regulate. True, the purpose of tariffs was to protect domestic industry from foreign competition, not raise revenue. But the Constitution grants Congress a plenary power to regulate commerce with other nations. Congress also enacted a tax to destroy [....]
**Proven 14.70% Dividend Stock On Sale
by Todd Johnson,
July 13, 2012
Opportunities can open and close quickly for dividend income investors. The key is recognition of the moment and to buy. One such opportunity is Two Harbors Investment (TWO) today. Two Harbors announced a 35 million secondary offering Thursday. This will allow income investors to establish a position at a discount price. Mortgage real estate investment trusts (mREITs) can offer solid values during the secondary process. Two Harbors, on sale due to [....]
Remember When Being on the Government Tit Was a Bad Thing?
by Doug Giles
Jul 15, 2012
When I was a young dork growing up in West Texas in the 70s and 80s, my folks raised me to believe that making good money via righteous and industrious means was actually a good thing—y’know, something to aspire to. Remember that notion? My folks would point out people in the neighborhood and community who busted their butts and got rewarded for the goods and/or services they provided and would say, “See Johnny, Dougie? Johnny studied. Johnny worked hard and smart, and now Johnny’s rich, and you’re still a weed-smoking dipthong working at a frickin’ gas station high as a kite on Colombian gold.”
Yep, Johnny had a good life. And me, eh … not so much. The reason why? Well, it wasn’t because wealthy fat cats suppressed me. It wasn’t because I wasn’t afforded knowledge (because I was); I just chose to esteem it lightly. In addition, it wasn’t because I didn’t have enough after school government pimped-out programs at my disposal to help my wayward self. No, my lack was based not on a deficiency of opportunity but primarily because I watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High, thought Spicoli was cool, and ran with that. Yes, I blame Sean Penn. Damn you, Sean Penn.
As Providence would have it, at the ripe old age of 21, I extracted my head from my backside via Christ’s effectual grace, and all the advice my folks gave me regarding knowledge and hard work came rushing back to my bong resin clogged cranium. Call me a late bloomer. Since I had an affectation for organic stuff, I got into landscaping—planting grass, trees, shrubs, and installing sprinkler systems and custom curbing. I bought a used [....]
Senate To Gut Second Amendment?
July 14, 2012
As New York City plays host to a conference that will shape the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) into final form,most 2nd Amendment supporters are concerned that stealth language or overly broad applications woven into the document will serve to separate Americans from their right to keep and bear arms. After all,why else would preliminary versions of the Treaty be so difficult to obtain and U.N. pre-conference position statements remain consistently absent from the internet? Barack Hussein Obama leads the most anti-gun rights Administration in the nation’s history. Hillary Clinton,Eric Holder,Janet Napolitano,and recently appointed ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones have spoken often and passionately about the importance of implementing more restrictive gun control legislation.
But the gun-grabbing Regime will not be able to ratify the UN’s global gun control measure without first securing a 2/3rds majority of Senators to vote in favor. And it won’t be easy to convince 67 politicians to sign onto a document that countless critics have spent nearly a decade rightly representing as a worldwide assault on the 2nd Amendment. Especially not as the American public must once again be told that the document has to be “passed” in order to find out what’s IN it!
Late last year,the Heritage Foundation obtained an ATT “Draft Paper” from an NGO participating in the Treaty mark-up. The Paper makes it clear that the finished product would be broad in scope,controlling everything “from rifle scopes to battleships.” And although the Treaty purports to monitor only “international arms transfers,” document language shows the UN also wishes to control “internal transfers” as “any firearm transfer—meaning any change in ownership…might conceivably somehow affect another nation…” Therefore,the ATT will demand that signatories [....]
As seems to be the norm, either my computer, Blogspot or a combination thereof, is screwing up after 'cutting-and-pasting' just a few articles and won't let me to any more until several hours later. I've several articles that would benefit the reader, but in the crunch for time, I elected to not include them. Maybe there'll be a mid-week edition......
Until Next Sunday....