What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Unemployment Goes Up
by Tim Young,
Aug 3, 2012
Want to talk about the Obama administration's job numbers and how they are "turning the economy around?"
Because they probably won't want to...
Sure 163,000 jobs were created last month, but the unemployment rate went up to 8.3%...
More importantly, [....]
A Liberal Who Actually Gets It
August 2, 2012
Jeff Greenfield is a good media liberal. His credentials are in order. He is also a “political reporter”,so he has to write positive things about Barack Obama’s chances for reelection,but he can’t quite get there. Greenfield’s latest column is about the dismal numbers Obama faces at every turn,and it is also about how who Obama is running against might not mean anything on Election Day. Undoubtedly with a great deal of pain,Greenfield notes that the numbers staring Obama in the face are such that no incumbent president has ever/could ever overcome them. He cites the unemployment rate being stuck at 8 percent “for months” – he couldn’t bring himself to tell the truth and say “for years” (42 straight months);he says a 1.5% GDP means a “very close” election.
Next,he goes to [....]
Financial Markets, Politics and the New Reality
by George Friedman,
August 7, 2012
Louis M. Bacon is the head of Moore Capital Management, one of the largest and most influential hedge funds in the world. Last week, he announced that he was returning one quarter of his largest fund, about $2 billion, to his investors. The reason he gave to The New York Times was that he had found it difficult to invest given the impossibility of predicting the European situation. He was quoted as saying, "The political involvement is so extreme -- we have not seen this since the postwar era. What they are doing is trying to thwart natural market outcomes. It is amazing how important the decision-making of one person, Angela Merkel, has become to world markets."
The purpose of hedge funds is to make money, and what Bacon essentially said was that it is impossible to make money when there is heavy political involvement, because political involvement introduces unpredictability in the market. Therefore, prudent investment becomes impossible. Hedge funds have become critical to global capital allocation because their actions influence other important actors, and their unwillingness to invest and trade has significant implications for capital availability. If others follow Moore Capital's lead, as they will, there will be greater difficulty in raising the capital needed to address the problem of Europe.
But more interesting is the reasoning. In Bacon's remarks, there is the idea that political decisions are unpredictable, or less predictable than economic decisions. Instead of seeing German Chancellor Merkel as a prisoner of non-market forces that constrain her actions, conventional investors seem to feel that Europe is now subject to Merkel's whims. I would argue that political decisions are predictable and that Merkel is not making decisions as much as reflecting the impersonal forces that drive her. If you understand those impersonal forces, it is possible to [....]
Getting It Wrong on Voter ID
Politico and others ignore the reality in favor of overheated rhetoric.
by Hans A. von Spakovsky
August 3, 2012
Among the many poorly researched articles that have written about voter-ID laws, one piece that appeared recently in Politico holds a special place. Reporter Emily Schultheis opens with the claim that “at least 5 million voters, predominantly young and from minority groups sympathetic to President Barack Obama, could be affected by an unprecedented flurry of new legislation by Republican governors and GOP-led legislatures to change or restrict voting rights by Election Day 2012.” Schultheis doesn’t say where she got the estimate of 5 million until well into the article — it’s from a Brennan Center report. And she fails to disclose the radical, left-wing nature of the Brennan Center or the fact that it is an advocacy organization that is litigating against voter ID.
As I have pointed out previously, that 5 million figure is completely speculative and not based on any substantive evidence. In fact, the experience of states such as Georgia and Indiana, whose voter-ID laws have been in place for years, as well as reputable surveys conducted by academic institutions such as American University, consistently show that the share of registered voters who don’t have a photo ID is less than 1 percent. This is a far cry from the high numbers the Brennan Center has been claiming since 2006. Every state that has implemented a voter-ID law has also made free IDs available to voters who don’t have them. One might wonder how in the world 5 million people are going to be prevented from voting — and why so few people are receiving free IDs. For instance, Kansas has a [....]
How Are Business Owners Fighting Against Obamacare?
July 29, 2012
Two days from now, employers across America will become vulnerable to crushing government penalties for exercising their religious freedom. This isn’t exactly what lawmakers advertised when they pushed Obamacare, but it is part of the Obama Administration’s agenda—forcing nearly all employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization services. Beginning August 1, employers must amend their health insurance offerings to include these drugs and services. And if they don’t? How about a fine of $100 per employee per day for non-compliance. This outrageous policy makes it impossible for employers to afford the fine—meaning they must change their insurance policies or stop offering health coverage to their workers.
But for many employers, offering the types of services required under the HHS mandate violates their consciences. It conflicts with their deeply held religious beliefs. And the government is telling them that doesn’t matter—what’s more, it’s telling them that their beliefs are inconsequential, and they must pay.
Just last Friday, a judge in Colorado gave one business’s owners the first glimmer of hope that their religious freedom may survive [....]
Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman, The European Crisis Is Your Latest Vindication
by Jerry Bowyer,
August 3, 2012
July 31st was Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday, and his birthday present is to watch the ‘European Project’ come crashing to the ground, just as he predicted that it would. I doubt that it gives him any pleasure. In fact, Friedman told Robert Mundell (the ‘Father of the Euro’) that since the experiment had already been entered into, he hoped that he would turn out to be wrong.
But he hasn’t been.
The discussion between these two brilliant men was sponsored by The Institute for Research on PublicPolicy in May of 2001. If you have the time, read it over. You’ll end up knowing more about currency economics than anybody has a right to, and you’ll learn more than anybody in any position of power in international finance knows about things like currency unions and fixed and flexible and pegged and unpegged (and gradations between) exchange rates . But the real clash was between the genius who thought up the Euro and the genius who was skeptical of it.
Friedman nailed it right at the beginning:
“There is no historical precedent for such an arrangement. It involves each country’s giving up power over its internal monetary policy to an entity not under its political control. Such a system has economic advantages and disadvantages, but I believe that its real Achilles heel will prove to be political; that a system under which the political and currency boundaries do not match is bound to prove unstable.”
In other words, when the accountability for creating money is separated from the accountability for spending money, chaos results. Mundell argued that the Euro and similar schemes which he hoped would be imitated around the world were worth it because they would lead to a higher standard of living:
“Countries with a unified currency system trade a great deal more with one another and are able to exploit the gains from trade and therefore have a higher standard of living.”
But Friedman argued that, in fact, the Euro would not be economically successful because Europe lacked sufficient economic freedom: [....]
Obamacare: The Road to Repeal Starts in the States
by Michael F. Cannon,
August 7, 2012
States that have refused to implement the Obama health law have already blocked $80 billion of its new deficit spending. If more states follow suit, they can block the other $1.6 trillion and force Congress to repeal the law. The law relies on states to implement two of its most essential pieces: health-insurance "exchanges" and a vast expansion of Medicaid. Exchanges are government agencies through which the law channels $800 billion to private health-insurance companies. The Medicaid expansion adds another $900 billion to the federal debt, with private insurers again taking a slice. States are under no obligation either to implement either. Responsible state officials will say no to both.
It is a myth that creating an exchange gives states more control over their insurance markets. Yes, the law directs the federal government to create one in states that do not. But every exchange must be approved by federal bureaucrats, empowering them to impose whatever oppressive rules on "state-run" exchanges they would impose through a federal exchange.
A critical mass of states could literally force Congress to repeal the Obama health law.
In contrast, by refusing to create [....]
Chik-fil-A-Quake: What the Media Didn't Say
by Shawn Mitchell,
August 6, 2012
If the media reports an earthquake was a breeze in the forest, did the earth still move? I’m not sure TownHall Finance is the natural venue for that question, but I’m also not sure why the Denver Post—my local paper—put a significant political and cultural event on page umpty-something, in the business section. If you didn’t see it with your own eyes, you might have missed something big last week. Under fire by gay activists and their media amplifiers, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy unapologetically confirmed he supports the biblical definition of family as he understands it. This modern heresy quickly went viral. Reaction was harsh. Big city mayors and councilors channeled Al Capone with a badge: “Don’t file no stinking permit applications in our town, Chick-fil-A!” Pundits nodded righteously. But, what happened next didn’t follow the script. Backlash welled up, not just from social conservatives, but fiscal conservatives and libertarians, outraged that politicians would trample the First Amendment, brandishing political litmus tests for the right to do business. Social media and web commentary buzzed [....]
Indiana Superintendent: Obama Administration Nationalized Common Core Standards
by Rachel Sheffield
August 3, 2012
At a Tea Party gathering last month, Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett expressed his concern with the growing federal overreach of Common Core education standards. “This administration has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach,” he said. “The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”
The Indianapolis Star adds:
Bennett pointed out that the Common Core’s standards originated with the National Governors Association, and were intended for voluntary adoption by states. Then, according to Bennett, Obama nationalized the standards and has tried to use federal clout to force the Common Core on the states.
That the standards were ever simply a state-led effort is questionable. Regardless, the push for national education standards has quickly become a major focus of the Obama Administration’s agenda.
From the beginning, the Administration has attempted to lure states to the standards with federal dollars. It began with Race to the Top money as well as a proposal to make Title I dollars contingent on a state’s adoption of the standards. Most recently, the Administration has required states to sign on to the standards in order to receive No Child Left Behind waivers. The Administration’s outright disapproval of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s merely expressing a desire to steer away from the so-called “state-led” standards is further evidence that this push for Common Core is neither voluntary nor state-controlled. Growing concern over this blatant federal overreach [....]
Morning Bell: Has Any Administration Policy NOT Killed Jobs Lately?
by Amy Payne,
August 3, 2012
Congress has headed off for its long vacation-and-campaign season, fleeing Washington as the unemployment rate rises. According to the Labor Department’s July jobs report, the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent, 12.8 million Americans are out of work, and 5.2 million have been out of work for at least a half a year. According to one survey, the country added a surprising 163,000 jobs in July, while according to a second Labor Department survey, employment fell by 195,000—raising questions about whether the more positive figure is all that reliable, given that the economy slowed significantly to a 1.5 percent annualized growth rate in the second quarter and appears to be slowing further.
The question isn’t what has slowed the economy—it’s really what Obama Administration policy hasn’t slowed the economy? The policies of the last few years have been unequivocal job killers. The Administration’s foot-dragging on free trade agreements has killed job creation. The extended moratorium on oil drilling, followed by new regulations, killed job creation. President Obama’s refusal to build the Keystone XL pipeline killed jobs. Ever-expanding Environmental Protection Agency regulations kill jobs. Extending unemployment insurance—part of the failed “stimulus”—was a humanitarian gesture, but it killed jobs. Even increasing deficit spending has a job-killing effect, the opposite of what Obama espouses.
And then there’s Obamacare, which if it goes into full effect will be one of the biggest job killers of modern times. To all of this, President Obama said,
“We tried our plan—and it worked.”
And they’re not done yet. The Democrat-led Senate just tried again last week to raise taxes on small businesses. The Republican-led House stopped that plan and passed a bill to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax policies for next year and thus defer part of Taxmageddon, the biggest job killer we now face. But will Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) even allow a vote on it? Reid is a major driver of these tax increases and job-killing policies. He has [....]
Morning Bell: Solyndra Revelations Show It’s Time to Close the “Bank of Washington”
by Amy Payne,
August 6, 2012
“The Bank of Washington continues to help us!”
bragged Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet in emails released last week. An investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee revealed that Solyndra—the solar company that went under, taking more than $600 million in taxpayer funds with it—wasn’t ever supposed to be an independent business. It was built to rely on the taxpayers.
“Getting business from Uncle Sam is a principal element of Solyndra’s channel strategy,”
wrote Tom Baruch, founder of Solyndra investor CEMA Capital, in an August 10, 2010 email. Getting federal money was integral to Solyndra’s business model. But even with government backing, Solyndra failed—just one of a growing list of companies in the Green Graveyard that took taxpayer money and went bankrupt. The emails released between Solyndra stakeholders and Obama Administration officials show that Solyndra’s investors knew the company was a bad bet for taxpayers, but the Administration wanted the energy loan guarantee program to be perceived as successful. Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office was finding that the Department of Energy played favorites with the program, and high-level advisers including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were raising red flags.
When it became clear that the company wasn’t going to make it, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote to White House insiders Stephanie Cutter and David Plouffe:
“This is going to be a real pain, Solyndra is about to go under apparently.”
Despite 12 such failures—companies taking taxpayer money yet going bankrupt—the Administration hasn’t given up its push for solar. In July, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar characterized the bankruptcies and delays that have plagued the solar manufacturing sector as
“just minor (and expected) blips for the industry.” [....]
Obama's Right; His Plan Worked
by Morgan Brittany,
August 6, 2012
It’s not like he didn’t tell us.
It’s not like all the warning signs were not there for all of us to see.
Barak Obama’s now infamous words,
“we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America”
have come true. Remember when he told Joe the Plumber “we just have to spread the wealth around”? Well, he spoke the truth. Like in “The Wizard of Oz”; “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”; we believed the media when they downplayed Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers.
Move on, there is nothing to see here.
America bought it hook line and sinker and now it is becoming crystal clear. Obama's plan is working and in three and a half years he has taken America in a completely different direction and the results are disastrous. This is no accident. Obama and his minions in the White House along with his many Czars are not stupid people. On the contrary, they are “scary” smart and dangerous to our liberty. I wonder how many people who scoffed at the idea that Obama means to collapse the system are now re-evaluating their position. Because we can turn a blind eye no longer; this could be a deliberate and calculated effort.
If he isn’t deliberately overwhelming the U.S. economy to create economic crisis, social chaos (class warfare/Occupy Wall Street) and systemic failure, his plan at least is creating the conditions for it.
Here are some numbers and facts: [....]
Pigs, Birds And Seals: The Next Great Pandemic
by Bob Livingston,
Personal Liberty Digest
August 6, 1012
Flu vaccines are a boondoggle on the public and a treasure trove for Big Pharma. But worse than a boondoggle, vaccines in general are dangers to human health. Pharmaceutical researchers, doctors, scientists and world health experts know this — and have for years. But they lie about the vaccines’ efficacy and cover up their side effects. Researcher Lucija Tomljenovic, Ph.D., has summarized transcripts of meetings of the UK Department of Health (DH) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation [British spelling] (JCVI). Her report shows that for more than 30 years the JCVI has knowingly withheld from the public and healthcare practitioners critical data that showed vaccines caused severe adverse reactions and health dangers to patients. This was done to achieve satisfactory “herd immunity” vaccination rates.
According to the report, JCVI had substantial documentation as early as 1981 that associated the measles vaccine with serious adverse reactions, including death and long-term adverse neurological outcomes. The adverse reactions included encephalitis, encephalopathy or sudden death shortly after vaccine had been administered. In 1981, JCVI studied reports of 60 patients who were affected between 1970 and 1981, with eight deaths and 16 with permanent disabilities. By 1983, the JCVI had reports of 66 more adverse reactions (including some that caused severe handicaps) from vaccines administered between January 1982 and April 1983. In 1986, with the committee continuing to discuss known measles vaccine side effects: “The Committee agreed to a suggestion from the Chairman that in the future it would accept reports on adverse reactions as ‘for information only’ [their emphasis-added quotation marks].”
In other words, they were [....]
Record Spending by Obama’s Camp Shrinks Coffers
by N. Confessore;
August 4, 2012
President Obama has spent more campaign cash more quickly than any incumbent in recent history, betting that heavy early investments in personnel, field offices and a high-tech campaign infrastructure will propel him to victory in November. Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have burned through millions of dollars to find and register voters. They have spent almost $50 million subsidizing Democratic state parties to hire workers, pay for cellphones and update voter lists. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on polling, online advertising and software development to turn Mr. Obama’s fallow volunteers corps into a grass-roots army.
The price tag: about $400 million from the beginning of last year to June 30 this year, according to a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission records, including $86 million on advertising. But now Mr. Obama’s big-dollar bet is being tested. With less than a month to go before the national party conventions begin, the president’s once commanding cash advantage has evaporated, leaving Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee with about $25 million more cash on hand than the Democrats as of the beginning of July. Despite Mr. Obama’s multimillion-dollar advertising barrage against Mr. Romney, he is now being outspent on the airwaves with Mr. Romney benefiting from a deluge of spending by conservative “super PACs” and outside groups. While Mr. Romney has depleted much of his funds from the nominating contest, he is four weeks away from being able to tap into tens of millions of dollars in general election money. And many polls show the race to be very close.
Mr. Obama’s cash needs — he spent $70.8 million in June alone, more than [....]
Reforming the Food Stamp Program
by Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley
July 25, 2012
Abstract: The food stamp program is due for reauthorization as part of a new farm bill. It is the second most expensive means-tested aid program, increasing from $19.8 billon in 2000 to $84.6 billion in 2011, and President Barack Obama has proposed a budget to keep food stamp spending at sharply elevated levels for the next decade. The national debt has topped $16 trillion and will continue to grow rapidly for the foreseeable future. To preserve the economy, government spending, including welfare spending, must be put on a more prudent course. Congress and the Administration should transform food stamps into a program that encourages work and self-sufficiency, close eligibility loopholes, and, after the recession ends, reduce food stamp spending to pre-recession levels.
The farm bill is due for reauthorization, including the food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The food stamp program is very large and growing rapidly. President Barack Obama plans to spend nearly $800 billion on food stamps over the next decade. Yet as large as it is, this program is only part of a much larger system of means-tested government assistance: 79 programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income Americans. President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget calls for $12.7 trillion in means-tested aid over the next 10 years.
Means-tested welfare is the fastest growing component of government. Total federal and state means-tested spending—which excludes Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance—rose from $431 billon in 2000 to $927 billion in 2011. According to President Obama’s spending plans, annual means-tested spending will rise to $1.2 trillion within four years and $1.5 trillion per year by 2022.
The food stamp program is the second most expensive means-tested aid program. Food stamp spending has [....]
Rewilding Network—Saving Globe Through Big Wilderness: Another UN Agenda 21 Hoax
by Kelly O'Connell,
August 7, 2012
Attempts to fathom the United Nation’s “Sustainable Development” program Agenda 21 mean continually peering behind the facade of a thousand “harmless” organizations and programs. This because Agenda 21 is ostensibly socialist dogma seeking creation of world collectivist hegemony on land use, human population size, capitalism and consumption of electricity and water. Since transparent socialism was unable to ever attract a majority in America, these programs must always fly below the radar.
Ironically, Agenda 21 is itself transparently directed towards extreme remedies for the “problem” of mankind. Such ideas as reducing human populations and relocating them near industry, while revoking property ownership rights are the remedies proposed for humanity’s errors. In particular “re-wilding”—or returning huge tracts of land to pristine status while restoring all former animal groups—is one of the most dramatically anti-human ideas ever conceived, defined by one author:
Rewilding is “the scientific argument for restoring big wilderness based on the regulatory roles of large predators,” according to Soul and Reed Noss in their landmark 1998 Wild Earth article “Rewilding and Biodiversity.”
Rewilding is ultimately about property rights. In transferring large tracts of land (aka Big Wilderness) into government hands it thereby cancels any rights of the original owners. This is, in fact, the entire goal of rewilding large, dangerous carnivores—to take away mankind’s property rights to big parcels of land so the elite caste might macro-manage earth according to [....]
Salmonella Bioterrorism: 25 Years Later
by Dan Flynn,
October 7, 2009
For the first 12 years, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) could not write about it. After 15 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was still identifying the six motivational factors that were involved: charismatic leadership, no outside constituency, apocalyptic ideology, loner or splinter group, sense of paranoia and grandiosity, and defensive aggression. This month marks the 25th anniversary of the foodborne bioterrorism attack on The Dalles, Oregon by top followers of cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Far more people know about it now than did at the time.
In 1984 and for years afterward, nobody outside Oregon paid much attention to it. Since envelopes of anthrax were sent to media outlets and the U.S. Senate, bioterrorism has received much more attention throughout the United States. And while the 2001 anthrax attack remains a mystery, everything was solved involving the 1984 Oregon outbreak of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium that sickened 751 people and sent 45 to hospitals. It was the largest foodborne illness outbreak in the nation in 1984. Now there's interest because the group involved cultured its own pathogen for terrorist purposes.
Jim Weaver was the local Congressman when people in The Dalles got sick. He'd rise on the floor of the U.S. House just four months later to charge the Rajneesh with sprinkling Salmonella on the salad bar ingredients in eight restaurants. Rep. Weaver's remarks ran counter to the CDC investigation, which blamed unsanitary food handlers for the outbreak. Writing recently in The Oregonian, Weaver recalled: "I received daily printouts from the CDC investigation that made it only too clear that it was virtually impossible for the food handlers to be the source. For example, in one restaurant, the same food handlers set up salad bars in a private banquet room and in the main public dining room.
"Dozens of salmonella cases issued from the salad bar in the public dining room; none from the salad bar in the private banquet room. Yet the health authorities remained unanimous in blaming flood handlers."
The food handlers would have to wait a few more months to have their names cleared. American Type Culture Collection in Seattle had sold the bacterium to the Rajneesh. Among the hands that sprinkled droplets of Salmonella from vials hidden under their red robes was that of Ma Anand Sheela, the Bhagwan's top lieutenant. Three years earlier, the self-described Indian mystic [....]
The 10 Most Revealing Solyndra Emails
by Lachlan Markay,
August 3, 2012
On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a bombshell report detailing its investigation into bankrupt solar company Solyndra. Along with the report, the committee released a trove of emails between Solyndra stakeholders and administration officials. They paint a troubling picture of efforts to prop up the company despite its bleak economic outlook, and reactions to the company’s eventual bankruptcy. Scribe has compiled a list of the top 10 most revealing emails released [....]
The Media’s Terrible Trip
Romney’s “gaffe-plagued” trip abroad highlights embarrassing press bias.
by Rich Lowry,
August 3, 2012
During his overseas trip, Mitt Romney traveled to some of our closest allies accompanied by some of his most merciless enemies — the media. If you don’t know that Romney’s foreign jaunt was the worst diplomatic fiasco since the Zimmermann telegram or the XYZ Affair, you haven’t been reading his press clips. In Poland, when a few reporters shouted thoughtlessly hostile questions at Romney near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, they nicely encapsulated the tenor of the coverage. A Romney aide, Rick Gorka, told them to “shove it” — a perfectly apt sentiment.
The press can say that, like it or not, it simply played its role. Which is true, if it’s supposed to be querulous, unfair, and self-obsessed. In London, the U.S. press covered the British press’s manufactured outrage over Romney’s Olympics comments. Romney didn’t say anything about the shaky preparations that you couldn’t have read in a British newspaper. That didn’t stop Fleet Street’s gleefully nationalistic piling-on, which gave the accompanying U.S. media its narrative for the trip. In one word: fiasco. On high gaffe alert [....]
Voter ID lawsuits could delay election results again by Halimah Abdullah, CNN.com
August 7, 2012
Washington (CNN) -- Partisan legal showdowns in battleground states over a spate of new voting laws could turn the 2012 elections into a repeat of the 2000 presidential vote recount saga, political experts say.
"Whenever you change the rules by enacting new laws, it triggers a round of litigation. I don't think we'll see an end to this anytime soon," said Dan Tokaji, an Ohio State University law professor. "It could come down to the states counting of absentee ballots. ... We could see a replay of the 2000 election, where we don't have a winner for weeks."
This year's fight has gotten ugly, especially in the hotly contested states of Florida and Pennsylvania, where there are high-profile fights over new voter identification laws, and Ohio, where President Barack Obama's and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaigns are locked in a showdown over early voting.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal think tank at the New York University School of Law that has criticized the increase in what it sees as prohibitive voting laws, 16 states have passed measures "that have the potential to impact the 2012 election." The endgame, political experts say, is all about [....]
How Many Ways Can You Spell “Fraud”?
by Gavriel Swerling,
July 26, 2012
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2013, introduced in the Senate last month, would make it a felony to make false statements on affidavits in order to receive federal funding. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? Now there will finally be a law on the books that will enable federal prosecutors to go after liars who cost the public money. Oh wait—that law is already on the books. Fraud has been a common law crime for hundreds of years, and it is already a felony in every state as well as on the federal level. There are federal statutes explicitly criminalizing mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, health care fraud, and so forth. (There is even a bill before Congress that would specifically criminalize the mislabeling of maple syrup.) The False Claims Act, which has been on the books since 1863, also criminalizes the act of presenting “a false claim for payment.” The new anti-fraud bill is completely unnecessary.
Perhaps the problem is that the current punishments for fraud are not sufficiently onerous to deter this crime. The bill would impose a $4,000 fine and up to one year in prison, in addition to the penalty for any other offense that a culprit commits. This new punishment would sit atop the 30-year sentence (and more than $1 million in fines) already available. How many criminals think to themselves: I can risk committing fraud if I’ll be facing only 30 years in prison, but 31 years is just too much. How will this new anti-fraud statute benefit society? It won’t. We already have more than enough laws to combat fraud. If Congress believes that there is a significant, unaddressed fraud crime spree, then what we might need is more FBI agents, prosecutors, defense counsel, and so forth. But that would require Congress to spend real money; this provision effectively costs nothing.
However, it also does nothing [....]
Why Is it Important to Fight for School Choice?
[undated material] On the late Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday today, his words are truer than ever: “There is no respect in which inhabitants of a low-income neighborhood are so disadvantaged as in the kind of schooling they can get for their children.”
And the news from many parts of the country is disheartening. Despite a new school choice option for students in Louisiana, a teachers union there has threatened to sue private schools that accept voucher students this fall. Unions have fought school choice initiatives because they see options for students eroding their power structure.
The Administration is also fighting students’ best interest. Instead of promoting what works—school choice, empowering parents and students—President Obama just issued an executive order last week creating a new federal bureaucracy to single out African-American students for more government meddling in their education. The order states that:
substantial obstacles to equal educational opportunity still remain in America’s educational system. African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline and referrals to special education.
The new White House Initiative on [....]
By Robert Ariail - August 10, 2012
Until Next Sunday....