Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kagan refuses to recuse herself on Obamacare

By John Vinci

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the so-called “26-state lawsuit” against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. This announcement ends speculation whether recent Obama appointee Justice Elena Kagan will recuse herself from the case.

It is clear that Justice Kagan has refused requests that she not participate in this ruling. The failure of the Court order to note that Kagan had recused herself indicates that she has not. Traditionally, when a justice decides not to participate in a decision to hear a case,the Court order notes that fact. No notification means that it can be assumed that each justice participated in the decision, including Kagan.

The calls for Justice Kagan to recuse herself are based upon her role as Obama’s Solicitor General when Obamacare was passed. In this position, she must have been involved in the strategy decisions on how to defend Obamacare. In fact, and by her own admission, she “was present at ‘at least one’ meeting in which the challenges to PPACA were discussed.”
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The Week Ahead: Drilling For Oil In Alaska And Occupy Movement's Loss Of Control

Video by Frank McCaffrey
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Senators Barrasso and Heller take a stand for private property

By Rebecca DiFede

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to overstep their boundaries as a government body. Their previous infractions have been partially documented in a previous article from NetRightDaily.com where they imposed regulations on toxic emissions from power plants, causing a massive loss of money and jobs for the sake of (maybe) reducing our carbon footprint.

And now, once again, they have come to fight their battles in the arena of private property. Their latest encroachment is to propose regulatory changes to the Clean Water Act that drastically expand the scope and reach of their power. Regardless of Congressional approval, these mandates give the government permission to take/maintain control of any body of water that exists on private property for the purpose of energy conservation and economic preservation.
However, it is clear that those are not their true objectives. This is a blatant attempt by the EPA to encroach upon the rights of private property owners, thereby hindering their ability to make a living off their land.
Like Rogue, the mutant X-Men character who sucked power from everyone she touched, so Lisa Jackson is going on a spree, touching everything she can so as to absorb (read: steal) its power for herself.
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There are limits to what a central bank can do

By Robert Romano
“If a monetary deal’s going to work, the central bank has to have unlimited powers to intervene to support economies, and indeed banks, to prevent collapse.”

That was how the UK’s Business Secretary Vince Cable, a Liberal Democrat, put it on the BBC, speaking on the European Central Bank (ECB). He was basically complaining that Article 123 of the Lisbon Treaty, which created the Eurozone, expressly forbids the ECB from making direct bond purchases of government debt.

Rarely are politicians so blatant about the pernicious practice that central banks engage in to prop up their host governments — i.e. print money to pay the debt.

While it may make one think of the historical examples of Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic, the practice is actually incredibly common. In fact, these examples pale in comparison to the largest debtor in history, the United States of America.
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Midnight Raid: NYPD Invade Zuccotti Park, Force Out Occupy Wall Street Protesters

Posted by BZ Riger
Two articles from the Huff Post and the BBC.

Midnight Raid: NYPD Invade Zuccotti Park, Force Out Occupy Wall Street Protesters

By Lila Shapiro and Maxwell Strachan
First Posted: 11/15/11 05:59 AM ET

In an unexpected move, the New York City Police Department descended on Zuccotti Park around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, proceeding to evict protesters, clear the park and arrest those that stood in their way.
Police told demonstrators that the 2-month-old camp must be temporarily emptied for cleaning, citing “health and fire safety” hazards, and that protesters could either leave on their own volition or stay and be arrested and stripped of their belongings. By 4 a.m., the park was cleared and hundreds of protesters, uncertain of their next move and blocked by police barricades, wandered the financial district.

According to The Associated Press, 70 arrests had already been made.

While police say protesters will be allowed back in the park in the morning, their tents will not, according to an eviction notice handed to occupiers.

“You are required to immediately remove all property, including tents, sleeping bags and tarps from Zuccotti Park. That means you must remove the property now,” the notice read. “You will be allowed to return to the park in several hours, when this work is complete. If you decide to return, you will not be permitted to bring your tents, sleeping bags, tarps and similar materials with you.”

Although the park was cleared, some protesters did not appear ready to give in to the eviction notice’s demands.
“This is a standoff,” said James Rose, 39, an artist who had been occupying the park on and off for a month. Rose is a member of the Arts and Culture working group, and had been out for the evening at an Occupy Wall Street arts show offsite. He returned home to find himself locked out by the barricades.

He gestured at a line of roughly 30 cops, setting up a fresh row of metal fences along the side of Cortland Street, one block north of the park. “We’re being herded like sheep now,” Rose said. “But this is so not over.”

Garrett Perkins, 29, standing with two stuffed camping backpacks, said he had been sleeping in Zuccotti when hundreds of cops surrounded the tents. Most protesters did not move, he said, even after the police first announced that the park must be cleared. Then the police began throwing out tents, cuffing occupiers and using pepper spray.

Perkins travelled to Occupy Wall Street from Alaska with a large collection of cold weather gear. When the choice came down to losing his gear or walking, he opted to hold onto his belongings.

“I thought it would be a blow to myself and the movement if I lost all this cold weather gear,” Perkins said. “This is a long uphill battle and we’re going to need it.”

Protesters did not appear ready to give up the fight — or the occupation of Zuccotti — despite the setback.
“The movement started at Zuccotti, but it’s bigger than Zuccotti,” said Jerry Letto, a 24-year-old deliveryman from Brooklyn. Letto said demonstrators would “definitely” return to Zuccotti, although the time frame remained unclear at that time.

“I don’t know about that,” Billie Greenfield, a 24-year-old standing nearby said. Greenfield wasn’t without hope, however. “This will only make us stronger,” she said.

Through the night, protesters routinely sang “We Shall Overcome” and chanted “We are the 99 percent.” Others beat drums and yelled: “New York, Cairo, Wisconsin, push us down we’ll rise again!” They did so under the watchful eye of hundreds of police officers.

Shen Tong, a protester and former leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, tried to calm the growing tension between protesters and police. Addressing a crowd of about a hundred people two blocks from the park, he shouted, and his words were echoed by all those standing near.

“Brothers and sisters of the NYPD who used to think you’re not part of this. Tonight, you’re a part of this,” he said. “You used to think you could just keep your head down and get along, or maybe get ahead, but tonight, we tell you, you are involved!”

Shen said the key to winning the night was to stay mobile. In light of the night’s events, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly planning to address the situation at an 8 a.m. press conference. Demonstrators had previously planned to stage “a block party the 1 percent will never forget” on Wall Street Thursday in commemoration of the Occupy Wall Street’s two-month anniversary.
Molly O’Toole contributed reporting.

Occupy Wall Street: New York police clear Zuccotti Park

There were chaotic scenes as protesters resisted police
BBC News, 15 November 2011
New York police have dismantled the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park and arrested about 200 people following a raid in the early hours.
Protesters were ordered to leave at about 01:00 (06:00 GMT), before police began removing tents and property.
The New York camp was set up in September to protest against economic inequality – it inspired similar demonstrations around the world.
It was the latest camp to be cleared by police in US cities in recent days.
Legal challenge
Following Tuesday’s eviction, a New York state judge issued an order ruling protesters could return to the park, pending a hearing at 11:30 (16:30 GMT).

Gingrich jumps to front of Republican pack – AFP

The Guardian Gingrich jumps to front of Republican pack AFP JEFFERSON, Iowa — White House hopeful Newt Gingrich, the former US House speaker whose campaign to win the Republican nomination appeared all but over just weeks ago, has surged toward the front of the pack. His campaign's revival follows the rise and … Gingrich: I've had moments of “regret” in personal life CBS News Can Newt Gingrich Win Iowa

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Gingrich jumps to front of Republican pack – AFP

NBA Lockout: Michael Jordan’s Legacy Tarnished After Flip-Flopping on Players

Everything you know is a lie.
Michael Jordan die-hard fans, owner sympathizers and those who couldn’t care less about the lockout will continue to see MJ as the greatest player in basketball history with no strings attached. 

NBA players themselves and the fans that strongly back them, though, will never look at Jordan the same again.  The players who idolized Jordan growing up now look back at their childhood hero as a lie.

Washington Wizards shooting guard Nick Young declared his boycott of Air Jordan on Twitter tweeting: “im not wearin jordans no more cant believe what i just seen and heard from MJ #ElvisDoneLeftTheBuilding.”

Stephon Marbury isn’t even in the NBA anymore, but according to CBS, he ripped the six-time league champ apart on Twitter as well saying:
“Micheal Fake Jordan is a sell out. #Period. He forgot which hole he came out of. I said it “Stephon X Marbury”… MJ went from MJ the black cat to a guy who forgot he was a player. Sell your team if you can’t make a profit.. Your just a regular dude now! … When he rapped the Bulls for 36 million for one year no ones said nothing about that…He’s just a man. I know he’s some people’s GOd but real is real. Dude forgot he played and demanded millions… he wasn’t my idol I just loved his game. He never did nothing that I knew about to change the life off of the court other then hit cats over the head for a 100 150 dollar sneakers and still doing it. Jim Brown said it best. Micky mouse type cat. Wave and break you pocket for as long as he can…he didn’t create nothing. The game was played way before him…”
The Herald Sun reported that Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest also gave his two cents on the issue:
“He’s an owner now, so I guess [as] an owner, he’s on the other side.  The players, we didn’t say Jordan’s name. We were just supporting each other.  And then Jordan came out and said, ‘the players need to do this and do that.’  But we’re the same guys who looked up to Michael Jordan when we were kids, the same guys that wanted to fly like Mike and be like Mike.”
Artest, I mean, World Peace, insisted that the players still respect Jordan, but he added that: “Guys just felt like he didn’t support us when we most needed him.”

Everyone, minus major MJ homers, knew Jordan as one of the cockiest athletes alive during his time in the NBA, but that ultimate confidence is what made him great and you couldn’t hate him for it.
That same attitude has been on display during negotiations between the players and owners.  Instead of being a ball hog, though, Jordan has been hogging the mic leading the charge of the owners that aren’t in favor of proposed BRI split.
Jordan’s killer instinct made him legendary on the hardwood, but it will make him infamous on the negotiating table.
The love of money…

David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.  Follow him on Twitter.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

Dr. Boyce: Race Written All Over Penn State Sex Scandal

Dr. Boyce: Race Written All Over Penn State Sex Scandal

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World 

Like the rest of America, I found myself getting sick after reading about the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University.  The detailed reports are nothing less than mortifying, and I am among those who believe that this university should pay tens of millions to victims and their families in order to make things right.  I also find myself wondering if anyone other than former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky should be going to jail over this – there appear to be numerous accomplices who should be losing more than just their jobs.

But a radio conversation I had this afternoon with Santita Jackson (the daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson) led me to reflect on the buzz that this case has suddenly created within the African American community.    Black folks are increasingly concerned about the fact that many of the victims were Black boys, and wondering if race created an additional layer of vulnerability.  In light of this, I thought about a few things that I’m asking myself about this pathetic and tragic situation.

 1)      How many of those boys were Black?

 Many of my associates noticed that media reports of the Penn State/Sandusky sex scandal featured a great deal of code language:  At-risk youth, under-privileged kids, etc.   In many circles, and in a country that enjoys hiding from racial realities, these words effectively mean “Black boys.”   This is supplemented by the fact that many programs to “help” Black youth are also feeder programs for universities seeking to extract wealth from the extraordinary abilities of the Black male athlete.   Based on my (as my friend calls it) “negro intuition,” I’m willing to bet that more than a few of these boys were Black.

 The fact that the children might have been Black boys doesn’t make the scandal any worse than it already is.  But it does create a heightened reaction from a community that is sick of seeing Black men victimized in far too many walks of life.   It also leads some to wonder if race played a role in Sandusky’s fetishes, or the tone of the university’s response.

 2)      How did NCAA economic power play a role in the cover-up?

 It’s a common fact that the NCAA earns hundreds of millions of dollars each year on the backs of unpaid athletes.   Many of these athletes come from underprivileged communities, and already find themselves dominated by the massive financial power of this professional sports league.  Yes, I said “professional:” everyone in this league makes professional money except for the individuals who actually do the work.  We can’t let a mere technicality keep us from calling out the system for what it is.

 Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno and other administrators likely swept Sandusky’s activities under the rug because they were trying to protect their massive cash cow.  In that regard, the university came to the concerted conclusion that protecting the reputation of the Penn State University football program was more important than protecting the innocence of young children.  Only a keen addiction to the power of money can make a group of educated men and women do such an evil thing.

 If the Penn State program were truly amateur (as the NCAA would like for us to believe), there would not be millions of dollars on the line and the Penn State football program would not have an economic value that matches many professional sports organizations.  This would have made a difference in the degree to which administrators felt pressured to make unethical decisions to protect a billion dollar brand.  In other words, the Penn State University sex scandal was yet another example of just how far NCAA members are willing to go in order to protect their wealth.

 The Penn State/Sandusky child sex scandal is simply among the worst and latest of a slew of ethical compromises regularly made by universities that earn millions from collegiate athletics.  Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen students taken out of classes for big games, having their majors changed to fit their football schedules, and even leaving college without ever learning how to read with administrators hiding the fact that the star on the team barely knows his A-B-Cs.  The pattern is reprehensible, and reminds us of how NCAA athletic money has served to corrupt numerous institutions, turning them into a glaring hypocritical embodiment of capitalism gone wild.

3) Did race play a role in the way Penn State responded to the abuse?

One can only hope that race wasn’t a factor in the decision of leading Penn State officials to overlook a serial child predator in their ranks.  But African Americans have good reason to be concerned and skeptical.  When Black kids go missing, the media almost never notices.  When Black children are being shot in “the hood,” nobody cares.  Black men are incarcerated at holocaust proportions, but few politicians show even a hint of concern.  In light of these realities, it’s not entirely inconceivable that Sandusky chose his targets for the same reason that many serial killers murder prostitutes with no family…..it’s easy to get away with the unthinkable when you go after the victim that no one cares about.

This leads me to my final question……

4)      What if Jerry Sandusky was a Black man having sex with white boys?

 While I hold that we don’t know the race of all the abused children, I truly believe that many of these young men were Black.  While the race of the victim has no impact on the severity or relevance of the crime, it has been proven in numerous academic studies that race does impact the magnitude of the punishment.  For example, had OJ Simpson not killed a white woman, his case would have been in the media for about a week.

 The NCAA has ruined the careers of numerous Black male athletes over even the tiniest of infractions:  Getting free tattoos, taking a few hundred dollars from a booster, or asking to be compensated in a manner that is remotely consistent with their massive market value.   You would expect that an institution (the NCAA) that has the ability to catch an athlete taking free lunch would also be able to identify a man who has been sexually abusing children in campus facilities for decades.   The truth, however, is that we tend to only find the things that we’re actually looking for, and I suspect that the desire to protect young men and women hardly inspires as much passion as the NCAA’s desire to protect its money – for example, the NCAA has no problem seeing the star player’s mother being evicted rather than share its money with the players and their families.

 I can’t help but wonder if the Penn State scandal would have been swept under the rug had a Black coach (or athlete) been found abusing a young white kid in the showers in the same manner as Jerry Sandusky.   Would the free passes Sandusky has received from the judge (who volunteered with his charity), prosecutors and the university have come to pass if the situation has been shaped differently? While we might presume that any Penn State coach would have been protected in the same way, it’s not difficult to speculate that race might be a factor in a case such as this.

 Only time will tell how Penn State University overcomes one of the most tragic scandals in the history of college sports.  But I hold to the premise that these kids were sold out for money, and it is for this reason that we should all be ashamed.   I can’t begin to name the number of reasons that this situation could have been easily avoided; if Penn State were truly an amateur athletic organization, such a terrible cover-up would never have happened.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Syracuse Professor and founder of ALARM, the Athlete Liberation Academic Reform Movement.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.