Monday, January 23, 2012

Stop Bailing Out Europe

By Howard Rich

Contrary to the rhetoric of our leaders, U.S. taxpayers are still subsidizing an ongoing bailout of the flailing Eurozone. This expansive financial commitment — components of which have been cleverly disguised as currency swaps — comes at a time when our country can least afford it.

Entering 2012, the federal government’s debt stood at roughly $15.2 trillion — an amount that is projected to climb to at least $16.4 trillion in the coming year. This will be the fifth consecutive year in which the federal government has spent more than $1 trillion in money that it didn’t have – and yet lawmakers in both parties are still refusing to make long-overdue cuts. Even worse, they’re still refusing to address the unsustainable entitlement excess that's fueling this soaring debt.

In such an environment Washington simply cannot afford to pump more taxpayer money into bailouts at home or abroad — whether through loans, direct appropriations or clever “liquidity swaps” like the one exposed recently by Gerald O’Driscoll of the Cato Institute.

“The Fed is, working through the ECB, bailing out European banks and, indirectly, spendthrift European governments,” O’Driscoll wrote, noting that these swaps are nothing but thinly-veiled loans that the Federal Reserve has no authority to make.

Such opaqueness and hypocrisy is commonplace coming from this administration. Two months ago, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that “we do not in any way believe that additional resources are required from the United States and from taxpayers” to prop up the Eurozone. Hours later, however, Barack Obama emerged from a meeting with European leaders pledging that America would “do our part to help them resolve this issue.”
“Our part?”
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The Week Ahead: European Bailouts Are An Issue As We Head Into State Of The Union

Video by Frank McCaffrey
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NDAA, EEA, SOPA, PIPA…when will the government STOP trying to control us?

By Rebecca DiFede

As recently reported by NetRightDaily, both the Senate and the House passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); a $662 billion Defense bill. It broadens the military’s power to arrest and detain any and all people as suspected terrorists without due process protections, whether captured here or abroad. Despite veto threats from our illustrious president, the bill passed and was signed into law.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, another bill was introduced into Congress that threatened the safety and security of not just Americans, but nationalized residents as well. It is called The Enemy Expatriation Act or EEA (H.R.3166) and it is something out of a fascist’s playbook.

Introduced by Charles Dent [PA-15], and co-sponsored by Jason Altmire [PA-4], Robert Latta [OH-5] and Frank Wolf [VA-10], this bill allows the government to remove the nationality of anyone who participates in any terrorist activity, or activity that seems to be of a terroristic nature, or even something that only sort of has loosely to do with the subject of terrorists. As NetRightDaily also stated recently, this means that an American’s citizenship rights and the constitutional protections those rights infer can be stripped away merely based upon an allegation.

Both of these bills send shivers down the spines of the average American, and yet somehow the powers that be saw fit to draft yet another horrific piece of legislation that will haunt our dreams for generations to come. A bill that goes beyond our physical security and national status, and begins to threaten our First Amendment rights, the very foundation on which our country was built.

This bill is called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its Senate ugly cousin, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). SOPA and PIPA would give the government the power to obliterate the most important aspect of the internet that separates it from all other media: its freedom.

Essentially what these acts set out to do in the name of preventing copyright infringement is to target the host site itself, rather than simply removing the copyrighted content and prosecuting the illegal downloaders.
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Up in Smoke 2?

By Rick Manning

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that government-owned General Motors’ showcase electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt does not have a problem with catching on fire in spite of two test vehicles becoming engulfed in flames weeks after being subjected to test crashes. With 8000 Volts out there, and at least one mysterious fire in the garage of an owner to go along with the fires in the NHTSA garages, one has to wonder if the findings have more to do with the Obama Administration’s desire to promote the Volt rather than a real concern about consumer safety.

That is the kind of question that would never exist if the government did not own more than one third of General Motors. Remember, the NHTSA is the same agency that fined Toyota millions of dollars for an alleged acceleration problem that caused accidents, only to discover months later that the problem was a trial lawyer fabrication in order to fleece the corporate giant.

During the extensive media coverage of Toyota’s “safety” problem, General Motors vehicle sales jumped as the Japanese automaker struggled to keep its reputation for making a reliable vehicle intact.

And that is ultimately one of the practical problems of the Obama General Motors bailout. Every action by a regulatory agency dealing with the company comes into question, and every action against a competitor gets scrutinized as potentially being motivated by self-interest rather than public safety.

The Chevy Volt itself should survive or fail based upon the marketplace of consumers. However, the seeming regulatory push to save the brand must have Ralph Nader spinning in his grave. Okay, Nader isn’t dead, but his silence is certainly deafening.
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Could Mitt Romney be America's first Hispanic president?

Mitt, we hardly knew ye.
Or should I say, "primo!" As much as it embarrasses me to admit it, given some of his views and how he expresses them, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and I could be distant cousins. Romney's father, George, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and so was my grandfather, Roman.
first Hispanic president. Don't laugh. Technically, Romney is just as "Mexican" as former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was born of a Mexican mother and American father. When Richardson ran for the White House in 2008, he was often touted by the media as someone who would become the nation's first Hispanic president.
Que? You didn't know that Mitt Romney was half-Mexican? It's true. In fact, if he makes it to the White House, in addition to becoming the first Mormon in the Oval Office, he could also be the nation's
That changed this week when Romney -- in talking about his father, a self-made man who worked his way up from nothing to become head of American Motors Corporation, governor of Michigan and a Republican presidential candidate in 1968 -- told a crowd at the Rochester Opera House in New Hampshire that his father was born in Mexico and came to the United States at 5.
Yet, I would imagine that a lot of Americans aren't aware of this branch of the Romney family tree, and that's because it is not a detail that Romney usually talks about publicly -- and especially not on the campaign trail.
Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, fled the United States and crossed into Mexico in 1885 to escape religious persecution. He helped build the Mormon enclave of Colonia Juarez in Chihuahua.
Miles Park Romney never became a Mexican citizen, and neither did his son, Gaskell, or grandson, George. They were all denied Mexican citizenship because statutes on the books in Mexico denied that right to American settlers and their offspring.
Speaking to the crowd in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney compared his father's story to those of countless other immigrants who have come to this country seeking economic opportunity.
My grandfather, a Mexican citizen, also came to the United States legally as a child in the early 1900s with his family, trying to escape the chaos of the Mexican Revolution. It was during the same time that Romney's grandfather, Gaskell, returned to the United States with his family, also legally and presumably for the same reason
Now, hold on to your sombrero.
I'm an American, born in the United States to parents who were born in the United States. In fact, three of my four grandparents were born in the United States. And yet, growing up, people in my hometown in Central California referred to me and other Mexican-Americans like me as "Mexican." That was the shorthand. But comparing bloodlines, you could say that Romney is more "Mexican" than I am. After all, Romney is just one generation removed from our ancestral homeland; I'm two.
This is ironic given that I've spent the last 20 years criticizing politicians who twist the facts, propose simple solutions and pick on those who don't have a voice.
And Romney has spent the last several months doing precisely that, just like he did during his failed 2008 presidential bid. He has used illegal immigration as a weapon against Republican opponents who propose reasonable solutions and in the process portrayed illegal immigrants, most of whom come from Mexico, as takers who come to the United States for free public benefits and ought not be rewarded with "amnesty."
We can expect Romney to continue that theme over the next week as he campaigns in South Carolina, where Republican primary voters will cast ballots on January 21 and where illegal immigration is a bigger issue than in Iowa or New Hampshire.
Lawmakers in the Palmetto State recently passed a tough Arizona-style immigration law that requires local and state police to determine the immigration status of anyone they suspect to be an illegal immigrant (read: Latinos).
It's an approach that is wildly unpopular with Latinos and which has the blessing of most of the Republicans running for president, including Mitt Romney.
And that's one reason why Romney, even if he is the GOP nominee for president, doesn't have much of a chance with Latino voters. Political experts say that a Republican would have to earn at least 30% of the Latino vote to win the White House. Given how he behaved in the primaries, Romney will be lucky to get 20%.
In fact, a recent poll of Latino voters by the Pew Hispanic Center put the figure at 23%. While it found a high level of anger with President Barack Obama among Latinos over his aggressive deportation policies, the poll also found that -- in a Obama-Romney matchup -- the Democrat would easily beat the Republican, 68% to 23%. That's saying something given that, according to the survey, Obama's job approval rating with Latinos is just 49%. The takeaway: You want to make Obama more popular with Latinos? Easy. Pit him against Romney.
Listen to Lionel Sosa, a San Antonio-based advertising executive and Republican strategist who has advised George W. Bush and John McCain. A few months ago, Sosa told The New York Times that Romney had blown his chance with Latinos.
"(Romney) can make as many trips to Florida and New Mexico and Colorado and other swing states that have a large Latino population," said Sosa, "but he can write off the Latino vote."
It was Romney who recently promised to veto the Dream Act if he's elected president and if Congress passes the bill. The legislation, which would allow undocumented students to stay in the country legally if they complete a college degree or join the military, is extremely popular with Latinos.
It was Romney who first attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing a law that allows illegal immigrants who live in Texas to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. And it was Romney who later attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for declaring that the GOP shouldn't support splitting up families and proposing a pathway for the undocumented to work legally in the United States.
It was Romney who, in the debates, came across as naive by suggesting that the illegal immigration problem could be solved by simply putting more "boots on the ground" and as dishonest by not acknowledging the contributions that illegal immigrants make to the local, state and national economies.
And it was Romney whose campaign put up, in New Hampshire, anoffensive television ad that attacked Perry by linking him to Mexico and former Mexican President Vicente Fox, because Fox happened to agree with the Texas governor on letting illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition.
So the candidate who winds up vilifying Mexico is the same one whose father was born in Mexico? Who can make sense of this?
Listen up, Primo Mitt. You've made your bed. You're persona non grata with Latino voters, and it's your own fault. You can't win without them, but they can help make sure you lose.
We don't care where your family's from. What matters is where your heart is.
Posted 5 hours ago by carlos perez

Rand Paul blocked at airport after refusing TSA pat-down

by admin on January 23, 2012 
Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican and son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, was blocked at Nashville airport Monday after refusing a TSA pat-down, his spokeswoman said.

“Just got a call from @SenRandPaul,” his spokeswoman, Moira Bagley, wrote on Twitter Monday. “He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville.”

In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Paul said that the incident occurred after an alarm went off when he passed through a scanner at Nashville Airport Monday. Paul said the alarm had apparently been triggered by his knee, though “the senator said he has no screws or medical hardware around the joint,” the AP said.

TSA agents refused his request to walk through the scanner again to reconcile the anomaly, and he refused their demand for a pat-down, Paul said.

The Kentucky Senator said that “he asked for another scan but refused to submit to a pat down by airport security,” the AP reported. Paul “said he was ‘detained’ at a small cubicle and couldn’t make his flight to Washington for a Senate vote scheduled later in the day.”

Tell Congress: End DHS Police State Measures! The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration are targeting innocent American citizens and destroying our freedom — select here to send messages to Congress and sign the petition.
This article was written by the Associated Press; full article at Yahoo! News


Gaddafi loyalists attack Libyan town

Forces loyal to Libya's late leader Muammar Gaddafi attacked the former regime stronghold of Bani Walid today, killing at least four fighters from the new government, officials and residents said.

The fierce clashes in the town, 90 miles south east of Tripoli, came as Libya's new leaders struggle to stamp out lingering resistance from pro-Gaddafi forces and unify a deeply fractured country after eight months of civil war and more than 40 years of authoritarian rule.

Mahmoud al-Warfali, a spokesman for the new regime in Bani Walid, said up to 150 pro-Gaddafi fighters raised his old green Libyan flag at the northern gate of the town and were battling revolutionary forces in the streets with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.

"These are Gaddafi remnants who tried to take over the city," Mr al-Warfali said. "They have tried to do this before and take over the interim government's office, but thank God we have been able to fight them off."
He said four revolutionary fighters were killed. He did not know how many people were wounded.
Bani Walid resident Moussa al-Warfali said the clashes began when Gaddafi loyalists angry over the arrest of one of their men attacked revolutionary fighters in the town.

The fighting was centred around the revolutionary brigade's base, but has since spread to other parts of the town.

The clashes are considered serious enough that dozens of revolutionary fighters from Tripoli have been dispatched to Bani Walid to help, said brigade commander Saddam Abdel-Zein.

Revolutionary commanders in Tripoli also said "sleeper cells" loyal to Gaddafi opened fire in the capital in an attempt to take advantage of the fighting in Bani Walid. There was no word of casualties.

Abdel-Rahman al-Soghayar, a commander from the new regime in the capital, said shooting took place in several neighbourhoods of Tripoli, forcing people to remain indoors and stores to close early.

There were also reports of shooting in the western Nafusa mountains, according to Mr al-Soghayar, who was in touch with fellow fighters there. No further details were available.

The outbreak of violence prompted revolutionary fighters in the western city of Misrata and the eastern city of Benghazi to declare a high alert, setting up checkpoints and securing entrance points to the cities, according to Benghazi military officials and Misrata's revolutionary brigade spokesman, Walid Khashif.
The main flashpoint remained Bani Walid, where pro-Gaddafi fighters have long tormented Libya's revolutionaries.

After the fall of Tripoli to anti-Gaddafi fighters in August, loyalists of the ousted regime took refuge in the town and held off revolutionary forces for weeks, using the surrounding mountains and valleys to pick off revolutionary forces.

Even after Gaddafi's capture and killing in October, the city and its surrounding region have troubled Libya's new leaders.

In November, 15 soldiers were killed in an ambush by Gaddafi loyalists just outside the town. Revolutionary fighters in Bani Walid have complained that the country's interim government has done little to help secure the city.