Friday, December 30, 2011

Gingrich Claims Republican Voter Fraud

If you listen to any conservative politician, activist, or media personality out there, you would be led to believe that any and all voter fraud starts and ends with Democrats and their liberal allies, so you would understand why it would come as a surprise when Newt Gingrich blamed one of his own campaign workers for fraud as the sole reason for keeping him of the Virginia GOP primary ballot.

Sarah Huisenga wrote the following for CBS News:
A worker collecting signatures to get Republican GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on the Virginia primary ballot turned in fraudulent signatures, Gingrich told a woman at a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed the story, which was initially reported on CNN, and said: "We are evaluating our options."

Of the 11,100 signatures the campaign turned in, 1,500 of them turned in by the worker were false, Gingrich said. He said that the campaign needed 10,000 to be placed on the ballot.
If you do the math, almost 14 percent of Gingrich's signatures were fraudulent, thanks to a Republican campaigner. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Big Government Wants "Bare Minimum" For VA Primary, Not Wisconsin Recall


In a stroke of hypocrisy conservatives have attacked the electoral process as being corrupt by attacking the collection of recall signatures against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  The Government Accountability Board, which runs the recall process in Wisconsin, had previously stated that it would not eliminate duplicate or questionable signatures on recall petitions.  Walker railed against the decision as a move to dilute the rights of voters.

“We’re going to protect the integrity of the citizen. It should be for people who have every right to sign it, but for those who don’t want to sign it, their voice should count as much as anybody else’s,” the Republican governor said.

What makes this situation interesting is because the electoral process in another state has recently gained attention.  Virginia's ballot access laws have made some headlines in the past week because GOP presidential contenders such as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich had failed to verify the needed 10,000 signatures to make it on the primary ballot.  This, had caused Big Government (among others) to post a little piece crying about the unfairness of it all.
There are currently many news stories and blog discussions about the Virginia presidential primary ballot access law. Some large blogs, such as Red State, have over 300 comments about the story. Some defend the current Virginia ballot access laws on the grounds that in past presidential elections, a fairly large number of Republican presidential primary candidates managed to qualify.

But what has not been reported is that in the only other presidential primaries in which Virginia required 10,000 signatures (2000, 2004, and 2008) the signatures were not checked. Any candidate who submitted at least 10,000 raw signatures was put on the ballot. In 2000, five Republicans qualified: George Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, and Steve Forbes. In 2004 there was no Republican primary in Virginia. In 2008, seven Republicans qualified: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Alan Keyes.

The only reason the Virginia Republican Party checked the signatures for validity for the current primary is that in October 2011, an independent candidate for the legislature, Michael Osborne, sued the Virginia Republican Party because it did not check petitions for its own members, when they submitted primary petitions. Osborne had no trouble getting the needed 125 valid signatures for his own independent candidacy, but he charged that his Republican opponent’s primary petition had never been checked, and that if it had been, that opponent would not have qualified. The lawsuit, Osborne v Boyles, cl 11-520-00, was filed in Bristol County Circuit Court. It was filed too late to be heard before the election, but is still pending. The effect of the lawsuit was to persuade the Republican Party to start checking petitions. If the Republican Party had not changed that policy, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would be on the 2012 ballot.
Interestingly enough, Big Government decided to leave out the last paragraph of the work they cited which states that the Democratic Party also opposed such strict ballot access laws but in a move to help candidates get on the ballot, the party would help collect signatures for all recognized candidates - something the GOP did not do.  Big Government's post appears to make the case that it is unfair that the GOP needs to check their own signatures while doing a simple search on their website, Big Government has hypocritically attacked Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board for doing just that.

Charles C. Johnson cried about the Virginia ballot dilemma yesterday on Big Government:
For now, Gingrich is left to grumble about the “system” of authenticating signatures in the Virginia primary. He may have a point. Candidates are required not only to collect over 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot but have to have at least 400 from each of the state’s eleven congressional districts. Both Perry and Gingrich cleared the first hurdle by at least a thousand signatures, but it appears they may have stumbled on clearing the second. We don’t know this for certain — the Va. GOP hasn’t explained why Gingrich and Perry failed to qualify– but this seems likely.

Gathering enough signatures from enough of the different districts proved too tricky. In at least one district that’s a tall order. Virginia’s 3rd and 8th congressional district, for example, are among the most Democratic in the country, with a PVI score of D+20 and D+16, respectively. Woody Allen may be right when he said 90% of success is just showing up, but it is hard to show up when there is effectively no Republican party in some congressional districts...

It’s the prerogative of any state party to set up the rules that govern its primary but it sure seems short-sighted to disqualify two candidates that fulfilled the 10,000 signatures requirement, especially given how much Virginia GOP could benefit from a renewed focus and all that earned media attention on the Old Dominion.The usually reliable red state broke for Obama in 2008, by six points over John McCain. Indeed Obama became the first Democrat to win Virginia voted for Obama in 2008, making it the first time since 1964 that the state broke for a Democrat, but these gains were reversed when Attorney General Bob McDonnell crushed Democratic senator Creigh Deeds in the gubernatorial race by seventeen points.
So Johnson believes it is the "prerogative of any state party to set up the rules" but when those rules are too hard to meet, Johnson believes they should be ignored because the exclusion of those candidates who simply could not collect the required amount of signatures from each of the state's congressional districts may benefit the Virginia GOP.

In regards to the Wisconsin recall effort, Big Government's Brett Healy had some things to say about the decision of the Government Accountability Board.

 "So, it turns out Wisconsin’s election watchdogs are choosing to do the bare minimum when it comes to making it easier to detect duplicate and fraudulent signatures on the recall petitions," he wrote.

It appears that Healy's Big Government buddy Johnson would want that "bare minimum" for the Virginia Republican primary.

Can you smell the Big Government hypocrisy?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Big Government Claims Comcast-NBC Merger A Progressive Shakedown, Huffington Post A "Comcastrophe"


I thought this was very interesting - Mike Wendy at Big Government wrote a recent post complaining about the relatively recent merger of media giants Comcast and NBC.
As I wrote about previously on these pages, the Comcast Merger Order “voluntarily” commits the new company to foster local journalism via the “Voice of San Diego Model,” a socially progressive news organization. ProPublica, The Chicago Reporter, and KPCC make good on this promise. They are archetypical liberal media outlets, which are supported in large measure by the usual suspects among America’s top progressive foundations (like Soros, Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Pew, etc.).
Wendy's beef with the Voice of San Diego stems from the support of non-profit Open Society Foundations, which was established by George Soros in 1984 "to help countries make the transition from communism."

That's right.

What they are about:
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
Sounds horrible, right?

The reason I find this interesting is because Wendy claims the merger was permitted so that it may be used a giant progressive propaganda machine.
Now to be fair, NBC is no paragon of conservative thought. And, Comcast’s Brian Roberts is reported to be one of Obama’s biggest contributors to his Victory fund. Further, neither party came to this deal as a naïf – they knew what they would face from the government. Especially this one. But, would this buildout have occurred without the “voluntary” agreement? No. That aspect of the Merger Order would not have been unnecessary if they were.

Quite frankly, the government ploy here is not much more sophisticated than a backroom hold-up by a local mobster.
This is interesting because popular news site (and somewhat progressive-leaning) The Huffington Post also attacked the merger.

Josh Silver wrote the following for the online publication back in January:
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission blessed the merger of Comcast, the nation's largest cable and residential Internet provider, with NBC-Universal. The Justice Department immediately followed suit, removing the last obstacle to the unprecedented consolidation of media and Internet power in the hands of one company. (FCC press release here)

You should be afraid and mad as hell.

The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, including the NBC broadcast network, numerous cable channels, two dozen local NBC and Telemundo stations, movie studios, online video portals, and the physical network that distributes that media content to millions of Americans through Internet and cable connections.
So conservatives like Wendy are upset because they think the merger means an assault on America because of government requirements placed on the deal and progressives dislike the merger because it consolidates various media outlets into the hands of one corporation.

So the real question here is "Why are conservatives blaming progressives for this merger?"

The answer is rather simple.  With the merger comes the potential to dilute the power of conservative media outlets like Fox News.  The fears of Wendy and Silver stem from the same place but Wendy's fear is more about selfishness.  Consider the two arguments: the merger will allow unprecedented growth of progressive philosophies and the merger grants unprecedented control of information to a single corporation.

Which argument sounds more important?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rick Santorum Able To Get Insurance For Bella Because Of "Obamacare"

"I had insurance under my employer. And when I decided to run for president, I left my job, I lost my insurance, I had to go out and buy insurance," Santorum recently said in regards to his terminally ill daughter, Bella, who suffers from Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder resulting in an extra chromosome and can cause severe growth retardation, malformed facial features, heart defects and other abnormalities.

While it is unfortunate that Rick Santorum has a seriously sick child, his comments regarding his daughter do not seem to resonate with his political positions surrounding healthcare reform. Earlier this year Santorum made the comment that under the health care reform more disabled people would be denied care but this statement is absolutely false - because of health care reform people like Santorum's daughter are able to get treatment, and possibly more importantly, they are able to get insurance despite having a preexisting condition.

This is where Santorum's "Bella" message falls apart. He talks about having to go out an buy insurance for his seriously ill child but anyone who was out of work or who did not have insurance prior to a major condition could tell you - purchasing insurance with a preexisting condition, no matter how severe, was a tremendous hassle before the Affordable Care Act was passed.  Considering Santorum was fired from Fox News earlier this year, it is safe to say that this was the employer he talked about, meaning it was because of "Obamacare" that little Bella was able to get insurance. You see, the Affordable Care Act actually banned the practice of denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions (it will expand that protection to everyone by 2014), so had it not been for this law Santorum would have had to pay out-of-pocket for his daughter's care - a luxury many Americans cannot afford.

If you like hypocrisy, you may want to check out this other Santorum doozy - while Santorum is opposed to abortion of any kind calling any exceptions "phony" excuses, he had no problem when his own wife had an abortion at 20 weeks (four and a half months).

"When I was leading the charge on partial birth abortion, several members came forward and said, 'Why don’t we just ban all abortions?' Tom Daschle was one of them, if you remember," said Santorum. "And Susan Collins, and others. They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective."

Santorum's wife utilized such a "phony" health exception when her life was in danger had she carried full term, but Santorum doesn't practice what he preaches. He just wants to impose his views on everybody else.

For Wisconsin Republicans, Democracy Equals Harassment

From an Associated Press article last month:
Wisconsin Republicans are ripping Democrats' plans for recall signature drives near malls on Black Friday.

Democrats and their allies launched a drive to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker earlier this month. They're angry over a number of Walker policies, including a law that stripped public workers of their union rights.

Recall organizers say signature gatherers planned to set up near malls, shopping centers and park-and-rides around the state Friday.

Republicans say the effort amounts to harassing shoppers. The party says businesses should call police if signature gatherers don't leave their property upon request and shoppers should report problems to the GOP's "Recall Integrity Center" website.
Never realized participating in democracy was considered harassment - especially on Black Friday.  And I guess  fighting over a $2 dollar waffle maker at Wal-Mart is more important then signing a recall petition in the parking lot. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arizona State Senator Lori Klein: "Herman Cain Didn't Do It Because He Didn't Do Me!"

"Herman Cain Didn't Do It Because He Didn't Hit On Me!"

Those were essentially Arizona State Senator Lori Klein's sentiments, although she didn't really phrase it that way.  In an interview with CBS News, Klein spoke of her friendship of 12 years with the GOP candidate stating that he has "never been anything but a gentlemen - and I am not an unattractive woman."

Not to be mean but has Klein looked in a mirror lately?  She is an elderly politician who points firearms at reporters.  Not quite the example of physical (or emotional) beauty.

This argument is about as ridiculous as Cain's defense of his alleged actions when stating that there were many, many other women that haven't accused him of sexual misconduct.

She also added that in politics "we want a virgin to do a hooker's job."

Considering she is a politician, she basically admitted that she was a prostitute, so why trust a prostitute about the reputation of another aspiring prostitute?

Herman Cain's "Friends With Benefits"

Updated!

"Wasn't Black Walnut enough for them?"

When it was first announced that there was a woman claiming Herman Cain acted inappropriately towards her and that she was paid off by the National Restaurant Association to go away, it was somewhat plausible to consider that the NRA was just covering their bases by avoiding a potentially costly legal issue from a false claim.

When it was discovered that there were multiple women who were paid off the old saying of "when there's smoke there's fire" started to sound more true.

When even more women stepped forward claiming Cain acted inappropriately, Cain's wife had a sudden media absence and then appeared on Fox News shortly after saying that Cain was a sweet husband that would never do such a thing and that she knew nothing of the previous accusations, things were pretty apparent - Cain was lying big time.  I don't know about you but if I was accused of sexual harassment my wife would be the first person to hear - not the last.

Fast forward a couple weeks and some slipping poll numbers and now there is a woman has come forward with more than a non-disclosure agreement or a statement from her then boyfriend backing up her story - she has an autographed "friends with benefits" bookrecords showing dozens of phone calls and text messages, and stories that can most likely be corroborated with a little research such as comparing receipts, plane tickets, and phone calls to Cain's known whereabouts at that time.

What was Cain's response?

Before the story even broke Cain addressed the media acknowledging yet another woman would step forward alleging a long time affair and that while he knew this woman, they were nothing more than friends and anything else was a lie.  This might be believable if it weren't for all of the other women who have stated otherwise.  What is even more alarming is that this relationship lasted until recently.

Atlanta's Fox 5 team reported:
An Atlanta businesswoman is breaking her silence, claiming she has been involved in a 13-year-long affair with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, FOX 5 senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell sat down with Ginger White, who had a story to tell.

“I'm not proud,” White told Russell. “I didn't want to come out with this. I did not.”

White was worried a political tsunami was headed her way. So, she decided to head it off, by confessing she was involved in a 13-year-long affair with presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

“It was pretty simple,” White said. “It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”

Ginger White says she met Herman Cain in the late 90s in Louisville, Kentucky, when as president of the National Restaurant Association, he made a presentation. She was impressed. She says they shared drinks afterwards and he invited her back to his hotel room.

“’I'd like to see you again,’” White said Cain told her. “’You are beautiful to me, and I would love for us to continue this friendship.’”

She says in his hotel room, he pulled out a calendar and invited her to meet him in Palm Springs. She accepted, and she says the affair began.

“He made it very intriguing,” White told FOX 5. “It was fun. It was something that took me away from my humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.”

She says he gave her his newly-published book, Leadership is Common Sense, and he wrote: “Miss G, you have already made a 'big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination."

She says during the next 13 years, he would fly her to cities where he was speaking and he lavished her with gifts. She says they often stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead and dined at The Four Seasons restaurant. She says he never harassed her, never treated her poorly, and was the same man you see on the campaign trail.

“Very much the same, very much confident, very much sure of himself,” White said, describing Cain. “Very arrogant in a playful sometimes way. Very, ah -- Herman Cain loves Herman Cain.”

When his new book, CEO of SELF, came out in 2001, she says Cain once again autographed it for her writing, "'Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus.'"
White had said that she had come forward because of the way the other women were being treated by both Cain and the media.

“It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, they were treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them,” she said. “I felt bad for them.”

What is possibly even more interesting is the response from Cain's attorney, Lin Wood: "No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life."

Not only is his attorney not denying a sexual relationship with Ginger White, his lawyer is essentially lumping the sexual harassment claims as being the same as a consensual relationship and should therefor not be questioned, which makes it appear all more damning for Cain.

This most recent accusation when considering Cain's bizarre defense of the other allegations - earlier in the month Cain told reporters there could possible be more.

“There will probably be others – not because I am aware of any, but because the machine to keep a businessman out of the White House is going to be relentless,” Cain said. “If they continue to come, I will continue to respond.”

While other Republicans are calling for Cain to drop out - probably because of the negative press he is bringing to not only him but to the entire field, as well as the lack of coverage to the other field - Cain has decided to stick around, or at least as long as his wife wants him to stick around.  Considering his wife has allowed him to run past the first couple waves of sexual misconduct, Cain will probably be in it a little longer.

Update - Looks as if the Black Walnut may have realized his web of lies have gotten too complex to handle.  According to sources, Cain is now "reassessing" his campaign due to this latest allegation.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told his staff Tuesday morning that he is reassessing his candidacy and will make the decision whether to remain in the race in "the next several days."

Cain's campaign has been plagued by sexual harassment allegations, and Monday a woman came forward alleging a 13-year affair with the candidate.

The Des Moines Register has more quotes from the Tuesday morning conference call. Cain reportedly told about 90 staff that the latest affair story might create “too much of a cloud” around his campaign.

"If a decision is made, different than we should plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said. "Now with this latest one we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud in some peoples' minds as to whether or not they should support us going forward."

He went on to deny the woman's story as he did Monday when it broke.

Cain's Iowa campaign chairman, Steve Grubbs, told the AP that the allegations have hurt Cain's fundraising and taken a toll on his family. Still, Cain will continue his campaign for now and deliver a foreign policy speech in Michigan on Tuesday.
What is interesting is that Cain's Iowan campaign chairman, Steve Grubbs, told the AP that these allegations have hurt Cain's fundraising but if you recall after the first allegations were made Cain's chief of staff touted his fundraising, stating that they had an extremely good day right after the Politico report raking in around $250,000 in one day, and that his campaign had raised $9.4 million in 41 days.

Does this sound like the foundations for a pullout from the race?  Will Cain later blame lackluster fundraising and distraction from the greater message - his 9-9-9 plan?  Did Mrs. Cain finally have enough with her husband's dalliances?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bachmann's Fairness Hypocrisy


Free market principles are the greatest except when they are applied to certain people.  Take Michele Bachmann - she is polling at four percent but when it came time for the most recent debate and an email sent by CBS' political director John Dickerson leaked out saying Bachmann wasn't going to be asked as many questions as the other candidates and that she was "nearly off the charts," Bachmann's campaign replied calling for the firing of the "piece of shit" Dickerson and cried that she would not receive fair treatment.

Imagine that - a candidate polling in the single digits wants fair treatment from the majority, to be given equal air time to express her views.

Out of curiosity, what has Michele Bachmann had to say about Net Neutrality and the Fairness Doctrine?

Bachmann claimed Net Neutrality was the administration wanting "to silence the voices that are opposing them."

According to Bachmann, the Fairness Doctrine would inject an opposing viewpoint into a broadcast when someone who does not like what they are hearing could simply change the station.
In contrast to its name, the Fairness Doctrine would effectively ensure that the liberal viewpoint is promoted on the air to give a "fair and balanced" take on important issues of the day. It's a ridiculous notion, as today we are blessed with a myriad of news outlets and formats: cable news, the internet, and satellite radio, to name a few. If you don't like what you're hearing and find it biased, you can change the station and you will surely find something to your liking. What the Fairness Doctrine is about is the popularity of conservative talk radio.
Doesn't this sound like Bachmann's argument regarding the debates?  She wants to be given fair treatment and equal time with the candidates in the lead?  She wants to be able to express her viewpoints to the same population as Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, or Herman Cain.

Doesn't that sound a bit hypocritical?

If Bachmann didn't like the treatment (or lack thereof) she perceived she was receiving at CBS, why didn't she go somewhere else?

Bachmann also felt slighted because of the memorable debate moments involving her. Her political handler Keith Nahigian claimed she was treated unfairly because of the things she supported, like her enthusiasm for waterboarding.    

“While Michele has been onstage at tonight’s debate demonstrating strong leadership on foreign policy and national security, we received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows – the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates by purposely suppressing our conservative message and limiting Michele’s questions,” he said. “[W]e need to show the liberal media elite that we won’t stand for this outrageous manipulation. Help us fight this affront by sharing this with your friends.”

“[W]e will NOT stand for this pathetic attempt by the liberal media to manipulate the Republican primary process by limiting Michele’s conservative message for Republican primary voters,” he continued in an email to supporters. “ALL AMERICANS should be offended by this blatant attempt to manipulate the nominating process. Primaries are about voters, NOT the media elites. This is OUR primary and we will fight this blatant attempt to suppress Michele’s conservative message.”

Again, back to Net Neutrality and the Fairness Doctrine. By rejecting those to things would essentially be for manipulating the average American voter. Hypocrisy?

I also found it interesting that Nahigian was upset that Bachmann's conservative message was allegedly being hushed, but then what was up with the several other conservatives on stage? Did anyone hear John Huntsman complain about his moderate message being hushed in the primary process?

Also, is it the Christian thing to do to call someone a "piece of shit?" I thought Bachmann was running a pious campaign...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Michele Bachmann Wants Us To Be More Like China???


The Republicans just had another one of their debates this weekend and it was an another opportunity for the candidates to offer their brand of lunacy, and this time Michele Bachmann did not disappoint - in the debate when talking about social programs, Bachmann used China as an example of who America should follow.  Apparently Bachmann believed China is the model of capitalism and personal responsibility.

This is what she said:
The "Great Society" has not worked and it's put us into the modern welfare state. If you look at China, they don't have food stamps. If you look at China, they're in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don't have the modern welfare state and China's growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they'd be gone.
Cassie Murdoch from Jezebel pointed out that Bachmann hypocritically defends Medicare and Social Security on her website.
Unfortunately, many Americans have been unduly frightened by scare talk about alleged attempts to potentially eliminate these programs. Michele understands the concerns of seniors who have been frightened into thinking that their Social Security could be taken away. As President, she will ensure that any reform to Social Security or Medicare will only affect those 55 and younger, and she will work to find a way to ease the next generation into a program that is solvent, fiscally responsible, and empowering to the individual. Michele has also pledged to protect Medicare by repealing Obamacare.
Medicare and parts of Social Security were part of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Lies Of Sand Lake Hills - The Meetings

Updated November 13th, 2011!

It has been sleepy here in Sand Lake Hills, Florida, for several months since a judge ruled the non-profit acting as a master association for all of Sand Lake Hills lacked any authority to do so - for over twenty years. Unfortunately the board and members of Sand Lake Hills Section 2 Homeowners Association are still a bit delusional. While they may have opened back up their secret meetings they have decided to rewrite history and try and paint the situation favorable for them.

At the last meeting, held May 18th, 2011, the corporation, for the first time in years, allowed every homeowner in every section to attend their once secret meetings. They decided to host this meeting to inform the neighborhood that they lost their lawsuit, sort of. The board president, Ted McDonald, proceeded to explain that the judges' ruling was a bit unclear and that the ruling only applied to one property. The president also stated that they did not have the authority to threaten people with lawsuits for not paying their "maintenance assessment."

How unclear was the judge's ruling?

The judge wrote that the "Section Two HOA was not authorized to enforce use restrictions in section three after December 10th, 1985."

The judge said nothing about the corporation lacking the authority to enforce the use restrictions on just one property.

Anyway, the HOA somewhat admitted defeat but continued to contradict themselves claiming they were not trying to become mandatory but then stated they were waiting for "clarification" to proceed with forcing non-members to pay their corporation.

While these lies were less obvious, McDonald had a real humdinger when he started explaining  they started holding secret meetings because trouble-makers were causing a disruption and preventing business from being conducted.  McDonald lamented the change of venue because the previous location, the Dr. Phillips Library, was free.  This is different then what the association told the homeowners right after they started holding their meetings in secret.  In the November 2008 issue of Sand Lake Hills Living, the board claimed Orange County started charging for use of the meeting room at the library.

Here is a little video detailing the lies:



Why would this corporation lie to the homeowners of Sand Lake Hills about not only their meeting location but in regards to other things, too?

For instance, during the May 18th meeting, Treasure Denise Crotty talked endlessly about the neighborhood's common properties yet during the court proceedings the association admitted there were zero common properties. (This lie will be the focus of another video)

Basically, the Sand Lake Hills Section Two Homeowners Association, Inc. held secret meetings to prevent information regarding the lawsuit from spreading to the neighborhood so they could continue soliciting homeowners for membership and forcing non-members to pay their corporation.

Update - I had just noticed something on Sand Lake Hills' website.  According to their homepage, they had announced the date, time, and location of their next meeting on November 2nd, giving 17 days notification.  This is not true.

I had visited their website on November 2nd at 4:27 PM as well as 11:01 AM November 3rd and 11:20 PM November 6th.  It was not until Tuesday, November 8th, that I noticed the website had been changed, giving non-member homeowners only 8 days notice - it is safe to assume that the association gave more advanced notice to the membership because they state in their online proxy form that there was a mailed notice.

Why would the board lie about when they posted the notice on their website unless they were trying to misinform a certain percentage of the homeowners in order to prevent those whom they disagree with from attending, namely non-member homeowners or those members who were led to believe they were required to join.

The deception continues to grow...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Lesson On The Laffer Curve For Big Government


Dan Mitchell decided to touch upon economic theory as a way to attack the current push for revenue increases, but his economics lesson seems to be very lopsided and I will explain why after this excerpt from Mitchell's post.
One of my frustrating missions in life is to educate policy makers on the Laffer Curve.

This means teaching folks on the left that tax policy affects incentives to earn and report taxable income. As such, I try to explain, this means it is wrong to assume a simplistic linear relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. If you double tax rates, for instance, you won’t double tax revenue.

But it also means teaching folks on the right that it is wildly wrong to claim that “all tax cuts pay for themselves” or that “tax increases always mean less revenue.” Those results occur in rare circumstances, but the real lesson of the Laffer Curve is that some types of tax policy changes will result in changes to taxable income, and those shifts in taxable income will partially offset the impact of changes in tax rates...


There’s lots of data here, but pay close attention to the columns on the right and see how much income tax was collected from the rich in 1980, when the top tax rate was 70 percent, and how much was collected from the rich in 1988, when the top tax rate was 28 percent.

The key takeaway is that the IRS collected fives times as much income tax from the rich when the tax rate was far lower. This isn’t just an example of the Laffer Curve. It’s the Laffer Curve on steroids and it’s one of those rare examples of a tax cut paying for itself.

Folks on the right, however, should be careful about over-interpreting this data. There were lots of factors that presumably helped generate these results, including inflation, population growth, and some of Reagan’s other policies. So we don’t know whether the lower tax rates on the rich caused revenues to double, triple, or quadruple. Ask five economists and you’ll get nine answers.

But we do know that the rich paid much more when the tax rate was much lower.
Mitchell argues that tax revenue increased because tax rates decreased from 70 percent to 28 percent and that the administration, wishing to raise tax rates, will effectively reduce the amount of money the IRS would collect.  There is one problem with Mitchell's use of the Laffer Curve - while tax revenue may increase from a tax cut, cutting taxes too much would have the same effect as raising taxes too much.


Now consider the numbers Mitchel cited as proof he is right - 70 percent and 28 percent.  This is approximately where they would appear on the graph:


What does this mean?

According to Mitchell's economic theory of choice, tax revenue would be maximized by utilizing a tax rate increase to roughly 50 percent (or theoretically any number greater than zero percent and less than 100 percent).  Considering the periods of economic prosperity in the nineties and that tax revenues dropped after the implementation of the Bush tax cuts, one could pretty much argue that a rate lower than 28 percent would not yield higher revenues.

Based on the numbers Mitchell presents as proof lower rates would increase revenue, here is another depiction of the Laffer Curve:

Why won't Mitchell admit that increasing taxes even a little bit won't hurt the economy?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To Fee Or Not To Fee...

Bank of America is dropping its controversial debit card fee, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Consumers slammed the bank after it announced in September that it would charge customers $5 per month to use their debit cards for purchases starting in 2012.

Bank of America is the latest to back away from charging a debit card fee; the bank's decision comes just hours after SunTrust Banks and Regions Financial Corporation, two of the country's largest banks, announced that they would be dropping their fees for debit-card purchases.

Previously, SunTrust had charged some of its customers $5 a month for debit card purchases, and Regions had been charging some customers $4. Neither bank will impose those fees going forward, and customers of both banks will have their fees refunded, according to the WSJ. Officials at both SunTrust and Regions acknowledged that consumer backlash played a role in the decision to abandon the debit fees.

Bank of America, SunTrust and Regions are only the latest major banks to back off from debit card fees, which have proved wildly unpopular among customers. JPMorgan Chase said last week that it's not going to charge a fee for debit card use after testing the program for eight months. Wells Fargo also said last week that it would drop its $3 debit card fee, according to the WSJ.
I find this reversal interesting because these banks decided to introduce their fees at the same time and within hours these banks decided to drop such fees.  Seems suspect if you ask me.

Not every bank decided to gauge their customers.  Some saw the fees as an opportunity to steal disgruntled customers away by pledging not to introduce such ridiculous use charges.

It is also questionable as to whether or not the introduced fees would have violated law.  While federal law caps per charge fees a bank may charge, the one time fees now dropped would have topped those caps for consumers who rarely use their cards.  Regardless, these banks' reputations have suffered even more so because of this ordeal, not like they care.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Herman Cain Flip Flops On Sexual Harassment Claims

"I know nothing of this settlement I am about to describe..."

A recent Politico exclusive detailed two women accusing GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment during his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association.
The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures...

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.
What is interesting is that Cain originally denied any sexual harassment or settlement.

"I have never sexually harassed anyone and those accusations are totally false," Cain said. "It was concluded, after a thorough investigation, that it had no basis."

"I am unaware of any sort of settlement," he added. "I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything."

In a matter of hours Cain contradicted his original comments completely.  When asked by Greta van Susteren, Cain responded with the following:

"My general counsel said this started out where she and her lawyer were demanding a huge financial settlement…I don't remember a number…But then he said because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement."

This is far from being "unaware of any sort of settlement."

Another point of interest in the Greta interview is Cain's explanation of the incident.

"She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying -- and I was standing close to her -- and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, 'My wife comes up to my chin.'" Cain said. "And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable," Cain said, "something that was in the sexual harassment charge."

This is interesting because during the interview Cain said he only recollected one situation but according to the Politico article, there were two settlements separation packages. The article goes on to detail the complaints:
The sources — including the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended. These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association’s offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.
This is interesting because what Cain offered up in the interview only touches upon part of the complaint - inappropriate physical gestures that may or may not have been sexual in nature - meaning Cain may be saving the best for last. Why would he address one situation but not the other - unwanted sexual advances in at hotels during conferences and NRA events?

Is Cain exploiting non-disclosure agreements by giving his own "facts" for what had happened in an attempt to discredit the anonymous sources, and with virtual free-reign since those who received the settlements would risk penalty should they come forward with the details that were swept under the rug. Also, considering Cain was party to the settlements - he claimed to have recused himself from the settlements but then said that he ended up settling with his general counsel - would he be in risk of violating that agreement as well?

Something just does not add up.  Cain first denied and claimed to not know what happened but then on friendly ground - Fox News - he offered up a little more details.  I guarantee within the week even more details will come out surrounding this situation and considering the amount of the settlements were in the five-figure range, I would imagine some press agencies would be willing to offer such compensation to these women for an exclusive interview providing them with the funds to repay any breach of contract.

Hilda Solis Uses Term "Teabagger." Conservatives Cry, Of Course.

Updated!


Conservatives are being hypocritical yet again.  Recently, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis spoke at a luncheon praising the economic policies of the administration and crticized the tea party movement, calling them "teabaggers."

“I’ll be darned if I’m going to set that aside now because a few teabaggers want to somehow muzzle my voice,” Solis said. “We don’t have to sit back and allow a minority in the Congress, known as the tea party, to dominate the discussion in our households.”

Apparently this was enough for the right wing to cry foul - Big Government propagandist F. Vincent Vernuccio decided to blast the official and unleash a massive amounts of hypocrisy.

First, Vernuccio cried about the origins of the usage of the term "teabagger."
At the Florida Democratic Party State Convention over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis insulted members of the Tea Party, referring to the activists as “teabaggers.” Teabagger is a pejorative term used to refer to a certain sexual act. Liberal talk show hosts such as Rachel Maddow brought the phrase into the mainstream in 2009, using it as a tongue-in-cheek insult.
Keith Olbermann did a great job reminding the conservative groups who first started using that term.

“It is as useful to remind them anew of how the term originated and with whom. A TV news report aired last March 14 in which a correspondent described the original protest act, ‘take a teabag, put it in an envelope, and mail it to the White House.’ Olbermann said, ‘reteaparty.com has a headline Teabag the Fools in D.C. on tax day.’ Thus the verb to teabag was invented by the teabaggers themselves, and the correspondent who put it on TV was a Griff Jenkins of Fox News. Send your complaints to him.”

Of course the hypocrisy doesn't stop there.  Vernuccio then attacks Solis for admitting a bias towards unions but then criticizes her support because many teabaggers happen to be union members too.
The comments coming from the head of the Labor Department are striking because of the recent attacks from heads of unions on the Tea Party—this despite the fact that many union members are also members of the Tea Party.
This attack is doubly hypocritical because Big Government has spent a significant amount of time attacking unions - just do a simple search on their website to see the numerous negative articles regarding unions.  Vernuccio even differentiates between the two groups later on in his post: "The Tea Party vs. unions and Democrats divide will become even more striking as the 2012 election heats up."

So which is it? Are the teabaggers separate from the unions or are they part of the unions?

Update - The Midnight Review tried to enlighten the folks at Big Government with the facts but was met with some ignorant resistance.


As a service to those idiots over at Big Government, the Midnight Review found this wonderful timeline surrounding the origins of the term "teabagger" from the website The Week.
Feb. 27, 2009
At the first anti-stimulus "New American Tea Party" rally in Washington D.C., a protestor carries a sign reading "Tea Bag the Liberal Dems before they Tea Bag You!!" The Washington Independent's David Weigel calls it "the best sign I saw."

March 2
Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group, is one of the first Tea Party organizations to advocate sending tea bags to elected officials to protest the stimulus package. Several other lobby groups follow suit.

April 1
Several Tea Party protest sites encourage readers to "Tea bag the fools in DC." Jay Nordlinger at National Review Online later admits: "Conservatives started [using the term]... but others ran and ran with it."

April 9
Rachel Maddow is the first to mock the Tea Party's use of the phrase on her left-leaning MSNBC show. "Even Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina is getting in on the hot tea-bagging action," she says , stifling laughter. (Watch Rachel Maddow joke about the "tea baggers")

April 13
David Shuster, filling in for liberal commentator Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, also makes fun of the phrase. "While the parties are officially toothless, the tea-baggers are full-throated about their goals," he says. Jeff Poor at the Business and Media Insitute says that the MSNBC comments are "lost in juvenile criticism and ignoring the reason there is discontent from the conservative base"

April 14
Anderson Cooper, on his avowedly non-partisan CNN show, makes a similar crack , but later back-pedals, calling his remark a "stupid, silly, one-line aside" that was not meant to "disparage legitimate protests."

September 10
Badges with the message "Proud to be a Tea Bagger" are still on sale at Tea Party events, according to an article written later in the year .

November 10
A report in The New York Times claims the President called Tea Partiers "the teabag, anti-government people" prompting the blog Redstate to respond : "Sexual innuendo is inappropriate in political discourse. The Left and their media tools need a soap bar sandwich to clean up their act."

December 7
In an article for National Review Online , Jay Nordlinger notes that the word is being used so regularly, it is beginning to lose its pejorative association. "'Tory' and 'Whig' were put-downs when they originated," he notes, and "'Yankee Doodle' was none too nice." However, he suggests conservatives should continue to oppose the "lowdown term."

April 14, 2010
Prominent conservative Andrew Breitbart posts a video on the site Big Government in an attempt to reclaim the term. "I'm Proud to be a Tea Bagger" currently has over 90,000 views.

May 4
In his book, Alter quotes Obama saying that GOP opposition to the stimulus package "helped to create the tea-baggers." Grover Norquist, president of the Americans for Tax Reform group, compares it to the pejorative use of the N-word.
Let's see if those fools decide to open their eyes. 

Update - Apparently the people at Big Government would prefer to remain in their shell. After attacking the Midnight Review's comments as being offensive and immature, the users at Big Government then proceeded to direct homosexual slurs towards this website.


Real mature...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why Does Warner Todd Huston Hate Private Enterprise?

A popular, veteran doctor from central Illinois has been sidelined by employer (Springfield-based) Memorial Health System because he has not become proficient with the electronic medical records system that they purchased and implemented. Patients are so incensed that they’ve started a Facebook page as well as a blog to rally to his defense. This situation brings into focus the problem of top-down medical solutions, calling into question the efficacy of healthcare by committee, not to mention Obamacare itself. Do we really want to sacrifice good doctors in favor of good followers of top-down rules? Do we want good computer operators or excellent doctors?

The doctor, Steven Kottemann, 63, was placed on paid administrative leave in September because he was allegedly not properly utilizing the new electronic medical records system that his employer, Family Medical Center, instituted. Kotteman initially tried to upload verbal recordings of his notes made when meeting with patients, but the system failed to accept the recordings. The only other option was to type in by hand all his patient notes. Kottemann tried to input the notes while actually with his patients but eventually came to feel that typing at a computer while trying to work with his patients was not conducive to good care.

Dr. Kottemann then began staying late after office hours to type in all the notes, but due to a stroke of his own, the effort became too much for him. “It got to the point where I was going in seven days a week to keep up,” Kottemann told the State-Register newspaper. For its part, the employer says that Kottemann’s lack of proficiency with the computer system was not the only reason they fired him, but Memorial Medical Center refused to comment further on this story when I contacted them.
While Huston sees a sob story of how government regulation is choking a hard-working businessman, I see something different - a business (Memorial Medical Center) suspending an employee (Dr. Kottermann) for not being able to perform his job appropriately.  Management for the hospital paid for a new electronic medical records system and required all of its employees to become proficient, but Dr. Kottermann could not adapt to the decisions made by his bosses and was placed on paid administrative leave.

Think of it this way - an old-fashioned supermarket buys all new electronic point of sale (POS) terminals.  An older cashier customers have grown to love has a hard time adapting to the new electronic POS.  He is slow and he is holding up the lines because he is having difficulty adapting - he would rather go back to the old system where he felt he was able to provide a better level of service but that is not an option.  Other doctors are able to provide that great service and use the new POS terminals.  Management notices the old cashier's problems and so they counsel him and try to work with him so that he can get to where he needs to be but it just is not working.  The only solution left is to remove the cashier from his position.

Dr. Kotterman is that old cashier.  I bet there were situations like this 30 years ago when bar codes were introduced.  Heck - not too long ago 7-11s adopted laser scanner POSs instead of their old manual entry registers.  Some of the older employees had a longer time adjusting but now when I stop into a 7-11, the checkout is faster and more accurate.

Huston also points out that Dr. Kottermann's poor performance with the computerized system may stem from his health problems.  Huston apparently is insinuating that businesses should make special accommodations for the handicapped.  He also insists that the good doctor is being stifled by management.

Sounds as if Huston wants employees to have some sort of basic rights or that he has a grudge with employers.  He points out in his post that Kottermann's employer stated there were additional reasons as to why they placed him on administrative leave but they would not communicate that with him - probably because this is an employer-employee conversation and Huston has no place injecting himself in between the company's internal problems.

Funny.  Aren't those his complaints against Obama/Democrats/unions/etc.?

What's even funnier is the comment thread on Huston's post - many of the sheep are crying about discriminatory practices and how the doctor should sue.

Maybe he is fighting to get Doctor Kotterman reinstated so he can make a second triumphant post titled "Welcome Back Doctor Kotterman!"

Did I forget to mention that Memorial Medical Center is a community-based not-for-profit corporation?  

Donald Trump's Billion Dollar Problem


There as been a feud brooding between MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell and Donald Trump for some time, but it appears that O'Donnell has finally pushed the right button causing Donald Trump to threaten a lawsuit over comments O'Donnell made.
Trump threatened to sue O'Donnell on Wednesday for what he said were "many false statements" the MSNBC host made about the self-proclaimed billionaire on his Tuesday night show.

O'Donnell and Trump's twitter feud erupted this week. O'Donnell took to his show Wednesday night to respond to the threatening tweet.

"Donald Trump could never sue me," O'Donnell said in a still, serious voice that was vaguely reminiscent of Don Corleone ordering the murder of his enemies. It was a little chilling, in a melodramatic sort of way. O'Donnell announced that he knew Trump's "big secret," and that Trump "knows he knows his big secret."

O'Donnell was referring to the fact that, according to him, Trump lied about his wealth and was not really a billionaire. "He can't afford to sue me," he said fiercely.
I found this interesting because it is very similar to another incident in which Trump was involved in - the constant questioning (and continual doubting) of the president's birth certificate.

Trump has consistently made accusations that something was wrong with the president's birth certificate and that he was hiding something (perhaps not being an American citizen). Trump even went as far as to claim he sent a team of investigators to Hawaii to dig up the "truth" but that was only a lie considering Trump's recent comments doubting that the long form birth certificate Obama released after Trump's big commotion was a fake.

"I don't necessarily accept it," Trump said when asked about the issue. "As you know, check out the Internet. Many people say it's not real."

Well, if you check the internet, you will notice that many people say Trump is lying about his wealth and that his claims of being a super wealthy billionaire are greatly exaggerated. Looks like Trump should put his money where his mouth is (literally) and release his financial documents.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Big Government's Philip Christofanelli Hides Fact He Is Conservative Activist


Philip Christofanelli has a gripe with unions and universities. He recently wrote a post for Big Government crediting his "exposé" in influencing two universities' ban on recording in the classroom.
Following my exposé this past spring of two Labor Studies professors at the University of Missouri who were using their positions to recruit students to the Communist Party and encourage the use of industrial sabotage, several universities have attempted to crack down on the recording of professors by students.

There are, no doubt, professors all over the country who are engaging in equally egregious teaching practices as Don Giljum (who reportedly resigned) and Judy Ancel (who’s now enjoying life as a Kansas City Occupier; she addresses #OccupyKC in the video below from 3:44 to 3:54 – hat tip to KansasWatchdog).

My guess is that enough professors complained to prompt faculty associations at both the University of Missouri and Washington University in Saint Louis (my alma mater) to pass resolutions calling for a ban on recordings in the classroom without the written permission of the instructor.
As a side note, Christofanelli implies that his actions were the result of his former professors' resignation and career change but another Big Government post points out that his professor, Don Giljum, had announced prior to Christofanelli's exposé that he would retire.

After reading Christofanelli's two posts I felt it necessary to point out a couple things - hypocrisies and false conclusions.

First, let's take a look at Christofanelli's first post - the supposedly damning "exposé."
In this post, I will try to describe, with careful attention to context and accuracy, what occurred in these public classrooms over the course of the semester. I believe that any reasonable person who takes the time to read this post in full will come to the same conclusion that I did: Professors Giljum and Ancel used a public university class to promote their own radical political opinions and organizations, and to train students and union members in negotiating tactics that are apparently illegal, and profoundly unethical. Their behavior was highly unprofessional and inappropriate, and the University of Missouri should simply admit that fact and take steps to ensure that classes are not taught in that way ever again.

I am in fact a Washington University student. I needed three more credits for my degree, and I chose to pick them up at UMSL. When I saw “Introduction to Labor Studies” in the course catalog, I expected a fairly straightforward class about unions, their internal structure, and their relationship to management. I signed up because I have always been fascinated by unions, and nothing similar was ever offered at Wash U.
Christofanelli talks about trying to describe accurately and in context the situations he has issue with but he admits that he has always been "fascinated by unions," meaning that he has had preconceived notions regarding unions and had wished to learn more about them, and based on the information in his posts we can figure out where Christofanelli stood regarding organized labor.

Now granted, the information presented by Christofanelli's teachers appears to be extremely pro-union, you cans tart to see Christofanelli's pre-conceived notions begin to take shape.

He attacks the author of his course's text, Michael Yates, for his other socialist magazine and then picks some choice excerpts from his book Why Unions Matter to prove it's bias, which is interesting because Christofanelli claims to be approaching this from a neutral perspective attacking Yates for his other publications yet Christofanelli is not being honest with the readers of his post - he was the founder of the Young Americans for Liberty who's mission is to "train, educate, and mobilize youth activists" to achieve their goal of "cast[ing] the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim[ing] the policies, candidates, and direction of our government."
  • An entire television network, Fox, spreads pro-business and anti-labor propaganda twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. (p. 132)


  • First, the Republican and Democratic parties are most obviously allied with and subservient to the most powerful employers in the nation.  The Republicans may seem to be more ruthless in their willingness to obey the dictates of capital, but the Democrats, in practice, are no different…[S]ince they are perceived as more liberal than they are, they are able to get away with more vicious attacks on workers. (p. 133)


  • If labor ties its star to the Democratic Party, it is tying itself to its class enemy. (p. 133)


  • Over the last ten years, especially during the administration of George W. Bush, our government has been increasingly under the thumb of corporate interests. (p. 12)


  • The AFL-CIO actively rejected the Republican Party’s Contract with America, which threatened vital social services. Its research department developed good materials that exposed the bogus statistics and analysis on which it was based. (p. 12)


  • Large numbers [of Mexican immigrants] have come to the United states intensifying competition in some labor markets, allowing employers to divide and conquer their workforces, and giving an excuse for xenophobes like CNN’s Lou Dobbs to foment anti-immigrant hysteria, which helps to keep domestic workers from seeing that it is their employers (and the employers’ allies in government) that are their true enemies. (p. 12)


  • In general terms, the employer must come to be understood as the class enemy of the workers, one that can only be defeated if workers stick together, acting as if an injury to one is an injury to all. (p. 64)

  • Christofanelli goes on to write:
    All of these assertions were made without presenting a shred of evidence or data. The book made very little effort to hide the fact that it was a piece of political propaganda, and not an academic text. Nonetheless, the professors saw no problem with making it the sole text for the entire class.
    Christofanelli is upset that he wasn't offered any evidence of these comments. The Midnight Review has decided to do just that - provide examples to prove the text's assertion.
    • An entire television network, Fox, spreads pro-business and anti-labor propaganda twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
    A simple search on Media Matters for "Fox News" and "unions" would yield dozens of incidences where Fox News presented a pro-business and anti-labor agenda.
    • First, the Republican and Democratic parties are most obviously allied with and subservient to the most powerful employers in the nation.  The Republicans may seem to be more ruthless in their willingness to obey the dictates of capital, but the Democrats, in practice, are no different…[S]ince they are perceived as more liberal than they are, they are able to get away with more vicious attacks on workers. (p. 133)
    If you look at the very site that Christofanelli writes for, you would find numerous posts discussing this very thing, although they mostly focus on Democrats.  How's that for fair and balanced?
    • If labor ties its star to the Democratic Party, it is tying itself to its class enemy
    Based on the previous statement - that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties in regards to organized labor - then yes, this statement is true, and it is fair to accuse Republicans of being no friends to organized labor considering the numerous measures Republican legislatures have taken this year alone to strip labor unions and their workers of any power or rights they may have once had.
    • Over the last ten years, especially during the administration of George W. Bush, our government has been increasingly under the thumb of corporate interests. (p. 12)
    Law Memo points out numerous decisions ruled by President Bush's Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  To be more specific, Daniel J. Doyle wrote the following for Student Pulse:
    Upon their appointment, the members of Bush’s NLRB rejected precedent and overturned all of these decisions made by Clinton’s NLRB, as well as numerous others. While the NLRB made clearly partisan decisions prior the Bush Administration, these decisions were well supported as enforcing the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. Bush’s NLRB made decisions that rejected precedent, were poorly justified, and often flew in the face of federal labor laws. In the U.S. Supreme Court case of Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc, the court decided that unless a statute speaks clearly to the contrary, the governing agency with jurisdiction over a particular field is given the final word on all policy decisions within its area of operation, “unless [it is] arbitrary, capricious or manifestly contrary to statute.”41 This means that the NLRB may make decisions on issues of labor law with very limited oversight. Chevron allowed Bush’s NLRB to make sweeping changes to labor policy, without the ability for any other governmental body to hold them accountable.
    • The AFL-CIO actively rejected the Republican Party’s Contract with America, which threatened vital social services. Its research department developed good materials that exposed the bogus statistics and analysis on which it was based. (p. 12)
    Consider the new "Contract with America" Republicans crafted last year and the actions Republicans planned on taking when retaking the House of Representatives.  Brent Budowsky wrote the following for The Hill:
    If elected, Republicans promise to privatize Social Security; cut back Medicare, oppose more jobs programs; raise costs for student loans; cut protections for credit card holders so banks can raise your rates; attack consumer protections for mortgage holders; defend Wall Street bonuses for bailed-out banks; oppose efforts to cut back outsourcing of U.S. jobs; support more tax cuts for the most wealthy; use taxpayer money to hire partisan Republican Congressional staff to turn the House of Representatives into a subpoena-churning partisan political operation; and bring their K Street project to seek special interest campaign money, this time in secret.

    Yeah, Republicans sure do have a new Contract with America. They won' tell you what it really is. I just did.

    For every assertion I make above, there are Republican legislative proposals, policy papers aimed at their right wing base or statements of high-level Republicans.
    Since that article was written (September 23rd, 2010), Republicans have continued to promise or attempt all of those things listed, which sound awfully like "[threatening] vital social services."
    • Large numbers [of Mexican immigrants] have come to the United states intensifying competition in some labor markets, allowing employers to divide and conquer their workforces, and giving an excuse for xenophobes like CNN’s Lou Dobbs to foment anti-immigrant hysteria, which helps to keep domestic workers from seeing that it is their employers (and the employers’ allies in government) that are their true enemies. (p. 12)
    Lou Dobbs isn't a xenophobe?
    • In general terms, the employer must come to be understood as the class enemy of the workers, one that can only be defeated if workers stick together, acting as if an injury to one is an injury to all. (p. 64) 
    Christofanelli is in a "labor studies" course to understand unions more and he is upset at the notion that there is an adversarial relationship between the employer and the employee and that it is in the benefit of the employers to band together?

    Christofanelli then complains that their grades were based heavily on opinion essays without mentioning whether or not students with opposing opinions were penalized and then, god forbid, Christofanelli was assigned to write a letter to his elected representative to discuss his position - not that of the professor's - on the Employee Free Choice Act.

    "Since our only materials were Yates’s very one-sided account of the legislation, and the professors’ similarly one-sided account," wrote Christofanelli, "how could any student be expected to produce a different position?"

    Apparently Christofanelli doesn't believe in critical thinking and free thought, and the fact that he is writing his "exposé" criticizing his course and professors kind of proves him wrong on the ability for "any student... to produce a different position."

    Christofanelli then goes on to talk about how the professors actively tried to indoctrinate the student body and recruit them into the Communist party.  He claims they discussed strategies to combat employers and when questioned, by Christofanelli himself, encouraged the students to engage in activities contrary to the law - an interesting complaint considering Christofanelli encourages students to ignore college rules and record their professors without their knowledge or approval.  His take on the matter is quite simplistic and hypocritical considering his implied principles: "After paying upwards of $45,000 annually to attend Washington University, students should be encouraged to record whatever they want," he wrote. "Students should never doubt their right to record and disseminate class material."

    This line of thinking is very interesting - Christofanelli, a consumer (student/customer of University of Missouri) claims to have rights and encourages fellow consumers to "never doubt their right to... disseminate class material," id est, consumers have a right to inform the public of the perceived wrongdoing of their corporate overlords.

    See a parallel with the Occupy Wall Street argument?

    One difference between Christofanelli and the Occupy Wall Street protesters is that he believes that since he is a consumer of a product, he is allowed to do whatever he wants because he is "paying upwards of $45,000 annually." He believes that he defines the terms of his consumption, yet he criticizes union workers for trying to define the terms of their employment through negotiation and less traditional methods, such as striking and protesting.

    Christofanelli hypocrisy stems from his belief that because the university receives some funds from the state of Missouri, as a taxpayer he has more authority then he actually has.
    Students at both universities should be commended for fighting back. University professors have more job security than almost any other members of the American workforce. They do not need a whole new set of rules and regulations to protect their bad behavior from public scrutiny, especially when that behavior is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, as was the case at the University of Missouri.
    Christofanelli is mistaken - the University of Missouri system has shown stagnant and diminished state support over the past several years, to be underfunded when compared to the higher education of other states, ranked last in staff salaries when compared to 33 other public institutions of the Association of American Universities, and the per capita spending per student to be one of the lowest in the nation, meaning that the University of Missouri is not "heavily subsidized by the taxpayer," as Christofanelli insists.  His claims are evidence of his bias - not that of the schools' or professors'.

    Basically, Christofanelli misrepresented himself claiming to be an ordinary student who was only interested in labor studies when in actuality he was a libertarian student activist aiming to "reclaim" the government.  Based on that fact alone, the entirety of his "exposé" is questionable, but that could be expected being that he chose to publish he work on conservative propaganda website Big Government.  His dishonesty fits right in with the new breed of right-wing activists like James O'Keefe and Lila Rose.

    Rick Perry To Poor: "I Don't Care!"

    Rick Perry, when asked a question regarding his tax proposals and how they would increase income disparity, Perry stated that he "don't care about that."
    Bonnie Kavoussi wrote the following for The Huffingotn Post:
    Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says he wants a huge tax break for the rich, and he doesn't care what it means for income inequality.

    Rick Perry announced on Tuesday that if elected president he would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 and give everyone the option of paying a flat income tax rate of 20 percent.

    He also would try to encourage U.S. companies who have stored $1.4 trillion overseas to move their profits back to the United States by allowing them to pay 5.25 percent in taxes at first, according to Reuters.

    The plan, if enacted, would dramatically reduce the tax burdens of the wealthiest people in the United States, saving millions of dollars for some, while raising taxes for poor and middle-class people who opt into the plan.

    "I don't care about that," Perry said of the increased economic inequality that would result from the tax plan in an interview with The New York Times. "If that's what comes, I'll take that criticism."
    Rick Perry does not care if his tax plan (which he touts as fair) would unfairly increase the tax burden on the poor and middle-class while giving huge breaks for the rich.  He doesn't care at all.  You see, Perry and the GOP bunch have been claiming tax cuts for the rich as a means of job creation, but the problem is that under their proposals, even if there are created jobs, those individuals will now pay a greater tax then they would have before.

    Perry wants to cut the pay of millions of average Americans because in his eyes they don't create jobs.  He would rather redistribute that wealth into the hands of the few so that the rest of the population can hope they do something productive with that money, and if they don't, Perry is fine with that too because that is their right.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Judge Blocks Florida Law Requiring Welfare Recipients To Drug Test


    Michael Peltier wrote the following for Reuters:
    A judge on Monday halted a new Florida law that requires low-income parents seeking federal cash assistance to pass a drug test before receiving any money.

    In a 37-page ruling in Orlando, District Court Judge Mary Scriven granted an injunction barring the state from enforcing the new law until the case is resolved.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued on behalf of a University of Central Florida student who refused to take the drug test when he applied for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a federal program that provides cash assistance to families with children.

    The ACLU argued that the drug tests are unconstitutional in other situations.

    In her ruling, Scriven said the testing procedure could cause irreparable harm to recipients, who are required to pay for the tests and are barred from collecting benefits for at least six months if they fail.

    The ACLU has a good chance of prevailing in its lawsuit, she said.

    Plaintiff Luis Lebron, a single father and military veteran who plans to graduate in December with an accounting degree, was denied benefits when he refused to submit to a drug test, a requirement that Florida lawmakers approved earlier this year.

    The law requires applicants for the funding to pay for and pass a urine test for illegal drugs, which costs between $25 and $45. Applicants who pass the test are reimbursed.

    So far, the state says only 2 percent of applicants have tested positive for illegal drugs, a failure rate that is below that of the general population. A 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 8.7 percent of Americans age 12 and older reported using illicit drugs.

    The U.S. Supreme Court in a 1997 decision threw out a Georgia law requiring candidates for state office to certify they had passed a drug test. Since then, a federal court in Michigan threw out that state's attempt to require all welfare recipients to be tested.
    This is yet another instance where Republicans in the state of Florida have overreached - the Florida Supreme Court had ruled that Governor Rick Scott had "overstepped his constitutional authority and violated the separation of powers" when he issued an executive order preventing all pending rules from taking affect until he could review them.

    There was nothing right about this law.  To begin with, it was ethically questionable when Scott proposed this law considering he placed his company of small clinics in a revocable trust to his wife to skirt around ethics requirements.  Then there was the issue that laws similar to this one were struck down by federal courts in the past essentially dooming the Florida law from the start and on top of all that, a simple cost analysis of the law would have revealed that the costs of drug testing every welfare recipient would far outweigh the percentage of those who fail the test, are required to pay for the test, and are denied benefits for a certain period of time.

    This law is very telling - in the face of the facts that this law would potentially infringe on personal liberties, cause harm to those affected, and was not fiscally sound, Republicans championed this law.  Aren't they the ones who claim to be all for personal liberties and fiscal conservatism?