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Date : May 2012

Scott Walker vs. Barack Obama (Hint: Bammy Losing!)

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Scott Walker vs. Barack Obama (Hint: Bammy Losing!)

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Matthews, North Carolina. Hi, Neil. Great to have you with us. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, how you doing?

RUSH: Very good, sir. Thank you.

CALLER: Hey, listen, there’s an important lesson to be learned when you examine the stark contrast between Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and President Obama’s campaign.

RUSH: What would that be?

CALLER: Both men have records, but only Scott Walker is running on nothing but his record and winning big.

RUSH: And Obama can’t run on his record. Is that the lesson?

CALLER: Well, the lesson is, you know, we’ve got a campaign going on in Wisconsin that the world is looking at, the United States is looking at, and this guy is running on nothing but his record. Every time he talks he talks about what he’s done and what’s going good for him, and it’s just a great contrast –

RUSH: Well, but there’s an interesting aspect to that. He’s not lying about it, either. Here’s a guy talking about his record but it has the added benefit of being true, and people don’t have to question whether he’s telling the truth or not; they’re living it. The unions — I was gonna get to Scott Walker at some point in the Stack, but I might as well touch on it briefly. There’s a couple of stories here in the Stack about the unions losing strength in Wisconsin.

“Republican Governor Scott Walker widened his lead over Democrat Tom Barrett to 7 percentage points in a new poll.” It’s less than a week. Walker at 52. Barrett is at 45. Wall Street Journal: “Wisconsin Unions See Ranks Drop Ahead of Recall Vote — Public-employee unions in Wisconsin have experienced a dramatic drop in membership — by more than half for the second-biggest union — since a law championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker sharply curtailed their ability to bargain over wages and working conditions.”
This Wisconsin recall election, the Democrats, this is their election. They demanded this. It’s a recall. They started it. They wanted it. It was gonna be a proving ground. It was where they were gonna demonstrate the power of unions, public-sector employees. They were gonna get rid of a Republican governor and his ideas, and the exact worst-case scenario is happening. The Democrat National Committee has pulled all money out. They are conceding already. The big risk in Wisconsin, I’ll tell you what it is. The big risk in Wisconsin is that Walker voters get a sense of complacency, think this is over, and don’t show up. That’s the biggest risk right now, and that’s what the largest concern is. But this election that the Democrats demanded, this has considerable ramifications for organized labor.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The lesson in Wisconsin is that conservatism works. Scott Walker has done everything that Obama says is impossible to do. He cut spending and expanded the economy while lowering taxes and laying off no one. It’s amazing.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I’ll tell you what’s happening in Wisconsin. I may as well stick with this. If the outcome next Tuesday is close to what the polling data indicates that it will be, the Democrats are giving every bit of evidence that they think it’s over. I mean they’re pulling money out of there; they’re not actively campaigning; they’re down in the dumps. I don’t think that’s psychological strategery. Could be. Just have to wait and see. The primary fear I think now is that Walker voters might get complacent. This is a fear that others have. I don’t. I think that there is so much energy and passion, pent-up frustration.

You look at the primary in Wisconsin, Walker, who didn’t need a single vote when the Democrats were determining his opponent, Walker got more votes than the two Democrats combined in Wisconsin, and that’s only because the Republicans in Wisconsin are sick and tired. They want to be heard. And this is their best way of being heard, is to go to the ballot box. I don’t think that there’s gonna be a relaxation or a suppression of enthusiasm, but that appears to be a major concern. What’s the lesson there? There are really a lot of them, but the big umbrella lesson is that conservatism works, and almost as important, if not more important, is the fact you need a guts-filled, courageous, unafraid conservative doing it. And that’s Walker.

The whole Democrat apparatus has been after this guy for two years. From the White House on down there have been efforts to politically and personally destroy this guy. He’s not whimpered, and he hasn’t caved, and he hasn’t backed out. His supporters have hung in with him. He’s raised more money than the Democrats have. He has not made excuses for conservatism. He’s not moderated it, modified it. He has his policies. He is explicit in explaining them. He has implemented as many of them as have been possible to implement, and they’re working. And the way to put it in proper context and perspective is to say that Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin has done everything Obama says is not impossible. Everything Obama is campaigning against, Walker has done and proved that it works.

Obama is out saying, “America has never worked. The free market, capitalism, it doesn’t matter. Supply-side economics, lower tax rates, doesn’t work.” Obama says it’s never worked. Well, we have a little laboratory here. Scott Walker has done what he promised to do. We had a caller in the last hour point out, Scott Walker’s running on his record, proudly, happily. He’s not lying about it. He doesn’t have to lie about it. He doesn’t have to cover it up, and doesn’t have to amplify it. It speaks for itself, people are living it. Unemployment rate in Wisconsin, way below the national average. Scott Walker has cut spending. He has grown, expanded the economy while lowering taxes. Nobody has been laid off.

Remember the catcalls, the Democrats and the unions said that all Walker wanted to do was bust the union and get rid of thousands of public sector employees, public sector union employees, that his was a stealth campaign to fire people and to close schools and all of that rotgut? And that’s never what his campaign was about. Walker always said, “I’m trying to save your job. We can’t go on this way. We can’t continue to ask the taxpayers to pay taxes sufficiently high enough that you end up being paid more than they are earning! It’s not sustainable.” And the unions didn’t want to hear that.

There’s a sense of entitlement that they have. And it doesn’t matter the economic circumstances of the taxpayers who pay ‘em. They’re owed. They’re union people. They’ve been given the shaft ever since the country was founded, just like Obama believes. They’ve been victimized by evil corporate bosses, evil conservatives. They’re gonna get their pensions and they’re gonna get their health care, and they’re not gonna have to work a day for it, maybe not more than a day for it. And they don’t care who’s paying for it. And Walker said there isn’t gonna be the money if we don’t institute these changes. So he cuts spending; he lowered taxes. The economy grew. He didn’t lay off anybody.

During a press conference with the Democrat candidate Tom Barrett, Barrett was asked to name one school that had been hurt by Walker’s collective bargaining contract. Name one school, Mr. Barrett, name one school that’s been harmed, and he couldn’t. Tom Barrett could not name a single school that was hurt.

Now, the Wall Street Journal again, the headline: “Wisconsin Unions See Ranks Drop Ahead of Recall Vote.” I’ll pick this up in the middle of it. “Walker’s ouster would derail the political career of a rising Republican star and send a warning to other elected officials who are battling unions.” That’s what they wanted. They wanted Walker to lose and lose this big, and that’s a national message. The Democrats are now saying it, “Well, this is a local election, the state of Wisconsin. There aren’t any coattails here. There are no ramifications for Obama. What are you, silly?” Yeah, that’s what they say now. When this all started, Wisconsin was gonna be a lesson to everybody. Wisconsin was gonna be a lesson to the Republicans. Wisconsin was gonna be a lesson to all you people who don’t want to embrace and give the unions everything you want.

They were gonna get rid of Walker, they were gonna destroy his career, and in so doing, empower the unions and send a message all across this country that this will happen to you if you oppose us. But, on the other hand, a win by Walker would amount to an endorsement of an effort to curtail public sector unions. And that’s gonna be the message that comes out of Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — the state’s second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers — fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011.” This is according to a person who has access to the membership records of this union. A union spokesman declined to comment on this. Now, this is before the election. The ranks, the membership in this union has dropped precipitously. There is no momentum for the pro-Democrat view of things in Wisconsin. And this is a blue state. The University of Wisconsin at Madison may as well be UC Berkeley. It’s profound what is happening there, and it’s been a teachable moment, and people are living the results of this.

Now, having said that, people lived the eighties as well, and the media was able to revise what the eighties were all about in people’s minds, and the people who lived it, many of them somehow were convinced that what actually happened didn’t happen and that we could never go back to that. Bill Clinton was elected, Obama was elected after George W. Bush. So you got another chance here to etch in stone the great results of conservatism implemented properly.

That brings up the question of the Republican establishment. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna be as happy as they can be. They’re gonna be as celebratory as they can be, but this was a Tea Party victory in Wisconsin. I’m not saying the Republican Party has no role in it, but this is a Tea Party campaign. This is a Tea Party enterprise, if you will, Tea Party concepts. The Republican establishment, yeah, they’ll be happy, they’ll take this. But this also refutes some of what they believe, that you have to be moderate, have to cross the aisle, have to compromise. Walker hasn’t done any of that. He stood fast. He stood tall.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is a segment from John King USA last night. The guest was TIME Magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Michael Crowley. And this is all about Wisconsin and Scott Walker. And John King, the host on CNN, is just lamenting this. He’s worried; he’s wringing his hands. (summarized) “Why isn’t Obama going to Wisconsin? There’s real trouble in Wisconsin. Why isn’t Obama going there to help save the day?”

CROWLEY: Unfortunately, I think that may be an indicator of what their polling is telling them. I think that doesn’t look good.

KING: So if it doesn’t look good, you don’t go? That’s courage?

WOMAN: …race to worry about. (giggling)

CROWLEY: Sometimes you don’t want to board a ship that –

MARY MATALIN: And he needs to worry about it.

CROWLEY: — that’s gonna sink, and — and the larger problem is that this could, uh… This could embolden Republicans. I believe Republicans haven’t carried Wisconsin since 1984, and it will put some wind at their backs, give them some momentum, make them feel like that they can pick one off that the White House wasn’t hoping to defend. So the White House might want to start that defense now. But, for the moment, they don’t want to be associated with what looks to them like a losing cause.

RUSH: Okay, that’s Michael Crowley at TIME Magazine. That’s who you heard. You heard John King say, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Okay, so you’re losing and it doesn’t look good; that’s why you go! (sobbing) Where’s the courage? (sobbing) Why’s Obama giving up? (sobbing) We’re doing everything we can! (sob) We’ve done everything we can! We got the memo on Wisconsin, and we’ve done everything we can. He won’t even go help us? Why? Is he gutless?”

Well, you know, you keep your powder dry, John. We gotta marshal our forces for a little bit later on. We don’t want to be associated with what looks like a shellacking right now!

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Madison and Sandy. Hi. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Hey, Rush, what a thrill. Just talking about the possible complacency. I think as equally dangerous is the fraud. Just with the past elections, with Judge Prosser, I truly believe that if those votes that had kind of been under the radar had been known, I think they would have found dead or whatever voters they had to get, to win that election.

RUSH: Wait a minute. What are we talking about?

CALLER: Well, just the recall election here.

RUSH: But what fear, who’s afraid of what in Wisconsin?

CALLER: I personally, just with what is happening, we have reports of high school teachers loading up high-schoolers, taking them to the early vote –

RUSH: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. You say the fear is not complacency. You’re worried about vote fraud in Wisconsin.

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: Oh, oh, okay. I got it well, well, we’ll talk about it when we come back.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let’s examine this caller from Wisconsin, not complacent, she’s frightened, voter fraud. What is this based on? Well, first a realization that voter fraud occurs on the Democrat side. There’s no question about it. The resistance to a photo ID to vote is all the evidence that you need, and it’s very true. Tuesday, the Democrats said, Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz said Tuesday is gonna be a dry run for the Democrat Party machine’s get-out-the-vote fraud, too. She didn’t say that, but she said two things in the same day. When she went to C-SPAN, it’s gonna be a dry run for the presidential race and later that day she said, no, the two are not related.

It is a dry run and the fear is because all of us know they cheat, all of us know they engage in fraud. They use early voting, that’s a recipe for cheating, that’s one of the reasons it exists. But we always assume that they succeed at it. Now, if this fear leads to a big Republican turnout, I’m all for it. Normally I don’t like fear because fear paralyzes, and fear sometimes is an indication of pessimism and negativism, and I think there may be some of that here. “Well, we can’t overcome. They’re gonna cheat. We don’t have a chance. We can’t possibly win.”

I don’t know there’s enough fraud to overcome seven or eight points, but if you’re gonna believe that the Democrats are downplaying expectations on purpose — this is a theory — that they’re pulling the money out, and it’s all part of a sandbag trick. And their polling companies are jiggering the numbers, and it’s not really as big an advantage or lead for Walker as the polls say, we’re being set up — I know people that believe this — that we’re being set up in every way. The polls are not true. The Democrats have not pulled money out of there. They’re secretly engaging in early voting and other ways of vote fraud, and we’re thinking we got a big victory already in hand and we’re gonna get shocked, and then they’re gonna have the biggest time in the media and they’re gonna make it out to be Obama gets reelected in Wisconsin, it’s all over, everybody depressed on our side.

I just, folks, do not think that they are that smart and that good. And if we are capable of knowledge like this, if we’re capable of this suspicion, then we’re capable of beating it. But it can also work against us. I reject the notion that they never make a mistake, that even when they’re losing by eight points it’s part of a grand plan that we’re not smart enough to figure out. Yes, I’ve got a gut feeling about how it’s gonna go. But I’m not gonna sit here and predict it because I don’t want to lead to complacency myself. Look, the Walker people are not sitting down. They’re still raising money. They’re acting like they’re a start-up, which is good. They’re acting like nothing’s in the bag. They’re doing everything right. The Walker side’s doing everything right in this. They’re not running around celebrating anything yet; there’s nothing to celebrate.

I’m fully aware the Democrats could be sandbagging on all this stuff. But then I live in Realville, and it is as bad. How do you explain the Wall Street Journal story on union membership plummeting in Wisconsin? How do you explain the low unemployment rate in Wisconsin and a lot of other states run by Republicans, by the way. And how do you explain everything Walker’s doing working. Is that part of the Democrat plan, too? No. It’s not. The fear is the result of decades of conditioning, combined with a lack of confidence in Republican leadership. But I am profoundly confident of Scott Walker and the people he’s got working on this. So we’ll find out. It’s gonna be next Tuesday, five days from now.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

Gay Porn “Actor” Luka Rocco Magnotta, Wanted by Interpol for Grisly Montreal Dismemberment Slay

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Gay Porn “Actor” Luka Rocco Magnotta, Wanted by Interpol for Grisly Montreal Dismemberment Slay

<br />
	Luka Rocco Magnotta, who has worked as a porn actor, is being sought in dismemberment slay.<br />

Luka Rocco Magnotta, who has worked as a porn actor, is being sought in dismemberment slay.
A police officer removes a package from the Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, on Tuesday.

A police officer removes a package from the Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, on Tuesday.

An actor in low-budget gay porn films is the subject of an international manhunt after two severed body parts belonging to the same person were found in the Canadian capital.

Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for Luka Rocco Magnotta on Wednesday, following a Canada-wide warrant. The 29-year-old is the prime suspect in the gruesome case, in which a severed human foot was sent to the headquarters of Canada’s ruling Conservative party and a blood-soaked package addressed to the Liberal Party containing a hand was stopped by police at a Canada Post terminal in Ottawa.

Authorities linked the bloody appendages Tuesday to a torso found in a locked suitcase behind a Montreal apartment building.

The building’s manager, Eric Schorer, said Magnotta had been living in the building for nearly four months. “He seemed like a nice guy,” Schorer told The Canadian Press.

Several residents in the building told the Montreal Gazette newspaper that police believe the torso belongs to an Asian man who also lived in the apartment building and is apparently missing.

Police said they are rushing to find Magnotta before he strikes again. A letter sent with the bloody foot warned that more body parts had been mailed and that the person responsible would kill again, according to CTV News.

A video purporting to show the killing is circulating around the Internet. On May 25, a user by the name Luke Magnotta uploaded a video that allegedly shows the murder to a website for novice horror film directors, La Presse reports.

The ten-minute video shows a man being repeatedly stabbed with an ice pick. The murderer then performs sexual acts on the body and then dismembers it.

The video draws an eery connection to the 2000 film American Psycho. True Faith by New Order plays as the murder is committed, a song that accompanied the opening credits of the movie.

U.S. lawyer Roger Renville told The Toronto Sun newspaper that he tipped off Toronto police to the video, which he found on bestgore.com.

Montreal Police Commander Ian Lafreniere told reporters Wednesday that Magnotta does not have a criminal record. “The suspect and victim knew each other,” Lafreniere said. “It isn’t linked to organized crime.”

Police have not released the victim’s name. An autopsy will be performed to determine how the victim was killed and when the body was dismembered.

“Some police officers have never witnessed a crime such as this,” Lafreniere told The Associated Press.

The suspect has a murky past. He has worked as a porn actor, an official close to the investigation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not given permission to discuss the grisly case.

Authorities told the news agency that Magnotta is also known by the names Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov. He is 5-foot-8 inches tall with blue eyes and black hair, cops say.

Police also confirmed that Magnotta once dated the infamous sex-killer Karla Homolka, the National Post reports.

Homolka was arrested in 1993 for the rape-murder of three Canadian women, one of which was her sister. Homolka was released from jail in 2005. Magnotta denied their relationship in 2007.

He has also been accused online of killing kittens and posting videos of their deaths on the Internet, the Gazette reports. He has responded to those accusations on his website, Luka-Magnotta.net.

“Many hoax websites are created using my image and name, posing as me to seem more believable in respect to the type of audience these websites have,” Magnotta wrote in an article titled “Cyber Stalking.”

“I feel I don’t need to list them specifically but people need to be told, not to believe what they read and to take it as fact.”

Romney Campaigns to Win: Refuses to Repudiate Supporters; Holds Surprise Photo-Op at Solyndra

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Romney Campaigns to Win: Refuses to Repudiate Supporters; Holds Surprise Photo-Op at Solyndra

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

 

RUSH: This is CNN: “Mitt Romney made a surprise campaign stop today at the shuttered headquarters of Solyndra.” Romney went and stood in front of the Solyndra sign for a photo-op. Solyndra, “the failed energy company that he talks about a lot as a symbol of Obama’s misuse of taxpayer dollars.” Now, folks, this is well-played. I have to tell you, at the beginning of the program I told you I really like the fact that Romney is ignoring all these Democrat calls to repudiate his supporters.

“Distance yourself from Trump. He’s a birther! How dare you? Distance yourself from Limbaugh. You have go out to condemn these people. You have got to put ‘em away. You’ve gotta put ‘em down,” and Romney’s not responding to it at all. Now, McCain, he didn’t wait for the Democrats to complain. When he knew they were gonna complain he took preemptive action and got rid of supporters. And most Republicans do. The media, the Democrats, start stomping their feet and crying and moaning.

They start demanding (sniveling liberal impression), “You better repudiate Limbaugh! You — you — you better distance yourself from Limbaugh.” And Republicans that go do it are applauded. But Romney, to his credit, is not. So here’s Obama running all these ads about how heartless and cold Romney is. (paraphrased) “Bain Capital, all they cared about is profits! They hired people and fired ‘em. They took over companies and they fired people and they shut ‘em down and took them to bankruptcy, but they got their profits out of it.”

So Romney has responded (paraphrased), “Oh, yeah? Well, I’ve got an 80% success rate, Mr. President. The companies that Bain Capital — using its own money, by the way — went in and rescued had an 80% success rate. What’s your success rate, Mr. President? Zero! Every company you’ve attempted to save or industry you’ve tried to give a boost to — with taxpayer dollars, not even your own — are bankrupt.” And to personify this, to illustrate it, Romney goes to Solyndra today.

Bravo! Well done! I like this.

I don’t care if Romney’s “not conservative enough.” I know some people, like Joe Scarborough yesterday on his show, said (paraphrased), “People don’t know about Solyndra! This is crazy. Romney’s wasting his time talking about Solyndra. The American people never heard of it and the American people don’t care about Solyndra.” He said you and I care about it, but nobody else knows about it. I’m sure in certain circles, inside the Beltway, it is considered an inside baseball story that the average American doesn’t know about and doesn’t care about.

But, see, that’s what a campaign is for.

A lot of people are gonna know about it now, if they didn’t. And they are gonna learn about it in context. Because Romney’s being hit for failing to save companies but taking profits out of them and firing people. So let’s go! Let’s go to the shuttered, shut-down, number one example of Barack Obama knowing how to do this. Let’s go to Solyndra, a phony company with a phony industry: solar panels, solar energy. They spent all this taxpayer money, and it’s nothing. It’s shuttered. It’s shut down.

If only Bain Capital had tried to save Solyndra, it might have been saved. I’m not sure about that ’cause there’s no business there. Bain probably didn’t want any part of it ’cause there’s no business there. Solyndra was a bunch of Obama donors. So the media is going out of its way not to cover Romney’s visit to Solyndra. Fox is covering it. I just saw it. I just saw a brief picture of Romney at the Solyndra sign. CNN is covering it on their website.

“The Thursday visit was kept a tight secret by the Romney campaign, which told reporters they needed to travel in a campaign bus to an undisclosed location. A Romney adviser said the campaign had concealed the event location for fear the [regime] would somehow prevent them from staging it.” Probably true. If the regime finds out Romney is going to Solyndra, the regime owns it (what’s left of it). So you call some marshals in and you don’t let anybody in.

“Asked how the [regime] could prevent an event staged on public property, the adviser said there might be a way. ‘Look, he’s only president. I mean, they could work with town officials to deny us access.’ Romney is expected to give brief remarks then take some questions.” Speaking of all this, audio sound bite number seven: Dick Morris last night on The O’Reilly Factor. There was a discussion of the presidential race. Here’s Dick Morris’ take on Bain, Obama, and Romney.

MORRIS: You see the girl running around with “Round 1″ sign around the ring. It’s the end of Round 1, and Romney won Round 1. President Obama thought that Bain Capital would be a silver bullet. He thought Romney walked around with a bull’s-eye on his chest and all he needed to do was pull the trigger. And once he put the Bain Capital stuff on, Romney would fall apart. Didn’t happen. And now Romney is coming back with Solyndra, and Obama’s dropping Bain and moving on to his record as governor. That’s huge! When you’re political consultants and you fire your best bullet and the guy is still standing and isn’t hurt, that’s very bad news.

RUSH: Damn straight it is, and Bain was bullet-point number one in this campaign. Well, bullet-point number two. Occupy Wall Street and Romneycare, that’s still to come. Those are the number one bullet-points going after Romney. But this was number two, and it didn’t work. They finally had to drop it. That’s a good observation there by Dick Morris.

 

END TRANSCRIPT

Spain Faces ‘Total Emergency’ as Fear Grips Markets

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Spain Faces ‘Total Emergency’ as Fear Grips Markets

A screen displays the IBEX 35 at Madrid’s stock exchange on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

“We’re in a situation of total emergency, the worst crisis we have ever lived through” said ex-premier Felipe Gonzalez, the country’s elder statesman.

The warning came as the yields on Spanish 10-year bonds spiked to 6.7pc, pushing the “risk premium” over German Bunds to a post-euro high of 540 basis points. The IBEX index of stocks in Madrid fell 2.6pc, the lowest since the dotcom bust in 2003.

Chaos over the €23.5bn rescue of crippled lender Bankia has led to the abrupt resignation of central bank governor Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, who testified to the senate that he had been muzzled to avoid enflaming events as confidence in the country drains away.

Markets are on tenterhooks as Spanish yields test levels that forced the European Central Bank to respond last November with its €1 trillion liquidity blitz. “Nobody is short Spanish debt right now because they are expecting ECB intervention,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. “If it doesn’t come — if we take out 6.8pc — we’re going to see a hyberbolic sell-off,” he said.

Italy felt the full brunt of contagion from Spain on Wednesday, with 10-year yileds back near 6pc. The euro fell to a 2-year low of $1.239 against the dollar. Crude oil and metal prices plummeted and save-haven flight pushed rates on 2-year German debt to zero. Gilt yields fell to 1.64pc, the lowest in history.

Mr Roberts said the collapse in Spanish tax revenues is replicating the pattern in Greece. Fiscal revenues have fallen 4.8pc over the last year, and VAT returns have slumped 14.6pc. Debt service costs have risen by 18pc.

The country is caught in a classic deflationary vice: a rising debt burden on a shrinking economic base. “Once you get into such a negative feedback loop, you can move beyond the point of no return quickly,” he said.

The European Commission has softened its stance, giving Madrid an extra year until 2014 to cuts its budget deficit from 8.9pc to 3pc of GDP, though this still amounts to a fiscal shock. Brussels told premier Mariano Rajoy to widen the VAT base and speed retirement at 67.

There is no sign so far that the ECB is ready to relent as Frankfurt and Madrid cross swords in an escalting test of will. The ECB has scotched Mr Rajoy’s tentative plans to recapitalize Bankia by drawing on ECB funds.

“It is dangerous to play chicken when you are driving a Seat and the ECB is driving a tank,” said professor Luis Garicano from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Mr Garicano said Madrid has overplayed its hand but the ECB needs to be careful too since Spain is increasingly tempted by the example of Argentina, which recovered quickly after leaving its dollar-peg. “The Rajoy people will do anything to avoid the slow agony of Greece. There is massive disaffection with the euro in Spain and papers like El Pais and Vanguardia are turning anti-German,” he said.

The latest PEW survey shows that just 37pc of Spaniards think the euro has been good for the country. Most still want to stay within EMU but the number is falling fast. The survey found that 40pc of Italians want to return to the lira.

The ECB is pushing Spain to accept a loan package from the EU bail-out fund (EFSF), the proper body for fiscal rescues. Mr Rajoy has refused vehemently. Any recourse to the EFSF is viewed with horror in Madrid, entailing an unacceptable loss of sovereignty.

The result is paralysis as both sides refuse to shift ground. Mr Rajoy is clinging to hope that the EU will take care of Spain’s banks through an EMU-wide recapitalization plan. This would avoid stigma and draconian conditions.

Brussels floated the idea on Wednesday for a eurozone “bank union” and use of the European Stability Mechanism — which has not yet been ratified by most states — to rescue banks and sever the dangerous nexus between crippled lenders and crippled states.

The proposals were shot down instantly by Berlin. Such plans amount to debt-mutualization, a form of back-door eurobonds. German opposition is “well known”, said the Kanzleramt.

Sources in Berlin say Germany wants Spain to tap the International Monetary Fund — as well as the EU — to spread the rescue burden to the US, China, Japan, Britain and others.

LSE Professor Paul De Grauwe accused the ECB of cherry-picking treaty clauses to justify inaction and failing to carry out its crucial mandate of financial stability. “They should buy Spanish and Italian bonds to cap yields at 300 basis points over Bunds, and let the lawyers argue about it for the next ten years,” he said.

Eurozone data released on Wednesday show that private credit and all key measures of the money supply contracted in April, suggesting that ECB’s €1 trillion liquidity blitz over the winter has failed to gain traction.

Guy Mandy, credit strategist at Nomura, said the ECB has lost sight of the big picture and risks losing the euro altogether if if fails to restore basic confidence. “They need to weigh up events on a grander scale, stop worrying about moral hazard, and do the job of a central bank,” he said.

J.C. Penney “Two-Dad” Ad features Local Family and DBJ Honoree (Sick!)

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - J.C. Penney “Two-Dad” Ad features Local Dallas “Family” and DBJ Honoree (Sick!)

In its June book, J.C. Penney Co Inc. ran an ad featuring another same-sex couple, but this time it features two dads in honor of Father’s Day.

And if anyone is wondering weather these ads feature real life families like they claim, all they would have to do is search our archives.

The ad features Cooper Smith Koch, a 2011 Dallas Business Journal 40 Under Forty honoree and principal at Dallas-based Cooper Smith Agency .

In the photo, Cooper and Todd Koch are shown hanging out with their kids, Claire and Mason.

I called up Koch and spoke to him about the experience and being part of the Plano-based company’s new marketing strategy.

A friend of the family took their photo from Facebook and submitted it to a modeling agency that was holding a casting call in January. Dallas-based The Clutts Agency Inc. then contacted Koch.

“We’ve always been very open about our family,” Koch said. “If we can help anyone through our experience, we are always happy to do that. So we said yes.”

The photo shoot, which was done in a staged home in Addison, took about three hours in February, Koch said. He hadn’t seen the results until Wednesday, when the photo started going viral.

While conservative activist group One Million Moms is calling for a boycott of J.C. Penney over the photo, Koch believes the company is doing something right by using real families.

“I think that it’s great. What I love is that they are not really exploiting anything. It’s all very normal. It’s just us spending time with our kids. I don’t see how anyone can have any sort of hate toward that. It’s just all about our family,” Koch said.

Koch said he actually does shop at J.C. Penney’s Timber Creek Crossing location and that the family was wearing entirely J.C. Penney apparel in the photo.

“I actually do shop at J.C. Penney,” Koch said. “I wouldn’t say I wear a ton of their clothes. Our kids have a lot of their clothes. My favorite pair of shorts are seersucker shorts that I bought there about a month ago.”

While the Kochs are not professional models, they did get paid for the ad, but he said it wasn’t the motivation.

“Anything that I can use my life for in a very normal, non-politicized existence that helps move things forward, I’m very open about that,” Koch said.

Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls (Illegals, Dead People Rejoice!)

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls (Illegals, Dead People Rejoice!)

Rick Scott
Governor Rick Scott of Florida

 

The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned.

DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.

Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. Florida officials said they were trying to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, but a flawed process led to several U.S. citizens being asked to prove their citizenship status or be kicked off the rolls.

Six members of Congress wrote Gov. Rick Scott earlier this week demanding that he stop purging the state’s voting rolls since the process improperly flagged numerous individuals who were eligible to vote.

“To enable us to meet our responsibility to enforce federal law, please inform us by June 6 of the action that the State of Florida plans to take concerning the matters discussed in this letter,” Christian Herren, chief of the voting section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, wrote in the letter obtained by TPM. “Specifically, please advise whether the State intends to cease the practice discussed above, so that the Department can determine what futher action, if any, is necessary.”

Update: the letter is embedded below.

TPM Docs: DOJ Demands Florida Stop Voter Purge

thumbCNN: Will history be Kind to Bush? (Answer: It Already Has – Thanks Bammy!)

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - CNN: Will history be Kind to Bush? (Answer: It Already Has – Thanks Bammy!)

Editor’s note: Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of the new book “The Crusader: The Life and Times of Pat Buchanan.”

(CNN) — Thursday afternoon, Barack Obama presided over the unveiling of George W. Bush’s official portrait in the White House, a warm event that reminds us: It feels like years since President Dubya regaled the world with his famous spoonerisms. His retirement has been defined by an awkward silence. While John McCain’s endorsement was trumpeted by Mitt Romney, Bush delivered his in just four words. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” he shouted to a journalist as an elevator door closed between them. If, just for old time’s sake, Bush had said, “I’m for Ritt Momney,” it would have been perfect.

Bush’s silence may be motivated by the recognition that much of the public doesn’t like him. He left office with the worst approval rating for a president since Watergate. But Bush could undergo a renaissance of enthusiasm. Consider the shifting attitudes toward Harry Truman.

When he left the White House in 1952, Truman was blamed for the recession and an ugly war in Korea. His approval rate was just 31%. By 1977, Jimmy Carter was hanging Truman’s portrait in the White House and the band Chicago sang, “America needs you, Harry Truman!” The switch came partly because Truman, like Bush, had a gentle, honest personality that voters looked back on with fondness. But Truman also proved prescient in his conduct of the Cold War. Bush, likewise, might seem a better and more farsighted leader in a few years time.

Timothy Stanley

Timothy Stanley

But not yet. In the short term, the two things that will dominate popular memories of Bush are the credit crunch and the Iraq War. John Bolton, Bush’s ambassador to the UN, admitted this week that his former employer had left Obama “a mess” to clean up. That’s an understatement. To be fair, Bush himself faced some events beyond his control: a recession in 2001 and the global collapse of financial institutions in 2007-2008. Nevertheless, on his watch median household income fell, poverty rose and millions lost health insurance. One particularly ugly stat: In 2000 there were 11.6 million children living in poverty in the United States, but by 2008 that number had swelled to 14.1 million.

Meanwhile, billions of dollars and thousands of lives were lost in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Even so, the future of democracy in both countries remains uncertain. In the course of “rooting out terrorism,” civil liberties were compromised. If you like your government limited and cautious — in the style of Thomas Jefferson or Ron Paul — Bush wasn’t your kind of a conservative.

However, as memories fade and new reasons to be angry take their place, Bush’s time in office might start to look comparatively benign. The economic figures might have been bad when Bush left the White House, but they’ve only gotten worse. Total debt was nearly $11 trillion in January 2009, when Obama took office, and it’s more than $15 trillion today. In January 2009, unemployment was 7.8% and, after hitting a high of 10% in October 2009, is down to 8.1%.

People might not have reason to be nostalgic about Bush, but Obama hasn’t yet delivered all that change he promised. Moreover, his foreign policy — although involving fewer boots on the ground — has dramatically expanded the definition of the enemy and the tools available to fight them. In the wake of the discovery of a creepy “Kill List,” a number of liberal journalists have written that Obama is actually less ethical or constitutionally minded than his predecessor. Bush might have tortured enemy combatants, but Obama has targeted U.S. citizens identified as terrorists.

Still, historical distance from Bush’s presidency will let us put it in greater perspective. Subjective bad memories will be replaced by objective analysis. And, objectively, he was a very important president.

In foreign affairs, Bush defined the War on Terror in much the way that Truman shaped thinking about the struggle against communism for decades. After 9/11, Bush could have determined the threat to America to be a limited terrorist opposition centered on al Qaeda. Instead, he defined it as a grand existential conflict between democracy and radical Islam: a clash of civilizations. Many may argue that his analysis was flawed, but many in the West also bought it — witness Britain’s participation in Iraq and Afghanistan and France’s ban on the Burqa.

On Bush’s watch a consensus developed that Islamic extremism must be confronted. More importantly, the idea that the West would support democracy, regardless of the cost — that the age of the great dictators was over – probably shaped the popular risings that took place across the Middle East in 2010-11. Would there have been an Arab Spring without an Iraq war? Maybe not.

At home, Bush was surprisingly innovative, too. He spoke Spanish and attracted unusual numbers of Latino votes. He appointed two black secretaries of State and a Chinese-American secretary of Labor. He also gave to the right the concept of compassionate conservatism: the idea that instead of simply pushing for less government, the Republicans should offer constructive proposals for what should take its place.

A result is that the one place in the world where Bush is guaranteed a good reception is Africa. In 2003, just 50,000 Africans were on anti-retrovival drugs. Thanks to the $18 billion in aid that Bush pumped into the continent, the figure had risen to 1.3 million people by 2007.

The picture that emerges is a president who was, like Truman, ahead of his time in some regards but who was undermined by events that, in the beginning at least, were beyond his control. Without 9/11, Bush might have been a more benign Eisenhower-style president who could have spent his energies pursuing two policies that Republicans and Democrats will probably have to come to terms with eventually: immigration reform and free trade with Asia.

The War on Terror undermined those domestic ambitions. However, it also gave him the opportunity to change the way we perceive the world. For good or bad, we’ll be living by the Bush model of international relations for many years to come

Aaron Zellman: No Compromise Against Gun Control!

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Published on: May 31, 2012

 

No Compromise Against Gun Control

Interview of Aaron Zelman by John F. McManus – President of the John Birch Society

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The late Aaron Zelman was executive director and founder of
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a pro-Second Amendment group based in Wisconsin.

McManus: What is your organization’s main goal?

Aaron Zelman: Our main goal is to destroy gun control. We are an organization that believes we have the moral authority to point out to the rest of the world the evils that have come from gun control and how humanity has suffered because of gun-control schemes.

McManus: Are people who aren’t Jewish members of your organization?

Zelman: We have members of our organization that have told us they are not Jewish. We don’t ask people what their religion is. And we are not an organization that is preaching religion to anybody.

We think the history of gun-control schemes has been so harmful to Jews that we have the moral authority to speak out. We welcome anybody who accepts the JPFO position that gun control must be destroyed.

We’re not interested in compromise. We are only interested in the destruction of something we consider to be a very evil and deadly policy known as gun control.

McManus: How did you become involved in something like this?

Zelman: Well, I’ve been involved in promoting gun ownership because of my family history to some degree. When my father was about six months old, his family had to leave the Ukraine in Russia because Stalin came to power. Stalin was not interested in kulaks owning land.

And so they lost everything they had, essentially, and fled to Canada where my dad was raised and served in the Canadian Army during World War II. So, I learned at a very, very early age what happens when you can’t defend your life against a government gone bad.

McManus: Could you give us some examples of what has happened in other nations where gun control was in place?

Zelman: Well, there are several. Why don’t we start with the film we created called Innocents Betrayed? The film shows the history of and the connection between gun registration, confiscation, and how a police state is able to come about. It shows how the police state can target individuals they don’t want to live and murder them — otherwise known as genocide.

McManus: Where has this happened?

Zelman: Historically it happened in Turkey, known as the Armenian Genocide, and then, of course, in China, Russia, Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, Uganda, and even now in Darfur.

McManus: You’ve actually obtained some of the documents from these different countries, and you’ve translated them so that we who read only English can read them?

Zelman: A number of years ago we started this project of trying to find out if there was a connection among governments and if governments did the same thing. As we put it, these folks all go to the same dictators’ school. Indeed, there is a connection because there is a pattern.

They realize they can’t stay in power if the peasants have pitchforks and can march on the gates of the city. The way to bring about a dictatorship or police state is to make sure the people are disarmed.

McManus: I understand you have done work showing the source of the 1968 gun law here in the United States.

Zelman: The 1968 Gun Control Act, as we know it today, became law during the Johnson administration. The history behind the 1968 act is indeed fascinating.

The author of the federal Gun Control Act, Senator Thomas Dodd, was an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department at Nuremburg. He obtained the Reichsgesetzblatt, which is the German equivalent of our Federal Register. He was able to use the German gun-control laws after giving them to the Library of Congress to translate for him. They did indeed translate the laws for him, and that was the model, the basis, for the 1968 Gun Control Act in America. (See http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/GCA_68.htm)

McManus: Many Americans believe that it is the duty of police to protect them. Comment?

Zelman: The police do not have a duty to protect individuals. The shield on the side of the car may say “to protect and serve,” but the reality is, and by state law and the state statutes and case law, you do not have a right to police protection.

We have a book we publish entitled Dial 911 and Die. It’s written by an attorney named Richard Stevens. The book details laws in every single state in the Union, the state statutes as well as case law, concerning calling 911.

You can sue the police if they fail to protect you, and your heirs can sue the police if you die during a criminal’s attack on you, but you won’t accomplish anything because the judge will finally tell you that there is no duty for the police to protect an individual unless there’s been a prior agreement that they will offer you protection.

If you’ve been an informant for the police, if you are involved in some type of work for the police where the police are not able to protect you, if it’s dangerous work, you are entitled. But short of that the police have no duty to protect you.

McManus: Could you tell us about “Goody Guns”?

Zelman: Goody Guns is a program we started to save our children from the clutches of the gun prohibitionists in the public school system. Goody Guns are cookie cutters in the shape of revolvers or pistols, and the purpose of using them as you bake cookies for your children, or grandchildren, is to teach them firearm safety while they are eating their cookie.

You tell them to eat the cookie from the back of the gun where the handle is to the front of the gun where the muzzle is. And so they learn an important fact on firearms safety — controlling where the muzzle is pointed. You start early with the Goody Guns, and by the time they get to the public school system and they hear all the propaganda about guns being bad, they will know better.

When we first introduced Goody Guns, gun prohibitionists had a conniption fit because they knew the psychology behind our program. They realized they can’t get into your home when the kid is two years old; they have to wait until your child is six years old in the school system, and by then they’ve lost.

Once Goody Guns went up on the Internet, everybody knew about it. We had, concerning Goody Guns, a call from a television station in England that was producing a program on guns in America. And they were curious about Goody Guns.

The person who called me wanted to know what the rationale behind Goody Guns was, and I sensed from the way she was asking the questions that she was trying to figure out a way to maneuver something to cause us a problem. Finally, she acknowledged, after we were almost done, that this was very clever and would probably be very effective. End of conversation. She put the phone down.

McManus: Have you been blasted by the media for this?

Zelman: Well, the media is being true to form. They want to ignore anything that JPFO does. But the gun prohibitionists remain incensed. They had to speak out against it.

McManus: What’s the greatest threat on the horizon right now for the right to keep and bear arms?

Zelman: I think there are numerous threats, but one is that the American public really doesn’t understand a need for an armed citizenry. Our country became independent because citizens were armed. This is why an organized, state-controlled militia received attention in the U.S. Constitution. So we have a lot of work to do.

We have to reach out to people and help them understand why citizens must be armed, and what’s happened to citizens throughout the world and throughout history when they couldn’t defend themselves against a government gone bad.

Copyright JPFO. Inc 2009

US Rejects Proposal to Put Internet Under UN Control

Original Article Link - US Rejects Proposal to Put Internet Under UN Control

There are fears that a UN-controlled Internet could "diminish the dynamism" of the web

The world is displayed on a computer screen via Google Earth. US officials, lawmakers and technology leaders offered a resounding “no” Thursday to proposals to bring the Internet under United Nations’ control and said they would lead efforts to stop the move.

US officials, lawmakers and technology leaders voiced firm opposition Thursday to efforts to bring the Internet under UN control, saying it could hurt free expression and commerce.

At a congressional hearing, the comments were united in opposition to place the Internet under the jurisdiction of the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency which governs telecom systems.

“There’s a strong, bipartisan consensus within the (US) administration and Congress that we must resist efforts from some countries to impose a top-down governance of the Internet,” Representative Henry Waxman told the hearing.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui added that “any international authority over the Internet is troublesome, particularly if that effort is being led by countries where censorship is the norm.”

A top State Department official, in prepared remarks, reaffirmed the opposition of the Obama administration to UN governance of the Internet.

“In all bilateral encounters and multilateral meetings, the United States consistently opposes the extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet,” said Philip Verveer, deputy assistant secretary of state and coordinator for IT policy, saying this would lead to “very bad outcomes.”

“It inevitably would diminish the dynamism of the Internet,” he said.

Verveer told lawmakers that UN control would possibly “aid in censorship and repression” in some countries.

The comments come ahead of a meeting in December of the ITU where some nations will be pressing for the agency to formally govern the Internet.

Some nations, including Russia and China, say the Internet is still controlled by the United States and that a UN effort would give a greater voice to the developing world.

Vint Cerf branded the proposals as "potentially hazardous"“Father of the Internet” and Google scientist Vint Cerf in Hong Kong in 2011. Cerf said Thursday that proposals to bring the Internet under United Nations’ control “holds profound — and I believe potentially hazardous — implications for the future of the Internet and all of its users”.

But many in the US fear a UN-governed Internet would give authoritarian nations the power to throttle free speech, and allow others to impose tariff or other restrictions.

The Internet is currently a loosely governed network, with an address system managed by a nonprofit association that was recently opened to include nongovernment groups and other organizations around the world.

A staff memo to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which called Thursday’s hearing, said handing over the Internet to the UN “could jeopardize not only its vibrancy, but also the economic and social benefits it brings to the world.”

Vint Cerf, a computer scientist often called the “father of the Internet,” who is now Google’s “chief Internet evangelist,” also expressed concern about the proposal.

“The Internet’s success has generated a worrying desire by some countries’ governments to create new international rules that would jeopardize the network’s innovative evolution and its multi-faceted success,” he said in prepared remarks.

A move to UN control, he said, “holds profound — and I believe potentially hazardous — implications for the future of the Internet and all of its users. If all of us do not pay attention to what is going on, users worldwide will be at risk of losing the open and free Internet that has brought so much to so many.”

Sally Shipman Wentworth of the Internet Society, an advisory panel, said the current system works well, and that UN governance “could lead to a more fragmented, less interoperable global network.”

US Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell said the proposals represent threats to the Internet.

“For many years now, scores of countries led by China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and many others, have pushed for, as then-Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said almost a year ago, ‘international control of the Internet’ through the ITU,” he told the panel.

“Such a scenario would be devastating to global economic activity, but it would hurt the developing world the most.”

Appeals Court Strikes down DOMA: Supreme Court – HERE WE COME! (Video)

Original Article Link - Appeals Court Strikes down DOMA: Supreme Court – HERE WE COME! (Video)

The federal appeals court in Boston struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday, ruling that the federal statute violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian married couples to equal treatment under the law.

A three-judge panel from the federal appeals court in Boston unanimously ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

The action by a unanimous three-judge panel of the First US Circuit Court of Appeals sets the stage for a much-anticipated showdown at the US Supreme Court over same-sex marriage.

Declaring that tradition alone was not enough to justify disparate treatment of same-sex couples, the appeals court said DOMA failed to pass constitutional muster.

“Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,” Circuit Judge Michael Boudin wrote for the court in a 28-page decision.

Joining the decision were Chief Judge Sandra Lynch and Judge Juan Torruella.

The decision comes three weeks after President Obama announced his support of gay marriage. The Justice Department had initially worked to defend DOMA against the Massachusetts-based legal challenges, but last year announced it would no longer argue for the statute’s constitutionality.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have passed laws recognizing same-sex marriages. More than 30 other states have passed statutes or state constitutional amendments restricting the definition of marriage to between a man and a woman.

The 1996 federal statute seeks to bolster those state efforts to limit the definition of marriage.

DOMA defines marriage in an effort to set eligibility for more than 1,100 federal benefits. By declaring that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, Congress intentionally excluded same-sex married couples from receiving the same level of benefits as heterosexual married couples.

For example: gay spouses are barred under DOMA from filing joint tax returns; a surviving spouse in a same-sex marriage may not collect Social Security survivor benefits; and federal employees may not share their government-provided health insurance with a same-sex spouse.

The appeals court noted that federal lawmakers sought to justify DOMA as a means to defend and nurture traditional, heterosexual marriage. The lawmakers also said they wanted to defend traditional notions of morality, and to preserve scarce government resources.

But the court pushed such justifications aside, saying that the offered rationales do not provide adequate support for DOMA.

“DOMA does not … explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage,” Judge Boudin wrote.

“This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem, but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA’s treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage,” the judge said.

In terms of morality, the judge cited the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision striking down a Texas sodomy law. “Moral disapproval alone cannot justify legislation discriminating on this basis,” Boudin said.

The decision encompasses three different cases consolidated for the appeal. They include: Gill v. OPM (10-2207), Massachusetts v. US Department of HHS (10-2204), and Hara v. OPM (10-2214). The court heard oral argument in early April to examine a July 2010 ruling by a federal judge in Boston who also declared DOMA unconstitutional.

“In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA’s hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality,” Boudin wrote. “The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.”

Preserving the institution was not the same as “mere moral disapproval of an excluded group,” the judge said.

“For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute,” Boudin said. “But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.”

thumbVIDEO: Planned Parenthood’s ‘Margaret Sanger’ Clinic in NY Welcomes Sex-Selection Abortion!

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - VIDEO: Planned Parenthood’s ‘Margaret Sanger’ Clinic in NY Welcomes Sex-Selection Abortion!

NEW YORK, May 31, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An employee at the flagship abortion clinic of Planned Parenthood in New York has been caught on tape telling a woman how to be sure of her unborn baby’s female sex in order to abort her in a second undercover video released Thursday morning.

The footage shows the undercover investigator, walking past a sign on the wall that reads “WOMEN COUNT,” meeting Planned Parenthood social worker Randi Coun at the Margaret Sanger Center International on Bleecker St.

Coun walks the investigator through obtaining a CVS test to determine gender as early as the first trimester, but assures the potential patient that it would be just as safe to obtain an abortion as late as 24 weeks.

“Yeah, so, you know, with—an abortion at any stage up to 24 weeks is considered a safe procedure. Um, the biggest difference is that after 16 weeks, the procedure becomes a 2-day procedure, rather than a procedure that’s done just on one day,” says the social worker. “It’s just there’s more steps involved and it’s just a little more complicated.”

Unborn children younger than 16 weeks are aborted by either dilation and curettage (D&C) or dilation and evacuation (D&E), in which the body is cut into pieces to ease removal from the womb. After 16 weeks a saline abortion can be used, in which a strong salt solution is injected into the amniotic sac. This kills the baby by burning its outer layer of skin and poisoning it when the solution is swallowed, a process that takes around an hour. Labor to expel the body normally sets in naturally within 24 hours, completing the abortion procedure.

Coun tells the investigator that Planned Parenthood would not question her sex-selection motivations. “I can tell you that here at Planned Parenthood we believe that it’s not up to us to decide what is a good or a bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy,” she said.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, who is a nurse, notes the CVS suggestion is an extreme one that puts the baby at risk. “CVS tests have a risk of miscarriage of about 1 in 100, which Coun did not mention, and are typically done to test for genetic disorders,” wrote Stanek.

The video was released two days after footage from a Texas clinic showed a counselor helping a potential client get an ultrasound to determine the baby’s gender for a sex-selective abortion, and warning her not to tell doctors of her intentions. “A lot of doctors will place judgment because the brain is already developed, a lot. Pretty much everything’s already developed.”

Planned Parenthood issued a statement the same day announcing the counselor had been fired, but also confirmed that it is willing to perform sex-selection abortions. Meanwhile, the abortion chain is opposing a bill set for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday that would ban sex-selection abortions.

Freed Chinese Activist, “Democratic Reform Irreversible in China” (Hope He’s Right!)

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Freed Chinese Activist, “Democratic Reform Irreversible in China” (Hope He’s Right!)

Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist whose flight to the US embassy in Beijing sparked a major diplomatic incident, said Thursday that democratic change in China is slow, but irreversible.

“I’m very optimistic,” Chen said. “Nobody can stop the process of history, whether it’s the central government, whether the central government wants to move forward or backwards.”

In his first major public appearance since being allowed to leave China to study at New York University, Chen told the Council on Foreign Relations think tank that the Internet age meant the communist state machine had already lost much of its grip.

“Chinese society has gotten to the era where if you don’t want something known, you better not do it. People are using all kinds of means to disseminate information. Can you do cover-ups? No. That possibility is diminishing,” he said.

Countering the frequent argument that China, with its different culture and history, should not copy Western-style democracy, Chen cited the examples of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and said: “We also need to learn eastern democracy.”

But activists at home and Western powers watching from the outside should not force China, he said.

“Many people, they want to move that mountain in one week. That’s not realistic. We have to move it bit by bit and move it by ourselves.”

According to Chen, the central government in Beijing is moving in the right direction, but local authorities, such as the officials who harassed him and he says are still persecuting his family, are acting lawlessly.

“The central government is letting me come to the US to study. That is unprecedented, regardless of what they did in the past. As long as they move in the right direction, we should affirm it, rather than… (be) challenging everything,” he said.

The central government is ready to reform, “but I think local authorities are very backward and it’s going to take time to change them,” he said. If local authorities are not forced to respect China’s laws, then the central powers will “lose control,” he warned.

Chen was sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2006 after exposing abuses in China’s one-child policy, and then placed under house arrest upon his release in September 2010.

The 40-year-old activist’s escape from house arrest and his dramatic arrival at the US embassy in Beijing last month highlighted China’s long-criticized human rights record.

Though he was eventually allowed to move to the United States, Chen once again insisted Thursday that he is not seeking political asylum and that he intends to return home.

For now, though, one of his main goals is simple: to get a few days off.

“For the last seven years I haven’t had a weekend, so both for my body and mental health I need some rest,” he told the packed audience at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Aside from studying at NYU, Chen said he hopes to become involved in reforms underway of New York’s laws on protection of disabled people. “I’d love to be involved in that process,” he said.

This was Chen’s first extended interaction with the public, fielding questions from lawyers, human rights activists and scholars.

Earlier this week, he penned an op-ed in The New York Times where he blasted what he said was the failure of Chinese authorities to respect the country’s own laws.

He cited the harrowing story of his escape and what he said was a retribution raid by “a furious pack of thugs” against his nephew, who was badly beaten, before being arrested for defending himself with a knife.

“China’s political stability may depend on its ability to develop the rule of law in a system where it barely exists,” he wrote. “China stands at a critical juncture.”

U.S. Bishops: Catholics should prepare for civil disobedience to HHS mandate

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - U.S. Bishops: Catholics should prepare for civil disobedience to HHS mandate

Catholics in the United States should be prepared to engage in civil disobedience if the HHS mandate requiring employers to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs is not rescinded, says a new document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The USCCB released the one-pager as a bulletin insert to be distributed in Catholic Churches during June, in preparation for the Fortnight for Freedom, a two week period of prayer and fasting for the rescinding of the mandate.

“Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified,” the bishops write. “Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.”

The insert takes up some of the themes expounded on in a longer document released in April by the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, which also alluded to the possible need for non-violent resistance and compared the situation to that faced by the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

Like the April document, the insert calls the civil rights movement “an essentially religious movement,” and quotes Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which King cites St. Augustine’s dictum that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

“The church does not ask for special treatment, simply the rights of religious freedom for all citizens. Rev. King also explained that the church is neither the master nor the servant of the state, but its conscience, guide, and critic,” the insert reads.

It continues: “For the first time in our history, the federal government will force religious institutions to fund and facilitate coverage of a drug or procedure contrary to their moral teaching, and purport to define which religious institutions are ‘religious enough’ to merit an exemption. This is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may by forced by the government to provide such coverage even when it violates our consciences.”

In addition to urging Catholics to contact legislators, the insert asks people to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom beginning on June 21st and leading up to the July 4th holiday through prayer, fasting, and organizing local events to oppose the mandate.

The two week period encompasses several feasts of saints who, the USCCB website notes, “remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power,” including St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More. St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.

An opening Mass has been scheduled for June 21, the vigil of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More. It will be held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, and presided over by Archbishop William Lori, the newly installed Archbishop of Baltimore.

The July 4th Closing Mass will be offered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, with Archbishop Charles Chaput, a widely reputed champion of the pro-life cause, giving the homily.

Obama’s abortion, marriage views inspire dozens of Democratic politicians to join the GOP

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Published on: May 31, 2012

Original Article Link - Obama’s abortion, marriage views inspire dozens of Democratic politicians to join the GOP

Five months ahead of the presidential election, the Democratic Party is already losing seats to Republicans, as a growing number of elected officials are changing parties over issues like the right to life, the definition of marriage, and the Obama administration’s mandate that religious institutions cover abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans.

Wednesday afternoon, seven local office-holders from three Mississippi counties announced they had voted with their feet.

Leake County (Mississippi) Sheriff Greg Waggoner.

Each official had different reasons, but Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner “specifically said when [Obama] came out in favor of gay ‘marriage,’ that was the last straw,” Brett Kittredge, communications director of the Mississippi Republican Party, told LifeSiteNews.com.

“I’m a Christian, and my first allegiance is to Jesus Christ,” Sheriff Waggoner said. “God established marriage, and He established it between a man and a woman. Those are my beliefs. The Republican Party reflects my beliefs.”

His concerns echoed those of Pennsylvania Democrat-turned-Republican Jo Ann Nardelli. A lifelong Democrat, Nardelli has been active as a pro-life Democrat at the state and local level. As Matthew Archbold wrote, “She met with Hillary Clinton, gave a rosary to Joe Biden, and appeared on the cover of U.S. News and World Report going to Church with then Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr.”

But after seeing Vice President Joe Biden, who is Roman Catholic, endorse same-sex “marriage,” she said she could no longer stand by the party. “I talked to our priest,” she said. Soon she penned a resignation letter citing the party’s conflict with Catholic teaching.

“Due to personal matters and faith beliefs at this time, it is only fair to resign,” she wrote. “It is time to move forward with my life in a direction that is more in line with my faith.” At a press conference, she endorsed Mitt Romney, then switched parties.

State and local officials are not only ones to defect from an increasingly left-wing party. Former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, an early Obama supporter who ran for governor in 2010, hinted on Tuesday that he may run for office in his new home state of Virginia. “If I were to run, it would be as a Republican,” he wrote.

“[F]aith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too,” he wrote on his blog, which he refers to as “free opposition research.”

He jabbed the administration for plunging “headfirst into a fight over contraception and Catholic hospitals” in February. “The Ninth Circuit’s ruling on gay marriage prefigures a Supreme Court ruling on the issue…a brief against big government has to also address the overreach of Washington’s pronouncing church doctrine dead.”

A Democrat who voted against the president’s health care reform, Davis said he still thinks the bill “goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.” Entitlement reform and fiscal discipline play a role in his change of party.

Davis, who is black, also chafed at the president’s “bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured.” He has said he “despises identity politics” and calls Affirmative Action “a racial spoils system.”

That multi-pronged objection shows that many Democrats do not object to Obama but to liberalism, a problem that often sinks down to the state and local party level.

In April, Rick Murphrey, the mayor of Kings Mountain in North Carolina and a lifelong Democrat, changed party registration to the GOP based in part on the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.” Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, opposed Amendment One. Murphrey said that “is one of the things” he and his wife “evaluated in our decision.”

“We believe in the marriage of one man and one woman,” Murphrey said. “That is something we believe in strongly.”

New party members sometimes become active leaders in the pro-life cause. Ohio State Representative Doug McKillip of Athens – who accepted a $500 donation from Planned Parenthood in 2006 as a Democrat – introduced a bill to limit abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy earlier this year.

McKillip credits his faith with his party change. “I became a Christian in ’09,” he said. “You start reading the Bible, and you realize life begins at conception.”

In March, Texas State Representative J.M. Lozano said he was tired of being “bullied” by Democrats. Like his constituents in Jim Wells County, he cherished “pro-life, pro-business” sentiments in “my heart and my soul.”

Lozano, McKillip, Waggoner, and others join a growing exodus of centrist or right-leaning former Democrats. Two dozen state officials changed registration from Democrat to Republican in the first three months after the 2010 midterm elections.

Kittrege estimates that more than 50 Democrats in Mississippi have joined the Republican Party since January 2009.

“They cannot be affiliated any longer with the Democratic Party because of the Obama administration, and all the leaders of the Democratic Party – Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, on down the line,” Kittredge told LifeSiteNews.com.

“There is no center-right in the Democratic Party,” Davis explained to Fox host Neil Cavuto. “There is in the Republican Party.”

In response, some Democrats are asking for a less liberal abortion plank in the 2012 Democratic Party platform. Former President Jimmy Carter has publicly stated party leaders should “limit [abortion] only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.” Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, promises pro-lifers will lead a public witness at the convention.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told LifeSiteNews.com that abortion “is killing the Democrats in the South. Jimmy understands this. He understands the reason they lost the South is not the civil rights movement; it’s the abortion movement.”

Increasingly, it is also the marriage redefinition movement. Yet four former party chairmen and 11 state parties have called for the Democratic Party to include support for same-sex “marriage” in the party platform this summer during their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The ongoing defections show many are giving up on efforts to carve out a pro-life, pro-marriage niche in the party of Jefferson and Jackson. “I thought I could make a difference to change our party,” Nardelli said. “It didn’t work.”

“The national Democratic Party, and to a certain extent the Mississippi Democratic Party, has made it easier for us,” Kittredge told LifeSiteNews. “They almost do the work for us.”

thumbGeorge W. Bush Upstages Bammy at Portrait Unveiling

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Published on: May 31, 2012


Former President George W. Bush yucks it up at his portrait unveiling at the White House.

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