Monday, July 4, 2011

13 S. California counties consider seceding; Supreme Court Justice Kagan may have perjured herself in testimony; Ohio kills death tax; Maine puts benchmarks on welfare; Alinsky-style group speaks at 2911 State Battles Summit; Obama Administration recruites homosexuals to adopt children; Michigan gives power to "emergency financial managers"; CIA enhanced interrogations were not criminal after all; Employers losing rights to inform on unions; Judge steps in to prayer at VA funerals problem; Obama Stimulus jobs cost us $278,000 per job

Happy Birthday, America!

CBS Los Angeles reports: Is the state of California about to go “South”?  Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone apparently thinks so, after proposing that the county lead a campaign for as many as 13 Southern California counties to secede from the state.
Stone said in a statement late Thursday that Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties should form the new state of South California.
The creation of the new state would allow officials to focus on securing borders, balancing budgets, improving schools and creating a vibrant economy, he said.
( - Forty-nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives--including the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and two presidential candidates--are pointing to evidence they say is "contradictory" to Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's confirmation testimony and calling for the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the matter.
The lawmakers also say they believe that evidence already made public shows that Kagan must recuse herself from any court cases involving the health care bill signed into law by President Barack Obama while she was serving as Obama's solicitor general.
By BILL BATCHELDER, JACK BOYLE AND DICK PATTEN, The Wall Street Journal: Ohio Gov. John Kasich made good on a major campaign promise Thursday, killing the state’s estate tax in the process of enacting the 2012-13 budget. He also managed to kill off an $8 billion deficit without raising taxes—a model for fiscally squeezed states nationwide.
The end of the death tax, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, will help stop the hemorrhaging of small businesses and jobs from the Buckeye State. Ohioans had suffered long enough with the levy on inheritances, with a 6% tax on personal and business assets above the $338,333 exemption, up to $500,000, and a 7% tax on assets above $500,000. The death tax was a major reason that business, jobs and capital have fled the state.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- writes: From Welfare to Opportunity - Governor Paul LePage of Maine:

Welfare should be a temporary helping hand to get Mainers back on their feet – not a lifestyle and ticket to permanent dependence on government. Governor LePage’s Welfare reforms value productivity and the need to get Maine working. Governor LePage’s plan will make sure Mainers who need help most will be taken care of, while creating a series of benchmarks and incentives so a job becomes a better choice than welfare.
The founders of a radical group that teaches tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation were among the main speakers at a union convention at which one leader called for opposing "right-wing threats to dismantle the Middle Class."
Heather Booth, director of a Saul Alinsky-style community organizing group, the Midwest Academy, was among the main speakers at the "2011 State Battles Summit," held this week at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C
Read more: Forecast for U.S. cities: Confrontation, chaos?
Freedom Torch writes: The Obama administration tried to recruit homosexuals to adopt children, at the Federal Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Youth Summit in Washington.
The Blaze reports: Benton Harbor is one of approximately 100 towns in Michigan on the verge of fiscal collapse. Now economic desperation is bringing with it a sort of financial martial law. In light of Benton Harbor’s predicament Michigan lawmakers have opted for an extreme measure which gives unilateral authority to “emergency financial managers”. EMFs have complete authority to fire elected officials, close schools, void union contracts and even sell public property. [A lawsuit has been filed against this action.]
The NY Daily News reports: A special prosecutor has dashed the fondest hopes of opponents of the war on terror by concluding that the CIA's program of so-called enhanced interrogations of Al Qaeda operatives after 9/11 was not shot through with criminality after all.

Justice Department prosecutors had already found no grounds for proceeding against anyone, but that was not good enough for Holder, who came into office bearing few good thoughts about Bush administration policies.
Indeed, at the same time that he assigned Durham, a previously confidential CIA inspector general's report indicated that agents had engaged in no instances of torture in any ordinary sense of that word.
CNN Money writes:  Card-check has never been able to pass the Senate -- not even when Democrats took over Congress in 2006. Instead, presidential appointees friendly to labor are deploying agency muscle. "They voted under new rules that the unions asked for," Delta CEO Richard Anderson told Fortune via email. "They've done everything asked of them. And because they said no to union representation, their decisions aren't being respected; they're being held hostage."
Last week, NLRB proposed sweeping new rules cutting the amount of time available to employers to make their case prior to a union vote -- an action the Chamber of Commerce rightly denounced as a "another not so cleverly disguised effort to restrict the ability of employers to express their views" during a union campaign.
The Chronicle reports: U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled May 26 that the government couldn't stop Rainey from using the words "Jesus Christ" in his invocation. Hughes issued a temporary restraining order to prevent VA from censoring Rainey's prayer.

Discrimination alleged

Attorneys with the nonprofit Liberty Institute, which represented Rainey, filed an amended complaint this week after allegedly finding other instances of religious discrimination by cemetery officials against members of The American Legion Post 586, Veterans of Foreign Wars District 4 and the National Memorial Ladies, a volunteer group that attends funerals of fallen service members.
The complaint accuses VA of "a widespread and consistent practice of discriminating against private religious speech" at the cemetery.
I am deeply troubled by the allegations that were brought to my attention when I met with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Houston. The director of the Houston National Cemetery, Arleen Ocasio, allegedly has engaged in aggressive hostile censorship of religion at the second largest cemetery for veterans in the United States.
The First Amendment is a sacred right of all Americans, especially those who have honorably served--and given their lives--in the name of protecting the United States. Denying their families their constitutional right to the free exercise of religious freedom is disgraceful and shows blatant disrespect for America’s veterans. If these allegations are true,I formally call for the termination of Arleen Ocasio as the director the Houston National Cemetery. This display of authoritarian behavior and religious discrimination should not be tolerated.

The Weekly Standard reveals: When the Obama administration releases a report on the Friday before a long weekend, it’s clearly not trying to draw attention to the report’s contents. Sure enough, the “Seventh Quarterly Report” on the economic impact of the “stimulus,” released on Friday, July 1, provides further evidence that President Obama’s economic “stimulus” did very little, if anything, to stimulate the economy, and a whole lot to stimulate the debt.

The report was written by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, a group of three economists who were all handpicked by Obama, and it chronicles the alleged success of the “stimulus” in adding or saving jobs. The council reports that, using “mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus” (which it describes as a “natural way to estimate the effects of” the legislation), the “stimulus” has added or saved just under 2.4 million jobs — whether private or public — at a cost (to date) of $666 billion. That’s a cost to taxpayers of $278,000 per job.   
In other words, the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the “stimulus,” and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead.


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