Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Politics

Sage Foundation: Wealth “Inequality” Will Continue to Worsen

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 29, 2014: 

LaSalle Mansion

LaSalle Mansion

In another so-called research study about wealth inequality, the liberal think-tank Sage Foundation said in June that while the super-rich have fully recovered from the Great Recession, the vast majority of Americans have not. Specifically their report shows that median household net worth “was $32,000 lower in 2013 that [it was] 10 years earlier,” a decline of 36 percent. It concluded:

Keep reading…

Detroit Taxpayers Being Set Up by New “Free” Rail Line

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 28, 2014: 

Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan

Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan

Construction begins next week on Detroit’s version of a taxpayer “sting” operation: the new M-1 Rail line, also called the Woodward Avenue Streetcar. It’s been in the works for years, but no one could ever figure out how to make it pay, and besides, Detroit is broke. When it was suggested that private money fund most of the $137 million project in the form of gifts and grants rather than as “investments,” it began to get purchase. It’s already $12 million over budget but

Keep reading…

Brooklyn Congresswoman “Threatened” by GOA’s Larry Pratt

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 25, 2014:

English: Larry Pratt at a political conference...

Larry Pratt at a political conference in Reno, Nevada.

Following publication of a blatant hit piece by Rolling Stone on Gun Owners of America (GOA) Executive Director Larry Pratt on July 14, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), representing New York City’s boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, felt personally threatened, and called the cops. Maloney’s staff called the Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, to say that Pratt’s comments published by Rolling Stone could be taken as a

Keep reading…

Review: America: Imagine a World Without Her (book and film)

This review first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 24, 2014:

Statue of Liberty

Dinesh D’Souza’s movie America: Imagine the World Without Her, co-produced and directed by John Sullivan and Gerald Molen, is based on his book with the same title and, like his previous offering, 2016: Obama’s America, is filled with nuggets of pure gold. However, just like his previous effort, it takes some effort to mine them and to separate them from the iron pyrite — fools’ gold — that often misleads and distracts the reader and viewer.

His book was released in early June and its initial popularity was unintentionally enhanced by Costco’s decision to pull the book from its stores followed by its awkward reversal to restore it to those same stores. D’Souza’s first film was the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time, while his present effort, released over Independence Day weekend, is already in seventh place, and climbing.

His distractions begin with his title. At no time in either his book or his movie does he answer the question of how the world would look without America’s influence. His first chapter is inaccurately titled as well: Suicide of a Nation. A suicide is self-inflicted, a deliberate purposeful effort to end one’s life. This title assumes that the average American is deliberately immolating his country by ignoring his responsibility as an informed voter in a constitutional republic.

D’Souza quickly corrects that initial idea, however, by focusing his attention on both the myths and the machinations of the disciples of destruction who are deliberately weakening the country by deceiving those voters. D’Souza might have titled his book America: Imagine a World Without Saul Alinsky and Howard Zinn, but that probably wouldn’t have garnered the audience or the coveted A+ rating it received from CinemaScope.

There are other difficulties that need to be exposed before this review can begin in earnest. Underlying D’Souza’s work is the assumption that Progressives want to punish America for its alleged theft: for its stealing of land from Mexico and Native Americans, for its eternal meddling in the Middle East to secure its oil, for its co-opting of the labor from its slaves in the 19th century, for its looting of resources from poor countries around the world. At no time, however, does D’Souza acknowledge the real purpose behind efforts to bring down America’s standard of living: to comfortably submerge the United States into the New World Order. There is no mention of the influence of foundations such as Ford, Carnegie, or Rockefeller. The world-government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations garners not a single reference in either the book or the movie. Thus, the “punishment” meme is a distraction away from the Progressives’ real intentions.

D’Souza repeats the myth that the Civil War was fought primarily to end slavery, and that Obama absorbed most of his colonialist-oppressive worldview from his father, when instead it came from hard-core communist Frank Marshall Davis. D’Souza claims that America is the “first country in history to be based on invention and trade” without any explanation as to why. He fails to explain the vital and fundamental roles the rule of law, enforcement of contracts, private property, and especially that of a limited government that allowed people to write their own ticket to their futures.

That being said, there is much useful for those involved in the freedom fight, including responses to claims made by Progressives that America is guilty of massive theft and needs to be punished. Early on he makes clear his intentions and purposes:

I intend to turn the progressive critique on its head. [Progressives] are not on the side of the ordinary citizen, because their policies lead to stagnation, impoverishment, indebtedness, and decline — all in evidence today.

It is progressives who rely on government seizure and bureaucratic conquest to achieve their goals and increase their power….

I intend to blow the whistle on these people, starting with Obama and continuing with Hillary Clinton and the whole progressive menagerie.

For instance, he rebuts the claims that America stole vast territory from native Americans without remuneration or guilt:

The Indians have gotten a bad deal. At the same time, we should be clear about what the alternatives are.… You say, “Give us back the Black Hills,” You point out that there is uranium and other minerals in those hills, and now that land is worth a fortune. Once again, no Indian tribe knew how to mine uranium and no Indian tribe knew what to do with uranium if they had it.

Other Americans have added value to the Black Hills by figuring out how to tap its resources, and now the Indians want the land back so they can take advantage of what others have figured out how to do.

He dismisses claims that America stole Mexican territory:

After the [Mexican-American War ended in 1848], the United States immediately recognized as valid the property rights of Mexicans who were now part of U.S. territory. The change was not in any individual’s land ownership but in the fact that people who were once Mexicans now became Americans.

While progressives deplore American aggression … what we do know is that the vast majority of Mexicans who ended up on the American side of the border, following the Mexican War, never attempted to return to Mexico. And neither have their descendants.

His response on the big screen is even more convincing, showing that following the war the United States essentially owned all of Mexico, but gave half of it back. It also paid $15 million to the government of Mexico and assumed some $3 million of debt that government owed to American citizens. So much for colonialism, according to D’Souza.

As far as slavery is concerned, D’Souza was equally candid:

Did America owe something to the slaves whose labor had been stolen? … That debt … is best discharged through memory, because the slaves are dead and their descendants are better off as a consequence of their ancestors being hauled from Africa to America.

He enlists the help of Muhammad Ali to make his point. As D’Souza noted in both his book and movie, following one of his most famous fights in the 1970s held in Zaire, Ali was asked: “Champ, what did you think of Africa?” Said Ali: “Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat!”

D’Souza also makes a compelling point by bringing to light some history that Progressives ignore: that there were black slave owners oppressing their slaves in addition to white owners.

He successfully enlists the help in both his book and the film of Alexis de Tocqueville, who highlighted his astonishment as he observed the American experiment in person in the early 1800s. He noted that people considered themselves equal to everyone else, that it was a voluntary society where people helped other people, and no one ran to the government for assistance. De Tocqueville considered the Christian religion as foundational to political freedom while noting that slavery degrades the work ethic: It makes slave owners lazy, as well as the slaves, as neither has the incentive to engage in work.

Another of D’Souza’s nuggets is his revelation that the first female millionaire in the United States was black: Sarah Breedlove, otherwise known as Madam C. J. Walker, the founder of Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, a maker of beauty and hair products for black women. In a lengthy clip, D’Souza had a black actress play the part of Breedlove in encouraging other black women to get involved in her company. It was something right out of an Amway recruiting presentation! Over and over again, Breedlove, born a slave but emancipated in 1865, reiterated the American promise: Given the opportunity, anyone in America can make their own future.

D’Souza spent the balance of the 100-minute long film exposing two of the prime movers behind the Progressive lies, Howard Zinn and Saul Alinsky. Zinn, a hard-core communist, authored A Peoples’ History of the United States which has sold more than two million copies and is required reading at colleges across the land. Zinn described his goal in writing it elsewhere as “not a revolution in the classical sense of a seizure of power, but rather from people beginning to take power from within the institutions.”

D’Souza outed Saul Alinsky in two riveting revelations. The first of these was Alinsky’s devotion to Lucifer as the first radical, dedicating his book Rules for Radicals to him:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer

The second was D’Souza’s revelation that Alinsky was mentored in his youth by Frank Nitti, best known as Al Capone’s “enforcer” and later the front man for the Chicago Outfit following Capone’s incarceration. Alinsky learned firsthand from Nitti just how extortion worked thanks to Nitti’s vast experience in prostitution, gambling, control of labor unions, and blackmailing of the Hollywood film industry.

D’Souza traced the links in his film from Zinn and Alinsky to Obama and Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately the flow charts briefly shown on the screen weren’t reproduced in his book, but his intention is clear: Obama is a disciple of Alinsky who was a disciple of Nitti, all of whom are disciples of the Great Deceiver Himself.

For those not involved in the freedom fight, the book and the movie on which it is based might be a bit much to digest in one sitting. Happily, evidence and proof is available not only in the copious notes provided by D’Souza for each chapter, but also from The John Birch Society (jbs.org).

In this reviewer’s opinion D’Souza has created a good work, despite its flaws, and will help those long involved in that fight with new insights, new revelations, and new responses to old tired charges that America was built on theft.

 

Keep reading…

Santa Clara’s Field of Dreams

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 21, 2014:

Cover of "Field of Dreams (Widescreen Two...

Ray Kinsella, meet the Mayor of Santa Clara, California, home of the brand new Levi’s Stadium where the San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to play their home games starting this fall. And where, it is predicted, their fans will come to watch.

Whether enough of them will is an open question.

Already nearly a third of the 49ers’ season ticket holders have

Keep reading…

D’Souza Should have Named it America: Imagine a World Without Zinn and Alinsky

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky

After viewing the movie and reading the book entitled America: Imagine a World without Her, one is inclined to suggest a new title. For starters, D’Souza, the author and producer of his first film 2016: Obama’s America, never explains what the world would look like without America’s presence. That is left up to the reader and viewer. He starts off badly, as well, naming his first chapter Suicide of Nation. This presumes that American citizens are doing themselves in deliberately, with malice aforethought.

But, as D’Souza shortly points out, that is hardly the case. There are evil forces afoot attempting to

Keep reading…

Taxpayers On the Hook for New 49ers Stadium in Santa Clara

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 21, 2014:

A custom San Francisco 49ers GMC Yukon XL at t...

A custom San Francisco 49ers GMC Yukon XL at team headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

Last Thursday every politician, every bigwig, every banker, every individual with any interest whatsoever in the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, showed up for the invitation-only celebration of its grand opening. The beer was flowing, the confetti was flying, and self-congratulatory exuberance was on every lip.

Present were Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York, John York (Jed’s father and co-chairman of the team), 49ers president Paraag Marathe, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, and some of his star players including Patrick Willis and Joe Staley. In the background were executives from Levi Strauss, who paid big bucks to name the stadium.

The only people not in the audience were the ordinary taxpayers, who could find themselves on the short end of one of the most massive financial disasters in modern history.

In a toast to the fans who are expected to fill the 70,000-seat extravagance starting with preseason games in early August, Jed York said, “You deserve to have the best stadium in the world. And now you have it!” 49ers president Marathe added, “You can feel the difference [here] and you know the fans are going to feel the difference.”

At one point in the ceremony, noted Mike Rosenberg, a writer for the San Jose Mercury News who attended the affair,

Hundreds of workers wearing white “I built Levi’s Stadium” shirts and hard hats marched down two red-carpeted giant staircases. Thousands of white, red and gold pieces of confetti burst into the air at the end of the event, as dozens of cheerleaders waved their pom-poms and guests rushed to take selfies in front of a giant screen on stage.

The deal has been in the works for years, with initial plans to demolish Candlestick Park and replace it with an updated version in its parking lot. Financial squabbles and traffic glitches finally deep-sixed those plans, and in 2006 the team’s new owners announced they were moving 40 miles south to the tiny burg of Santa Clara, home of the 49ers’ administration offices.

Negotiations with the city council began in earnest the next year, with promises that no new taxes would be needed and that the huge stadium would bring in additional revenues without liability. Free money, in other words.

On June 8, 2010 Measure J was passed, with 15,000 voters in favor and 10,000 against. Those voting for it were persuaded by the language in the ballot which said, in part:

No use of City General or Enterprise funds for construction; no new taxes for residents for stadium; private party pays all construction cost overruns; no City/Agency obligation for stadium operation/maintenance.

Within a year that ballot language had already been breached: Twelve percent of the cost of the $1.3 billion stadium was provided by the city, with another $330 million to be borrowed by the city’s Stadium Authority. Goldman Sachs headed up a consortium of banks that provided some $850 million in construction financing (with Goldman taking its usual 10-percent fee) while Levi Strauss ponied up another $200 million to be paid out over the next 10 years. The NFL itself loaned the Stadium Authority $200 million to help out, expecting to be paid back out of gate revenues, seat leases, trinket and beer sales, and so on.

The assumptions underlying the project are mind-boggling: First, it is assumed that the 49ers will continue to have a winning team for as far as the eye can see into the future, drawing fans from not only San Francisco but also other cities within a 100-mile radius of the stadium. That expectation, however, is already flawed, as more than 30 percent of those loyal fans in San Francisco holding season tickets have given them up, as the 40-mile drive each way and the potential traffic jams on game day were just too daunting.

Second, the interest rate on the financing is short-term, and most of the loans will have to be refinanced no later than 2015. Even a small uptick in short-term interest rates could put debt service requirements out of reach of the authority.

Third, the cost of subsidies negotiated to bring the 49ers to Santa Clara haven’t been measured but include the NFL’s requirement that all revenue from its events “be exempt from sales, amusement or entertainment taxes or other surcharge obligations.”

Judith Long, who teaches urban planning at Harvard, concluded that even these costs are usually underestimated when proposed to the taxpayers:

Governments pay far more to participate in the development of major league sports facilities than is commonly understood due to the routine omission of public subsidies for land and infrastructure, and the ongoing costs of operations, capital improvements, municipal services and foregone property taxes.

Adjusting for these omissions increases the average public subsidy by $50 million.

That would bring the taxpayers’ cost for the “free” Levi’s Stadium to more than $200 million, not counting any obligation incurred by the Stadium Authority. Another part of the risk is that Santa Clara itself is such a small town, with such a small tax base. Even adding in the county, its population is just 10 percent of the 17 million populating metro San Francisco. No matter how one does the math, the town is making a massive bet on everything turning out just right. As writers Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff of Bloomberg expressed it, “The city is taking what may be the largest per-capita risk for any municipal sports facility [in the country].” The budget for the city itself is just barely $140 million a year.

Roger Noll, a retired professor of economics at Stanford University, looked at the numbers and came to the same conclusion:

The thing that makes this such a dog is that Santa Clara first of all is a small town. There’s some amount of financial hit the city could probably pay [if things don’t pan out as projected], but the probability that it’s going to exceed that is certainly not zero.

That is how a retired college professor says that Santa Clara is taking a huge risk. Within the next three to five years, after “normalization” about attendance, winning games, traffic congestion, interest rates, and maintenance expenses, the taxpayers will know.

Now that the stadium is finished, all the people behind the massive project are counting on those fans to come. Just because they built it doesn’t mean they will.

Keep reading…

House Slashes IRS Enforcement Budget Almost 25 Percent

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 16, 2014:

English: Anti-United States Internal Revenue S...

Earlier this week the House of Representatives took up the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act to fund the government for the next 12 months. In the process it took advantage of the opportunity to savage the IRS by cutting its funding severely, specifically its enforcement budget dedicated to “assisting” taxpayers to stay in compliance with its 74,000-page tax code.

Thanks to Lois Lerner (former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS and potential future inhabitant of a federal penitentiary for her role in ordering the illegal scrutinizing and delaying of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status and then covering up those orders by conveniently losing potentially incriminating e-mails), members of the House had a field day piling on amendments to the bill. Along the way they relieved themselves of some of the frustrations they have felt as the IRS has rebuffed and stalled them during various House committee investigations into those matters.

Keep reading…

Pushback Against Operation Choke Point Gains Momentum

 

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 15, 2014:

 

Choking - 365 Day 59

The secret initiative that began as Operation Choke Point (OCP) in March 2013 is now beginning to meet not only with massive unfavorable publicity but also congressional pushback. Three hearings by House committees this week are indicative of the mounting outrage OCP has generated.

Just months into his first term, President Obama launched “Operation Broken Trust” under an executive order, creating the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, seeking to “root out and expose” various investment scams that cropped up at the start of the Great Recession. It has now morphed into a gigantic interagency behemoth involving the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Secret Service.

“Mission creep” inevitably set in, and the scope of the investigative attention expanded greatly to include

Keep reading…

The New Third Rail: Cutting Government Spending

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 14, 2014:

 

Historical government spending in the United S...

Historical government spending in the United States from 1902 to 2010

Back in February the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the deficit for the 2014 fiscal year would be $514 billion, or about 3 percent of the total economic output of the country. Since this was a nearly 27 percent drop from last year, the implication is that all is well, nothing to see here, move along please. After all, the perception has been that the White House has been spending money faster than at any time in history, running up deficits and the national debt to staggering levels. Half a trillion? Is that all? Pocket change!

Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group, said at the time that this guaranteed that there would be no pressure for any sort of entitlement reform this year. Jack Lew, Obama’s Treasury Secretary, said the numbers bought some time: “We have a little time to deal with the long term.”

Last week both the White House and the CBO revised downward even further the expected deficit, with Obama taking full credit for the result:

Keep reading…

Tax Cuts of Kansas Already Improving the State’s Economy

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 14, 2014:

Kansas City Skyline 1

Kansas City, Missouri’s Skyline

When Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed into law the first of several reductions in his state’s income taxes back in May 2012, he wrote:

Our new pro-growth tax policy will be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy. It will pave the way to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, bring tens of thousands of people to Kansas, and help make our state the best place in America to start and grow a small business.

By cutting the top tax bracket by 25 percent and eliminating taxes on small businesses altogether, he expected great things to happen:

Keep reading…

Link Between Fracking and Earthquakes Remains Tenuous, Say Experts

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 11, 2014:

Aerial view of resource extraction in Texas. A...

Aerial view of resource extraction in Texas.

On July 3, Science magazine reported that, using its models in place of data they claimed was unavailable, water flowing from fracking disposal wells in Oklahoma “is potentially responsible for the largest swarm” of earthquakes recently noted in that state. The report, available in full to subscribers only, was immediately picked up by the Los Angeles Times, which said the study confirmed the link between fracking and the earthquakes.

Science, published by the environmentalist group American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has maintained a veneer of credibility for years while promoting the questionable science behind global warming. In December 2006, AAAS adopted an official statement on climate change:

Keep reading…

Katrina Mayor Fails to Make Worst 10 Mayors list

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 11, 2014:

U.S. President George W. Bush and Nagin meet t...

U.S. President George W. Bush and Nagin meet the week after Hurricane Katrina, September 2, 2005.

When his sentence of 10 years in federal prison for corruption while mayor of New Orleans was announced on Wednesday, some wondered if Ray Nagin would make it into the top ten most corrupt mayors in history.

No way.

He might have done better if the court was giving out prizes for play-acting innocence or for hypocrisy. When he learned where he was going to be spending the next 10 years, Nagin claimed he was framed:

Keep reading…

“Katrina Mayor” Ray Nagin Gets 10 Years on Corruption Charges

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 10, 2014:

English: Photographic portrait of Mayor Nagin ...

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin

Wednesday New Orleans’ former mayor Ray Nagin  was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being convicted on 20 of 21 felony charges ranging from bribery to conspiracy to wire fraud to money laundering to filing false income tax returns. Not included were charges of over-acting and hypocrisy.

In acting the part of innocence betrayed, Nagin said:

    In my opinion I’ve been targeted, smeared, tarnished … for some reason some of the stances I took after Katrina didn’t sit well with some very powerful people. So    now I’m paying the price for that.

The prosecutors were fairly magical in their ability to take something that supposedly happened and paint it as reality when it didn’t really happen.

Serving as mayor of New Orleans from 2002 to 2010, Nagin generated controversy over his handling of the crisis the city faced during Hurricane Katrina, which hit the city in late August 2005. Reluctant to issue the first mandatory evacuation in the city’s history, Nagin was held responsible for at least some of the 1,800 deaths and more than $100 billion of damage inflicted by the storm.

During his second term, his image as mayor began to unravel. In April 2009, a local paper alleged certain specific conflicts of interest with regards to trips taken by Nagin and paid for by Greg Meffert, who at the time was Nagin’s chief technology officer. Meffert was found later to be working a lucrative kickback scheme with business owners seeking city contracts to help rebuild the city. Meffert was charged with 63 felony counts of corruption.

The same paper in June 2012 unveiled more criminal behavior with its disclosure that another businessman seeking favors had not only paid Nagin $50,000 in exchange for favorable treatment by the city but also delivered truckloads of granite — gratis — to Nagin’s sons’ countertop business, Stone Age, LLC. By the time the long list of corruption was tallied by federal prosecutors, Nagin was charged with receiving more than $500,000 in cash payments in exchange for $5 million worth of city contracts.

Neither before or after the trial did Nagin mention his staggering hypocrisy. Shortly after taking office as mayor in May 2002, he mounted an anti-corruption campaign within New Orleans’ city government. His efforts received national attention after television stations across the land broadcast live video of corrupt city officials being led away in handcuffs. He received additional acclaim when asked if he would order the arrest of his cousin who was implicated in one of the scandals. Responded Nagin: “If he’s guilty, arrest him.” His cousin was later arrested.

When Nagin’s sentence of 10 years behind bars was announced, it was met with outrage by the federal prosecutors who had sought a 20-year term. Said Matthew Coman, assistant United States Attorney:

[Mr. Nagin’s testimony was] a performance that can only be summed up by his astounding unwillingness to accept any responsibility….

These repeated violations, at the expense of the citizens of New Orleans in a time when honest leadership was needed most, do not deserve leniency.

Coman added:

What Ray Nagin did was sell his office over and over and over again. The damage that Ray Nagin inflicted upon this community … is incalculable. We as a community need not and should not accept public corruption.

Nagin is neither the first, nor the worst, of a lengthening list of mayors who have failed to resist the temptation to take advantage of their position of trust for their personal benefit. There’s Patrick Cannon, who served as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, for less than five months before being arrested and charged with accepting more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking city contracts.

There’s Kwame Kilpatrick, former Mayor of Detroit, who is now serving 28 years in a federal pen for mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering. There’s former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who was in office less than a year before being charged criminally for a false arrest and battery on three unnamed females. Filner got off easy. He could have faced up to five years in jail for his indiscretions, but a plea bargain reduced it to just three months of house arrest (which ended in April).

There’s Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, who not only served as mayor of Providence, Rhode Island twice, but resigned twice due to felony convictions. After serving four years in federal prison, Cianci — perhaps the master of chutzpah among the growing list of mayoral miscreants — announced in June that he would run once again for mayor of Providence.

There’s Larry Langford, who served as mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. Langford is now serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for his role in bringing the city the distinction of having the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history in November 2011. He was charged with 60 counts of corruption and fined more than $119,000.

At the top, or perhaps the bottom, of the growing list of mayoral frauds and convictions is the on-again, off-again mayor of the District of Columbia, Marion Barry. His celebrity status was assured in January 1990 when he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine, which netted him six months in federal prison. Following his release, he was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and then awarded mayorship in 1995. His list of corruption events is so long that it covers almost three pages of closely-typed paragraphs at Wikipedia and so outrageous that it has drawn the vitriolic attention of the usually tolerant and forgiving Washington Post. In an opinion piece offered by Colbert King, the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, he sums up Marion as the master of mayoral misdeeds:

Barry, however, is in a category of his own.

In fact, the four-term-mayor-turned-council-member is so far out there he may function in an alternate reality.

How else to explain how someone convicted of possessing crack cocaine in a federal bust seen around the world, who served six months in prison, who has been sentenced to three years’ probation for failing to file and pay federal and local taxes, who has been slapped with federal liens because of unpaid taxes, who has been censured twice by the council for misconduct and who has leveled racist remarks against Asian Americans and slurs against Poles … still functions as if his universe is so superior to ours that he is free to recidivate to a fare-thee-well.

In perspective, then, Nagin’s modest infringements of morality and federal laws when compared to his competition fade into relative insignificance, placing him near the bottom of the list. Nagin is not the first, nor the last, nor the worst. He’s just the latest.

Keep reading…

Costco Pulls, Then Restores “America” to Its Bookshelves

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 9, 2014: 

English: Costco in Moncton, New Brunswick

One month to the day after Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book, America: Imagine the World Without Her, was published, and one day before the movie based on that book was to be released in more than 1,000 theatres around the country, Costco ordered its nearly 650 warehouses to pull all copies of the book from its shelves and return them to the vendors. The July 1 order mandated that all copies were to be removed no later than July 15.

One week later Costco reversed its decision, telling its outlets to keep what they had and to continue to reorder to fill demand for the book.

It was all a big mistake, according to Costco CFO Richard Galanti, who blamed the initial decision to return the books on Costco’s book buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello. He added that the decision to rescind the book return had nothing whatever to do with the public furor over the initial decision to return the books to vendors after it was made known to the public by WorldNetDaily. Said Galanti:

We are bringing it back, not for political reasons, but because the book is now selling well. We didn’t pull the book on July 1 for political reasons, and we are not putting it back in the stores now for political reasons. We are doing this because we sell merchandise and D’Souza’s book is now selling well.

Galanti failed to say that D’Souza’s book was already selling well at the time of Ianniciello’s “mistake”; it was ranked at Amazon No. 5 overall and No. 1 in Political Commentary and Opinion. He didn’t say that 4,915 copies had been sold in the first week and another 5,592 in the second week. He didn’t mention that Costco had already sold 3,600 copies of the book nationwide, with 700 being sold just before the release of the movie. He failed to mention that according to the polling site CinemaScore, viewers had already rated the movie a rare A+ which no doubt would have helped drive additional sales of the book for his company.

What he did say, however, was that once the initial order to pull the book had been rescinded, sales of the book soared: “Frankly, because of all the hoo-rah, some Costco locations have sold more of D’Souza’s book today than they sold in the previous four weeks combined.”

Why all the “hoo-rah” that flooded Galanti’s office with calls protesting the decision? Author D’Souza expressed both surprise and suspicion. Referring to Costco’s excuse of poor sales (the book has now leapt to No. 1 at Amazon), D’Souza said:

If that’s the best they’re going to come up with, then I think something underhanded has been going on. I’ve been trying to think of rational explanations other than ideological solidarity with Obama to account for this, and I’m running out of them…. I’m beginning to be forced to come to that conclusion, because there is no other plausible explanation.

That is a plausible explanation given the close relationship that Costco’s co-founder James Sinegal has with the Obama administration. Not only was Sinegal invited to address the Democratic National Convention in 2012 when Obama was nominated for a second term, he has also been generous with his resources as well. Costco has given $100,000 to Obama and another $100,000 to Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super-PAC. In addition, Sinegal has given more than $20 million during the 2012 election cycle in support of Democrat candidates, mostly in the state of Washington, hoping to influence favorable legislation there.

Most of Costco’s employees go along with the boss as well, with 95 percent of their contributions going to support Democrat candidates. And the wife of Sinegal’s business partner, Jeff Brotman, was an Obama “bundler” in 2012 who aggregated more than $500,000 in campaign contributions and forwarded them to the Obama campaign for reelection.

So tight is Obama with Sinegal that Jaime Fuller of the Washington Post called it a “romance” in an extensive puff piece back in January, which explored “some of the highlights of this beautiful friendship.”

Part of the explanation as to why the book was pulled may be gleaned from the book itself. Amazon touted the book as a “reasoned defense of America” that also rebuts “every important accusation made by Progressives” against the country. It exposes, according to Amazon, “how Progressive demagoguery about ‘inequality’ expands the power of government” and how the Progressive agenda of “reform” is “in fact an agenda of totalitarian control of the state over the individual.”

The rest of the explanation behind what likely caused the decision to pull the book off the shelves at Costco, however, comes from the introduction to the book itself: a determination to expose those behind the scenes, including Obama and his friends such as Sinegal. Wrote D’Souza:

I intend to show in this book that the American era is ending in part because a powerful group of Americans wants it to end. The American dream is shrinking because some of our leaders want it to shrink. Decline, in other words, has become a policy objective…. America’s suicide, it turns out, is the result of a plan.

Costco had a little help in providing cover for its initial decision: For the first two weeks following the book’s publication, the New York Times refused to put the book on its best-seller list despite its high ranking at Amazon. It turns out that book buyer Ianniciello uses the Times’ best-seller list as one of her sources to determine which books to purchase and which ones to ignore.

What is clear is that Costco’s fumbling has achieved two objectives, neither of which was sought by the wholesale giant: It has exposed the political machinations operating behind the decision, and it has helped spike sales of the book, keeping it firmly in position No. 1 at Amazon.

 

Keep reading…

Texas Beats California: No Income Tax, Booming Economy, Friendly Folks

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 8, 2014:

texas our texas

Texas, Our Texas!

Following Toyota’s announcement April 28 that it would be consolidating its three American business headquarters and moving them from California to a new $300-million campus in Plano, Texas, the debate over why has heated up once again. Toyota follows Occidental Petroleum (which is leaving Los Angeles for Houston, after being there for a hundred years), Raytheon (which is moving its El Segundo headquarters to McKinney, Texas), and Legal Zoom (the largest legal-issues website in the world, which has already moved from Los Angeles to Austin). In the past 18 months more than 50 companies have made the same decision to move from California to Texas.

Some say it’s because of the lower cost of living in Texas. The cost of living in Plano is about a third lower than in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area where Toyota is currently located. As calculated by the Dallas-based conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis, “People of all incomes will save in Texas,” according to Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the institute. Some will save a little; others will save a lot by moving to Texas to keep their jobs with Toyota. As Villarreal explained, the calculation takes into account property taxes “which are pretty high in Texas” — about twice what they are in California for equivalently priced homes. Once real estate taxes are factored in, a single woman in Texas making $75,000 a year will have about $14,000 more in discretionary income than she would if she lived in California, but married workers making $150,000 a year who move from California to Texas would not see as dramatic a jump in discretionary income.

The Manhattan Institute says it makes sense for California companies to make the move to Texas, owing to California’s high taxes, oppressive regulations, expensive electricity, union influence, and the high cost of labor. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the cost per kilowatt-hour for commercial establishments in California is 13.11 cents while it’s only 8.2 cents in Texas — a saving of almost 40 percent. For industrial users, the savings are even greater: 10.72 cents per KWH in California versus just 5.86 cents in Texas. That cuts a heavy user’s energy bill in Texas nearly in half. Advantage: Texas

The advantage enjoyed by Texas is reflected in the states’ comparative economic growth rates: nearly four percent last year in Texas versus half that in California. In job growth, Texas regained the jobs it lost during the Great Recession by May of 2011 while California just made it back to even by May of this year — a three-year difference in favor of Texas. Since May 2011, Texas has added more than a million new jobs, while California has added barely 25,000 new jobs since this past May. Advantage: Texas

According to the blog 24/7 Wall Street, Texas ranks eighth among the country’s most quickly growing states with GDP growth jumping by $1.5 trillion in 2013. Its population continues to grow as well, with unemployment below the national average. California is well off the pace. Advantage: Texas

Bradley Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon in Paso Robles, just announced his candidacy for Congress in California’s 24th district, and in the process noted the difference between California and Texas in an opinion article at the Wall Street Journal: “Texas has no state income tax, while California’s 13.3% marginal rate is the highest in the country. Electricity rates are about 50%-88% higher compared to Texas due to the Golden State’s renewable-energy mandate, and its gas is 70-80 cents per gallon more expensive because of taxes.” Advantage: Texas

Allen’s opponent is incumbent Lois Capps, who sports a dismal Freedom Index rating of just 21 out of 100 on constitutional issues. Out of California’s 53 congressional districts, 18 of them have FI ratings of 20 or lower, while just one has an FI rating of 80 or higher. In Texas, by contrast, just three representatives have a rating of 20 or less out of the state’s 36 districts, with one, Rep. Steve Stockman, holding an FI rating of 95. Advantage: Texas

One of the best measures of the difference between the two states is just how much a Californian would have to pay to move his family to Texas. In November 2012, a Californian living in San Francisco would pay $1,693 to rent a 20-foot U-Haul truck and drive it San Antonio. On the other hand, a Texan in San Antonio moving to San Francisco would pay just $893 for the same truck. (Since then the numbers have become even more favorable: A Californian moving his family on August 1 from San Francisco to San Antonio would have to pay $1,890 for the same truck while a Texan moving the other way would pay only $737.) Advantage: Texas

However, David Horsey, writing for the Baltimore Sun, noted that Californians moving to Texas will leave an awful lot behind:

California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Texas has oil and gas.

California has Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. Texas has Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert.

In California, billionaires get taxed more to pay for programs for the poor. In Texas, billionaires get to keep their money, and the poor go without health care.

[California Governor Jerry] Brown got voters to approve a tax hike to balance the budget and fund education. [Texas Governor Rick] Perry balanced the budget by slashing spending on education.

In lots of places in California, it’s tough to live on a middle class family budget. In lots of places in Texas, it’s hard to live outside a church-going, football-loving, white, heterosexual lifestyle.

Absence of snarky, politically correct, bitter liberals. Advantage: Texas.

 

Russian Malware Infecting U.S. Energy Grid

This article was first published by TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

 

English: United States Power Grid

English: United States Power Grid

An alert from software giant Symantec on Monday announced an “ongoing campaign” by Russia-based cyber-terrorists who have changed their focus from espionage to sabotage. Their primary targets are energy companies using oil and natural gas to provide electrical power to the national grid.

The infections are so powerful that not only can they disrupt internal messaging and controls but they can also disrupt the operations of the physical power plants and pipelines, according to Symantec:

An ongoing cyberespionage campaign against a range of targets, mainly in the energy sector, gave attackers the ability to mount sabotage operations against their victims.

 

The attackers, known to Symantec as Dragonfly, managed to compromise a number of strategically important organizations for spying purposes and … could have caused damage or disruption to energy supplies in [the] affected countries.

The attacks emanating from Russia target not only the United States but Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland, but they are focused primarily on the United States and Spain.

Symantec said that Dragonfly is no small group of weekend hackers, either: “The Dragonfly group is technically adept and able to think strategically … the group found a “soft underbelly” … invariably smaller, less protected companies.”

According to Symantec, this a government-sponsored operation: “The Dragonfly group is well-resourced with a range of malware tools at his disposal and is capable of launching attacks through a number of different [malware protocols].”

Eric Chien, the chief researcher for Symantec, is frightened over the implications of its discoveries: “When they do have that type of access, that motivation wouldn’t be [just] for espionage. When we look at where they’re at, we’re very concerned about sabotage.”

Dragonfly has already had success in infecting “industrial control systems” (ICS) equipment providers by using “software with a remote access type Trojan.” Once installed, the software handed off control of physical plant operations to the saboteurs in Russia:

[The Trojan] caused companies to install the malware when downloading software updates [to their] computers running ICS equipment.

These infections not only gave the attackers a beachhead in the targeted organizations’ networks but also gave them the means to mount sabotage operations.

In trying to decipher the attacks for laymen reading their chilling report, it compared the Trojan malware to Stuxnet, the computer worm that targeted Iran’s nuclear power plant’s fast-spinning centrifuges. It resulted in nearly one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spinning out of control, destroying themselves as a result. The big difference is that Stuxnet was focused on a very narrow target, while the latest expansion now targets entire power grids across the country and around the world.

Explained Symantec: “Dragonfly appears to have a much broader focus, with espionage … as its current objective with sabotage as an optional capability.”

Dragonfly is Symantec’s name for the operating group behind the attacks, while other observers call it the “Energetic Bear.” Its existence has been known and tracked since at least 2011, said Symantec, and its initial targets were defense and aviation companies in the United States and Canada. But it shifted its focus to the more vulnerable energy sector in the United States in early 2013.

While using arcane language in its customer alert such as “back doors” and “watering holes” — terms familiar only to computer techies and their managers — Symantec identified seven different companies targeted by the group, one of whom downloaded the infected software to 250 of its unsuspecting customers.

Symantec is not the first to discover the group masterminding the attacks, nor the first to pin the blame on government-sponsored groups in Russia. Stuart Poole-Robb, a former MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) agent and founder of a security consulting firm, said:

To target a whole sector like this at the level they are doing … speaks of some form of government sanction.

These are people working with FAPSI [Russia’s Spetssvyaz intelligence service], working to support mother Russia.

CrowdStrike, a California company engaged in exposing Internet adversaries, has been tracking Dragonfly for years, and in its January update, it noted that “Energetic Bear [synonymous with Dragonfly] is an adversary group with a nexus to the Russian Federation that conducts intelligence collection operations against a variety of global [targets] with a primary focus on the energy sector.”

Symantec offers Internet security software and consulting services to help companies protect themselves from such attacks but the U.S. government has also been very busy as well. Recognizing the potential disaster inherent in such potential attacks, which could destroy the energy infrastructure of the country, the United States Cyber Command was established as a part of the United States Strategic Command in 2009 in Fort Meade, Maryland. Its mission is: “To conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to … ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.”

This is being matched by similar cyber warfare units in South Korea and Great Britain.

Neither Symantec nor CrowdStrike offered any scenarios of the possible impact such attacks might have on the United States, but fiction writers such as James Wesley Rawles (author of Survivors) and William Forstchen (author of One Second After) have carefully crafted believable scenarios following successful attacks on America’s power grid. In One Second After, after an electromagnetic pulse shuts down the electric grid, no electronic appliances work, and citizens are largely forced to live an 18th-century life — hunger and die offs of people begin quickly when food storage is compromised.

What is clear from Symantec’s warning to its customers, however, is that Russia is no friend of the United States. It fully intends to extend its present advantage through its “well-resourced” efforts to gain control of America’s electric power grid, while the U.S. government and private companies such as Symantec are playing catchup ball to keep that from happening.

Obama: A Law unto Himself

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Events of recent months have clearly revealed Barack Obama for what he is: a revolutionary progressive determined to change the United States into a fascist system of controls over every aspect of a citizen’s life. In spite of a recent series of events that would have humiliated and shamed a less committed totalitarian into silence and withdrawal, Obama instead has pressed on with his agenda.

On Saturday, in his weekly press conference, Obama announced that he was taking things into his own hands:

Keep reading…

Obama to “Go It Alone” on Immigration Reform

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 1, 2014:

 

English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immi...

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, President Obama said that because of the House’s refusal even to consider last year’s Senate bill on immigration reform (informally called “pathway to citizenship”), he is going to do it on his own:

I don’t prefer executive action. I prefer permanent fixes to the problems we face. I would love nothing more [than] for bipartisan legislation to be put on my desk so I can sign it. I take executive action only when we have a serious problem and when Congress chooses to do nothing.

In this situation, the failure to pass a darn bill is bad for security, the economy, and the future. So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act. Americans cannot wait forever.

Keep reading…

Study: All Jobs Growth Since 2000 Went to Immigrants

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 30, 2014: 

 

Immigrants just arrived from Foreign Countries...

Immigrants just arrived from Foreign Countries–Immigrant Building, Ellis Island, New York Harbor.

With the release of the report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) last week, Director of Research Steven Camarota drove the final nail into the coffin of immigration reform for this year, saying:

Government data show that since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).

This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population.… There were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.

All of the net increase in employment went to immigrants in the last 14 years.

 This effectively obliterates the assumptions underlying the immigration reform bill SB 744, which was promoted by a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans (called by some observers the “Gang of Eight”) and passed by the Senate, 68-32, a year ago last week. That bill was based on several key assumptions: 1) that there is a labor shortage in the country, 2) that there are some jobs only immigrants want, and 3) that higher levels of immigration would stimulate the economy so that everyone, native-born or immigrant, would find more work.

Keep reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.