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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FISCAL CLIFF

Mamta Badkar | May 17, 2012, 10:54 AM

Investors and analysts everywhere are warning of the fiscal cliff that is approaching at the end of 2012 that could significantly hit the American economy.

Unless Congress acts, more than $600 billion in tax and spending provisions will change at the end of the year. And this will impose fiscal restraint at a time when the U.S. economy is growing very gradually.

But what is the fiscal cliff? What impact could it have on the economy? What are the most likely scenarios? And which companies most exposed to government spending stand to take a hit?

Click here to see the truth about the fiscal cliff >

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South Texas prosecutor Armando Villalobos indicted for bribery, plans run for Congress

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May 7, 2012
By Mark Lisheron

Police Monday arrested Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos and his former law partner following their indictment as part of an investigation into bribery that felled former District Judge Abel Limas.

Villalobos, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in the newly created 34th District, and Eddie Lucio were charged in connection with a federal investigation into Limas’ accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for favorable judicial rulings, Associated Press is reporting.

According to the story, officials for the US. Attorney’s office in Houston declined to discuss precisely the charges against Villalobos and Lucio. Villalobos had earlier in the day acknowledged to reporters he was being investigated by federal authorities, but declined to discuss the charges against him.

Villallobos told reporters he had no intention of stepping away from his job as district attorney, nor would he suspend his congressional campaign.

Limas, who served as a district judge from 2001 to 2008, pleaded guilty more than a year ago to racketeering charges involving five others, a wide-range of illegal judicial fixes and payoffs of at least $340,000.

As part of his plea, Limas agreed to a forfeiture of more than $250,000. His sentencing, postponed several times, has been pushed back to August.

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New York Times Finally Notices Obama’s Unilateral Abuse of Power

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April 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm
by Mike Brownfield

Today’s New York Times offers a stunning revelation for anyone who hasn’t been following the news out of Washington for the past three years: President Barack Obama is bypassing Congress and using his executive authority to unilaterally implement his policies of choice, irrespective of the will of the people.

The Times cites an episode last fall when the president declared in a White House meeting “that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism.” And so was born the president’s “We Can’t Wait” slogan, which has become a mantra for the Obama Administration’s unilateral form of governance. The Times overlooks the fact that the president’s “new” slogan had been conceived and implemented well before last fall.

After the November 2010 elections, the president — who was suddenly facing a Republican majority in the House after having enjoyed two years of Democrat rule — now had no choice but to compromise with the opposition party if he wanted to get things done legislatively. The thing is, the president didn’t want to compromise — he wanted to enact his agenda. And so he admitted quite plainly that where he could not legislate, he would regulate and do an end run around Congress. In a press conference on November 3, 2010, he discussed how he would apply that method to energy policy:

So I think when it comes to something like energy, what we’re probably going to have to do is say here are some areas where there’s just too much disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, we can’t get this done right now, but let’s not wait.  Let’s go ahead and start making some progress on the things that we do agree on, and we can continue to have a strong and healthy debate about those areas where we don’t.

But energy policy isn’t the only way that President Obama has penned legislation with his own hand instead of choosing the constitutional route — bills getting passed by Congress, arriving at his desk, and then signed into law. On labor laws, immigration, marijuana use, voting rights, the Defense of Marriage Act, regulating the Internet, and making appointments, this president has circumvented the legislative branch via administrative fiat whenever his agenda stalls.

Even when the president legislated, though, he abjured the will of the people. Case in point: Obamacare. Despite pledging that his administration would be the most transparent in history, President Obama hatched Obamacare behind closed doors without the disinfecting light of the media, let alone input from the opposition party. Even worse, special interest groups like Big Labor got a seat at the table while the rest of the country got scraps of information after the main course was over.

Now the president is wearing his “We Can’t Wait” slogan as a badge of honor — and it’s so obvious that even the dean of the mainstream media can’t ignore it.

Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities

Crony capitalism exposed

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By Marc A. Thiessen,
Published: November 14

Insider trading is illegal — except for members of Congress. A Wall Street executive who buys or sells stock based on insider information would face a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and quite possibly a federal prosecutor. But senators and congressmen are free to legally trade stock based on nonpublic information they have obtained through their official positions as elected officials — and they do so on a regular basis.

On Sunday night, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” looked into this form of “lawful graft.” The “60 Minutes” story exposed, among others, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for participating in a lucrative initial public offering from Visa in 2008 that was not available to the general public, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies began making its way through the House (the bill never made it to the floor). And it showed how during the 2008 financial crisis, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) — then-ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee — aggressively bought stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had received the day before from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

The report was based on an explosive new book by Peter Schweizer that will hit stores on Tuesday. It’s called “Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison.” (Full disclosure: Schweizer is a close friend, a former White House colleague and my business partner in a speechwriting firm, Oval Office Writers.

The “60 Minutes” story only scratches the surface of what Schweizer has uncovered. For example, Bachus was not the only member of Congress trading on nonpublic information during the financial crisis. On Sept. 16, 2008, Schweizer writes, Paulson and Bernanke held a “terrifying” closed-door meeting with congressional leaders. “The next day Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat of Virginia, a member of the Appropriations Committee, dumped his shares in ninety different companies . . . [his] most active trading day of the year.”

Rep. Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.) and her husband “dumped between $100,000 and $250,000 in Citigroup stock the day after the briefing,” Schweizer writes, and “at least ten U.S. senators, including John Kerry, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Dick Durbin, traded stock or mutual funds related to the financial industry the following day.” Durbin, Schweizer says, “attended that September 16 briefing with Paulson and Bernanke. He sold off $73,715 in stock funds the next day. Following the next terrifying closed-door briefing, on September 18, he dumped another $42,000 in stock. By doing so, Durbin joined some colleagues in saving themselves from the sizable losses that less-connected investors would experience.” Some members even made gains on their trades, at a time when ordinary Americans without insider knowledge were seeing their life savings evaporate.

Schweizer also documents numerous examples of how members of Congress of both parties — including Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former House speaker Dennis Hastert — have used federal earmarks to enhance the value of their own real estate holdings. They have done so, Schweizer shows, by extending a light-rail mass transit line near their property, expanding an airport, cleaning up a nearby shoreline, building roads and bridges, and beautifying land and neighborhoods nearby — in each case “substantially increasing values and the net worth of our elected officials, courtesy of taxpayer money.”

Perhaps the most disturbing revelations come from Schweizer’s investigation into the Obama Energy Department and its infamous “green energy” loan guarantee and grant programs, a program Schweizer calls “the greatest — and most expensive — example of crony capitalism in American history.” The scandal surrounding Solyndra — the now-bankrupt, Obama-connected solar power company that received a federally guaranteed loan of $573 million — is well known. But Solyndra, Schweizer says, is only the tip of the iceberg. According to his research, at least 10 members of President Obama’s campaign finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting tax dollars from these programs. One chart in the book details how the 10 finance committee members collectively raised $457,834, and were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.4 billion — quite a return on their investment.

In the loan-guarantee program alone, Schweizer writes, “$16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers — individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” That is a staggering 71 percent of the loan money.

Schweizer cites example after example of companies that received grants or loans and documents their financial connections to the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party. And he shows how “the [Energy] department’s loan and grant programs are run by partisans who were responsible for raising money during the Obama campaign from the same people who later came to seek government loans and grants.”

There is much, much more, which means that when Schweizer’s book hits stores Tuesday, heads in Washington are going to explode.

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Breaking News: Congress Files to Impeach Obama

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112th Congress has filed an impeachment motion against President Obama for his abuse of power regarding his military offensive on Libya leader Gaddafi without an act of congress.

The filing reads as below:
112th Congress
2d Session
H. CON. RES. 107

Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. JONES submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

Library of Congress Direct Link >> HERE

Related posts:

  1. BREAKING NEWS: Obama Lies About Lobbyists
  2. Boehner Warned Obama, He Will be in Violation of Congress by Tuesday
  3. Obama Should Have Obtained Congress’ Approval on Libya
  4. Breaking News: Iran Shoots Down U.S Aircraft
  5. Constitution, Anyone? Obama Promises to Rule… Without Congress

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CONGRESS INSIDER TRADING RUN AMOK: When They’re Not Trading On Private Information, They’re Selling It!

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Henry Blodget

The good folks at CNN were kind enough to have me on this morning to discuss the latest Congress insider trading revelations.

To wit: In addition to trading for their own accounts with private information gleaned from their jobs, our Senators and Representatives regularly meet privately with hedge funds who then use what they learn about impending legislation to cash in.

No, no, protests Congress. There’s no scandal. It’s just business as usual.

And of course that’s the point.

If this were happening in the private sector, Congress would be screaming bloody murder about corruption and greed.

Because its Washington, however, it’s just the way things are done.

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Constitution, Anyone? Obama Promises to Rule… Without Congress

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Mike Brownfield

December 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Well, we can’t say he didn’t warn us. After the November 2010 elections when the President’s party lost control of the U.S. House, Barack Obama told America that where he can’t legislate, he will regulate. In the last year, he lived up to that pledge, and now he’s promising to do even more of it in 2012.

With 2011 coming to a close and the President about to embark on an election year, he is unabashedly showing his cards and telling America that he’s going to enact his agenda, whether the legislative branch is with him or not. Real Clear Politics captured the President’s words from an interview with KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Reporter Rob Quirk asked what we can expect from the President over the next year. Obama’s response:

Well, what we’re going to have to do is continue to make progress on the economy over the next several months. And where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves. But it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from Capitol Hill.

Make no mistake, those words weren’t a slip of the tongue. It’s the same line the President uttered in his 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft that aired Sunday. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

Kroft: Do you have any hope that anything is gonna get accomplished between now and the next election?

Obama: If I have anything to do about it, absolutely. We’re gonna keep on pushing to get things done. I want to work with Congress. I want to work with both parties in Congress. I think that we can still make progress on a balanced approach to deficit reduction. What I’m not gonna do is wait for Congress. So wherever we have an opportunity and I have the executive authority to go ahead and get some things done, we’re just gonna go ahead and do ‘em.

As Heritage has detailed here and here, whether it is in the area of environmental regulations, labor and immigration law, No Child Left Behind, the auto bailout, the selective enforcement of other federal laws, and the regulation of the Internet (among others), the Obama Administration has in fact enacted its agenda via legislative fiat. So what’s the problem? A big thing called the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers. The Honorable Douglas Ginsburg explains:

Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution respectively vest the legislative, executive, and judicial powers each in a separate department of the federal government. This separation of powers, which draws upon ideas advanced by John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Sir William Blackstone, reflects the Framers’ intention that undue power not be combined in any one department lest, being unchecked, it become tyrannical.

The separation, by which each department may exercise only its own constitutional powers, is fundamental to the idea of a limited government accountable to the people. The principle is particularly noteworthy in regard to the Congress. The Constitution declares that the Congress may exercise only those legislative powers “herein granted.” That the power assigned to each branch must remain with that branch, and may be expressed only by that branch, is central to the theory.

In short, it’s Congress’ job to legislate, not the President’s, whether Barack Obama likes it or not.

Read more about the separation of powers in Legislative Powers: Not Yours to Give Away at Heritage.org.

Posted in First Principles

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Members of Congress Are Amazing Investors

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by Linette Lopez

Now that 60 Minutes has done a report on Congressional Insider Trading, the whole country is buzzing about their financial holdings.

In June The House of Representatives released their annual financial disclosure forms, so we did a piece on the stocks that appear most often in the portfolios of the richest members.

First we used OpenSecret.org’s list to pinpoint who was wealthiest, and then we combed through their disclosure forms to look for repeats.

What we found out, is that members are in love with some American classics, and some more modern brands as well.

Click here to see the rankings >

Source – Money Game

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