Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Political language,” warned George Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Politicians understand that words matter and can be used to trick people. Which is why they can hardly be trusted to express themselves candidly in their own campaigns — or, heaven forbid, write ballot titles for important measures upon which citizens will vote.

Earlier this year, citizens in Phoenix, Arizona, gathered more than 50,000 voter signatures to put an initiative on the ballot to reform their public employee pension system. The initiative moves new city hires to a 401(k)-style retirement system. While it does not affect any retirement benefits already earned by current workers or retirees, the measure would also end what’s known as “pension spiking,” the practice whereby government workers manipulate overtime, vacation and sick leave in their final months and years of employment to dramatically increase their pension payments for as long as they live.

Spiking costs city taxpayers $12 million a year.

That’s especially troublesome considering the pension system is already underfunded by $1.5 billion.

The annual price tag to the city for the pension mess has grown a whopping 40 percent since 2011. In dollar terms, Phoenix pension costs have gone from $35 million in 2003 to $266 million this year. Not surprisingly, the tab for pensions is burning a huge hole in the budget, threatening both higher taxes and service reductions. The city’s credit rating has already been downgraded.

The one thing the initiative doesn’t touch? Pensions for policemen and fire fighters. These public safety workers are part of a statewide system, which is why the initiative specifically states that it does not “affect individuals who are members of, or are eligible to join, any other public retirement system in the State of Arizona such as the Public Safety Employees’ Retirement System.”

The Phoenix Pension Reform Act seems quite popular with the public, but not with public employee unions or a majority of the Phoenix City Council. Last week, the council officially set the ballot language voters will read when they go to the polls in November. Knowing the political popularity of police and fire, the council wrote a title claiming the measure would prevent the city from supporting public safety employees through the statewide system.

“The action by the Phoenix City Council last week to try to kill a pension reform initiative by adopting a wildly misleading ballot description was dirty,” wrote Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb. He concluded by noting that the council “betrayed the voters and dishonored themselves.”
Que sera, sera.
This week, in a state far from Arizona, but also starting with the letter “A,” I visited with the leaders of Arkansas Term Limits, a grassroots group formed to oppose Issue 3, which was placed on this November’s ballot by state legislators.

What is Issue 3?

When Arkansans step into the voting booth, they’ll see the following language: “An Amendment Regulating Contributions to Candidates for State or Local Office, Barring Gifts from Lobbyists to Certain State Officials, Providing for Setting Salaries for Certain State Officials, and Setting Term Limits for Members of the General Assembly.”

It is what voters won’t be told that has term limits supporters up in arms. You see, Issue 3 doesn’t set term limits at all. Voters already did that by citizen initiative back in 1992 — and then reaffirmed those same limits in 2004, when state legislators tried a different scam to undo them.

Issue 3 re-sets term limits . . . doubling time allowed, or more!

Currently, state representatives are limited to three two-year terms or six years. Issue 3 would allow them more than twice that: eight terms or 16 years. State senators are now capped at two four-year terms or eight years. Issue 3 doubles that limit to four terms or 16 years.

If state legislators desire weaker term limits (and insist on being told loudly NO by the electorate), then let them put the measure on the ballot and provide voters the facts necessary to decide. But since legislators know darn good and well that voters do not support weakening the limits, their plan is simply to hoodwink the people.

The people they say they serve.

Furthermore, the anti-term limits amendment is being pushed as an ethics reform — a very unethical ethics reform. It’s not enough that these wannabe careerists attempt to trick voters about “setting” term limits, they also seek to sneak this most significant provision by voters by hiding it behind so-called ethics reforms that might appeal to voters.

Again and again, our representatives not only fail to represent us, they aggressively lie and cheat us. Thank goodness, we still have the right under the First Amendment to speak out and criticize their reprehensible behavior.

Of course, those pesky free speech rights may be jettisoned, too, if politicians have their way. As I wrote in this space weeks ago, Senate Joint Resolution 19 — introduced by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and co-sponsored by 45 other Democrat senators — would take a Sharpie and cross “freedom of speech” out of our Bill of Rights, replacing the First Amendment’s restriction that “Congress shall pass no law” with giving Congress complete, unrestrained power to control any and all fundraising and spending in congressional elections.

SJR 19 is repeatedly billed as overturning Citizens United and other U.S. Supreme Court decisions, thus ending “corporate personhood.” But it just simply doesn’t do that. Instead, it hands all power to Congress, which may or may not reverse those decisions in the course of regulating their own campaigns and the money their challengers and other individuals and groups may raise or spend against them.

After passage of SJR 19, if Congress enacted a statute banning citizens from spending any money that could conceivably be construed as affecting a congressional race, it would be perfectly constitutional. Your First Amendment right to speak out to your fellow citizens?

What First Amendment right?

Last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send this constitutional amendment to the full Senate.

Que sera, sera.
People who are not distraught about Lois Lerner and the IRS must have never actually dealt with the organization. As someone who has for 36 years, it is clear that at best we are dealing with fabrications and at worst outright lies and criminal actions. The fact that any American --let alone the national press, Congressional Democrats, and the White House – might not be agitated is dangerous for our society.
First, let us be clear: despite billions of dollars of taxpayer money being spent on improving their computer system, it is still rank. Second, the Internal Revenue has gradually over my career asserted more and more control at higher levels leaving agents and revenue officers less flexibility. That means there is less opportunity for an agent in the field to make their own decisions about any matter.

If you ever sat in an IRS office or waited endlessly on the telephone, you would know that this entire scenario of lost emails is not remotely plausible. First, when you sit in their office across the desk from an agent, you clearly see that they have one operating system. Just like any large operation, their computers are hooked up to a server which the agent does not control. I cannot tell you how many times over the years (and recently) I have been on hold for over a half hour, only to be told by the live person who finally arrives on the line that their system is down and I should call back in a couple hours or the next day. The IRS does not seem to me to be someplace where an individual’s computer would crash and lose all of their emails. What about other work product that would have been lost; why has that not been discussed?

Interestingly, Ms. Lerner was not the only person who mysteriously crashed her hard drive and supposedly lost a portion of her email history. There are seven people in total – all of which had something to do with the Exempt Organizations Division which is at the heart of the scandal. It is unclear from the information that was released by the IRS of the location of one of these seven, but at least three were in the Cincinnati office and three were bigwigs in D.C., including Lerner. That opens up the question of whether these seven (who all were involved in Exempt Organizations and supposedly had computer crashes) were the only ones in the IRS who had these supposed crashes or were there others? If so, how many? It makes even the least skeptical mind wonder how just these seven in this division lost their hard drives.

One of these people, Nicole Flax, who later became the chief of staff for the IRS Commissioner, was apparently intimately involved with Lerner’s effort when Flax worked for Lerner. In a two year period Flax made 31 visits to the White House. As a reminder previously IRS personnel rarely visited the White House to avoid the appearance of being coerced.

Then there is the question about the outside service provider, email-archiving Sonasoft. Their contract was canceled after six years directly after the hard-drive crash. Why was the contract cancelled? What happened to their archived files? What company replaced them? How could they have archived files if they were not on a centralized system? Also, weeks after Lerner’s computer crash, the IRS prematurely retired data storage devices in the IT offices in Maryland. Why did they retire these devices and what happened to the data on them?

As I have stated before, one would think a potential scandal like this would scare the wits out of the national press and members of Congress of any party. If you don’t believe there is anything to the Exempt Organizations matter, let us give you a momentary pass. But it is clear that someone (most likely Lerner) provided IRS information to at least the Justice Department and a private entity. I have asked multiple IRS employees if they could imagine doing such a thing to which they replied absolutely not. But to the national press and the Democrats in the Congress, this appears not to be a major concern.
This is not a partisan issue. Let me please repeat that. This is not a partisan issue. Anytime the IRS uses its power to improperly chastise citizens or release their information to third parties, ALL of us should be outraged. But the Left is stupidly acting partisan. The public editor of the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, recently wrote “One side sees a Nixonian abuse of power and cover-up; the other side sees an effort to smear the White House for electoral gain in the midterms. That stuff brings out passions.” Really, Ms. Sullivan, is that the best you can do? What would you do if a Republican Administration, given license by your docile reaction to this matter, went after your newspaper?

Where is your outrage? Judy Woodruff, a real professional journalist and co-host of the NewsHour on PBS, was a panelist recently on Fox News Sunday. The topic of the lost emails was being discussed and, when the conversation turned to her, she started by stating they had not covered the issue so she was not well-versed on the subject. Shame on you and your network, Ms. Woodruff. But that can be said for most of the press.

This is a real scandal of enormous proportions. There appears to be a cover-up, evidenced by Ms. Lerner’s invoking of her Fifth Amendment rights to non-incrimination and the nonsensical loss of computer information which was reported to Congress four months after it supposedly came to light.

I don’t care about the history of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and his supposed integrity. He currently is acting as a political hack and is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The rest of the hardworking employees at the IRS who do the right thing every day are being tarnished by these people who participated in this political use of the IRS, orchestrated by Lerner and whoever worked with her. The IRS has enough problems keeping a decent image; they don’t need these political actors destroying the creditability of their organization.

It is high time the Democrats and the national press got with it, and the best way to do such is for you to demand they do. If these actions are not properly rooted out and punished, you could be the next to be the victim of this organization—no matter what your background or political leanings. That should really scare you.

Gaza mosque containing weapons cache struck by Israeli military

/ Jihad Watch
AlTawfeeqMosqueA mosque containing weapons? The mainstream media and Western government officials will almost certainly discount this as Israeli propaganda, since they all know that Islam is a religion of peace. But in reality, there is nothing unbelievable about it. We have seen mosques used to stockpile weapons in other countries in the past, and Hamas would especially want to do this, since they would then be able to use the Israeli strike against the mosque to defame Israel as indiscriminately hitting civilian targets.

“Israel Says It Struck a Gaza Mosque Containing Weapons,” by Isabel Kershner, New York Times, July 12, 2014 (thanks to all who sent this in):
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said on Saturday that it had struck a mosque in central Gaza overnight that held a concealed weapons cache.
The attack was likely to fan Palestinian outrage, especially as it took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In Gaza, health officials said that the death toll from the Israeli airstrikes had reached 120, with hundreds more wounded. Many of those killed and wounded were said to be civilians, including women and children.
Israel’s military said that over five days of fighting it had struck more than 1,160 targets in Gaza, including rocket launchers, weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, and private homes that it said had served as command-and-control centers for militants guiding the rocket fire. Overnight, the military said it had targeted 10 “terror operatives,” six of whom it said were directly involved in launching rockets at Israel at the time.
In a statement on Saturday, the military said that Hamas, the Islamic group that dominates Gaza, and the militant group Islamic Jihad “systematically use mosques to conceal weaponry and establish underground tunnel networks, abusing the holy nature of these sites for their own terror-oriented agendas.”
“These sites are part of a vast terror network embedded deep within civilian populations purposefully by these terror organizations,” the statement added.
The military issued aerial photographs of the mosque site, surrounded by civilian homes.
Gazans and Israelis brace for more conflict as Hamas continues to launch rockets, and Israel continues a fourth day of aerial strikes.
But Iron Dome does not provide total protection. A rocket struck a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Friday night, destroying it and injuring an elderly woman. A man was severely wounded on Friday and seven others suffered less serious wounds when a rocket hit a gasoline station in Ashdod, an Israeli port city, setting it ablaze.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Israel was “weighing all possibilities and preparing for all possibilities,” including dispatching ground forces to Gaza.
Hamas’s military wing said it was ready for a long fight, saying on its website that it had “utilized only a little of what it has prepared for the Zionist enemy.”
While there was talk about some efforts underway to broker a cease-fire, none appeared imminent.

Obama administration tracking Muslim candidates for military, Pentagon positions

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

pic_giant_071013_SM_Obama-Wings-It-In-EgyptNidal Hasan told him. He wouldn’t believe it. Naser Abdo told him. He wouldn’t believe it. What will it take for him to see it? Nothing. This is what he wants: a military full of Muslims who could go jihad at any time. It is consistent with his jihad-enabling foreign policy since the beginning of his presidency.

“Obama administration tracking Muslim candidates for military, Pentagon positions,”, July 9, 2014:
WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has been identifying Muslims in the military in an effort to encourage their presence.
Officials said the Defense Department has been keeping records and tracking Muslims.
They said the administration sought to attract Muslims both to the military and to the Pentagon.
“Our nation and our entire military family remain stronger because of the service and sacrifice of people of all faiths, including the thousands of patriotic Muslim Americans who have served and still serve in this long period of war,” Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said last week.
The U.S. military currently has 4,500 uniformed Muslims, the Pentagon said on July 3.
It was not clear how the Pentagon identified the Muslims. The department has not given statistics on members of other religious faiths.
In 2009, a U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, shouting “God is great,” opened fire and killed 13 of his colleagues. Later, authorities acknowledged that Hasan, a psychiatrist, was linked to Al Qaida in the...
Employment Growth Since 2000 All Notched by Immigrants

Immigrants both legal and illegal accounted for all of the net employment growth since the turn of the century, according to a new report.

In the first quarter of this year, there were 5.7 million more immigrants with a job than in 2000.

But among native-born Americans, there were 127,000 fewer with a job in 2014 than in 2000 — 114.7 million this year compared to about 114.8 million in 2000, the report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) discloses.

Because the native-born population grew significantly during that period while the number of those working decreased, there were 17 million more working-age natives unemployed in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000.

"With 58 million working-age natives not working, the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House measures that would substantially increase the number of foreign workers allowed in the country seem out of touch with the realities of the U.S. labor market," the CIS report observes.

That bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), has already been passed by the Senate.

Currently only 66 percent of natives ages 16 to 65 are holding a job. And that figure does not take into consideration the 7.3 million people, both native and immigrant, who are forced to settle for working part time despite wanting full-time work.

Immigrants, meanwhile, have made gains in all areas of the labor market, including lower-skilled jobs such as maintenance and food service, middle-skilled jobs such as healthcare support and office support, and higher-skilled jobs including management and positions in the computer field.

The report from CIS scholars Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler also points out that 8.7 million native-born college graduates are out of work, as are 17 million natives with some college and more than 25 million with only a high school education.

The CIS cites several reasons why immigrants have fared better than natives in the job market. For one, the Summer Work Travel Program allows employers to hire temporary workers without needing to make the Social Security and Medicare payments that would be required for natives.

Also, foreign workers who enter under the H-1B visa program cannot change jobs easily, making them more captive to their employers. And immigrants may also be willing to work off the books for lower pay than natives would command.

Based on its research, the CIS offers the conclusion that the long-term decline in employment among native-born Americans indicates that there is no general labor shortage in the country.

And the decline in employment among the native-born during years of high immigration confirms other research showing that immigration does reduce employment for natives.

"If the Schumer-Rubio bill becomes law, the number of new legal immigrants allowed into the country will roughly double to 20 million over the next decade," the CIS states. "The primary argument for this dramatic increase is, as Republican Congressman Paul Ryan has argued, that without it the country faces 'labor shortages.'

"Given the abysmal employment and labor force participation rates, particularly of the native-born, it is difficult to take at face value assertions by employer groups that workers are in short supply or to justify the dramatic increase in immigration levels in the Schumer-Rubio bill."
Never Again!
By: Diane Sori

“I told John Kerry and General Allen, the Americans’ expert: We live here, I live here, I know what we need to ensure the security of Israel’s people.”
-Benjamin Netanyahu's response to John Kerry's saying he knows what's best for Israel

NEVER AGAIN!...a powerful message sent to proclaim for all to hear that any who wish to kidnap and murder Israeli children, that any who wish to terrorize Israeli citizens, and that any who support these actions...that they are to be put on notice that Benjamin Netanyahu has had enough...he's had enough of Barack HUSSEIN Obama trying to order him to return Israel to her now indefensible pre-'67 borders... and he's had more than enough of Obama's bloviating mouthpiece, John 'Swiftboat' Kerry, speaking on Obama's behalf telling him to show 'restraint' against those wishing to wipe Israel off the map.

But guess what...that will NEVER happen as payback is and will indeed be a b*tch...and Israeli air strikes will make sure of that. So far Israel has carried out more than 1,200 air strikes against Hamas and other (Obama funded and supported) terrorist organizations are using their 10,000+ rocket arsenal to try and reach their goal of annihilating the Jewish state.

And as the 'so-called' but non-existent Palestinians lobbed almost 700 rockets and mortars at Israel this week, they have the unmitigated gall to whine that Israel has caused 157 civilian deaths (at the time of this writing) but that Israel is claiming NO casualties of their own in the five days since they started retaliation bombing and rocket attacks on Gaza...but guess what...that's too damn bad for if they don't want collateral damage then they should NOT have started messing with really is that simple.

And as warning sirens continue to be heard throughout Israel, disrupted daily life throughout the country, Israeli troops have now exchanged gunfire with what's believed to be Hezbollah (and possibly Muslim Brotherhood) fighters from across the Lebanon border after two rockets were fired from there at northern Israel. This is surely NOT good folks for NOT only are these some of the same groups that Barack HUSSEIN Obama gives our American taxpayer dollars to (without our permission may I add}, but may also be an attempt by these muslim deviants to open up a second front against Israel....and doing so while Obama sits back with a smirk on his face as he is once again the one responsible for the knife being dug deeper into Israel's back.

So as Israel amasses troops along the Gaza border in preparation for a likely ground invasion of Gaza and possibly the West Bank as well...Obama and crew still keep urging Netanyahu to show in Israel is being told to NOT defend herself even as international flights are being told NOT to land at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport because militants from Gaza continue to hurl hundreds of rockets in the direction of the airport.

But thankfully, the Iron Dome...a partially U.S. funded Israeli developed rocket defense system... has intercepted more than 130 incoming rockets thus preventing any major damage to Israeli cities and to the population...again probably much to the chagrin of our muslim-in-chief.

And as Israel ignores the U(seless) N(ations) Security Council's call for a cease-fire...a call that only condemns Israel I might add...and a call that urges Israel to respect 'international humanitarian laws' and stop the loss of life...Israel has now widened their range of Gaza bombing targets to include civilian targets with Hamas ties. And they will be hitting northern Gaza "with great force" to end the rocket attacks coming from there. Warning north Gaza residents to evacuate the city, Israel is determined to put an end to this nonsense once and for all by targeted 158 known persons affiliated with Hamas, along with a mosque where Hamas stores rockets and weapons....and when you think about it those anything but innocent muslim barbarians should consider themselves lucky that Israel has NOT yet called on even one of their 350 little 'friends' to blow them back to the Dark Ages where they seriously belong.

And what are Gaza officials doing after Israel's warning...and remember Israel always does what it says it will do...unlike our muslim-in-chief who draws red lines in the sand and then erases them...their Interior Ministry is urging north Gaza residents to ignore Israel's warnings and to stay in their homes, saying the announcement was Israeli "psychological warfare" and an attempt to create confusion and NOTHING more.

Just proves they are NOT only barbarians but just plain clueless as well for while they were telling the so-called non-existent Palestinians NOT to leave their homes Israel struck the home of Gaza's police chief Tayseer Al-Batsh, killing 18 terrorists and wounding 35, critically wounding Al-Batsh himself.

They were warned and they ignored the warning thus equating to a few less terrorists in the world...well done Israel.

So as the situation continues to escalate between Israel and the so-called but non-existent Palestinians...the bottom line remains as it has been since day one... that this most miserable of American presidents refuses to stand up for NOT only our ally and friend but for the only democratic nation in the Middle East...adding even more credence to his infamous words, "I will stand with the muslims if the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

And in his joining the ranks of the other nations who always go against doing what is morally and ethically right concerning Israel, Barack HUSSEIN Obama has America...has 'We the People' NO matter that most of us stand strong with Israel... spitting on the memory of the six million Jews murdered by those who laid the groundwork for the oh so wanted extermination of the Jewish people...laid the groundwork for the likes of Obama's muslim brethren trying to complete the job set out to be done seven decades ago.

And his actions...or should I say inactions...speak louder than any words I could ever put down on paper