Archive for March 13th, 2009

Did Supreme Court Clerk Sabotage Obama’s Eligibility Cases?

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I thought maybe the Supreme Court Justices were just being stubborn, but what if they had never had the opportunity to review the cases concerning Obama’s eligibility to become president?

A California attorney whose emergency submission to the U.S. Supreme Court on President Obama’s eligibility was turned back without a hearing or comment now is submitting a motion for re-hearing, alleging some of her documentation may have been withheld from the justices by a court clerk.

The motion for reconsideration alleges a court clerk “of his own volition and on his own authority refused to file of record, docket, and forward to the Chief Justice and Associate Justices petitioners’ supplemental brief presented on January 15, 2009.”

Orly Taitz, who is working on the case Lightfoot vs. Bowen through her foundation, Defend Our Freedoms, told WND that she started checking back through her paperwork after asking Justice Antonin Scalia this week about the case.

His response was that a petitioner needed four affirmative votes among the nine justices for a hearing to be held. Taitz interpreted to mean that among the four justices generally considered conservative, at least one had been voting against hearing the Obama eligibility issue.

The issue of Obama’s eligibility has been raised before the Supreme Court at least four times already but has yet to be given a hearing. Cases have been brought by Taitz, Philip Berg, Cort Wrotnowski and Leo Donofrio.

While the requests have been heard “in conference” by the justices, no hearings have resulted on the evidence. WND previously has reported that cases brought to individual justices on an emergency basis can be discussed in such conferences, but they need the affirmative vote from four justices before a hearing on the merits can be scheduled.

Taitz explained in the motion that she submitted a brief Jan. 15 that reflected new developments in the case. She noted such filings “are allowed, when there is a new law or changed circumstance in the case.”

The change was the approval by Congress of the Electoral College vote in the presidential race.

However, the clerk “refused to file this brief in the docket, stating that he will send it back with [an] explanation,” the motion states. “Nothing was sent back and no explanation [was] provided.”

Taitz’ latest challenge to Obama’s eligibility is a Quo Warranto case submitted to the U.S. attorney general, a legal standard that essentially allows citizens to demand on what grounds someone in authority exercises that power.

She has 10 state representatives and about 130 members of the U.S. military signed on as plaintiffs in the action.

But now Taitz is raising concerns about manipulation of her case at the Supreme Court. She asserts docketing information about her case “was erased from the docket of the Supreme Court on January 21st, one day after the inauguration and two days before [the case was to be heard].”

“Only after numerous phone calls from outraged citizens, members of the media and state representatives, the case was re-entered on the docket … shortly before the hearing. … No explanation was provided by the Supreme Court to this occurrence.”

She noted the same clerk told another attorney it was a computer malfunction, but it affected none of the other cases on the docket.

Taitz also renewed her questions about a closed door meeting between Obama, the subject of the pending case, and eight of the nine justices, before the hearing on the case.

Taitz said when Scalia told her to get the four votes needed for the case to have it heard, he also reflected an absence of knowledge about some of the issues she would have expected him to know about.

“He had no knowledge about any cases brought in front of the Supreme Court that challenged Obama’s eligibility for president,” Taitz wrote.

“The only reasonable explanation is that the clerks of the court did not provide the case to the justices at all or summarized them in a light that is unfavorable to the petitioners, which is prejudicial to the plaintiffs,” Taitz said.

She said when she was talking to Scalia, she specifically mentioned other cases on the same subject, brought by Berg, Wrotnowski and Donofrio.

“He had a bewildered look on his face, he kept saying – ‘I don’t know, I don’t remember, I don’t know, I don’t remember,'” she said “Scalia seems to be one of the most decent judges on this court. I think he was telling the truth. Could it be that the cases were handled by … clerks?”

Because of the indications of “sabotage” inside the court, she said she would try to hand-deliver the petition to Chief Justice John Roberts today when he speaks at the University of Idaho at Moscow.

The petition also will be posted on her site, she said, and it is being mailed to other justices on the court.

Original Link.

Obama Racks Up List of Broken Promises

Friday, March 13th, 2009

No surprise here…

After only two months in office, President Obama may have fallen short on a number of his campaign promises.

As a candidate, he promised to allow public comment before signing bills, eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses, provide tax credits to businesses for hiring new employees, allow Americans to withdraw funds from 401(k) and retirement accounts without penalties, ban lobbyists from serving in his administration, reform earmarks, bring all combat troops home from Iraq in 16 months, sign the “Freedom of Choice Act,” give Americans $4,000 in credits for college and run a “transparent” administration.

However, after giving his word to the American people on so many issues, Obama has yet to fulfill many commitments.

WND has compiled the following extensive list of those abandoned promises:

Broken promise No. 1: ‘Sunlight Before Signing’

When Obama campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in Manchester, N.H., on June 22, 2007, he announced his “Sunlight Before Signing” promise.

“When there is a bill that ends up on my desk as the president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it,” he said.

Broken promise No. 2: Capital gains tax elimination

According to his comprehensive tax plan released during his campaign, Obama promised to “eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses.”

Just weeks prior to the election, Obama advisers Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman told the Wall Street Journal that Obama planned tax cuts that included “the elimination of capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-ups.”

People who invest in small businesses have only been allowed to exclude 50 percent of that gain from capital gains taxes. While Obama’s $787 billion economic-stimulus package reduces that tax liability – raising the exclusion to 75 percent – it does not eliminate it.

Broken promise No. 3: New American jobs tax credit

During his transition, Obama’s promised to provide a $3,000 refundable tax credit to existing businesses for every additional full-time U.S. employee hired in 2009 and 2010.

“If a company that currently has 10 U.S. employees increases its domestic full time employment to 20 employees, this company would get a $30,000 tax credit – enough to offset the entire added payroll tax costs to the company for the first $50,000 of income for the new employees,” the transition website stated. “The tax credit will benefit all companies creating net new jobs, even those struggling to make a profit.”

Obama’s promise was never included in the stimulus package.

Many unemployed and financially strapped Americans have considered early withdrawals on 401(k) and retirement accounts to survive the current recession. However, the IRS imposes strict penalties of up to 10 percent plus federal, state and local income taxes on such advances.

Workers who have taken $10,000 in early withdrawals from retirement plans have lost as much as 40 percent to taxes and penalties, depending upon tax brackets.

However, Obama’s promise was never included in his recent stimulus package.

Broken promise No. 5: ‘No jobs for lobbyists’

William J. Lynn III

Obama promised America he would loosen the grip of lobbyists on Washington.

In his Nov. 10, 2007, speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Obama declared:

I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.

During his campaign, Obama also said, “I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

However, USA Today reported Obama’s campaign fundraising team included 38 members of law firms that were paid $138 million in 2007 to lobby the federal government.

“Those lawyers, including 10 former federal lobbyists, have pledged to raise at least $3.5 million” for Obama’s campaign, the report states. “Employees of their firms have given Obama’s campaign $2.26 million.”

It wasn’t long before he allowed at least two dozen exceptions and broke his promise.

Broken promise No. 6: Earmark reform

As WND reports, at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., Obama declared, “[W]e need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”

However, in February, Obama passed his $787 billion stimulus aimed at jolting the declining U.S. economy. Before a joint session of Congress, Obama declared: “Now, I’m proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks.”

Some chuckled in amusement when he claimed the bill contained no pork.

“There was just a roar of laughter – because there were earmarks,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told CNN.

U.S. News & World Report found at least eight earmarks in his stimulus bill.

Obama also signed a $410 billion omnibus bill for 2009. More than 9,000 earmarks in the spending bill total an estimated $7.7 billion.

Even though the Democrat-controlled Congress crafted the bill after Obama’s election, the administration claims the added pork is just “unfinished business” from last year.

The White House website states, “Obama and Biden will slash earmarks to no greater than 1994 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public.” However, watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense reports that the omnibus pork alone already totals $7.7 billion – just less than the total of $7.8 billion in earmarks in 1994 – and the figure does not include $6.6 billion in earmarks contained in three previous spending bills Congress passed amid the bailout crisis last year.

During his three years in the Senate, Obama requested more than $860 million in earmarks, according to the group. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has 16 earmarks – worth approximately $8.5 million – in the bill.

Broken promise No. 7: Bring troops home in 16 months

On his campaign website, Obama promised he would “remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.”

His commitment to bring combat troops home by May 20, 2010, and end the war gave him an edge among Democrats over candidate Hillary Clinton.

However, on Feb. 27, Obama declared, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.”

If Obama adheres to his plan, combat troops will return home months later than originally promised. The New York Times reports, Obama will withdraw only two of the 14 brigades before December.

As part of a “new era of American leadership,” he also said he would leave behind a residual force of 35,000 to 50,000 troops and remove all U.S. soldiers from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011 – the same deadline the Bush administration negotiated with the Iraqi government last year in its Status of Forces Agreement.

Broken promise No. 8: Sign ‘Freedom of Choice Act’

On July 17, 2007, Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, “The first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

Obama expressed his support for the sweeping plan that would repeal all national and state regulations of abortion passed over the last 35 years.

His agenda regarding “reproductive choice” is posted on the White House website. It states, Obama “has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration.”

Obama chose radical pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to serve as the Health secretary, moved to void job protections for health workers who oppose abortion and repealed a ban on U.S. taxpayer funding of foreign abortions. While many pro-life advocates consider it a blessing that Obama has no fulfilled his promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, he has made no mention of the legislation since he took office.

Broken promise No. 9: $4,000 college credit

Obama pledged to make college “affordable for all Americans” when he announced his American Opportunity Tax Credit.

His campaign promise read: “This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of community service.”

While the American Opportunity Tax Credit was included in the recent stimulus bill, it offers a credit of only $2,500 for up to two years and requires no commitment to community service.

Broken promise No. 10: Transparency

On the White House website, the Obama administration claims it will be “the most open and transparent in history.

The administration released a memo on Jan. 21, stating:

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. …

However, Congress and the administration hurried the $787 billion, 1,027-page American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to a vote after allowing lawmakers just a few hours to read the bill. It was also available online in a form that could not be keyword searched.

While former administrations immediately posted transcripts of presidential speeches – including some remarks before delivery – the White House website often waits until days or even weeks after an event to release transcripts.

Also, some say recent reports of tax evasion by Obama nominees is evidence that the administration is not as transparent as promised.

And, finally, WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

However, Obama has refused repeated calls to publicly release his Hawaiian birth certificate, which would include the actual hospital that performed the delivery. His campaign posted an alleged “Certification of Live Birth” online, but it is not the same as a Hawaii birth certificate. COLBs have been issued by Hawaii to parents whose children are not born in the state.

Instead of providing the documentation to end the lawsuits, a series of law firms have been hired on Obama’s behalf around the nation to prevent any public access to his birth certificate, passport records, college records and other documents. – even after more than 320,000 people signed a petition demanding that he live up to his promise of transparency by releasing the certificate to the public.

Nonetheless, during his campaign and after he took office, Obama maintained that his administration would have an unyielding commitment to transparency.

“The American people want to trust in our government again – we just need a government that will trust in us,” he said in a campaign speech. “And making government accountable to the people isn’t just a cause of this campaign – it’s been a cause of my life for two decades.”

The White House declined to respond to WND’s request for comment on Obama’s promises.

Original Link.

‘Deep concern’ Obama Ready to Talk to Hamas

Friday, March 13th, 2009

JERUSALEM – There is deep concern among Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization that the U.S. government has changed its attitude toward Hamas and may be ready to end the terrorist group’s isolation, a senior PA negotiator told WND.

“Three years of the siege against Hamas is ending,” said the PA negotiator, speaking from Ramallah on condition his name be withheld. “There is a new policy in the Obama administration regarding Hamas. We are concerned Hamas is starting to be a legitimate player in the equation of the Mideast and the PA.”

The negotiator met last week with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Asked by WND whether Clinton or any other U.S. official expressed direct support for opening U.S. dialogue with Hamas, the PA negotiator replied, “No. But there are troubling signs.”

He pointed to recent U.S. support for a unity government between Hamas and Fatah.

“This is the first time the U.S. has supported such a unity government. There was no objection from the U.S. about Hamas joining the PA,” he said.

He also pointed to Sen. John Kerry’s visit last month to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Massachusetts lawmaker’s reported acceptance of a letter from the Islamist group as “legitimizing Hamas.”

Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, became the most senior U.S. government official to enter Gaza since 2000. The senator announced his trip – which focused on U.N. facilities in Gaza – did not signal any change in U.S. policy toward Hamas, while it was reported he accepted a letter from the group to deliver to President Obama. A Kerry spokesman said the senator was not aware the letter, provided to him by a U.N. employee, originated with Hamas.

Mushir al-Massri, a Hamas spokesman and parliament member, told WND from Gaza: “Kerry can say there is no change, but Hamas controls Gaza. It’s very important that he came here. I hope next time the U.S. can more openly support Hamas.”

Hamas’ official charter calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel. The Islamist group is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilians.

A spokesman for the State Department told WND yesterday there is no change in the U.S. policy of isolating Hamas.

Al-Massri, however, claimed Hamas is in direct communication with members of Congress.

“We are speaking to U.S. congressmen,” he claimed, “also members of the European Parliament.”

Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, also told WND his Islamist group was in contact with members of the U.S. Congress, but he wouldn’t divulge any names.

Official U.S. policy supports sidestepping Hamas, but the group has been making major inroads toward ending its isolation.

Original Link.

“If Bush Had Done What Obama Is Doing..” by Ross Mackenzie

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Herewith some questions about contrasts and double standards — and how the leftists comprising the nameless “they” who rule the world would react to what Barack Obama is doing if Obama were George Bush.

For instance . . .

If Obama were Bush, what would their reaction be to the president’s failure — even now — to submit a plan to salvage the nation’s banks?

What would they think of their president if he and his acolytes took out after the other party’s leading entertainer — Oprah Winfrey — declaring her not only de facto head of the Democratic Party but the foremost embodiment of that party’s ideological excesses?

Would they be lamenting a flawed vetting process related to the embarrassing tax problems and quirky (dis)qualifications — and withdrawals from consideration — of nominees to top administration posts?

How would they react to polls giving the president a 60 percent job-approval rating, yet finding 44 percent groaning that the nation is “off on the wrong track”?

Speaking of polls, would they be responding sarcastically to a president named Bush — as Obama has — talking up price-earnings ratios and ruminating that the stock market “is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down every day. . . . If you spend your time worrying abut that, you’re probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong.”?

Would they ridicule the president for urging Americans to go out and buy stocks, just as they ridiculed his predecessor following 9/11 (and properly so), for urging Americans to conduct their lives as though nothing had happened — and to go out and shop?

If Obama were Bush, what would they be saying about how his ascendancy has affected a Dow Jones Industrial Average that has declined more than 30 percent since Election Day?

Would they be arguing — shouting? — about the implicit lessons of, e.g., Citibank at $1.03 per share, of General Motors at $1.45, of General Electric at $7.06?

Would there be outrage when the new attorney general termed this a “nation of cowards” on the subject of race?

Would there be anything positive cited about a secretary of state who journeyed to China — a country still overseen by Communists and building its military at light-speed — where she (a) declined even to mention China’s human rights abuses while (b) begging it to buy greatly more American debt?

Oh, and on the subject of debt, how would they react to an incumbent president named Bush, suddenly positioned insistently before star-spangled backdrops, mimicking failed New Deal policies wherein FDR warred on the corporate class and sought to spend the nation out of the Depression? (Consider this, from FDR’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau in 1939, a decade after the crash: “We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. We have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . and an enormous debt to boot!”)

Having ripped his predecessor (as they and Obama repeatedly have ripped Bush), what would they have to say about a new president offering record-setting deficits (as Obama has) that will double the national debt in five years, triple it in 10 years, and exceed his predecessor’s total eight-year deficit in his first 20 months?

Read the rest of the article here.

Analyst Downgrades Wal-Mart Stock on Card Check

Friday, March 13th, 2009

What a way to help the economy…hit America’s biggest retailer. Do you folks in congress even have a brain?

March 10 (Reuters) – Citigroup downgraded Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) to “hold” from “buy” saying the proposed card check legislation would increase laborcosts and could be a significant drag to earnings for the world’s largest retailer.

“We believe that WMT would be the primary target if EFCA/card check were to be passed,” analyst Deborah Weinswig wrote in a note to clients.

If theunions are successful, the company would have to concede higher wages formore seasoned employees, increase employee benefits significantly, and would experience diminished workforce flexibility, the analyst said.

She cut her price target on the stock to $48 from $53.

The legislation will be introduced on Tuesday in the U.S. Congress and if passed, it will make it easier for workers to unionize.

Known as “card check” or Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the legislation would let employees form a union if a majority of them in a workplace sign authorization cards.

Original Link.

Judge Orders Homeschoolers into Public School Despite Testing Above Grade Levels

Friday, March 13th, 2009

A North Carolina judge has ordered three children to attend public schools this fall because the homeschooling their mother has provided over the last four years needs to be “challenged.”

The children, however, have tested above their grade levels – by as much as two years.

The decision is raising eyebrows among homeschooling families, and one friend of the mother has launched a website to publicize the issue.

The ruling was made by Judge Ned Mangum of Wake County, who was handling a divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.

A statement released by a publicist working for the mother, whose children now are 10, 11 and 12, said Mangum stripped her of her right to decide what is best for her children’s education.

The judge, when contacted by WND, explained his goal in ordering the children to register and attend a public school was to make sure they have a “more well-rounded education.”

“I thought Ms. Mills had done a good job [in homeschooling],” he said. “It was great for them to have that access, and [I had] no problems with homeschooling. I said public schooling would be a good complement.”

The judge said the husband has not been supportive of his wife’s homeschooling, and “it accomplished its purposes. It now was appropriate to have them back in public school.”

Mangum said he made the determination on his guiding principle, “What’s in the best interest of the minor children,” and conceded it was putting his judgment in place of the mother’s.

And he said that while he expressed his opinion from the bench in the court hearing, the final written order had not yet been signed.

However, the practice of a judge replacing a parent’s judgment with his own regarding homeschooling was argued recently when a court panel in California ruled that a family would no longer be allowed to homeschool their own children.

Original Link.