Supreme Court Kills DOMA; House Won’t Bring Up Gang of Eight Bill; McRino Charges Critics; Obama’s Environmental Crusade; And More: Wednesday Morning News Roundup 6-26-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

  • The Supreme Court has struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act forbidding Federal recognition of gay marriages for couples residing in states that recognize their union. Source: Huffington Post
  • Good news via National Review Online’s Jonathan Strong:

  • And John McCain is going off on anyone who dares criticize the amnesty-laden Senate immigration effort.
  • Don’t tell the truth: An environmental official suggesting he worked for Organizing for Action, the Obama Administration’s advocacy group, sent a memo to supporters and pro-Obama pundits, warning them to avoid using “economic arguments” to defend the President’s new climate change, which could put a damper on coal plants and the Keystone Pipeline project. Source: Washington Examiner
  • Meanwhile¸ President Obama has angered lawmakers on both sides of the aisle by calling for new regulations on coal-fired power plants. One of them is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from coal-industry driven West Virginia. Source: Fox Nation
  • Syrian activists say more than 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. Source: Voice of America 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Obama Stalls Keystone Pipeline With Executive Order

The Barack Obama Administration announced Tuesday that it will, via executive order, halt further progress on the highly debated Keystone XL pipeline.

Executive action announced by the Administration asks the State Department not to approve construction on the pipeline unless the Environmental Protection Agency first determines that the project will not lead to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The President’s order, announced during a speech on climate change at Georgetown University, will make it nearly impossible for construction on the pipeline to commence.

Obama has largely avoided discussing the Keystone project, as it put him in the middle of an argument between labor groups in favor of the pipeline and environmentalists opposed to it; both are groups that have supported the Obama Administration.

“As the executive order on Keystone contemplates, the environmental impacts will be important criteria used in the determination of whether the Keystone pipeline application will ultimately be approved at the completion of the State Department decision process,” a senior administration official told Huffington Post. “In today’s speech, the president will make clear that the State Department should approve the pipeline only if it will not lead to a net increase in overall greenhouse gas emissions.”

While the Administration’s criteria for measuring the environmental impact of the pipeline remains unclear, a report out this week addressing the safety of the pipeline concluded that the pipeline would be minimally prone to failure, eliminating a key argument of environmentalists worried of the possibility of inland oil spills.

Stock Shock: Why Barack Obama Is The King Kong Of Drug Dealers

“Lesson No. 1: Don’t underestimate the other guy’s greed. Lesson No. 2: Don’t get high on your own supply.” — From the 1983 movie Scarface

President Barack Obama is worse than the corner crack dealer who tells kids, “The first hit is free.” Instead of getting a neighborhood addicted to cocaine, he has the Nation hooked on cheap money.

It all worked out perfectly well — for Obama, that is. He won his Nobel Peace Prize, gave the economy its “fix,” was re-elected President and is assured of having inner city-schools named after him for the next century. Mission accomplished for the egomaniacal President.

For you and me, the nightmare is just beginning. And we will look back and say it began on June 19, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested he is going to wean the economy off cheap cash.

Currently, the Fed is spending $85 billion every month to buy debt that Uncle Sam can’t sell to anyone else. Bernanke had the audacity to suggest the Fed may start winding down its stimulus program because the markets are strong enough to stand on their own.

Wall Street financiers are savvy. When they heard those words, they felt the way Charlie Sheen feels when walking into the doors of a rehab clinic.

The market understands that the days of high times are over. Its sudden awakening erased 500 points from the Dow Jones industrial average, which in one fell swoop reduced wealth by a couple of hundred billion dollars.

Our Stock Market Nightmare

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, pioneered the understanding of dreams.  He also had a cocaine addiction. He found that cocaine helped cure depression.

In an article for CNN, Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., author of An Anatomy of Addiction, wrote: “Like so many others, Freud suffered from the most maddening symptom of addiction: the stealthy process by which the addict’s mind conspires to convince that nothing, nothing at all, is askew or dangerous about something that most decidedly is.”

Millions of people went on to find the ecstasy and short-term cure of cocaine. I suspect that many people (perhaps even Obama during his college days) discovered that it worked wonders until they were flat broke and even more depressed then when they started. Perhaps cocaine was Obama’s inspiration to get America hooked to an even stronger substance: cheap money.

The Independent reported in 2009:

Money works like a drug on the human brain – and even just the thought of earning a higher salary gives us a physical buzz, a study has found.

Scientists have discovered that thinking about cash stimulates the reward centres involved in pleasure and the higher the salary – even if it is just imagined – the greater the pleasure generated in the brain.

The results of the study suggest that the human brain is innately susceptible to the illusion of wealth that money can bring. This is known in economics as “money illusion” – when people get fixated on the nominal value of money, rather than on its actual purchasing power. Some economists have proposed that people behave irrationally when it comes to wages by being happier with higher salary increases in times of high inflation than they are with lower salary rises in times of low inflation.

For instance, studies have shown that people report being happier when they receive a 5 per cent increase in their salaries at a time of 4 per cent inflation, compared to a 2 per cent increase in salary at a time of low inflation.

That explains Obama-economics 101 and the basis for the feel-good economic programs he and special adviser Valerie Jarrett came up with during his Presidential campaign in 2008.

And it certainly has worked. The moneyed elite in America are richer.

But given the headline below, we should have known we were at a market top:

usatoday

I always heard there is no such thing as a free lunch, and it is true. Michael Lombardi wrote in Profit Confidential:

By creating trillions of dollars in newly printed money, the Federal Reserve inadvertently created a bubble in the bond market and spurred a big rally in the stock market.

By the end of this year, the Federal Reserve will have printed just under $1.0 trillion in new money—roughly equal to the U.S. government’s budget deficit for the year. What a coincidence.

So if the Federal Reserve stops buying U.S. Treasuries, who will step in and buy them?

It’s a rhetorical question. Nobody is going to buy Treasury debt — certainly not Russia, who is at odds with Obama over Syria, and not China, who is at odds with Obama over North Korea. That leaves the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). These bankrupt European Union nations are desperate to sell off their own debt.

As for Obama, he is probably reviewing his blueprints to his Presidential library and his soon-to-be-purchased Hawaiian plantation, along with his bedecked Chicago mansion. The rest of us are left to deal with the financial catastrophe that he dealt us.

Don’t sweat it (pun intended). If you are starting to feel anxious and depressed and you really are sweating, it is just typical withdrawal.

In withdrawal the first reaction is loss. The second reaction is rage. And rage it will be when borrowing rates rise fourfold in the next two years.

Reagan Just Said No

The days of wine, roses and excess money took off during the Jimmy Carter Presidency. We got lucky because two things happened that saved the Nation. Paul Volcker, a fiscal-tough-love economist, was appointed Fed Chairman and Ronald Reagan was elected President.

America was weaned off of cheap money. It meant tough times for a spell, because the cure seemed worse than the disease. The Nation had to endure a rolling recession that cut deep into America’s agriculture and the resource sectors. Yet Reagan risked his political career because he knew it was the right thing to do.

If you are in your 50s or older, you will recall the early 1980s when interest rates shot through the roof.  We can look back on it and know it saved the U.S. dollar, but it was painful.

Consider what happened to the 30-year mortgage rate. It stood at 10 percent during the last year of the Carter Administration. Because the Fed squeezed the excesses from that economy, the 30-year mortgage rate reached 18.5 percent by 1981.

Reagan and Volcker understood that too much money and too much debt would kill the dollar over the long term. Kill the dollar, and in time you kill America.

Quantum Killer

Fast-forward three decades. Obama and his Fed Chairman did the exact opposite of Reagan and Volcker. Instead of pulling easy money out of the economy, they injected trillions of dollars more through three series of quantum easing. Obama and Bernanke didn’t care what America needed. (Of course, the claim is that the Fed acts independent of the White House. If you believe that, you probably believe that the National Security Agency isn’t spying on us).

The President and Fed Chairman have given the Nation copious amounts of ever cheaper money. And for five years, the Nation has believed it was doing better because the President and the Fed were injecting greater amounts of cash into our veins.

I have been looking at charts for more than 30 years, and I probably find them just as boring as most of you do. Yet the chart below really is worth looking at. It shows that Obama has been running the printing presses faster than a Latin dictator hopped-up on his own supply.

chart0625

Whatever previous Presidents have done regarding the printing of greenbacks doesn’t compare to what Obama has done. And stopping that tidal wave of money that the markets have become addicted to is going to cause a sickening withdrawal.

Prediction: Interest rates began to take off last week. The rates on three-month Treasury bills are rising. This is just the first indicator that, across the board, rates on mortgages, car loans, student loans and such are climbing. That is bad news for Big Board stocks, which have been soaring because bonds have been paying such a paltry return. Bad news for stocks means a falling stock market, and this market could easily lose half its value in the next 24 to 36 months.

Action to take: Lock in any loans you need for as long as you can. Sell all bonds and all stocks with the exception of special resource plays. Retain your physical gold and silver, but let’s see where prices go these next couple of weeks before adding to your position. Meanwhile, move money into cash — I mean cold, hard currency stored in a dry, safe place. Guns, ammo, canned foods and water should always be fully stocked, especially now.

Obama has written a huge check for us all, and the tab has come due.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers

A New Beginning Without Washington’s Sanctimonious Mask

It is hard to understand the fuss that Washington and its media whores are making over Edward Snowden. We have known for a long time that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying for years without warrants on the communications of Americans and people throughout the world. Photographs of the massive NSA building in Utah, built for the purpose of storing the intercepted communications of the world, have been published many times.

It is not clear to an ordinary person what Snowden has revealed that William Binney and other whistle-blowers have not already revealed. Perhaps the difference is that Snowden has provided documents that prove it, thereby negating Washington’s ability to deny the facts with its usual lies.

Whatever the reason for Washington’s blather, it certainly is not doing the U.S. government any good. Far more interesting than Snowden’s revelations is the decision by governments of other countries to protect a truth-teller from the Stasi in Washington.

Hong Kong kept Snowden’s whereabouts secret so that an amerikan black-op strike or a drone could not be sent to murder him. Hong Kong told Washington that its extradition papers for Snowden were not in order and permitted Snowden to leave for Moscow.

The Chinese government did not interfere with Snowden’s departure.

The Russian government says it has no objection to Snowden having a connecting flight in Moscow.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino responded to Washington’s threats with a statement that the Ecuadorian government puts human rights above Washington’s interests. Foreign Minister Patino said that Snowden served humanity by revealing that the Washington Stasi was violating the rights of “every citizen in the world.” Snowden merely betrayed “some elites that are in power in a certain country,” whereas Washington betrayed the entire world.

With Hong Kong, China, Russia, Ecuador and Cuba refusing to obey the Stasi’s orders, Washington is flailing around, making a total fool of itself and its media prostitutes.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been issuing warnings hand over fist. He has threatened Russia, China, Ecuador and every country that aids and abets Snowden’s escape from the Washington Stasi. Those who don’t do Washington’s bidding, Kerry declared, will suffer adverse impacts on their relationship with the United States.

What a stupid thing for Kerry to say. Here is a guy who once was for peace but who has been turned by NSA spying on his personal affairs into an asset for the NSA. Try to realize the extraordinary arrogance and hubris in Kerry’s threat that China, Russia and other countries will suffer bad relations with the United States. Kerry is saying that amerika doesn’t have to care whether “the indispensable people” have bad relations with other countries, but those countries have to be concerned if they have bad relations with the “indispensable country.” What an arrogant posture for the U.S. government to present to the world.

Here we have a U.S. Secretary of State lost in delusion along with the rest of Washington. A country that is bankrupt, a country that has allowed its corporations to destroy its economy by moving the best jobs offshore, a country whose future is in the hands of the printing press, a country that after 11 years of combat has been unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban is now threatening Russia and China. God save us from the utter fools who comprise our government.

The world is enjoying Washington’s humiliation at the hands of Hong Kong. A mere city-state gave Washington the bird. In its official statement, Hong Kong shifted the focus from Snowden to his message and asked the U.S. government to explain its illegal hacking of Hong Kong’s information systems.

China’s state newspaper, The People’s Daily, wrote: “The United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries’ networks. . . The world will remember Edward Snowden. It was his fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask.”

China’s Global Times, a subsidiary of The People’s Daily, accused Washington of attacking “a young idealist who has exposed the sinister scandals of the U.S. government.” Instead of apologizing, “Washington is showing off its muscle by attempting to control the whole situation.”

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Snowden’s revelations had placed “Washington in a really awkward situation. They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyberattacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age.”

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that Russia’s sympathy is with Snowden, not with the amerikan Stasi state. Human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said that it was unrealistic to expect the Russian government to violate law to seize a transit passenger who had not entered Russia and was not on Russian soil. RT’s Gayane Chichakyan reported that Washington is doing everything it can to shift attention away from Snowden’s revelations that “show that the U.S. has lied and has been doing the same as they accuse China of doing.”

Ecuador says the traitor is Washington, not Snowden.

The stuck pig squeals from the NSA director — “Edward Snowden has caused irreversible damage to U.S.” — are matched by the obliging squeals from members of the House and Senate, themselves victims of the NSA spying (as was the director of the CIA, who was forced to resign because of a love affair). The NSA is in position to blackmail everyone in the House and Senate, in the White House itself, in all the corporations, in the universities, in the media and in every organization at home and abroad who has anything to hide. You can tell who is being blackmailed by the intensity of the squeals, such as those of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). With any luck, a patriot will leak what the NSA has on Feinstein and Rogers, neither of whom could possibly scrape any lower before the NSA.

The gangster government in Washington that has everything to hide is now in NSA’s hands and will follow orders. The pretense that amerika is a democracy responsible to the people has been exposed. The United States is run by and for the NSA. Congress and the White House are NSA puppets.

Let’s quit calling the NSA the National Security Agency. Clearly, NSA is a threat to the security of every person in the entire world. Let’s call the NSA what it really is: the National Stasi Agency, the largest collection of Gestapo in human history. You can take for granted that every media whore, every government prostitute and every ignorant flag-waver who declares Snowden to be a traitor is either brainwashed or blackmailed. They are the protectors of NSA tyranny. They are our enemies.

The world has been growing increasingly sick of Washington for a long time. The bullying, the constant stream of lies and the gratuitous wars and destruction have destroyed the image hyped by Washington of the U.S. as a “light unto the world.” The world sees the U.S. as a plague upon the world.

Following Snowden’s revelations, Germany’s most important magazine, Der Spiegal, had the headline: “Obama’s Soft Totalitarianism: Europe Must Protect Itself From America.” The article asks: “Is Barack Obama a friend? Revelations about his government’s vast spying program call that into doubt. The European Union must protect the Continent from America’s reach for omnipotence.”

Der Spiegal continues: “We are being watched. All the time and everywhere. And it is the Americans who are doing the watching. On Tuesday, the head of the largest and most all-encompassing surveillance system ever invented is coming for a visit. If Barack Obama is our friend, then we really don’t need to be terribly worried about our enemies.”

There is little doubt that German Interior Minister Hans Peter Friedrich has lost his secrets to NSA spies. Friedrich rushed to NSA’s defense, declaring: “That’s not how you treat friends.” As Der Spiegal made clear, the minister was not referring “to the fact that our trans-Atlantic friends were spying on us. Rather, he meant the criticism of that spying. Friedrich’s reaction is only paradoxical on the surface and can be explained by looking at geopolitical realities. The US is, for the time being, the only global power–and as such it is the only truly sovereign state in existence. All others are dependent–either as enemies or allies. And because most prefer to be allies, politicians–Germany’s included–prefer to grin and bear it.”

It is extraordinary that the most important publication in Germany has acknowledged that the German government is Washington’s puppet state.

Der Spiegel says: “German citizens should be able to expect that their government will protect them from spying by foreign governments. But the German interior minister says instead: ‘We are grateful for the excellent cooperation with US secret services.’ Friedrich didn’t even try to cover up his own incompetence on the surveillance issue. ‘Everything we know about it, we have learned from the media,’ he said. The head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, was not any more enlightened. ‘I didn’t know anything about it,’ he said. And Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was also apparently in the dark. ‘These reports are extremely unsettling,’ she said. With all due respect: These are the people who are supposed to be protecting our rights? If it wasn’t so frightening, it would be absurd.”

For those moronic amerikans who say, “I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t care if they spy,” Der Spiegal writes that a “monitored human being is not a free one.” We have reached the point where we “free americans” have to learn from our German puppets that we are not free.

Read it for yourself here.

Present-day Germany is a new country, flushed of its past by war and defeat. Russia is also a new country that has emerged from the ashes of an unrealistic ideology. Hope always resides with those countries that have most experienced evil in government. If Germany were to throw off its amerikan overlord and depart NATO, amerikan power in Europe would collapse. If Germany and Russia were to unite in defense of truth and human rights, Europe and the world would have a new beginning.

A new beginning is desperately needed. Chris Floyd explains precisely what is going on, which is something you will never hear from the presstitutes. Read it while you still can.

There would be hope if Americans could throw off their brainwashing, follow the lead of Debra Sweet and others, and stand up for Snowden and against the Stasi State.

–Paul Craig Roberts

Obama Launches ‘War On Coal’ In Ill-Fated Energy Initiative

President Barack Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech at Georgetown University Tuesday, pledging to use executive orders to implement Federal regulations on power plant emissions of carbon dioxide after being stonewalled by a Democrat-controlled Congress during his first term.

Calling climate change the “threat of our time,” the President settled the controversy over the existence of human-generated global warming and ended any debate about its relative significance by admonishing:

The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics — millions of measurements have put all that to rest. Ninety-seven per cent of scientists — including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data — have put that to rest. They have acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity has contributed to it.

As an American; as a president; as a father, I am here to say, “We need to act.” Our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.

Ahead of Obama’s climate change speech, Harvard Environmental Center Director and White House “climate adviser” Daniel P. Schrag told The New York Times that, for the Obama Administration, “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

“Everybody is waiting for action,” Schrag said. “The one thing the President really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

Why is Obama doing this? In his stillborn, scandal-plagued second term, there is hardly much current political capital the President can tap for even a benign policy initiative. And taking decisive action against the coal industry — in the form of penalties for power plants that generate electricity through the burning of coal — is about as benign an initiative as instituting a state religion.

“When Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, Obama could not get climate control legislation passed. That explains why he is now seeking to go around Congress to enact anti-coal regulations by fiat,” writes Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, who goes on to argue that nothing Obama could have planned will galvanize his political opponents — as well as make opponents of regular Americans affected by the higher energy prices his policies will yield — than living out an Al Gore-type executive fantasy of implementing regressive, punitive energy goals:

The reason even Democrats balked on climate change regulations in the first term (it stalled in the Senate) is because it is economically debilitating, especially in energy producing states; politically unpopular in red states and among the vast majority of all conservatives nationwide; and useless (so long as China, India, etc. don’t follow suit it does virtually nothing for the planet as a whole — even if one buys the global warming hysteria)…

…Conservatives are once again bonded together in common cause against a president bizarrely antagonistic toward domestic energy production and low energy prices. The gubernatorial campaign of Ken Cuccinelli, in a dog fight with Democrat Terry McAuliffe, let loose on the Democrats’ plans, citing the energy resources in Virginia that directly or indirectly contribute to nearly 20,000 jobs and $2.5 billion toward the state economy. Now, there’s an issue that may turn out his base and get independents riled up.

Whether Obama’s executive actions on coal regulations can be mitigated by a saner President in the future, he’s already arming Republicans with everything they need to make mincemeat of their Democratic opponents in local and State elections.

Obama Ramps Up His War On America

The Barack Obama regime opened a new front in his war on America yesterday when he unveiled his plans to skirt Congress and cut so-called carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Most in Congress recognize the reality that the majority of Americans have concluded that anthropomorphic global warming is so much hokum and that any effort to further burden Americans with laws and regulations to stop something that doesn’t exist is a non-starter. But the collectivists, progressives and outright anti-human environmental lunatics that make up Obama’s inner circle don’t take “no” for an answer. So Obama says he’s going to regulate coal out of business.

Never mind that the first section of the first article of the Constitution grants all legislative powers to Congress; never mind that temperatures have not risen in 20 years, despite an increase in so-called “carbon pollution”; never mind that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but is, along with oxygen, one of the two most important gasses in our atmosphere and vital to life; never mind that more regulations on energy will drive up energy costs and the prices of appliances, cars and machinery, and will further cripple the moribund economy and will drive more of the middle class toward poverty; and never mind that so-called renewable energy is not about creating renewable energy but is about transferring wealth, Obama is dead set on  his agenda to destroy the American way of life.

McCain Touts Berlin Wall-Style U.S. Borders

Immigration reform is an issue that could be tackled in a number of ways by Federal lawmakers. And depending upon how much you trust government, you may or may not like an amendment to the current Senate immigration proposal being touted by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). He says the amendment would provide the U.S. with “the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

It also allows for a renewed push for amnesty for what would amount to about 16 million new Americans.

“The legislation concerning beefed up border security removes any validity to the argument that border security is not sufficient,” McCain said on CNN of the amendment from Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

The amendment, designed to warm conservative holdouts to the amnesty-laden Banda de los Ocho immigration proposal would, according to McCain, provide for 20,000 additional Border Patrol officers and 700 new miles of border fence.

“This is a border security measure which I think should suffice to satisfy any critic and it is a tough way forward and it is a way forward, a tough way forward so that we can resolve this and bring 11 million people out of the shadows,” McCain said.

Indeed, the measure made progress in the Senate Monday with a 62-27 vote — meaning 15 additional GOP lawmakers jumped on board with the proposal.

The promise of a heavily militarized boarder is contingent upon de facto amnesty for illegal aliens already in the Nation.

While the heavy-handed border proposal may seem like a good idea to many conservatives, reports of a border patrol checkpoint popping up more than 100 miles away from the southern border in recent years may make some civil libertarians uneasy.

In September 2011, former Representative Ron Paul discussed his concerns over exactly the sort of proposal McCain is now championing during a Presidential primary debate.

“The people that want big fences and guns, sure, we could secure the border,” the congressman noted. “A barbed wire fence with machine guns, that would do the trick. I don’t believe that is what America is all about.

“Every time you think about this toughness on the border and ID cards and REAL IDs, think it’s a penalty against the American people too. I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in. In economic turmoil, the people want to leave with their capital and there’s capital controls and there’s people controls. Every time you think about the fence, think about the fences being used against us, keeping us in.”

Paul was criticized for his remarks by conservatives at the time. But revelations about National Security Administration spying, massive government ammo buys and the Internal Revenue Service being used to attack dissidents may have more people thinking like the retired lawmaker than ever before.

Dems Play Race Card From SCOTUS Ruling; NSA Scandal Throws Pelosi Off Game; Rubio Comes Full Circle On Amnesty; Nobody Corrupts Like The IRS — Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 6-25-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Fallout Predictable Over SCOTUS’ Voter Rights Act Ruling

Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Shelby V. Holder case struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The Internet went nuts, with ignorant Twitter users firing off lamentations about the end of voting equality in America. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder gave them great fodder. Read More… 

No More Sunshine And Butterflies: NSA Fallout Broadsides Lib Lawmakers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has had a pretty fail-safe formula for her “preaching to the choir” speaking engagements over the past few years: Praise Obama, demonize conservatives and talk about rainbows, butterflies, abortion and homosexuality. Read More… 

Gang Of Eight Conversion Has Rubio’s Star Falling Among Conservatives

A new poll from the Rasmussen Report shows Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has lost much of the good will he’d cultivated among conservatives since his election during the Tea Party’s 2010 midterm surge. Blame the Gang of Eight. Read More… 

IRS Handed Out Tax Dollars To Friends

House investigators reveal in a recent report that one businessman’s friendship with an IRS official allowed him to accrue $500 million in taxpayer-funded Federal contracts. Read More… 

Fallout Predictable Over SCOTUS’ Voter Rights Act Ruling

Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Shelby V. Holder case struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

The Internet went nuts, with ignorant Twitter users firing off lamentations about the end of voting equality in America. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder gave them great fodder. Here’s Obama:

I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today… Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.

Like Chicago?

Here’s Holder:

Let me be very clear: we will not hesitate to take swift enforcement action – using every legal tool that remains available to us – against any jurisdiction that seeks to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling by hindering eligible citizens’ full and free exercise of the franchise…

…As the President has made clear, Congress needs to act to make sure every American has equal access to the polls.

Here’s Nancy Pelosi:

This decision weakens the cause of voting rights in our time, disregards the challenges of discrimination still facing our country, and undermines our nation’s ongoing effort to protect the promise of equality in our laws.

Not quite. The court simply ruled that Section 4 of the VRA has outlived whatever usefulness it had four decades ago in subjecting States with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to Federal oversight in the drawing of Congressional voting districts.

In effect, the court said, “The law worked. States more or less discriminate at about the same rate now when they draw their maps. Let the VRA States draw their maps the same way the rest of the Nation does — without having to beseech the Federal government for approval.”

Chief Justice John Roberts noted the culturally inculcated belief that the Deep South is a hotbed of institutional racism isn’t recognizable in an examination of the facts of the post-civil rights era.

“If Congress had started from scratch in 2006, it plainly could not have enacted the present coverage formula. It would have been irrational for Congress to distinguish between states in such a fundamental way based on 40-year-old data, when today’s statistics tell an entirely different story.”

The Court didn’t strike down the entire VRA, and racial discrimination against would-be voters remains as illegal as before. Racist liberal politicians know this, but are all too happy to trot out the race card once again in their ongoing, condescending effort to hypnotize minorities into voting blue.

Amateur Lawn Chair Balloonist Gets Stuck In Tree

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (UPI) — A Washington state man who flew at a height of 15,000 feet in his balloon-powered lawn chair said he wasn’t frightened until getting stuck 40 feet up in a tree.

Joe Barbera, who built his balloon-and-chair craft in his garage and launched at 7:30 a.m. Saturday north of Battle Ground, said he remained in radio contact with his support team during his adventure, but the team lost track of his flight on an online tracking system, The (Vancouver, Wash.) Columbian reported Tuesday.

Barbera told his team he was stuck about 40 feet up in a tree.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better tree,” Barbera said.

“The craft was suspended upright in an amazingly stable posture,” he said. However, the height was “too far to jump and too far to fall.”

Barbera said the craft dropped suddenly a minuscule distance but it was enough to frighten him for the first time during the adventure.

“Things were settling, and it dropped an inch,” he said.

A Skamania County sheriff’s deputy and the Volcano Rescue Team responded to the scene to scale the tree and bring Barbera back to the ground.

The team located Barbera around 2 p.m. and were able to rig up a rope system and bring the balloonist back to earth around 3:30 p.m.

Barbera said he would like to repeat the stunt, but he does not believe he will.

“I would do it again in a minute,” he said. “And I would do it better.

“Will I? Highly unlikely. I can’t imagine mustering that much manpower again,” Barbera said.

Portugal Fines 28 For Playing Bingo For Cookies And Drinks

ALBUFEIRA, Portugal (UPI) — A group of 28 British and Irish expatriates and vacationers in Portugal said they were fined for playing an unlicensed game of bingo for cookies and drinks.

Marianne Pittaway, 34, a former North Yorkshire, England, resident and owner of The Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira, said she was fined  $915 and sentenced a four-month suspended prison term for hosting the Friday night game for British and Irish expats and vacationers at the tavern, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Pittaway said she was “still in shock” about her arrest and considers Portuguese authorities to be “wrong in a lot of aspects” as a result of the incident.

“I put on the bingo for some entertainment and a bit of fun. We were only playing for some biscuits and drinks,” Pittaway said. “One minute we were all playing, having a bit of fun and then we were just bundled off in three police vans and taken to the police station.”

She said all of the bingo players were fined and some other customers at the tavern were slapped with smaller fines for “witnessing illegal gambling.”

Authorities said a license is required for bingo games in the country.

It said officers found people were playing “games of luck and chance” outside an authorised place.

Portuguese police, Faro GNR, released a statement saying “information reported by anonymous citizens” led to the arrests for playing “games of luck and chance” outside an authorized place.

Police: Man On Mushrooms Tore Off Part Of Own Penis

YPSILANTI, Mich. (UPI) — Authorities in Michigan said an Ohio man is recovering after ripping off part of his own penis while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responding to a burglar alarm at Ypsilanti Middle School found the 41-year-old Columbus man naked, screaming and bloody from the waist down outside the school around 1 a.m. Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

“He really wasn’t saying much at all — a lot of yelling and screaming,” sheriff’s Sgt. Geoff Fox said. “He wasn’t making sense. They couldn’t really communicate with him in terms of constructive conversation.”

Fox said the man had broken a window to the school but hadn’t stolen anything. He said the man was holding a piece of his own penis, which he had apparently ripped off.

The man and the severed part of his organ were taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township.

Fox said the man had been close to death.

“In terms of vital signs, they were as low as they could go without being dead — I could only assume due to the blood loss and the shock and trauma to the body,” he said.

It was unclear whether the severed portion of the man’s penis was reattached.

Fox said the man did not have a history of mental health problems or hard drug use. He said the man apparently consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms prior to the incident.

“We’ve sent his blood off for further analysis to see if there was anything else, if the mushrooms could have been laced with something,” Fox said.

Delta CEO Gives Seat To Mom On Overbooked Flight

WASHINGTON (UPI) — A mother’s Facebook post said the head of Delta airlines gave up his seat on a flight in Washington to allow her to pick up her diabetic daughter from camp.

Jessie Frank’s Facebook post, which she labeled “An Open Letter to Delta CEO [Chief Executive Officer] Richard Anderson,” said she was on the standby list for an overbooked Delta flight from Washington to Atlanta when someone with a “vaguely familiar face” told her she would be given a seat and helped her with her bag, ABC News reported Tuesday.

Frank said she was grateful to the man, who then sat in a jump seat, for surrendering her seat so she could make it to pick-up day at her 12-year-old daughter’s summer camp, which caters to children with type 1 diabetes.

The mother said she finally recognized the man when a flight attendant introduced the “special guest,” the company’s chief executive officer, to the passengers.

“You, Richard Anderson, the CEO of Delta, did all that for me, just an average, middle-aged, woman with, as far as anyone at Delta knew, no special reason to get home,” Frank wrote.

She said she admires Anderson because he “leads by example, and does not set himself above all those who allow this airline to exist.”

Frank said being able to see her daughter at camp was an important part of her year.

“Camp Kudzu gives my daughter 5 days a year when she feels ‘normal.’ Pick-up day gives me a glimpse into that special world where she’s just like everyone else, and she’s a little bit of a different person for the rest of the day. By the next day, it’s back to the harsh realities of managing a difficult, deadly, incurable disease that kills 1 in 20 before the age of 18. Most people just don’t understand how different it is from regular diabetes,” she wrote.

Sanitation Workers Fined $2,000 Each For $10 Tip

NEW YORK (UPI) — The city Conflict of Interest Board in New York fined a pair of sanitation workers $2,000 each for a $10 tip they received for hauling off a big pile of trash.

The board ruled Monday to fine Robert Bracone, a 26-year veteran of the department, and Rene Torres, a 23-year veteran, after hearing of a Dec. 12, 2011, incident at a three-story building in Queens’ Corona neighborhood, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

The board said a resident placed trash including five bags of household garbage, two bags of recyclables, two bundles of wood, a rug and two wooden boards at the side of the curb and Torres then asked about $20 he said the resident’s girlfriend had promised them as a tip.

“The resident informed us that he had only $10. Bracone and I then removed all the waste, after which the resident gave Bracone and me five dollars each,” Torres told the board.

Torres and Bracone admitted to soliciting gratuities, a violation of a policy against city employees using their jobs to “to obtain a personal benefit,” as well as a policy banning a “public servant” from “receiving compensation except from the city for performing any official duty.”

The men, who retired while the investigation was ongoing, were each fined $2,000.

Report: Home Prices Find Momentum In Upswing

NEW YORK (UPI) — U.S. home prices headed higher in April, posting double-digit gains in a closely watched private report.

The Standard and Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price report said its 10-city index rose 11.6 percent from April 2012. Over the same period, the report’s 20-city index rose 12.1 percent.

In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday that prices of homes with mortgages backed by the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. — Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — rose 0.7 percent in April from the previous month.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index for March was also revised higher, from 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent, the agency said

From April 2012, the agency said home prices included in its survey rose 7.4 percent. The index, meanwhile, is 11.7 percent below its peak in April 2007.

Home prices, the FHFA said, are currently on par with prices in January 2005.

The S&P/Case-Shiller report said prices in all 20 metropolitan markets that it tracks posted year-over-year gains for the fourth consecutive month.

Home prices in four markets — Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Minneapolis — had their highest annual gains in the history of the S&P/Case-Shiller survey, the report said.

Both composite indexes, the 10-city and 20-city sets, also posted their largest monthly gains in the history of the the survey, said David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“Thirteen cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading at 4.9 percent,” he said in a statement.

“The recovery is definitely broad based. The two composites showed the largest year over year gains in seven years. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco posted year over year gains of over 20 percent in April. San Francisco was the highest at 23.9 percent. Phoenix posted 12 consecutive months of double-digit growth,” he added.

Consumer Confidence Rises For Third Consecutive Month

NEW YORK (UPI) — U.S. consumer confidence rose for the third consecutive month in June, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

June’s gain is also the fourth increase in the past eight months. In June, the index climbed to 81.4, up from 74.3 in May.

The index is a comparison from 1985, which was assigned the value of 100.

In the most recent confidence survey, 19.1 percent of respondents to a survey that involves more than 5,000 households indicated they believe business conditions were “good,” up from 18.8 percent in May.

Responses indicating a belief that business conditions were “bad” fell from 26 to 24.9 in the month.

The percentage of respondents indicating jobs were “plentiful,” rose from 9.9 percent to 11.7 percent, while those indicating jobs were difficult held close to steady, but climbed from 36.4 percent to 36.9.

“Consumer confidence … is now at its highest level since January 2008 (when the index stood at 87.3). Consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor market conditions than they were at the beginning of the year,” Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco said in a statement.

“Expectations have also improved considerably over the past several months, suggesting that the pace of growth is unlikely to slow in the short-term, and may even moderately pick up,” Franco said.

New Home Sales Rose In May

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Sales of new single-family homes rose 2.1 percent in April to May, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.

At an annual rate of 476,000, sales for the month increased over April’s revised annual rate of 466,000 and came in 29 percent higher than the May 2012 estimate of 369,000.

The Commerce Department said the average price for a new home sold in March was $307,800.

At the end of March, there were an estimated 161,000 new homes on the market, representing a 4.1 month supply at the current rate of sales.

Long-Term Unemployed Mired Down, Economists Say

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. workers unemployed long-term and those unemployed briefly are experiencing two different labor market recoveries, an economist said.

“Once you are long-term unemployed, nobody calls you back,” said economist Rand Ghayad, who said he applied to 600 jobs with mock resumes set up so the only real difference in candidates was the length the applicant was unemployed.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday data support Ghayad’s observations. About 25 percent of those defined as short-term unemployed find work each month, compared to about 10 percent of those defined as long-term unemployed, the newspaper said.

On a national level, the economy has added about 175,000 jobs per month since the labor market turned around toward the end of the recession that officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. The trouble, economists say, is that just isn’t fast enough.

Take the current rate of new jobs created each month and double that and it would still take three years for the job market to return to pre-recession levels, the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project found.

In effect, the unemployment rate decline from a recession peak of 10.1 percent to the current rate of 7.6 percent reflects the point that millions of workers have given up looking for work. Many of these former workers may never find work again and that slows the recovery further, given the long-term support they will need with shelter, food and healthcare.

By the numbers, the peak of 15 million unemployed has dropped to 12 million. Prior to the recession, the number of unemployed was about 8 million.

Currently, the Journal said, the percentage of the population that is considered part of the workforce — those working and those looking for work — is at a low unseen in nearly 30 years.

Barnes & Noble To Bow Out Of Manufacturing Its Nook Tablets

NEW YORK (UPI) — Bookseller Barnes & Noble says it will no longer manufacture its Nook tablets, turning that task over to third-party partners to design co-branded tablets.

In a statement, the retailer said ongoing losses were behind its decision to pull out of the tablet manufacturing arena, CNET reported Tuesday.

“The company plans to significantly reduce losses in the Nook segment by limiting risks associated with manufacturing,” the statement said.

The company said it would retain manufacturing of its e-reader products.

“Thus, the widely popular lines of Simple Touch and Glowlight products will continue to be developed in house, and the company’s tablet line will be co-branded with yet to be announced third party manufacturers of consumer electronics products,” it said in its statement.

Barnes & Noble’s financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter showed Nook revenues dropped by 34 percent to $108 million as sales of the devices declined.

While saying it would sell off its existing inventory of the Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets through the holiday season, the company said it would still offer support for the tablets in its retail stores and provide software upgrades via its digital bookstore.