The eyes of the nation are on Wisconsin again as voters head to the polls to decide the fate of eight state Senators — six Republicans and two Democrats — in a series of historic recall elections. And the stakes are enormous. Analysts are touting the looming showdown as everything from a “referendum” on the policies of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to an “indicator” of President Obama’s chances of victory in 2012. Control of the Senate could go to Democrats if they manage to unseat three or more of the Republican Senators being targeted.
Now that the Tea Party has not only demonstrated its power to force the Republican Party to begin acting like a true party for less government, it has also shown that it has staying power. The elections of 2010 were just the beginning of the Tea Party’s ascent to power in Washington, and the liberals are running scared. And when they run scared they begin calling names. In a two-hour, closed-door Democrat Caucus meeting, Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania angrily said, “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Vice-President Biden agreed: “They have acted like terrorists.” Biden later denied that he had said that, but after Politico published the remarks, spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said: “The word was used by several members of Congress.”
A high-ranking Mexican drug trafficker with the powerful Sinaloa cartel made a series of explosive allegations in a federal court filing, arguing that he had an agreement with top U.S. officials allowing his criminal empire to obtain American weapons from the federal government while shipping tons of cocaine and heroin across the border. According to court documents, U.S. agents even helped the cartel elude Mexican and American investigators in exchange for information on rival drug groups. The claims were made by Jesus Vicente “El Vicentillo” Zambada-Niebla, who was arrested by the Mexican military in 2009 and extradited to the U.S. for trial on federal drug-trafficking charges. Prosecutors accused him of serving as the “logistical coordinator” for the Sinaloa cartel. He responded earlier this year by invoking a “public authority” defense — essentially arguing that since he was working for the U.S. government under an agreement, he cannot be prosecuted.
Now that the politicians have delivered an anti-debt deal that adds an estimated $8 trillion to the current $14.5 trillion federal debt over the next 10 years, President Obama is getting ready to head off on a pro-jobs bus tour of the Midwest. With more than 2.5 million additional Americans without jobs since he moved into the White House, President Obama would do better on jobs if he cancelled the bus, saved the gas, and just stayed put in the Oval Office to work on reversing the policies he’s promoted that have only made things worse, starting with ObamaCare. Freshman in Economics-101 learn that price hikes reduce demand. That applies to how many steaks we buy and to how many workers are added to payrolls by employers.
Standard and Poor’s was blunt in its assessment of America’s deteriorating financial condition when it announced Friday night that it was cutting its credit rating on United States’ Treasury securities from AAA to the second-tier AA+, with a negative outlook. S&P said: "Progress [in] containing the growth of public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues, is less likely than we previously assumed.... The fiscal consolidation plan [Budget Control Act of 2011] that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden.... Elected officials remain wary of tackling the structural issues required to effectively address the rising U.S. public debt burden in a manner consistent with a ‘AAA’ rating." (Emphases added.)
Despite denunciations, a lawsuit, and pleas for him to bow out of the event, on August 6 Texas Governor Rick Perry joined tens of thousands of Christians at Houston’s Reliant Stadium to pray for a spiritual turnaround among the citizens and leadership of America. Ignoring accusations that the event was little more than a political maneuver designed to endear him to the Evangelical Right in an as-yet unannounced presidential bid, Perry stood before an estimated 30,000 participants in The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, declaring: “Like all of you, I love this country deeply. Thank you all for being here.” In his 10-minute prayer, Perry beseeched God, saying, “Father, our heart breaks for America. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, blesses us ... we cry out for your forgiveness.”
Investors will be anxiously watching when the New York Stock Exchange market opens Monday morning to see what effect Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating will have on trading. The stock market fell by 7.1 percent last week, before S&P issued its report of the downgrade at the end of the day on Friday. The market fell despite the bill signed into law last Tuesday that allowed the raising of the debt limit to prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations, accompanied by a deficit reduction package aimed at trimming $2.1 trillion of deficit spending over the next 10 years. The S&P downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating from AAA to AA+ set off alarm bells in foreign markets as well, as the news coincided with increased concerns over the economic crisis in Europe. Finance ministers of both the Group of 7 and Group of 20 nations were conferring by phone, Reuters reported, while the governing council of the European Central Bank was also holding an emergency conference call late Sunday. The central bank was reported to be considering buying Spanish and Italian bonds to keep the cost of borrowing for those two counties manageable.
The case brought by the Department of Justice against Dr. Rene de los Rios of Miami, Florida, succeeded not only in sending the physician to jail for 20 years for systematically defrauding Medicare, but also in exposing the dark underside of the entire Medicare system itself. The sentence meted out by U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard was the second most severe sentence handed out to any doctor in South Florida, known as the “epicenter” of Medicare fraud. The dubious honor of the most severe sentence is held by Dr. Ana Alvarez-Jacinto, who was convicted of Medicare fraud in 2008 and is now serving 30 years behind bars. Dr. de los Rios learned the Medicare scam from the owner of Metro Med, a medical clinic that specialized in HIV therapy. The owner, Damaris Oliva, who is serving his own seven-year sentence, learned the trade from three brothers — Carlos, Luis, and Jose Benitez — who owned 11 HIV clinics in the Miami-Dade area that specialized in HIV treatments and injections. The brothers billed Medicare $119 million and were reimbursed $84 million. To avoid prosecution, the brothers fled to the Dominican Republic and then to Cuba where, according to the FBI, they are in jail on immigration violations.
The leading homosexual activist group targeting children is receiving some special help from the federal government in its campaign to recruit in America’s schools. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) announced in a press release earlier this summer that it has received a five-year grant, worth $285,000 annually, from the federal Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) AIDS prevention department to establish “safe spaces” for supposedly “gay” students in 20 schools across the nation. According to GLSEN, the focus of the program will be to “increase the percentage of schools that identify and maintain ‘safe spaces’ for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.” Over the next five years, the group said, it will partner with the specially selected schools “to implement a comprehensive evidence-based program to help keep LBGT students safe and healthy.”
The problems of European public debt reach beyond the borders of the nations that cannot pay their bills. The meltdown of the Greek economy, which is prompted by the sovereign debt crisis, is affecting banks throughout Europe. On August 5, the Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it suffered a net loss in the first half of this year in the amount of £1.4 billion due to its exposure from the struggling Greek economy. The citizens of the United Kingdom ultimately will pay the price of this loss. The government owns more than 80 percent of the stock in the Royal Bank of Scotland. Four years ago, the Royal Bank of Scotland was rescued from collapse by the British government providing an enormous £45 billion bailout, which was the biggest single bailout in the world.