The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Judicial Circuit has upheld almost all of Alabama’s tough immigration law, frustrating the Obama Administration and its leftist allies who sought to have the entire statute overturned. A three-judge panel refused to overturn the most important provision of HB 56, which requires police in the state to determine the immigration status of persons with whom they have a lawful contact. It struck down the provisions that require illegals to carry alien registration documents and schools to determine the immigration status of suspect pupils. The decision is a major blow to the Obama administration’s campaign against states trying to stem the tide of illegal immigration and the fiscal strain those illegals are placing upon American taxpayers, which has reached some $113 billion in federal and state costs annually.
In June 2006, Hamas terrorists tunneled into Israel from the Gaza strip, surprised an Israeli tank crew, killed two of its soldiers, and took a third soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, prisoner. It was simply a case of deliberate kipnapping since this was not a combat situation. Shalit was taken back into Gaza and held incommunicado for five years, until Tuesday, October 18, 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. It was Egyptian mediation which made the exchange possible. Most of the Palestinian prisoners were terrorists guilty of multiple murders of innocent Israelis. Yet, Israel was willing to release them in order to get Gilad Shalit back to his family in Israel. Was this a wise deal or an act of stupidity on the part of Netanyahu’s government? Some see it as a sign of Israel’s strength that it could agree to such an exchange. They think that it might even bring the parties closer to a peace settlement. What could be a better good-will gesture for peace than releasing all of these prisoners?
With the announcement from Gallup that the unemployment rate had dropped precipitously in early October to 8.3 percent came the disclaimer that they could be wrong. Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe wrote that “the sharp drop in Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment rates may partly result from seasonal factors. Halloween has become the third-largest sales season for many retailers, who are likely increasing their staffing accordingly. In addition, some stores may have been minimally staffed and are beginning early to add employees for the holidays.” But it also “means it could be something of an aberration that will dissipate during the weeks ahead ... but for now, this job market improvement appears real.”
As the Occupy Wall Street protests have gained momentum over the last few weeks, many have pointed out that the protesters' anger is directed at the wrong people. Critics of the movement, while understanding the frustration of the demonstrators, contend that their focus should be on a number of other sources: the Federal Reserve, for instance, and also the elected officials who continue to support government intervention in the free market and to pick and choose winners via regulations and the “too big to fail” philosophy. Meanwhile, Wall Street is already gearing up to buy off another round of elected officials, solidifying the very collusion between Wall Street and the federal government that has both Occupy Wall Street protesters and their critics concerned. The Center for Responsive Politics recently posted data regarding the financial contributions of Wall Street firms to each presidential contender’s campaign for the 2012 elections. According to the data, Mitt Romney has received the most donations from Goldman Sachs — nearly $400,000 to date. The next closest is President Obama with $49,000, followed by Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul, the latter of whom received just $2,500 from the company.
According to U.S. News for October 14, Mississippi voters will be presented with Amendment 26 on their November ballots, an initiative redefining "personhood.” U.S. News wrote: "The amendment would, if enacted, add 'The term "person" or "persons" shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof' to the state constitution." Is it really that simple? The entire Amendment does indeed read “Should the term ‘person’ be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?” with spaces for simple "yes" or "no" answers.
With five weeks to go to create an agreement that will cut at least $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years, there are few indications that the Supercommittee will propose anything substantial. Despite demands from the co-chairs of the committee, Senators Patty Murray and Jeb Hensarling, that members not speak publicly about their work, Robert Pear, writing for the New York Times, was able to glean some insight into any progress the committee is making. According to a person working for the committee, members are “still hovering at 30,000 feet,” with no landing field in sight. Members are still asking, “What is the baseline? Are we doing tax reform?” In other words, even basic agreements of how to measure progress have yet to be hammered out. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a member of the committee, admitted that “the jury is still out” on whether it could agree on where to find the $1.2 trillion in savings. Members of the committee have expressed exasperation about Sen. John Kerry’s rantings during the closed-door sessions: “Kerry just talks a lot,” according to a House Republican aide. “It’s what I would call Senate talk. It’s like a waterfall of words. It never gets you anyplace.” Another who has attended some of the committee’s sessions agreed: “Kerry is very aspirational.. People hope he will come down to earth.” One of Kerry’s aides defended his ramblings, explaining that Kerry “thinks out loud, running through the options in his mind. He vocalizes options that may cause distress.” In sum, the more Kerry talks and the more time he takes in the committee meetings, the less people are likely to pay attention or get anything substantial accomplished.
After months of NATO and rebel claims that the end was near for the Libyan dictatorship of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, it appears increasingly likely that the brutal regime is on its last legs. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even praised “Libya’s victory.” But it isn’t over yet. Even as the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) forces surrounded key loyalist strongholds such as the city of Sirte, pro-Gaddafi troops were reportedly putting up stiff resistance. Fierce gun battles were still raging even in the capital despite rebels having announced the “fall” of Tripoli months ago. This week the NTC began stepping up house-to-house searches and road-block checkpoints in search of Gaddafi loyalists in the capital. Pockets of armed resistance in Tripoli, including pro-regime demonstrations, continue to pop up as well. Several days ago Gaddafi supporters bearing weapons marched out into the streets of various Tripoli neighborhoods chanting pro-regime slogans, according to news reports. NTC troops shouting “Allahu Akbarr” rushed to the demonstrations and fired on the crowds, leaving multiple casualties on both sides.
The social and economic upheavals caused by environmental subsidies, as seen in the demise of Solyndra and other energy companies, are devastating but not unpredictable after-effects. Over decades, and even centuries, the U.S. government has indulged in a myriad of legislative actions to funnel taxpayer money into projects of its choosing — and generally speaking, no good has come from them. In fact, history shows that government interference has only hampered the natural flow of markets and depressed the innovative practices of countless American entrepreneurs. Throughout history, government subsidies have aimed to offer a number of "solutions" to the marketplace: to create jobs, keep consumer prices at "favorable" market levels, and endow business entities with capital to survive in markets that are "not sustainable by the private sector." Today, a common justification for such subsidies — which are prevalent in the environmental sector — is to achieve energy independence and curb pollution by funding research and development for emerging technologies. Such government patronage comes in various forms, including direct financial transfers, preferential tax treatments, price controls, research grants, and trade restrictions. But corporate recipients soon become addicted to such political massaging, as they relentlessly lobby Congress and the White House to negotiate corrupt inside deals that lead to endless, wasteful streams of government largesse.
The Republican candidates for President agreed at the October 18 CNN Las Vegas debate that, despite the federal deficit crisis, they wanted to continue foreign aid spending — with the exception of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Asked where he stood on continuing foreign aid, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain responded that "we ought to continue to give foreign aid to our friends like Israel." Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann also agreed that foreign aid should be continued: "No, we should not be cutting foreign aid to Israel. Israel is our greatest ally." Frontrunner Mitt Romney acknowledged that "we're spending more on foreign aid than we ought to be spending," but he refused to call for an end to foreign aid. Texas Governor Rick Perry also declined to call for a complete end to foreign aid, though he offered that "I think it's time to have a very serious debate about defunding the United Nations." Only Rep. Paul said the nation can no longer afford to borrow money with deficits in order to give taxpayers' money away. "Foreign aid, it should be the easiest thing to cut. It's not authorized in the Constitution," Paul countered. "To me, foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries." Paul proposed a budget plan this week that would zero out foreign aid in year one, and cut a total of nearly $1 trillion in the first year of his presidency. The budget proposal would eliminate five cabinet-level agencies and balance the federal budget within three years without raising taxes.
According to Katy Grimes of the Sacramento-based investigative reporting website Cal Watchdog for October 19, "For unions, Governor Jerry Brown is the governor who keeps on giving." Over the weekend, the California Governor signed into law Senate Bill 922, which will prevent cities from banning union-supported “project labor agreements” that force contractors to hire union workers if they want to bid on public projects. The measure, written only one week before it was passed, provides that if even a non-union contractor wins a public project, his workers are required to join a union. Grimes added that the Governor "even included a signing message in which he proclaimed the bill to be 'fair' and 'democratic.'" However, she pointed out, the legislation "will actually do the opposite of what Brown's signing message said": It suppresses the competition rights of small businesses and infringes on local governments' ability to use free-market, non-union construction labor. And it's already mandated by the state that all employees must receive union wages, even if they are not union members, when working on public projects.