In the midst of allegations of police brutality and police aggression at the OWS protests, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that is said to “explicitly create a police state”: the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA, passed by a vote of 93 to 7, virtually stated that all of the United States may be considered a battlefield, and therefore the American military is permitted to indefinitely detain any American perceived to be a threat.
Several amendments were proposed by both Democrats and Republican Senators, which would have deleted the dangerous provisions that would allow the indefinite detention of American citizens. While most of those amendments were overwhelming voted down, a single compromise amendment was passed that was intended to quell fears that American citizens may be imprisoned indefinitely, though skeptics remain uncomfortable with the final outcome.
In an interview Thursday night with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Herman Cain’s lawyer repeatedly dodged questions as to whether his client had carried on 13-year affair with a woman the candidate describes as a “friend.” Earlier that day, the influential New Hampshire daily, the Union Leader, reported that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO had paid money to a woman claiming to have carried on a long-term extramarital affair with Cain.
After years of contentious feuding, Boeing and the machinists union announced Wednesday that they’d reached a tentative four-year contract extension on a collective bargaining agreement. If finalized, the deal would boost wages for union workers, issue bonuses, improve pension benefits, and likely preserve operations at a new $750 million plant in Charleston, South Carolina, a right-to-work state where Boeing jumpstarted a new production line for its 787 airplane.
Acting on a complaint by the machinists union, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cast a politically charged lawsuit at Boeing in April, contending that the aerospace company usurped labor laws by launching the production line in South Carolina, rather than Washington state. The agency alleged that Boeing had introduced the line to punish union workers for past strikes, which the NLRB deemed illegal retaliation against workers exercising their right to strike and bargain collectively.
Also part of the Boeing-union deal is a guarantee to manufacture a new, more fuel-efficient airplane, the 737 Max, at facilities in Renton, Washington, which is located near Seattle. Union leaders said they are pleased with the deal and have issued assurances that if it reaches final approval, the union will ask the NLRB to drop the case. "If this agreement is ratified, we will engage the government in discussion and inform them that our issues with the Boeing Company are behind us," assured Tom Wroblewski, president of District Lodge 751, which represents 28,000 workers in the Puget Sound area.
Thursday was a big day for the U.S. Senate, which stayed in session later than usual to attend to a few significant items, such as the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which passed, and two competing payroll tax cut bills, both of which failed. The payroll tax cut bills marked a role reversal for the two parties, as it was the Democrats pushing for the cuts and the Republicans who stood in opposition to them, demanding that the cuts be paid for without raising taxes.
The votes on the tax cut bills were apparently symbolic ones so that politicians from both parties can laud their own efforts and lambaste their opponents in the upcoming 2012 election.
The Democratic plan would have both extended and expanded the payroll tax cut, reducing the Social Security payroll tax to 3.1 percent, even further than the present tax cut that is due to expire, but Republicans opposed the plan because it required a new tax to be imposed on the "wealthy" in order to cover the $110 billion in lost revenues.
The Democratic measure lost by a vote of 51 to 49. As observed by the Christian Science Monitor, “For the first time, a Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, voted to support the millionaires’ surcharge.”
It has been a holiday tradition for as long as anyone can remembers: Salvation Army bell-ringers standing at the entrances of stores and malls, their red kettles at the ready, beckoning for shoppers to drop in their spare change or a few dollars for those less fortunate. And, for the past few years, it has become a tradition for homosexuals activists to bang their drums of grievance in a call for friends, enablers, and fellow “gays” to boycott the compassionate Christian organization for what they argue is “anti-gay” discrimination.
This year is no exception, as such news sources as USA Today and MSNBC have picked up on the efforts of Bil Browning, the leading voice in the Grinch-like campaign against Salvation Army. On his blog site, a clearinghouse of sorts for homosexual news, commentary, and camp, Browning challenges his readers to skip donating to the worthy charity in favor of one “that doesn’t actively discriminate against the LGBT community.”
Browning charges that the Christian group — which has been helping the homeless and helpless around the world since General William Booth began ministering to the down-and outers in London’s east end back in 1865 — “has a history of active discrimination against gays and lesbians. While you might think you’re helping the hungry and homeless by dropping a few dollars in the bright red buckets, not everyone can share in the donations. Many LGBT people are rejected by the evangelical church charity because they’re ‘sexually impure.’”
Christian quarterback for the Denver Broncos Tim Tebow has taken a lot of flak for his faith. Both players from other teams, as well as fans, have openly mocked and ridiculed Tebow’s Christian beliefs, and even media outlets have taken jabs at Tebow’s faith, albeit, in mostly subtle ways. Still, Tebow has remained steadfast and has attracted the attention of fellow Christian, Kurt Warner, a former quarterback for the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams, who has some advice for Tebow: Tone down the public displays of your faith.
Tebow is not ashamed of his deeply entrenched faith. He began his postgame news conference Sunday by thanking his "Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" and ended it with "God bless." He openly prays on the sidelines and even on the field when he has thrown a touchdown. Tebow is often seen taking a knee, either in prayers of gratitude or in anticipation of a play. In fact, he does it so often that newspapers and fans have taken to coining a term for it: “Tebowing.”
The Ron Paul for President campaign has released a withering two-minute video entitled Newt Gingrich: Serial Hypocrisy. The video chronicles Newt Gingrich's hypocrisy on the issue of the housing bubble and lobbying, as well as his advocacy of an individual health care mandate and cutting a pro-global warming legislation television advertisement with Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
CNBC Host Larry Kudlow noted on his show December 1 that the video "has gone completely viral. Completely viral. It's running everywhere." Indeed, the video received some 250,000 views on YouTube.com within the first full day of its release. More importantly, the video has received coverage on most of the national television networks and newspapers across the nation, bringing the real number of views into the millions. In addition, it has received the attention of television stations in early primary states such as New Hampshire.
When Newt Gingrich was asked in the November 9 CNBC presidential debate what he did to earn $300,000 from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Gingrich claimed: "I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible." But the Wall Street Journal reported December 1 that Gingrich had not only praised the Freddie Mac model in a 2007 interview on the mortgage giant's website but said that "these are results I think conservatives should embrace and want to extend as widely as possible."
The interview with Gingrich is no longer available on the Freddie Mac website, but it is available on several Internet archive websites that capture what websites used to post.
The Wall Street Journal story noted that "The interview was published by Freddie Mac as part of a regular campaign to educate the public — and Washington — about its brand." And by "educate the public," the Wall Street Journal meant promote the continuance of its policy of accelerating the housing bubble.
In the April 24, 2007 interview with Gingrich, the former House Speaker had the following praise for Freddie Mac and the whole GSE (Government-Sponsored Enterprise) concept:
Although the socialists took a beating in Spain’s election on November 20 — in which the conservative Popular Party won a majority of seats in Spain’s parliament — the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), with its lowest vote in 34 years, vowed to put real pressure on the new conservative government.
The polls had predicted the victory of the conservative Popular Party, which prompted the leftist candidate, former Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, to promise that he would make the rich pay higher taxes. (Where have we heard that before?) He tried to scare voters by claiming that the conservatives had a secret program to cut the welfare state and attack unions and workers' rights. (Echoes of Madison, Wisconsin.) But only 40 percent of the people who had voted for the PSOE in 2008 said they would vote socialist again.
Economist and TV personality Larry Kudlow explained that the decision on Wednesday by many of the world’s central banks made it easier for European banks to borrow dollars from the Federal Reserve.
He made it clear that “nothing has been solved in Europe. The Europeans are not yet helping themselves. Why should the ECB (the European Central Bank) write a trillion-dollar check to near-bankrupt governments?” The real problem isn’t liquidity. There’s plenty of money sloshing around in the banks of the world. The instant problem is the type of money. The banks want to hold dollars, not euros, and the costs of holding dollars was rising to levels not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
And the reason dollars were getting increasingly expensive? One main reason was that American money market funds were pulling their dollars out of European banks: Between May and October those funds reduced their holdings in European banks by 42 percent, while their holdings in French banks were cut by two-thirds.
When demands were made on those banks for dollars, the banks had to sell euros to get them. As Capital Economics explained: