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The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for December 28th, 2010

Penn & Teller on the First and Second Amendment

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

With a special guest appearances from the founder of FIRE Dr. Alan Kors and some obscure pinhead no one has ever heard of named Noam Chomsky.

Warning adult language!

Posted in Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Click & Learn, Culture War, Student Government | Leave a Comment »

Flashback January 2008: December 2007 Marks Record 52nd Consecutive Month Of Job Growth.

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

Allbusiness January 4th 2008:

More Than 8.3 Million Jobs Created Since August 2003 In Longest Continuous Run Of Job Growth On Record

WASHINGTON — Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new jobs figures – 18,000 jobs created in December. Since August 2003, more than 8.3 million jobs have been created, with more than 1.3 million jobs created throughout 2007. Our economy has now added jobs for 52 straight months – the longest period of uninterrupted job growth on record. The unemployment rate remains low at 5 percent. The U.S. economy benefits from a solid foundation, but we cannot take economic growth for granted and economic indicators have become increasingly mixed. President Bush will continue working with Congress to address the challenges our economy faces and help facilitate long-term economic growth, job growth, and better standards of living for all Americans.

The U.S. Economy Benefits From A Solid Foundation

* Real GDP grew at a strong 4.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2007. The economy has now experienced six years of uninterrupted growth, averaging 2.8 percent a year since 2001.

* Real after-tax per capita personal income has risen by 11.7 percent – an average of more than $3,550 per person – since President Bush took office.

* Over the course of this Administration, productivity growth has averaged 2.6 percent per year. This growth is well above average productivity growth in the 1990s, 1980s, and 1970s.

* The Federal budget deficit is down to 1.2 percent of GDP (in FY07), well below the 40-year average. Economic growth contributed to the highest tax revenues on record and a $250 billion drop in the deficit over the last three years.

* U.S. exports in October 2007 were 13.7 percent higher than exports in October 2006.

* The Administration will continue working to prevent tax increases on families and small businesses. The President’s tax relief cut taxes for everyone who pays income taxes and must be made permanent to prevent hard-working Americans from facing a massive tax hike.

* The President urges Congress to complete work on legislation to help American families keep their homes. Congress took one positive step by voting to pass the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Now they should complete work on the President’s FHA modernization bill and pass a reform bill that strengthens the regulation of government sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [IUSB Vision Editor’s Note – The Democrats used the filibuster threat in the Senate to stop mortgage reform, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform, once again; reform that President Bush and Republicans in Congress were trying to get passed since 2001. The Democrats insisted that there was no problem while taking almost $200 million from Fannie/Freddie in campaign funds, donations to their party, 527’s, think tanks, and other partisan groups. We now live with the result.]

Posted in 2012, Campaign 2008, Chuck Norton, Economics 101 | Leave a Comment »

Heritage: 10 most popular economic charts of 2010

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

Heritage:

Top Ten Charts of 2010

Posted December 27th, 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, The Foundry will be posting a series of Top Ten lists highlighting some of The Heritage Foundation’s most influential work. The Top Ten Heritage Charts are below, sorted by pageviews with the 10th most popular chart on top, and the most popular chart at the bottom. Turns out the most popular chart of 2010 is the same as the 2009 (with updated info) most popular chart. If we left out your favorite, let us know in the comments.

10. Recent Spending Hikes Are Not Limited to Temporary Emergencies

9. Federal Revenues by Source

8. Federal Government Revenues Have More Than Tripled Since 1965

7. Entitlements Will Consume All Tax Revenues by 2052

6. Taxes per Household Have Risen Dramatically

5. Obama’s Budget Would Create Unprecedented Deficits

4. National Debt Set to Skyrocket

3. Federal Spending Is Growing Faster Than Federal Revenue

2. Federal Spending per Household Is Skyrocketing

1. The Top 10 Percent of Income Earners Paid 71 Percent of Federal Income Tax

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Click & Learn, Economics 101, Energy & Taxes, Is the cost of government high enough yet?, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration | Leave a Comment »

AEI Study: Elite Media Spins Economic News Positive when Democrats in Power, Negative When Republicans in Power

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

To those who pay attention the headline above is no surprise whatsoever. The study completed in 2004 is still bearing out as we and other bloggers have pointed out for almost two years how the elite media spun the bad economic news positive telling us that “most economists” thought that the stimulus package would help much more than it did.  According to the elite media “most economists” were surprised by month after month after month of unexpectedunexpectedunexpectedunexpected bad economic news. Of course to those who were paying attention the news wasn’t unexpected at all.

AEI:

Newspaper headlines reporting on unemployment, gross domestic product, retail sales, and durable goods tended to be negative when a Republican is in the White House.

Economists have been puzzled this year by the persistence with which perceptions about the economy have lagged behind the economic data. For the most recent 12-month period for which we have data, for example, the economy grew almost exactly as fast as it did during the best 12-month period during President Clinton’s two terms. But the economic mood of the country has been much different.

It isn’t just the economy that influences people’s perceptions. In research we just released, we find that media coverage is also an important determinant. We found that newspaper headlines reporting economic news on unemployment, gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales, and durable goods tended to be much more frequently negative when a Republican was in the White House. And this was true even after accounting for the economic numbers on which the stories were based and how those numbers were changing over time.

We also found that positive headlines explained whether people thought that the economy was getting better more than the economic variables themselves. Newspapers are indeed important.

There have, of course, been numerous anecdotal claims of media bias. What has been lacking has been a rigorous scientific study of media bias, and our new paper is an attempt to provide just that.

If we limit ourselves to news coverage of economic data, it is possible to get an objective measure of the news behind the stories. Our research team first collected a list of days that important economic news was released for most papers since 1991 and for four major papers and the Associated Press since 1985. We then used Nexis, a computer database of news stories that contains information on 389 newspapers, to gather all of the 12,620 headlines that ran in America’s newspapers covering economic news stories. We excluded follow-up and feature stories because we wanted to be able to link the headlines directly with the numbers on which they were based.

Headlines are relatively easy to classify since they say things are getting better, worse or mixed. For example, on Jan. 31, the government reported that the real GDP had grown 4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003. The New York Times covered this, appropriately, as good news, writing the headline, “Economy remained strong in 4th quarter, U.S. reports.” At the same time, the Chicago Tribune wrote that “GDP growth disappoints; job worries linger.” Headlines are so divergent, it’s sometimes hard to believe they are referring to the same event.

Actual economic data explains much about the headlines–but far from everything. We found that the incidence of positive coverage during Republican presidencies was fairly steady–but economic news under President Clinton received by far the most positive coverage. This partisan gap or bias (the difference in positive headlines between Republicans and Democrats for the same underlying economic news) consistently implied that Democrats got between 10 and 20 percentage points more positive headlines.

We also examined individual newspapers. Among the top 10 papers, we found strong evidence that the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the Washington Postwere much more likely to have positive headlines for Democrats even with the same economic news. The New York Post showed no statistically significant difference. The Los Angeles Times did not tend to treat Republicans and Democrats significantly differently.

Even including the Los Angeles Times, Ronald Reagan, a president who presided over one of the most vigorous economies in our history, still received seven percent fewer positive news stories than Clinton after accounting for the different economic conditions.

What motivates newspapers and their copy editors to pick the headlines that they do is not a question we tried to answer. Whether these motivations are conscious or not, a partisan gap exists, and it helps explain one of this year’s biggest economic puzzles. Unfortunately, the recent charges of political bias at CBS may only be a small part of the problem with the news.

 

 

 

Posted in 2012, Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Economics 101, Journalism Is Dead | Leave a Comment »

Prosecutor Misconduct Lets Convicted off Easy & Sends Innocent to Prison – UPDATED

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

According to the Innocence Project, who uses DNA and other forensic methods to check convictions:

The cases of wrongful convictions uncovered by DNA testing are filled with evidence of negligence, fraud or misconduct by prosecutors or police departments.

DNA exonerations have exposed official misconduct at every level and stage of a criminal investigation.

Common forms of misconduct by law enforcement officials include:

•    Employing suggestion when conducting  identification procedures
•    Coercing false confessions
•    Lying or intentionally misleading jurors about their observations
•    Failing to turn over exculpatory evidence to prosecutors
•    Providing incentives to secure unreliable evidence from informants

Common forms of misconduct by prosecutors include:

•    Withholding exculpatory evidence from defense
•    Deliberately mishandling, mistreating or destroying evidence
•    Allowing witnesses they know or should know are not truthful to testify
•    Pressuring defense witnesses not to testify
•    Relying on fraudulent forensic experts
•    Making misleading arguments that overstate the probative value of testimony

In about 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or pled guilty.

These cases show that confessions are not always prompted by internal knowledge or actual guilt, but are sometimes motivated by external influences.

Why do innocent people confess? A variety of factors can contribute to a false confession during a police interrogation. Many cases have included a combination of several of these causes. They include:

•duress
•coercion
•intoxication
•diminished capacity
•mental impairment
•ignorance of the law
•fear of violence
•the actual infliction of harm
•the threat of a harsh sentence
•Misunderstanding the situation

Eddie Joe LLoyd – Lloyd was convicted of the 1984 murder of a 16-year-old girl in Detroit after he wrote to police with suggestions on how to solve various recent crimes. During several interviews, police fed details of the crime to Lloyd, who was mentally ill, and convinced him that by confessing he was helping them “smoke out” the real killer. Lloyd eventually signed a confession and gave a tape-recorded statement. The jury deliberated less than an hour before convicting him and the judge said at sentencing that execution, which had been outlawed in Michigan, would have been the “only justifiable sentence” if it were available. In 2002, DNA testing proved that Lloyd was innocent and he was exonerated.

In more than 15% of cases of wrongful conviction overturned by DNA testing, an informant or jailhouse snitch testified against the defendant. Often, statements from people with incentives to testify – particularly incentives that are not disclosed to the jury – are the central evidence in convicting an innocent person.

People have been wrongfully convicted in cases in which snitches:

  • Have been paid to testify
  • Have testified in exchange for their release from prison.
  • Have testified in multiple distinct cases that they have evidence of guilt, through overhearing a confession or witnessing the crime.

DNA exonerations have shown that snitches lie on the stand. To many, this news isn’t a surprise. Testifying falsely in exchange for an incentive – either money or a sentence reduction – is often the last resort for a desperate inmate. For someone who is not in prison already, but who wants to avoid being charged with a crime, providing snitch testimony may be the only option.

UPDATE – Another false snitch allegation with the details hidden from the jury – 

Other causes according to the Innocence Project are bad forensic science and/or forensic misconduct and bad defense attorneys.

An interesting story in USA Today talking about the misconduct by federal prosecutors to help get people convicted. These are just a sample of the ones who got caught and that USA Today could find.

USA Today:

James Strode hid his face with a scarf the evening he walked behind a counter in a Seattle Rite Aid pharmacy, grabbed a clerk by the throat and threatened to stab her or other workers who heard her call for help on an intercom.
“Give me all the money,” he barked. “Somebody better give me some money or someone is going to get stabbed.”

The November 2006 robbery, detailed in a police report, was one of the most menacing episodes in a criminal career that spanned two decades and four states. Strode’s record includes convictions for at least three burglaries, one robbery, a theft, an attack on a public safety officer and a bank robbery tried in federal court.

Strode might well have been in federal prison at the time of the Rite Aid robbery. But the bank robbery conviction and sentence that could have kept him there were wiped out in 2000, when an appeals court concluded that the federal prosecutor in charge of Strode’s trial had “crossed the line” by making improper arguments to the jury.

So instead of keeping Strode behind bars for a decade, the U.S. Justice Department agreed he could be released in less than half that time. About 13 months after he got out, Strode held up the Seattle pharmacy.

What happened to Strode underscores one of the least recognized consequences of misconduct by Justice Department attorneys in charge of enforcing the nation’s laws. Although those abuses have put innocent people in prison, misconduct also has set guilty people free by significantly shortening their prison sentences.

In some cases, they served no additional time. New crimes sometimes followed.

A USA TODAY investigation has documented 201 cases since 1997 in which federal courts found that prosecutors violated laws or ethics rules. Each was so serious that judges overturned convictions, threw out charges or rebuked the prosecutors. And although the violations tainted no more than a small fraction of the tens of thousands of cases filed in federal courts each year, legal specialists who reviewed the newspaper’s work said misconduct is not always uncovered, so the true extent of the problem might never be known.

mm

Posted in Chuck Norton, Government Gone Wild | Leave a Comment »

Russian Immigrants: Democrats too much like Soviets we fled from

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

 

Staten Island Live:

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Many Russian immigrants to the “red borough” of Staten Island are flocking to the Republican Party, saying that the national Democrats’ “socialistic” policies remind them too much of the top-down oligarchy they fled in their native land.

With many of the borough’s Russian arrivees already owning businesses and active in civic organizations, their muscle could help the Island GOP solidify electoral gains made this year, when the party took back congressional and Assembly seats.

Businessman Arkadiy Fridman said that the newly formed Citizens Magazine Business Club, a confederation of more than 50 Russian-owned businesses here and in Brooklyn, has aligned itself with the Molinari Republican Club (MRC) in an effort to increase the Russian community’s political and economic clout.

CLOSE TO OWN VISION

“We decided we had to support this club,” said Fridman, a former Soviet Army officer who came to the United States in 1992. “They are very close to our political and business vision.”

In the wake of the national GOP’s big wins this year, when the party took back control of the House, Republicans everywhere are more confident that their bedrock message of smaller government and lower taxes will resonate with American voters.

Fridman said that the Democrats “are going in an absolutely different direction,” focusing on “income redistribution” and rich-versus-poor “class war.”

“It’s too socialistic,” said Fridman, head of the non-profit Staten Island Community Center and president of Citizens Magazine, a public affairs publication. “It’s very painful for us to see.”

The Democrats’ national losses were seen as a rejection of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law and other initiatives that opponents say went too far in pushing government control on Americans.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Economics 101 | Leave a Comment »

FIRE to Administrators of Public Colleges Nationwide: Beware of Personal Liability for Free Speech Violations

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

This is going to be the next step. The free speech, freedom of association and other rights violations seem to be ongoing and never ending. It is not as if court actions against public universities in these matters have not been well reported. It is unbelievable that college administrators could not be aware of what has been going on in the courts in regards to campus free speech. So now the next shoe is about to drop;  going after administrators personal fortunes and assets for using their positions to violate the rights of others.

 

FIRE:

Today, FIRE warned the presidents and top lawyers at nearly 300 public colleges and universities across the nation that they and their staffs should be ready to pay out of their own pockets if they continue to violate their students’ free speech rights.

Let’s hope that this catches their attention once and for all. For too long, public college administrators have been intentionally violating the free speech rights of their students, secure in the knowledge that they won’t personally lose a dime should a court rule against them. This means that if they feel like they can score political brownie points with those on campus who wish to see dissent silenced, they can do so without any personal cost. Heck, even if they lose to FIRE or in court, they can still say to their cronies, “Hey, I tried my best. We spent thousands in legal fees trying to shut those students up. We just couldn’t manage it!”

FIRE is putting these individuals on notice by sending a certified mailing this week to the presidents and general counsel of 296 of the biggest and most prestigious public colleges across the nation, highlighting significant legal developments from the past year. FIRE’s mailing warns these top administrators that with the state of the law on campus speech codes clearer now than ever before, they and their employees violate the speech rights of students at their own financial peril, as they can no longer count on “qualified immunity” to shield them from liability.

The legal doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials from personal liability for monetary damages for violating another person’s constitutional rights if their actions do not violate “clearly established law” of which a reasonable person in their position would have been aware. For years, public universities have argued that their speech codes did not violate clearly established law regarding students’ First Amendment rights, despite one legal decision after another striking down these codes under a constitutional challenge. One would think that university lawyers or law schools might have educated administrators on basic First Amendment principles, but one would evidently be mistaken.

Thanks to a continuing stream of federal court decisions, however, particularly in the Third Circuit, the argument that college administrators do not know that speech codes violate student free speech rights is increasingly untenable. Earlier this year, in McCauley v. University of the Virgin Islands, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down university policies that absurdly prohibited “offensive” or “unauthorized” signs and conduct causing “emotional distress,” noting that a “desire to protect the listener cannot be convincingly trumpeted as a basis for censoring speech for university students.”

In our mailing, we are also warning administrators about a recent federal case in Georgia that FIRE coordinated, in which a federal district court determined that former Valdosta State University president Ronald Zaccari was not shielded from personal liability for violating the clearly established rights of student Hayden Barnes. (Zaccari is currently appealing that decision.) This is a major finding against a former university president, and if upheld, administrators will no longer be able to fool themselves that the possibility of qualified immunity being pierced is not a real one. As Dr. Johnson famously said, “the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.”

FIRE comes wielding the carrot along with the stick, though. For colleges that wish to make an honest effort to rectify their speech codesthey do existFIRE offers resources such as its guide to Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies, a bound version of which is included in every certified letter. FIRE is also willing to consult with any university that shows an interest in changing its policies to better protect free speech on campus.

No institution should be proud of stripping its students of their fundamental rights. As our 2011 report on speech codes pointed out, the proportion of colleges that do so is slowly but consistently falling. “Only” 67 percent of public institutions colleges now prohibit speech that would be allowed in the larger society. (Three years ago, it was 79 percent, so it could be, and has been, worse.) But 67% is nowhere near good enough. Until that number reaches zero, FIRE will be there to bring the accountability to universities that is so sorely lacking.

 

Posted in Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton | Leave a Comment »

Far Left Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison: ‘God Willing… the Border Will Become an Irrelevancy’

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

The border is irrelevant, we certainly have no intention of securing the border, so by all means line up to get your crotch check from the TSA, and by the way Big Sis wants to put TSA at subways, bus and train stations. Almost 80% of guns and bombs get through TSA now according to their own internal tests. ABC News showed us via the pilot who took video that the ground crew is not screened. How can we believe that DHS is serious about security when we have a nearly open border and  TSA screeners and methods that are 80% ineffective? [TSA was touted originally as a jobs program remember?? – Editor]

Or is it that the government wants people to get used to having their 4th Amendment rights violated routinely? Where are all of the “privacy activists” in the Democratic leadership? IF W had done this they would be having a cow. Remember how they had a cow over the Patriot Act? We were not as alarmed by it for two reasons:

1- It had a sunset clause so Congress had to reauthorize it every few years or it would go away.

2- The Supreme Court trimmed it down pretty well.

So what did those guardians of liberty in the Democratic leadership who opposed the Patriot Act so boisterously do as soon as Obama became President? They stripped the sunset clause out of the Patriot Act and made it permanent.

Posted in 2012, Campaign 2008, Campus Freedom, Indoctrination & Censorship, Chuck Norton, Culture War | Leave a Comment »

Liberal Talker Alan Colmes: Muslims aren’t the terror problem, white males are…..

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

Then Dr. Monica Crowley hits Colmes with the fact that 126 Muslims have been arrested for plots against America in just the last two years.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Culture War | Leave a Comment »

Obama to Enact Cap & Trade Even Though Congress Told Him No

Posted by iusbvision on December 28, 2010

This isn’t the only thing he is doing on his own. He is also enacting several parts of the health care law through regulation that the Senate told him no on as well.

As Obama has said himself that Cap & Trade will “necessarily make the cost of electricity skyrocket”: 

This is the problem that occurs when Congress grants federal bureaucracy such wide regulatory power to enact as they see fit. The bureaucrats get such wide power to enact law through regulation that they in effect become, as Justice Scalia once described as, “a junior varsity Congress” that can pass laws that are even against the will of Congress and the people. This action takes the entire purpose of Separation of Powers in the Constitution and tosses it right out the window. While Congress does have some minor delegable authority under the Necessary and Proper clause in no way did the Founders ever intend to have a situation where all three branches of government are legislating on their own and against the will of the people.

This action shows that the Obama administration and some of the Democratic leadership have nothing but utter contempt for the overwhelming expressed will of the American people.

The Republicans in the House will have to defund the EPA or take some similar action to stop this, which means that there will be war between the new House Republicans, Obama and the Democrats.

The strategy for Obama and the Democrats will be to shut down the government unless the new Republicans in the House vote to fund ObamaCare, the reinserted “death panel” regulations and Cap & Trade. If the government gets shut down the elite media and the Democrats will blame Republicans for shutting down the government. If the new Republicans capitulate Democrats will call them a bunch of frauds come election time and say “see your Tea Party folks voted for all the same big government stuff the Democrats did”.

The Tea Party and the GOP need to get way ahead on this and prepare the American people for a fight.

Politico:

The Obama administration is expected to roll out a major greenhouse gas policy for power plants and refineries as soon as Wednesday, signaling it won’t back off its push to fight climate change in the face of mounting opposition on Capitol Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to a schedule for setting greenhouse gas emission limits, known as “performance standards,” for the nation’s two biggest carbon-emitting industries, POLITICO has learned.

Under the schedule agreed to by EPA, states and environmental groups, the agency will issue a draft greenhouse gas performance standard for power plants by July 2011 and a final rule by May 2012. The agreement – which comes after states and environmentalists challenged the George W. Bush administration’s failure to set the standards – requires EPA to issue a draft limit for refineries by Dec. 2011 and a final rule by Nov. 2012.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has signed off on the schedule, according to a litigant in the legal fight.

Posted in 2012, Chuck Norton, Dirty Tricks, Economics 101, Energy & Taxes, Obama and Congress Post Inaugration, Trashing the Constitution | Leave a Comment »