Comment from thebrackpipe.com: Joe Biden is a true American idiot.
Article below by Karen Workman of Digital First Media:
Vice President Joe Biden is leading White House’s task force to reduce gun violence, so it’s not surprising that video of him advising people to “buy a shotgun” is drawing a lot of attention.
Biden, in a live town hall with Parents Magazine on Tuesday, ends one of his answers with the simple advice: “Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.”
Comment from thebrackpipe.com: So, Mr. Blankfein wrote in a November op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that tax increases are a necessary part of U.S. fiscal reform. He wrote, “I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate, but only if they are joined by serious cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements.” I think what he meant to write was, “Tax increases are necessary but there is no way that I’m giving up MY cash.”
Article below by Liz Moyer, Steven Russolillo and Patrick McGee of the Wall Street Journal:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. handed insiders including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and his top lieutenants a total of $65 million in restricted stock just hours before this year’s higher tax rates took effect.
The New York securities firm gave 10 of its directors and executives early vesting on 508,104 shares previously awarded as part of prior years’ compensation, according to a series of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday.
Almost half the shares were withheld to satisfy the insiders’ tax obligations, according to the filings.
Such vesting of previously granted restricted shares typically takes place in January, when Goldman also pays out bonuses for the prior year.
The early awards weren’t limited to the top officers, a Goldman spokesman said. He declined to say how many people at Goldman received the early vesting or to elaborate on the timing of the move.
Goldman’s decision is the latest illustration of the lengths large U.S. companies have gone to shield their stakeholders from the higher taxes that loomed throughout the so-called fiscal cliff standoff at the end of 2012. Congress on early Tuesday morning passed legislation that includes the largest tax increases in the past two decades.
Goldman’s move could shield its executives from increased tax rates, which will rise as high as 39.6% in 2013 from 35% last year.
Mr. Blankfein wrote in a November op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that tax increases are a necessary part of U.S. fiscal reform.
“I believe that tax increases, especially for the wealthiest, are appropriate, but only if they are joined by serious cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements,” he wrote.
Goldman isn’t the only U.S. company taking action in response to the higher taxes. Corporations announced more special dividends last month than in any other December since at least 1955.
Borrowing by blue-chip U.S. companies more than tripled from a year earlier in the final two months of 2012 to finance these payouts.
Warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale Corp., casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS +0.06% and department store chain Dillard’s Inc. are among the large U.S. companies announcing accelerated or special dividends in late 2012.
The tax on dividends, about 15% in 2012 thanks to cuts that took place under President George W. Bush, will rise to as high as 20% in 2013.
At Goldman, Mr. Blankfein, President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn and Chief Financial Officer David Viniar each received total vesting of 66,065 shares worth $8.4 million.
Mr. Blankfein received 2011 compensation valued at $16.2 million and Messrs. Cohn and Viniar each received $15.8 million, according to regulatory filings.
John Weinberg and Michael Evans, vice chairmen, each also received a total of 66,065 shares, according to Goldman’s disclosures this week.
Others whose restricted shares were vested on Monday included John Rogers, an executive vice president and chief of staff; Edith Cooper, executive vice president and global head of human capital management; Alan Cohen, executive vice president and global head of compliance; Gregory Palm, executive vice president and general counsel; and Sarah Smith, principal accounting officer.
Two other members of Goldman’s executive committee, Michael Sherwood and Mark Schwartz, didn’t have any shares vest on Dec. 31. Mr. Sherwo
The vesting comes at the end of a year in which Goldman shares rallied more than 40% amid reduced investor fear over the European debt crisis and a general improvement in the company’s business.
Some 483 companies announced special dividends in December, compared with 142 in the same month a year ago, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
All told, 1,056 special dividends were announced in 2012, Mr. Silverblatt said. That is up from 460 a year earlier and the most since 1973, according to Mr. Silverblatt. In the last two months of 2012, blue-chip U.S. nonfinancial companies sold $178 billion of bonds. That compares with $60.6 billion a year earlier, according to data tracker Dealogic.
Mr. Blankfein and other corporate chiefs had pushed Washington lawmakers to find a solution that would prevent a consumer spending slowdown that threatened to send the economy back into recession.
In a series of postings Wednesday on Twitter, Mr. Blankfein praised Congress’s action. “This agreement is a step forward to injecting growth and investor confidence into the U.S. economy.”
Comment from thebrackpipe.com: Is this the kind of foreign policy we are willing to accept. Remember, soon after Obama took office in 2009, he promptly flew down to Venezuela to give a bro hug to Hugo Chavez and gladly accept a signed copy of Chavez’s book? UNREAL! Now, concerning the events in Benghazi, it is clear that the C.I.A. knew all along that it was a terrorist attack and not a flash-mob. Then we must explain the words of the president, his U.N. ambassador and his secretary of state — all endlessly repeated with supporting theatrics. Basically, the Obama administration knew it could count on a friendly media that is loath to expose anything that might undermine its preferred foreign policy narrative. After Benghazi, the administration is confident of ‘running out the clock’ until the election, stonewalling legislative inquiries and sequestering those few media outlets actually trying to probe the Libya story.
Full-Article below from the DailyCaller.com:
Bottom line first: Ever since the Benghazi attack, President Obama and his advisers have lied through their teeth to avoid awakening the slumbering American electorate. They have been assisted throughout by a media establishment intent on supporting the president’s re-election while maintaining its usual charade of objectivity — the great oxymoron of our time.
My career encompassed that oxymoron as well as an even earlier one, military intelligence. So I watched in amazement as only the Fox News Channel seemed intent on unraveling an extraordinarily thin cover story. A flash-mob that got out of hand over a provocative YouTube video? But with mortars and automatic weapons, a coordinated assault that killed an American ambassador and three bodyguards? I felt like Carrie Mathison, the Claire Danes character in the Showtime series “Homeland,” constantly asking “Are you serious?” Yet President Obama, from the Rose Garden to the United Nations rostrum, kept repeating the flash-mob story until the second cover story was trotted out: Our intelligence community was working diligently to uncover the truth and go after attackers — a thrilling re-run of “Osama and the Seals,” coming soon to a theater near you!
But this week I received subtle warnings from old friends still in that beleaguered intelligence community. They expressed great irritation with Fox News, undoubtedly because of political motivations. But they were most offended by the idea that the spooks had done nothing. They suggested that the attack on Benghazi was like Mogadishu, the epic Somali battle that left a hundred American Rangers killed or wounded. They warned darkly of some “push-back” against the version of events gradually emerging from determined Fox reporters like Catherine Herridge.
Well, today that push-back surfaced as The New York Times and other papers reported background briefings from un-named C.I.A. officials. As Eric Schmitt wrote, “Thursday’s briefing for reporters was intended to refute reports, including one by Fox News last Friday, that the C.I.A.’s chain of command had blocked the officers on the ground from responding to the mission’s calls for help.” The New York Times account was not a headline — appearing on page 4. Neither its reporter not those anonymous C.I.A. officials used the word “inoperative,” as the Nixon White House used to do when Watergate cover stories were unraveling.
Yet in Benghazi-gate as well as Watergate, earlier lies were shed as smoothly as snakeskins. So the C.I.A. knew all along that it was a terrorist attack and not a flash-mob? Okay, then how do you explain the words of the president, his U.N. ambassador and his secretary of state — all endlessly repeated with supporting theatrics? If high officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the West Wing knew the truth — that this was actually 9/11.2 — then how do you explain either of the administration’s mutually inconsistent cover stories? And why was the U.S. four-star general responsible for North Africa suddenly and mysteriously relieved of command after Benghazi?
Actually, you cannot explain any of these things unless you also account for the hear-see-report-no-evil approach of the media establishment. The Obama administration knew it could count on a friendly media that is loath to expose anything that might undermine its preferred foreign policy narrative. After Benghazi, the administration was understandably confident of running out the clock until the election, stonewalling legislative inquiries and sequestering those few media outlets actually trying to probe the Libya story.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/02/benghazi-cover-up-par-for-the-course-for-team-obama/#ixzz2BGtYff5l
“Despite 2011’s marking the second full year of the recovery, poverty continued to rise in many regions. An estimated 335,760 people fell into poverty in California alone last year, pushing up the state’s poverty rate to 16.6%… [Further] with jobs scarce, many Americans have accepted pay cuts to take available jobs.”
That doesn’t sound so good now does it?
Article below by Josh Mitchell of the WSJ:
The income of the typical U.S. family fell or was flat in almost every state last year, with the drop particularly steep in places where the economy has been hit hard by the housing bust.
The median annual household income—the point on the income scale at which half earn more and half earn less—fell in 18 states in 2011 from a year earlier after adjusting for inflation, according to a Census Bureau report to be released Thursday.
The sharpest drop occurred in Nevada, where median income fell by 6%. The median fell by 3.8% in California and by 2.9% in Arizona and Florida. Those four states are among those that have seen the biggest falls in home values and housing construction since the financial crisis, and where Americans are still struggling with the resulting heavy debt and high unemployment.
Nationally, the median income dropped by 1.3% to $50,502 in 2011. A separate report last week reported a slightly different median income level, but either way, the number is at a level last seen in the mid-1990s, continuing a long period of stagnant or falling wages since an all-time peak in 1999.
Last week’s report focused on the national picture of income and poverty, while Thursday’s data provide detail on the health of the recovery at the state and local level. It shows that despite 2011’s marking the second full year of the recovery, poverty continued to rise in many regions. An estimated 335,760 people fell into poverty in California alone last year, pushing up the state’s poverty rate to 16.6%. Poverty is defined as an annual income of $23,021 or lower for a family of four.
“These are also the states that boomed the most, so we’re talking about a higher peak to fall from,” said Rakesh Kochhar, an economist at the Pew Research Center.
These regions are still suffering from the aftereffects of the financial crash, which left a glut of housing that depressed home values, Mr. Kochhar said. Many families have seen their wealth decline as a result and have cut spending, which in turn has hurt businesses. Companies, in turn, have put off hiring.
With jobs scarce, many Americans have accepted pay cuts to take available jobs. Donna Durham, 57 years old, of Lakeland, Fla., is earning $2 an hour less than she was making before the recession, when she worked full-time as a machine operator at an embroidery shop. Since being laid off during the downturn, she has rotated among three part-time jobs and now makes about $1,700 a month before taxes—barely enough to keep up with her bills. “I work all the time, odds and ends jobs, whatever I can find,” Ms. Durham said.
Ms. Durham earned a diploma at a technical school in 2009 in hopes of landing a job designing architectural blueprints with computer software. Those jobs have been taken by laid-off engineers who settled for lower salaries, Ms. Durham said.
In Lakeland and Winter Haven, a region in central Florida, the median income fell by 5% last year to $40,272—the steepest decline among any large metro area in the state.
The Census report is part of the American Community Survey, a continuous report that collects a wide range of demographic, social, economic and housing data. It samples more than 3.3 million addresses per year.
Median income fell in 18 states last year, against 35 that saw drops in 2010. Maryland had the highest median income last year, at $70,004, while Mississippi had the lowest, at $36,919.
One outlier was Vermont, the only state to register a statistically meaningful increase. The typical family’s income rose 4% to $52,776, the data show, while the state’s poverty rate fell
Art Woolf, a University of Vermont economist, said the state’s small population—about 626,000—makes it prone to larger-than-usual swings in the data.
Nonetheless, he said the Census data on income are consistent with a similar rise in state-tax revenue. Mr. Woolf said Vermont’s birthrate has historically been low and that younger workers are fleeing the state for warmer and more-populous areas. That has left a relatively small pool of job seekers for available jobs, pushing up salaries, he said. The state’s unemployment rate for July, 5%, was among the lowest in the nation.
More excellence use of our tax dollars by responsible, upstanding government employees. My favorite part of this story is that the pilot of the helicopter “has been relieved and reassigned to administrative duties… .” – thebrackpipe.com
From NBC News – U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials are investigating claims that one of its helicopters was used to help a teenager invite a girl to homecoming. While on a routine mission over northern Virginia last Wednesday, a CBP helicopter was allegedly used by a Department of Homeland Security employee to fly over his son’s high school and drop a stuffed animal with the invitation, NBCWashington.com reported.
Students, who were just being released from classes for the day, watched excitedly as the helicopter hovered close to the football field and dropped a stuffed bulldog with a red bandanna parachute to the ground. Then students said they saw the junior boy, carrying pink roses, walking toward the senior girl and leading her to the football field to collect the stuffed animal, which delivered the message, “Fall Fest?,” The Washington Post reported.
Irene Cromer, a Prince William County Public Schools spokesperson, told The Washington Post that the boy’s father asked the principal for permission to have a helicopter fly in and drop the stuffed animal.
“It was completely authorized,” Cromer said. “They did ask for permission. They were granted permission.”
It’s unclear how the incident was planned and who was flying the helicopter, but the boy’s father is a senior official in air operations at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In a statement, Michael Friel of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said, “CBP management is looking into the matter and the pilot in command of the aircraft has been relieved and reassigned to administrative duties pending completion of the review of the incident.”
Patriot High School’s Fall Festival is Saturday, September 29.
BY PAULA SCHWARTZ
“2016: Obama’s America,” an anti-Obama doc, is a surprise hit at the box office this weekend. The documentary – which makes no pretense at objectivity – digs into what the filmmakers perceive as the President’s suspicious past and takes a scary look into what they think the future holds if he is re-elected. The film racked in an astonishing $6.3 million at the box office this weekend, which is bad news for the Democrats.
Where it is making the big bucks and getting the big crowds are in the Red States, of course, playing to an anti-Obama crowd, where it has made this astonishing box office take, placing it 8th in box office takeaccording to Box Office Mojo.
At number one at the box office is “The Expendables 2” earning 13.5 million this weekend. (The total gross for the film is 52.3 million.) To get some perspective, “Expendables” cost 100 million to make. The budget for “Obama’s America” is unlisted but we’re betting from the film’s production values it was a pittance. And number two is “The Bourne Legacy,” with 9.3 million for the weekend, with 85.5 million gross since it opened.
As the election becomes more and more heated and Americans grow more polarized over the election and the presidency of Barack Obama, the movie could sway opinions. The film is based on Dinesh D’Souza’s book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” Mr. D’Souza directed the film with John Sullivan, who also wrote the screenplay and also serves as narrator. In the controversial film, they raise suspicions about the president’s past, including dredging up Obama’s previous relationships with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, activist Bill Ayers and Edward Said, a Palestinian scholar and supporter, who is deceased since 2003, and was once a professor of Obama’s at Columbia.
This is old stuff that was brought up in the last election but may be new to some Red State voters who are more sympathetic to the message. The filmmakers also pose scary possibilities of what President Obama’s reelection could mean to the country. One of the ominous warnings is what could happen as a result of what they say is the President’s inaction against stopping Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
The unexpectedly big box office numbers for “2016” is no doubt spurred by the upcoming Republican Convention, which will begin Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.