Saturday, February 12, 2011

Political Digest for February 12, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Red Alert: Mubarak Resigns, Military is in Charge
Excerpt: Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman delivered the following statement Feb. 11: “In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody.” Suleiman’s statement is the clearest indication thus far that the military has carried out a coup led by Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. It is not clear whether Suleiman will remain as the civilian head of the army-led government. Egypt is returning to the 1952 model of ruling the state via a council of army officers. The question now is to what extent the military elite will share power with its civilian counterparts. At a certain point, the opposition’s euphoria will subside and demands for elections will be voiced. The United States, while supportive of the military containing the unrest, also has a strategic need to see Egypt move toward a more pluralistic system. Whether the military stays true to its commitment to hold elections on schedule in September remains to be seen. If elections are held, however, the military must have a political vehicle in place to counter opposition forces, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. The fate of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) thus lies in question.

Excerpt: In case you missed it, Leon Panetta was called before Congress today and asked to explain exactly what in the world is going on over in Egypt. His answer was, essentially, “No worries, Mubarak will be stepping down by the end of the day.” As you may have noticed, that did not happen. This raised the rather obvious question of where the Director of the CIA got this thoroughly erroneous information that he gave to Congress. It turns out, he got it from the same place the rest of us got it: from watching his television: American officials said Mr. Panetta was basing his statement not on secret intelligence but on media broadcasts, which began circulating before he sat down before the House Intelligence Committee.

Egypt Exposes Obama Doctrine Happy Talk
Excerpt: The Obama Administration thought they had solved the crisis in Egypt. Yesterday in Marquette, Michigan, President Barack Obama told students at Northern Michigan University, “What is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold. It’s a moment of transformation that’s taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change.” But hours later, after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down, White House officials were “stumbling for their next step in a crisis that was spinning out of their control.” How could President Obama have gotten events in Egypt so wrong? The answer could be found hours earlier when both Leon Panetta, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Shocking news—has anyone told BO? No, better not disturb him. ~Bob. Excerpt: Elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose ideology has inspired terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, are in the United States and have supported terrorism here and overseas, FBI Director Robert Mueller told a House committee Thursday. Mueller joined seven other Obama administration intelligence and law enforcement officials at a hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. They spoke of the Brotherhood's U.S. ties as word spread in Egypt that President Hosni Mubarak was prepared to resign. Mubarak has repeatedly said his administration, in place since 1981, is the one thing keeping an Islamic state led by the Brotherhood from taking over Egypt.

Obama administration's Director of National Intelligence calls Muslim Brotherhood "largely secular"
Excerpt: Of course, that's why they call themselves the Largely Secular Brotherhood. What? They don't? Who wrote this briefing? Clapper goes on to stress the supposed heterogeneity of the Muslim (yes, Muslim) Brotherhood, sounding rather embarrassingly like last week's appalling piece from the New York Times, which, among other things, did its best to portray the Brotherhood as an ideological jellyfish whose true nature and intentions are impossible to grasp. They are not, whether in Egypt or in the United States….. The Obama administration took the rare step Thursday of correcting its own intelligence chief after the official claimed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular." (And we wonder why our intel agencies seem clueless. Maybe he should check with the FBI. ~Bob.)

Reelection Slogan for Obama & Co: We Bring Down Governments?
Excerpt: It’s frightening to realize that even I seem to know more about Islamic terrorists than our ostensible Director of National Intelligence. The Obama regime is now the unsurpassed and most bizarre combination of outward stupidity and hidden (by the media and others) pure evil intent ever to rule over the citizens of the United States of America. Starting with the stupidity factor—perhaps just to throw us off—Obama’s Director of National Intelligence (Intelligence? Really?) James Clapper has again placed his foot in it and this time, it was both feet. Note: In December 2010, Clapper told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that he wasn’t aware of the UK terrorist arrests; arrests that had been all over the network and cable news channels. Then, on Thursday 10 February 2011, The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence interviewed Clapper, asked him about the current chaotic situation in Egypt and then about the Muslim Brotherhood that is attempting to seize power of the Egyptian government. Seemingly clueless—yet again—Clapper said this about the Brotherhood: “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”

Obama Irate as Defiant Mubarak Leaves US Policy Out on a Limb
Excerpt: Should Mubarak, Suleiman and their people fall from power through revolution instead of evolution, the biggest American nightmare -- recalling the Iran's Islamic Revolution more than 30 years ago -- would be the surge of a popular movement that sees Washington as the hated backer of a failed dictator. The White House has balanced support of the protesters' demands for Mubarak's immediate departure with the concerns of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others who fear contagious, dangerous instability would follow. But the tide of its tone shifted toward change as the anti-Mubarak sentiment this week spread from the demonstrators to workers who staged strikes across Egypt. (It sounds as if Obama is picking a side based on his personal feeling of irritation at Mubarak. It also sounds as if no one in Washington has any idea what to expect next, not too surprising since no one in Egypt knows, either. I think we may have been better off if Obama had said nothing at all. At least then, we wouldn’t look stupid or like Jimmy Carter was President again. --Ron P.)

Obama's Fannie, Freddie plan may boost mortgage rates
Many Americans shouldn’t have access to credit. They run up huge debts with no way to pay them back. Obama and my stepdaughter being prime examples. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: The Obama administration proposed raising fees for borrowers and requiring large down payments for home loans as part of a long-term effort to reduce the government's outsized footprint in the housing market, but warned that these moves could increase mortgage rates and potentially reduce the availability of the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, a mainstay of American housing for decades. In a long-awaited white paper, the administration said that it intends to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together with the Federal Housing Administration provide more than 90 percent of housing finance, but said the process could take five or more years. It discussed three options for replacing them, including a new government agency that would insure mortgages all the time, a new agency that would only step in during times of market crisis, and then a third option that does not provide any government backing for home loans beyond the FHA. The administration warned that this no-government option "has particularly acute costs in its potential impact on access to credit for many Americans."

Jon Kyl announces retirement
Excerpt: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) announced his retirement at a press conference in Phoenix Thursday afternoon. "I will not seek reelection the United States Senate but will retire from public service in January 2013," Kyl said. He added that he was confident he would win if he ran again, adding: "There is no reason other than the fact than I think its time." He revealed that he had all but decided not to run again when he won six years ago. As for the future, "I wouldn't close my mind to being a vice presidential candidate," Kyl told reporters. "Having said that, I expect the chances of that are zero." Kyl is the fifth Senator to announce he is leaving the chamber in 2012. He joins Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D), Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) on the sidelines….Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at an event last month in Tuscon, was widely seen as Democrats' strongest potential candidate and, according to those close to her, could still make the race. (If Giffords was willing and able to run, she’d be tough to beat. ~Bob.)

Muslim Demographics
Been around, but it’s worth reminding yourself of what civilization faces. ~Bob.

Big Government's Back Alley
Excerpt: This is a remarkable moment in American life: A man is killing actual living, gurgling, bouncing babies on an industrial scale - and it barely makes the papers. Had he plunged his scissors into the spinal cord of a Democrat politician in Arizona, then The New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and everyone else would be linking it to Sarah Palin's uncivil call for dramatic cuts in government spending. But "Doctor" Kermit Gosnell's mound of corpses is apparently entirely unconnected to the broader culture. Why? Well, because it's all about a woman's "right to choose". What women? Well, how about the misses Robyn Reid and Davida Johnson: FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Robyn Reid didn't want an abortion. But when her grandmother forcibly took her to an abortion clinic one wintry day in 1998, Reid figured she'd just tell the doctor her wishes and then sneak away. Instead, Kermit Gosnell barked: "I don't have time for this!" He then ripped off her clothes, spanked her, wrestled her onto a dirty surgical stretcher, tied her flailing arms and legs down and pumped sedatives into her until she quit screaming and lost consciousness, she told the Daily News yesterday... (Wonder why the birth rate is collapsing, as outlined in the “Muslim Demographics” video above? ~Bob.)

Saudi minister says King in 'excellent health'
Excerpt: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is in "excellent" health and anxious to return home from convalescing in Morocco following surgery, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Thursday. "He's in excellent health, he's undergoing therapy," the prince said in Morocco. "The doctors are suggesting a certain amount of therapy and he's doing twice as much as they tell him. ...he is his usual self, assured of what he can do and ready and looking forward to going back to work and going back home." Earlier the Saudi embassy in Morocco, where King Abdullah arrived on January 22 after surgery in the United States, strongly denied rumours that the octogenarian monarch had died. (It looks as if you called this one correctly. I would've cursed the timing, but been inclined to believe except for the last few words of the story. It is never up to the king to "prove he's alive." It sounds as if the story was planted to get him to make a public appearance. And, perhaps be sniped? Ron P.)

Open Secrets—Top Donors
Who gave the most money in the 2010 midterms, and which is really the party of the big money, special interests? ~Bob.

Excerpt: When Richard Foster, the government’s chief actuary for Medicare and Medicaid, testified about the recent health care overhaul before the House last month, he confirmed two frequently made criticisms about the law: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not likely to bring down costs, and, despite numerous presidential promises, it won’t let all individuals keep their current health plans. But a footnote in the prepared document version of his testimony reveals another reason to worry about the law’s long-term effects: The law’s Medicaid expansion might be far larger—and presumably far more expensive—than previously estimated.

Poll shows HR departments struggling with healthcare reform law
Excerpt: Many American businesses want more guidance from the Obama administration before they make decisions about the healthcare benefits they offer, a new poll found, though the majority think Republicans will not succeed in repealing the reform law. The Society for Human Resource Management conducted the poll in late December, before a federal judge struck the law down and the House voted for repeal. At the time, 48 percent of respondents said they were waiting for more regulatory guidance from the administration on specific provisions of the reform law, while 13 percent said they were hoping for full repeal.

Regulation Without Representation
Businesses have two choices. Pass these costs on to consumers—that’s you—or go out of business and lay off workers. That might also be you. ~Bob. Excerpt: Regulatory agencies enact more than 3,500 new regulations in an average year. A new federal rule hits the books roughly every two hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Compare that with Congress, which passes fewer than 200 pieces of legislation per year. Only Congress has the power to legislate in the American system of government, but Congress never actually votes on most regulations. This is regulation without representation, and it is a major problem. Regulation without representation is a major reason why the Code of Federal Regulations has ballooned to 157,000 pages and counting. It makes it far more difficult to do business and is slowing economic recovery. The total cost of federal regulations last year was over $1.75 trillion, according to economists Nicole and Mark Crain in a report for the Small Business Administration. This well exceeds the $1.5 trillion budget deficit that has gotten so much more attention.

Inflation Worries Spread: China Raises Rates Amid Hit to Wheat Crop; Treasury Yields at 9-Month High
Excerpt: Inflation jitters spread through emerging markets on Tuesday, prompting China's central bank to raise interest rates for the third time in four months amid worries that a drought threatening the country's wheat crop will put further pressure on global food prices. (Emerging markets now, but eventually, the pressure on the Federal Government to pay its debts by printing fiat money, thus taxing everyone through hyper-inflation, will be irresistible. I have seen Zimbabwe and that’s the future, but it doesn’t work, to paraphrase a Stalin apologist. ~Bob.)

Pakistan has more nukes than Britain
Excerpt: It's not that this could become America's problem. It already is, as Washington spends money hand over fist trying desperately to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of jihadists even with Pakistan's current regime in place, let alone taking into account the possibility of its collapse. Islamabad has been living on borrowed time for years, trying to appease jihadist movements and leverage their bloodlust toward India at the expense of its sovereignty over its own territory. And amid all that instability, they have been bolstering their nuclear arsenal. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

Pakistan attack: 'Schoolboy' suicide bomber hits Mardan
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A young suicide bomber dressed in school uniform has blown himself up at an army compound in Pakistan, killing at least 31 people, officials say. The boy attacked as recruits exercised at a Punjab Regiment parade ground, inside an enclosed military area of the north-western city of Mardan. A Taliban militant said his group had carried out the bombing.

Obamacare Furthers Black Genocide.
Excerpt: Thirty four hundred per day. I thought, per day? No, this can't be true. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Over thirty four hundred babies are aborted in America every day. Wow! Despite democrat U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's feeble attempt to spin the truth otherwise, Obama's Health Care Law does order taxpayer funded abortions. For decades, blacks have been extremely loyal monolithically voting for democrats. Abortion on demand, regardless of the stage in the pregnancy, is an untouchable, no compromise, sacred cow of the Democrat party. Well, here is a dirty little secret. Black women abort their children at 3 times the rate of white women. Over 50% of black pregnancies end in abortion. Thus, according to the numbers, abortion in America is racist. This black genocide is so severe, black babies could be classified as an endangered species due to abortion.

De-fund Tort Reform Grants
Excerpt: Republicans have become a bit of a broken record when it comes to tort reform. They endlessly make the case, rightfully so, that junk lawsuits have forced doctors to protect themselves by oversubscribing treatments to patients and purchasing expensive malpractice insurance, adding tens of billions of avoidable costs to the most expensive health care system in the world. Despite all the GOP's verbal voracity in this area, all ObamaCare included was a lousy demonstration program. More specifically, a 5-year, $50 million grant program for states to demonstrate the virtue of tort reform.
This whole sham is so very quintessential of Washington politics. Democrats actually aren't against tort reform as a matter of policy; they just have no desire to financially harm their biggest donor base, the trial lawyer lobby. Former Governor, presidential candidate, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has said as much, admitting that “the reason why tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers.”

Philly DA Charges Priests, Teacher With Assault
Excerpt: Two Roman Catholic priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher were charged Thursday with raping young boys, while a former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints. The charges stemmed from a two-year grand jury investigation into priest abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the second such inquiry in the city. In the rare, if not unprecedented, move, the grand jury charged Monsignor William Lynn with endangering children in his role as secretary for clergy under former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn, 60, had a duty to protect children in the five-county archdiocese and refer priests with known sexual problems for rehabilitation or prosecution, District Attorney Seth Williams said in announcing the charges.

CREW to congressmen: Get a room!
Is this the worst problem facing the Republic? Congress-critters sleeping in their offices? ~Bob. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wants members of Congress to get their mattresses out of Capitol offices and invest in actual lodging. Thursday CREW sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) requesting that they investigate whether congressmen who spend the night in their offices are violating House rules as well as tax law by failing to report it as a taxable benefit. “House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.” The CREW letter accuses these members of being in violation of the House Ethics Manual, which states, “official resources of the House must, as a general rule, be used for the performance of official business of the House.” CREW says that the members also could be in violation of the tax code. (When I still lived in California, Duncan Hunter was my congressman. CREW came to San Diego, looking for dirt on Duncan. They thought since Randy Cunningham fell so easy, Duncan would too. CREW consorted with the San Diego Union newspaper, and took a year. In all that they only found that the County Assessor had valued his home there (Which burned to the ground in 2003) too low. CREW then accused Duncan of not paying his taxes. Make no mistake CREW is a Left Wing, strictly partisan group. Melanie Sloan serves as CREW's Executive Director. Prior to starting CREW in 2003, she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, after having worked for Congressional Democrats John Conyers, Charles Schumer, and Joseph Biden. As a lawyer she represents Valerie Plame in her lawsuit against former Bush administration official for their alleged role in the public disclosure of her classified CIA status. –DH)

Is Ben Bernanke A Liar, A Lunatic Or Is He Just Completely And Totally Incompetent?
Excerpt: Did you see Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday? It was quite a show. Bernanke seems to believe that if he just keeps on repeating the same mantras over and over that somehow they will become true. Bernanke insists that the economy is getting much better, that quantitative easing will lower long-term interest rates, that all of this money printing by the Federal Reserve is not causing inflation and that the Fed knows exactly what needs to be done to dramatically reduce unemployment inside the United States. So is anyone out there still actually buying what Bernanke is selling? Sure, a handful of people in the mainstream media still have complete faith in Bernanke. But for the rest of us, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is something really “off” about Bernanke. So just what is going on with him? Is he lying to all of us on purpose? Could he be insane? Is he just completely and totally incompetent? Bernanke’s track record of failure is absolutely stunning. Before discussing some of his most recent comments, let’s review some of the pearls of wisdom that Bernanke has shared with us in recent years…. 2005: “House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.” 2005: “We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.” (It is amazing that Americans can get as excited as they do over things like who's winning the football game or how the feds are stealing our "right" to medical marijuana, but when it comes to whether or not they'll still have a job -- or whether they'll find a job '' in time to avert a default on the mortgage, that seems to be secondary. The Fed and Chairman Bernanke have lied to you over and over again, at least since 2005. It is all documented. Yet they keep lying as though it were the first time and no one in the media challenges them. And a startling percentage of Americans seems to think all the government has to do is invest enough in "jobs" and finally, we'll all get through this pain. It ain't gonna happen. –DH)

Berkeley Mulls Inviting Gitmo Detainees
Excerpt: Berkeley officials are considering inviting Guantanamo detainees to live in the city. The City Council is scheduled to vote next week on a resolution that would extend a formal invitation to any detainees at the U.S. naval base who have been cleared of wrongdoing. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city is eyeing two detainees - Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian chef, and Ravil Mingazov, a Russian ballet dancer. Mingazov moved from Russia to Afghanistan and then Pakistan to escape harassment from the KGB, the former Russian secret police and intelligence agency, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. He was captured in Pakistan. (Let's hope the Madison dingbats don't get wind of this. –RS. I’m fine with this as long as Berkeley Taxpayers put up, say, a ten million dollar bond on the good behavior of each detainee they take in. ~Bob.)

Idaho panel OKs nullification
Excerpt: Nullification in Idaho is going to the full House, despite constitutional scholars' warnings the measure is illegal. The House State Affairs Committee voted 14-5 Thursday to declare President Barack Obama's health care overhaul null and void. All 14 supporters were Republicans. The majority joined with residents who invoked the spirit of Patrick Henry and the Bible's King Solomon during two days of hearings urging them to pass a doctrine dating back to the 18th century to defend Idaho's sovereignty and stand against federal government encroachment. "We already know that the (Obama) administration has decided to go full steam ahead with this law," said Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. "At some point the state must stand and make a determination as to whether this tyranny is going to continue, or at least be objected to."

15 of 20 Most Economically Stressed Counties are in the Golden State
Cook County, IL, should demand a recount! ~Bob. Excerpt: The AP has released its latest index about the most economically stressed counties in the country for the month of December. And the results show that California counties are continuing to struggle, as 15 of the top 20 are in the Golden State. Imperial County once again tops the ranks for all counties in the nation. The rankings are based on unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy.

From Freedom Agenda to Freedom Doctrine
Excerpt: Today, everyone and his cousin supports the "freedom agenda." Of course, yesterday it was just George W. Bush, Tony Blair and a band of neocons with unusual hypnotic powers who dared challenge the received wisdom of Arab exceptionalism -- the notion that Arabs, as opposed to East Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans and Africans, were uniquely allergic to democracy. Indeed, the left spent the better part of the Bush years excoriating the freedom agenda as either fantasy or yet another sordid example of U.S. imperialism. Now it seems everyone, even the left, is enthusiastic for Arab democracy. Fine. Fellow travelers are welcome. But simply being in favor of freedom is not enough. With Egypt in turmoil and in the midst of a perilous transition, we need foreign policy principles to ensure democracy for the long run. No need to reinvent the wheel. We've been through something analogous before. After World War II, Western Europe was newly freed but unstable, in ruin -- and in play. The democracy we favored for the continent faced internal and external threats from communist totalitarians. The United States adopted the Truman Doctrine that declared America's intention to defend these newly free nations.

Fraud: Veterans Support Organization
Excerpt: You may have seen people dressed in camouflage fatigues outside your local mall or grocery store. They are part of a group called VSO -- Veterans Support Organization -- collects money for veterans. But where is the money actually going? Arnold Diaz investigated.

Video: CBO admits ObamaCare will kill 800,000 jobs
Excerpt: Good to know this now … almost a year after its passage.

Don't Think Your Tax Dollars Should Fuel a Lawsuit Referral Service?
Excerpt: We don't think they should, either! Earlier today we wrote a post on the new hotline the administration launched referring individuals' complaints over to the American Bar Association.

High-speed rail: Obama's gift that nobody wants
Excerpt: President Obama sent his vice president, "Amtrak Joe" Biden, to Philadelphia's 30th Street rail station earlier this week to announce the administration's latest gift to the American people: A six-year, $53 billion government subsidy for the mass transit industry in order to give "80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years." And therein lies the fundamental problem - Obama, Biden and liberal Democrats in general can't resist giving the rest of us things we don't want. And they almost always use our money to pay for them, whether we like it or not. Nothing better illustrates this phenomenon than their obsession with forcing Americans out of the private passenger vehicles that enable them to go where they choose and into government-run transit systems like Amtrak, San Francisco's BART and Washington, D.C.'s Metro subway that take them where and when politicians and bureaucrats think they should go.

Beating Big Green at the trial lawyer game
Excerpt: "Congress intended endangered species to be afforded the highest of priorities." That 1978 Supreme Court decision in the notorious snail darter case stopped Tennessee's $100 million Tellico Dam. Thereafter, the Endangered Species Act would trump all else. The ESA is not about plants and animals despite its name. It's about habitat -- that's land and water, public or private. Harm habitat in your own backyard and under ESA's Section 11(b) you could get a year in federal prison and a $50,000 fine for each violation. Big Green wasn't so big in 1978, but enviro trial lawyers danced with glee when the Tellico decision showed them how to get big: Sue the government for failing to protect habitat, collect legal fees from the U.S. Treasury, and groom others to do the same. One of those "others" was a little New Mexico outfit named the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity. It attracted a lot of foundation grooming from Pew, Rockefeller, and Tides money, sued its way to power, and morphed into the multimillion-dollar lawsuit factory, the Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Ariz. But CBD kept its ideology of "cattle free" for Southwest rangelands, and filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service to put many ranchers out of business at once -- for harming habitat of the loach minnow. One of its targets was fifth-generation rancher Jim Chilton.

California unions stand in the way of a Texas-sized success
Excerpt: In the first half of 2010, Texas saw more small business growth than any other state in the country. During that period, it also added 178,000 jobs -- twice as many as any other state. Texas was also one of only five states to add manufacturing jobs. California, on the other hand, lost more than 113,000 jobs from August 2009 to August 2010. And while Texas has seen steady job growth in recent years, California was losing jobs well before the economic downturn began in 2008. Since 2005, California has lost just under 1.3 million jobs. So what accounts for Texas' astonishing business and job growth? One major factor in Texas' success is paid scant attention to -- work force regulations. Texas has right-to-work laws, meaning the state forbids compulsory union dues as a condition of employment. California does not, and forced unionization means a much more expensive labor force.

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