Category Archives: business

Corporate sponsorship of Schwarzenegger’s glitzy events draws scrutiny

Note:
I’m a pretty big fan of the governator, so I take what the critics say about him rather lightly. It’s good to involve corporate America in events – as long as there’s not favoratism and corruption, or rather, cronyism lining the pockets of fatcats unjustly. The way to prevent this is to monitor all activities. Remember, if we were angels, we wouldn’t need government and if the governors were angels, we wouldn’t need checks and balances.
Insofar as GE is concerned, the press has got them under a microscope due to their sundry dealings with Iran. So, just keep that in mind.
Article:
The California governor says it saves taxpayers money to have private entities pay for ceremonies, conferences and travel. Watchdogs fear the government-corporate relationship is getting too cozy.
By Michael Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 18, 2008
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who runs one of the largest state governments in the country, approached the leader of another giant organization recently to ask for some financial aid.

In a telephone call from his Capitol office, Schwarzenegger secured agreement from General Electric’s chairman and chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, that the Fortune 500 company would co-host and help pay for the Border Governors Conference this August at Universal Studios in Hollywood, which the corporation owns.

The event could cost more than $3 million between GE and other private sponsors, according to participants in the planning of the conference, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the arrangements.

That would make it an expensive example of a technique Schwarzenegger has embraced to bring the glitzy style he appreciates to ceremonial state functions: getting corporations and wealthy supporters to pay for them. The governor’s aides say the practice saves taxpayers money.

Government watchdog groups argue that it may compromise the administration’s independence from corporate interests. Schwarzenegger’s phone call with Immelt was arranged by a GE executive, formerly an advisor to the governor, who oversees the company’s lobbyists in Sacramento.

“It’s a governmental conference, with governmental officials,” said Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. “If GE is paying for it, the question is what does GE expect for their contribution? And they are certainly going to expect good will.”

A spokesman for General Electric said the size and nature of the company’s contribution have not been finalized, and administration officials said there is no budget yet.

Schwarzenegger’s office has accepted millions of dollars in private gifts for things such as state dinners, international travel and ornaments on state Christmas trees.

The cross-border conference, held each year in one of the 10 participating U.S. and Mexican states, is an important event for Schwarzenegger because it is the first to be hosted in California in eight years, and the only one while he is governor.

“We are going to take this important annual event to a whole new level,” Schwarzenegger said last month in a statement announcing the partnership.

The three-day conference will feature a “Green Tech Expo,” along with festivities at the Universal theme park’s “Streets of the World” and “Spartacus Square,” and at the nearby Hilton hotel.

The thread connecting Schwarzenegger and the company is an interest in environmentally friendly technology. GE has a 3-year-old program, “Ecomagination,” which includes producing such things as clean locomotive engines, wind turbines, energy-efficient appliances and solar panels. Ecomagination accounted for $14 billion of GE’s $173 billion in revenue last year, a spokesman said.

GE has spent $475,000 lobbying California government since the beginning of 2007 on such matters as corporate taxes, the film industry and the recall of unsafe products. Paul Miner, the former Schwarzenegger aide who brokered the conference deal, is now the GE government relations manager who coordinates the lobbying team.

Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s spokesman, said the governor never unduly favors his supporters in official decisions. McLear said the conference would boost business in Los Angeles without costing the public money.

“The governor absolutely believes in saving the taxpayers money any chance he can,” McLear said. “So if he can partner with a private entity to host an event like this, that saves taxpayer dollars.”

GE spokesman Peter O’Toole said Immelt agreed to sponsor the conference, which will require closing parts of Universal Studios to tourists, partly because both Schwarzenegger and Immelt are “fairly progressive.”

“We’re doing it because he asked and we have a good relationship,” O’Toole said. “Our thinking is similar between the CEO and the governor. . . . It’s not a quid pro quo, but we thought it was something important to do. It’s an important market for us.”

Schwarzenegger’s office has received a wide range of corporate gifts. For the governor’s Christmas tree lighting event one year, S. Martinelli and Co. gave $297 in sparkling apple cider. A New York ornament maker, whose glittery creations are collected by the governor and First Lady Maria Shriver, donated a few to decorate trees in Schwarzenegger’s office.

Microsoft and Google each committed to donate hundreds of hours of consulting time for a state website soon to be unveiled that will allow Californians to compare public schools. The Jordan Vineyard & Winery held a retreat for 20 of the governor’s staff members. General Motors donated the use of vehicles and drivers for two of the governor’s trips to Asia.

Schwarzenegger’s inaugural ceremonies last year were funded by $2.9 million in donations from the pharmaceutical industry, energy companies, home builders and others. Companies pay for the governor’s Sacramento hotel suite, costing $107,000 this year.

The bulk of private support received by Schwarzenegger’s office has come from the California Protocol Foundation, a nonprofit group affiliated with the California Chamber of Commerce that does not disclose the names of its donors or the details of specific expenditures.

The foundation paid $306,000 in 2006 for a Sacramento dinner for then-Mexican President Vicente Fox, state records show. It has funded annual receptions after Schwarzenegger’s State of the State addresses. The group has spent millions on jet planes, hotels and meals for the governor and his staff on trips described as “trade missions.”

“If the taxpayers were paying for some of these glitzy things, I think there would be objections,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. But the flow of private money to elected officials’ causes is “something that should be watched.”

“We recognize that there could never be a solid wall of separation between government and private interests, but sometimes when the relationship gets a little too cozy, it makes us nervous,” Coupal said.

Since 1980, when it was first convened in Chihuahua, Mexico, the Border Governors Conference has alternated between U.S. and Mexican states. The purpose is to keep open lines of communication.

Former Gov. Gray Davis hosted the event in 2000 in Sacramento. Meetings were held at public buildings, including the Capitol and a city library, where government absorbed the costs. The Golden State Host Committee, a privately funded nonprofit also affiliated with the California Chamber of Commerce, spent $196,000 to hold two dinners during the conference.

In planning last year’s conference in Sonora, Mexico, a small industrial and agricultural state, Gov. Eduardo Bours Castelo recruited corporations to pay for it, said Luis Borbon, an aide. “It was going to be very, very expensive for the government,” Borbon said.

michael.rothfeld@latimes.com

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Obama’s Black Ambition

If Barack Obama is running on the platform of being black, then he should lose unless the electorate cows in fear meanwhile justifying their own capitulation by hypocritical accusations (e.g., against conservatives for resisting miscegenation). An economist article suggested that American whites are less racist than they used to be (like in the fifties) because whites have had a seven-fold increase in the proportion of interracial children. This argument infers that whites are racist if they don’t intermarry and that whites are therefore racist by virtue of their skin color. Notwithstanding the fact that this is a racist argument, it leads unambiguously to the conclusion that whites are criminal (because it is a crime to be racist).  Don’t you like how the devil turns things upside down? Very nice logic indeed.

A leftist on tv says that she thinks it’s mean that people won’t vote for a candidate because of his race. On the contrary, it’s mean to vote for a candidate because of his/her identity.

 

 

Igniting Growth


By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Trade: As the U.S. economic hearth flickers, it makes sense to fan it back with the last hardy embers of growth. One is exports, which burn brightest with free- trade treaties. So why is Congress snuffing them out?


Read More: Economy | Business & Regulation


Last week’s preliminary gross domestic product data for the first quarter showed a pallid 0.6% rise. Housing was a drag, pulling real GDP down 1.2%. Business sales were unimpressive, and consumer spending was weak.

But there was one bright spot: exports, which rose 5.5% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, accounting for a third of U.S. economic growth during the quarter.

Maybe that’s why President Bush isn’t letting up on urging Congress to pass three pending free-trade agreements, which will strengthen U.S. exports. It may have hit a wall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi manipulating House voting rules, but with a potential recession looming, Bush has no choice but to seek it anyway.

“Opening markets is especially important during this time of economic uncertainty,” Bush said Wednesday. “Last year, exports accounted for more than 40% of America’s total economic growth. With our economy slowing . . . we should be doing everything possible to open up new markets for U.S. goods and services.”

Thus far, his plea has fallen on deaf ears in Congress, which has refused to ratify U.S. deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Worse, it has halted any new pacts from being negotiated.

After all, with Pelosi literally changing the House rules for a treaty vote to “anytime I want,” it’s unlikely any nation would negotiate a free-trade deal only to see it become a public bargaining chip for Pelosi’s pork-barrel spending schemes.

Pelosi has allies in Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They have collectively become the Three Stooges of Big Labor, which opposes free trade.

Pelosi insists that she’s putting the American people first. That prompted U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to blast those who “demagogue and prey on anxieties and fear. We do a disservice to the American people by pretending that trade is somehow the culprit of our economic problems and anxieties.” We know whom she meant.

Again, let’s look at what free trade with Colombia would do.

• It slashes tariffs from 32% to zero on 72% of U.S. goods right off the bat. Better still, it levels the playing field for U.S. firms because Colombian goods already enter the U.S. duty-free. In the 17 months that the treaty has awaited passage, U.S. businesses have shelled out $1 billion in tariffs to sell goods in Colombia.

• It provides U.S. investors with legal protections and provides for international arbitration if anything goes wrong.

• It ends child labor and lessens environmental damage, two extras the Democrats requested and got.

Meanwhile, if it’s not passed, the U.S. economy gets . . . nothing.

“Delaying the vote on the Colombia (pact) does not create one American job, it does not put one more dollar in anyone’s pocket, does not save one life, does not help one union to organize, or protect one endangered species,” Schwab said.

It just goes to show that doing nothing on free trade isn’t an accomplishment. In fact, it’s a wet rag on the U.S. economy that will eventually draw angry retribution from U.S. voters.

Bush knows this. Too bad Pelosi doesn’t.

Vote John McCain – And Donate Now!

My Friends,
We have a lot at stake in this presidential election. As a nation, we face many challenges that will require real leadership from our next president. I have said before that this election will be about the big things, not the small things, and I write to you today about one big issue in particular – the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. If one of my Democratic opponents is elected in November, you can rest assured that given the opportunity to appoint judges, they will appoint those who make law with disregard for the will of the people.
There may be at least two vacancies on the United States Supreme Court during the next presidential term. As president, I will ensure that only those judges who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States are appointed. I will nominate judges who understand that their role is to faithfully apply the law as written, not impose their will through judicial fiat.
If you want judges who will clearly and completely adhere to the Constitution of the United States and who do not legislate from the bench to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, then I ask that you join my campaign for president today by making a financial contribution.
I am proud to have played a role in the appointment and confirmation of two great Supreme Court justices – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito I need your support now so that as your president I can nominate judges like Justices Roberts and Alito. Judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust. Judges who take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people’s elected representatives. Judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.
My friends, the future of our country and of the Supreme Court is at stake in this election. If either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is elected – both voted against confirming Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito – they will appoint activist judges. They will appoint judges who legislate from the bench.
I’m sure I don’t have to remind you how important even one vote on the Supreme Court can be. Issues concerning states’ rights, abortion, affirmative action, the Second Amendment and religious freedom have all been decided by a very slim 5-4 margin.
America needs a leader who recognizes that the people and the states should decide what’s best, not the courts. In order to be that leader, I need your financial support immediately.
Please follow this link to make an immediate donation of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 – any amount up to the legal limit of $4,600.
Thank you for your support.
Sincerely,
John McCain
P.S. To date, my Democrat opponents have raised almost $450 million in their efforts to win the White House. Both Senators Clinton and Obama voted against confirming John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Both Senators Clinton and Obama will nominate liberal, activist judges. As your president, I will ensure that the Supreme Court protects our values. Please follow this link right away to make your donation of any amount, up to the legal limit of $4,600. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, is crucial to our efforts. Thank you.

Gold, Toll Bros. (12-08-07)

For the record (an email I sent out before feedblitz and this blog):

 

The IMF is planning on selling a lot of its gold stock and it’s planning on restructuring to recoup some of its revenue shortfalls as of late. That means, all other things being equal, the price of gold should – given the quantity IMF will likely put on the market – fall. The dollar’s value – a proxy for the gold price (the relationship between the two being inversely proportional) – could be stabilizing as Europe and hopefully Asia follows us into a recessionary trend. That is to say, these other economies are [hopefully] not planning a pull-back in free trade and will [hopefully] accept lower returns in exchange for stability and continued growth (albeit diminishing).

        I impute that Hume’s price-specie-flow mechanism will, in the absence of economic populism, restore external balance (our balance of trade deficit with heretofore financially repressive, neomercantilist countries) and in the process, drive US GNP growth. This phenomenon [would] cause, among other things, domestic manufacturing production to explode, thereby pulling the American economy out of economic stagnation.

        The so-called velocity theory of money is effective in the context of economic nationalism such that it predicts that increasing monetary supplies will water down the real value of the existing monetary base, acting like a hidden tax for consumers and investors alike. This spectre of inflation incites market volatility and leads to decreasing marginal returns on capital for corporations, which can spur layoffs and a vicious cycle of decreasing: incomes, investment, growth and consumption in our economy.

       In 1997, we saw the effects of Asian economic nationalism with the currency crisis and the drastic effects it had on the economies of those countries. I think many of us are hoping the Asians learned from their mistake and will not do the same thing again. If these people don’t let their currency revalue at least somewhat and if they don’t allow the value of their external surplus to decrease, we will be facing another currency crisis, but this time it will affect all the underlying bonds – in the world. If bond prices rupture, the cost of borrowing will skyrocket and the financial flows will seize.

The issue that Asians are facing as monetary inflation increases in Anglo-Saxon countries, among others, is a phenomenon economists refer to as diminishing marginal returns. The point at which Asians experience real negative returns [on credit sales, e.g.], there will be an incentive for them to lock in their gains and cut off the supply of investment dollars, which would entail a run on American currency with all of its implications.

Hopefully the Asians can get over their politics of invidious comparison and cooperate even when free trade is not relatively more favourable for them. Unfortunately, given historical trends I doubt this will be the case and we may be on the proverbial knife’s edge but one can always hope.

Either way, I think Toll Brothers might be a good long-term stock due to it’s being replete with cash and its forty year performance which has been relatively good. In 2005 this company roiled the Fortune’s 500 list. There will probably be trouble in homebuilding and in Real Estate more generally in the foreseeable future, but given demographic trends and faith in the US economy over the long haul, land, hence property, is going to become scarcer and more expensive in the future. In thirty years, the population of California doubled. If there is not productivity here in the free market capital of the world – namely, the US – where will it come from? I can easily make a case against Europe or Asia, but that’s fodder for another discussion.

Some economists say that the housing market is at or near a crisis point. Certain indicators predict lousy growth for Real Estate in the future and although that might be a good assessment, I’d say in ten years it won’t make a difference what’s happening now.

Phyllis Schlafly Report

 

Build Anti-Missile Defenses 
The U.S. Navy gave Ronald Reagan a dramatic 25th anniversary gift on February 21. A Navy missile raced into outer space and destroyed an orbiting satellite, thereby providing new proof of the vision President Reagan proclaimed in his then-sensational televised address on March 23, 1983.

While the Navy SM-3 missile didn’t knock down an incoming nuclear missile, the direct hit on a satellite proved again that our anti-missile technology is mature and reliable, and that an effective anti-missile system is within our grasp. Traveling at 6,000 miles per hour after being launched from a cruiser in the Pacific, the SM-3 missile was even more accurate than anyone had predicted because it struck precisely at the satellite’s dangerous fuel tank.

The successful kill of the satellite also confirmed the ability of the SM-3 to intercept at a higher elevation than had ever been tested before. It revalidated the Bush Administration’s expenditure of $10 billion a year on anti-missile defenses. This direct hit comes on the heels of a particularly impressive track record of successful anti-missile tests in 2007. Since 2005, the Missile Defense Agency has scored 21 successful space interceptions in 22 tests.

The so-called world community, egged on by U.S. pacifists and disarmament professionals, grumbled and sputtered because the United States dared to knock out a satellite. Actually, there was a very persuasive reason for our government to take immediate action against this particular satellite. It had failed in its mission and was edging closer to Earth carrying a large tank of toxic fuel that would be harmful to many people if it crashed into a populated area. Our government acted properly to protect the world against such an unnecessary disaster.

This demonstration of U.S. anti-satellite capability also had a useful side effect. It signaled Communist China that we have anti-satellite technology and power. China shocked the world on January 11, 2007 by conducting the first successful test of an anti-satellite weapon. In its usual disregard for the health of humankind, China’s test left 2,500 pieces of debris in space spread out in a way that poses a danger to manned and unmanned spacecraft.

U.S. officials recognized China’s action as a new strategic threat. Killing a communications satellite could knock out U.S. military and civilian communications systems.

In his 1983 address, Reagan announced that he was “launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history.” Indeed, it did. His speech extricated America from the defeatist McNamara-Kissinger-Nixon-Ford-Carter strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction, known descriptively by its acronym MAD.

The MAD strategy postulated that our only hope of avoiding nuclear war was by threatening massive retaliation and killing as many enemy people as we could. “Morning-in-America” Reagan offered the contrary vision of hope.

“Wouldn’t it be better to save lives than to avenge them?” he said. “What if we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?”

Reagan thus added the necessary fourth leg to his strategy of Peace Through Strength. It encompassed not only diplomacy, deterrence and offensive weapons, but also defensive weapons. This made eminently good sense to the American people, who fully understand that battle requires both a sword and a shield. Conservatives had been pleading for an anti-missile defense system for more than 20 years.

The whole disarmament/pacifist crowd attacked Reagan unmercifully for his determination to defend America with defensive as well as offensive weapons. Ted Kennedy led the pack by ridiculing Reagan’s plan as Star Wars.

Reagan’s opponents criticized him on every front, claiming an anti-missile system can’t work because it requires hitting a bullet with a bullet. This new test should finally put to rest the false claims that it won’t work.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that it was Reagan’s determination to push forward with what became known as his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that won the Cold War. SDI was the centerpiece of his strategy.

At the Geneva and Reykjavik Summits, Mikhail Gorbachev offered every carrot and stick in his arsenal to persuade or intimidate Reagan into abandoning SDI. When Reagan refused, Gorbachev realized the jig was up for the Soviet empire and its delusions of world conquest because the Soviets could not compete with the U.S. military-economic powerhouse.

Reagan’s SDI, so courageously proposed in 1983, ultimately enabled him to defeat the Evil Empire without firing a shot. We know the system works, and it’s just as necessary in the post-9/11 world as in the days of the Soviet threat.

 

 
 

Manufacture Our Own Weaponry 
The indignation of Americans is growing rapidly about the U.S. Air Force granting a French company a $35 billion tanker-aircraft contract that could eventually grow to $100 billion and is estimated to create 100,000 jobs in Europe. French government subsidies are one of the factors that enabled the lucky company (known as EADS) to underbid Boeing.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, is leading the battle in Congress to overturn this decision. He thinks it is outrageous that U.S. taxpayers should be paying to create jobs in foreign countries.

It is bad enough that the United States has been hemorrhaging millions of manufacturing jobs that are critical to sustaining our middle class. It’s even worse that government policies are deliberately outsourcing jobs that are critical to our national security.

All during the Clinton and Bush Administrations, U.S. negotiators signed trade agreements that allow foreign competitors to create and maintain unfair border-tax schemes that massively discriminate against U.S. manufacturers and service providers, and give foreign competitors a dramatic advantage in the U.S. market. The principal border-tax scheme used against us is the Value Added Tax (VAT).

When foreign manufacturers export their products to the United States, the Value Added Taxes they paid are generously rebated by their governments. Isn’t that cool! General Motors, Chrysler and Ford would surely be in better shape if the U.S. government rebated the heavy U.S. taxes they have paid.

But that’s only half the story. When U.S. manufacturers try to sell their products in foreign countries, they are required to pay border taxes not only on the value of the product itself, but also on the value of all transportation, insurance and other costs.

The bottom line is that these border-tax schemes heavily subsidize the products other countries sell to us, while erecting a high tax barrier against our goods when we try to sell overseas. The combination of foreign governments’ export subsidies and import taxes amounted to a $428 billion disadvantage to U.S. manufacturers and service providers in 2006.

My late good friend, the well-known Senator Everett Dirksen, used to quip about government policies by saying, “A billion here, a billion there, and soon we’ll be talking about real money.”

The border-tax problem does, indeed, involve real money. In 2006, it was four times as costly as the Iraq war (VAT: $428 billion; Iraq war: $101 billion, according to Congressional Research Service figures), and two times greater than the U.S.-China trade deficit ($232 billion).

The United States has no mechanism to stop or offset this foreign border-tax racket, which creates a severely unlevel playing field. Our complaints and petitions to the World Trade Organization have fallen on deaf ears. How could we expect any better treatment? We are only one vote out of 152, and most of the other countries don’t like us anyway.

This border-tax subsidy started shortly after World War II. U.S. officials, steeped in a Marshall Plan foreign-handout mentality, agreed to allow France to protect its domestic market, going and coming, by border-tax subsidies and taxes.

What followed was monkey-see-monkey-do. Other countries found they could play the same anti-American game. Today, 149 countries use the border-subsidy-and-tax scheme to discriminate against U.S. products. In addition, the foreign border-tax rates have grown and grown. France’s border tax rate of 2 percent in the late 1940s has risen to 19.6 percent today, and the average for all 149 countries is 15.5 percent.

These figures show that the push for the United States to lower or eliminate our tariffs is one of the costliest con jobs ever perpetrated on Americans. We cut our tariffs in the name of “free trade,” but 149 foreign countries simply replaced their tariffs with approximately equivalent border taxes benignly called “Value Added,” and then doubled the indignity by handing out subsidies to make their products more saleable in U.S. markets.

America’s industrial base is a vital part of our national security. We can’t afford to put it under the control of foreign governments. The French tanker-aircraft deal should be a Red Alert about the unfair treatment of Americans by various trade agreements and contracts. Then, perhaps we can build momentum to protect what’s left of our manufacturing base and middle-class jobs by establishing a level playing field for foreign trade.


Don’t Let Judges Run the Military 
Two separate federal courts, one in San Francisco and the other in Los Angeles, just ordered the United States Navy to limit its use of sonar, the underwater radar essential for tracking enemy submarines and detecting the ocean floor. These rulings tie the hands of our Navy and are the latest outrage committed by judicial supremacists.

The lawsuits were brought by environmental groups on behalf of whales and other sea creatures, using the claim that their ears and brains might be damaged by the sonar. The court rulings allow environmentalism to trump what the Navy needs to do to protect our national interest.

The Navy says it already minimizes risks to marine life and has used sonar for decades without seeing any injuries to whales. The Navy has even said it will shut off the sonar when whales are spotted, but the judge said that’s not good enough because visual monitoring might miss some dolphins and other small animals.

So, chalk up another victory for enemies of our armed forces, internal and external. It seems that the anti-military leftists have picked up judicial activists as their allies. Why should our Navy have to grovel to federal judges for permission to defend U.S. national security? Most of our Navy’s activities are not even in the United States, and judges should not have the power to interfere with the Navy’s protection of our national interests.

Lawsuits are a poor way to debate and decide which military strategies work best for our nation. We do not want our enemies to have access to our military strategies and technology in open court, and the adversarial process of litigation is not appropriate to deciding what is best for our soldiers and sailors and the country they protect.

Judges in black robes should not be telling our generals and admirals what they cannot do, and federal courts should not be interfering with the Navy’s duty to patrol the oceans. The Constitution did not make the federal judiciary our Commander in Chief. It’s time for Congress to assume responsibility to protect our national security by stripping the federal courts from jurisdiction over the U.S. Navy.


Control Our Borders; Enforce the Law 
For years, courts and lawyers have intimidated towns from protecting themselves against the invasion of illegal aliens. Last summer, a federal court slapped down an attempt by Hazleton, Pennsylvania to penalize employers and landlords who hire and lease to illegal aliens. Hazleton had been hit by an influx of illegal aliens and victimized by some of their shocking crimes.

But the Hazleton voters stuck with their mayor, Lou Barletta, who vigorously supported his city’s ordinance cracking down on illegal aliens. Despite being vilified by liberal Pennsylvania newspapers, he won nearly 95% of the vote in his Republican primary for reelection last year. That wasn’t all! In the same election, he also won the Democratic nomination on a write-in vote, defeating the leading candidate in the Democratic primary by a stunning 2-to-1 margin.

The American people’s outrage at law violations by illegal aliens was heard loud and clear by the Senate when it defeated the amnesty bill last year. Now, even judges may be getting the message.

In December 2007, a federal judge in Oklahoma upheld an Oklahoma law requiring state contractors to determine and verify the immigration status of new hires. Judge James H. Payne threw out a legal challenge to the law.

In January 2008, federal Judge E. Richard Webber emphatically ruled against illegal aliens who had sued to overturn a similar ordinance enacted by Valley Park, Missouri, a town near St. Louis. The court upheld the ordinance, which was directed at employers who were hiring illegal aliens.

The third strike against illegal aliens came in February when federal Judge Neil V. Wake rejected each and every argument challenging a new Arizona law that imposes penalties on businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He dismissed the claim that federal law somehow ties the hands of state and local governments seeking to protect their own citizens. The court noted the research of Harvard economist George Borjas, who concluded that hiring illegal aliens depresses wages for legal workers because the illegals accept lower pay without benefits. Those hardest hit are uneducated legal workers, who lost $1.4 billion in 2006 in the form of lower wages in Arizona alone.

These three decisions in three different parts of the country included both Republican and Democratic-appointed judges. Law Professor Kris Kobach says these decisions give “a green light to other communities” seeking to pass similar ordinances.

It is long overdue for our public officials to rid the U.S. of imported crimes and to stand up for our legal workers, especially the poorly educated ones who need an entry-level job to start building their lives. Now that we have a green light even from the courts, states and cities should proceed full steam ahead to protect us from illegal aliens.

But don’t get the idea that all judges have seen the light and respect the other branches of government. A federal judge in San Francisco, who happens to be the brother of liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, recently issued an injunction to stop Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff from sending out “no-match” letters.

Chertoff had announced that he intended to implement the law banning businesses from knowingly employing illegal aliens by sending warning letters to 140,000 employers who have at least 10 workers whose Social Security number on their tax forms does not match the government’s Social Security database. He would then give the employer 90 days to resolve the discrepancy and let the employee submit a new number. After that, the employer would have to fire the worker or be subject to fines or prosecution.

That’s a splendid idea. You and I must provide our Social Security number when we take a job so that our Social Security taxes can be deposited in the correct account and build up our benefits, so I don’t see anything the matter with the government requiring that the number provided be an honest number and not a phony or stolen number.

But the ACLU filed suit in California, and Judge Breyer barred the law from enforcement. Secretary Chertoff has revised his regulation and resubmitted it, but meanwhile illegal aliens continue to work for employers who close their eyes to the law and allow false Social Security numbers to be used by workers who are in the United States illegally. This is another outrageous example of a supremacist judge overriding the will of the American people and two other branches of government, both legislative and executive.

 

 
 

Reject All Plans for UN Taxes 
Why are Republicans in Congress trying to help Barack Obama (D-IL)? Republicans allowed a bill that carries his name to pass the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by voice vote (without any hearings), which means there was no roll-call vote so we can hold any Member accountable. It passed the House by voice vote last year.

Obama’s costly, dangerous and altogether bad bill, which could come up in the Senate any day, is called the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433). It would commit U.S. taxpayers to spend 0.7% of our Gross Domestic Product on foreign handouts, which is at least $30 billion over and above the exorbitant and wasted sums we already give away overseas.

Obama’s bill would require the President “to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

The scariest phrase in Obama’s bill is Millennium Development Goal. That refers to the Declaration adopted by the United Nations Millennium Assembly and Summit in 2000 (blessed by President Bill Clinton) which called for the “eradication of poverty” by “redistribution [of] wealth and land,” cancellation of “the debts of developing countries,” and “a fair distribution of the earth’s resources” (from the United States to the rest of the world, of course).

The Millennium project is monitored by Jeffrey D. Sachs, a Columbia University economist. In 2005 he presented then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with a 3,000-page report based on the research of 265 so-called poverty specialists. Sachs’ document criticized the United States for giving only $16.3 billion a year in global anti-poverty aid. He argued that we should spend an additional $30 billion a year in order to reach the 0.7% target that the UN set for us in 2000.

Sachs says that the only way to force the United States to commit that much money is by a global tax, such as a tax on fossil fuels. Empowering the United Nations to impose a direct international tax on Americans has been a UN goal ever since the 1995 Copenhagen Summit.

By adopting the Millennium Goals in 2000, the UN escalated its demands for the UN to impose international taxes. Specifically, the Millennium called for a “currency transfer tax,” a “tax on the rental value of land and natural resources,” a “royalty on worldwide fossil energy projection — oil, natural gas, coal,” “fees for the commercial use of the oceans, fees for airplane use of the skies, fees for use of the electromagnetic spectrum, fees on foreign exchange transactions, and a tax on the carbon content of fuels.”

Most of our foreign handouts go into the hands of corrupt dictators who hate us and vote against us in the UN, and only 30% of our foreign-aid money ever reaches the poor. UN bureaucrats accuse the United States of being “stingy” in our handouts to underdeveloped countries.

There is much more to the Millennium Goals than merely extorting more money from U.S. taxpayers. The Goals set forth a plan to put the United States under UN global governance. These Goals include a “standing Peace Force” (i.e., a UN standing army), a “UN Arms register” of all small arms and light weapons, “peace education” covering “all levels from pre-school through university,” and “political control of the global economy.” The Goals call for implementing all the UN treaties that the United States has never ratified, all of which set up UN monitoring committees to invade our sovereignty.

To achieve this level of control over U.S. domestic law, the plan calls for “strengthening the United Nations for the 21st Century” by “eliminating” the veto and permanent membership in the Security Council. The goal is to reduce U.S. influence to 1 out of 192 nations, so we would have merely the same vote as Cuba.

Obama’s Global Poverty Act would be a giant step toward the Millennium Goals of global governance and international taxes on Americans. Tell your Senators to kill this un-American UN bill.

 

Students to manage Socially Responsible Investment Fund (Cal)

 

– Managing a socially responsible investment fund is one of the new learning experiences the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is offering its graduate students for the first time this fall.

The new Haas Socially Responsible Investment (HSRI) Fund came about thanks to a $250,000 gift from Haas School alumnus Charlie Michaels and his wife, Doris. Charlie Michaels earned his undergraduate business degree at the Haas School in 1978 and now serves as the president of Sierra Global Management, an investment management firm in New York City.

The fund will be managed by UC Berkeley MBA and Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE) students with the advice of an investment advisory committee and a Haas School faculty advisory committee. Its investment philosophy will be to achieve a balance between financial and social or environmental performance.

Students will start investing when the fund reaches $500,000, a goal that Haas’s Kellie McElhaney expects to reach within a few months. The center’s ultimate goal is to raise the fund to $1 million.

“To our knowledge this is the first socially responsible investment fund at a leading U.S. business school,” said McElhaney, adjunct professor and executive director of the Haas School’s Center for Responsible Business. “We expect this experience to train students for careers in socially responsible investing, but we also hope that our students will take their new-found skills to traditional Wall Street firms and raise awareness about social responsibility issues from inside the companies.”

The idea for the HSRI Fund was developed by McElhaney and Charlie and Doris Michaels at the Social Performance Metrics Conference, an event on metrics for corporate social responsibility that was held at Haas School in April 2005 with the participation of the London School of Business and Boston University.

“Doris and I are most gratified to seed the HSRI Fund, as it gives students a chance to apply their understanding of corporate social responsibility to real investment decisions,” Charlie Michaels said. “The fund, and hence Haas, will also capitalize on the attractive returns coming from investments in companies that are socially responsible and have strong financial characteristics.”

“We are tremendously grateful to Charlie and Doris for giving our school this opportunity to do something innovative that adds to our students’ experience with investing for both social and financial value,” said Haas School Dean Tom Campbell.

To gain some theoretical footing in this kind of investing, students managing the fund will be required to enroll in a new elective on socially responsible investing techniques, being offered by the Haas School for the first time this fall.

The HSRI Fund exposes UC Berkeley MBA and MFE students with a keen interest in corporate social responsibility or finance to the investing world’s complexities, challenges, and rewards – both financial and social.
A group of students will be chosen by a special committee to make investment decisions for the HSRI Fund’s portfolio, taking on fund manager and portfolio analyst roles. The students will determine detailed socially responsible investment criteria, with a focus on companies using sustainability principles as a core part of their business strategies, practices and investments.

The Center for Responsible Business will send out an annual call for applications for the HSRI positions to all UC Berkeley MBA and MFE students. The number of students who participate is expected to increase from five to 10 as the fund grows.

In addition to the learning opportunities this fund provides, the center expects that the investment data to be gathered by the fund will help advance the methodology and the understanding of how well socially responsible investment funds can perform.