Starve the Beast?

What would happen if U.S. businesses stopped paying federal payroll taxes? What wou;d happen if we went along with the idea thrown about by Neal Boortz and allow people to understand how much money the federal government takes from them each paycheck? Would they get the idea of how great of an idea the fairtax is if they got 100% of their paycheck for a month or two? Would the federal government get the idea of how angry the American people are if they were starved from their monthly allowance from all American businesses?

Right now, we are looking at becoming Greece, or worse, Bangkok. What is the solution, civil disobedience? What are your thoughts, your ideas?

There is a facebook page: what if Businesses stopped paying federal payroll taxes?

What say you?

Obama Refuses to take questions at the Freedom of Press Act Signing…

Obama declined to answer questions at bill signing for the Freedom of Press Act.

From CNN White House Producer Xuan Thai
Obama declined to answer questions at bill signing for the Freedom of Press Act.
Obama declined to answer questions at bill signing for the Freedom of Press Act.

Washington (CNN) – After the signing of the Freedom of Press Act on Monday, President Obama declined to take any questions from the press.

During a pooled press event in the Oval Office, President Obama was asked if he would take a couple questions.

“You’re certainly free to ask the question,” Obama told the reporters in the room. “I won’t be answering, I’m not doing a press conference today, but we’ll be seeing you in the course of the week.”

President Obama was referring to the press availability he will likely hold following his meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Traditionally, these events are known as “two and two’s” referring to the number of questions each country’s group of reporters will be allowed to ask.

ACORN Lives

by Kevin Mooney

Even if Congress does move decisively to cut off funding from the self-described network of community organizers who previously called themselves ACORN, the renamed entities are likely to remain potent and well-funded into the foreseeable future, former insiders say.

In fact, donors may find it easier to channel funds in the direction of liberal activists who describe themselves as community organizers now that the sullied name has been dropped, they suggest.

Shortly after ACORN’s leadership announced that it was dissolving on April 1, national and state affiliates repackaged themselves under generic sounding descriptions. ACORN Housing, for example, became known as the Affordable Housing Centers of America.

“Anyone who celebrates the demise of ACORN has celebrated prematurely because they are not going away,” Anita MonCrief, a former Project Vote/ACORN employee, said in an interview. “The network is repositioning itself so it can receive new donations.”

ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Activists for Reform Now, has received over $53 million in federal funds since 1994, federal records show. Although the U.S. Supreme Court turned away a legal challenge to last year’s congressional ban on public funding, there does not appear to be any concerted effort on the part of lawmakers to have it reimposed.

Moreover, it is worth noting that only four Democrats joined with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to oppose an amendment that would allow organizations with a criminal history to receive funding. The amendment was submitted as part of a mortgage bill several months before the videotape scandals broke.

“There’s a real boldness on the part of Democrats who want to keep funding ACORN,” Rep. Bachmann said. “They are incredulous about the possibility of losing their majority and they know which side their bread gets buttered on and ACORN is their friend.”

Even so, only a small-percentage of ACORN’s overall financial support comes from the government, MonCrief, explains. “The rest of the money comes from left-leaning foundations and there is no indication these funding sources will dry up,” she said. “There are also individual donors and you also have to include organized labor.”

MonCrief indentified Wellspring Advisors, Vanguard Charitable Endowment, the Rockefeller Fund and the Tides Foundation as the major conduits for facilitating anonymous donations.

“If someone wanted to contribute directly to ACORN without having their name attached to it they could give a check to Wellspring Advisors, they can give to Vanguard Charitable Endowment, they can give to Tides Foundation,” she said. “There are so many ways ACORN can obtain money through these anonymous donors and some are connected to the Rockefeller Fund. So long as there is an agenda they are going to make sure that money is funneled to them anyway they can.”

Wellspring Advisors is the critical component in this equation, she emphasized.

“Donors were able to give anonymously to Wellspring so the money would not be traced back to where it was coming from and Wellspring would then cut a check from Vanguard,” MonCrief continued. “That’s one way it happened.”

Sandy Newman, who founded Project Vote, operated as a conduit between Wellspring and the ACORN affiliate, MonCrief points out on her blog.

“ It’s interesting that Wellspring is one of Project Vote’s major donors and Sandy Newman steers other money in Project Vote’s direction,” she wrote. “Newman founded Project Vote along with Zach Polett, who was also head of ACORN Political Operations. ACORN voter registration drives are intentionally partisan undertakings with the intent to replace elected officials with ACORN friendly candidates. This is once again the “wink, wink” approach to doing business. It all seems so legal on the surface.”

Other former insiders such as Ronald Sykes, who served as treasurer for the Washington D.C. ACORN affiliate, have raised questions about Citizens Consulting Inc (CCI), which was the major accounting arm for the national group and its allied organizations. A report from the House Oversight Committee concluded that CCI was largely responsible for misappropriating and comingling funds.

“Money was funneled through Wellspring, from there it went into various bank accounts controlled by CCI,” MonCrief said. “CCI had dozens and dozens of accounts. Some were Project Vote and some were ACORN.”

MonCrief, who testified against ACORN in 2008 as part of a voter registration fraud case in Pennsylvania, said the Project Vote affiliate was closely interlinked with the national organization’s operations.

“It is laughable to say Project Vote was in any way separate because it functioned as one cohesive arm with ACORN,” MonCrief explained. “Project Vote could not exist without this support because it doesn’t have the field capacity to run voter registration programs.”

ACORN remains the subject of voter registration fraud investigations in at least 14 states and MonCrief anticipates that the same network will find a way to remain active in the 2010 midterm elections and beyond. The political operatives that continue to stand behind the renamed affiliates are very shrewd in the sense that they will target areas where elections are close and where they have sympathetic local election officials, MonCrief warned.

Despite the publicity that followed various criminal investigations, there is much about ACORN that remains hidden from public view, Matthew Vadum, a senior analyst and editor with the Capital Research Center (CRC) suggests.

“We really don’t know how much ACORN has received from its aggressive corporate shakedown efforts,” Vadum observed. “The renamed network could remain well-funded thanks to liberal foundations and high dollar donors such as Herb and Marion Sandler.”

An intrepid researcher and investigator, Vadum has kept careful tabs on the rebranded ACORN entities. Most recently, he reported on the lobbying efforts of the rebranded D.C. affiliate.

As public attention dissipates and the ACORN name fades, foundations that pulled back in the wake of negative press attention last year may find they have more flexibility and dexterity to re-establish their support. This would be a significant development as ACORN drew in millions of dollars from foundations in the span of just a few years.

The lead ACORN organization registered in Arkansas and New Orleans has received $3 million from the Marguerite Casey Foundation, $821,000 from the Robin Hood Foundation, $595,000 from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and $65,000 from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, according to CRC.

Other foundations have contributed to ACORN’s affiliates.

Project Vote has received $4,047,500 from the Rockefeller Family Fund, $1,460,801 from the Tides Foundation, and $2,643,100 from the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, financial records show. ACORN’s American Institute for Social Justice (AISJ) has received almost $30 million in foundation grants, since 2000, according to CRC.

Other generous benefactors to AISJ include the Marguerite Casey Foundation, which donated $5,125,000 and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which donated $4,130,000, CRC research shows.

In previous reports for CRC, Vadum has also called attention to the Woods Fund of Chicago, where President Barack Obama and former Weather Underground leader William Ayers sat as board members. The Woods Fund has donated about $190,000 to the ACORN network, according to financial records.

The corporate shakedown efforts, which have also been lucrative for ACORN, were largely funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), according to the testimony MonCrief delivered in Pa.

One of the most aggressive and successful joint SEIU-ACORN nationwide campaigns known as “Muscle for Money” targets corporations and top officers who resist union demands, MonCrief has explained.

Even in the teeth of ongoing scandals, ACORN and its affiliates received over $1 million from organized labor in 2009 including over $220,000 from the Change to Win coalition, U.S. Department of Labor financial disclosure forms show.

The 2009 LM-2 disclosure forms show that SEIU Local 32 donated $25,400 to the national ACORN organization, Local Union 1 donated $32,791 to the ACORN Community labor Training Center and the national SEIU donated $37,878 to the ACORN Labor Partnership.

All told, organized labor has contributed over $10 million to ACORN, since 2005 with SEIU contributing about $8.7 million of this sum, according to Labor Department records.

In 2009 gubernatorial races, ACORN was active in attempting to swing the New Jersey election in cooperation with SEIU, according to other press reports. However, the network was less visible in Virginia where Republican Bob McDonnell won by a large margin.

As it turns out, Gov. Chris Christie’s margin of victory over the Democratic incumbent in N.J. was large enough to avoid a recount. But there is a lesson here for Republican operatives in that community organizers who were supposedly setback by on-going scandals still found expression where they could most be effective; in close-competitive races where it is possible to maximize the influence of organized labor.

Newly Crowned Miss USA Stripping Contest Photos Emerge….

From: Fox Business:

Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih was a contestant in a stripping contest sponsored by a Detroit radio station, MyFOXDC.com is reporting.

Fakih appears in several photos on Mojointhemorning.com, a morning show on Detroit’s Channel 955.

Two of the photos are from a strip tease contest held in 2007, and show Fakih performing on a stripper pole in front of an audience of women dressed in their underwear.

SLIDESHOW: Controversial Miss USA Lingerie Photo Shoot.

“Congratulations to Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih who was crowned Miss USA on Sunday night! Rima is a Dearborn resident and the first Arab American to wear the crown,” the site states. “Rima is a Mojo In The Morning listener who has joined us in studio and at events. Check out Miss USA Rima Fakih when she won Mojo In The Morning’s ‘Stripper 101’ contest in 2007.”

The judges were strippers, and awarded Fakih first prize. The prizes included jewelry, gift cards, adult toys and a stripper pole for home use, according to the website.

The event was attended by women only, and Rima never removed her clothing at the event, the radio station said in a statement.

SLIDESHOW: Scenes From the 2010 Miss USA Pageant.

The photos are the latest provocative pictures of the contestant. The first were lingerie photos posted by the Miss USA pageant itself, which were first reported exclusively by Fox411.com’s Pop Tarts column.

In those, Fakih and the other contestants were photographed in lacy lingerie, fishnets, smudged black eyeliner, knee-high boots, ample cleavage and plenty of bare skin, all while positioned in seductive poses on a large bed.

In 2009, Miss California Carrie Prejean was roundly criticized for posing in photographs that in some cases exposed her breasts. She said the shots were from a fashion shoot and that the “topless” photos were due to the wind, and never meant for publication.

UPDATE: This just in from Mojo In the Morning:

Mojo In The Morning producers have been contacted by representatives of Miss Universe requesting more photographs and information regarding Miss USA Rimah Fakih’s involvement in the “Stripper 101” contest. When asked if Fakih’s status as Miss USA was in danger, pageant representatives would not answer.

Morning show host Mojo says the controversial photographs were taken from our website where they have been posted for three years. He said Mojo In The Morning will not release any further photographs and hopes that Donald Trump does not ask Fakih to relinquish her crown. “It would be foolish to consider anyone other than Rima to represent the USA. The photos taken from our website are no more provocative than those on the Miss USA website.”

Awaiting Auntie Zeituni Onyango’s fate; Update: America’s most famous deportation fugitive wins legal status

By Michelle Malkin

Last week, in my column on our busted deportation system, I mentioned that President Obama’s deportation fugitive aunt was still awaiting the results of her second asylum appeal after nearly a year.

The AP reports that her lawyers are set to announce the decision this afternoon in Cleveland.

Will she finally be kicked out or will this unemployed Obama family member remain here in taxpayer-subsidized housing and other mysteriously-funded means?

I know where I’d place my bets, given that she has benefited from bipartisan open-borders largesse for the past 10 years.

Refresher course: The Deportation Abyss: “It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Alien Wins.”

Stay tuned…

***

CNN reporting that two sources say Onyango has won legal status. Just a formality — given that she has been allowed to stay here for so long in defiance of a federal immigration judge’s deportation order for six years and after overstaying her temporary visa issued in 2000.

Confirmed by AP here.

Immigration enforcement is a joke, Part 999,999,101.

I repeat:“It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Alien Wins.”

***

All previous Zeituni Onyango blog posts here.

Flashback: October 2008, Times of London: Found in a rundown Boston estate: Barack Obama’s aunt Zeituni Onyango.

Miss Oklahoma Named First Runner Up in Miss USA Pageant After Answering Immigration Question

FOXNews.com

An unhappy crowd booed Miss USA judge Oscar Nunez when he asked Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard a question about Arizona’s immigration law on Sunday night’s pageant.

But could Woolard’s answer have cost her the crown?

The “The Office” star asked Woolard if she supported Arizona’s right to enforce the law, which requires police to verify a person’s immigration status if there’s “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally.

VOTE: Did Oscar Nunez try to sink contestant with his question?

Woolard said she supports state’s rights, adding that she is against illegal immigration, but is also against racial profiling.

May 16: Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA 2010 by Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009.
related links

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Carrie Prejean Says Answer to Gay Marriage Question Cost Her Miss USA Crown

“I’m a huge believer in states’ rights. I think that’s what’s so wonderful about America,” Woolard said. “So I think it’s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law.”

The night’s events mirrored last year’s pageant, when gossip blogger Perez Hilton asked Miss California Carrie Prejean if she believed in gay marriage. Prejean said she didn’t, and a media firestorm ensued, with many arguing that it cost her the Miss USA title.

While many Americans are opposed to gay marriage, Prejean claimed she was victimized for her answer.

In perhaps a repeat of last year’s contest, Woolard lost the crown after answering a controversial question that may be unpopular with some, but reflects the opinion of the majority of Americans.

Woolard lost out to 24-year-old Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih.

Fakih, an Arab-American from Dearborn, Michican took home the crown, despite nearly tripping on her evening gown.

Pageant officials said historical pageant records were not detailed enough to show whether Fakih was the first Arab American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title. The pageant started in 1952 as a local bathing suit competition in Long Beach, California.

During the interview portion, Fakih was also asked a question on a hot-button issue. She was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance, and she said she believed it should because it’s costly.

“I believe that birth control is just like every other medication, even though it’s a controlled substance,” Fakih said.

Miss Virginia USA Samantha Evelyn Casey was the second runner-up, Miss Colorado USA Jessica Hartman was third runner-up, and Miss Maine USA Katherine Ashley Whittier was the fourth runner-up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Junk Science, the NRDC, the EPA and Eco-Terrorists

by Robert James Bidinotto

In 1989, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a major environmental group, launched a nationwide panic over the presence on apples of alar, a chemical growth agent. On TV shows such as “60 Minutes” and “Donahue,” and in major women’s magazines, NRDC (with the aid of its expert consulting toxicologist, actress Meryl Streep) claimed that alar “might” eventually cause thousands of lifetime cancer cases due to apple consumption by preschoolers.

This carefully choreographed publicity stunt terrified parents, cost alar’s manufacturer millions, caused over $100 million in losses to apple growers—all while creating a fundraising bonanza for the NRDC.

The scare campaign was based on junk science—on experiments on laboratory rodents in which dose levels were so absurdly high that the animals were dying of simple poisoning. These tests were so shoddy that an independent panel of scientists convened by the EPA—called a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP)—dismissed the findings as scientifically worthless.

Under political pressure to find something, however, the EPA ordered new tests on mice at dose levels that, again, were so outrageously high that 80 percent of the animals were poisoned to death. Not surprisingly, this overdosing produced the tumors the agency was looking for, and gave it the excuse to ban all use of the chemical.

I spent six months investigating this scam for a special report that appeared in the October 1990 Reader’s Digest. After its publication, many people—echoing the rock group The Who—concluded that “we won’t be fooled again” by environmentalist fear-mongers.

But now a new pesticide panic is underway. Once again, it is being incited by the NRDC, with additional litigation pressure from trial lawyers. Once again, the scare campaign rests on studies that amount to little more than “junk science.” This time, though, the target is an herbicide that plays a far more significant role in agriculture: atrazine.

Atrazine is a valuable weed-killer used to protect corn, sugar cane, and other crops. The EPA has estimated that farming without atrazine would cost corn farmers $28 an acre—the difference between getting by and going bankrupt for thousands of farms across the Midwest—and would cause sugar-cane crop losses from 10 to 40 percent. The overall cost to U.S. farmers would top $2 billion dollars annually.

Not only is atrazine effective, it is safe. The chemical has been on the market for half a century, during which time its safety has been tested to death—some 6,000 studies, here and abroad, including reviews by the World Health Organization and other international bodies.

Following a dozen years of exhaustive examination of scientific evidence about claims of possible health problems stemming from the chemical, the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs reported to Congress on February 16, 2005: “After a very careful assessment, EPA’s current view is that the available studies do not adequately demonstrate such effects. A panel of independent, external experts, the SAP, supports EPA’s position.” Concluding that cumulative risks posed “no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infant, children or other . . . consumers,” the EPA re-registered atrazine for use in 2006.

But that was then; this is now:

* The NRDC is beating the drum to ban this critical herbicide. Last September, it released another of its junk-science reports, Atrazine: Poisoning the Well, declaring that the chemical was “linked” to all sorts of “potential” health problems and raising the specter of unsafe concentrations in ground water. This, despite the fact that the EPA safety margin, which limits atrazine concentrations in drinking water to no more than three parts per billion, is set more than one thousand times below the threshold of any health concerns. Just as it did in engineering its alar hoax, NRDC is enlisting green sympathizers in the media to help terrorize the public. For example, it supplied material to a New York Times reporter for an article under the panic-provoking title, “Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass.”

* One month after NRDC released its report, the EPA ordered that atrazine—re-registered in 2006—become subject to re-re-registration. They specifically cited the NRDC report and New York Times scare piece as their reason for doing so. This, too, echoes the case of alar, when EPA, lacking any sound evidence to ban its targeted chemical, kept demanding new tests and reviews until it finally manufactured some lame excuse to do so.

* In addition to this chemophobic cadre, personal-injury trial lawyers, led by the notorious Texas law firm of Baron & Budd, have jumped in to cash in. Attorney Stephen Tillery, operating in the litigation paradise of Madison County, Illinois, is engineering class-action lawsuits against atrazine’s manufacturer and various users. Their claims of atrazine’s “harm” rest on junk-science rodent studies already rejected by the EPA’s expert Scientific Advisory Panel.

All this has left atrazine’s beleaguered manufacturer, Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., fighting to defend its product and reputation on multiple fronts. The prospect of a ban has also left struggling farmers, who rely on this herbicide to spare their crops, worried about their financial survival. If it occurs, then an economy deep in recession would take an additional hit from crop failures and soaring food prices.

But, bad as the immediate economic costs would be, the long-term regulatory ramifications would be much worse.

To institute their green fantasies of organic agriculture and returning farmland to “nature,” the NRDC and its allies aim to make toxicology safety thresholds so stringent that no agrochemicals could past legal muster. That’s precisely why they’ve singled out atrazine. As the Wall Street Journal noted recently, “The environmental lobby also figures that if it can take down atrazine with its long record of clean health, it can get the EPA to prohibit anything.”

Seen from this perspective, the alar scare was just the opening salvo in the environmentalist barrage against man-made chemicals. Today’s atrazine scare—as Yogi Berra might put it—is “déjà vu all over again.” And Yogi might also ask those of us burdened by this unending regulatory onslaught: “How do ya like them apples?”