David Koch Faced 100 Death Threats Last Year

David Koch, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist, says he was the target of 100 credible death threats last year alone because of his opposition to unions in the United States.

The influential conservative, who founded and funds the tea party-friendly group Americans for Prosperity, told The Palm Beach Post that he’s no “bully.”

“They make me sound like a bully,” Koch told the Post, complaining of press coverage. “Do I look like a bully?”

The Post detailed a charity dinner that Koch and his wife, Julia, hosted recently at his Palm Beach home for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In 1990s, Koch discovered that he had prostate cancer. The Anderson Center successfully treated and cured him.

Koch said he is remaining active in political battles despite the criticism and threats he has received.

He told the Post that Americans for Prosperity is helping Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall election after taking on public employee unions.

“We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”

Americans for Prosperity reportedly is spending about $700,000 on television ads supporting Walker and his reformist union policies.

But the Post notes that Koch and his brother Charles, who share the No. 4 rank in the Forbes billionaire list, have broader charitable interests than just politics. David “holds board seats with 23 nonprofit groups and has pledged gifts totaling more than $750 million for cancer research, the arts and cultural institutions, according to his foundation,” the Post reported.

Good for him.

Advertisements

Americans Judge Reagan, Clinton Best of Recent Presidents

Americans believe Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton will go down in history as the best among recent U.S. presidents — with at least 6 in 10 saying each will go down in history as an above-average or outstanding president, according to a new Gallup poll. Only about 1 in 10 say each will be remembered as below average or poor.

Meanwhile, three years into Barack Obama’s presidency, Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor.

Compared with Gallup’s previous update — conducted in January 2009, just before Bush’s presidency ended and Obama’s began — ratings of several presidents are up.

• Positive ratings of George W. Bush increased from 17% to 25% since 2009, while negative ratings of him declined from 59% to 47% in the three years since he left office.

• Positive ratings of Clinton, Reagan, and the elder Bush are also higher than in January 2009.

Democrats tend to believe history will judge Democratic presidents more favorably than Republicans do, and Republicans believe Republican presidents will be regarded more favorably than Democrats do. But partisans do not universally rate all of their party’s presidents better than all of the other party’s presidents.

• 36% of Republicans believe Clinton’s presidency will be viewed as outstanding or above average, a higher percentage of GOP supporters than believes that about Republican presidents Ford (25%) and Nixon (18%).

• Democrats are more likely to believe Reagan will get favorable historical judgments (47%) than that Carter will (31%).

• With a 46% outstanding/above-average rating from Republicans, George W. Bush joins Carter, Ford, and Nixon as presidents getting less-than-majority positive ratings from their own party’s supporters.

Interesting.

Rush: Ignorance Surrounds Payroll Tax Cut Extension

The ignorance surrounding the payroll tax cut extension President Barack Obama is pushing is “appalling,” and the measure will gut Social Security, Rush Limbaugh said today on his radio show.

“I do not understand why somebody doesn’t characterize this payroll tax cut for what it is — gutting Social Security because it is not being, quote / unquote, paid for,” Limbaugh said. “The Republicans, for as long as I’ve been alive, have been accused of gutting Social Security. Here’s Obama doing it. Obama and the Democrats are actually doing it.”

He shamed the GOP for reaching across the aisle and trying to compromise with the Democrats rather than using the payroll tax cut extension against the opposition party.

“From a political standpoint, it’s a gold mine here, and they’re not using it,” he said.

On the issue of the newly released budget, Limbaugh called the document “outrageous” and “simple irresponsibility.”

“If everything happened that Obama wants in this budget, folks, it’s over,” he said. “It may be over anyway, if Obamacare is fully implemented.”

Interesting

Rush: Conservative Values Spur Santorum Sweep

Conservative voters in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri carried Rick Santorum to three victories in the Republican presidential race Tuesday because the former Pennsylvania senator embodies their beliefs, Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show today.

“I’m not surprised by this,” Limbaugh said. “It’s one of the reasons that I haven’t been panicking throughout all of this. I think I have a pretty good understanding and idea of where the Republican base is. If they’re given the opportunity to vote for what they think is important, they’ll do it.”

The Republican establishment is “unsettled” today because the electorate in all three states didn’t flock to Mitt Romney, Limbaugh said.

Santorum won Colorado by a narrow margin, and skated to victory in Minnesota’s Republican caucuses, relegating the former Massachusetts governor to a distant third-place finish that raised fresh questions about his ability to attract ardent conservatives at the core of the party’s political base. The former senator also was victorious in a nonbinding Missouri primary that was worth bragging rights but no delegates.

“The Republican establishment has no idea this was percolating out there,” he said. “I can’t believe how insulated they are.”

Limbaugh dispelled the notion that voters chose Santorum over Romney “because I’m telling them to, or because anybody else is telling them to.”

“They’re doing it because they genuinely have a problem with Romney,” he said. “If you’re looking for a conservative who is the least corrupted, who has the least number of periods of wandering off the reservation . . . then you get Rick Santorum.”

Interetsing

Sorry, He’s Not A Natural Born Citizen : Personal Liberty Digest™

February 8, 2012 by  

Sorry, He’s Not A Natural Born Citizen

UPI
When Marco Rubio was born, his parents were not U.S. citizens.

And I’m not talking about President Barack Obama, who has produced a (fake) copy of his birth certificate only to prove that he really isn’t a natural born citizen.

I’m talking about Tea Party hero Marco Rubio, the Senator from Florida who is being touted by the Republican establishment as the likely pick for the GOP Vice Presidential nominee.

Rubio’s parents came to America from Cuba sometime between 1956 and 1959 (the exact date is in dispute) and became naturalized U.S. citizens in 1975. Rubio was born May 28, 1971. This fact makes him a U.S. citizen, but it does not make him a natural born citizen according to the definition intended by the founders.

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, says, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

Arguments over what constitutes “natural born” abound. But the Naturalization Act of 1790 probably defines the Founders’ intent better than anything. It reads: “…the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens.”

Rubio’s parents were not citizens at the time of Rubio’s birth, so Rubio can’t be President.

And by the way, Obama’s fake birth certificate proves his ineligibility to hold the office, for if the elder Barack Obama from Kenya, East Africa is Obama II’s father, he was not then and never was a U.S. citizen. Hence, Obama is not a child “of citizens of the United States.”

The mainstream media will not tell you any of this.

Is this right?

The Trouble With Mitt’s Money : Personal Liberty Digest™

February 8, 2012 by  

The Trouble With Mitt’s Money

UPI
Mitt Romney is a venture capitalist.

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.” — Gordon Gekko, “Wall Street”

“Like Gekko, Romney made his fortune buying and selling companies.” — Salon.com, Jan. 9

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has accumulated a vast amount of wealth and in doing so probably hasn’t broken a law or bylaw. However, Romney isn’t being honest about what kind of business he operated and he greatly exaggerates his business know-how.

Romney made that money not by building things but by tearing things down. His wealth was created through takeovers, buyouts and mergers. So his claim that he knows how to renew the American dream is disingenuous at best.

Vulture Economics

Romney founded Bain Capital in 1984 and oversaw the operations of the firm for several years. That put him in charge of business takeover operations similar to what the fictional Gordon Gekko ran ruthlessly in Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street.”

Private equity firms like Bain shift capital around. They prey on companies that they take over. Sometimes, they burden them with huge debts. Sometimes, they leave them with zero real assets. Many of the companies go bankrupt while the private equity firms pad their balance sheets.

Private equity firms buy companies they plan to bankrupt. They don’t care about how many pink slips are handed out. Their goal is to make sure that creditors collect as little as possible. To accomplish their goal, they transfer the assets of the acquired companies into other companies. That means big profits for private equity firms, but the economy gains nothing.

There is nothing illegal in it (unless, like Gekko, you use insider trading to fatten your profits), but it doesn’t add jobs. If anything, Romney is in the business of slashing jobs to get a bigger bottom line.

Romney Is No Henry Ford

Romney uses his resume to proclaim that he knows how to energize the American economy. Buying companies and trading stocks and bonds doesn’t so much as put a shingle on a barn.

Romney argues that he was helping workers and investors. Ron Paul disagrees. According to Paul, under the terms of a typical leveraged buyout, “The wealth is taken from the middle class and it goes to the select few, who are the insiders.”

Former GOP Presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry agrees with Paul.

“I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists,” Perry told voters in Lexington, S.C.  “But they’re not — they’re vulture capitalists.”

Romney doesn’t help himself. Not only does he wear expensive suits like Gekko, but he seems to have some of the same attitudes. In “Wall Street,” Gekko says, “If you need a friend, get a dog.”

Romney expressed pretty much the same view when he said: “I like being able to fire people.” Like Gekko, Romney could have added: “Lunch is for wimps.”

On Jan. 19, Sun Sentinel.com ran a column by Bill Press that argued against Romney’s public relations blitz regarding his business expertise.

There’s a big difference between the attacks on John Kerry’s war record in 2004 and the questions raised about Mitt Romney’s business record in 2012. The entire Swift Boat campaign was nothing but one big fat lie. But Gingrich and Perry are only telling the truth. Corporate predators like Bain Capital do, in fact, swoop in on distressed companies, leverage them with debt, strip them down, fire workers or export jobs, and then sell companies off for scrap — while investors walk away with huge profits.

Citing the success of Domino’s, Sports Authority and Staples, Romney brags about creating a “net 100,000 new jobs.” But he’s offered no proof of that claim, and his numbers don’t add enough. The 100,000 figure includes current employers of all three companies, hired long after Bain left the scene. And it doesn’t factor in the thousands of jobs Romney/Bain destroyed by looting other companies. Indeed, out of 77 companies taken over by Bain, the Wall Street Journal found that 22 percent had either filed for bankruptcy or simply shut their doors. The truth is, Romney was never a job creator. He was a wealth creator. And it’s a lie for him to suggest otherwise.

Just as it’s a lie to suggest that he ever lived in fear of getting a “pink slip.” As reported by the Boston Globe, Romney had a deal with Bain Capital that allowed him to return to his former job at his former salary if things didn’t work out. For him, there was zero financial risk.

There is also the contradiction between Romney the venture capitalist and Romney the political leader. As the Governor of Massachusetts, his reduction of the State bureaucracy was modest, as Boston Globe reporters Scott Helman and Michael Kranish report in their book, The Real Romney: “After four years, he reduced the payroll of agencies under his direct control by 603 jobs, according to his administration’s tally.”

Helman and Kranish point out that Romney’s predecessor, Republican Governor William F. Weld “had closed state hospitals, privatized services, and slashed about 7,700 jobs during his first term, though the numbers had later increased when the economy improved.”

The Men That Built America

As for Romney, the businessman, some of you may believe that plundering is straightforward economic Darwinism — a necessary and, ultimately, good thing. If that is true, then Bain Capital not only survived but thrived under Romney’s leadership.

What is not true is that Romney has business experience that builds up corporations and creates a vast number of jobs. Perhaps that is not his fault. He might have been born a century too late.

I came across a list of the richest individuals in history. Nobody alive is on that list. Men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are not even in the same ballpark as that crowd. The Americans who are on the list are the magnates of industry who were building their fortunes and the Nation in the early 1900s.

John D. Rockefeller is noted as the richest individual ever. His personal fortune peaked at $318.3 billion in 2007 U.S. dollars.

The second richest ever — Andrew Carnegie — had his personal wealth top out at $298.3 billion, again adjusted for inflation.

Others in the top 10 list include William Henry Vanderbilt, Andrew William Mellon and Henry Ford. They were the builders. The others in the list were plunderers, including: Marcus Licinius Crassus at No. 8 with $170 billion; and Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, at No. 3 with $253.5 billion.

What America so desperately needs today are leaders and builders like Carnegie and Ford, not pillagers like Crassus and Nicholas. What disturbs me most about Romney in his campaign for the Presidency is that his business model more closely resembles the latter than it does the former.

Yours in good times and bad,

Interesting perspective.

Obama Signals He May Back Down On Contraception Mandate

Roman Catholic pressure to get the Obama administration to back down from its insistence that they provide free contraceptives in their healthcare plans appeared to be paying off on Tuesday.

Now the White House may be ready to work with the church to find a way to get around the mandate, said David Axelrod, a top adviser to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

“I think we need to lower our voices and get together,” Axelrod told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

“We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms, so we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventative care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions.”

“The president and the administration will move forward, but with a grace period or time period in order to work this thing through,” Axelrod added. “We want to resolve it in an appropriate way.”

Axelrod said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had already given churches an exemption to the mandate, against the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine. “The question now is about these extended affiliated institutions … and there are tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – of women who work in these hospitals and universities who are not Catholic or they may be Catholic and they use birth control.

“The question is whether they are going to have the same package that every other woman in the country has to the same right and access to basic preventive care.”

Axelrod’s stance was in stark contrast to the message put out by White House press secretary Jay Carney less than 24 hours earlier.
“These services are important,” Carney said on Monday. “American women deserve to have access to that kind of insurance coverage regardless of where they work.”

The administration’s insistence that religious organizations provide insurance that covers contraceptives – including abortifacients such as the morning-after pill – has led to claims that Obama is anti-religion. Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism in 2008, said last week, “The Obama administration is raging a war against the Catholic Church.”

Fellow Catholic candidate Rick Santorum said the church should have fought harder against the whole Affordable Health Care Act. “I told the Catholic bishops years ago when they were … promoting Obamacare, be careful what you wish for,” he said. “They got what they deserved.”

Catholic bishops wrote letters that were read to parishioners from the pulpit over the weekend. “We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law,” was the message in the letter from many of the bishops. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.”

Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops likened the regulation to forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork chops while Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said, “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City went so far as saying the church may drop healthcare coverage altogether if a way cannot be found out of the impasse.

But whether the bishops have the backing of their followers is unclear. A USA Today poll released Tuesday showed that 58 percent of Catholics support compulsory contraceptive insurance. That figure rose to 62 percent among Catholic women.

Sebelius revealed the plan in late January, saying it would help guarantee universal access to birth control under Obama’s signature healthcare laws. The mandate is due to go into effect during 2013.

“The public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception is clear,” Sebelius wrote in an article in USA Today. She claimed the administration had worked to strike a balance between the rights of religious employers and the healthcare needs of their workers.

Interesting.